by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Another O’Leaversfest has come and gone. Alas, I was only able to take part in Day 1, last Friday night, and only for the closing band. If the rest of the weekend was as well attended as Day 1, organizers may want to consider adding a camping option for the festival — let all those out-of-towners pitch their tents in the volleyball courts.
On warm evenings like Friday, it’s become more and more common for the majority of the crowd to be out in the new beer garden, and that was certainly the case, all basking in the glow of Tyrone Storm’s deft DJ skills. So crowded and hectic was it that I escaped to the old front beer garden, where only a few people sat around and smoked and waited for the band to play. Old-school O’Leaver’s… for the beautiful people…
Flowers Forever drew everyone back inside. In the old days, Flowers Forever was Derek Pressnall and whoever joined him on stage (but with a couple regulars). Friday was the same thing, with original member Craig Dee on drums. Third original member. Chris Senseney, was not in the house (or at least I didn’t see him). The other five slots were filled with a few familiar faces, including Annie Dilocker on keyboards and Sarah Bohling of Icky Blossoms on bass.
The set kicked off with an rousing version of “American Dream” off the 2008 debut (and as far as I know, the only Flowers Forever album released) and barrelled through a number of other songs off the album including “Black Pope” and “Strange Fruit.” I’d forgotten how much I liked the record when it came out. To me it always felt like an outsider coming into the cloistered Nebraska scene and creating his own, new thing from the bits and pieces that resonated with him. The outsider being Pressnall, the bits and pieces being the more upbeat moments from Bright Eyes’ early 2000s offerings.
Of the unknown players on stage, a standout was the lead guitarist, a young guy who absolutely shredded throughout the set. The next day Craig Dee told me the guy was Cubby Phillips, who, upon further research, I discovered is a jazz dude who won the Outstanding Soloist Award at the 2013 Great Planes Jazz Festival. Head-spinning skills, he has. (Update: Dereck Higgins just pointed out that he’s the guitarist in Chemicals).
I never found out what inspired this Flowers Forever “reunion,” though I must say the music has aged well. I’m told this wasn’t just a one-shot, and I’d certainly pay to see them again, though reunion bands have a way of fading if they don’t augment their past with something new. Pressnall now has Icky Blossoms as a creative outlet these days, and for him, maybe that’s enough…
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Roots / American singer-songwriter Jackie Greene is known as a musician’s musician, having played with a ton of people over the years, including as a member of the last iteration of Black Crowes and with Joan Osborne in Trigger Hippy. His latest album, Back to Birth (2015, Yep Roc), was produced by Los Lobos member Steve Berlin, and will appeal to Black Crowes fans or anyone who enjoys dense, guitar-infused American Trad rock.
I sent Greene the ol’ Ten Questions and this is what he had to say:
1. What is your favorite album?
Exile On Main Street
2. What is your least favorite song?
3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?
Spooning the merch girl.
4. What do you hate about being in a band?
Spooning the bass player.
5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?
6. In what city or town do you love to perform?
Osaka, Japan. A distant second would be Perth.
7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?
Somewhere in rural South Dakota. It was winter and the gear froze.
8. How do you pay your bills?
9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?
Someday, I’d like to open my own typewriter repair shop. We’d only service post-war American-made machines. We’d have limited hours. I probably wouldn’t like to do anything involving a nail salon.
10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?
I have a friend from Omaha. I’ve heard lots of stories. Most of them good.
Jackie Greene plays with The Cordovas Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Slowdown Jr., 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $18 Adv./$20 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com
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It’s a night of emo rock at Milk Run this evening. Headlining is Omaha’s own Super Ghost, whereas the traveling band is Minnesota act Weathered. Altura and Medlock open. 9 p.m. $5.
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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.