I had a lot of fun Friday night at the Mid American Music Festival. The evening started out early — 7 p.m. — with a performance by David Hurwitz (The Boy Bathing) at PS Collective. As I had predicted, there was only about 15 people there to see this guy who flew in from Manhattan to do this show. It seems odd that the organizers would place traveling bands and performers in such poor time slots, but I’ll discuss that more in this week’s column. Hurwitz did a fine job retooling his band’s music for a solo show.
The next two hours were a whirlwind as Teresa, Hurwitz and I checked out sets by Scott Severin and the Milton Burlesque at PS, Monica Eby at Mick’s, Blastronauts at The Musette, Shiver Shiver at The Foundry, and Naked Plywood at The Barley Street before hitting what would end up being the two highlights of the evening.
Burke’s Pub isn’t exactly renowned in the Benson scene as a music venue. It’s more of a pseudo Irish/regulars bar with a little nook next to the front door where someone could stand with a guitar, mic and amp. And that’s exactly what Kyle Harvey did Friday night, standing with eyes shut in a nook that became smaller and smaller as the room became more and more packed. Unbelievably packed, and for good reason. No one sings a broken-hearted love song quite like Harvey, who had the drunken crowd eating out of his hand with every one of his solo acoustic ballads about booze, love, sex and booze, all painted in dark hues of despair. Harvey is an Omaha original who has no idea just how influential his music has been and will continue to be. The show felt important, and I felt lucky to be there. By the time we left, it felt like Burke’s was going for some sort of telephone-booth-stuffing world record, and it took all we had to squeeze out the door.
The night was capped off by Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, with frontman Landon Hedges doing his damdest to look like Dan Haggerty of Grizzly Adams fame (albeit a 125-pound Dan Haggerty with a 3-pound beard). LB rolled out a number of new songs that take their music in a more hook-fueled (and fun) direction. Hurwitz was blown away by both Harvey and LB, as were Teresa and I.
We skipped Day 4 of MAMF. I interviewed Hurwitz Saturday afternoon to get his perspective on the festival from the viewpoint of someone who traveled here to perform in it. His comments, along with my thoughts on the MAMF, will appear in Wednesday’s column.
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Two shows of worth checking out tonight:
First, down at Slowdown Jr., it’s The Shytburds — a new project by Ted Stevens (Cursive, Mayday) and Alex McManus (The Bruces) — along with Bill Hoover and the Barking Boys and Outlaw Con Bandana. $5, 9 p.m. This show will be packed.
Also tonight at O’Leaver’s it’s an evening of punk by Yuppies, Dim Light and Eat Skull. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Get ready, it’s going to be a crazy week…
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