Octoberfests take over September; Filter Kings (farewell show) Saturday; Worried Mothers Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:11 pm September 19, 2014
Drink, drink, drink...

Drink, drink, drink…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I generally don’t go to events whose sole entertainment value centers around the drinking of beer. Well, except for St. Patrick’s Day, and of course for two Octoberfest celebrations happening this weekend.

Tonight, mere footsteps from my front door, is the Benson Community Garden Octoberfest, located right at the garden spot at 1302 N. 60th St. The event promises “Fresh Food, Local Beer, Live Music & Great People” and yeah, bands will play. It’s 5 to 11 p.m. and costs $5. More info here.

The other Octoberfest is Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s and includes a volleyball tournament and polka (details here). Of great(er) interest is the after party, featuring performances by Reptar, Twinsmith and See Through Dresses. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night, The Waiting Room is hosting a fundraiser in honor of Alexis Stansbury. Performers include Snake Island!, John Klemmensen and the Party, Pyrate and The Filter Kings, who have said this will be their last show, maybe forever. Send Gerald Lee and Co. off in style and help a good cause at the same time. $10, 8 p.m.

They’ll still be picking the vomit out of the sand Sunday when Worried Mothers headlines a show at O’Leaver’s with Lvrk Late and  Minneapolis band The Funeral and the Twilight. $5, 9:30 p.m.

If I missed your show, put it in the comments area. Have a good weekend (glug-glug).

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Bedhead gets the box set treatment (Stranglers cover); new track from Exit Verse (Geoff Farina of Karate)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:26 pm September 18, 2014
The austerely designed Bedhead set. The band's artwork was always appropriately minimal, I guess to match their rather stripped-down sound.

The austerely designed Bedhead set. The band’s artwork was always appropriately minimal, I guess to match their rather stripped-down sound.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here’s one appropriate for Throwback Thursday…

Record label Numero Group is releasing Bedhead – The Retrospective Box Set, described as “the complete studio recordings of Dallas, Texas, slow-core pioneers” reissued on vinyl, both as stand-alone albums, and as part of a gorgeous box set.

Bedhead were always one of my favorite bands, emerging as a so-called “slow-core” savior after the sunset of Galaxie 500, a band who they initially most closely resembled (along with VU). They grew past that, adding some of the same driving/building dialogue that fueled bands like The Feelies oh so many years before.

On their best tracks, Bedhead music has the same cathartic feeling as traveling through a cave for hours before finally breaking through to daylight; or running alone in the back of a marathon, covered with sweat and fear and uncertainty, on the verge of collapse, only to fall into the outstretched arms of a loved one after crossing the finish line. I’ve heard it described as “build music” i.e. music that starts quiet and builds to a ferocious climax. Had I ever formed a band, it probably would have sounded like Bedhead.

The box set includes their debut WhatFunLifeWas, 1996’s Beheaded and their finale, ’98’s Transaction De Novo. I already own all three, but on CD (though I own one Bedhead EP on vinyl). The honey pot in the box is an additional two vinyl LPs (one disc) worth of rarities that include all the singles, EPs and outtakes.

Outtakes like the band’s cover of The Stranglers’ “Golden Brown,” which they recorded but never released. According to the notes, the band “had the idea to record it with drummer Trini Martinez’s uncle, Trini Lopez, singing the classic drug-tinged song. As distance and circumstances led to those plans fizzling (people used to have to be in the same room as the master tape to record a part, kids!), the band ultimately decided to record the vocal track themselves, life moved on, and this amazing cover got lost to the winds of time.”

Here it is now:

After Bedhead broke up in ’98, the Kadane brothers, who made up the core of the band, went on to form The New Year, which continued in the same vein. The brothers’ latest project, Overseas, also involves David Bazan and Will Johnson of Centro-matic..

Anyway, the Bedhead box set comes out Nov. 18. Check out the trailer below.

Another blast from the past that made news this week is Geoff Farina, formerly of seminal band Karate. He’s resurfaced as the frontman in Exit Verse, a band with fellow Chicago thoroughbreds, drummer John Dugan (Chisel, Edsel), and bassist Pete Croke (Brokeback, Tight Phantoms). Check out the band’s first single from their upcoming (Nov 17) debut on Earnest Jenning Records, “Seeds”:

A little trivia to pull these two items together: Bedhead follow-up band The New Year included drummer Chris Brokaw (of Codeine and Come), and after the break-up of Karate in 2005, Farina went on to record two albums with Brokaw in 2010.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Was there a Conflict of Interest in the OEAA nomination process?

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:06 pm September 17, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

OEAAs...

OEAAs…

Yesterday’s post outlining the nomination process for the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAAs) resulted in a number of people suggesting there was a conflict of interest since Board President Emily Engles works for a number of bands nominated in various categories. As OEAA Board President and facilitator of the nomination process, was Engles in a position to influence the final list of nominees?

To help clarify the issue, I asked Engles, via email. Here’s what she said:

Me: Which OEAA-nominated bands and performers do you work for?   

Engles: The Decatures – booking/promo; Stonebelly – booking; Mitch Gettman – booking/promo (this partnership started Sept 3); The Willards Band – booking/promo.

Me: What do you do for those bands/performers, and do they pay you?

Engles: Yes, these bands pay me a monthly fee. E3 Music Management is registered with the State of Nebraska..I have also done some “freelance” work for Hector Anchondo and Matt Cox…referrals and connecting them with the right people, mostly.

Me: How were you involved in the nomination process, specifically in categories where bands you work for were nominated?

Engles: As OEAA President and a member of the music committee within the board, I serve as facilitator. I make sure each committee (Performing Arts, Visual Arts and Music) have the list of nominees, meet deadlines, gather contact information, etc. A music review committee of board members and music voting academy members gathered to go over the full list of nominees (like I said in an online comment, we look at the entire list down to those with only one vote, not just the top six). We make sure the artists are in the correct category (many fans put a band in both rock and hard rock or both country and Americana, not knowing where they may fall) and look at the entire list for who may be moved up once those bands that should not be in a category are removed.

In regard to the categories where bands I work for were nominated, I remove myself from the discussion about who should be moved up once the incorrect bands are removed. I allow the other four members to make the final decision…I do not push or make the final call as I might in other categories.

Engles suggested I reach out John Heaston for a formal statement from the OEAAs in regard to the organization’s conflict of interest policy. “We have board members who are also in the arts and may be nominated,” Engles said. “We have voting academy members who may also be nominated…it is requested they remove themselves from actively participating in such categories, just as I did in regard to the bands I work for.

“The bands I work for are nominated because they are talented and work hard to make an impact on the Omaha music scene,” she wrote. “I work hard for them and they work hard for me.”

To clarify further, Engles pointed me to the nomination statement from the OEAA website, which you can read here.

* * *

A final thought…

When you turn art into a competition, you are saying one work of art is better than another work of art. Conversely, you’re saying something isn’t as good as something else. All art is subjective. I might think Bob Dylan’s voice is mercurial; you might think it sucks. The truth is in the eye — or ear — of the beholder.

I can make you a top-20 list of my favorite Nebraska bands. You can agree or disagree with as much of it as you want, understanding at the end of the day it’s just one man’s opinion.

And when you create a non-profit organization that’s designed to recognize the brightest local talent through an awards program, there’s going to be people who disagree with your choices.

However, when the area’s best-selling local albums by the three local performers who draw the largest local crowds are not nominated for the Album of the Year, Singer/Songwriter of the Year or Artist of the Year, people are going to ask questions.

I asked the questions yesterday. The answer was very clear. All three artists were considered during the nomination process, and Conor Oberst, The Faint and Orenda Fink simply didn’t make the cut. The nominating committee felt they’re not as good as those nominated for Best Singer/Songwriter; their records were not as good as those nominated for Album of the Year, and as artists and musicians, they simply didn’t do as much musically as the people who were nominated for Artist of the Year. The OEAA nominating committee has spoken.

Do you agree with them?

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The OEA Award nominations are in, and reason why The Faint (and Orenda and Conor) were left out; Drive By Truckers tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:45 pm September 16, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

OEAAs...

OEAAs…

Yesterday the 2015 Omaha Entertaining and Arts (OEA) Award nominations were announced. I looked through the nominees list (here) and in addition to not recognizing a lot of the nominees, wondered why three of Omaha’s finest talents —  The Faint, Orenda Fink and Conor Oberst — didn’t receive any nominations. All three released well-received full-length albums this year and toured extensively.

I turned to the President of the OEA Board, Emily Engles, for answers. Through a series of e-mails, Engles explained the nomination process:

Me: Any idea why The Faint weren’t nominated for anything?

Engles: They were not in the top 6, nor top 20 even.

Me: So the nominees are determined entirely by popular vote, right?

Engles: We receive the list all the way down to one vote, the music committee then makes sure everyone is in the right category as sometimes a band happens to be in the top for both rock and hard rock or both country and Americana. A committee of board members and voting academy members put the puzzle together using the entire list.

Me: Do you take into consideration things like album sales or is it purely based on public submitted votes? How do you prevent a recording that the committee recognizes to be an inferior recording (but that has a lot of public votes) from being nominated in a “Best of” category?

Engles: It is based on local shows and local affect. We only remove a band or album from a category if it is the wrong genre or album (was) not released within the award season, Sept 1-Aug 31.

Me: Is there any recourse by the board for adding an artist or recording that the board felt was overlooked by the public?

Engles: We do scroll through the events of the major venues (WR, SD, Shamrocks, Hideout, Chrome, Barley, etc.) for release shows to see a somewhat comprehensive list.

Me: So if someone on the board thought a band was overlooked by the public during the nomination process, the board could have added that band as a nominee?

Engles: It is the board and a select few from the voting academy. Yes, if someone was grossly overlooked, they could be added if the vote passed.

Me: Is there any reason why The Faint, Conor Oberst or Orenda Fink couldn’t be nominated?

Engles: The Faint landed at about #50 on this list with two nominations, Orenda at about 80 with one, Conor does not appear. While I understand the national effect they have for Omaha, they did not have the same local effect (Omaha release show, subsequent local shows, etc.) to grab the attention of the OEAs. I am speaking purely on my behalf…Marq Manner is our “indie” expert when it comes to the three you mentioned and may have a better explanation if mine is not sufficient.

I thanked Engles for her comments and pointed out that The Faint obviously had a rather large local effect considering they hosted massive shows at Sokol Auditorium, The Slowdown and The Waiting Room — i.e, more locals saw The Faint perform than any other nominated performer in any category. The same could be said for Conor Oberst.

So I did as Engles suggested and asked my ol’ pal MarQ Manner, who also is an OEA Awards board member. Here’s what Manner said:

MarQ Manner: While we don’t totally go on votes we certainly weigh them and where the public is pointing when debating. We had votes for well over 100 bands and the general vibe was that people were more focused on albums from groups that may not be on the national stage. We did not make any out loud choice to not include Conor, The Faint or Orenda. I think we just looked at 30 albums that were there and looked and researched and found what we thought were the best and most impactful albums in Omaha.

You have to understand that we have people on the committee that are hard rock people. roots rock people, hip hop, jam band, etc. it’s not the indie music awards. One of the biggest complaints about the OEAA’s is that Conor, Cursive, etc., are nominated. I disagree with that and think those nominations just make the award more important for the non-national band who may win in a following year. Is it a perfect process? No. I can’t think of an award organization that has it down. Our goal is to recognize the arts in Omaha that is having and impact and people are excited about.

For what it’s worth…

Moving on.

* * *

Tonight, right back to The Slowdown for Drive By Truckers and Lucero. $30, 8 p.m. show.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Another lost weekend; Jessica Lea Mayfield tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:52 pm September 15, 2014
Jessica Lea Mayfield at SXSW, March 12, 2014.

Jessica Lea Mayfield at SXSW, March 12, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Sick as a dog all weekend with whatever roto-virus is going around or that I brought back with me from NYC. I sound like Tom Waits this morning. In fact, I intend to record my own, unique rendition of “Chocolate Jesus” in Garageband this afternoon.

It is this illness that kept me from The Slowdown last night for PUJOL and likely will keep me from The Slowdown tonight, when the lovely Jessica Lea Mayfield takes the Jr. stage. I first ran into Mayfield at this year’s SXSW. Everything I’d read had indicated she was a twangy bluegrass crooner. So imagine my surprise when she performed a set of slow, spacey grunge numbers at Cheer Up Charlies.

Mayfield has worked with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys up until her most recent album, Make My Head Sing, whose tuneage has been compared to Dinosaur Jr., Explosions in the Sky and Nirvana. This one definitely is worth checking out (unless you’re hacking up green eggs and ham). Opening is Cozad, Nebraska singer/songwriter Kait Berreckman. $12, 8 p.m.

Who knows, I may make it down there anyway. You may want to keep your distance…

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Scientific research uncovers old U2 slightly better than new U2; Eef Barzelay (Clem Snide), Brother Ali, Skypiper Saturday; PUJOL Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:11 pm September 12, 2014
Back when U2 were at their best...

When U2 were at their best…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A follow-up to a post from Tuesday, where I wrote about U2 giving away copies of their new album, Songs of Innocence, via iTunes. An online tussle broke out afterward as to whether the album is any good. I suggested that it sounds like Coldplay. Others disagreed (even though it, indeed, sounds just like Coldplay).

But furthermore, a discussion arose as to whether veteran artists can capture the excitement heard on recordings from the early days of their careers. Some adamantly said “no,” others (such as myself) said that some artists can create relevant, important music at any age.

John Mürren II, he of the umlaut, decided that it was a question for science. His comment:

“Beyond the fact that ‘good’ is subjective, it’s hardly surprising that music we are hearing as 30/40/50 year olds from a band that’s been around for 40 years doesn’t hit us the same as the stuff we heard in our teens and twenties. If you went to some teenager who has never heard U2 and had them choose between (U2’s new album) and ‘War,’ I’ll bet they’d chose the new album. (It’s) every bit as good a U2 album as ‘Hot Sauce Committee’ was a good Beasties album.”

Were that it possible to prove, I said. “My kids couldn’t care less about U2,” Mürren II said. “I’ll try it on them.”

And that’s exactly what he did. The next day, Mürren II posted his findings.

So in a totally non-scientific test, I used my kids (6 and 12) as test subjects to see if old U2 is really ‘better’ than new U2, or do we old people just think so due to our attachment to the old stuff. I figured they are good subjects, being too young to really know much about U2 and having no emotional attachment or memories tied in to any of their work. I played 3 groups of 2 songs, each group having one song from the new album and one from an old one. I didn’t tell them why I was having them chose or which songs was older/newer.”

Group One: “New Year’s Day” (from 1983’s War) and (new song) “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone).” Results: Jack: “Both are really good!” Dakota chose “The Miracle.” Notes: Dakota thought “New Year’s Day” sounded like The Police.

Group Two: (new song) “Raised By Wolves” and “I Will Follow” (from their 1980 debut Boy). Results: Both preferred “I Will Follow.” Notes: Dakota thought both songs sounded really similar; “These guys don’t have a lot of melodic ideas.” Mürren II gushed with pride: “Yes, I am *VERY* proud that my 12 year old busts out those kinds of sentences.”

Group Three: “Cedarwood Road” and “Bullet The Blue Sky” from 1987’s The Joshua Tree. Results: Jack: “Cedarwood Road.” Dakota: “Bullet The Blue Sky.” Notes: “Dakota didn’t really like either, but disliked ‘Bullet the Blue Sky’ less because it ‘wasn’t as annoying,’ a statement which was followed by him imitating Bono warbling in a high voice. So there you have it.”

My reaction:

1. Ages 6 and 12 are pretty young to be doing this study. I was in high school when I first heard War, which, in my mind, was ground breaking. That said, you could argue Mürren II’s children have the advantage of being subjected to sophisticated 21st Century music. Their experience has probably included sizable helpings of Shania Twain, Katy Perry and Bieber, while in 1983, most people were rocking to “Mr. Roboto,” Flashdance, Duran Duran and Prince. I was living on a steady diet of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, as were most teen-aged nerds and dirt heads who lived in the outer banks we call Ft. Calhoun.

Furthermore, I experienced the genius of U2’s Under a Blood Red Sky while driving around in my 1978 Ford Fiesta with my first real girlfriend, who eventually stole my Under a Blood Red Sky T-shirt and never gave it back. What I’m saying here is that I wasn’t just experiencing the music, I was experiencing LIFE. Who knows what music will be held close to Jack’s and Dakota’s hearts when they reach those crazy high school years.

2. If I were doing the experiment, I wouldn’t have included anything released after 1983. I consider Joshua Tree to be a completely different U2 than the band we heard on that famous Red Rocks recording (when, in my opinion, they were at their peak).

3. The entire question as to whether a veteran artist can today produce music as vital as when s/he first had his/her mark dismisses the basic premiss that “new” will almost always trump “familiar.” And that’s become a problem, especially in the “Free Music Era” when kids can get their hands on anything they want in seconds, and are more apt to be attracted to a shiny new object rather than the dull second or third release by the band that was hot two years ago. I have no doubt a lot of great music has been dismissed without ever being heard because the performers are “yesterday’s news.” You’re lucky if you get one hit record these days (especially if you’re an indie band). Follow-ups can be a bitch. “New Arcade Fire? No thanks, I already own Funeral.”

4. I’d like to have our test subjects listen to an entire early U2 album followed by Songs of Innocence in its entirety. But do kids even listen to entire albums anymore? Smart ones do.

5. A more accurate experiment: Go back in time and play Songs of Innocence and War for a teen-aged Tim McMahan and see which he likes better. I think I know the answer.

Hats off to JMII and his brood for the science!

* * *

Alright, onto the weekend…

Tonight, my nephew’s death metal band Blessed Are the Merciless plays at The Waiting Room with a bevy of growl-y death metal bands. Earplugs, earplugs, earplugs. 8 p.m., $8.

Also tonight Matt Whipkey plays at 311 tribute bar The Hive, 1207 Harney St. No cover listed, but their website says Friday and Saturday night cover is $5 to $10 for men, and “ladies are free.” Welcome to 1985. Starts at 8.

Saturday night, Eef Barzelay of Clem Snide is doing a house show in a living room somewhere in Midtown Omaha. Find out where by buying a ticket from the Undertow website. $20, 8 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Rhymesayers Entertainment artist Brother Ali plays at The Waiting Room with Bambu and DJ Last Word. Indie hip-hop at its best. $15, 8 p.m.

Skypiper plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night with Nashville folkwave band Field Division and Lincoln’s Blét. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally, Sunday night Saddle Creek Records band PUJOL plays at the club The Washington Post said saved North Downtown Omaha, The Slowdown (Jr.). Opening is Oketo and our very own DJ Dave Goldberg. Tix are $8 today and $10 DOS. 9 p.m.

Did I miss your show? Put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT: The 49’r keeps the music coming (from 2005); Zammuto, Dosh, Caravat tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:05 pm September 11, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

With nothing newsworthy happening — and this being “Throwback Thursday” — let’s dip back into the Lazy-i wayback machine to Sept. 1, 2005, and an interview with The 49’r’s Mark Samuelson shortly after word leaked that his bar would be cutting back on live music. Mark tells us why and gives us a brief Omaha music history listen at the same time…

The 49’r Takes Five — Sept. 1, 2005
You can’t stop the music at the midtown tavern.

The 49'r

The iconic sign for The 49’r…

Within the past few years, The 49’r has established itself as one of the city’s more important music venues, hosting a few national acts but mostly concentrating on providing a stage for up-and-coming local bands. It’s arguably the best place to see snarling, hard-ass rock and punk from bands like The Monroes, Anonymous American and Race for Titles.

So when word leaked out a few weeks ago that The Niner was cutting back on live music, it came as a disappointment both to the bands and the fans of those white-knuckle acts.

Rumor and conjecture did abound. Had The 49’r reached the end of the live music business cycle? A cycle that goes something like this: A bar suffers from a lull in business. A few bands that hang around the place ask if they can play some gigs there, and the owner figures why not, it could help drum up some business. More bands are booked and crowds grow like kudzu. Before long, folks start coming out just because they dig the bar, the staff and its jukebox, and before you know it, the live music becomes a nuisance for the regulars who just want to drink in peace. Seeing an opportunity to cut costs, the venue puts an end to the stage show.

That theory, in this case, is only partially correct, says Mark Samuelson, owner of The 49’r. During the height of his nightclub business, Samuelson ran four successful Omaha bars simultaneously: The Partners on 42nd and F, the legendary Howard St. Tavern in the Old Market, its “upstairs bar” called The White Rabbit, and the good ol’ 49’r at 49th & Dodge.

Today only The Niner remains, which Samuelson still operates along with his other businesses, Aksarben Fixture and Supply, an ATM business, and some real estate ventures. The degree in which he operates The Niner, however, has changed. Samuelson says he’s somewhat removed from the bar’s day-to-day operations.

“I listen to my help,” he said when asked about the shift in the venue’s live music policy. “I think we got over-saturated, and every band wanted to play here. The staff was hearing that we were doing a little too much music. Now we’re only choosing the best bands that really draw people.”

He pointed out that The Niner’s live music policy differs from the way the Howard St. was run. Back then, Samuelson said he started booking new music acts because blues was such a tough sell. And it didn’t take long for the club to become a national tour stop for tomorrow’s superstars.

“We had the Smashing Pumpkins come in for a $140 guarantee and two vegetarian pizzas,” he said. “It’s crazy to think about that today.”

Unlike the Howard St, The 49’r doesn’t offer guarantees. Instead, bands take home whatever cover charge they can generate. “So if you’re just playing for the door, it doesn’t make sense for the big bands to come here,” he said.

There are exceptions, however, such as when the staff wanted to bring in New York Dolls guitarist Sylvain Sylvain. “If they have a good idea, I just stay out of the way,” Samuelson said. So far, it’s worked well.

But if anything, The 49r’s biggest draw is its location in the heart of Dundee, or as their matchbooks used to say: “In the middle of everything and no place to park.”

“We’re not in the middle anymore. We’re downtown,” Samuelson said, laughing. “We’re so busy because we have so many people who live close to here. The .08 (drinking) law is really hurting a lot of clubs. No one wants to risk it.”

Better to tie one on at The Niner and safely stumble home then to get behind the wheel of a car.

So does the bar’s already-packed weekends without bands spell the end for The Niner’s live music? Hardly. In fact, Samuelson said the venue will get back into the swing of things later this fall. “It’s gonna pick back up,” he said. “I anticipate doing more than just a couple of shows a month like we’re doing now.”

And really, how could he ever stop? For it was at The 49’r back in the early ’70s that a 15-year-old Samuelson’s own band, Hat Trick, had its first gig. Ironically, the band’s second gig would be at The Howard St. Tavern. — Sept. 1, 2005.

* * *

Well, we all know what happened next. The 49’r would get sold to CVS in 2010, but the actual deal would get tied up by Ben Gray in the Omaha City Council. Then, for reasons that are still unclear, Gray would change his vote and the walls came tumbling down. Hard to believe it’s been five years. I think about The Niner every time I drive past that CVS on Dodge Street, or see Ben Gray at some public function or on TV….

* * *

OK, a couple shows worth mentioning tonight.

Over at The Waiting Room it’s Zammuto, featuring Nick Zammuto, a co-founder of classic indie band Books. Zammuto has a new album, Anchor, on Temporary Residence. Opening is Dosh (Anticon, Graveface Records). $12 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Caravat, featuring David Ozinga and Teal Gardner of UUVVWWZ, headlines a show at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Laughing Eye Weeping Eye and L. Eugene Methe. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

In this week’s column, Pt. 2 on my Lumo Lift experiment. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

U2 didn’t just give away their CD; Lincoln Calling (initial) line-up announced; Noah’s Ark in the park, Lars & Mal, Derby Birds tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:02 pm September 10, 2014
The slugline over the Apple photo read "A big moment in music history. And you're part of it." Did they mean the end of recorded music history?

The slugline over the Apple photo read “A big moment in music history. And you’re part of it.” Did they mean the end of recorded music history?

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Did you follow the Apple announcement yesterday?

Needless to say, I’ll be replacing my broken-screened iPhone 5 with an ultra-slim 6 sometime in the next two weeks. And how about the Apple Watch! Gotta have one of those, right? Starting at $349, maybe not. I’m waiting to hear the first Apple Watch joke, something along the lines of “It works like the iPhone; if you’re on AT&T it drops a few minutes out of every hour…” *rimshot!*

But maybe the most interesting announcement was when Tim Cook trotted out U2 and then proceeded to give away the band’s new album, Songs of Innocence, to anyone with an iTunes account. I figured something like this would happen eventually, albeit with indie labels like Saddle Creek and Sub Pop. And I said that when it happened…its success will breath new life into an already-established (though waning) act, who will see its biggest crowds ever on tour, generating merch and back-catalog sales for the label and causing the music industry to rethink (again) how it does business.

Who would have thought that U2 would become the poster child for this model? But the fact is, U2 didn’t give away its new album. The Wall Street Journal had the skinny behind yesterday’s give-away. From the article:

We’re not going in for the free music around here,” Bono joked on stage.  Apple didn’t pay a traditional wholesale price for each of the 500 million albums. Instead the company paid Universal and U2 an undisclosed lump sum for the exclusive window to distribute the album. Universal plans to piggyback on the big push for Songs of Innocence to promote the band’s 12 older albums, a critical factor for a veteran rock band.”

The article went on to say the album’s first single would be used “as a central element of a global, 30-day television advertising campaign for its new iPhones and Apple Watch. The campaign is believed to be worth around $100 million, according to a person familiar with the talks.”

Of course most people who download the CD from iTunes for free won’t know the financial backstory, and will assume U2 just gave it away, further enforcing the idea that recorded music has become (or is) essentially worthless. Especially when it just “shows up in your iTunes library” like magic.

I think we’re only a year or so away from an era when all the monster pop acts — Shania, Katy Perry, Gaga, Jay Z, (i.e., the VMA acts) — will give away downloads of their new albums as a matter of course, just to get the music out there before they go on tour, just like U2 has done. I’m not sure where that leaves the little guys (and labels) who still count on revenue from album sales.

And at what point does the RIAA quit going after people who illegally download music, figuring what’s the point when some bands are giving it away and it’s all available online via Spotify anyway….?

Bleak.

As for the quality of the new U2 record, someone online equated U2 to Coldplay yesterday when all this was going down, and goddamn if that comparison isn’t apt. The new U2 album indeed sounds like a Coldplay record. You have to wonder if Bono and Co. ever listen to their older stuff and ask themselves when the spark went out? Can you believe there was a time when U2 was considered subversive? I still remember the first time I heard tracks off War on Z-92, spun by none other that Slats Gannon, who knew he was playing something new and different. What pups we wall were back then…

* * *

Catching up on some news that went down while I was out… Jeremy Buckley announced that there will, indeed, be an 11th Annual Lincoln Calling Festival this year. With Buckley’s role in Vega, I thought perhaps last year’s fest might have been his swan song.

Buckley’s current status with Vega I cannot say here, other than it has indeed changed since last year. None of the parties involved are willing to go on the record as to who is running Vega these days, though it’s common knowledge that Eli and Carrie Mardock are still involved in the day-to-day operations.

The dates for Lincoln Calling are Oct. 7-12. Venues include The Bourbon, Duffy’s, Zoo Bar, Yia Yia’s Mix, Fat Toad Pub, The Cask, Tower Square and Vega. And the bands announced so far:

A Ferocious Jungle Cat
Ages and Ages
All Young Girls are Machine Guns
Annalibera
The Baberaham
Bailiff
Bonehart Flannigan
The Bottle Tops
Bud Heavy and the High Lifes
Christopher the Conquered
Churls
DEERPEOPLE
Evan Bartels Band
The Fabtones
Flannel Channel
Found Footage Festival
FREAKABOUT!
Gerardo Meza
Gloom Balloon
GloWorm
Halfwit
Hank & Cupcakes
Homegrown Film Festival
Joshua Powell and the Great Train Robbery
The Kickback
Lars and Mal
Manic Pixie Dream Girls
Matt Cox Band
The Melon Company
Oketo
Powers
The River Monks
The Ro Hempel Band
Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band
Sidewalk Chalk
Sol Seed
Thirst Things First
Universe Contest
White Mystery
Zoolarious Comedy Showcase

I’m glad to see that DEERPEOPLE is on the bill. I was introduced to this band via Lincoln Calling years ago, and caught their set this year at SXSW. Definitely worth seeking out when you’re wandering O Street that week.

Buckley tells me more details are forthcoming, more bands are being confirmed. Stay tuned, and follow along at the LC2014 Facebook page.

* * *

After two cancellations, Hear Nebraska is finally going to host their finale showcase for this year’s Live at Turner Park Series tonight, and it’s a doozy: Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and Snake Island are the featured acts. Get some food and booze and head on down. The music starts at 6 p.m. and it’s free.

Another free show going on tonight is at Slowdown Jr. where locals Lars and Mal and The Derby Birds will be performing. This one starts at 9.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Back from NYC (and a night with Hedwig); The Slowdown in The Washington Post…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:42 pm September 8, 2014
The set for Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Belasco on Broadway. Getting a shot during the performance was impossible as vultures were circling, warning people that photos were not allowed...

The set for Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Belasco on Broadway. Getting a shot during the performance was impossible as vultures were circling, warning people that photos were not allowed. I still managed to sneak this one.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I have nothing of a music-related nature to report from Manhattan, as I spent the long weekend going to the US Open, The Yankees and seeing the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, which I guess could count.

(Hedwig, btw, was pretty awesome. Former Omahan and Creighton Prep grad Andrew Rannells starred. Rannells made his name in the original version of Book of Mormon on Broadway (in which he won a Grammy) and is sometimes featured as the character Elijah on the HBO series Girls. He took over the lead from Neil Patrick Harris a few weeks ago. We had amazing second-row aisle seats and I came this close to being the subject of the lap dance during the infamous “Sugar Daddy” number.)

* * *

Sounds like I missed one heckuva an Afghan Whigs show while I was gone. I guess you can’t have everything.

* * *

Interesting piece in today’s The Washington Post about The Slowdown and urban renewal. Read it here. The story relies heavily on the work of Michael Seman of Shiny Around the Edges, who wrote an academic paper about the same subject published in 2010 (which you can read here).

The Post doesn’t add much new to the discussion, other than centering the story on local band Lot Walks, who I’ve never heard of prior to the booking mentioned in the story. Needless to say, the Post article should bring some attention to this rather new band. Wonder how they got picked to be the centerpiece?

The story seems to imply that The Slowdown complex saved the NoDo area from decay, and mentions almost as an aside the $131 million ballpark that now overshadows everything down there, and, one could argue, was the real reason, along with the CenturyLink Arena (which isn’t mentioned in the article at all) for the majority of the development in that area, specifically all the freakin’ hotels.

From the article:

In 2006, the city partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to draft a full-scale redevelopment plan: “North Downtown should evolve into Omaha’s newest and most exciting neighborhood…”

The anchor, all parties agreed, should be the greatest music venue in Nebraska. The young and hip would ideally flock there, dine at nearby restaurants and rent loft spaces in old factories.

What the writer left out (or didn’t know) was that The Slowdown’s eventual location was the second choice. The original choice was just a few blocks from Sgt. Peffer’s, at 1528 N. Saddle Creek Rd., but that Robb Nansel and Jason Kulbel were driven away by the Metcalfe Park Neighborhood Association and a couple local businesses who didn’t want the noise and traffic and congestion. You can read about that bit of forgotten history (including thumbnails of the original blueprints) here. That area is now a blight of rental storage units, run-down car washes and hole-in-the-wall auto garages, while NoDo has become the subject of national articles in The Washington Post. In the end, everyone got what they wanted.

Speaking of The Slowdown, it’s been a looooong time since I’ve seen a show down there. My next stop might be PUJOL Sept. 14 or the amazing Jessica Lea Mayfield Sept. 15.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Slouching toward Lumo (In the column) and Jake’s Block Party (Icky Blossoms) tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 8:23 am September 5, 2014
Some poor lady doing a stand-up outside Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week.. Hope I'm photo bombing her. More at instagram.com/timmymac29.

Some poor lady doing a stand-up outside Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week. Hope I’m photo bombing her. More at instagram.com/timmymac29.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Quick check-in. Still in Gotham City. Off to the US Open today. If you want to keep up with my travels, follow me on Instagram at Instagram.com/timmymac29.

Anyway, in this week’s column, what it means to slouch your way through life, and the promise surrounding the Lumo Lift. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

Finally, in Wednesday’s rundown of the weekend’s shows I forgot to mention the biggest show of all — Jake’s Block Party, right on Military Ave. in the heart of Benson (where Benson First Friday also is going on). The line-up: Superbytes, Snake Island, Purveyors of the Conscious Sound and headliner Icky Blossoms. Music starts at 7, cover is $7. More info here. Should be a blast.

Have a good weekend…

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i