Live Review: Refrigerator, Simon Joyner; Lincoln Calling tix on sale Thursday; Electric Six tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:29 pm July 5, 2016
Refrigerator at O'Leaver's, July 1, 2016.

Refrigerator at O’Leaver’s, July 1, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Refrigerator is a literate indie rock band that puts its guts out there for everyone to see, but still doesn’t take itself that seriously. Case in point: Halfway through their set Friday night at O’Leaver’s, guitarist Dennis Callaci decided it was a good time to form a congo line and bounce on out to the beer garden with his brother, frontman Allen Callaci, while the bassist and drummer kept the beat in the club. And out they went doing the usual bunny hop with grins on their faces (along with the dozen or so people who joined in, hands on hips).

The show had been promoted as a special occasion based on the fact that Refrigerator has never played in Nebraska before, despite having close ties with some prominent Nebraska musicians — Simon Joyner chief among them. To me, the band is identified with The Antiquarium, which was where you’d find their albums and cassettes, along with other releases on Callaci’s label, Shrimper. Their music has the same pleasantly abrasive style of a few of my favorite ’90s indie bands like Silkworm, Grifters, a more refined Guided by Voices — smart, earnest rock with a crashing beat that gets you moving. It was a great set.

The band had a big spread of their releases available at the show — lots of cassettes and some vinyl. But with only $20 to spare, I bought a copy of Allen Callaci’s book, Heart Like a Starfish, a handsome tome and a challenging read that I began tackling this weekend. The story recaps Allen’s medical struggles involving his heart. I’m just 40 or so pages into it and it’s getting rather grim, but I know the book has a happy ending because I saw it being lived out on O’Leaver’s stage.

Simon Joyner at O'Leaver's, July 1, 2016.

Simon Joyner at O’Leaver’s, July 1, 2016.

During the opening set, Simon Joyner on electric guitar, accompanied by a drummer, ripped through a number of new songs as well as some chestnuts like “Joy Division” (or at least part of that song) and “Javelin.” Always a good time.

* * *

Lincoln Calling Oct. 6-8

Lincoln Calling Oct. 6-8

As you may or may not know, Lincoln Calling is getting a rather massive facelift this year. The primary change: Hear Nebraska is now putting on the three-day festival, which is being held Oct. 6-8 in venues throughout downtown Lincoln. Believe me, you will be impressed by the line-up, which HN will begin to announce July 13 (they’re doing incremental lineup announcements).

That said, tickets go on sale this Thursday, July 7. Early bird, three-day general admission festival passes will be available at a discount price of $29. Once those sell out, 3-day passes will increase in price to $39 for a limited time, and will eventually sell for $49.

Sales of all-ages 3-day passes that allow entrance only into two venues — The Bay and Tower Square — also go on sale Thursday for $25. Comedy-only passes will be sold for $25.

And then there are the two specialty passes:

Trustee passes at a cost of $250 includes a three-day festival pass, access to a lounge area with comfortable seating and tables, food and drink tickets, and additional perks to be announced.

SPEED! passes at $150 (only 10 available) gets the bearers to the front of the line at every concert, and allows access even when shows are at capacity.

One-day passes may be available day of show — subject to availability. In other words, at these price points, they’re expecting to sell out those 3-day passes.

No doubt Hear Nebraska is going for a South By Southwest-type event. The difference is they’re combining national touring acts of various genres with some of Nebraska’s finest bands, all playing in multiple venues for multiple days.

BTW, I have seen the initial line-up, and yes, it rivals this year’s Maha Festival. Get your tickets Thursday morning at lincolncalling.com.

* * *

Tonight Detroit disco-punk-new wave-garage-metal band Electric Six makes its annual pilgrimage to The Waiting Room. Joining them are In the Whale. $15, 9 p.m.

* * *

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.

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Live Review: Twin Peaks, Ne-Hi; Sinkane (DFA Records), Lunch Duchess tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:52 pm June 30, 2016
Twin Peaks at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016.

Twin Peaks at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The kids, they love their Twin Peaks. Last night’s show at The Waiting Room had all the charm of a modern day American Bandstand production.

The Chicago five-piece has evolved from the garage band that played at Midtown Art Supply a couple years ago to a full-blown stage act with four dudes sharing lead vocals. My favorite was probably the guitarist who looked like Greg Brady and sounded like Mick Jaggar or maybe the bass player who looked like Bobby Brady belting out rockers in his deep basso voice, or the guitarist in the overalls with the shag cut that fell over his eyes or the keyboardist/left-handed-guitarist in the white T-shirt who really leaned into the microphone. No wonder there were so many young girls in the audience pressed against the stage. Twin Peaks is the veritable Tiger Beat of rock bands.

They meld a ’60s rock vibe to a ’90s indie-rock esthetic. The acts that came to mind: Pavement, The Stooges, Velvet Underground, maybe the most central was mid-’60s era Rolling Stones circa “Get Off of My Cloud.” While I dig their new album, Down in Heaven, the recording seems  subdued compared to the live versions, which added manic energy. Or maybe it was the young crowd, who danced/slammed/jumped, even tried a bit of awkward crowd-surfing atop the estimated 150 or so on hand. Maybe rock ‘n’ roll is back?

Ne-Hi at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016.

Ne-Hi at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016.

Opener Ne-Hi reminded me of a different kind of stones — The Stone Roses — thanks to the band’s awesome rhythm section — a rolling bass that owned the melody while the drummer pounded away on those heavy toms. Add post-wave guitar lines and you’ve got a band that would sound at home in Manchester as well as its hometown of Chicago. Keep an eye on them. They’re label-mates with Twin Peaks on Grand Jury Music. When is their next LP going to arrive?

* * *

There’s a very interesting under-the-radar show tonight at Reverb Lounge. London artist Sinkane is described as “a musician who blends krautrock, free jazz and funk rock with Sudanese pop.” His last full-length, 2014’s Mean Love, was released on NYC-based independent dance-punk label DFA, who you might recognize as the label of such acts as The Rapture, Hot Chip, Holy Ghost! and most prominent of all, LCD Soundsystem, whose mastermind, James Murphy, co-founded the label. When was the last time we had a DFA-type artist in our town? Carl Miller & The Thrillers opens. $12, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Minneapolis, MN grunge-pop band Lunch Duchess headlines at Milk Run with Apes of the State, Anna McClellan and The Way Out. $7, 9 p.m.

* * *

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.

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Sam Parker’s running Milk Run (with a little help from his friends); live review: Outer Spaces; Blitzen Trapper tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:48 pm June 27, 2016
Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016.

Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First, let’s put a capstone on last week’s question about who’s running Milk Run. Sam Parker, who was at Friday night’s Milk Run show, made it clear he’s still very much involved with the venue. He’s enlisted members from a few local punk bands (No Thanks and See Through Dresses among them) to help run shows. And that Facebook post asking for people to help book the room was merely a way to give others an opportunity to try their hand at the show promotion game.

Parker will continue to book Milk Run, along with his promo company Perpetual Nerves. In fact, Parker mentioned a couple interesting upcoming shows at Milk Run that have yet to be announced, so stay tuned. Missing from the equation is Chris Aponick, who Parker said has stepped away from both Milk Run and Perpetual Nerves for personal reasons.

If that wasn’t enough, Parker, who also works at the mysterious Hi-Fi House, has been über busy working on yet another exciting live music project, which you will hear about shortly.

Friday night’s Milk Run show was held not in the micro-sized music room, but the adjacent, larger art gallery. They made the move because the AC in the small room was on the fritz. One reason shows haven’t been held in the gallery was fear of the acoustics — it’s a bigger room with a tin ceiling — but bouncing sound wasn’t a problem for this show. Even with their smallish PA, the room sounded pretty good.

So did Outer Spaces. The Baltimore four-piece (looks like they added a new bassist) played a short, sweet set of songs from their just released album, A Shedding Snake (2016, Don Giovanni). On that record, frontwoman/guitarist Cara Beth Satalino has a voice that at times is the spitting image of Edie Brickell’s, at other times she reminds me of Maria Taylor, whereas my wife think she sounds like Anna Waronker (That Dog). Performing live, Satalino has a simple, quiet quality all her own on songs that are classic ’90s-style indie. The live set was more laid-back than what you get on the record, which is one of my favorites from the first half of the year.

I told Parker he should use that gallery space for shows more often. In addition to sounding good, it was more comfortable, with plenty of room to move around. No doubt the room’s capacity is twice as much as the small room, and concerns that the gallery would feel empty during small shows was unfounded. Friday night’s show felt well-attended even though only 15 or 20 people were in the audience.

Find out for yourself tonight when Austin band Pale Dīan plays at Milk Run, a band whose music has been described as “dreamy swirling melodic sounds inspired by classic 4AD artists like Cocteau Twins and Lush.” Shrinks and Hiraeth open. Price ranges from $5 to $7 (you pick). Show starts at 9

The Pale Dian show has been cancelled.

 

Also tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Portland-based indie folk group Blitzen Trapper (Vagrant, Sub Pop). Opening is Frontier Ruckus. $18, 8 p.m.

* * *

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.

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Live Review: Hottman Sisters in the park; Ten Questions with Laura Gibson; The Garden tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:07 pm June 20, 2016
The Hottman Sisters at Aksarben Village, June 18, 2016.

The Hottman Sisters at Aksarben Village, June 18, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

While people are loudly muttering about a local festival that dropped the ball over the weekend (I’m looking at you River City Music Festival), another pseudo festival was carried off nicely. I’m talking about the Proseeds show at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village, which happened Saturday night.

About 500 people were lazing on the green when I was there just after 7:30 to see Hottman Sisters’ set. There were food and other vendors and along with about a dozen cops — I saw more cops at this tiny one-day local show than I’ve ever seen at a Maha Festival, they were everywhere, smiling, talking to people, looking as if they were enjoying the show as much as the audience.

As for the Hottman Sisters, the duo (supported by a drummer and bassist) kicked through a set of mostly uptempo pop songs. They’re marketed as an indie rock band, but their sound lies closer to alt country, thanks to an overhanging rural lilt to their harmonies and guitar style. I think they’re going for a sort of Decemberists thing with a touch of Lilith — a predictable description, I suppose.

* * *

Laura Gibson opens for David Bazan at Reverb Lounge Tuesday, June 21. Photo by Shervin Lainez.

Laura Gibson opens for David Bazan at Reverb Lounge Tuesday, June 21. Photo by Shervin Lainez.

Ten Questions with Laura Gibson…

Singer/songwriter Laura Gibson’s life is at a crossroads. Originally from Portland, Gibson has been releasing albums since her 2006 debut If You Come to Meet Me (Hush Records). These days she’s on Barsuk/City Slang and lives in NYC where she studied to be a fiction writer. In fact, her new album, Empire Builder, which came out in April, was inspired by the name of the Amtrak route she took while crossing the country to her new home (and bears a resemblance to a certain Simon and Garfunkel song about a couple lost in America). But shortly after she arrived, her East Village apartment burned to the ground, an experience that “will continue to be, something that shapes me for the rest of my life. I cannot separate that experience from these songs,” she said.

There is a haunting poise to Empire Builder, a solemn intimacy that’s warm and pleasant and heartfelt. Contributors on the album include members of Death Cab for Cutie, Decemberists and Neko Case’s band, an artist whose style her music most resembles.

I asked Gibson to take our Ten Questions survey, and she obliged:

What is your favorite album?

Laura Gibson: Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen

2. What is your least favorite song?

There’s a song that keeps playing at my gym that says something like, “Girl you’re beautiful because you don’t know you’re beautiful.” I don’t know its name, but I hate it.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Getting to meet and connect with people all over the world.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Being away from home so often.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Tie between coffee and wine.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

New York; Spring Green, Wisconsin; tiny German towns.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

I had a few rough SXSW shows in Austin, but they’ve became pleasant/comedic in memory. Bad shows always make for good stories.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Music: a combination of tour income, royalties and licensing for film and commercials.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do? 

I would like to write novels and I would like to do some sort of social justice advocacy work. I would be terrible at law enforcement.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

There is such an incredible music community in Omaha, so I feel like I’ve gotten to know it through song. I’ve heard stories of tornado alerts (but no actual tornado stories).

Laura Gibson opens for David Bazan Tuesday, July 2,1 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $15. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Orange County punk duo The Garden (Burger, Epitaph), along with local boys Shrinks and Guts. $7, 9 p.m.

* * *

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.

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Live Review: Charly Bliss, Lightning Bug; Silversphere, Worried Mothers tonight; Proseeds Festival, Those Far Out Arrows Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:35 pm June 17, 2016
Charly Bliss at Reverb Lounge, June 16, 2016.

Charly Bliss at Reverb Lounge, June 16, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get to the weekend…

I was pretty spot-on with my original comparisons to Charly Bliss: Weezer meets The Breeders with Cyndi Lauper-esque vocals thrown in for good measure. What I missed (and what became more apparent from the Reverb stage last night) was the touchstones to ’90s band That Dog, who I assume frontwoman Eva Hendricks and Co. never heard of so it probably doesn’t count. Though if they listened to, say, 1995’s Totally Crushed Out, they may recognize similar melodic and harmonic tendencies, tendencies which I’ve always loved.

When you consider the wave of female-fronted heavy/’90s-sounding bands currently stomping across American Indie — Diet Cig and Dilly Dally among them — Charly Bliss has one-upped them if only by having a better ear for melody, a broader variety of song styles and Hendricks’ unmistakable vocal style. When heard on the band’s earlier recordings, you got a sense she was always about to spin out of control in a glowing ball of uber-cuteness (Imagine Jennifer Tilly singing rock songs). But last night (and on the band’s recent single, “Ruby”) Hendricks keeps it under control, and it’s for the better, though she can’t help to let out a yelping scream-squeak every once in a while.

We all knew we were in for something weird on the set’s last song when Hendricks unstrapped her guitar and put her pedal board away to give her more room to move. And move she did, like a girl possessed, hopping and thrashing her arms as if having a seizure while the rest of the band practiced their feedback-fueled riffage for what seemed like five minutes. She ended the number by pounding her belly with both hands much in the same way Charlie Babbitt pounded his head in Rain Man. Crazy fun from a band you’ll be hearing more from.

Lightning Bug at Reverb Lounge, June 16, 2016.

Lightning Bug at Reverb Lounge, June 16, 2016.

As for opener Lightning Bug, I think I’ll need to update that list I published yesterday. I’ve never caught these guys before last night, and now I’m sorry for all the previous nights I missed. In fact, I only caught the last three songs of their set and I’m a little pissed about that.

An indie-rock four-piece, there’s a preciseness about their sound that elevates above garage and recalls Three of a Perfect Pair-era King Crimson, thanks to frontman David Moore’s at times intricate guitarwork, which swapped between old-fashioned tapping technique and all-out riffage. Add Moore’s tuneful howl — one of the more unique voices I’ve heard from an Omaha band — and they’re onto something. I ran home and listened to their Soundcloud recordings since they weren’t selling anything at the show (that I could see). When’s the next show, boys?

* * *

So, looks like it’s gonna be another O’Leaver’s weekend…

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s electronic post-punk band Silversphere headlines. The band features Owen Cleasby and Ken Brock, who you may remember from the previous incarnation as The Lepers. Opening the show is gritty garage rock goodness of Worried Mothers and new trio, Was. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, local punk band No Thanks has a tape release show at Milk Run. Opening is Bien Fang and Super Moon. Show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Proseeds, a local firm that helps generate money for non-profits, is hosting a free local music festival at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village Saturday evening. Among the performers are All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Routine Escorts and State Disco. See the full line-up here.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Those Far Out Arrows. Opening is Heavy Lungs and KC band Psychic Heat (High Dive Records). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Start your evening off early Saturday with an in-store show at Almost Music in the Blackstone District. On the card are Topeka experimental act Aaron Martin with Erinome (Aaron Hansen) and Sopor (Zach Schiermann). $5, 7 p.m.

And that’s the sum of it. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great Father’s Day 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Cultural Attraction, Sons of O’Leaver’s, Little Brazil sing ‘Happy Birthday’…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm June 13, 2016
Cultural Attraction at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Cultural Attraction at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

About halfway through the Sons of O’Leaver’s set Saturday night, frontman Kelly Maxwell pulled out something draped on a coat hanger, covered in what appeared to be white butcher’s paper, and presented it to man-of-the-hour, bass player Mike Tulis. I didn’t take notes, but Maxwell said something like, “We usually wear jackets when we play, but it’s just too hot up here.” (It was abysmally hot inside O’Leaver’s despite the AC blowing full blast).

BTW, this moment happened halfway through a song halfway through the set, while the band played on. Maxwell pulled the butcher paper from the hanger to reveal an impressive black sports jacket, heavy wool, probably around a 38 regular. Spray-painted on back in white: the number 50. The crowd went wild as Tulis held it high, later donning the jacket for the rest of the set.

Saturday night not only was a celebration of Tulis’ 50th birthday, but also 25 years of Tulis performing in bands, the first of which kicked off the evening. Cultural Attraction played a solid selection of songs from their two cassette releases from the early ’90s. Highlights included trippy acoustic-driven versions of such chestnuts as the politically charged “Anita Hill,” and personal favorite “Good Ol’ Days,” wherein the singer had to refer to a sheet of notebook paper. That was the only song, however, where notes were needed.

Cultural Attraction’s groovy, acoustic-guitar driven music was propelled by John Riley pounding away on a fine set of  congas. Yes, congas. But the real power of their music came from the voices and the harmonies, which were as strong as ever. CA drew the biggest crowd of the night, a testimony to a band that likely hasn’t played together in 20 years.

Sons of O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Sons of O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

They were followed by Sons of O’Leaver’s. The four-piece, that features Tulis on bass and Matt Rutledge on guitar, sounds sort of like a cross between early Spoon (Maxwell’s voice is a gravelly version of Britt Daniel’s) and The Replacements. Drummer Mike Loftis’ stick work was particularly impressive Saturday night.

Little Brazil at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil closed out the evening with a short set that included a handful of songs off their upcoming record. Frontman Landon Hedges led the crowd in an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday” that included an interlude where Tulis thanked everyone for coming out. Good times indeed.

* * *

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.

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Live Review: Christopher the Conquered; Tokyo Police Club, WWPJ, Lee Bains III tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:51 pm June 6, 2016
Christopher the Conquered at O'Leaver's, June 3, 2016.

Christopher the Conquered at O’Leaver’s, June 3, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

My birthday night was spent at O’Leaver’s Friday night, where I enjoyed many a Rolling Rock (thanks to Josh and Landon) while enjoying the bar’s new beer garden and watching Christopher the Conquered. O’Leaver’s isn’t just a bar, it’s an “Entertainment Complex,” what with its volleyball courts, tiki bar, beer garden and one of the best sounding rock rooms in Omaha.

Christopher the Conquered also was celebrating something Friday night — the release of his debut LP, I’m Giving Up on Rock & Roll. Backed by a full band,  Christopher belted out a set of piano-driven rock that at times was Broadway-ready. In fact, he should consider developing something for the stage to go along with his theatrical style. I heard people compare him to early Elton John, Freddy Mercury, even Elvis Costello. He reminded me of Minneapolis’ Mark Mallman, who has been doing a similar glammy-style keyboard-driven rock since the late ’90s.

Opening was Rothsteen a.k.a. Peedi Rothsteen formerly of Voodoo Method. A one-man act, Rothsteen sings R&B over pre-recorded beats and tracks. There’s no question he has a terrific voice, but you have to wonder how much further he could go with it if he had a live band backing him.

A couple red hot shows tonight.

The first is Tokyo Police Club and We Were Promised Jetpacks at The Slowdown (big room). Remember when TPC were on Saddle Creek and everyone thought they were going to be the next big thing? WWPJ did a Ten Questions interview last week (read it here). $18, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, yet another Sub Pop band performs at Milk Run. This time it’s Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires. Hailing from Alabama, the band sounds like the reincarnation of Bad Company right down to Lee Bains’ uncanny similarity to Paul Rodgers. Here’s another act with a huge sound that will be crammed inside the micro confines of Milk Run. Pyrate and Detachable Limbs open. $8, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

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.

 

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Live Review: Arbor Labor Union, Was; Purity Ring, Bud Bronson and the Good Timers tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:44 pm May 31, 2016
Arbor Labor Union at Milk Run May 28, 2016.

Arbor Labor Union at Milk Run May 28, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

You’ve read about those shows where only a few people show up but the band still throws its all into the performance? Well Saturday night’s Arbor Labor Union show at The Milk Run falls into that category.

Only about 10 people were in the house when ALU took the stage and proceeded to blow the roof off Milk Run. The Georgia-based four piece that records on Sub Pop plays a hypnotic style of rock that’s based around a repeated riff driven over and over while various members fill in the spaces with bits of improvisation. Once they find their groove, the songs can chug along for 5, 10, 15 minutes or more, with the lead singer throwing in his howling John Lydon-style vocals on top of the grind.

Closest comparisons (to me) are Strand of Oaks (for sheer power), The Feelies (for hypnotic rhythms) and Red House Painters (for holding onto a sonic idea for as long as it takes). This band is a surprise find, a heavy-weight rock act whose new album, I Hear You, I’ve yet to grow tired of (I picked up a double-vinyl copy after their set).

Each song was at least 10 minutes long. The first song went on what seemed like twice that long, and could have gone on even longer for my taste. And despite the sparse crowd, the band seemed genuinely pleased to be there and playing. They closed out with a grinding, throbbing cover of “Born to be Wild” whose primary melody was all but unrecognizable. Amazing.

Some might say these micro-sized shows are exactly what Milk Run was designed for — a small room for small-drawing shows. No one wants to play to a dozen people in a huge empty room. That said, Arbor Labor Union’s sound was too large for such a small venue. The under-powered PA, could barely be heard over the rest of the band, which meant vocals were all but lost in the din. But that was the only disappointing thing about the performance.

Opening act Was could take some pointers from Arbor Labor Union when it comes to song length. This new band, consisting of Gordon’s Aaron Parker on guitar/vocals, drummer Jeremy Stanosheck of Relax, It’s Science fame and Ali-Jo Meyerhoff on bass/keys and vocals, reminded me at times of Galaxy 500 in style and tone (and drone). I’d have loved for a few of their songs to be extended beyond their short 3- to 5-minute length. Was only played for about 15 minutes. Hopefully the band will be growing its set — this was only their second gig.

* * *

The big Purity Ring show is tonight at Sokol Auditorium. Expect a first-class production, based on what we saw at last year’s Maha Music Festival. Opening is Canadian pop experimentalist Lydia Ainsworth. $22, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Denver band Bud Bronson and the Good Timers headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Briner and Gerald Lee, Jr. (Filter Kings, Cactus Nerve Thang). $7, 9 p.m.

And Milk Run tonight has Lincoln’s Powerful Science along with Terror Pigeon and Curt Owen. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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.

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Live Review: Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club; So So Glos tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm May 23, 2016
Dolores Diaz & The Standby Club at The Waiting Room, May 21, 2016.

Dolores Diaz & The Standby Club at The Waiting Room, May 21, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

You wouldn’t have thought Saturday night’s show at The Waiting Room was only the second live gig for Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club. But then again, we’re talking about a band filled with music veterans doing what they do best.

The band, which includes Conor Oberst and his wife, Corina Figueroa, surrounded by some of the best musicians in town (read about the band’s origins here), fancies itself as a country & western act but really falls into the Americana / country rock category. I was reminded of Robbie Robertson and The Band throughout Saturday night’s set, how each member sang lead on a handful of C&W classics not so much in an effort to replicate the original’s sound, but to adapt its style to a modern construction.

That said, you could point to a handful of players that added a level of authenticity to the proceedings. First on the list was pedal steel player Mike Mogis, because let’s face it, pedal steel makes everything sound country, and as a world-class producer, Mogis knows his way around any genre. Dan McCarthy’s keyboards also brought a classic western feel to the arrangements, and then, surprisingly, Matt Maginn’s bass work included all the note bends heard on the honky-tonk circuit.

Maybe most authentic of all was Figueroa, who sang leads on about half the songs. Figueroa’s rough-edged voice is pure Tammy Wynette. What she lacks in range she makes up for in heart, throwing herself into every note, leaving little doubt that she loves this music. Joining Figueroa was a new face to the Standby Club — First Aid Kit’s Klara Söderberg, going by the stage name of Greta Soundmountain, whose spot-on pitch brought everything into focus.

The band split their performance into two sets with a brief intermission. The first set featured a lot of the same songs played this past January at O’Leaver’s (which you can hear online here). The highlight was a new song featuring Phil Schaffart, who was absent during their debut performance. Schaffart, a giant of a man with a high voice reminiscent of Neil Young’s, covered John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.” Gorgeous stuff.

Another new song from the first set was “Stay a Little Longer” by Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys. If you’re wondering how I know this with zero background in country music, the secret involved tapping song lyrics into Google.

The band took five and then came back with a rocking version of Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses” featuring Miwi La Lupa on lead vocals. Figueroa and Greta sang a duet of Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World,” which was followed by Oberst belting out the Felice Brothers’ “Rockefeller Drug Law Blues.”

As he did in January, Oberst performed Randy Newman’s “Jolly Coppers on Parade.” He was in good voice, looking a bit isolated and laid back playing guitar at stage-right in crumpled jacket and jet-black fright-wig hairdo. He led the band on the night’s final song, a round robin version of the Dylan song he sang in January, but sharing verses with his cohorts.

Saturday night’s show was well attended. No idea of the final number, but it was crowded throughout the bar, and the event had a rock concert feel to it despite the C&W content. Was it “real country”? It was certainly more real than the mainstream “bro-country” that dots the charts these days, though the overall tone felt more like something Levon Helm would admire.

I have no doubt if the entire band had the capacity to tour, Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club could do well on the road, but Oberst said there were no plans for anything like that. This one’s just for fun, something to share with his friends and his fans before he hits the road again for a handful of solo dates this summer, topped by three days at the Austin City Limits Festival in October. After that, who knows.

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Brooklyn punk rockers So So Glos headline. Opening is Canadian band The Dirty Nil and our very own Montee Men. $5, 9:30 p.m. This one should be fun.

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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.

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Live Review: Shannon & the Clams on the river, Halfwit; Ten Questions with A Giant Dog (at Milk Run tonight)…

Shannon & The Clams performing aboard The River City Star, May 15, 2016.

Shannon & The Clams performing aboard The River City Star, May 15, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m growing tired of this cold weather. I imagined how much more pleasant last night’s “Sailin’ and Wailin’ Boat Cruise on the River City Star” would have been had the temps been 20 degrees warmer. Instead, it was cold and windy and I’m happy I wore my insulated hoodie.

Weather issues aside, Perpetual Nerves has a hit on its hands if it decides to do more of these River City Star concerts, because last night’s was a blast. The cruise couldn’t have gone smoother. If you weren’t on board by 6:55 you were left standing on the shore. In fact, I know one party of people, only seconds late, who had to practically fight their way to the deck (heroically saved by booker Sam Parker).

The River City Star is a small two-story river boat that launches from Freedom Park near the Gallup campus. The festive bottom deck was where the free keg and cash bar were located. Those standing in line were serenaded by the finest party music (from Prince to  Tom Tom Club) via a DJ. With drink in hand it was up to the top deck where Nathan Ma and The Rosettes were already performing as the boat drifted away from the dock. I recognized among the band mates Sarah Bohling of Icky Blossoms adding vocals. Their music was a mix of garage and indie, including a cover of The La’s “There She Goes” that got the loudest applause.

They were followed at 8 p.m. sharp by Shannon and the Clams, an Oakland-based four piece that played early ’60s-style garage rock with doo-wap and surf elements. It felt very much like a very hip sock hop played on a drifting dance floor, all the while floating past either Deliverance-style river-bottoms foliage or urban industrial decay. For every bit of picturesque wildlife (geese, flying fish) there was a reminder that you were adrift on a river of dark brown sewage.  Floating up and down the Missouri River, we were met time and time again by a large white half-submerged floating upright refrigerator. Was there someone inside it, traveling to the Gulf of Mexico? We’ll never know.

The sound, by the way, was amazing. No doubt the river people, who were either fishing or dumping garbage along the shore, could easily hear the bands, and wondered who those lucky bastards having the time of their lives?

The obvious question on everyone’s minds: Why doesn’t Perpetual Nerves book these cruises all the time, or at least once a month during the warm months? Especially considering it sold out the same day it was announced (within hours of the announcement).

Halfwit at O'Leaver's, May 13, 2016.

Halfwit at O’Leaver’s, May 13, 2016.

Friday night I caught Halfwit at O’Leaver’s. The Lincoln band fronted by Dan Jenkins of Ideal Cleaners and including bass-playing madman Saber Blazek crushed the crowd with heavy rock that bordered on proggy metal. The guitar interplay between Jenkins and guitarist Kevin Waltemath was next level amazing. Unfortunately the usually high-flying Blazek was seated for the performance, a victim of some sort of foot injury judging by the massive isolation boot he was wearing. I tried to imagine him at full thrash. Probably would have take out a wall or two. I’m told the performance was recorded for a possible future Live at O’Leaver’s set. Keep your fingers crossed.

Well Aimed Arrows at O'Leaver's May 13, 2016.

Well Aimed Arrows at O’Leaver’s May 13, 2016.

Last up was Well Aimed Arrows playing their usual brand of stripped down, minimalistic post New Wave music that combines almost atonal vocals with intricate rhythms. People who “get them” love them, and those who don’t are left scratching their heads. Their loss. If you grew up with very early REM or Wire — of if you’re old enough to remember groundbreaking ’90s Omaha band The Protoculture — seek them out immediately.

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A Giant Dog plays at Milk Run tonight.

A Giant Dog plays at Milk Run tonight.

Tonight at Milk Run Austin indie band A Giant Dogs perform. Just this second, I received back a Ten Questions response from the band. Here it is:

1. What is your favorite album? 

A Giant Dog: Sparks,  Angst In My Pants. This is one of our favorite albums and we have been doing a cover of “Angst In My Pants” at our shows recently. Sparks had a big influence on us when recording the new record, PILE, and this album is on repeat while driving on tour.

2. What is your least favorite song?

It’s a never ending list. Nothing in particular comes to mind.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

We started our band as a way to have fun, make music and hangout with other bands in Austin and around the country. We’ve also been close friends since high school and played in different bands together. So it’s great being able to play music and travel with your long time buds. Aside from that aspect, we’re generally unsettled with how repetitive, boring and predictable rock music can be. One of the best things about being in a band is considering the bleakness out there and then finding ways to make a song more creative, interesting and against the grain. I’m not sure how well we do that, but it’s something we enjoy trying to do.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

The music biz is tough right now and that is a constant frustration we and other bands have to work around. Music has always been tough, but I think it’s okay to say there is a lot less money now than in the early 2000’s pre-Napster. There is a bad gap between good music and getting it to people who will appreciate it. I hope streaming can get its shit together, and this is a problem they need to solve. I know that journalism and film are in the same boat.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Mostly weed and more legal substances these days to keep our voices in tact and be able to keep up with the fast pace lifestyle we live. It’s been most interesting buying weed across the U.S. in the last two years. It’s funny buying it in Colorado and then sneaking it through Utah like you’re still at your parents house and sneaking in past curfew.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and any town with a passionate promoter who knows how to put together a cool show. The funny thing about live music is that any town can be killer for shows. You just need one guy or gal who loves putting on shows and knows what bands are good.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)

Pittsburgh. We showed up to a DIY space that was had the right elements for a good show – big empty house with a good turnout and decent bands booked. But the place was run by kids in pajamas eating ramen. There was a thunderstorm that day and they were afraid of the thunder thinking the show should be canceled. We bought them a six pack and passed on the show.

8. How do you pay your bills?

We work part time or remote jobs in addition to making music. Andrew (guitar/vocals) is a door guy, Graham (bass) makes pizza, Danny (drums is a waiter, Sabrina (singer) works at a Ramen place and has an Airbnb and Andy (guitar) is a software consultant. Multiple incomes is the main way we get by and it’s well worth the time and effort to be able to tour and keep making records.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do

Sabrina was talking about becoming an acupuncturist the other day. Eastern medicine in general is interesting and it seems that could be a rewarding job.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska

Nothing yet. Friends have said the Milk Run is cool and a good place to play. Let’s see what stories come from the show tonight.

A Giant Dog performs with Kitten Forever, No Thanks and Worried Mothers tonight at Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth St. Tickets are $8, show starts at 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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