Gobbinjr, Sam Martin, Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate), Rememberables tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm July 3, 2018

Sam Martin in the Sweatshop Gallery at Sweatfest, July 15, 2015. He’s playing tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Word came this morning that singer/songwriter/producer Richard Swift passed away at the young age of 41. As a producer, Swift worked with Foxygen, Guster, Sharon Van Etten, Damien Jurado, Pure Bathing Culture, and Saddle Creek Records act The Mynabirds, having produced their first two albums. He also put out some great stuff of his own, such as Dressed Up for the Letdown (2007, Secretly Canadian), which I’ve been listening to this morning. He was definitely too young to go. More on his life and work at Pitchfork.

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For once someone booked some shows the night before a national holiday, which is sort of a no-duh kinda thing when you consider most of us have tomorrow off.

Gobbinjr a.k.a. Emma Witmer headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight. Her latest, Ocala Wick, is out on Top Shelf Records (check it below) and is sugar-sweet singer/songwriter stuff in the K Records vein. Just as sugary sweet are openers Sam Martin and Megan Siebe. $5, 9 p.m

Meanwhile, down at Slowdown Jr. Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate and The Fire Thief fame is doing a solo set with a full band. His last album, Ghosts, was released in 2017 on Lewis Hollow, but this tour celebrates his solo debut Return of the Frog King (1996, Sub Pop). Chris Staples (Twothirtyeight) opens. 8 p.m., $18.

Finally, there’s a house show at 20th and Poppleton featuring D.C. indie rock act The Rememberables, who sound like they walked right out of the ’90s. Baltimore dark wave act Blacksage opens along with Haggis, CBN and Lifeguard. $10, 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Remembering Harlan Ellison; Post Animal, Hussies tonight; Sean Pratt/Sweats, Dave Nance, Dirt House, Centerpiece Saturday; Big Bite, BiB Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:42 pm June 29, 2018

A portion of my Harlan Ellison library… and my 45s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First, a non-music note: Harlan Ellison passed away yesterday. The best requiem I could give him beyond the photo of my personal Ellison collection at the top of this entry is the following, written for The Reader back in 2013:

Known primarily as the guy who wrote the best episode of Star Trek (“City on the Edge of Forever”) and for penning the material that became the 1976 Don Johnson bomb A Boy and His Dog, I’d read Ellison’s short stories for years before picking up his collection of essays and criticism called Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed in 1984. That was followed a year later by An Edge in My Voice (in fact, this column’s title is a play on that book’s title). It is impossible to read Ellison’s essays and not absorb his rhythm, syntax and style. His is a voice of measured anger bordered by reason, sarcasm, intelligence and wit. I spent a good chunk of my college years emulating Ellison’s writing style before figuring out one of my own.

A day does not go by where I don’t think about Ellison and his writing.

Onward (but with a heavy heart)…

* * *

Tonight’s the annual Memorial Park concert/fireworks display featuring Mickey Thomas’ Starship and Boston/Styx cover band Bostyx. I can’t imagine a worse combination, but the folks going to the concert aren’t there for the music, they’re there for the fireworks.

I assume organizers are aware no one cares about the music and thus book the most benign acts for this show. If they’re going to get 50,000 people in the park regardless of the entertainment, they should consider other options, but I’m sure I’m not the first person to suggest that.

Needless to say, I’ll once again be stationed on my front porch with my trusty over-and-under cradled on my lap telling the passing mob to “Get off my lawn!

Now for the real music news…

Why haven’t they cleared out the tents from CWS? Because they’ve got a home run derby at the park Saturday night. They shouldn’t get in the way of tonight’s show at Slowdown Jr., where Chicago psych-rock band Post Animal (Polyvinyl Records) headlines. Minneapolis “dream-punk” act Slow Pulp opens. $12, 9 p.m

Tonight Hussies headline at The Brothers Lounge. KC band Red Kate also is on the bill along with Tiananmen Squares. $5, 9 p.m.

Sean Pratt and the Sweats return to fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night. They’re bringing with them Brooklyn’s Becca Ryskalczyk (of Bethlehem Steel). Dave Nance opens the evening at 10 p.m. $5.

Dirt House celebrates the release of its debut EP Come Over at Slowdown Jr. Saturday night. Opening is Kait Berreckman and The Jim Schroeder Quintet (Schroeder plays guitar with Dave Nance, among others). $8 adv/$10 DOS, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Centerpiece, a band I just heard about yesterday, is celebrating the release if its debut EP Simple at Reverb Lounge Saturday night. North by North and I Forgot to Love My Father open. $7 adv/$10 DOS. 9 p.m.

Sunday night there’s a 5-band indie-punk show at Reverb headlined by Big Bite. Also on the bill is Supercrush, BiB, Death Cow and Ginger Ale. $8, 9 p.m.

Finally, The Waiting Room is hosting its annual Canada Day showcase — 10 bands playing Canadian covers including Mike Saklar, Korey Anderson and The Electroliners. This is a benefit for the Siena / Francis House with food available and everything. $8, 8 p.m. More info here.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Oberst saddles up Mystic Valley Band; Clarence Tilton, Son Ambulance tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:00 pm June 21, 2018

Son, Ambulance at The Sydney, April 6, 2018. They play tonight at The Down Under.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Reception will be hazy for the next few days. I’m headed to D.C., where among other things, I’ll be going to the 9:30 Club to see The Feelies. Full report/review likely next Tuesday.

In the meantime…

Conor Oberst is getting his Mystic Valley Band back together for a short California / Phoenix tour the first week of October. MVB members include Nik Freitas, Taylor Hollingsworth, Macey Taylor, Nate Walcott and Jason Boesel. Their last gig was apparently this past New Year’s Eve. Before that, you have to go back to 2013 for a gig.

Singer/songwriter Phoebe Bridgers opens three of the upcoming dates. Oberst sang on a track on her latest album.

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Tonight (Thursday) you’ve got Clarence Tilton doing the O’Leaver’s Happy Hour Series. It’s an early gig — 6 p.m. Not sure what they do if it rains, but you’ll find out. $5.

Also tonight, Son Ambulance plays at The Down Under as part of the “Evening with Dereck Higgins” series. 3gypt also plays. 9:30, and 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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La Vista green-lights new indoor/outdoor music venue; Those Far Out Arrows, Dirt House tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:47 pm June 20, 2018

An illustration of the proposed La Vista music venue.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This morning while drinking my coffee, shortly after watching a hard-hitting piece about a couple who stole a $25 wading pool (“stealing kids’ summer fun“), KETV Channel 7 reported that 1% Productions and KC’s Mammoth Productions received approval from the La Vista City Council to build a new indoor/outdoor music venue on South 84th St. This is the project first announced back in January.

There’s some disagreement about the venues’ capacities. KETV reported that the new music hall will hold 2,400 while the adjacent outdoor amphitheater will hold 5,000. The Omaha World-Herald reported the capacities to be 1,800 and 4,000 respectively.

When this project was first announced, the biggest concerns I heard surrounded how it would impact The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge bookings, arguably the best venues in town for indie music, both of which are booked by One Percent Productions. Marc Leibowitz, who runs One Percent with Jim Johnson, is attributed in the OWH article as saying the new facility is “not aimed at taking down other venues.” I’m not sure if he was talking about his own venues, but let’s face it, the La Vista project is too big for the kind of bands booked at TWR or Reverb, which have capacities below 700 and 200 respectively. (Unless, of course, they also build a small club inside the new La Vista facility…).

The bigger risk is the financial gamble — One Percent and Mammoth are putting up the money to build the venues. The price hasn’t been reported, though $15 million was mentioned in January as the cost for the indoor club alone. The city is apparently paying $3.2 million in park improvements (where the amphitheater will be located), which it said it was going to do anyway.

Beyond the financial risks to the promoters, who else could feel the impact of this new music venue when it opens in 2020? Stir Cove comes to mind, so does Papillion’s SumTur Amphitheater. And what about Maha? It seems like the Maha Music Festival was invented as a vehicle to bring in the kind of acts that the La Vista project is tailor-made to host. BTW, One Percent has been involved in booking Maha for nearly a decade.

In the end, the La Vista venues will make it more likely acts like Courtney Barnett and Beach House will come to Omaha (though I can’t see how it will help attract small-drawing high-quality acts like Snail Mail, Algiers and Natalie Prass, who also are bypassing our little ‘burb)…

* * *

The Pageturners summer music series continues tonight with Those Far Out Arrows and opener The Sunks. This free show starts at 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Dirt House, the project led by singer/songwriter Annie Dilocker, is having a listening party for their new EP Come Over, tonight at Hi-Fi House. The free program starts at 7:30 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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What are the Libera Awards? Congrats to Saddle Creek…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:51 pm June 19, 2018

The Libera Awards is June 21 in New York. Saddle Creek band Big Thief is up for two.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Most people who I’ve talked to that listen to indie music don’t give a squat about awards. Let’s face it, indie music has never really been represented at The Grammy’s or anywhere else. Whenever I hear the Grammy nominations and see that everything being honored is pop-oriented I simply nod my head, knowingly. The Grammy’s are a marketing tool; they were never an indication of what’s good.

That said, I do follow award shows. I don’t know why, I guess I’m just a geek that way. So imagine my surprise to discover there is an awards program for indie music called The Libera Awards, which have been around since 2012.

Presented by American Association of Independent Music (or A2IM), the Libera Awards “exist to celebrate the successes of the independent music community – the artists that create the music and the labels that invest their heart, soul and money while using our experience and relationships to promote and monetize the music, thus furthering the artists’ careers and rewarding our fans with the diverse music that they love.”

Terrible mission statement, but we get it.

This year’s awards take place somewhere in New York June 21 as part of “Indie Music Week.” Among the nominees for album of the year is Big Thief’s last album, Capacity, which was released by Saddle Creek last year. Capacity also is nominated for Best American Roots and Folk Album. Congrats to Saddle Creek Records and Big Thief for the nominations.

Unfortunately Saddle Creek wasn’t among the nominees for Label of the Year, a category that comes in both “big” and “small” sizes. Saddle Creek falls into the “big” category as they have more then six employees.

Anyway, check out all the Libera Award nominees in this Billboard Magazine story and read about the role A2IM plays with Saddle Creek Records in my Saddle Creek at 25 story in the current issue of The Reader.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Iceage, Mary Lattimore tonight at The Waiting Room…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:48 pm June 18, 2018

Iceage at Slowdown Jr., Oct. 24, 2014. The band plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Iceage plays tonight at The Waiting Room. Here’s an excerpt from my review of their show at Slowdown Jr. back in 2014: “Iceage music is rough, a dry-heave style of punk with shadows of early monsters like Gang of Four and The Fall lying hidden beneath the waves. The rhythm section always is front and center providing a solid bedrock for Rønnenfelt’s low, breathy brays and yells.

Their latest album, Beyondless (2018, Matador), carries on in a similar style, though with a bit more of a pop sense (there’s even a track with Sky Ferreira). These days their sound more closely resembles The Cure than The Fall.

Opening act Mary Lattimore is a classically trained LA harpist who has performed with, among others, Thurston Moore, Steve Gunn and Kurt Vile. Judging from the track below, which sounds like something I’d hear while having a massage, it should be quite a contrast to Iceage’s abrasive minor-key punk.

This is an early show — 8 p.m. $15.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Leafblower, Skating Polly Saturday; Speedy Ortiz, Xetas, Laura Burhenn Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:24 pm June 15, 2018

Speedy Ortiz at O’Leaver’s, 8/15/15. The band plays Sunday night at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We’ve entered “avoid downtown” season as the College World Series gets under way this weekend. Funny thing about CWS, it does make life around the so-called “No Do” area unbearable, but the rest of downtown — the Old Market, etc. — is usually pretty quiet during CWS as the fans seem to be content congregating around the tents. Let’s keep them there, shall we?

There isn’t a thing going on (that I could find) indie-music wise tonight.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) get ready to get smoked out at fabulous O’Leaver’s when Leafblower returns to the stage. They’re opening for Nashville indie band QuicheNight. Sidewalkers kicks it off at 10 p.m. $5.

Also Saturday night Oklahoma City indie-pop trio Skating Polly headlines at Reverb Lounge. Potty Mouth and Histrionic open. 9 p.m., $12 DOS.

Sunday night Speedy Ortiz returns to Omaha, this time to Reverb Lounge. Their new album, Twerp Verse (2018, Carpark), was originally going to be a collection of love songs by front woman Sadie Dupuis, but with the world the way it is these days, Sadie changed course.

The songs on the album that were strictly personal or lovey dovey just didn’t mean anything to me anymore–that’s not the kind of music I’ve found healing or motivating in the past few years, and I was surprised I’d written so much of it,” Dupuis said. “Social politics and protest have been a part of our music from day one, and I didn’t want to stop doing that on this album.”

Anna Burch (Polyvinyl Records) and Austin garage giants Xetas (12XU Record) opens this stacked line-up at 9 p.m. $15 DOS.

Finally Mynabirds’ Laura Burhenn opens for Portland indie-folkies Horse Feathers (Kill Rock Stars) at The Waiting Room Sunday night. $17, 8 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Those Far Out Arrows, Michael Beach, Big Slur tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:16 pm June 14, 2018

Those Far Out Arrows at The Brothers Feb. 17, 2018. The band plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Two quick show notes…

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Those Far Out Arrows headlines a show that includes Australian act Michael Beach. For the life of me, the only info I could find on Beach was his Bandcamp page (below). I like what I’m hearing. Nathan Ma also is on the bill. Show starts at 9 p.m. and is $5.

Also tonight, there’s an art/noise show at Project Project, 1818 Vinton St., featuring Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes), Sopor and headlined by jazz/metal/noise trio Giardia. Showtime is listed as 7:30 p.m., no price given. For more info, go here.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The Reader’s Top 20 Omaha Bands list; First Aid Kit tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:38 pm June 13, 2018

First Aid Kit at The Waiting Room, June 2, 2014. The band plays tonight at Sokol Auditorium.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The June issue of The Reader is on newsstands somewhere (I have yet to find one) and is also online (here). Included is the annual Top 20 bands list, derived from music staff input (which isn’t reflected in the story, but is how it happened). The list is limited to Omaha bands, which was pretty much the case for years’ past (actually, The Reader forgot to publish the list last year, come to think of it, and you were stuck with just my list).

You can read the 2018 list by flipping to page 32 on the print or the electronic edition. With two exceptions, my personal list matches theirs, though I would have also included Closeness, Jason Steady and Digital Leather, all of whom released new recordings in the past year and have played/toured, etc. Who would I have dropped from The Reader‘s list? I’m not sayin’…

This isn’t a “best of” list as much as list of favorite bands that were active in the past 12 months either through touring, performing and/or recording. What does it mean when a publication says something is the “best” anyway?

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The last time First Aid Kit came through town was at The Waiting Room in 2014 (review of that one here.)(Although First Aid Kit’s Klara Söderberg did make a special guest appearance on an Omaha stage in 2016 as a member of The Standby Club…). The band’s fanbase has continued to grow to the point where tonight they’re playing at Sokol Auditorium. If you like great harmonies, you’ll love this show — no one does it better. Opener JS Ondara is from Minneapolis by way of Nairobi. $30, 8 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Caroline Rose, Cardioid; Jason Steady, Bad Bad Men Friday; Nik Freitas, Okkervil River Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:47 pm June 8, 2018

Caroline Rose at Reverb Lounge, June 7, 2018.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The whole time I was watching Caroline Rose last night at Reverb Lounge I’m thinking, “Man, she looks just like Buddy from the ‘70s TV show Family.” I mentioned this to someone after the show who had no idea who I was talking about, hadn’t heard of Buddy or the show. When I said the star’s name was Kristy McNichol, the guy asked, “Wasn’t she one of Charlie’s Angels?” Right decade, wrong show.

It doesn’t matter I guess as long as you catch the ‘70s reference, because Caroline Rose’s music sounds like something from that era. Not “Rock 100 FM ‘70s Classic Rock,” but sort of bubble-gum rock with some punk/new wave overhang sung in a voice that’s as cute as it is fetching in a Courtney Barnett sort of way.

The set was dominated by songs off her current album, Loner (2018, New West) that are fun, sarcastic and witty with dark overtones peeping through the edges. It’s an infectious album, and she performed the tunes with the goofy energy that they deserve, backed by keyboardist/guitarist and a tight rhythm section who looked like they were having as much fun as the audience.

Rose’s between-song patter was almost as entertaining as her music, cracking wise and telling stories and introducing each number by saying, “This is my favorite song. No, this really is my favorite song.” I guess they all were. And to tell the truth, each song was its own little high point (though I especially loved hearing “Bikini” and “Money” and “Jeannie Becomes a Mom”).

Cardioid at Reverb Lounge, June 7, 2018.

Opener, Portland band Cardioid, was a surprise. They started out sounding like your typical indie band in an Angel Olson sort of way, with a lead singer whose voice I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was thinking Rosanne Cash, but another person pointed to Roy Orbison, which was much more on target. As the set progressed their style became almost proggy with unique, unorthodox arrangements, chord changes and great harmonies, you never knew where they were going next. Sublime.

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Let’s get to the weekend…

O’Leaver’s is hosting its a two-day Mid by Midwest mini festival that combines comedy and music. Tonight’s music, which starts at 10 p.m., features a rare performance by Jason Steady (Talking Mountain, Wolf Dealer). Joining him is Dorsia. Your $10 ticket gets you in for the two hours of comedy leading up to music, starting at 8 p.m.

On day 2 of Mid by Midwest (Saturday) Nik Freitas headlines the music with Miwi La Lupa kicking off the jams at 10 p.m. As I mentioned yesterday, Freitas’ new album, Day & Dark, is stunningly good. Like the prior night, your $10 cover gets you into the two-hour comedy show that leads up to the music. More info here.

Let’s back up… Also happening Friday night is a rock show at Brothers Lounge featuring The Ramparts, Narco States and Bad Bad Men (Wolf/Siebken/Hug). $5, 9 p.m.

And Scott Severin (who’s celebrating a birthday today) opens for Jack Hotel tonight at The Harney Street Tavern. 9  p.m. and free.

And lest I forget, City Councilman Pete Festersen and a band that includes guitarists Vic Padios and Mark Weber plays a show tonight at the Benson B-Side (next to the Benson Theater). The show is $5 and starts at 8. Come see how a politician plays the drums.

Saturday night Okkervil River returns to Omaha, this time to The Waiting Room. Here’s a band that’s played just about every performance space in the city, from The Junction to O’Leaver’s to Slowdown. This was the last time I interviewed Will Sheff way back in 2005 when Black Sheep Boy was released, wherein he had this golden quote: “The fact is, it’s hard to spend seven months a year on the road making less money than a 7-11 clerk and still have a satisfying life.” That doesn’t seem to have stopped him.

The band has a new record out called In the Rainbow Rain (2018, ATO). Sheff’s voice still has that same pretty, sad lilt heard on all their music. Star Rover opens at 8 p.m. $18 DOS.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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