Digital Leather at The Sydney, Dec. 3, 2011.

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 weekly alternative newspaper.



TBT: April 27, 2006: The origin of ‘Getting Omaha’d’; Cross Record, Simon Joyner tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm May 5, 2016
Cross Record plays tonight at fabulous O'Leaver's.

Cross Record plays tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In classic Throwback Thursday fashion, here’s a little history lessen from 2006. Needless to say, it was true back then, and it’s still true today…

Column 74: Getting Omaha’d
Lazy-i.com, April 27, 2006

Here’s something that was left out of my feature on Pretty Girls Makes Graves: Our protagonist, drummer Nick DeWitt, pointed out the following when asked if he’d ever been through Omaha before.

“Oh yeah, we’ve been to Omaha,” he said. “It was at our first show that we played there that we coined a term called ‘getting Omaha’d.’ We played with The Blood Brothers, who insisted on playing before us. They have a way of whipping fans into a frenzy. It’s not much fun following them, and we always made sure that didn’t happen. But that night they insisted that we play last because we were ‘the headliners.’ So the place was full. Then The Blood Brothers played. Then everyone left, and we played to an empty room.”

Translation: They got Omaha’d.

Whether the phrase is catching on (and there’s little evidence that it is), the circumstances it represents are becoming more and more common, especially ’round these parts. Playing last on an evening’s bill often means playing after the band that brought in most of the crowd, and who will likely take that crowd with them when they’re done — to The Brothers for last call.

Marc Leibowitz, half of the dynamic promoting duo known as One Percent Productions along with Jim Johnson, said “getting Omaha’d” isn’t just an Omaha thing. It happens everywhere, mostly to unknown bands that are out on their first tours, like Pretty Girls were when they first blew through town all those years ago. Getting Omaha’d is a rite of passage, a necessary evil that bands must suffer if they ever want to make it to the next level.

Leibs said it rarely happens to bands that target a younger, pre-21 audience — probably because those kids don’t have a bar to go to after their friends’ band finishes their set. Or because they haven’t become jaded scenesters who only go to shows to be seen, to drink, to make contact, to move on.

No band wants to “get Omaha’d.” In fact, bands are now getting wary of playing anywhere but the “sweet spot” of a show — the middle of a three-band bill. Opening spot? Not so good, even though most local shows don’t get rolling until well after 9 p.m. Most people are unwilling or unable to tear themselves away from whatever they had going on earlier in the evening, whether it’s dinner and a movie or their precious “stories” on the glass teat. Playing second is optimum — you get the stragglers, along with those who skate in only to see the headliner, unless of course the headliner was smart enough to take the second spot for themselves, which is becoming more common these days. A show’s band order has become so controversial that at one recent show, a local band refused to play unless they were guaranteed not to play last.

They didn’t want to get Omaha’d… like Des Moines’ The Autumn Project did last Saturday night.

The instrumental trio had the last spot on a show that included local bands Noah’s Ark was a Spaceship, and Father, a deafening, dread-fueled art-noise project that features among its players Clark Baechle and Dapose from The Faint. Sure enough, the crowd kept rolling in throughout the Noah’s Ark set, and peaked right before Father turned off all the lights, turned on a big-screen projector and let loose with 20 minutes of bludgeoning noise that made me feel slightly nauseous afterward (as I’m sure was the intent).

When the lights came up after Father’s disturbing set, everyone headed to the door. The crowd of more than 100 dwindled to around 20 — mostly the bands that played sets earlier in the evening. It was a shame, too, because The Autumn Project was pretty damn good. But what are they gonna do? They got Omaha’d.

I’m trying to figure out other ways to use the phrase in everyday life, outside of the music scene. For example, you show up late to a party, just as everyone is leaving, and have to help empty ash trays and pick up dead beer bottles.

You got Omaha’d.

Or, you arrive late to help someone move to a new house, after the rest of the crew has gone home, leaving you to lift the washer and dryer out of the basement by yourself.

You got Omaha’d.

It means more than just showing up late, it means being left holding the bag. That was also the case for Pretty Girls Make Graves. After they played to a room full of crickets, they were told by the show’s promoter (and no, it wasn’t One Percent Productions) that there was no money to pay them.

“The promoter tried to screw us,” DeWitt said. “We had to take the guy to an ATM to get our money. So for us, getting Omaha’d meant everyone leaving and getting ripped off… almost.” – Lazy-i.com, April 27, 2006

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Cross Record headlines a show that also features Those Far Out Arrows and Simon Joyner and the Ghosts (Watch out Cross Record, there’s a ton of potential here for getting Omaha’d…). Read more about Cross Records here. $6. The show starts at 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Diet Cig, The Front Bottoms; Ten Questions with Cross Record; Day Wave tonight…

Diet Cig at The Slowdown, May 3, 2016.

Diet Cig at The Slowdown, May 3, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Slowdown, god bless ’em, runs a show on time. Last night was no exception. I’d raced downtown to catch Diet Cig, who was scheduled to begin their set at 7:30 p.m. — an early start time for any show. A quick dinner and I was tooling down Cuming Street. I arrived at 7:30 to be met by a line that snaked along the sidewalk past the Saddle Creek Store toward Film Streams. As I waited in line I heard Diet Cig playing inside Slowdown. Nobody’s fault but mine.

It took a good 10 to 15 minutes to get inside, but once there, I got to hear at least half of Diet Cig’s set. They’re a new band with a very small selection of songs — they haven’t even released a debut full length as far as I can tell. Only singles and EPs.

Not only are they a new band, they’re a young band, or more precisely, a young duo consisting of frontwoman/guitarist Alex Luciano and drummer Noah Bowman. Their brand of indie is post punk bordering on garage rock, big riffs, big drums and a little voice. The product is cute… no it’s adorable, especially as Luciano in Daisy Dukes does her half-ass chorus-line-style step kicks while bouncing around stage.

What the songs lacked in clarity (I couldn’t understand a word she sang, and blame it partially on the sound mix, which was muddy all night) the duo made up for with brazen energy, managing to get the early-evening crowd to pump their fists. I’m ready to see how they top it when they play the Maha Music Festival this August.

They were followed by Brick + Mortar, a three-piece indie band that wasn’t really a band at all. It was a frontman singing over prerecorded tracks and live drums while a gimp in tight green satin shorts pranced around stage in nipple tassels spraying water into the audience. Meanwhile a gruesome blood-spray video was projected on the big screen behind them.

While their music was not my cup of tea, I salute them for their indie ethic — the band says they’ve done everything on their own, including releasing all their music on their own label (though AllMusic lists their 2013 Bangs EP as having been released by Universal Music). The crowd loved them.

The Front Bottoms at The Slowdown, May 3, 2016.

The Front Bottoms at The Slowdown, May 3, 2016.

Finally at around 9:25 (10 minutes late!) The Front Bottoms took the stage to the screams of their adoring fans who packed the bowl (though this was not a sell out — the balcony was even closed).

I won’t repeat how I described them the last time I saw them because their sound hasn’t changed a lick. Actually, nothing about the band was different than when they played at The Waiting Room three years ago. They even had the same spray-painted backdrop. Why would they change anything? Their fans don’t want them to change. They don’t need elaborate staging, just the band playing the songs they love.

And play they did, with the crowd singing along to every word. I haven’t seen this sort of sing-along since Dashboard Confessional. The quality that Dashboard and Front Bottoms share (other than being unabashedly emo) is a front man who writes songs that any sad sack can relate to, who then sings them with the clearest enunciation. You only have to hear a Front Bottoms song once and you’ll know all the words the next time ’round.

To be fair, about halfway through the set, the band did break out some lighting effects that looked like icicle Christmas lights. And there was a bubble machine and the those floppy “windsock dancers” that are so popular with used car lots.

To me, their set was less enthralling and sloppier than when I saw them last. They rolled out my favorite of their songs, “Au Revoir (Adios)” fairly early in the set and rushed it as if they just wanted to get it out of the way. Still, the crowd was enraptured by the performance, bouncing and singing and waving along to every note.

So far, every time they’ve come to town they’ve played bigger stages, despite having virtually no local airplay. A glance at their wiki entry implies their popularity has been fueled mostly by YouTube videos, which I guess makes them “YouTube phenoms.” You have to assume they’re just going to get bigger, if they don’t burn out first from constant touring along the way. Here’s hoping they sell out Slowdown next time through.

* * *

Cross Record plays at fabulous O'Leaver's Thursday, May 5.

Cross Record plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s Thursday, May 5.

Ten Questions with Cross Record

Cross Record is vocalist Emily Cross and her husband, Dan Duszynski. The couple live a seemingly idyllic life in dusty Dripping Springs, Texas. Reading their bio, you’d believe Cross and Dyszynski fled to the tiny town of 1,788 to escape the hustle-bustle of their former home in Chicago, having “grown fed up with the violence and lack of warmth.” Good story, until you realize the Dripping Springs is located just 24 miles west of Austin, and includes among its residents (according to Wikipedia) Sam Bean of Iron & Wine, Johnny Gimble of the Texas Playboys and Kurt Neumann of BoDeans, and so on.

The contrast is important. Because despite being a half-hour away from one of the largest music cities on the planet, Dripping Springs is also known as the Gateway to the Hill Country. It is, indeed, isolated, especially if you live on an 18-acre rented ranch, which they do. That remoteness permeates Cross Record’s new album, Wabi-Sabi (2016, Ba Da Bing), a wispy collection of big-horizon music often broken mid-song by lightning-crash distortion and/or percussion, as if saying no matter how you try to escape, the din of life will keep on finding you.

We asked Cross Record to take our Ten Questions survey. Emily answered most of them, with help from Dan. Here’s what they had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?



Emily Cross: It changes, depending on my mood. Right now it’s ANTI by Rihanna.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Dan Dyszynski: “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz.. “It’s the whitest, most generic, singer-songwriter-reggae-ripoff-piece-of-shit in the world”

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

Sharing, communicating, connecting, smiling, making friends.

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

Nothing, really.

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

It’d have to be water. I’m made out of mostly water.

6. What city or town do you love to perform?

Glasgow.

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

Honestly, I don’t like to think about or dwell on my “worst gigs.” Even the worst of shows provide me with some sort of valuable experience. I often feel pretty terrible about my performances, so no single one really stands out in my mind.

8. How do you pay your bills?

I’m a nanny, and I’ve had about a million little odd-jobs.

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

Full-time animal activist or animal sanctuary owner. Certified Public Accountant.

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

I haven’t heard any stories about Omaha, Nebraska. I’ll have some, soon.

Cross Record plays with Simon Joyner & the Ghosts and Those Far Out Arrows Thursday, May 5, at O’Leaver’s, 1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $6. For more information, go to liveatoleavers.com

* * *

Bonus! Late yesterday afternoon Diet Cig finally supplied the answers to the Ten Questions survey, which went online at The Reader website a few hours prior to last night’s show. Here it is:

1. What is your favorite album?

Diet Cig: Space Jam Soundtrack

2. What is your least favorite song?

Anything by the Talking Heads

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

Getting to tour and meet other people’s pets.

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

Nothing comes to mind… it pretty much all rawwwks.

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

Pixie Sticks (Ed note: Pixy Stix)

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

Philadelphia!

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

First time in Denver, CO, our car had gotten broken into and we were so bummed out all day, we just wanted the show to be over.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Cash $$$$

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

Dog walker!!! I’d hate to work at a deli ever again… I still get nightmares about processed meats.

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

Conor Oberst walks around with a super soaker full of Nair on Halloween and terrorizes local kids.

* *

Tonight it’s back to Slowdown Jr. for Day Wave, who you met yesterday. Also on the bill are Lot Walks and Bokr Tov. 8 p.m. showtime, $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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Day Wave; The Front Bottoms, Diet Cig tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:39 pm May 3, 2016
Day Wave plays tomorrow night at Slowdown Jr.

Day Wave plays tomorrow night at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

On the new EP Hard to Read (2016, Grand Jury/Fat Possum) Oakland band Day Wave is all Jackson Phillips, who did the Prince thing by performing and recording the album all by his lonesome.

Phillips’ music falls into the same indie dream pop realm as Wild Nothing, Diiv, Black Marble, Violens, Dignan Porch, that slew of bands that have taken the Joy Division/New Order aesthetic and combined it with modern-day gloom.

That said, don’t expect to see only one guy standing behind a keyboard when Day Wave plays Slowdown May 4 (tomorrow night). Phillips will have a touring band in tow to fill out the sound on stage. And it’s a good thing, too, because Day Wave has been added to a slew of festivals this summer, including Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball and Shaky Knees.

We asked Phillips to take our Ten Questions survey. A man of few words, here’s what he had to say.

1. What is your favorite album?

Day Wave: Hmmm that’s a tough one, I’ll say Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets.

 2. What is your least favorite song?

That song that says “I’ve seen better days” over and over.

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

My favorite part is writing and recording songs, I can do it all day long.

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

I don’t enjoy the lack of sleep that comes with touring.

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

I’m a big fan of almond butter.

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

I just got back from Australia, that was pretty much one of the best places.

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

I haven’t played any bad shows with Day Wave!

 8. How do you pay your bills?

By check.

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

I always wanted to be a photo journalist for National Geographic. I never wanted to do anything involving math.

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

I’ve heard it’s haunted.

Day Wave plays with Lot Walks and Bokr Tov Wednesday, May 4, at Slowdown Jr., 729 No. 14th St. Showtime is 8 p.m. Admission is $10 Adv. / $12 DOS. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

* * *

The Front Bottoms at The Waiting Room, Jan. 12, 2014.

The Front Bottoms at The Waiting Room, Jan. 12, 2014.

I wasn’t expecting much of anything the first time I saw the Front Bottoms back in January 2014, mainly because I’d never heard of them. But I have to tell you, I was blown away. From the review of that show: “Their sound was reminiscent of some of my favorite humor-inflected bands of the ‘90s and ’00s — Atom and his Package, Fountains of Wayne, Too Much Joy, Mountain Goats, Dismemberment Plan, The Hold Steady, The Decemberists — bands that write smart, funny, self-referential lyrics that anyone can relate to.”

And now they’re back tonight at The Slowdown. Joining them is Maha 2016 band Diet Cig. Get a preview of what you’re going to see at Stinson Park this August. Also on the bill is Jersey band Brick + Mortar. This is a 7:30 show; tickets are $21.

Also tonight Minnesota band Cult of Lip plays at Milk Run with Hussies and Super Moon. $7, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Closeness, Thick Paint, BAMF, Relax It’s Science; 10 Questions with The Besnard Lakes…

Closeness at O'Leaver's April 30, 2016.

Closeness at O’Leaver’s April 30, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Closeness is a new project by Orenda and Todd Fink. We all know who they are, and if you don’t, how’s life been in that cave the past 20 years? A better question: Why have they waited so long before collaborating on music? Maybe they’ve always been collaborating and we just didn’t know it. Regardless, now we get to hear the product of these two musical masterminds, and it’s been worth the wait.

Their kit is an assembly of synths, keyboards and other sound robots placed on tables surrounded by lights, cables and other gizmos. Their equipment looked like an operating theater where the couple was about to perform surgery, but with Orenda donning an electric guitar over her scrubs.

They performed face-to-face, though from my vantage point, Todd mainly looked down or over or into his microphone. Orenda, her microphone echoing with delay, provided most of the vocals, with Todd adding his distorted, vocoder-like harmonies deep or high or robotic. Musically, Closeness goes way beyond what you’d expect. Sure, there were the familiar hypnotic beats, of which Todd always has been a master, but it was the melodies and the counter melodies and the layers upon layers of textured sound that set it apart.

Most songs were thick, mid-tempo grooves reminiscent of Orenda’s O+S material, but there were moments of lilting Caribbean-style tempos and traditional electro-rock you’d expect from The Faint. Their short set was only five songs long. Among my faves was a mid-set corker that featured the couple harmonizing on a slow melody that recalled Low’s Sparhawk and Parker.

No surprise that the crazy-packed crowd loved it and wanted more, but there wasn’t any. So has any of this music been recorded, and who will have the honor of releasing it? Or maybe they’ll release it themselves and then hit the road. Ah, what a life.

Thick Paint at O'Leaver's, April 30, 2016.

Thick Paint at O’Leaver’s, April 30, 2016.

Garnering just as much enthusiasm from the crush mob was Thick Paint, the one-man show featuring Reptar’s Graham Patrick Ulicny. With just a small synth, his voice and his guitar he enraptured the audience with his beautiful songs that, at times, reminded me of early Cat Stevens played to a beat box. Really gorgeous stuff.

I realize I’m going backward through my Saturday night, which actually ended at O’Leaver’s. It began at The Lookout Lounge and the Big Al Music Festival (BAMF) First, a word about The Lookout. No other club in town has managed to capture the glorious, run-down ambiance of ’90s-era Omaha rock venues quite like this place. It was like walking into the past, right down to the smell.

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016.

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016.

Like the old Knickerbockers or Capitol Bar, the venue is split in two, with a bar in one room and a decent sized music room adjacent with an impressive elevated stage. Imagine the old Sokol Underground shrunk down to half its size and you get the gist. The walls and ceiling tiles were painted black, and air vents over the stage were appropriately covered in fuzzy grime, no doubt a reminder of decades of cigarette smoke, now long gone. Lookout isn’t fancy, but the best rock clubs rarely are.

Big Al, who has been doing his free festival for nine years. kept things on schedule. I walked in at 8:45 and Wagon Blasters were just getting started — right on time. Gary Dean Davis and  crew looked right at home bouncing on the Lookout stage, belting out their usual high-quality tractor punk. Someone in the crowd of around 30 yelled out “Fishin’ Hole”! Hey, you can’t blame anyone for mistaking these folks for that classic ’90s punk band.

Mike Saklar at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Mike Saklar at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Mike Saklar took the stage next playing solo electric renditions of songs from his former band, Ravine. Ravine (who you can read about here) was Saklar’s post-Ritual Device band that played very heavy-bordering-on-metal rock music way back in the ’90s. Deconstructed as solo material, the songs sounded more tuneful than I remember them, though Saklar is no less a master on guitar. What are the odds that he could resurrect a few of these songs with a full band?

Relax, It's Science at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Relax, It’s Science at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Then came Relax, It’s Science, the latest project from drummer Jeremy Stanosheck (ex-Kite Pilot, among others). The trio consisted of Stanosheck and two bass players cranking out huge, anthemic, proggy instrumentals with intricate, powerful rhythms. Each bass took turns providing a semblance of a melody countered by the other’s pounding rhythm lines. It was appropriate that the only spot highlighted on Lookout’s stage was where Stanosheck had his drum kit, because he was center of the attention putting on a clinic with his throaty stick work. It’s time Stanosheck got the respect he deserves.

Hat’s off to Big Al for such a strong line-up. This was the first time I’ve attended one of his festivals, and I was impressed by how it was run. On a table in the back of the room was a large pile of canned and packaged foods destined for the food bank. As Gary Dean Davis said at the end of this set, “Keep feeding the world, Big Al.” Here’s to Year 10.

* * *

Tonight Canada’s Besnard Lakes returns to Omaha, this time at Reverb Lounge. You really should go to this one. Look, it’s a 9 p.m. show but with only one opener (Sub Pop and Burger Records band Jaill, which could be a headliner by themselves).

The Besnard Lakes play tonight at Reverb Lounge.

The Besnard Lakes play tonight at Reverb Lounge.

Ten Questions with The Besnark Lakes.

The Besnard Lakes’ music is so massive, so mammoth, it’s the sound you hear while teetering on the edge of a cliff with the gorge spread out in front of you, the river below a mere silver sliver among the rocks.  The Montreal-based six-piece is centered on the husband-wife core of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, who released their first studio album, Volume 1, in 2003 (but which was rereleased by their label, Jagjagwar, in 2007).

While the band is undoubtedly indie — Lasek’s and Goreas’ harmonies are reminiscent of Low — their gorgeously dense music has touch points in ’70s arena rock recalling bands like Yes and Boston, acts that knew how to make their anthems sound majestic. And most of Besnard Lakes’ new album, A Coliseum Complex Museum (2016, Jagjaguwar) is, indeed, majestic — a swirling miasma of beautiful multi-tracked sounds cut to the core by Robbie MacArthur’s sparkling guitar solos. It’s a sound so large one can only wonder how it’ll fit inside tiny Reverb Lounge Monday night.

We asked The Besnard Lakes to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what Olga had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

The Besnard Lakes’ Olga Goreas: Side two of The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Anything that doesn’t come from a sincere heart.

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

Playing bass. I love that thing so much!

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

I really can’t complain about any aspect of being in a band. It’s pretty much the best job in the world. I don’t know, long rides in the van can get tedious I suppose.  I’ve got restless legs too, but I don’t think I can blame it on being in a band! Just gotta get up and stretch once in a while.

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

I do enjoy a well-made double espresso.  Caffeine is the one drug I could never give up.

6. What city or town do you love performing at?

Chicago has been a special city for us.  The audience is always super appreciative, and the city too is quite lovely.  The old architecture melds with the new really well.  I almost get a Canadian vibe from it too, more than any other American city except maybe Minneapolis. Also love playing Glasgow, London and just the UK in general.  Audiences seem to understand us best in the UK.

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

That honor belongs to Victoria, BC.  It had actually started quite well – we took a ferry from Tsawassen to Victoria and two of our bandmates at the time ran into the drummer from Def Leppard, who happened to be playing the same night in the big arena.  We actually went to see them and then went to play our show.  I don’t know if it was something weird in the air but it was a very strange crowd and we tried to be loud enough to be heard over the rowdies.  Jace was trying to sing a song and just got fed up and told someone in the audience who was basically yelling the whole time to shut the fuck up.  This person replies “get over yourself” to which another person in the audience gets into some altercation and the night basically ended with bar fights and the cops being called. The end!

8. How do you pay your bills?

Online baby!

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

I went to university and studied Psychology.  I’d like to be a researcher or a clinical psychologist.  The mind is a fascinating creature to me.

I wouldn’t be able to work at a collection agency or anything that involves taking money from people who don’t have it.

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

We played once in Omaha many years ago. There was a college football game and nobody came to our show.  It’s totally fine, that sort of thing happens here for hockey so I get it. I also remember going to a laundromat and seeing bullet holes in the window. I started calling Omaha “Omaharsh” after that.

The Besnard Lakes plays with Jaill Monday, May 2, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $12. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Author tonight; Closeness, BAMF (Wagon Blasters, Mike Saklar) Saturday; Iska Dhaaf Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:38 pm April 29, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here’s what we got for the weekend…

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Minneapolis band Author. Radio station The Current described the trio’s latest album, 2015’s Of Brighter Days, as “the sort of album John Lennon might have made in 1994 if he’d survived to collaborate with Jon Brion.” Haughty praise. Listen to the album below and decide for yourself if that’s accurate. Also on the bill are LA band Sea Cycles and Eklectica. $7, 9:30 p.m.

And that’s all I see for tonight.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is another story.

Easily one of the most talked about band debuts in recent memory goes down Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. CLOSENESS (all caps, not sure why) is a collaboration between Orenda Fink of Azure Ray fame and her husband, Todd Fink of The Faint and Digital Leather. They’re describing their music as “haunting and hypnotic electronic songs.” A lot of people are interested in this debut. Opening the bill is Thick Paint, a hot new project by Reptar’s Graham Patrick Ulicny, and spaced_bar. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Then there’s the annual Big Al’s Music Festival, happening all afternoon and evening Saturday at Lookout Lounge. This is the 9th year for BAMF, a free concert featuring a bunch of local bands, this year including the amazing Wagon Blasters (8:45 set), Mike Saklar playing old Ravine songs (9:30) and Relax, It’s Science (10:14), among others. In addition, Big Al Band will be closing out the show (11:45). See the full schedule here. This also is a food drive, so bring your canned stuff, all of which will go toward Food Bank for the Heartland.

Finally, Sunday it’s O’Leaver’s beer garden grand opening. It’s a shame that it’ll probably be cold and raining all day. The night’s festivities include Iska Dhaaf (which you read about here) opening for Annalibera. Also on the bill are Haunted Gauntlet and Mike Schlesinger & Sean Pratt. $5, 9 p.m.

And that is it. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a wet and wild weekend.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Ten Questions with Iska Dhaaf (playing O’Leaver’s (with its new beer garden) Sunday)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:30 pm April 28, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First, thanks to those who noticed that the site was down last night. Seems to have been some sort of data-limit issue. We’re back and better than ever.

There’s actually two reasons to see Iska Dhaaf this Sunday at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The first reason is highlighted below — great band. The second reason is that Sunday is the grand opening of O’Leaver’s massive, out-of-this-world beer garden. Yes, I know the new patio was open to the public last fall, but The Club is celebrating its “official” opening Sunday starting at 11.  You can read the whole story behind O’Leaver’s new beer garden in this rather large story that appeared in The Reader last October.

Onward to Iska Dhaaf…

Iska Dhaaf plays O'Leaver's Sunday, May 1.

Iska Dhaaf plays O’Leaver’s Sunday, May 1.

Ten Questions with Iska Dhaaf

New York City-based duo Iska Dhaaf’s beautiful, tonal, layered, electronic songs pulse with pop-click-bang rhythms that race like a jackrabbit’s heartbeat. On their new album, The Wanting Creature (2016, Brick Lane Records) Nathan Quiroga’s and Benjamin Verdoes’ voices intertwine in an elegant, ghostly ballet that perfectly complements their songs’ haunting stories of modern life with all its complications.

I asked Nate and Benjamin to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what they had to say (seemingly in unison):

1. What is your favorite album?

Iska Dhaaf: Kid A by Radiohead

2. What is your least favorite song?

The “Chicken Song” that they play at roller skating rinks. Also, that song by Edwin McCain, “I’ll Be,” or whatever it’s called, is a close second. I hate these songs with a deep unbridled passion. I resent the question, because now they’re stuck in my head.

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

Writing songs and traveling around the world with my best friend to perform them.

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

Business/promotion is probably the worst aspect.

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

Orange juice, or most variations of fruit.

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

Paris is really amazing.

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

In general, even in the worst venues and towns we find a way to enjoy ourselves and connect with people. There have been plenty of strange and sparsely attended shows, but they’re all valuable.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Strategically and usually with a sense of unease.

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

Writing novels, short stories, or films. I would hate to be a mortician.

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

I haven’t heard that many. Most of them are in songs that came from Saddle Creek bands. Nate saw his first Fire-Fly there, though. That’s a nice story.

Iska Dhaaf plays with Annalibera, Haunted Gauntlet and Mike Schlesinger & Sean Pratt Sunday, May 1, at O’Leaver’s, 1322 Saddle Creek Rd. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information, go to liveatoleavers.com.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The Feel Tight: Just another stop along the continuing, weird sonic evolution of Jason Meyer…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:58 pm April 26, 2016
Jason Meyer (I think) in Talking Mountain.

Jason Meyer in Talking Mountain.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I first met Jason Meyer back in 2010 for this article that was also published in The Reader. It was an interview with his band Talking Mountain that focused in part on my love of their song “The Abominable Abdominal Snowman,” arguably one of the best songs ever produced by any Nebraska band. Arguably. Look, any song about a snowman obsessed with weight lifting is going to be on that list.

My only regret having seen Talking Mountain at least a dozen times over the course of their short existence was never buying one of their muppet-like fur masks worn during performances (though I can only imagine how it would have smelled).

After Talking Mountain came the first iteration of Feel Tight, a self-proclaimed (in this article from August 2014) “black-prog-stoner-doom” rock band. Around the same time, Meyer was in psych-rock band Calm Fur (seen here from December 2014).

Now comes a new iteration of Feel Tight, or The Feel Tight, as Meyer referred to it in a recent email, which stated that “...a new/first album is well underway with a whole new line-up…” Included in the email was a link to the following rather bizarre video.

Who’s going to be playing alongside Meyer in this new interation of The Feel Tight is still a mystery, though we have an idea how it’ll sound: “(The band is) taking on a pretty cool Krautrock, proggy feel. My old roommate Dan turned me on to Neu!, and that influence is very much there, but heavier.”

Sounds like the new album will include some interesting guests that Meyer has crossed paths with on his trips to Oklahoma, which makes sense since to me, Meyer has always been Omaha’s version of Wayne Coyne.

Check out where he’s evolved to now…

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Ten Questions with Melvins (playing tonight with Napalm Death, Melt Banana); more evidence of my existence…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:35 pm April 25, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Pssst… word on the street is that tonight’s Napalm Death / Melvins concert with Melt Banana at The Waiting Room is nearly sold out. Best get your tickets while you can.

Quick note: The Ten Questions articles (like the one below), launched a month or so ago, are also published online in The Reader. I posted this one Saturday, and somehow it got picked up somewhere because the story has more than 400 likes on The Reader website, which is some kind of record for one of their articles.

Please to enjoy…

Buzz Osborne of Melvins. The band plays The Waiting Room tonight. Photo by Mackie Osborne.

Buzz Osborne of Melvins. The band plays The Waiting Room tonight. Photo by Mackie Osborne.

What can I say about Melvins? The band whose sound influenced all things heavy — from grunge to stoner to alternative metal — has been playing their brand of grindingly hard rock for more than 30 years.

The list of bands influenced by Melvins is a Who’s Who of modern metal, from Mastodon to Sun O))) to Queens of the Stone Age, and, of course, Nirvana. In fact, the story goes that Melvins’ guitarist/vocalist/madman Buzz Osborne (a.k.a. King Buzzo) introduced Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic to Dave Grohl. It was Nirvana’s unexpected success that helped get Melvins signed to Atlantic Records, who released their masterpiece Houdini in 1993.

Now 23 years later, Melvins will release Basses Loaded June 3 on Ipecac. The record features six bass players including Steve McDonald of Redd Kross and OFF!, who will be playing alongside Buzzo and Dale Crover when Melvins play The Waiting Room Monday, April 25.

I asked Buzz Osborne to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s his answers. Enjoy.

1. What is your favorite album?

Buzz Osborme: Bitches Brew by Miles Davis

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Happy Birthday”

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

I’m in it for the chicks.

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

Not enough chicks.

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

Asbestos

6. What city or town do you love performing at?

Omaha, of course.

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

Maynardville, Tenn.

8. How do you pay your bills?

I sell drugs.

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

Paid philosopher; testing drugs

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

I hear they have really good steakhouses and excellent topless bars.

Melvins plays with Napalm Death and Melt Banana Monday, April 25, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit onepercentproductions.com

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Well, that Encounter Magazine profile of yours truly finally made it online, right here. Give it a read. Writer James Walmsley did a fantastic job summarizing my life in music journalism/criticism.

Also note, the photo that appears with the story is (probably) the only time my image has appeared on the internet, at least where I’m identified, though I’ve had people tell me they still can’t tell what I look like based on this photo. Kudos to Bill Sitzmann for not revealing too much. BTW, yes, I’m wearing a vintage Mercy Rule T-shirt in the shot.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Thoughts on Maha 2016 (Passion Pit, Grimes); Sam Martin tonight; High Up, Anna McClellan Saturday; Frankie Cosmos, Eskimeaux Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm April 22, 2016
Passion Pit is the 2016 Maha Music Festival headliner.

Passion Pit is the 2016 Maha Music Festival headliner.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before I get started, I’ve had a few people ask me what I think of this year’s Maha Music Festival line-up, which was announced last night. Maybe a half-dozen, not a lot. The bottom line: It doesn’t matter what I or anyone else thinks of the line-up as long as it sells tickets.

This isn’t an art show, it’s a rock concert, and the decisions made by the talented board of Maha, while taking into consideration the quality of the bands and their music, very likely also considered how well the bands would draw. What are the bands’ “metrics”? How well does the band do in Spotify? How many Facebook fans does it have? What is its track record at other festivals? How big is its YouTube presence? Does the band have strong “buzz” — whatever that means? And so on.

Add to all that this very important question: How much is it going to cost?

If someone were to ask me to curate a music festival, two things would happen — either virtually no one would show up, or the bands would cost well north of a million dollars. In the first instance, I’d select bands that, while respected in the indie community, are virtually unknown beyond the 300 or so who are ensconced in the local indie music scene, or I’d pick bands like Beck or Arcade Fire or LCD Soundsystem that demand a bazillion-dollar contract.

Either way, my festival would lose money.

So, no it doesn’t matter what I think of the line-up. Or what some snobby guy or gal who’s really into garage rock or ’80s ambient bands or obscure Euro-dance acts or ancient glam bands thinks, especially if that guy or gal has never bought a ticket to past Maha festivals. What matters is that the thing sells. And this line-up looks like it’ll (probably) sell quite well.

Passion Pit is the headliner. I’ve seen them before at SXSW early in their careers, back when Michael Angelakos and his band were lost in the blur of bands that sound like Vampire Weekend and Phoenix and MGMT. I didn’t keep up with them other than their song “Take a Walk,” which was turned into a Taco Bell commercial. I couldn’t tell you the name of their last album or if a local radio station plays their music.

But I assume they have very strong “metrics” or they wouldn’t be the headliner, and lo and behold, taking a look at their Spotify numbers, their 10 “popular” tracks in Spotify have a total of just under 300 million plays.

Grimes at the 9th & Trinity parking garage, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Grimes at the 9th & Trinity parking garage, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Grimes, who is sort of a co-headliner at Maha this year, has a lot fewer Spotify plays. Her top-10 add up to just under 100 million plays. I’ve also seen Grimes perform at SXSW a few years ago, right around the release of Visions, her 2012 breakthrough album. She played on the top level of a parking garage a few blocks north of 6th St., a performance that consisted of her standing behind a laptop computer with a guy playing guitar. I assume she’s picked things up a bit since then.

Passion Pit, who started out on Frenchkiss, is now a major-label (Columbia) pop act that plays a glossy style of dance music. Grimes’ last album came out on respected large-indie 4AD. I actually wouldn’t consider either of them dance bands, but that’s what they’re being marketed as, and clearly more people will be dancing to them then, say, Deathcab for Cutie.

Matthew Sweet and Jay Farrar appear to be nods toward the older Maha fan. Sweet has a rich back catalog and is from Lincoln. Farrar, a former member of Uncle Tupelo, is known for his work in Son Volt, and will be playing that band’s album, Trace, which came out more than 20 years ago (Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend album was released 25 years ago).

I literally heard the name Vince Staples for the first time in conjunction with Maha. I’ve heard not a single note of his music, but when it comes to modern hip-hop, the only games in town for me are Kendrick and Kanye. Part of the fun of festivals is being introduced to new music. I’d never heard of Matisyahu prior to his appearance at Maha a few years ago (and, honestly, haven’t listened to him since).

Then there’s The Joy Formidable, a London-based alt rock band that records on major labels Atlantic and Warners. What can I say, I’ve only seen or heard them on TV. As an indie music fan, they’re out of my wheelhouse, but I’m looking forward to hearing them live.

Then we come to the festival’s sweet spot, for me, anyway. Car Seat Headrest, Diet Cig and See Through Dresses are young, important indie rock bands, all of whom have played in small clubs in Omaha before. CSH just played at Lookout Lounge. Diet Cig plays Slowdown the first week of May and STD is, of course, local heroes who are breaking nationally. These are the bands I’m most excited to see. Combined, they probably couldn’t sell out The Waiting Room, so hats off to Maha for taking a chance on them.

The other locals, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal and CJ Mills, uphold Maha’s fine tradition of booking quality local acts.

Finally, I saw Diarrhea Planet a few years ago at SXSW. Back then they were sort of a power-pop-punk act. Their novelty-flavored name will raise some eyebrows among the Maha sponsors, but, let’s face it, their name is their most offensive attribute.

The buzz before yesterday’s announcement was that Maha is reaching toward a younger, more dance-loving audience. Maybe, maybe… I don’t view any of the bands on the bill to be dance-focused acts, though they certainly have a more lively beat to their music than some of the previous Maha acts. As for skewing “younger,” how is this line-up skewing any younger than last year’s bands like Alvvays, Speedy Ortiz or Purity Ring?

Will it sell out? We’ll have to wait and see, though if it does, I can’t see the demand for tickets being much higher than last year’s sell out. Maha seems to be settling in on Stinson and a sub-10,000 ticket audience. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

* * *

Onto the weekend.

Tonight Sam Martin headlines a show at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Sam has a new album coming out called Get with the Programmed, and methinks we may be hearing songs from that tonight. Also on the bill are Muscle Cousins (Andy from Capgun Coup) and Javid & the Qualified Suspects (Javid, I assume, is Javid Dabestani, because really, how many Javids can there be in Nebraska?). $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, a fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity is being held at The Slowdown. Featured acts include Satchel Grande, Matt Whipkey and Kethro. $15, 9 p.m. More info here.

Tomorrow night Omaha’s hottest new combo, High Up, headlines at Milk Run. The full band will take up half the space on their own. Just kidding, Milk Run. Also on the bill are Halfloves and Ridgelines. Tickets are $5 Adv./$7 DOS. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, singer/songwriter Anna McClellan plays at The Sydney. Also on the bill are Emily Ward and Rogue Moon. $5, 9 p.m.

And you’ll have another chance to see Clarence Tilton at The Barley Street Saturday night. The band opens for The Bottle Tops and The Hanging Cowboys. Bring your boots and hat, pahdner. $5, 9 p.m.

Then comes Sunday and that sold out Frankie Cosmos show featuring Eskimeaux, Yowler and Anna McClellan. Sold out means sold out. Starts early at 9 p.m.

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 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Goodbye, Prince… Maha Festival line-up announced tonight; Milk Run’s first sell out; 10 Questions with Frankie Cosmos…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm April 21, 2016
Far too young to die...

Far too young to die…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

CNN just now at 12:30 confirmed that Prince has died. It’s the only news that matters today.

* * *

Tonight’s the Maha Music folks will announce the line-up for the 2016 festival, to be held Aug. 20 in Stinson Park.

Here’s the deal: I and my friends in the media already know who’s playing. We received an embargoed press release last week and were told to keep mum until after the big announcement event, which takes place tonight at Reverb Lounge from 6 to 7:30. I think it’s fair to say you’re going to be surprised at what you hear.

They’ve been sending out clues this week via their instagram page (@mahafestival),  but the best clue comes from the mahamusicfestival.com website.

“Maha’s got a great beat. You can totally dance to it. Even if the only part of your body moving is your eyebrows, it really doesn’t matter so long as something’s moving and music’s playing. Dust off those dancing shoes and start working on your Maha moves.” 

The implication is that Maha will be booking dance-focused acts this year. I’ll leave that up to you as to whether that description fits the line-up. More than that, I cannot say, other than to swing by the Reverb event tonight, which is free. And if you can’t, well, just watch social media. I’ll let you know what I think about the line-up tomorrow, right here.

* * *

Why am I not surprised that the April 24 Frankie Cosmos concert at Milk Run has already sold out? Forget that Cosmos’ new album, Next Thing (Bayonet, 2016), received a “Best New Music” rating from Pitchfork, and the fact that Milk Run only holds about 100 people.

Instead, consider the overall line-up for Sunday’s show. In addition to Cosmos there’s Eskimeaux, whose new album, Year of the Rabbit, just earned a 6.8 on Pitchfork; Yowler, whose new album, The Office, just gained an 8.0 Pitchfork rating (and features Maryn Jones, who just played Milk Run with All Dogs), and Omaha’s own Anna McClellan, one of the hottest new singer/songwriters on the local scene. All for $10.

Yeah, I know it’s a Sunday, but it starts at 7 and should be done by 11 if Milk Run has its act together. This show marks the first “official” sell out of Milk Run, though I’m told that their recent Bib / Lemonade show drew a larger-than-sell-out crowd. Consider yourself lucky if you got a ticket.

All that said, let’s promote this sold out show a little more…

Frankie Cosmo plays at Milk Run Sunday, April 24.

Frankie Cosmos plays at Milk Run Sunday, April 24.

Frankie Cosmos is Greta Kline, a NYC singer/songwriter/rocker who writes, sings and performs heartbeat-powered indie rock that recalls the best of K Records. That’s a shorthand way of saying her music is mostly quiet soul-searching personal love songs with a kick deftly supplied by a first-rate band that includes Aaron Maine of the band Porches.

It should be added (for the record) that Greta is the daughter of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, which, one might say, doesn’t matter, but let’s face it, it does. You can’t grow up in that house surrounded by those people without having some talent rub off on you. It also shouldn’t matter that Pitchfork gave her latest album, Next Thing (Bayonet, 2016) an 8.5 rating and a “Best New Music” designation, but it does, because, let’s face it, lots of people read Pitchfork. All of this is part of the reason Sunday night’s show at Milk Run is sold out (that, and the fact that Milk Run is only slightly larger than my closet).

I asked Frankie a.k.a. Greta to take our Ten Questions survey and here’s what she had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Frankie Cosmos: One Foot In The Grave by Beck

2. What is your least favorite song?

I don’t usually listen to music that I don’t like so I don’t really know, but we listened to “Hoes in My Room” by Ludacris in the car today and it was pretty awful.

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

Connecting with my bandmates when we play together.

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

Getting sick or feeling emotionally drained on tour sometimes.

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

Dogs or water.

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

New York (my home)

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

No such thing as a bad gig. Our weirdest ever was in Fargo ND but it was still awesome.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Touring, and selling records and stuff.

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

I’d like to attempt teaching. I would hate to be an astronaut cause it’s like touring times a zillion (in terms of being away from home and out of ur element)

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

Yo I heard that Anna McClellan is from there. That’s a pretty good story.

Frankie Cosmos plays with Eskimeaux, Yowler and Anna McClellan Sunday, April 24, at Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth St. Showtime is 9 p.m. The show is SOLD OUT. For more information, visit facebook.com/milkrunomaha

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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