Monsters of Folk tickets give-away; Column 243…

Category: Blog — @ 5:53 pm October 21, 2009

First, the ticket giveaway — those who follow me on Twitter (twitter.com/tim_mcmahan) already have seen the tweet:

“http://www.lazy-i.com Enter a drawing for two Omaha 10/28 Monsters of Folk tix. Just retweet this, and follow @tim_mcmahan”

It’s that simple. Entries will be received via Twitter through Friday noon, after which a name will be drawn from all the retweeters. That person’s name (plus one) will be added to “the list” for the Oct. 28 Monsters of Folk show at The Holland Performing Arts Center. Tickets are being provided by Shangri-La Records and Filter Magazine/Creative Group. These are $47 tickets, folks, so it’s a nice haul for a show that likely will go down as one of the best of 2009. So get on Twitter and and retweet. The winner’s name will be announced Friday afternoon. Fun!

* * *

As described below, Column 243 was to be a diatribe about my inability to land an interview with Conor Oberst for a cover story in support of the Monsters of Folk show. I actually wrote the column, but after showing it to a couple people, shelved it and replaced it with a column that draws from items from the past week’s blog. I feared the original column, which outlined the paper trail to attempt to get the interview as well as my history of interviews with Oberst and speculation as to why he no longer is doing interviews with the local press, sounded too harsh or petty. My “editors,” however, didn’t think that was the problem. They simply reinforced a comment that was echoed in the actual 243: Who cares? Why is this relevant? And so on.

One editor asked why I thought Oberst would ever do an interview with me or anyone locally again when he clearly doesn’t need us anymore. Maybe he won’t. Another asked how much a local artist who has “made it” really owes the local press. My answer: Not much, if anything. A musician’s or band’s success depends entirely on his/her/their talent. Period. If a musician is making great music, an audience will find him/her regardless of the press or circumstances.

Anyway, I haven’t given up on one day interviewing Oberst again. I think he hasn’t done interviews since Cassadaga because he feels his current projects are true team efforts and he doesn’t want to take the spotlight from the other members or generate a perception that the projects are Oberst solo efforts. I also think he hates doing press, and looks for any excuse to not have to do interviews. I can’t say that I blame him.

So, for posterity’s sake, here’s what we ended up printing in The Reader as Column 243, which regular Lazy-i readers already have seen most of:

Column 243: Monsters of News
Ragged Company, Cursive, Ladyfinger, Conor…

This week’s column is a real grab bag, so stay with me…

* * *

People ask me why I go to so many shows every year, a number that’s just north of 100 (that’s a lot of late nights, folks). Part of the reason is to see bands I know and love do their thing, but just as enticing is the chance to discover something altogether new and special — something that’s become more and more rare these days. That said, the highlight of the past weekend was finding the four-piece folk-rock act The Ragged Company, who played a show at The Saddle Creek Bar Saturday night with Cass Fifty and the Family Gram.

While the entire band swung bravely with its twangy Americana story-telling folk-rock, the centerpiece was Dave Downing a.k.a. Cello Dave — one of the most talented guys I’ve seen on an Omaha stage. You may remember Downing from his work in Midwest Dilemma, Tomato a Day and who knows how many other ensembles. He’s becoming something of a local legend, elevating every band he performs with as he did Saturday night, pouring his heart out leaning over his instrument, his hair hiding his eyes from the crowd of around 50 — one of the larger crowds I’ve seen the Saddle Creek Bar, which, by the way, is officially for sale once again.

* * *

Some old news that just got confirmed: A few weeks ago I was told that Ethan Jones no longer is playing bass in Ladyfinger. Sure enough, he isn’t listed on their Myspace page, and last week Saddle Creek confirmed that Ethan no longer is in the band, and that Ladyfinger is working on finding a replacement. It’s been a while since Ladyfinger’s organized chaos was heard on an Omaha stage, and the band has no shows scheduled in the future. Frontman Chris Machmuller has been splitting his time slinging Cubans at the recently expanded Worker’s Sandwich Shop next to O’Leaver’s, playing guitar in Dance Me Pregnant, and –rumor has it — working on a new rock project. Stay tuned…

* * *

Cursive announced last Wednesday that it’s headlining Christmas for Pine Ridge – The 6th Annual Lash LaRue Toy Drive Dec. 13 at The Waiting Room.

According to a post on the event’s Facebook page, the toys are for the children of the Porcupine District of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. “According to the 2000 census, Pine Ridge’s Lakota Sioux community is one of the most poverty stricken communities in the United States,” the page says. “The children of the reservation are desperately in need of some sunshine and cheer, especially during a time of cold, harsh winds and immense desolation like winters on the reservation can be.”

The annual concert is one of the more successful fundraising shows of the year, but with Cursive on the bill, this could actually sell out in advance. Joining Tim Kasher and his crew will be Brad Hoshaw and Vago. The $14 tickets went on sale last Saturday.

Also on sale last Saturday were tickets to the Mousetrap reunion show Dec. 23 at The Waiting Room. The line-up will include original members Craig Crawford and Pat Buchanan, but on drums will be a new guy. “The drummer’s name is Mike Mazzola,” Crawford said. “He played in a band called ‘The Lost’ with Patrick. Pat thinks that he will be perfect for the show. We’ve all been working individually on our parts and will start rehearsing as a group shortly. Should be good and loud!”

Opening the show is the reunited Mercy Rule and what I’m told will be the final performance of Beep Beep, whose line-up for the evening will include original member Chris Hughes. At $8, this also will sell out, so if you haven’t already bought your tickets to either event, you better get in the digital queue before it’s too late.

* * *

Speaking of shows that should sell out (but at $47, probably won’t), reviews of Last Sunday night’s Monsters of Folk show at Los Angeles’ Greek Theater report that the indie-folk supergroup played for nearly three hours covering 35 friggin’ songs. Featuring Conor Oberst, M. Ward, Jim James and Mike Mogis, the band (which is scheduled to play at The Holland Center Oct. 28) also had Will Johnson of Centro-matic on the drum kit. “In a sense, Monsters of Folk’s live show was like a mini-festival, since the crowd was treated to solo performances by all of the principal players, but it was when all four besuited players were on stage together that they shined the brightest,” said critic Craig Rosen on livedaily.com. Three hours seated in the Holland Center? I hope the lobby bar will be open during the performance (something tells me it won’t be).

By the way, with the show slated for next Wednesday, where’s our interview with Conor? Well, we tried, friends, we tried. Just like we tried so many times before. But Conor ain’t talking and hasn’t talked to us poor indigent local media since back in his Bright Eyes days, circa Cassadaga. The spigot that ran so robust just two years ago was shut off for reasons we can only speculate. The editors of this fine publication wanted me to write a diatribe about my/our inability to land a Conor interview. But in mulling it over in my somewhat cavernous head, I couldn’t muster the necessary anger/outrage. In other words — I just didn’t care.

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