Sucettes120917
Sucettes at Pet Shop Gallery Dec. 9, 2017.

Welcome to Lazy-i, an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news.

The focus is on the indie music scene. Yes, there’s a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area, but Lazy-i also offers interviews, stories and reviews about national indie bands.

Most of the feature stories and columns in Lazy-i will have previously been published in The Reader, Omaha’s monthly alternative newspaper.



ADULT., Plack Blague tonight at Reverb…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:48 pm October 15, 2018

Plack Blague at The Slowdown, Dec. 30, 2016. The Blague performs at Reverb tonight with ADULT.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

ADULT. is a Detroit synth-rock act that’s been kicking around since 1998 with a number of self-released recordings (but mostly distributed by Thrill Jockey). They’re playing at Reverb tonight at 8 p.m. Fun fact: ADULT. did a remix of The Faint’s “Agenda Suicide,” see/hear below. Another fun fact, Lincoln electro-leather-geek-punk legend Plack Blague opens, so get there early. $12.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

David Nance Band, Closeness tonight; Brad Hoshaw, Bed Rest Saturday; Minus the Bear, Your Smith Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm October 12, 2018

Minus the Bear’s farewell tour rolls through The Waiting Room Sunday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First out of the gate is tonight’s show at Reverb Lounge featuring David Nance Band and Closeness. You read about David yesterday (here). Pitchfork gave his new album a 7.7 this morning. Come out and see what the fuss is all about. Closeness, the post-wave duo of Todd and Orenda Fink, open the show at 9 p.m. And it’s only $8.

Plus, looking at all my calendars, emails, etc. the Nance/Closeness show is the only thing happening tonight.

Tomorrow night Brad Hoshaw is playing an in-store at Homer’s in the Old Market (remember when in-stores were a regular thing?). The gig celebrates the 20th anniversary and cassette reissue of Brad’s first album Invisible Man. The fun starts at 11 a.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Reverb is hosting a local indie singer/songwriter show with Bed Rest, Lincoln’s House Vacations and Jacob James Wilton. $5, 8 p.m.

Then comes Sunday and two hot shows.

First on the list is Minus the Bear at The Waiting Room. This is being marketed as their “farewell tour.” From their website: “These final shows are a celebration for the community of fans who gave us so much through years of dedication. We’ll be digging deep in the MTB catalogue and we are honored for the opportunity to play our hearts out for you one last time.”

MTB has counted Omaha as a regular tour stop for as long as I can remember. I think the first time I saw them was when they played with These Arms Are Snakes, The Velvet Teen and Race for Titles at Sokol Underground back in 2003.

Anyway, Saturday night Caspian opens for MTB at 8 p.m. $25 Adv/$30 DOS.

Also Saturday night, newcomer Your Smith plays at Reverb Lounge. Your Smith used to be Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps. She used to sound like jangly indie, now she sounds like Sheryl Crow. That said, I can’t help but dig her single “Bad Habit.” LA act BAUM opens at 8 p.m. $10 Adv/$12 DOS.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lazy-i Interview: David Nance — on his new record, Jack White and how music feeds his soul (at Reverb Lounge Oct. 12)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:15 pm October 11, 2018

The David Nance Band plays at Reverb Friday, Oct. 12.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Last weekend I got a chance to interview David Nance at his Dundee home while rain poured down around us. I sat on the porch swing with my lap-top while Dave walked around with his huge, shaggy head of hair, in a worn-out illegible band T-shirt and flannels and answered my meandering questions for a half-hour before it got too cold. We finished up in his living room with his dog, Wild Man, staring me down and occasionally barking.

Last week Chicago label Trouble in Mind Records released his latest album Peaced and Slightly Pulverized under the name David Nance Group (don’t go looking for it in Spotify under “David Nance” because you won’t find it; better yet, just go to a record store and buy a copy or pick it up at the show). Joining Nance on the record are drummer Kevin Donahue, bassist Tom May and guitarist Jim Schroeder performing a collection of psych-rock anthems — huge, droning monoliths grounded in Nance’s grinding guitar and echoing vocals.

David Nance Band, Peaced and Slightly Pulverized (2018, Trouble in Mind)

AllMusic critic Mark Deming called the record “a raw and raucous exercise in no-frills hard rock” adding that his guitar work is “a style that splits the difference between Neil Young’s primativist noise and Keith Richards’ fractured blues, with a bit more slop than either but a similar passion for volume and blissful crunch.” I guess that’s a compliment — Deming gave the record 3-1/2 stars.

Peaced isn’t so much a natural progression from Nance’s earlier records — last year’s break-through album Negative Boogie and 2016’s More Than Enough (both released on Ba Da Bing!) — as much as a slight turn toward more structured rock songs that evolve into amazing guitar jams — satisfying and easy to get lost inside.

Nance said the album was recorded in Jim Schroeder’s basement. “Jim has a nice tape machine set-up,” Nance said. “He’s a little more focused than me when it comes to fidelity. He’ll dial it in a little more; he cares about tape hiss.

“Out of the gate it’s the record that sounds most like a live band,” he added. “The last one we recorded in a day and then threw stuff on it. This one was recorded in a room with maybe a vocal overdub. It’s 90 percent live and that was the intent.”

Regardless of the live nature of the recording, Nance said the band likely will only play four songs off the record when on stage. “We’re also doing covers and old ones,” he said.

Those live shows used to be a mixed bag. I remember seeing Nance play a few years ago, possibly at Reverb or O’Leaver’s, where the set consisted of a half-hour of drone and feedback with a slight pause in the middle. On the other hand, recent shows, including at this year’s Maha Music Festival, have been relatively straight-forward, focused on selections from his latest albums but always climaxing with him and Schroeder trying to kill each other with feedback.

“I love the way it sounds when we’ve played recently” Nance said. “It’s been really present and in the moment – lots of uncalculated things happened. It’s been deep; I get a deep feeling coming away from it.”

One recent notable gig was opening for Jack White at ONEOK Field in Tulsa (Home of the Drillers) Sept. 17. “I never thought something like that would happen,” Nance said. “Someone from Jack’s team called and asked if we could play Shreveport and Tulsa. I said we already had a gig for the first night but would love to do the Tulsa show. We didn’t hear anything back. I wrote him three days before the show to see if it was still happening and they said ‘sure.'”

Nance said they got the gig thanks to someone who works at White’s Third Man Records who’s a fan of his band. “This guy emailed and we talked back and forth about records we like,” Nance said. “I found out later that he’s the guy running the show with Jack.”

Nance said he only spent a few moments with White in Tulsa. “We were all back stage and they just showed up in a van, got out and 20 seconds later were playing on stage,” Nance said. “As they were leaving the stage, Jack said thanks for playing and apologized for forgetting to say our band’s name from stage. It was insane.”

Old connections also helped land a new label. It was Nance’s history playing with Brimstone Howl that got him in front of Trouble in Mind Records. “I met Bill and Lisa (Roe, the label’s proprietors) through Brimstone,” he said. “When we went through Chicago we stayed with them. I love their label, they put out my favorite current stuff. Years ago they said if you ever want to do a record, we’d be more than happy to release it.”

Connections over the years also helped Nance book his upcoming tour on his own. Nance and his band (Schroeder, Donahue and Sarah Bohling of Thick Paint on bass) start out in St. Louis Oct. 24 for a 22-date tour that takes them south and east, back through The Waiting Room Nov. 13 before ending Nov. 16 in Chicago. Next March they’re headed back to Europe, followed by shows in Australia with indie-punk act Thigh Master.

“I worked at Coachella cooking pad thai and that funded my first tour,” Nance said. “I’ve been booking things myself for awhile. It works out pretty well. I’ve been connected through the underground to a lot of great people doing great stuff.”

Nance said he looks at music as “another part-time job. I would love to do it full-time, but I don’t know if that’s possible. I’m lucky to have the ability to do what I do, book shit myself and come home with enough money for rent. I’ve had opportunities to meet people and see great bands.

“I just want to keep doing it. It feeds my soul. I feel whole doing it. I always go in assuming no one’s going to like anything and nothing’s going to happen, so I’m pleasantly surprised.”

David Nance plays with Closeness Friday, Oct. 12 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $8, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

Note: This story also appears online at The Reader website.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Essex Green (Merge Records), Magu at Reverb tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:50 pm October 8, 2018

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Just a quick note to mention that The Essex Green is playing at Reverb Lounge tonight. The Brooklyn band falls under the Baroque Rock category of modern bands that play a ’60s-’70s-inspired pop sound reminiscent of acts like The Left Banke. They’ve been associated with the Elephant Six Collective; though their last three albums were released on Merge, including 2018’s Hardly Electronic. Omaha band Magu opens at 8 p.m. $10.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

AJJ (Andrew Jackson Jihad), Kimya Dawson, Wrong Pets, BFF tonight; Big Al, No Means No fests, Natural States Saturday; Soccer Mommy Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:41 pm October 5, 2018

Andrew Jackson Jihad at The Waiting Room, July 15, 2014. They return as AJJ tonight at TWR.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Let’s start with the “antifolk” show at The Waiting Room tonight.What is antifolk? Well, according to antifolk.com it’s “a musical genre that promotes song-writing over technique and personality over polish. Some see it as the evolution of folk, others as a combination on punk and folk.” Couldn’t have said it better if I tried.

AJJ sort of falls under this definition. Once known as Andrew Jackson Jihad, AJJ is headlining this show tonight at TWR. Their name sounds punk-y but they’ve never sounded punky to me,  more like early Mountain Goats — clever lyrics, wonky vocals. Political? You bet (Check out the timely “Night of the Long Knives,” below).  They’re out supporting their latest, Ugly Spiral: Lost Works 2012-2016 (2018, SideOneDummy). Also on the bill: Kimya Dawson is better known for her work with Moldy Peaches, an antifolk style she’s continued as a solo performer. Laura Stevenson (Don Giovanni Records) and Shellshag (Don Giovanni) round it out. That’s a lot o’ entertaining for $18. Starts early — 7 p.m.

By the way, it’s Benson First Friday. The Sydney is celebrating with a four-band bill that includes Wrong Pets, Montee Men, Living Conditions and Tyrone Storm. $5, 10 p.m.

And if you’re in the Benson neighborhood, don’t forget to stop by The Little Gallery, located in the east bay of the Masonic Lodge Building (just across the street and a block east of The Sydney in East Benson). Tonight’s gala opening featured artist is Megan Thomas. Booze and treats provided, 6 to 9 p.m. Stop in and say howdy.

Two “festivals” are happening tomorrow night (Saturday). The No Means No Festival is going on at Petshop Gallery. Thirteen bands including No Thanks, Jocko and Bedrest start performing at 7 p.m. $7. More info here.

Also tomorrow night is the Big Al Free Music Festival at fabulous O’Leaver’s. It’s an all-solo affair that includes performances by Dereck Higgins, Sam Martin and Darren Keen (as well as Big Al himself). Comedians will perform between sets. It’s free but you have to bring food (cuz it’s a food drive, duh). Starts at 8 p.m. More info here.

Also Saturday night, The Brothers Lounge is hosting a rock show headlined by The Natural States (it’s their EP release show), with Houma and Silversphere (ex-Lepers). $5, 9 p.m.

Finally on Sunday Soccer Mommy headlines at Reverb Lounge. You read her Ten Questions survey here a couple days ago. Sasami a.k.a. Sasami Ashworth, formerly the keyboardist for the L.A. indie rockers Cherry Glazerr, opens. $12, 8 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend. Stay dry.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Cursive’s ‘Vitriola’ drops tomorrow (and what people are saying about it)…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:41 pm October 4, 2018

Cursive’s next album, Vitriola, comes out tomorrow on 15 Passenger.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Early press for the new Cursive album, Vitriola, appears to be rather strong. The record drops tomorrow on the band’s label, 15 Passenger.

Having listened to the album a few times I can add to the choir that this record is reminiscent of early Cursive. The songs certainly sound more cohesive and structured than, say, what we got with I Am Gemini, which is a complicated way of saying they have great guitar riffs, hooks and massive, percussive rhythms that consistently head in one direction, versus Gemini‘s proggy where-is-this-going approach.

OK, let’s just get it out there — Gemini is my least favorite Cursive record. It’s difficult to get through. And I’m a sucker for big riffs and repeat choruses — i.e., straight-forward indie rock songs, like on this record. There’s a familiarity to this music that is oddly comforting.

Both Noisey and Stereogum posted interviews with Cursive leader Tim Kasher that try to dissect the record’s meaning — true navel-gazing exercises that could be valuable to a Cursive superfan.

My simplistic (and there’s no one more simplistic than I) take is that Kasher’s getting older and these songs reflect his anxiety about aging and/or the struggle and futility of life (versus say, songs about his struggles with relationships (Domestica) or religion (Happy Hollow)). There’s also a  political theme that runs through a few songs that’s hard to miss, though I wouldn’t consider this a protest album. The Noisey article makes it sound like there’s a glimmer of hope underlying the collection. Maybe, but I don’t hear it. To me, it’s a collection of true bummers connected by massive riffs. But what else is new?

All I can think of is how well these songs will sound live. For example, can Kasher get the crowd to scream along to the “Ouroboros” chorus: “I am a parasite / I am a shill / I am that lowly snake / Chasing its tail.” By god, I think he can. Which is good, because I have a feeling Tim and the crew are going to be touring this one for a long time.

If you haven’t already, pre-order it here.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Soccer Mommy (at Reverb Sunday); Lord Huron, Cut Worms tonight (SOLD OUT)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:00 pm October 3, 2018

Soccer Mommy plays at Reverb Sunday, Oct. 7.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Soccer Mommy is Sophie Allison, a Nashville singer/songwriter influenced by the likes of pop stars Avril Lavigne and Taylor Swift, though her music is more easily filed alongside fellow indie singer/songwriter projects Mitski, Waxahatchee and Big Thief.

In fact, on her 2018 Fat Possum release, Clean, Allison’s style and voice are reminiscent of ’80s folkie Edie Brickell, and I’d throw early Liz Phair in there as well (someone Allison has opened for recently) except lyrically Allison’s songs are more longing and withdrawn than Phair’s Exile-era, jaded, take-it-or-leave-it love rants.

Instead, Allison often comes off lost or left-behind, as if watching as her lover hits on someone else at a party she wasn’t invited to in the first place. Even on indie radio hit “Your Dog,” the modern anti-thesis of the Stooges’ tune, Allison sounds worn out rather than angry. Clean is, indeed, a beauty of a record, but I’m waiting for when Allison’s had enough and returns as a mad-as-hell reincarnation of early PJ Harvey.

We caught up with Allison and asked her to take our Ten Questions survey:

1. What is your favorite album?

Sophie Allison: It’s hard to pick just one! One of my favorites that I’ve returned to this week is Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco. It’s a popular choice for a reason!

2. What is your least favorite song?

I really don’t like that F-R-I-E-N-D-S song that is on the radio right now. I don’t know who it’s by, but I hear it all the time. (“FRIENDS” by Marshmello & Anne-Marie — Tim).

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

I like getting to share experiences of traveling and playing music with other people, especially since I really like the guys I tour with.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Sharing the bathroom in a hotel is pretty much the worst part. It can be a battle in the mornings!

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Right now I’m going to just say Malibu so we can keep it user friendly.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

I always love playing in New York and Boston. I feel comfortable with both of those cities since I lived in NY and my sister lived in Boston and it’s always just a fun time.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Probably Liverpool. We showed up right before the set because we missed the ferry and it was just an odd vibe after that.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

I can at least sort of support myself at this point. I don’t really have another choice since I’m always on the road. It took at least half a year to be able to not be struggling to make it through tours, but sometimes we still struggle through it a bit.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do? 

I don’t really think I’d like to do anything else. I guess maybe I’d be a poet, but that’s basically what I do now. I’d hate to be an accountant or something like that.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I haven’t really heard any to be honest! We played there once (with Jay Som and Stef Chura Sept. 12, 2017, at Reverb — Tim) and it seemed like a nice town, the show was pretty small though and not a ton of people came.

Soccer Mommy plays with Sasami Sunday, Oct. 7, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $12, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

Tonight Lord Huron headlines a sold out show at Sokol Auditorium. Opening is Brooklyn’s Cut Worms headed by Max Clarke, whose Jagjuwar release Hollow Ground earned a 7.2 rating from Pitchfork. 8 p.m. start time.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

David Nance album sneak peek (via Stereogum); The Sydney rising? A Deer A Horse, Screaming Plastic tonight..

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:49 pm October 2, 2018

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Stereogum is hosting the new David Nance album, Peaced and Slightly Pulverized (2018, Trouble in Mind). Nance continues in the direction he was headed with his last one, Negative Boogie. It is very much as Stereogum describes it — a collection of psych-rock anthems with a heavy Hendrix overbite, huge, droning rock songs grounded in Nance’s grinding guitar and echoing vocals.

The record comes out Friday, but the rock show isn’t until Oct. 12 at Reverb (with Closeness). Nance apparently just played a stadium show opening for Jack White. Something tells me he’s on his way.

* * *

What’s up with The Sydney? They hosted a rock show last night and have another tonight. In fact, look at their schedule on Facebook and their month is filling up. Is this the One Percent effect? After all, Marc Leibowitz and Jim Johnson took over ownership of The Sydney in August.

The answer is likely no. Tonight’s show with Brooklyn indie band A Deer, A Horse, is not a One Percent Production. And The Sydney still isn’t listed as a venue on the One Percent website.

That said, One Percent is bringing Australian powerhouse indie band Middle Kids to The Sydney on Dec. 8 — that’s a marquee show. Could more be on the way?

Anyway, tonight it’s A Deer A Horse at The Sydney. Check out a track by the band below. Opening is Houma and Screaming Plastic. The 10 p.m. show is a mere $5.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Oberst talks about the good ol’ days (in LSQ Podcast); Decemberists, Sunbathe, Pleasures, Jason Steady, Buttertones tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:47 pm October 1, 2018
The Decemberists at The Holland Performing Arts Center, April 17, 2011.

The Decemberists at The Holland Performing Arts Center, April 17, 2011. The band returns to The Holland tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Jenny Eliscu, one of the primary hosts at Sirius XMU and a Rolling Stone contributing editor, has a podcast in iTune, and the latest episode/entry (not sure what you call it in podcast speak?) is an interview with Conor Oberst conducted back in March. Conor takes Eliscu for a stroll down memory lane, recapping his very early days, including his first recordings, his work with Commander Venus and the origins of Bright Eyes and (presumably) Lumberjack/Saddle Creek Records.

It’s interesting stuff, especially the talk about early Grass Records artists, that label, and Conor’s relationship with Grass Records’ owner Alan Meltzer. Toward the end of the interview Oberst describes how Meltzer let him out of a multi-record contract with Grass when Commander Venus broke up, apparently because Conor reminded Meltzer of his son, who had recently passed away. Imagine if Meltzer hadn’t let Oberst out of that deal and Bright Eyes wound up on Wind Up, alongside Creed. Would there have even been a Saddle Creek Records?

Anyway, check out the podcast, which is part 1 of a two-part interview with Oberst, at the LSQ podcast space in iTunes (located right here).

* * *

Goddamn, it’s busy for shows for a Monday night…

Decemberists are returning to The Holland Center tonight. I saw them on the Holland stage back in 2011 and it was a good time, or as good a time as you can have in the rather sterile confines of The Holland. Canadians Kacy and Clayton (New West Records) open at 7:30. Tix are still available for $50-$60.

Meanwhile, over at Reverb Lounge Portland act Sunbathe headlines. The band is headed by Maggie Morris, formerly of Genders and Youth, and includes members of Typhoon. I’m sure those bands are all well known… in Portland. Just like openers Bokr Tov and Sean Pratt and the Sweats are well known in our little burg. $10, 8 p.m.

Sarasota band Pleasures plays tonight at The Sydney in Benson. In a review of their 2016 O’Leaver’s show I said, “The music dripped in a haze of buzzing distortion cut through by a top-notch rhythm section that kept things grounded and rocking.” Tonight’s show is supposedly in 3-D and glasses will be provided (unless it’s some sort of cruel joke). Opening is Universe Contest and red-hot Omaha band Jason Steady and the Soft Ponies. $5, 10 p.m.

Finally, The Buttertones, who came through a year ago with Ron Gallo, return to Slowdown Jr. tonight. Wild Wing opens at 8 p.m. $14.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Gary Numan; Tragic Jack, Brad Hoshaw tonight; Lodgings, Sun-Less Trio, Wagon Blasters Saturday; House Vacations, Tom Bartolomei Sunday…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 11:57 am September 28, 2018

Gary Numan at The Slowdown, Sept. 27, 2018.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Recent Gary Numan recordings, specifically Savage (Songs from a Broken World) (2017, BMG), have been compared to recordings by Nine Inch Nails, a band who has cited Numan as an influence. While there’s no mistaking the similarity in the preponderance of deep beats, synths and power chords, recent NIN albums rarely have contained songs as tuneful as Numan’s recent stuff, and certainly Trent Reznor doesn’t hold a candle vocally to Numan, who, on these recordings (made when he was in his late 50s), sounds as good or better than he did in Tubeway Army.

I mention this because last night’s Gary Numan show at The Slowdown was heavy with the new stuff, which sounded like Middle Eastern-influenced NIN albeit with a greater reliance on Numan’s cold-steel synth sound.  Numan, looking more like a dude in his late 30s than a guy who just turned 60, performed really elegant modern dance throughout the set, interpreting every chord and drop beat like a ballet dancer in Desert Storm trooper boots, all a part of the band’s ragged matched costuming that made them resemble extras from Mad Max: Fury Road.

Right out of the gate Numan and his band sounded great, maybe a bit too great. When he started singing I immediately wondered if he was lip-syncing. The vocals simply sounded too rounded and perfect to be live, especially with the calisthenics Numan was performing. It didn’t even look like he was holding the microphone up to his mouth, though the vocals coming out of the stacks were spot-on perfect. And, strangely, he never spoke to the audience between songs (at least while I was listening).

I’m not a sound tech and I haven’t talked to the band so I have no idea what exactly was going on. I know all the band members wore in-ear monitors; and while everyone had microphones, it sure didn’t look like they were singing most of the time. In fact, the band sounded absolutely perfect throughout the set. I’m not sure this means they were performing with a backing track or what (though I’m sure the soundguy knows).

Regardless, the sound was pristine and magnificent and the crowd didn’t seem to care a whit whether the performance was being “sweetened” or not, they were too ensconced in the light, movement and sound.  The tale of the tape came 10 songs in when the band performed “Cars,” an arrangement that was mostly faithful to the original, and Numan here seemed to be singing, or at least he sounded different than earlier in the set. He also was a lot less animated, pacing between the microphone and the back of the stage.

He lit right back into the new stuff afterward (you can see the full setlist from last night here), and continued with his elegant balletic moves, amazing and inspiring from a guy his age. It was a fun show no matter what was going on.

* * *

Looks like it’s going to be cold, rainy weekend, which means there’s no excuse for not going to some shows.

Tonight, Tragic Jack plays a down at Slowdown Jr. The band has a new album, Glasshouse Town, coming out Oct. 12 on Silver Street Records. It’s not so much indie as straight-forward, traditional FM rock. Marty Amsler, the former member of The Millions who plays bass in Tragic Jack, gave me a copy of the record and said “this probably isn’t your thing.” It’s not, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. Hey man, despite my indie music leanings, I grew up on FM rock and can tell quality when I hear it. Copies of the record will be available at tonight’s show, which also features openers Brad Hoshaw and Soul Ghost. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, The Hottman Sisters are celebrating the release of a new EP, Louder, at The Waiting Room. Ruby Force and Kethro open at 9 p.m. $12.

Lodgings is a pretty awesome band consisting of Bryce Hotz, vocals; Jim Schroeder, guitars; David Ozinga, bass; Eric Ernst, drums. Their 2016 debut, which also features cellist Megan Siebe and Trumpeter Sean Lomax, is one of my recent faves. The band headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night. Joining them in this stacked line-up are The Sun-Less Trio and The Wagon Blasters. 10 p.m., $5.

Finally, O’Leaver’s Sunday early-show series continues with House Vacations, CatBeret, the return of Omaha singer/songwriter Tom Bartolomei, and Lincoln’s Threesome Egos.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i