by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Was it only a matter of time before The Sandbox got busted? The loft apartment at 2406 Leavenworth, formerly known as The Faint’s Orifice practice space, apparently had a visit from Johnny Law last week, effectively shutting down the space as a live music outlet for the foreseeable future. I’ve heard a variety of reports, including one that involved a full premises search and people in handcuffs. The only thing I know for certain is that The Sandbox is out of business. Black Heart Booking, who used the space for many of its shows (including the metal show that got busted), is now looking for new venues for six upcoming gigs.
What amazes me is that The Sandbox lasted as long as it did. Here’s a narrative snapshot of the venue from Dec. 2011. The fact that you could buy a beer for a “donation” was common knowledge, and could be considered selling alcohol without a liquor license. The whole legality of the “donation for booze” thing at events is rather foggy. Add the fact that it was considered an “all ages” venue where booze was available, and that the facility likely wasn’t zoned for group occupancy, and you’re asking for it.
No doubt cops have seen dozens of kids going into that building late at night, wondering what was going on. I’ve been told they were aware that The Sandbox was hosting shows (and selling beer), and didn’t care. Apparently that wasn’t the case. Or did someone tip off the cops, forcing their hand? If so, you have to wonder who else is on OPD’s radar screen, and what impact this will have on the emergence of house shows in an era when independent music continues to be headed back underground…
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The only thing stopping The Sons of… from being billed as Omaha’s version of The Replacements is that the band doesn’t play shit-stroke drunk. Their musical resemblance to The ‘mats can be uncanny, though I also hear elements of Spoon (specifically Kelly Maxwell’s vocals) and Wilco (a touch of classy twang). No doubt this group of local heroes’ sound is deeply rooted in those bands and a thousand others. Their songwriting puts them on the upper tier of local acts, playing music that feels as comfortable and familiar as a well-worn pair of motorcycle boots. No, they’re not breaking any new musical ground, nor are they trying to (nor would you want them to). I’m told they’re actually doing some recording, and that they’ve got a couple upcoming gigs scheduled at venues they’ve never played before (though is there really any better place to see the Sons of O’Leaver’s than O’Leaver’s?).
Also playing Friday night at O’Leaver’s was North of Grand, who played a number of songs off their nifty new album A Farewell to Rockets (Brolester Records), which is worth checking out.
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The first song off Big Harp’s upcoming Saddle Creek release, Chain Letters, premiered this morning right here at rollingstone.com. Down load the mp3 for “You Can’t Save ’em All” absolutely free.
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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.
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