Column 53 — A year in the life; Appleseed Cast tonight

Category: Blog — @ 1:15 pm December 1, 2005

The hardest part about doing this column week after week is, of course, coming up with a new ideas every week. So far it hasn’t been that bad, but as we enter Year 2, things could get kinda tricky. As always, I ask for your input, ideas, insight, ingenuity, gossip, poop, skinny, even lies (I’ll do the part of proving you wrong, or right). Send them to me at timmymac29@aol.com or just tim@lazy-i.com. Other than “write-about-my-band” suggestions, every idea will get considered and get a response. The response might only be “I’ll look into it” or “You’re full of shit,” but you’ll hear from me.

Column 53: What Have We Learned?
Looking back at a year’s worth of Lazy-i.
It’s been a year since this column began appearing in The Reader — Dec. 2, 2004, to be exact. Fifty-two weeks and 52 columns later, what have we learned? Here’s an update on some of the people, places and things covered over the past year:

Column 1 — Stronger than Bombs: Willy Mason Blows Up All Over the Indie Scene — Wherein we meet young Willy Mason, singer/songwriter extraordinaire who had just signed with Conor Oberst’s new Team Love Records (A label’s name hasn’t gotten any better with the passage of time). Incessant touring and the vices that come with it took its toll on ol’ Willy, and he pulled himself off the road early the following year, only to re-emerge, older and wiser, opening for Bright Eyes at the recent Orpheum show.

Column 2 — New Day Rising: Indie Music Returns to Omaha’s Air Waves (12/9/05). The 2-hour all-indie radio show, an experiment by our friends at 89.7 The River, continues to introduce Omaha to new music every Sunday night at 11. Eric Zeigler, half of the original on-air team, is gone, but Dave Leibowitz continues like Omaha’s version of John Peel (RIP). Hey Sophia, this show deserves a better time slot.

Column 4 — There Are Giants in the Earth (12/22/05) — A profile of band The ’89 Cubs. They have since broken up. Ryan Fox is now touring with Mayday, while drummer Matt Baum can be heard in Race for Titles.

Column 6 — Young Eyes, Big Vision (1/6/05) — A profile of Omaha filmmaker/actor Nik Fackler. When he wasn’t hanging out with Lea Thompson and Dave Foley, Fackler was lining up financing for his first feature film, Lovely Still, which could begin shooting sometime early next year with an all-star cast (I’m not kidding).

Column 12 — INXSessive or American Idolatry? (2/10/05) — Myself and most of America forgot to watch the Mark Burnett-produced reality series, Rock Star, which aired this past summer and fall. No one who took part in the Omaha try-outs made it to LA. One local performer invited to the final call-back turned it down, not wanting to be hounded by cameras 24/7 — a wise decision.

Column 16 — Grant-ed a Second Chance (3/10/05) — The story of the re-emergence of Todd Grant, an influential singer-songwriter from the Golden Age of the Omaha music scene circa early-’90s. Grant’s series of on-stage implosions last summer (including a brawl at Mick’s) all but guarantees that he won’t be seen on an Omaha stage anytime soon. Nonetheless, he continues his musical pursuits.

Column 21 — Selling the Ranch (4/14/05) — A look at the activities of former Ranch Bowl owner Mike Brannan, with WalMart looking over his shoulder. Brannan’s rumored 500-capacity venue at the old Club Joy never materialized. Something tells me we haven’t heard the last from him.

Column 26 — Heavy Rotation (5/19/05) — With the subhead “Has the River changed its course?” an interview with 89.7 The River’s program director Sophia John on the station’s shift to more indie-flavored programming. Six months later, that course seems to have changed back to their usual goon rock/aggra-rap/screamo formula — a pity.

Column 27 — Behind the (Omaha) Music (5/25/05) — An interview with VH1’s Eli Lehrer on a proposed documentary about the Omaha music scene. Lehrer visited Omaha a few weeks after the column appeared, looking for dirt about personnel conflicts within the Saddle Creek Records family. Methinks the project got shelved.

Column 32 — The Border Wars (7/6/05) — An interview with Shag owner Terry O’Halloran on the division between east and west Omaha venues (and their clientele). That division runs as deep as ever, with yet another west O venue — The O Zone — catering to cover bands and bands that sound like cover bands. Meanwhile, Saddle Creek Records’ Slowdown complex has broken ground on North 13th St., promising to provide everything indie.

Column 37 — One Hundred and 1 Percent (8/16/05) — One Percent Production’s Marc Leibowitz talked about quitting his day job, but it was partner Jim Johnson who took the plunge, quitting his job a few months after this column. Look for more One Percent news in next week’s column.

Column 40 — The 49’r Takes Five (9/1/05) — Where 49’r owner Mark Samuelson assured us that the mid-town tavern would pump up its live music after a brief hiatus. Funny, there were no shows at the Niner last weekend. We’re all waiting, Mr. Samuelson.

Column 41 — Brother, Can You Spare $3.30? (9/8/05) — Seems like only yesterday that bands (and the rest of us) were whining about $3.30 per gallon gas. Who remembers Katrina?

And so on. Thanks to all the “deep throats” who provided the inside poop that helped make Lazy-I — both in The Reader and online — an interesting read. Now, onto year two…

Tonight, The Appleseed Cast with Latitude, Longitude and Lifeafter Laserdisque at Sokol Underground. Lawrence’s Appleseed Cast was pegged early on as just another emo band, thanks to a handful of Deep Elm Records releases. Then in ’01 they went crazy and released a two-volume collection called the Low Level Owl series that critics hailed as artsy, ambient, experimental… even genius. Two years later they took another U-turn, called Two Conversations, a record as lonely as the echo of traffic heard across a cornfield on a clear, moonlit night. Find out tonight where they’re headed for their next record, due out in April. $8, 9 p.m.

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