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.

Live Review: Rusty Lord at RSD2018; on the road again…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:00 pm April 23, 2018

Rusty Lord at Almost Music during Record Store Day, April 21, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

Rusty Lord continues to be one of the bad-ass-iest acts blowing up the Omaha scene these days. Brazen though not angry; aggressive, hard and noisy, they’re a rock band more than a metal act, and though they’re likely to get herded in with the rest of the O’Leaver’s garage scene, they sound nothing like a garage band.

Needless to say, they blew the roof off Almost Music during the shop’s Record Store Day festival last Saturday. And they were just one of many, and the only band I caught. And even then, I listened more than watched their set as I was digging through the bins for hidden treasures. RSD brings out the greedy in all of us.

That said, this was the least cash I spent in recent years on RSD merch. My only purchase was that Cure Torn Down remix double LP, which I feared would be tough to find but was stocked in every shop I visited. I guess I overestimated the band’s appeal.

The RSD folks need to figure out a way to prolong the consumer-fueled intensity of this money-making holiday. I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell them that. My guess is they fear if they put something together monthly instead of just twice a year it would water down the “specialness” of the promotion. Maybe, maybe… But by doing it quarterly or monthly, they could possibly alleviate the pressure put on the vinyl producers and the shops, and maybe even cut down on the flipping/eBay effect.

There’s nothing stopping the shops from putting on their own promotions, I suppose. Almost Music could do a music festival a few times a year. And Homer’s and Drastic could do more in-stores and other events. Or maybe they’re content to have only two huge harvests a year…

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I’m headed out of town again this week on biz, which  means updates will be few between now and Friday.

That said, let me glance at the calendars and point you toward the hot shows going on while I’m out.

Glancing at the 1% schedule, the only show that stands out is The Nadas on Thursday night. The Des Moines band has made Omaha a regular tour stop since forming 25 years ago. Evan Bartels and the Stoney Lonesomes opens at 8 p.m. $20.

Ain’t nothing happening at O’Leaver’s or The Brothers through Thursday. The Slowdown has a country-Americana show Tuesday night with The Native Howl, Daniel and the Deliverance and Omaha’s own Ragged Company opening. $10, 8 p.m.

I’m trying to think about what else…

Oh yeah, tonight is the big Jack White concert at Baxter Arena. I can’t tell you a thing about it because I don’t know shit about Jack White or his bands. I can tell you there’s a slew of $22 tickets at Stubhub if you’re interested. I had someone offer to give me a couple tickets (thanks Paul) but like I said, I can’t make it.

If you go to Jack White, don’t forget that it’s a non-smartphone show, which means you’ll have to lock your phone away if you want in the door. If anyone goes, let me know how that went…

See you Friday.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


RSD Weekend!; Lupines, Wagon Blasters, Sucettes, Stelth Ulvang, McCarthy Trenching tonight; Bill Hoover, Mynabirds, Whipkey, State Disco Saturday; Anna McClellan Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:35 pm April 20, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

There’s a shit-ton going on this weekend so let’s get to it:

First off, it’s Record Store Day weekend, which means that as I type this there could be vinyl nerds standing in line downtown in front of Homer’s. There certainly will be tomorrow morning. Here’s how it breaks down:

Homer’s opens at 10 a.m. and is offering free coffee, breakfast and donuts for line-waiters. Country-blues artist Matt Cox will be performing outside at 9:30 a.m. in support of the release of his vinyl release High Places. Homer’s gets the biggest shipment of RSD merch because they’re the biggest record store in Omaha. If you’re looking for that rare hard-to-find limited RSD release, get in line.

Almost Music, which also will be selling RSD merch, is hosting performances all afternoon and into the evening. Blackstone Meatball will be slinging meatballs in the shop. The schedule for the Almost RSD-fest:

12:15 — Bill Hoover
1 p.m. — Pagan Athletes
1:45 —Megan Siebe
2:30 — Kyle Jessen
3:15 — Those Far Out Arrows
4 — Tom Bartolomei
5 — Putter & Co.
5:45 — Rusty Lord
6:30 — Death Cow
7:15 — Houma
8 — Conny Blanco w/ Dojorok

Both Drastic Plastic locations in the Old Market are taking part in RSD. They’re handing out coffee and pastries and a full selection of RSD bootie. Stores open at 10 p.m.

Don’t forget Ear Wax Records and Collectibles, 5054 So. 135th St., which opens at noon; and Recycled Sounds, 322 No. 76th St. , which also opens at noon. Both are taking part in RSD merch-stock promotions.

And when you’re all done, chill out at the Hi-Fi House open house, where you can brag up your lucky finds with fellow vinyl fanatics.

When it comes to my luck getting the good stuff, I’m still trying to find a Red House Painters box set from RSD a few years back, something I’d actually play on my record player. I know there’s got to be one out there (for less than $400)…

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Onto the rest of the weekend.

As the weather improves, so do nights at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Tonight the club has Lupines in the headline position with Wagon Blasters opening and a new act called Sidewalkers sandwiched in the middle. 10 p.m., $5.

Meanwhile, over at The Sydney in Benson, Sucettes play with headliner Lincoln’s Laughing Falcon. Green Alter opens at 10 p.m. $5.

Also in Benson over at The Barley Street Tavern McCarthy Trenching is on a bill that includes Smith’s Cloud and The Wildwoods. $5, 9 p.m.

And let’s not forget Stelth Ulvang of Lumineers (whose Ten Questions you read yesterday) opening for Wild Child at The Slowdown’s big room Friday. $17, 9 p.m.

Saturday kicks off with Earth Day in Elmwood Park. The big-name performer is Saddle Creek Records act The Mynabirds playing at 4 p.m. The aforementioned Matt Cox has the stage at 2:20. Of course it’s all free. Full schedule is right here.

It’s back to O’Leaver’s Saturday night where Matt Whipkey has the center slot with stoner-rock heavies Ocean Black opening and headliner Bokr Tov, who have new self-titled EP. $7, 10 p.m.

Also Saturday night, State Disco, which calls their sound “indietronic dance rock,” celebrates the release of their new album Going to Sleep Is Giving Up at The Waiting Room. The album was produced by Graham Ulicny (Thick Paint, Reptar) and recorded at The Faint’s Enamel Studios. Opening is Saddle Creek Records band Twinsmith and Chicago’s The Kickback (Julian Records). $10 Adv/$13 DOS. 9 p.m.

Finally on Sunday night hometown hero Anna McClellan returns, this time to OutrSpaces, 1258 So. 13th St.. Joining her is Staffers, LA’s Syko Friend and Jim Schroeder Band. Starts at 8 p.m. Suggested donation: $10-$20.

Gaddamn, what am I missing? Put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Ten Questions with Stelth Ulvang (Lumineers)(@ The Slowdown 4/20); review: Clarence Tilton / Monday Mourners split LP……

Category: Interviews — Tags: , — @ 12:00 pm April 19, 2018

Stelth Ulvang plays with Wild Child at The Slowdown April 20.

by Tim McMahan,

Though singer/songwriter Stelth Ulvang makes his nut as a traveling member of The Lumineers he’s got his own thing going. His sophomore album, American Boredom, was written between tours with his Lumineer pals and has that same winsome folk-rock style of acts like John Wesley Harding and Michael Penn. “I somehow never stop touring,” said the Ft. Collins native. “I enjoy the DIY and indie contrast (of his current tour) to the Live Nation/ Universal shows the rest of the time.

I caught up with Stelth and he did the ol’ Ten Questions survey. Check it out.

What is your favorite album?

Stelth Ulvang: Forced to pick one, probably Built to Spill, There’s Nothing Wrong With Love.

What is your least favorite song?

I really hate “Summer Lovin” UGH it grinds my bones.

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Paid travel

What do you hate about being in a band?

Being in 3 to 5 to 9 relationships.

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Easy, I believe strongly everyone should try psych mushrooms at least once.

In what city or town do you love to perform?

Cape Town, South Africa, has pulled me back 5 or 6 times. Love it.

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

Has ANYONE actually had a good gig in Milwaukee? For a city that prides themselves on their beer consumption, racial segregation, has more riverbank or lakeshore that smells like fish than Chicago, and the cities nickname is “Cream City” Easy answer.

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?

Music (with the Lumineers) has become my day job of sorts, but also I suppose last time I brewed coffee for money was 10 years ago! (Salud!).

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

I think I’d be a pretty good salesman at ACE hardware; I would never be a dental assistant. One time a dental assistant asked me what I did for a living, I said, “I’m a musician.” She replied, “I don’t really listen to music.” Jaw dropped.

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

Haha. I have weird hitch hiking stories from Omaha, too long for here. But I’m a big fan of Saddle Creek Records. Shaped my musical scope as I became a musician undoubtedly. But also the Lucky Scalpee is a good one, the one about the crane that stole a child, and the weird one about Pete Postlethwaite having a nervous breakdown in The Drover and a waitress calmed him down and they fell in love and got married…. that one.

Stelth Ulvang plays with Wild Child at The Slowdown Friday, April 20. Tickets are $15 Adv/$17 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to

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Q1 2018 record reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

Clarence Tilton / Monday Mourners, split LP (2018, self-release)

Clarence Tilton / Monday Mourners, split LP (self release) — This is like getting two albums in one because there’s so much material from both of these local bands — six tracks per band. Side one is Clarence Tilton, who provides another set of the best alt-country you’re going to hear this side of Uncle Tupelo. Des Moines’ Monday Mourners is a new discovery, with a sound that ranges from more traditional C&W (“Steal My Time,” “Trouble at Home”) to heavier, snarling country rock (“Blood on the Wheel”) with twanging guitars that float atop a cushion of organ tones. Giddy-up!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Hot or Not? Maha Music Festival 2018 headliners Weezer, TV On the Radio, Father John Misty…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm April 18, 2018

Weezer is one of the headliners at the 2018 Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan,

So here’s the deal: The folks who put on the Maha Music Festival raised the bar insurmountably high with last year’s line-up, which exceeded my expectations. It was so good, I was left scratching my head as to how they could possibly beat it for their big 10th anniversary fest.

I mean, they’d have to pull out all the stops with massive names like Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Beck, Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Kendrick Lamar, The Breeders, Superchunk — the biggest and best of indie that are still making important new music today.

If they could snag just a couple of the above names they could at least match 2017’s stellar line-up.

Well, yesterday the folks at Maha announced the 2018 line-up. But before they did, they made a “big announcement” a few weeks earlier concerning their 10th Anniversary — that the fest is expanding to two days. Ambitious, no doubt. Their other big news — their merger with Big Omaha — was a big dud, and sounded more like an albatross had been hung around their necks.

In the face of all that, this year’s line-up sounds sort of like an afterthought. The hot band on the ticket is TV on the Radio, a beloved legacy act that hasn’t released in album in four years. A lot of people are pumped and I’m hearing the band will be the Friday night headliner. Personally, TVOTR has never been my cup of tea, but I get the excitement from the fans — a lot of folks point to 2008’s Dear Science as one of their all-time favorite records.

The Saturday night headliner is Weezer, a band that headlined a night of the 80/35 Festival a couple years ago. Weezer has a huge fan base, thanks to their debut album, which came out 24 years ago, a solid follow-up with Pinkerton in ’96, followed by their green album in ’01. After that, most people lost track of the band, but it doesn’t matter as long as they keep playing “Undone – The Sweater Song” on tour. Fun fact: Weezer released an album last year called Pacific Daydream.

The third headliner is Father John Misty, a big name in indie with a big fanbase. His droll, low-key songs and stand-up comic stage patter are just right for a theater crowd, but maybe not so much for a festival. I’ve watched his Pitchfork Live set where he basically stood there and sang for two hours. Who knows, maybe he’ll bring along some special effects.

Moving on to the second tier bands, three names stand out for me. Tune-Yards (originally spelled tUnE-yArDs) are a fun, quirky band (but again, pretty dull live, or at least they were dull when I saw them at SXSW a few years ago). Hop Along has Saddle Creek Records pedigree and their new album is getting a lot buzz (because it’s good). And U.S. Girls, who was lauded as a standout at this year’s SXSW.

I’m only vaguely familiar with The Kills and not familiar at all with ZZ Ward, Benjamin Booker, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Ravyn Lenae.

On a positive note, Maha wisely expanded its selection of local bands to five this year, including a couple of my faves: David Nance and Clarence Tilton. State Disco, Mesonjixx and The Dilla Kids (none of which I’ve seen play live) round out the line-up.

So, disappointed? Not really. I’ve been bracing for disappointment since I left last year’s earth-shattering show knowing the odds of getting one of those massive names I listed at the beginning of this was slim and none.

From a business perspective, the festival should sell well (Don’t underestimate the power of Weezer). The pricing is kind of interesting.

2-day Early Bird general admission passes are $90 — a bargain. The Saturday-only GA advance tickets at $70 cost twice as much as the Friday-only GA advance tickets ($35), which would seem to indicate either a shorter day or less-inviting line-up on Friday? I guess we’ll see when the schedules are released. Maybe they’re just trying to cash in on those Weezer fans.

It also brings up the question as to what day/night Father John Misty will play. He seems perfect to open for TVOTR, but as a co-headliner, they might move Misty to Saturday to help justify the ticket price. If so, they could lose some Misty fans who won’t pay the Weezer tariff.

VIP tickets — which are really the way to go if you’re into these bands — are only being sold in 2-Day increments for $290, which is a shame because some folks may only be able to go to one day of the fest. Oddly, you’re paying twice as much for two days of fun but they didn’t double the “Maha bucks” allocation. Rip!

Even if only a couple bands trip your trigger, at this price point Maha remains a bargain because, let’s face it, half the fun is just going to the festival, hanging out on the lawn, drinking beer and enjoying the music. No one locally puts on a better event (thanks in part to their army of volunteers).

See you there…?

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Parquet Courts headlines Lincoln Calling; Maha line-up tonight; Cigarettes After Sex, Headroom, David Nance tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm April 17, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

I’m sure you’ve already seen the initial line-up for Lincoln Calling 2018. I’m not going to list all the bands. You can see the full line-up at, but the highlights (for me, anyway):

Parquet Courts — Break-out indie band from Brooklyn on Rough Trade. They’ve been through here a few times, including a gig at Sweatshop Gallery.

Waxahatchee — Very cool indie singer-songwriter. Gorgeous stuff.

Japanese Breakfast — On rotation at Sirius XMU, another indie singer-songwriter.

Ron Gallo — Blew it up at Slowdown Jr. last year.

The Nude Party — North Carolina indie band will be touring with Sunflower Bean in June.

Ought — On Merge Records, Pitchfork darlings.

That’s some quality shit. Alone, none could sell out The Slowdown, taken together and we’re talking the stuff of an epic SXSW day party.

Add a ton more nationals and a strong collection of locals and you’ve got a nice little festival on your hands. Remember, this is only the “initial announcement” — there’s more to come.

The event takes place Sept. 17-22. The venues are the usual LC suspects: Duffy’s (inside and out), The Zoo, Bodega’s and 1867, plus 14th St. for a night market. Missing is The Bourbon Theater, which I’m told currently is on hold. Bourbon hosted major acts at LC in years’ past.

Tickets start at $35 and go up to $75 for VIP. One price gets you into the shows all week. Cheap! The performance schedules aren’t online yet. If you’re like me, you’re not driving to Lincoln more than once, so that schedule will be crucial…

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Speaking of schedules, the Maha Music Festival line-up is scheduled to be announced tonight. The embargoed press release says hold until 7 p.m., but I’m guessing Maha will leak the names prior to that time.

Yes, I’ve seen the line-up. My only hint: I haven’t seen any of the three primary headliners perform live before. Considering the thousands of bands I’ve seen live, take that for what it’s worth. The main headliner will likely cast a wide net. Stay tuned…

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Two good shows are happening tonight:

At The Waiting Room tonight it’s an evening with Cigarettes After Sex. The El Paso dream-pop act has been getting some serious Sirius airplay with their self-titled debut, out last year on Partisan. No opener listed. $20, 8 p.m.

Also tonight New Haven psych-rock band Headroom headlines at The Brothers Lounge. Joining them are David Nance Band, Alcools and Systematic Development Band (a four-band bill on a Tuesday night?). $5, 10 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Traveling Mercies Kickstarts new album; Hookworms review…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:00 pm April 16, 2018

Travelling Mercies launched a Kickstarter for their new one, Cheap Labor.

by Tim McMahan,

The bad weather kept me out of the venues this weekend. Such is life. Will spring ever really arrive?

One bit of news as we wait for the Maha Music Festival announcement, which arrives tomorrow…

Travelling Mercies launched a Kickstarter campaign last month for their third full-length, Cheap Labor, which drops sometime next month. “This is NOT a request for a handout. This is a pre-order of our amazing new album, Cheap Labor. You’re investing in our artistic vision, and you’re getting something for it. The more you give, the more you get. Invest at any level and you will own the album.”

Hit up the Kicstarter here.

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Q1 2018 CD reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

Hookworms, Microshift (Domino, 2018)

Hookworms, Microshift (Domino) — British neo-psych band has a bit in common with Tame Impala but lacks that band’s quirky melodies and willingness to go over the edge and look back at you. The result is a straight-forward electronic album big on chiming rhythms but small on memorable melodies.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.



Chastity Belt, Lala Lala, Those Far Out Arrows, Sam Locke Ward tonight; The Pack A.D., Mitch Gettman, Laserbulb Saturday; Caitlin Rose Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:23 pm April 13, 2018

Mitch Gettman at The Waiting Room, May 2, 2014. He plays Saturday night at The Barley Street Tavern.

by TIm McMahan,

The wacky mix of show this weekend is a good way to say goodbye to the last gasps of winter. Put on your insulated hoodie and get out and see some shows.

Tonight at Reverb Lounge Chastity Belt headlines. The Seattle four-piece has had a couple records released on Hardly Art, including their last one, 2017’s I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. Their music has those classic chiming indie guitars and dreamy, echoing vocals. Gorgeous stuff. Opener, Chicago’s Lala Lala, brings a ‘90s indie/grunge sound. $12, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, Those Far Out Arrows return to The Brothers Lounge tonight with Sam Locke Ward and Sean Pratt and the Sweats. The Arrows have some new material that you need to hear. Watch for an upcoming album release announcement from these lads. $5, 9 p.m.

And since you’ll be in the neighborhood, the M34N ST33T album release “listening party” for Don Quixote’s Lance is tonight at The Hi-Fi House. You first read about the project here. The listening begins at 9:30 and is free.

Tomorrow night it’s back to The Brothers for Canadian garage rock duo The Pack A.D. Their music has been released on a variety of labels including Mint, Nettwerk and Cadence. Their latest, Dollhouse, came out last fall. Check it below. New Yorker Brook Pridemore and Natural States open at 9 p.m.  $5.

Back in Benson at The Barley Street Saturday night Mitch Gettman headlines a bill that includes Seth Doud, Rachel Ziegler and Not Funny. $5, 9 p.m.

Saturday night also sees the local debut of Laserbulb at The Sydney, the new project by Clark Baechle of The Faint. It’s electronic and it’s fun. Joining Clark is Kethro and Teetah. $5, 10 p.m.

Finally Sunday night alt country crooner Caitlin Rose (ATO Records) plays at Reverb Lounge. The Kernal opens at 8 p.m $10 adv/$12 DOS.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


#TBT: Lazy-i April 15, 2008: No Poles, No Pasties; MGMT’s Little Dark Age…

Category: Blog — @ 12:51 pm April 12, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

I haven’t been back to an Omaha City Council Meeting since the one described in this April 2008 column about the establishment of an ordinance to allow minors to attend rock shows in Omaha bars. Something tells me if I went to next Tuesday night’s City Council meeting nothing would have changed except the players (of course). As far as I know, the ordinance is still in place, though I couldn’t tell you if anyone other than The Waiting Room, Reverb and The Slowdown takes advantage of it.

Anyway, step back in time with this Throwback Thursday edition of Lazy-i. Hard to believe this happened a decade ago…

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Column 169: No Poles, No Pasties
 – Lazy-i, April 16, 2008
All ages shows become more legal.

It’s been about 20 years since I’ve been to an Omaha City Council meeting, and in that time nothing has changed about the council chambers — the paneled décor, the dirty upholstered chairs, the institutional florescent lighting. The place even smells the same, a mixture of dust, mildewed paper, Brylcreem, toilet bowl deodorant and bureaucracy.

Only the players have changed, but really, is Frank Brown that much different then say, Fred Conley? Is Garry Gernandt a big leap from Bernie Simon? No, not really. It certainly didn’t seem that way at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which felt like stepping into a time machine, complete with all the usual inane discussions, dumb questions and stripper references that I remember from my days at J school.

At stake was the future of all-ages shows in Omaha bars. The council was voting on the so-called “music venue” ordinance introduced by Councilman Jim Suttle that would let bars allow minors onto their premises during live music events as long they were properly ID’d and identified as minors. The first reading of the ordinance was two weeks ago, and afterward no one thought it would pass. Certainly I didn’t.

But over those two weeks, the folks at Slowdown and The Waiting Room tried to find a way to make the ordinance more palatable to a council that’s stuck somewhere in the year 1972.
Among the compromises was an amendment that would call for those under the age of 18 to have a notarized parental consent form on file at the bar. I figured that could be a deal breaker — who wants to bother with looking up forms and checking signatures when there’s a line of people waiting to get into your venue?

But the Slowdown guys seemed fine with the amendment, especially considering that the alternative would mean only being able to allow access to those over 18, or worse, only those over 21. All-ages shows are a major staple to Slowdown’s business plan and philosophy. In the face of losing that option, digging through a database for a consent form was no big deal.

Neither, apparently, was the inability to sell pitchers of beer — not allowed under the ordinance. Neither could a patron buy more than two drinks at a time. Other new amendments included a more thorough definition of a live music venue — it must have a permanent raised stage, fixed lighting and a house PA. That definition leaves O’Leaver’s out of consideration, since it doesn’t have a real stage.

But the amendments didn’t stop there, and that’s where the inane discussions began. Councilman Gernandt suggested that the $250 “music venue permit fee” just wasn’t enough. How about $375? More “investment” would make the license owners more watchful, right?

And what about this part here that says there will be only one security person for up to 100 attendees, and another for each 100 additional attendees? Come on, how is one person supposed to watch 100 people? How about one security guy for every 50 attendees? Slowdown’s Jason Kulbel argued that such an amendment could result in overstaffing. Do the math. It would mean 10 designated security personnel for a 500-capacity show. That’s a lot of burly guys in “security” T-shirts. Between those two amendments, only the increase in the permit fees was adopted.

Then it was Councilman Brown’s turn, and that’s when things started to get out of hand.

Among Brown’s concerns: What’s to stop someone from dropping off their kids at Slowdown at 8 p.m. and using the bar as a trendy babysitting service? Nothing, of course, though as Kulbel said, it might be a lot cheaper and easier to drop your kids off at Denny’s.

What about karaoke? According to the ordinance, a live music venue would be defined as a place where a “live instrumental and/or vocal musical performance is occurring.” Well, isn’t karaoke a live music performance? What’s to stop a crappy karaoke bar from letting minors in?

And for God’s sakes, what about exotic dancing? What’s to stop a strip club that also has live music from allowing kids in the door? Hey, what about pole dancing? A shiver ran through the crowd. An amendment must be made that disqualified establishments that allow exotic dancing and pole dancing. It didn’t matter that the city prosecutor said such an amendment would be meaningless, as he wasn’t aware of any definitions for exotic or pole dancing in the city laws. “Without a specific definition, it’s impossible to enforce,” he said.

Still, the strip club amendment passed, bundled with the karaoke amendment.

But wait, what if someone stood on stage without an instrument and sang wearing nothing but pasties and didn’t dance? Would that be allowed? I’m not kidding, that scenario was actually considered and discussed. Kudos to the crowd of more than 100 kids, musicians and other interested parties for not laughing their asses off during this discussion.

In the end, the City Council adopted the ordinance to amend section 15-41 of the Omaha Municipal Code by a vote of 5 to 2. Chuck Sigerson, who remained silent throughout the ordeal, and Frank Brown voted against the ordinance. Brown said he felt that that all of the discussion was proof that the ordinance needed more fine tuning. He was wrong, or at least his cohorts thought so.

Afterward, everyone seemed pleased that all-ages shows would again be permitted in Omaha, just like, well, they always were. Except from now on, you’ll have to leave the pasties at home.– Lazy-i, April 16, 2008

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Q1 2018 CD reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

MGMT, Little Dark Age (Columbia) — I always thought MGMT was signed to an indie label. They’ve always been on Columbia, all the way back to their 2007 debut, Oracular Spectacular, but somehow they get grouped in with the indie kids, which was where they belonged when they released their last few disturbing “experimental” albums. They’re back to their original radio-rock sound, which has that clubby pop bounce that got them signed to a major in the first place.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Why not have a local open the park show?; Caroline Rose review; Pleasures tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:43 pm April 11, 2018

Pleasures at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 6, 2016. The band plays tonight at The Sydney in Benson.

by Tim McMahan,

Yesterday someone (the city? Metro Credit Union?) announced that rock ‘n’ roll fossils Starship and Survivor will be playing this year’s Memorial Park concert June 29.

And while we all know that no one goes to the park for the music (They go for the fireworks), wouldn’t it be nice if Metro Credit Union set aside 30 minutes on the June 29 program and a grand or two of what has to be a multi-thousand-dollar budget and book an actual local act to open this show? Who knows, maybe they are and they just haven’t announced it yet.

Just a thought…

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Q1 2018 CD reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

Caroline Rose, Loner (New West, 2018)

Caroline Rose, Loner (New West) — This sassy New Yorker calls her style “schizodrift,” which I guess means it tries to capture her ever-shifting moods that range from anger to sarcasm to irony to humor. Actually, three of those are attitudes more than moods. Imagine Alvvays or La Roux but with a darkly wicked sense of humor and a bracingly accurate view of this modern world. It could become my summer album for 2018.

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Tonight at The Sydney in Benson psych-rock noise band Pleasures headlines. Hussies open at 10. $5.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


The Thermals quit; Cursive rumblings; Flower Moon comp; Anna McClellan review; Erika Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:42 pm April 10, 2018

The Thermals at Slowdown Jr., May 6, 2016. The band announced its break-up yesterday.

by Tim McMahan,

The Thermals yesterday announced that they’re breaking up. I first read about it here at Brooklyn Vegan though it was announced via their Facebook page. The reason given: “we feel our band has reached far beyond our initial expectations and goals, and are stepping away from it while we still cherish it.”

It got me wondering why bands make these sorts of announcements; especially if they’re not contractually obligated to do anything like record another album or tour. The Thermals are on Saddle Creek Records, which historically has worked with bands on an album-by-album basis — i.e., I’m not aware of any three-record deals with Saddle Creek (then again, I’m not privy to their contracts).

I guess with some bands there would be concern over owning the name. What if Hutch Harris decided to record a solo album and call it a Thermals album? Is that really possible, would he do such a thing? I can’t imagine it. It would be like Tim Kasher releasing a solo record and calling it a Cursive album. No way. I can see that being an issue with arena acts maybe, but not indie bands at this level.

So why announce that you’re breaking up? Just go off and do your thing, be it a solo album or some other project, and if/when the mood strikes and the timing’s right, get together with your comrades and do shows or write another record.

Bright Eyes, which is really a loose-knit collection surrounding Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott, never really announced a break-up. The Faint went for years between records. Cursive has been known to “go on hiatus” while members do other things like The Good Life or Mayday.

I’m rambling now. The Thermals are gone, but I wouldn’t count them out. Or heck, maybe they’ll never play together again…

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Speaking of Cursive, the band has been named among those performing at Fest 17 in Gainesville, Florida Oct. 26-28. I’ve heard Cursive has been busy recording a new album slated for release on their new label, 15 Passenger Records. With this fest date now in the books, can a full tour announcement be far off?

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High Up, Orenda Fink, Jake Bellows and Maria Taylor are among the artists on the upcoming 2-LP comp album Friends and Family Volume 1 , out May 11 on Taylor’s Flower Moon Records.

These are all musicians I greatly respect and have been fans of for years – but what makes the compilation unique is that they are also part of a collaborative community of friends and family members who have been working together and supporting one another for years. I wanted this compilation, and Flower Moon Records, to be a vehicle to continue to support, promote, and celebrate their work.” The quote is unattributed, but I assume it’s Maria Taylor saying that.

There’s a lot of other familiar names on the 16-track list, including Whispertown, Nik Freitas, Umm and Taylor Hollingsworth. Full track listing and preorder info here.

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Q1 2018 CD reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

Anna McClellan, Yes and No (2018, Father/Daughter)

Anna McClellan, Yes and No (Father/Daughter) — More than any other female indie singer-songwriter doing piano-driven confessionals, my heart hurts when I hear her slightly off-kilter voice warble through a set of yearning love notes. McClellan unashamedly holds nothing back when she belts out her stories unpolished and beautiful. She’s a broken-hearted nerd who deserves to win, just like the rest of us.

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Tonight The Waiting Room hosts Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards fame. her new album rocks. Jessica Errett opens at 8 p.m. $17.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.