by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
With the news reported last night via social media, the Maha Music Festival has locked in all but one of its acts for the 2012 event, to be held Aug. 11 at Stinson Park/Aksarben.
Main stage performers are: Desaparecidos, Garbage, Josh Rouse, Delta Spirit, Dum Dum Girls, Frontier Ruckus, Conduits
Local stage performers: Icky Blossoms, The Mynabirds, UUVVWWZ, Universe Contest, Eli Mardock
The only band missing is the Local stage opener, who presumably will be the winner of an OEA Battle of the Bands-style public vote competition.
Hear Nebraska, who is one of Maha’s media sponsors, played a role in selecting the local stage performers, which partially explains the deep Lincoln representation — both UUVVWWZ and Universe Contest are Lincoln bands, and Eli Mardock used to front Lincoln band Eagle Seagull. The HN connection also could help explain how a relatively unknown band like Frontier Ruckus got named to the Maha main stage. HN’s Andy Norman is a fan of the Michigan band, whose claim to fame appears to be a 2010 Bonnaroo appearance. FR records for Quite Scientific Records, a label who released a Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. EP before the band joined Warners.
Other than Frontier Ruckus, the other surprise from last night’s announcement was the addition of Universe Contest, a band that’s only played in Omaha once, and only to about 40 people (review here). Needless to say, they’re not going to sell many tickets, but that isn’t the point. In addition to drawing national indie bands to Omaha, Maha wants to help break local acts to a larger audience — that is if there’s anyone there to see them early in the day.
Glancing at the Maha website, it looks like all the big attractions will again be back-loaded to play late in the day, which I suppose is standard operating procedure but seems counter to the idea of getting people to come to your concert all day and not just for the evening performances. It’s a problem that Maha and Red Sky face every year — getting people to come out early, or in RS’s case to come out at all for the day stage events (which may not be returning this year).
The solution is simple but risky — put one of your big names on stage early and hope that people hang out afterward. Josh Rouse, for example, was chosen for Maha because he has a following (right?). Why not put him on at 12:45 and see if his fans show up? Your vendors would love you for it. The risk, of course, is that no one would show up, and you would have wasted your booking money on a band that’s playing to an empty grassy knoll.
How about this for a crazy idea: Put Garbage on at 1, Desaparecidos at 3:30, Dum Dum Girls at 6, Josh Rouse at 8 and Icky Blossoms at 10. Imagine the crowd for Conduits if they were following Garbage, or for Universe Contest following Desa. Yeah, it’s crazy, and it could never happen, though you’d get a lot of people out there early for Garbage who might hang around all day instead of everyone crowding in at 8 or 9 p.m. We’ll never know.
More perspective from OWH‘s Kevin Coffey, who points out that this year’s line-up is very Nebraska-heavy.
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Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s Xiu Xiu with Dirty Beaches and Father Murphy. Not familiar with Xiu Xiu (which some people pronounce Shoo-Shoo)? The San Jose band has been around since 2002 and have recorded for such labels as Polyvinyl and Kill Rock Stars. Their influences include The Cure and Joy Division, but on their new album, Always (Polyvinyl, 2012) there’s a fantastic experimental Peter Gabriel vibe going on (at least to me). Fantastic, weird electronic rock. $12, 9 p.m.
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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.