Proof of vaccine mandates (in the column) includes Spoon Sept. 8; Pixies cancel; new Megan Siebe, Brad Hoshaw…

Category: Blog — @ 12:39 pm August 23, 2021
Megan Siebe dropped the first single from her upcoming LP.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Though the article won’t be published until September, due to the ever-changing nature of what’s happening with COVID/Delta, my column already has been published at The Reader website. It includes statements from The Slowdown, One Percent Productions and touring Philly act Grocer on proof-of-vaccine requirements to enter clubs for shows. You can read the article here.

Since it was published last week, the ground already has started to shift. According to the Des Moines Register, as a result of Iowa’s law against proof of vaccination, Spoon cancelled its show at Hoyt Sherman Place and moved it to Slowdown Sept. 9. Entry requires proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test 48 hours prior to entry.

With 1% and Slowdown saying they’ll support these kinds of artist requests, I suspect you’ll see more vaccine-mandated shows popping up. Go to The Slowdown website and you’ll notice that the requirement is in place for Mannequin Pussy Sept. 17, Lightning Bolt Sept. 21, City and Colour Sept. 26, Indigo De Souza Oct. 2, and so on.

Meanwhile, the Sept. 16 Pixies show that was to be held outdoors outside of The Waiting Room has been cancelled due to Pixies canceling their tour. And everyone is wondering if this Saturday’s Elvis Costello concert (and fireworks extravaganza) in Memorial Park is still happening. No indication yet that it’ll be cancelled, but since it is a free event, anything could happen.

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Singer/songwriter/cellist Megan Siebe has a new record coming out called Swaying Steady on Grapefruit Records Aug. 27 (preorder here) You may know her from her work with Cursive, David Nance and Simon Joyner. The latest song from the album, “Whispers,” dropped under all our noses last week.

Also with new music, former Omahan now Californian Brad Hoshaw dropped the first single from his upcoming album, Living on a Sliver, which is slated for release Oct. 22. The track “Spun Out & On the Run” is a bouncing indie rocker. Check it out below.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Grocer at Reverb Lounge…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:27 pm August 18, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Philadelphia indie band Grocer at Reverb Lounge, Aug. 17, 2021.

I dropped in for last night’s set by Philly band Grocer at Reverb Lounge, where I also conducted a quick interview with the band about proof-of-vaccine mandates, comments from which will appear in the September issue of The Reader. Needless to say, they support them, but what reasonable band wouldn’t?

Anyway, the four-piece came on at around 8:45 to a good-sized crowd for a Tuesday night (around 40?). Many in the young audience wore masks while they bounced around to Grocer’s thick-beat post-punk. That beat was created by bassist Danielle Lovier, who shared the lead vocals with drummer Cody Nelson and guitarist Nick Ryan.

Their style very much was in the early Pixies tradition, angular and cool riding high on the bass line and backbeat drums, while guitarist Emily Daly shredded feedback-drenched leads run through a muffled effects pedal, which at times was drowned out by the rest of the band (i.e., I would have loved more of her in the mix).

I dig their new EP, Delete If Not Allowed, and we got a good helping of it last night, including a fiery version of lead track “Better Now.” Other highlights included songs from the band’s debut LP, including “The Party Song” and an acidic version of “Don’t Touch Me” (Who are you singing about, Danielle?).

Side note: Closing band Bad Self Portraits’ drummer handled the vocals last night as apparently frontwoman Ingrid Howell suffered an appendicitis prior to the gig. You know what they say: The show must go on…

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Soundman Dan Brennan to leave Slowdown; Grocer, Cat Piss tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm August 17, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Philly indie band Grocer plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

I woke up to shocking news that sound engineer Dan Brennan is leaving Slowdown for a production manager position with Omaha Performing Arts. Brennan has been a part of Slowdown since the club opened 14 years ago and has galvanized the venue’s reputation as one of the best sounding live rooms in Omaha.

Could this move have something to do with the construction of OPA’s new 3,000-capacity Steelhouse Omaha live music venue slated to open downtown in mid-2023? It’s rumored that Live Nation will be booking bands coming through Steelhouse, which could have a real impact on Slowdown and the new Admiral (formerly Sokol Auditorium). We shall see..

Dan will be leaving the Slowdown control board duties in the able hands of Charlie Ames, who’s work history includes Front of House sound at The Jewell, and who is also quite familiar with Slowdown’s sound system having worked there in the past.

We’re gonna miss you Dan. Charlie, you’re up!

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Philly indie band Grocer headlines tonight at Reverb Lounge. Their latest EP, Delete If Not Allowed, was released in May and recorded during the lock-down, and is quite a leap from their last full-length. The band has an edgy, throbbing punk sound reminiscent of early Pixies. Check it.


Also on the bill is local noise rock trio Cat Piss and the indie pop fun of Bad Self Portraits. $10, 8 p.m. start time.


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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Petfest (Magū, Those Far Out Arrows) and later that night (Bad Bad Men)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:53 pm August 16, 2021
Lawn chairs and rock ‘n’ roll at Petfest 2021.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If there was any concern about the Delta variant, it wasn’t apparent at Petfest last Saturday. There were maybe two people in the crowd of 40 or so wearing masks. And while that may shock some, it was no concern to me. I got the feeling the people surrounding me were not of the dumb-rube-Republican-conspiracy-tin-hat-wearing-numbskull variety (Tell us, Tim, what you really think of non-vaxxers…). And we were all outside, and for the most part, “distanced” from each other.

As someone who has been to a half-dozen South by Southwest festivals, I can tell you that Saturday’s Petfest was about as close as you’re going to get to what it’s like at a SXSW “day show” without taking a trip to Austin. Two differences: 1) No one was giving out free Lone Star beers and/or breakfast burritos, and 2) the sound quality at Petfest was far superior than the usual high-school-auditorium PA sound system used at SXSW (oh what those poor musicians put up with).

Ian Aeillo, a mad-genius audio engineer with bat-like ears that can hear frontwards, backwards and sideways, had the ol’ Barley Street white-rock parking lot sounding like LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, pushing sound from both stages simultaneously, it was like sitting in your parents’ 1970s basement listening to a Pink Floyd quadraphonic recording, but with indie bands.

As I said last Friday, this fest brought together the finest collection of local musical talent I’ve seen assembled at one concert in Omaha since, well, last year’s Petfest. Whoever the tastemaker was that booked this gig really knows his or her stuff.

Anna McClellan at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

I came in right when things kicked off at 2 p.m. with Anna McClellan and her band. McClellan is a unique artist both musically and lyrically — she’s warm and lonely and sardonic all at the same time. The slightly off-kilter wonkiness of her vocal delivery only gives her songs more authenticity (to me, anyway). Every one of her performances is memorable, and it was a great way to kick off the day.

Magū at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Following Anna in the smaller garage stage was the most surprising set of the day. I’ve written passingly about Magū before (a few years ago, regarding one of their releases), but I’ve never seen them live. What to make of a five-piece that prominently includes a tenor sax front-and-center? There’s not much info about the band online (like who’s in the band?). Stylistically they describe themselves as psych rock / shoe gaze, but I’d peg them as modern indie with touches of classic rock. I loved the sax player’s tone and style, which merely augmented the songs and didn’t get in the way.

And then there was the woman keyboard player who sang leads on one song and knocked everyone on their asses. They’re quite an ensemble, which has been sitting right under my nose for years. When are they playing next?

Lightning Stills at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Magū were followed by Omaha super group Lightning Stills and the Midtown Ramblers (the “Ramblers” part was new to me). Lightning Stills is the countrified alter ego of (former?) punker Craig Fort. He’s surrounded himself with some of the area’s finest ax men, including pedal-steel player Mike Friedman, lead guitarist Tom May, and bassist Danny Maxwell.

I’m told this was the band’s first live gig but you wouldn’t know it by how well they played on these alcohol-drenched tales of personal excess and woe. Hard liquor and twang are a recipe as old as country music itself, and even has its own local iteration in the form of Filter Kings (Hard to beat that band’s “Hundred Proof Man” for pure booze romanticism). The Ramblers do it well, especially when they get into a groove and the players are allowed stretch out on these four-chord-powered jams.

Vocally, you can tell this was Mr. Fort’s first rodeo. Unlike punk, which thrives entirely on angst and energy, you will not get a pass on the vox — ever notice even the slightest waver and/or off-kilter moment when you listen to Waylon or Merle or Jerry Jeff? That’s just part of the deal, and it’s something that Fort will nail down over time.

Mike Schlesinger at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Speaking of vocals, there are few better voices than Mike Schlesinger — around these parts or anywhere. Mike played a short set alone with his acoustic guitar that managed to hush a parking lot full of drinking revelers who leaned in on every note. Schlesinger closed with “Coolie Trade,” one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Gotta wonder what would happen if the right “industry people” ever discovered this mega talent.

Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Next was the first of a two-set day for Those Far Out Arrows. I’ve written about these guys so many times you’re tired of hearing it — they are at the forefront of Omaha’s garage-rock scene, true disciples of that classic ‘60s psych-rock sound epitomized by bands like Them, The Animals and the Kinks.

Two moments summed up their set for me, both took place while playing their A-side single, “Snake in my Basement.” First, I noticed across the parking lot in an adjacent garage covered with No Trespassing signs this rough, older dude working on his car who looked like the dad from Orange County Choppers. He set down his wrench, leaned back in the shadow of the doorway, watched and listened, nodding his head. Second thing — a little boy no more than 5 years old sat cross-legged in the middle of the parking lot and sang along with chorus.

As a band, what more do you want?

I wanted to put earmuffs on the little dude and his sister when the band tore into “Hell Yeah (MF)” from their Part Time Lizards album, with the repeated chorus, “Hell yeah, mother f***er, hell yeah!

MiWi La Lupa (right) at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

The last performer I caught at the fest was MiWi La Lupa accompanied by guitarist Cubby Phillips. The two played a solid set that underscored why MiWi is recognized as one of the area’s better singer/songwriters.

And that was the end of my Petfest experience, though there was a ton more left that afternoon and evening. The whole day felt like being at someone’s very cool block party. I foresee a day when Omaha hosts a SXSW-style festival in which it invites bands from all over the country to play in venues throughout Benson. And when that day comes, Petshop Gallery and BFF will host a day party, and it’ll be something like this.

I was back in Benson later that night for Bad Bad Men and Those Far Out Arrows at Reverb Lounge. I’ve only been to a couple of shows at the new, improved Reverb, and Saturday’s was the most populated. Again, only the bartenders wore masks despite the Delta variant growing in the community.

Bad Bad Men at Reverb Lounge Aug. 14, 2021.

The super-group power trio of Bad Bad Men is fronted by Omaha rock legend John Wolf, with drummer Chris Siebken and bass player Jerry Hug. When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll these dudes are indeed bad, bad men. Their music rides on Wolf’s heavy metal riffage and is powered by that dynamic rhythm section that recalls a filthy, grinding punk rock heard back in Omaha in the ’90s by acts like Ritual Device and Wolf’s own Cellophane Ceiling. It’s dark and fun, with Wolf growling out the lead vocals and stretching out on blistering guitar leads. Their best set yet.

Those Far Out Arrows at Reverb Lounge Aug. 14, 2021.

The night was closed out by another performance from Those Far Out Arrows. They only played something like four songs at Petfest (everyone at the festival played shortened sets). They added another four of so for this evening gig. My only additional note is a tip of the hat to the band’s bass player, Derek LeVasseur, who makes everything they do up there possible alongside drummer Brian Richardson. You can’t make these songs keep chugging along without those guys.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Petfest is Saturday (Anna McClellan, Those Far Out Arrows, And How, more); Salsa Chest, Thick Paint Friday; Bad Bad Men Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:15 am August 13, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

And How at Petfest 2020. The band performs again at Petfest 2021 Saturday.

Petfest is, hands down, the best collection of Nebraska bands to perform on one bill this year. And it takes place this Saturday at Petshop in Benson.

The event is a fundraiser for Benson First Friday (BFF), and features art as well as music (and beer). If you’re worried about the Delta variant, Petfest is hosted outdoors and has a mask requirement.

I went last year during the height of the the COVID-19 pandemic and saw their safety protocols firsthand, so I have no concerns about attending again this year. That said, you do what you do. The only thing that would make this gig safer is if they required proof of vaccination for entry (come on, Omaha venues, let’s make it happen).

The event takes place in the parking lot behind the Petfest building at 2725 No. 62nd St. Last year bands performed both outside and on the edge of the indoor space (the garage), essentially playing outside as well. Tickets are $20 today, $25 tomorrow.

The schedule:

Outside Stage:
2:00-2:20 – Anna McClellan
2:50-3:10 – Lightning Stills
3:40-4:00 – Those Far Out Arrows
4:30-4:50 – McCarthy Trenching
5:20-5:40 – Thick Paint
6:10-6:30 – Her Flyaway Manner
7:00-7:25 – Oqoua
8:05-8:35 – And How
9:15-9:45 – All Young Girls Are Machine Guns

Inside Stage:
2:25-2:45 – Magu
3:15-3:35 – Mike Schlesinger
4:05-4:25 – Miwi La Lupa
4:55-5:15 – Teetah
5:45-6:05 – CHEW
6:35-6:55 – Moon Pussy
7:30-8:00 – Benny Leather
8:40-9:10 – Ghost Foot
9:50-10:20 – Leafblower
10:45-11:15 – Universe Contest
11:30-Whenever – Crab Vs Kobra

More info at the event’s Facebook page.

Petshop actually gets things rolling tonight with a super-hot bill to be held partially outside (in the same space as Petfest). Atlanta experimental artist Salsa Chest (Joyful Noise/Gray Area Cassettes), whose latest was produced by Thick Paint’s Graham Ulicny, is on the bill with Thick Paint, Double Consciousness and headliner Mesonjixx. 8:30, $7.

AND

If you miss Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest during the day Saturday, you can also catch them at Reverb Lounge Saturday night, where they’re playing with The Darma Rose and Bad Bad Men — the supergroup featuring legendary punker John Wolf fronting a power trio rounded out by drummer Chris Siebken and bass player Jerry Hug. $8. 9 p.m.

One last show of note this weekend – Lincoln singer/songwriter Andrea von Kampen (Fantasy Records) has an album release show Saturday night at The Slowdown with Molly Parden. 8 p.m. $20.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. See you at Petfest.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Solid Goldberg, No Thanks, BFF, Bach Mai, Problems tonight; Under the Radar Saturday; Black Pumas Sunday (outside)…and it’s Bandcamp Friday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 11:40 am August 6, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

No Thanks during a performance at Slowdown. The band plays tonight at The Sydney.

This might be the busiest post-COVID weekend since, well, Maha (OK, ok… I know we’re actually still very much in the heat of COVID. If you’re vaxxed, enjoy the weekend; if you’re not, just stay home and enjoy your conspiracy theories).

Tons happening tonight.

Firstly, it’s Benson First Friday (#BFF), which means the art will be flying throughout Benson. The Sydney has a mighty line-up tonight, headlined by the one and only Solid Goldberg. Joining him is one of my favorite local bands, No Thanks, whose last album, Submerger (2020, Black Site Records), was one of the best from last year. Opening is singer/songwriter Ben Eisenberger. $10, probably 10 p.m.

Also tonight in Benson, Reverb Lounge is hosting PROBLEMS (Darren Keen of The Show is the Rainbow fame, doing his one-man thing) with Goth Martin (aka lowercase tres) and W. Groves. Free before 10 p.m., $5, after 10 p.m.

Meanwhile down Slowdown Jr., Bach Mai is hosting its album release show for What You’ve Given, which came out in January, and includes a huge supporting cast and was mixed, recorded and engineered by Rick Carson (Make Believe Studios). Joining him are J. Crum and Steady Wells (Jordan Smith from Twinsmith). $10, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Omaha Under the Radar is happening throughout the city at spaces like Kaneko, Joslyn, OutrSpaces and The Trap Room. Among those performing are Dereck Higgins, who has a new album out today called Future Still. Events are happening throughout the day. No idea on costs. More info here.

Finally, Sunday night at “Waiting Room Outdoors” — which is a blocked-off Military Ave. outside of Reverb Lounge — is Black Pumas with Neal Francis. Gates at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. $40. Expect a crowd.

Also, today is Bandcamp Friday, which means Bandcamp is waiving its fees for purchases from its site today only. So go to all the above Bandcamp pages and make some purchases, like the new one by Big Nope, “Mt. Baker.”

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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Maha Music Festival — Japanese Breakfast, Thundercat, Khruangbin, Edem Soul Music…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Looking out from the stage at the 2021 Maha Music Festival.

It was almost as if the gods looked down from the sky and said, “Let’s give this little festival a break,” and then turned down the thermostat in Omaha for the day and blew away all that nasty Pacific Northwest smoke (only to be replaced with a different kind of smoke later in the evening).

#Maha13 couldn’t have been more flawless from a operations point of view. Unlike the Lizzo-year oversold debacle two years ago, this one was smooth as silk, thanks to ticket limits (due to COVID), which held the number at a manageable 8,000. So well run was it this year, in fact, that I beseech the Maha organizers to continue to limit ticket sales in the future, augmenting their income with more sponsorships and a slightly higher ticket price.

In other words, don’t be greedy.

Who knows, maybe that is the plan? Maha changed it’s setup this year, adding a number of small sponsor tents that lined the north-end perimeter, replacing their “global village” with even more sponsor tents. It might be why Stinson Park never looked better-attended for its early acts, who enjoyed a sizable crowd during their sets.

While I was there for the entire day (a first), I was kinda/sorta working at the Union Pacific sponsor tent, which kept me busy, but not too busy to grab some photos and catch some sets. Some I missed altogether, though I heard them in the background…

Dirt House at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

Dirt House was the first one that got me up to the stage. Annie Dilocker has surrounded herself with some of the best talent from ‘round these parts. Backing her was guitarist Jim Schroeder (2020’s Mesa Buoy, UUVVWWZ, David Nance Band to name a few), drummer Roger Lewis (The Good Life, Neva Dinova, Conduits, local legend), bassist Sara Bertuldo (See Through Dresses) and violinist Amy Carey. We’re talking all-stars here. At the center was Dilocker, who continues to grow as as vocalist and songwriter.

Edem Soul Music at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

The biggest surprise of the day came from Edem Soul Music. I’ve never paid much attention to Edem, as the only time I’d seen her perform in the past was alone with ukulele, which is a tough sell for me. While I was running around doing stuff, I kept getting pulled into her set, thinking, “Holy shit, that’s a good song,” and them moments later, “OK, now that one’s even better.

I finally put down my stuff and went to the stage. Now I need to find out who the heck Edem Garro is. Incredible voice, but beyond that, just straight-up catchy R&B songs. Her online presence is a mish-mash (one song on Bandcamp?, a few singles on Spotify?). Looks like she has a new album coming out later this month…

Shovels and Rope at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

The national bands started at 5:30 with Shovels & Rope, who I knew but hadn’t really listened to prior to this. They were fine, though none of their songs really caught my attention — sort of alt-indie in the Felice Brothers/Dawes/Langhorne Slim vein, with a surprisingly full sound for a two-piece.

It’s a good time to mention the overall festival sound. Maybe it was where I was situated across the field, but there was a lack of underbelly to the bands on the small stage, and all the drums sounded lost in the mix throughout the night. As is the case with all festivals, bands sounded better as they got deeper into their sets, thanks to the sound folks, but there’s only so much you could do with that small stage. But even the large stage had its limitations, moreso than I can remember from any past Maha show (and I’ve been to all of them). The exceptions were the two main stage headliners.

Drive-By Truckers at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

Moving on, like Shovels and Rope, I only have a passing knowledge of Drive-By Truckers. Their style of Dixie-hotdamn-southern indie is not my thang, though there were times I was reminded of heavier John Hiatt tunes. DBT was the heaviest thing dished out this year at Maha, which in past years featured at least one (and usually more) punk-flavored indie bands. Not this year. (Did I mention The Oh Sees were the best part of the Lizzo year?).

Japanese Breakfast at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

I’m probably not the only one who wondered why Japanese Breakfast was placed on the small stage. Maybe it was because they were the only true indie-style band on the festival ticket, and we all know indie bands are used to getting placed at the smaller table. They no doubt deserved to be on the big stage, where we likely would have gotten a better-sounding set. Regardless, the band played through all their “hits” off their last couple of albums.

JB was the one band I was most looking forward to at the festival, and to be honest, their set was sorta ho-hum. But then again, hasn’t indie sort of been headed in a ho-hum direction for the past few years? Vibe bands are taking over indie music along with female singer-songwriters, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m beginning to wonder where the next PJ Harvey or Arcade Fire will come from.

Thundercat at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

Thundercat turned in the most thoroughly enjoyable set of the festival. A.k.a. Stephen Bruner showed off his amazing bass-playing chops on a set of proggy, jazz-flavored, mostly instrumental numbers that also showcased a crushingly talented band.

It felt more like a jazz set than a R&B/rock set, though the intricate, complicated arrangements stood right up there with some of the crazy prog acts I remember from the ’70s, the kind of bands that shifted effortlessness from key and time signatures while playing at breakneck speeds. Impossible to not be impressed, however if you weren’t right up to the stage (as I was from the VIP section) you might get lost in the sound clutter, as most of the numbers didn’t have memorable central melodies.

That came with their final song, “Them Changes,” which has become his funk anthem, the one they play on Sirius XMU, the song that would get airplay if we still had a decent FM rock station.

Khruangbin at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

That final Thundercat song was the perfect hand-off to Khruangbin, a band whose music is destined to be heard for many decades playing in the background at your local grocery store.

We all knew their low-key vibe music would be a soft-lit way to end this festival, and boy, it sure was. Along with Thundercat, their sound quality was next level, and their playing was tight as a tick, but man, weren’t much going on up there on stage other than three folks spread out playing their jams. Judging by the always-present smell of weed, I doubt the remaining crowd cared. This is stoner-vibe music at it’s best, the perfect soundtrack for the stoned or for those waiting in line at The Gap.

So how does this Maha rate with past years?

In terms of overall quality of experience, it’s right up there with the best. You will not find a better-run festival with more helpful volunteers.

The line-up? It’s not fair to judge considering we’re coming out of national pandemic. It’s amazing they were able to even pull a line-up together. Most of these bands aren’t in my wheelhouse. While I like that Maha is still booking emerging acts along with more established bands (DBT, for example), I miss the indie rock, and punk. Maybe it just wasn’t available?

Who knows what the future holds for Maha? There’s talk of the festival eventually moving downtown when the new mall is completed, and spreading out shows to multiple venues, a la SXSW. That would be awesome if they can get a transportation plan in place to shuttle everyone around. In the meantime, I have a feeling we’ll all be back to Stinson Park next year, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Maha Festival (Japanese Breakfast, Thundercat, more) Saturday; Wagon Blasters tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:55 pm July 30, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Japanese Breakfast hits the Maha Festival stage at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The big mystery involves tomorrow’s weather — will the rain subside by 2 p.m. for the Maha Music Festival, returning again to Stinson Park at Aksarben Village? Place your bets. If you’re not aware, the festival officially became a “sell-out” yesterday. The cooler weather may actually be a blessing, even if we’re all wearing ponchos.

Gates are at 2 p.m. Here’s the schedule:

2 p.m. Crabrangucci
2 p.m. Kethro
2:30 — J. Crum
3:15 — Dirt House
3:50 — Omaha Girls Rock
4:00 — Edem Soul Music
4:45 — Matt Cox and the Marauders
5:30 — Shovels & Rope
6:45 — Drive-by Truckers
8:00 — Japanese Breakfast
9:15 — Thundercat
10:45 — Khruangbin
Midnight – the party’s over

I can’t remember if in past years they also blocked all the locals to perform early in the festival. The first touring act, Shovels & Rope, doesn’t go on until 5:30. Will anyone be there before that for the locals? Would have been nice to intermix the nationals and the locals, just to pull in a bigger crowd. I’ve said for years that Maha should place a mid-level touring act early in the day to get people in the park. Ah, but no touring band wants to play for anything less than the biggest crowd possible.  

Japanese Breakfast and Thundercat are on top of my must-see list, though I’ll be there all day.
Weather is playing a role in the festival’s set-up. Storms are forecast for this afternoon, but Maha has their act together.

Since it’s an outdoor event, mask wearing is optional for those of us with enough common sense to be vaccinated, but considering the smoke pouring in from the West Coast fires, you may want to wear your mask anyway. 

. ) ) ) .

The weekend partying actually starts tonight at Reverb Lounge in Benson where Wagon Blasters open for Pixies tribute band Surfer Rosa. It’s been too long since I’ve seen Gary Dean Davis and his crew bounce around on stage. This one could be packed — and may even sell out. $10, 9 p.m. 

That’s all I got.  Have a great weekend. Look for a Maha review on Monday.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Las Cruxes, Glue, Solid Goldberg Saturday night at The Brothers…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:02 pm July 23, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Las Cruxes at The Brothers Lounge, Sept. 27, 2019. The band returns Saturday night.

Ah, remember when I updated this blog daily? We’re still a long ways away from daily updates (though if I head to The Brothers Saturday night, expect a live review/pictures on Monday).

In fact, that’s the only show on my radar this weekend. Las Cruxes will return to The Brothers Lounge Saturday night for what I believe is the first live show at Omaha’s favorite punk bar since the pandemic struck. Las Cruxes has been plenty busy, having just been signed to a new label — Lennon MX Records. The first single, “Llueve En Mis Suenos,” came out last month, and a full-length is imminent, recorded at ARC by Ian Aeillo and Victor Salinas.

Also on the bill Saturday night at Brothers is Sioux City punk band Glue.

And to top it all off, Solid Goldberg is on the bill. I’m not sure if he’s playing first or last, so get there early to make sure you catch this one-of-a-kind one-man audio-visual music extravaganza.


All three bands for a mere $7. The show starts at 10 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Relax, It’s Science, Sun-Less Trio, Mere Shadows tonight; Dirt House, McCarthy Trenching Sunday; RSD 2021 Day 2 tomorrow…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:23 am July 16, 2021
Sun-Less Trio at The Sydney, June 10, 2017. The band returns tonight.

As the Delta variant swirls around the country and LA introduces new indoor mask mandates even for those who have been vaccinated, it’s obvious that we’re nowhere near the end of COVID-19.

That goes for what’s happening music-wise. We’ve yet to see a full-on press of quality touring shows coming through Omaha, though the volume of press releases for tours not coming through town (i.e., NOmaha) have risen sharply over the past few weeks. NOmaha tours include Protomartyr, Phoebe Bridgers, The Oh Sees, Courtney Barnett, even our own hometown act Bright Eyes.

BTW, Bright Eyes recently rescheduled its Ireland and UK dates to August 2022 due to COVID-19, though their U.S. dates starting at the end of July are still on. Odd that there’s no Bright Eyes Omaha tour dates… I think the last time Oberst played in Omaha was that Better Oblivion Community Center show at Slowdown in March 2019…

Interestingly, the next rock show featuring national indie bands is… the Maha Festival July 31, where Japanese Breakfast, Thundercat and Drive-By Truckers are among the acts.

Thankfully, we still have some local shows happening. Tonight at The Sydney in Benson Relax, It’s Science returns for a sort of an album-release show for their latest, Now It’s Your Problem, now available on CD. Mike Saklar’s Sun-Less Trio also is on the bill along with Mere Shadows. $10, 9 p.m.

Dirt House (who’s on this year’s Maha Festival bill) plays at Pageturners Lounge Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. with McCarthy Trenching. It’s a free show.

Hey, if we can get at least one good rock show a week do we have anything to complain about?

. ) ) ) .

I missed mentioning Record Store Day Pt. 1 last month. RSD Day 2 is tomorrow. You can check out all the RSD goodies here. Most stores open at 10 a.m.

Another good news story: The Old Market now has as many record stores as it ever did back in the day. You’ve got good ol’ Homer’s (of course), Vinyl Cup Records, 1108 Jackson, the new Grapefruit Records at 12th and Jackson, and they just reopened the Drastic Plastic Vinyl Lounge at 1217 Howard St.

I’ve slowed down on my vinyl acquisitions. It really has to be a record I intend to listen to on my turntable for me to buy it. I just don’t have the room! Anyway, I’ll be buying something…

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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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