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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.



New McCarthy Trenching; David Nance’s Gonerfest performance, new album 11/13…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm October 26, 2020
David Nance and his band performing in Omaha for Gonerfest 17.

New McCarthy Trenching is just what we need as we stumble through the darkness of a COVID-infected world. The project’s primary instigators, Dan McCarthy and James Maakestad, are joined by a stable of young, ambitious talent on their new album Perfect Game, which just dropped last Friday.

The 10-song LP has all the usual McCarthy Trenching storytelling charm, wherein Dan croons about maple trees and electrical black-outs, swimming dogs and drinking beer. It’s like sitting around a campfire making s’mores with Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and some dude who lives in a duplex in Dundee.

The album was recorded by Jim Schroeder at ARC this past September. If you dig Dan’s past efforts – or if you just like good folk songwriting – this one’s for you. Buy it at Bandcamp.

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Last month David Nance took part in Gonerfest 17, the annual festival held by the fine folks at Goner Records down in Memphis. But because of COVID, the event was held virtually, which meant Nance performed from his Omaha abode. Joining him were drummer Kevin Donahue, guitarist Jim Schroeder and bassist Dereck Higgins. Check it below. Hat’s off to Anna Nance for the video recording.

Nance used the occasion to announce that his new album, Staunch Honey, will be released on Trouble in Mind Records Nov. 13.

From the site: “Staunch Honey is the culmination of two years of hard work – Nance worked and reworked the album three times over, recording & rerecording songs until they sounded just so – a stunning batch of sonic manna that hums with feeling and mood; expertly crafted, but sounding simultaneously off-the-cuff.” 

The album was recorded entirely to tape by Nance himself at his Omaha home with assistance from Schroeder and Donohue. Check out the first track below and preorder it here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Phoebe/Conor perform for NIVA; Mal Blum gets the Saddle Creek Document treatment; new Beauty Pill…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:49 pm October 20, 2020
Mal Blum gets the Saddle Creek Document treatment…

Did you tune in last week for SOSFest? I didn’t, either. But most of the performances are now online if you still want to watch. Among them is Phoebe Bridgers at the Troubadour in Hollywood, with special guests Conor Oberst and Christian Lee Hutson. It’s pretty good, but dang, her music is some serious bummage. See below.

Make sure you make a donation toward NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund, which benefits “independent venues in peril.”

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Mal Blum was among the acts scheduled to play at The Reverb Lounge before COVID-19 blew everything up. It was through researching that show that I discovered Pity Boy, the band’s 2019 Don Giovanni release, which I fell in love with. It’s punk but it’s poppy enough to sing along to, clever, smart with great guitars. It would have been on my 2019 list if I’d known about it in 2019.

Today Saddle Creek Records announced that Mal Blum will be featured as the 14th installment of their Document Series. The 7-inch “Nobody Waits” b/w “San Cristóbal,” will be released Nov. 20 and you can preorder it (and hear the A-side) today.

The tracks were the last thing the band recorded before the COVID-19 lock down. Check it below and keep your fingers crossed that One Percent reschedules Mal Blum at Reverb when the pandemic is finally under control…

BTW, Mal Blum is doing a Crowdcast tonight at 7 p.m. CT. Register here.

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D.C. punk band Beauty Pill dropped a video for new song “Instant Night” today, a song “released out of urgency to inspire people to vote in the November election.”

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Thanks for the memories Barley Street Tavern; The Verve Pipe Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 2:33 pm October 16, 2020
Bloodcow at The Barley Street Tavern, July 18, 2015.

It was sad yesterday seeing all the photos float past my Facebook feed of people’s favorite times at The Barley Street Tavern. The hole-in-the-wall Benson bar that also acted as a live venue closed its doors yesterday, soon to be taken over by new owners with a different vision.

I didn’t realize how many shows I’d been to at BST show until I did a quick search on Lazy-i and the memories came rolling back. Here are just a few of the bands that I’ve seen at BST: Well Aimed Arrows, Fizzle Like a Flood, Solid Goldberg, Touch People, The Sky Drops, Eli Mardock, Calm Fur, The Gardenheads, Dead Wave, The Whipkey Three, The Lupines, Relax, It’s Science, Our Fox, Con Dios, Brad Hoshaw, Domestica, Wagon Blasters, Bloodcow, Cowboy Indian Bear, Super Ghost, Gramps, Kyle Harvey, Answer Team, No Blood Orphan, Blue Bird, Reagan and the Rayguns and many, many more.

The Barley Street was one of the most relaxed music venues in Omaha, about as unpretentious as it gets, though still weird enough to be part of Benson (and that’s a good thing). It will be missed…

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Not much happening this weekend (what else is new?), though I’m reminded by Kevin Coffey that The Verve Pipe is playing at The Orpheum Theater Saturday night. Kevin’s got an interview with Verve Pipe’s Brian Van Der Ark over at his new Pops and Hisses blog. Check it out here.

They’re marketing this as a “socially distant” show. Little known fact: The Verve Pipe held the first socially distant show 20 years ago in Ft. Calhoun, Nebraska. At least it was from an audience-size perspective. You can read about it right here. The Ft. Calhoun Jaycees are probably still paying off the debt from that one…

Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

NIVA / YouTube hosts #SOSFEST (and why isn’t it being aired on TV?)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:49 pm October 15, 2020

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is really pushing this weekend’s streamed Save Our Stages Festival #SOSFEST. The event, co-hosted with YouTube, is an effort to drive donations to NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund, which benefits “independent venues in peril.”

The three-day festival showcases performances by a lot of the country’s top pop stars that I frankly don’t give a shit about, acts like Miley Cirus, Foo Fighters and Dave Matthews (Phoebe Bridgers is the only indie act I recognize on the list). But I get it, they’re after the biggest audience possible, which means the biggest pop stars available.

Which begs the question: Why isn’t this being broadcast on network television? The Save Our Stages and other aspects of the HEROES Act benefits a lot of venues, from concert stages to Broadway stages to any stage that hosts concerts. Saving venues benefits artists, many of whom are television staples. Keeping these stages open only benefits the television industry that thrives on the talent that crosses those stages.

Instead, it’s being (*ho-hum*) live streamed. By now everyone’s tired of live-streamed performances, whether streamed from people’s bedrooms or from empty auditoriums. They’re just dead boring. I get that it’s the only option, but adding a live broadcast television element to this would, without a doubt, broaden the audience and enhance the experience.

It is, after all, a glorified telethon.

The entertainment industry is really blowing it. NIVA has been pushing for legislation all summer, yet very few artists have mentioned it on television, during broadcast performances or chat-show interviews. By now we should be exhausted of hearing about Save Our Stages; instead the average Joe on the street has no idea what it means.

I just don’t get why every musician isn’t motivated to work 24/7 to get this legislation passed. Every stage that goes dark is one less opportunity to make a living doing your craft.

Anyway, tune in if you want, or just make a donation to the Emergency Relief Fund.

#SOSFest Full Line-up And Schedule

FRIDAY, October 16
5 PM PT / 8 PM ET – Alec Benjamin, Hotel Cafe
5:30 PM PT / 8:30 PM ET – FINNEAS, Teragram Ballroom
6 PM PT / 9 PM ET – Sebastián Yatra, Broward Center 
6:40 PM PT / 9:40 PM ET – Dizzy Fae, First Avenue
7:10 PM PT / 10:10 PM ET – Macklemore, Neumos
7:50 PM PT / 10:50 PM ET – YG, Troubadour
8:15 PM PT / 11:15 PM ET – G-Eazy, The Independent
8:45 PM PT / 11:45 PM ET – Marshmello + Demi Lovato, Troubadour 
8:55 PM PT / 11:55 PM ET – Dillion Francis, Teragram Ballroom 

SATURDAY, October 17
1 PM PT / 4 PM ET – Jason Mraz, Belly Up Tavern
1:40 PM PT / 4:40 PM ET – Adam Melchor, Hotel Cafe
2:10 PM PT / 5:10 PM ET – Kelsea Ballerini, Exit/In
2:40 PM PT / 5:40 PM ET – JP Saxe, Troubadour
3:15 PM PT / 6:15 PM ET – Cautious Clay, World Cafe Live
3:55 PM PT / 6:55 PM ET – Bea Miller, Teragram Ballroom
4;35 PM PT / 7:35 PM ET – Gus Dapperton, (Le) Poisson Rouge
5:15 PM PT / 8:15 PM ET – Phoebe Bridgers, Troubadour
6:00 PM PT / 9 PM ET – Rise Against, Metro
6:25 PM PT / 9:25 PM ET – Brittany Howard, Ryman Auditorium
6:55 PM PT / 9:55 PM ET – Leon Bridges, Troubadour
7:15 PM PT / 10:15 PM ET – Miley Cyrus, Whisky a Go-Go
7:35 PM PT / 10:35 PM ET – Foo Fighters, Troubadour
8:10 PM PT / 11:10 PM ET – The Roots, Apollo
9:20 PM PT / 12:20 AM ET – Portugal. The Man, Crystal Ballroom
10:10 PM PT / 1:10 AM ET – Major Lazer, Gramps 

SUNDAY, October 18
2 PM PT / 5 PM ET – Little Big Town, Exit/in
2:35 PM PT / 5:35 PM ET – Brothers Osborne, Mercy Lounge
3:05 PM PT / 6:05 PM ET – Dave Matthews, Jefferson Theater
3:40 PM PT / 6:40 PM ET – Monica, Center Stage
3:55 PM PT / 6:55 PM ET – Black Pumas, The Parish
4:10 PM PT / 7:10 PM ET – Nathaniel Rateliff, Boulder Theater
4:50 PM PT / 7:50 PM ET – Reba McEntire, Ryman Auditorium
5:30 PM PT / 8:30 PM ET – The Revivalists, Tipitina’s
6:05 PM PT / 9:05 PM ET – The Lumineers, Boulder Theater

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Indies cover Rilo Kiley’s ‘Execution…’ (Mannequin Pussy, Sad13, Diet Cig, Adult Mom)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm October 9, 2020

Not much happening this weekend, if anything. If you know of something cool, put it in the comments section. It’ll probably be the last nice weekend of the year, so get out and enjoy it.

Lots of new music coming out today, too. I’ll be checking out new ones by METZ, Future Islands, Touche Amore, The Budos Band, Yo La Tengo, Peach Kelli Pop and Cut Worms, among others. There seems to be no let-up in new music releases in the COVID Era.

No Bad Words for the Coast Today: The Execution of All Things Covers Comp (2020, AV Club)

Today AV Club announced the release of No Bad Words for the Coast Today: The Execution of All Things Covers Comp. It’s just like what it sounds: a collection of covers of Rilo Kiley’s 2002 Saddle Creek Records’ debut The Execution of All Things by some of the hottest indie stars of today, including Mannequin Pussy, Diet Cig, Adult Mom, Sad13 (Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz) and a bunch I’m not familiar with like Gay Meat, Verdigrls and Sailor Boyfriend.

From now through Nov. 6 (album release date), all album proceeds will be donated to G.L.I.T.S., a NYC-based non-profit, social justice, advocacy and service organization addressing the health and rights crises faced by transgender sex workers. Pre-order the compilation via Bandcamp (exclusive).

I’ve always liked this album but never thought it would receive a covers treatment. Then again, why would any really good album need to a covers treatment? It’s a novelty, I guess. Anyway, check out the first couple songs available today on Bandcamp.

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Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Saddle Creek signs Quarter-Life Crisis (Ryan Hemsworth); RIP Eddie Van Halen…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:45 pm October 7, 2020

Saddle Creek Records remains very active in These Days of COVID. Today the label announced it’s releasing the self-titled debut EP by Quarter-Life Crisis, a new project from Ryan Hemsworth featuring collabs with Creek label-mates Frances Quinlan (Hop Along) and Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) as well as Charlie Martin (Hovvdy), Claud, and Yohuna.

It sounds like sort of an Alan Parsons Project-type deal, with Hemsworth handling production and instruments while the collaborators write the lyrics and sing. From Nova Scotia, Hemsworth won a Juno Award in the electronic album category for 2014’s Guilt Trips (Last Gang Records), and has produced tracks for Mitski and Tory Lanez, among others.

The EP drops Dec. 4 (preorder now), but the single “Postcards from Spain” featuring Quinlan, was released today. Check it below.

With that new Tomberlin EP, Projections, ready to drop Nov. 13, this will count as the 12th release so far this year for Saddle Creek.

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As everyone knows by now, yesterday Eddie Van Halen passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. Dudes of a certain age (I don’t know many female fans) grew up on Van Halen, scribbling their logo on the cover of their notebooks or scratching it into school desktops (along with Zoso and the Pink Floyd prism).

Van Halen music was ubiquitous with partying and having a good time. It always put me in a good mood no matter what mood I was in, and still does. I’ll be cracking open a cold one tonight for you, Eddie, while listening to the Van Halen mix tape I made back in ’84. Now what are we gonna do with all these brown M&Ms? Rest in Powerchords…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live review: And How at Slowdown outdoors; Ware House Studios to close its doors…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:22 pm October 5, 2020
And How performing outside at The Slowdown, Oct. 3, 2020.

The weekend weather took an autumn turn that required bundling up for Saturday’s outdoor show at The Slowdown, the last gig of the three-week outdoor festival co-sponsored by the Maha Festival organizers.

The event had a sort of festival feel, thanks to the enormous outdoor stage planted against the south end of the Slowdown parking lot. As advertised, concert-goers were allowed to pick one of many holding cells to social distance in, some of which were separated by metal fencing. When we arrived at around 6 p.m. a number of the sections were occupied but plenty remained open including the spray-painted two-person section where we flopped down our lawn chairs.

Everyone in the crowd of around 75 or so was wearing a mask at this ultra-safe event. Even with my hood up on my light jacket, a small north breeze blew right through me, making things a bit chilly. Certainly it must have been cold up there on stage, or so And How frontman Ryan Menchaca said at the start of their set.

Despite the massive stage and huge sound system, Saturday’s And How set sounded a bit disjointed compared to their set at Petfest a month or so ago. At that one, held on the crushed rock lot behind Pet Shop in Benson, the band huddled under a small tent (fully masked) with sound powered by a tiny PA. No doubt the close proximity and low-powered system helped make the band sound more cohesive than the spread-out stage and mammoth, booming system used Saturday that was augmented by the proximity of concrete buildings surrounding the stage.

Nonetheless, the band gave another good performance, which closed with a new song that was the best of their set. There’s talk of a new album coming out in the near future and possible touring, but I guess COVID will have something to say about that…

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Last week Tom Ware, one of Omaha’s most respected sound engineers and producers, announced via Facebook that after 30 years of running Ware House Productions recording studios he’ll be closing the doors and retiring. He pointed to ongoing heath issues combined with the impact of COVID-19 as some of the factors that drove his decision.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many talented people from all over the world. While I might miss the fun aspect of the studio, I am eager to relieve myself of the pressure of running my own companies,” he said in the post.

Ware’s production and engineering credits are impressive. A glance at his AllMusic credits includes work with such acts as Lady Gaga (Ware was nominated for a Grammy for his engineer work on 2011’s Born This Way) and a long list of local acts including Digital Sex, For Against, Mousetrap, Mulberry Lane, Tom May, Stephen Sheehan and Mimi Schneider.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Another Bandcamp Friday; #BFF; Reverb grand opening; virtual Lincoln Calling; Slowdown outdoor festival concludes (And How, TFOA) Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:44 pm October 2, 2020
And How at Petfest this past August. The band is playing at The Slowdown’s outdoor festival Saturday.

It’s another Bandcamp Friday wherein the online music store passes along its profits to the artist, meaning your buck goes further to support your favorite bands in These Days of Covid.

So are you looking for something to buy on Bandcamp today? Look no further than Good Music to Avert the Collapse of American Democracy, Volume 2, a 77-track compilation made up entirely of previously unreleased recordings from some of the most important names in music today. The album features never-before-heard new songs, covers, remixes, live versions and unreleased demos, and will be available for 24 hours today only, exclusively via Bandcamp.

Among the indie artists represented are Bright Eyes, Jenny Lewis, Perfume Genius, Arcade Fire, Bob Mould Band, Faye Webster, Charly Bliss, Guided By Voices and tons more. Cost is $20.20 (or more) and 100% of the net proceeds from the album’s sales will go to Voting Rights Lab, a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization that brings state advocacy, policy, and legislative expertise to secure, protect, and defend the voting rights of all Americans.

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The first Friday of the month has snuck up on us and with it comes Benson First Friday (#BFF). There are a few art openings happening in Benson, not the least of which is the one at The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple St. “Ramble,” by Lori Elliott-Bartle, features paintings and handmade prints inspired by the prairie. The opening runs from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight. Slap on a mask and come on by.

Also opening tonight in Benson — or I should say Grand Opening — is the new improved Reverb Lounge. You read about the improvements here, now check them out yourself. Lowercase Tres will DJ from 8 to midnight. It’s free but you have to wear a mask! If you want to see a live band on the new Reverb stage, Norfolk band The Begats plays Reverb tomorrow night (Saturday) at 9 for $5.

Also happening this weekend…

The Slowdown concludes its outdoor concert series hosted in partnership with the Maha Festival folks tomorrow night. Cover band Pet Rock was originally scheduled to play tonight but cancelled due to someone in the band getting COVID. Saturday’s show is the prime jewel in this concert series, featuring Masonjixx, And How, Cameron Logsdon, Angi Sada, Those Far Out Arrows and J. Crum, all for just $18.

The same rules apply as before — you’ll be cordoned off into a cattle-fenced 10 x 10 area where you’ll have to stay unless getting drinks. Masks are a must, except when in your veal-fattening pen. Bring a lawn chair unless you want to sit on the concrete. Smaller 2- and 3-person spaces also will be available. Read all the rules here. The show starts at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

Also going on tonight and tomorrow is the virtual version of Lincoln Calling. The all-streamed event is free but they’re looking for your support. Find out more including the schedule at lincolncalling.com.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Barley Street Tavern to change hands; Maha Festival partners with Knitting Factory for future festivals…

Lupines at The Barley Street Tavern, April 14, 2014. The bar announced it’s changing owners Oct. 15.

Two red hot local music news items…

First, yesterday The Barley Street Tavern posted on Facebook that the venue is changing hands and the last day of its operations under current management is Oct. 15. No idea who’s taking over the bar and/or if it’ll remain a music venue.

The Barley Street always has been a hole-in-the-wall bar more so than a go-to music venue. With a capacity of around 50 in its music space, it was a comfortable place to see up-and-coming acts as well as (former) Benson folkie stand-outs like Kyle Harvey and Brad Hoshaw. You always got your five-dolllars-worth and then some, along with plenty of peanuts and (in my case) ice cold Rolling Rocks.

Is the bar’s sale a symptom of the COVID-19 economy? I don’t know. I’ve heard rumors of the Barley Street either imminently closing or changing hands for years (including a rumor a few years ago that it was in line to become a strip club!). Even so, its sale comes as a bit of a shock. Here’s hoping whoever takes over retains some of the bar’s original soul…

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An article in Pollstar this morning announced the Maha Music Festival has named Knitting Factory Entertainment as its exclusive talent buyer.

James Irvine, KFE’s Omaha-based talent buyer, will co-lead programming with KFE’s Danny Glazier as the festival expands to five days from four in 2021,” says the Pollstar story. “The team is already starting to work on a 2021 lineup, which is expected to be unveiled early in the year.

More from the article:

Working within industries that are typically white male-dominated, Maha makes a concerted effort to book underrepresented performers—often in headlining slots—to account for the majority of our lineup. We’re looking forward to working with KFE, and continuing those diverse, inclusive booking practices,” Maha executive director Lauren Martin said. “We’ve had an opportunity to get to know James and Danny through their work with [local music venue] Slowdown over the years, are excited about the potential the partnership holds — especially as we navigate safely hosting major events post-pandemic.” 

The move leaves One Percent Productions, which has booked the festival since its second year, out in the cold. One Percent’s Marc Leibowitz confirmed Maha did not renew its contract with Omaha’s premier indie concert booker. While you can point to Maha’s well-run organization and army of volunteers for pulling off the annual festival, it’s One Percent that has been at the core of lining up the bands that drew people to Stinson Park in the first place.

Knitting Factory Entertainment took over booking The Slowdown back in 2016, and as a result, the club has veered away from its original vision of booking indie acts to booking more mainstream pop acts, though they still host a few indie shows now and then. No doubt with Knitting Factory taking over Maha, look for that festival to continue to steer away from its original vision of being an indie rock festival in an effort to attract a larger attendance.

As for One Percent, the company’s La Vista venue/amphitheater (being built in partnership with Kansas’ Mammoth Live and City Ventures) will give Leibowitz and his team plenty of opportunities to fill in any gaps left from losing the Maha contract…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Save Our Stages (SOS) Act included in revised HEROES Act; review: Christian Lee Hutson…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm September 29, 2020

Yesterday an updated Heroes Act was introduced in the House of Representatives. This is legislation that, among other things, will extend unemployment benefits to those impacted by COVID-19. This new revision (surprise-surprise) included the Save Our Stages — or SOS Act.

To save you time reading the massive 87-page title-by-title summary document (the actual HEROES Act is 2,150 pages long, wouldn’t you hate to be a politician?), the summary language is:

Section 619: Grants for Independent Live Venue Operators (H.R. 7806, Save our Stages Act or the SOS Act)

  1. Authorizes $10 Billion for the SBA to make grants to eligible live venue operators, producers, promoters, or talent representatives to address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain live venues.
  2. The SBA may make an initial grant of up to $12 million dollars to an eligible operator, promoter, producer, or talent representative; and a supplemental grant that is equal to 50% of the initial grant.
  3. Such grants shall be used for specified expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment.

This all seems well and good, but, of course, it has to pass the House and then the Senate, and there’s no guarantee this language will survive. Or that Trump would sign it.

Look, I know this shit’s boring to some of you but it’s super important. And if you don’t believe me, check out this list of venues that have closed as a result of COVID-19, published by Billboard last week. No Nebraska venue is on the list, though we can point to Lookout Lounge as one of COVID-19’s casualties.

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Random review…

Christian Lee Hutson, Beginners (2020, Anti-) — Kind of Sufjan Stevens, early Pete Yorn, no question Simon and Garfunkel and lots of Elliott Smith. I think of him in conjunction with Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst because he was a member of Better Oblivion Community Center. And while Oberst has a better way with words and Phoebe has a sweeter voice, Hutson is a stronger songwriter melody-wise than both of them. He writes in a quiet, indie-folk tradition, mostly confessional lyrics as if singing from a journal, which makes these songs maybe a bit too personal to reach a wider audience. They’re heart-breakers, played on chiming acoustic guitar, sung in a voice that’s more Paul than Art. The single “Get the Old Band Back Together” sounds like an out-take from XO until the drums come in and amps things up. It’s the star and a standout, along with “Northsiders,” in a collection of stars and standouts.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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