Live Reviews: Super Ghost, Blue Bird, Record Store Day (Wagon Blasters), Jake Bellows, Ladyfinger, Soft Moon…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:08 pm April 20, 2015
Wagon Blasters at Almost Music on Record Store Day, April 18, 2015.

Wagon Blasters at Almost Music on Record Store Day, April 18, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Three nights of music this week. I’m definitely NOT getting too old for this shit.

Andy Norman of Hear Nebraska suggested I check out Super Ghost, who recently played a Hear Nebraska / Urban Outfitters in-store. I’d never heard of the band, but since they were attached to Friday night’s bill at The Barley Street featuring Blue Bird, I figured I might as well stick around.

It’s been maybe two years since I’ve seen Blue Bird. Back then, their sound was folksy Americana, fronted by Marta Fiedler with Carrie Mardock. Carrie’s gone, replaced with Rebecca Smith. So is the band’s original sound. They’ve shifted to poppier, synth-driven music (two keyboards), more modern and more interesting. Fiedler does a fine job with the leads, but the band as a whole lacked energy. The performers got into position and stayed there, motionless the entire set. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though it added a static quality to the proceedings. What are they supposed to do, jump around and high kick like Matt Whipkey? No, but when they stand like statues you can’t help but feel they’re just going through the motions whether they are or not, which is a pity considering the music’s colorful energy.

Super Ghost at the Barley Street Tavern April 18, 2015.

Super Ghost at the Barley Street Tavern April 18, 2015.

Then came Super Ghost, four youngsters from Omaha and Minneapolis weened on modern-day  emo bands like You Blew It! and mewithoutYou. Super Ghost is an emo throwback, not to first-wave acts like Rites of Spring and Sunny Day Real Estate, but ’90s-era second wave emo acts like California band Knapsack, which they most resemble, and Topeka legends Vitreous Humor, who they’ve never heard of (and in reality, very few people have).

Technically tight, smart compositions with insidious solos and counter melodies, Super Ghost was a pleasant surprise, a remarkable new band whose sound has a shimmering drama and musicality that at times recalled early Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. as much as those emo heroes they no doubt adore. Too bad there were only six people in the room to hear them.

Where they came from and what they’re up to next will all be revealed in this week’s podcast, which features a brief interview with frontman Jake Newbold, along with some samples from Friday night’s set.

Despite mother nature, Homer’s pulled off another big Record Store Day. When I rolled into the store at around 5 p.m., Homer’s GM Mike Fratt said he’d been pleased with the crowds, the excitement, the overall day even though he and his crack team fought through technical mine fields caused by the morning’s thunderstorm. Though late in the afternoon, there was still plenty of RSD stock in the bins, including the 25th Anniversary RSD pressing of Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches that I picked up.

Meanwhile, uptown in Benson, Almost Music’s Brad Smith said it was the first time he had line form outside his door before he opened. Almost Music’s daylong concert, originally slated for the sidewalk out front, was moved inside to the bookstore, where I watched the return of Gary Dean Davis and his band Wagon Blasters.

This was the band’s first performance in a couple years, but you wouldn’t know it by watching Gary Dean bouncing around bookcases like a hopped-up hillbilly in a racing windbreaker. His voice, those songs and this band proved once again that Wagon Blasters are Nebraska punk par excellence.

BTW, I picked up a Factory UK pressing of The Return of Durutti Column and The Grifters’ The Kingdom of Jones 10-inch (Shangri La 025), as well as the newly designed, fetching Almost Music T-shirt. Why can’t RSD be every day?

Jake Bellows at the Hear Nebraska Vol. 3 album release show at The Waiting Room, April 18, 2015.

Jake Bellows at the Hear Nebraska Vol. 3 album release show at The Waiting Room, April 18, 2015.

Saturday night was the big Hear Nebraska Vol. 3 album release show at The Waiting Room. As per usual, Jake Bellows had the crowd eating out of his hand as he ripped through a solo electric set of his greatest hits including a few Neva Dinova songs. Jake has enough charisma to be a cult leader and/or standup comic, whichever you prefer.

Ladyfinger at The Waiting Room, April 18, 2015.

Ladyfinger at The Waiting Room, April 18, 2015.

The blasting cap we call Ladyfinger closed out the evening. Over the course of a few weeks I’ve seen both musical sides of Chris Machmuller on stage — Mach the troubadour and Mach the rocker, each equally powerful in their own way.

You couldn’t help but wonder as Ladyfinger was belting out songs off their last album — 2013’s Errant Forms — what lies ahead for these guys. Their track “Junk City” off the HN Vol. 3 comp meets and/or exceeds anything they’ve done in the past. Would Saddle Creek roll the dice on another Ladyfinger full-length? And, for that matter, does the band have it in them to write and record a new album? Nebraskans — and the world — await the answers with baited breath.

Soft Moon at Reverb Lounge, April 19, 2015.

Soft Moon at Reverb Lounge, April 19, 2015.

Finally Sunday night Oakland post-punk band Soft Moon sonically dismembered the Reverb Lounge. The band, which records on the edgy Captured Tracks label, epitomizes the electronic/industrial sound of the early ’90s from such bands as Nine Inch Nails, Throbbing Gristle, Bauhaus, Suicide, you get the drift. The mastermind behind the project is Luis Vasquez, who is marketed as a one-man project, though last night there were three guys on stage pounding on stuff, including Vasquez, who shoved a metal trashcan to the front of the stage which he banged on STOMP style for a couple numbers.

Their basic recipe was guitar, bass, synths and drums and lots of programming, along with Vasquez’s undecipherable, bronzed vocals drenched in echo for that special gothy touch. It was dark dance music for an elite leather club circa 1992; the instrumentals were powerful while the songs with vocals were the most accessible and leaned closely to early Reznor territory. Fantastic stuff.

Opening was one-woman ambient guitarist Noveller providing ethereal, layered sonic compositions that sometimes involved a violin bow adding deep blue tones. A pretty contrast to Soft Moon’s industrial din.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Modest Mouse, Alvvays, Ex-Hex, Speedy Ortiz, The Good Life among Maha 2015 lineup; Live Review: Peach Kelli Pop, BUHU…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:13 pm April 13, 2015
maha2015logo

The Maha Festival line-up was announced last night, and it’s a doozy…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

By now you’ve heard the line-up for the 2015 Maha Music Festival, which is being held Aug. 15 in Stinson Park at Aksarben Village. If somehow you’ve missed it, here it is again:

Modest Mouse
Atmosphere
Purity Ring
Wavves
The Jayhawks
Alvvays
Ex-Hex
The Good Life
Speedy Ortiz
All Young Girls Are Machine Guns
Both
Freakabout

Their best line-up ever? Maybe, maybe… Modest Mouse was the first name I’d heard from this line-up prior to the announcement, and my reaction was, meh. I’ve seen them live and they’re less than interesting, to say the least. It’s hard to undersell the impact of their album The Lonesome Crowded West, which was groundbreaking at the time of its release in 1997. They’ve had more commercial success with later albums, but never reached the level or arcane creative madness/genius heard on that ’97 album, and likely won’t again. On stage, they pretty much stand around and play their songs.

So no, I wasn’t exactly tapping my heels with joy when I heard they were the headliner, even though I knew their booking would sell a lot of tickets. Neither did I understand why Maha booked The Jayhawks, a band that is legendary in its failure to draw a crowd in Omaha. Does anyone remember who these guys are? Obviously someone associated with Maha does.

Atmosphere has a big following in Omaha. Their style of hip-hop just ain’t my thing.

So those were the only bands I heard were booked for Maha until a couple weeks ago. Then the floodgates opened.

Unless you wanted to arrive an hour before the show or wait in line forever you weren’t going to see Alvvays at South By Southwest this year. The band was a “must see” act, thanks to their 2014 debut album, which is somewhat awesome. Alvvays is the band I’m most looking forward to seeing at this year’s Maha festival.

But coming up right behind them is Speedy Ortiz (who I did manage to see in Austin this year), Ex-Hex (featuring Mary Timony of Helium, and whose last album is a Pitchfork favorite), the electronic kaleidoscope of Purity Ring (not exactly dynamic live when I saw them a few years ago, but a departure for this festival), and Tim Kasher’s pop band The Good Life (anytime you can get Kasher on your stage, you’ve won).

I tip my hat to Wavves. They outshined Best Coast when they opened for them at The Waiting Room back in 2011. Wavves is the closest thing to garage rock you’re going to get at this year’s Maha.

As for the three locals who fill out the balance of the bill, well I haven’t seen or heard any of them, though I’m familiar with AYGAMG’s recorded stuff.

Pound-for-pound, Maha has a more attractive line-up than Des Moines’ 80/35 Festival, despite having half as many bands on the bill — which is perhaps as good an argument as any to keep Maha to one day (though I still think they should put on a concert somewhere the evening before).

Looking back at my comments, last year’s festival drew 7,000. Will they beat that number with this offering? Ironically, Death Cab for Cutie (who headlined last year’s) would probably draw better this year because they just released a new record. That said, Death Cab vs. Modest Mouse is probably a wash in terms of draw.

This year has a better undercard than last year’s Doomtree/Radkey/Local Natives/Head and the Heart combination. From a legacy-band perspective, Aimee Mann/Ted Leo is a teensy bit more well known than The Jayhawks. And it will be hard to beat last year’s local stage offering (Icky Blossoms/Domestica/Whipkey/M34n Str33t/Envy Corp (who I consider local), which was as good as it gets.

What I said after last year’s festival applies again this year:  “For every person I talked to who loved the line-up there was someone who whined about the line-up. Maha will never be all things to all people, nor should it be.

To me, Maha has remained consistent in its mission (as I understand it), which is to put together one of the best indie concerts in the region. The operative word here is “indie” — not garage, not heavy metal, not punk, not C&W, not pop. If indie was their target, they’ve scored a direct hit. Just remember, indie is a sub-genre with a limited audience. Maha may never exceed that coveted 10,000 threshold as long as they stay as a one-day festival…

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BUHU at O'Leaver's April 10, 2015.

BUHU at O’Leaver’s April 10, 2015.

Speaking of rock shows, there was a nice one at O’Leaver’s last Friday night. Austin band BUHU was a two-man crew featuring one guy on synths and the other on guitar and vocals, creating a catchy post-wave music, thanks in part to great programming and to the lead guy’s sweet vocals. Fun stuff.

Peach Kelli Pop at O'Leaver's April 10, 2015.

Peach Kelli Pop at O’Leaver’s April 10, 2015.

BUHU was followed by the all-female power-garage sound of Peach Kelli Pop. It is, no doubt, sexist to call this band an “all-female group” (why not refer to BUHU as an “all-male group”?). That said, the band epitomized the best parts of a long history of all-female punk rock bands. I loved their style, their sound, their energy. I’ll have a snippet of their music in this week’s podcast, online Wednesday.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Foxygen, Oquoa; Whirr tonight; Simon Joyner release show, Swearing at Motorists, Sons of Reverb Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:49 pm April 3, 2015
Foxygen at The Waiting Room, April 3, 2015.

Foxygen at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Foxygen was hysterically entertaining last night at The Waiting Room, and by that I mean the band played as if every single member had snorted a Hefty garbage bag filled with Peruvian marching powder prior to the set.

Whirling dervishes one and all, but especially frontman Sam France, who came off like an ultra-glam cross between David Bowie and Mick Jaggar (with a smattering of Iggy Pop thrown in for good measure). Over-the-top energy. To say the band played full-on would be a vast understatement. On fire. Yes. And nothing close to what I was expecting having heard their last two (and only two) albums, which ooze slacker disdain. There was nothing slacker about last night.

Playing as an 9-piece (keys, bass, two guitars, vocals, drums, three back-up singers in spangles and spandex) the band barged through a set that epitomized ’70s glam with hints of psychedelic and Motown. The end product was like an indie version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch spot-welded to Jim Steinham / Meat Loaf by way of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Vamping was a key ingredient, along with synchronized dance steps and multiple costume changes.

The frenzy of the manic stage show was only eclipsed by the unceasing drive of the exhaustingly energetic music — a night-and-day contrast to the low-key noodling heard on …And Star Power, their latest album which can be rather…challenging to listen to. The Internet is filled with stories about how this band is either already broken up (and this is their farewell tour) or are in the process of dismantling. You wouldn’t know it by watching last night’s spectacle, which will very likely will be among my top-5 favorite shows of ’15. Here’s hoping all the break-up drama is merely that, and that Foxygen keeps it going, With a show like this, Broadway is calling.

Alex Cameron at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

Alex Cameron at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

Before Foxygen it was one-man Aussie sensation Alex Cameron and sax player Roy. The shtick is Cameron looking and dancing like Talking Heads’ David Byrne and singing like Bryan Ferry to pre-recorded ’80s-flavored beat tracks. Shades of Andy Kaufman, amusing and (somewhat) mesmerizing, though it wore a bit thin after 15 minutes. Cameron’s a funny dude in a Flight of the Conchords sort of way. The crowd didn’t know what to make of him, but he won them over in the end.

Oquoa at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

Oquoa at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

Opening the night with a strong set (though to a half-empty room) was Omaha’s own Oquoa. I hadn’t seen these guys in at least a year and was pleasantly surprised at how their sound has evolved. Frontman Max Holmquist has added more drama to his voice (and these new songs), sounding like Paul Banks fronting a shoegaze version of Interpol.

Oquoa has been compared to Lewis’ former band Conduits, a comparison that no longer fits thanks to Patrick Newbery’s spaced-out keys, which are prominent in the mix. The band’s core sound is now drums, bass, keyboards and Holmquist’s siren voice (His electric guitar was all but unheard in the mix). The product, especially on the set closer, was haunting and harrowing. The only nit I have to pick is that (as with Conduits) I couldn’t tell you what a single song was about as the words were virtually undecipherable, with all annunciation lost in the delay. When it comes to this kind of music, do the words really matter anyway?

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Let’s get right to the weekend lineup:

Tonight Whirr (Graveface Records) plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band’s shoegaze sound has been compared to My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. Opening is Fort Collins band Sour Boy, Bitter Girl and Those Far Out Arrows. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Timecat celebrates the release of their debut album Living in the Dark at The Reverb Lounge. Also on the bill are Eric in Outerspace, Lover’s Speed and Feral Hands. $5, 9 p.m.

BTW, It’s first Friday in Benson. Start looking for parking now.

One other show going on tonight worth your attention: Metal/punk band Cult Leader plays at the very cool Midtown Art Supply, 2578 Harney. Joining them are Varmint, Survive Us All and Omaha’s sludgemeisters Nightbird. $7, 8 p.m.

Saturday night is the Simon Joyner Album Release Show at Slowdown Jr. Opening for Simon and his band are Outlaw Con Bandana and L. Eugene Methe. Tix are $8 today and $10 tomorrow. If you haven’t already, listen to this sweet interview with Simon Joyner from this week’s Lazy-i Podcast. Simon talks about his voice, his music and where he finds the characters that inhabit his songs.

Also happening Saturday night, Swearing at Motorists celebrate its 20th Anniversary Tour at O’Leaver’s with Burger Records band DTCV and Peace of Shit. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday The Sons of Reverb play at The Reverb Lounge with Left Is West. $7, 9 p.m.

And yet one more show in Benson Saturday night: Relax, It’s Science plays at The Sydney with The Clocks and Laika the Space Bitch. $5, 9 p.m.

That’s what I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a good 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Matthew Sweet, So-So Sailors, Little Brazil, Juan Wauters; Delicate Steve tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:38 pm March 30, 2015
So-So Sailors at 1200 Club as part of the Hear Nebraska Fundraiser March 28, 2015.

So-So Sailors at 1200 Club as part of the Hear Nebraska Fundraiser March 28, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A recap of a busy weekend of shows…

It was noted by a fellow audience member at The Waiting Room Friday night that Little Brazil might be the band I’ve seen play live more than any other band. They’ve been doing it since the early ’00s, and over the years their line-up has subtly changed, specifically on drums and guitar (Frontman Landon Hedges and bass player Danny Maxwell always have been the centerpiece). This current line-up, with Matt Bowen on drums and Mike Friedman on lead guitar, is the heaviest, the loudest, thanks in a big part to Bowen’s muscular, heavy-sticked drumming (Maybe we should start calling him Matt Bonham?).

Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, March 27, 2015.

Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, March 27, 2015.

I recorded the first half of their set for the upcoming podcast, and realized afterward that I recorded the wrong half. In addition to having a better mix later in the set, I missed a couple new standout songs presumably from an upcoming album. One featured a swirling two-guitar interlude that was pure Thin Lizzy, the other (the closing number) was an epic masterwork. Little Brazil is back and better than ever.

Juan Wauters at the Saddle Creek Record Shop, March 27, 2015.

Juan Wauters at the Saddle Creek Record Shop, March 27, 2015.

Saturday night started early with the Juan Wauters in-store at the Saddle Creek Record Shop in the Slowdown complex. The little store was mostly filled as Wauters took the stage behind an electric keyboard and performed a handful of sweet, loopy pop songs that were light-hearted and playful. He switched over to guitar for the last few numbers (again, I recorded the wrong half of the set). Curious to hear how Wauters did opening for Tweedy last night.

So-So Sailors' Chris Machmuller at 1200 Club March 28, 2015.

So-So Sailors’ Chris Machmuller at 1200 Club March 28, 2015.

Afterward, it was over to the 1200 Club at the Holland Performing Arts Center for the Matthew Sweet Hear Nebraska Benefit. There was some concern going in that ticket sales were light, but the club-inside-a-music-hall was well-populated. Most of the tables were filled when So-So Sailors came on at 8 p.m. for an insanely good set of witty, intelligent, urbane songs about love and life from the heart of Nebraska . Frontman Chris Machmuller is the city’s best frontman, keeping the audience mesmerized both while he sang in front of his rather large band and with his between-song patter (He’s a regular comedian, that guy).

We can speculate why the Sailors have been inactive the past few years. Life can get in the way of music, and everyone in that band is busy with jobs and family. Still, for purely selfish reasons, I covet a copy of the recording that Mach said (from stage) is basically in the can, and has been for a couple years. Maybe they’re thinking “What’s the point?” — there’s no money in releasing music anymore. Maybe they think they’ve moved past that sort of thing. Let’s hope not.

Matthew Sweet center stage at the 1200 Club March 28, 2015.

Matthew Sweet center stage at the 1200 Club March 28, 2015.

Finally, Matthew Sweet and his band (consisting of Paul Chastain and Ric Menck of Velvet Crush, and guitar-slinger Dennis Taylor) took the stage and ripped through a set very similar to what we got when they played O’Leaver’s and Vega last year. Chock full o’ the “hits.”

From my vantage point in the very center of the room the sound mix was, well, pretty bad. The bass drum was over driven, swallowing up Chastain’s bass rig — couldn’t hear a note he was playing. Sweet’s voice, however, managed to cut through the thump, as did the lead guitar’s high-flying solos. Someone afterward told me “the 1200 Club isn’t suited for this kind of heavy music,” which is like saying that any room with good acoustics shouldn’t host rock shows. Balderdash. All they needed to do was pull back on the kick drum.

Fact is 1200 Club is a pretty luscious space. Whether it’s better suited for quieter bands like So-So Sailors (which sounded exquisite) I cannot say, though I’d love to see more indie rock shows in that space, and would be willing to fork out top dollar to do so. Great room, great service, great night of music.

Look for music clips from the above performances in this week’s podcast, which will likely hit the web on Wednesday.

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Tonight at The Reverb Lounge its the return of Delicate Steve (Luaka Bop, Barsuk). $10, 9 p.m. No opener listed.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

SXSW recap Pt.3 (Courtney Barnett, Best Coast, The Pop Group, Will Butler); Matthew Sweet is Saturday!

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — @ 12:29 pm March 26, 2015
The Pop Group's Mark Stewart takes on the world at SXSW.

The Pop Group’s Mark Stewart takes on the world at SXSW.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

And lo, how the rain fell on my final day at SXSW, last Friday. It wasn’t so bad, but it was rain, and wind, and that combination makes for poor outside concert viewing and even worse navigation/walking from venue to venue. I was happy I got my afternoon at Stay Gold the day before.

There were a number of artists that proved illusive this year at SXSW. Among them was Courtney Barnett. It seemed like every time I wanted to see her perform it was either at 1 a.m. or in a location already at capacity (which makes one’s SXSW badge useless — when the club is full, they don’t care about no steen-king badges!).

There was one Courtney performance left, however, and it was at the SXSW Convention Center. The mega building houses dozens of enormous auditoriums and meeting rooms where SXSW “sessions” take place on such topics as “understanding copyright law” and “how to make the best of streaming technology” and so on. Panel discussions abound — this is where Snoop Dogg did a talk about something music-related. I’ve never been to a SXSW Music informational session, and most people I know who go to SXSW haven’t, either. Who wants to get up early after being on 6th Street until 2 a.m. the night before and sit in a conference room listening to a bunch of “music pros” drone on about “levering your band’s brand presence in social media” or whatever?

Still, a couple of the mammoth auditoriums were dedicated to performances, like the one happening in Auditorium G — the Public Radio Showcase, which included among the bands Courtney Barnett. And unlike the other gigs at SXSW, there was plenty of room and access to earthly conveniences like bathrooms, wi-fi and coffee. Not a bad place to be when sheets of rain are pouring down outside, at least for the afternoon.

But before Barnett took the stage Best Coast was playing a set of their El Lay-infused jangle-pop. People love Best Coast (especially in Omaha) and for the life of me I don’t know why. Their music is somewhat featureless, and front woman Bethany Cosentino suffers from (how do the American Idol judges put it?) pitch problems.

When I tell people I spent last week at SXSW, the first question is: “So did you discover any hot new music?” Courtney Barnett is not exactly new, but she is the hottest thing going indie-music wise these days and cemented that rep at SXSW playing eight showcases, where she debuted songs off her new album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, a record bound to be on a lot of “best of” lists this December (including mine).

Playing as a classic guitar/bass/drums trio, Barnett’s music, while singularly its own, owes a lot of its resonance to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana (though it’s not anywhere near as dark). The song structures are deceptively simple, the guitar riffs hook you and Barnett’s lyrics are both clever and introspective. If you’re an indie music fan who listens to XMU or an online indie radio station, you won’t be able to avoid Barnett this year. She’s the 2015 version of Liz Phair circa 1993. Watching her band on the auditorium stage was very much like watching an arena concert, with the crowd singing along to some of the older material. Great stuff. We need to get her to Omaha.

We left the convention center at around 6. By then the rain had slowed to a sprinkle. It was off to classic Austin bar The Ginger Man for a beer and some Drivin’ and Cryin’ but before D&C came on, a band of Japanese lads were on stage playing an intricate style of instrumental prog reminiscent of Eno/Fripp-era King Crimson. It was LITE, a band lauded as “one of Japan’s top instrumental acts.” They were mesmerizing. I have little doubt the folks at The Ginger Man knew who they are when they started their set, but by the end, everyone was a fan.

Then came Kevn Kinney and Drivin’ and Cryin’. The band has a new record coming out, and the songs I heard them play were solid (if not too long – Kinney likes to draw things out). He sounds exactly like he sounded a 20 years ago, same high-end squawk, ageless except for the extra poundage. Needless to say the crowd stood from their picnic benches when they the opening riff to “Fly Me Courageous” blazed through the place.

The Ginger Man is as comfortable a bar as you’d want to sit and drink at — huge cushy leather wingback chairs, fantastic beer selection. Just up the street is the Paramount Theater — a golden age movie house complete with balconies and gorgeous ceiling, a velvet-chair space like the Orpheum and the perfect venue for seeing classic ’80s avant-art group The Residents. You might remember them for their giant eyeball-with-tophat helmets that were part of their shtick for years.

Well, the eyeballs are gone, replaced with crazy old man wigs and alien makeup. Frontman Randy looked like the ol’ Crypt Keeper but in gold bikini underwear, giant shoes and body paint. Very creepy indeed, as was the staging, which involved a giant crystal-ball like projection device that hosted messages throughout the set. Strange and fun. I’ve never been a follower of The Residents, but I understand their importance in the overall history of art rock. And though these guys are in the 70s, they still sound pretty good, especially the guitarist.

Afterward it was back to 6th Street and Buffalo Billiards for The Church. The venue’s title sums it up, it’s a huge pool hall with a stage upstairs. Getting close to that stage was nearly impossible as it was a crush mob. Hearing The Church wasn’t much easier, as the booming sound in the hall was the worst of any performance I’d seen this year at SXSW. Still, the band was on point. I didn’t stick around long enough to hear “Under the Milky Way.” Wonder if they even played it…

It was back to Maggie Mae’s rooftop, which had been covered with a large tent, keeping things high and dry as the rain geared up again. The attraction was a performance by The Pop Group, a ’70s-era British punk band that’s been credited with helping define the post-punk movement. Bands like Sonic Youth and Nick Cave have credited The Pop Group as an influence on their sounds. The band was only around for a few years, but got back together last year for a new record.

Their style is extremely rhythmic and fun, but their songs are dissonant and brash in way that reminded me of The Fall. Mark Stewart, who has to be in his 60s, is still a powerful frontman, screaming into the microphone with clenched fists.

Will Butler of Arcade Fire was next on the same stage. The band wore t-shirts with their first names on them. I wondered if this was because people confuse Will with his more famous brother (and AC frontman) Win. That said, there was no confusing Will’s music with Win’s, as his solo stuff, while upbeat and interesting at times, lacks the grand panache of Arcade Fire’s epics. Will’s music is better suited for the dance floor than the concert stage, with its reliance on a thump-thump-thump disco beat. Butler is scheduled to play at The Waiting Room June 2. Bring your dancing shoes.

That was my last show of SXSW 2015. My impression of the overall experience — is written in next month’s issue of The Reader. Spoiler Alert: I’m not sure I’m returning to Austin next year, at least not for the music part of SXSW.

Check out sound clips from all the performances mentioned above in the the podcast below — it’s only about 12 minutes long, but includes snippets from all concerts except The Church’s performance.

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Speaking of big concerts, that Matthew Sweet concert has snuck up on me. The concert, being held at the 1200 Club in the Holland Performing Arts Center is this Saturday. If you’re even remotely a fan of Sweet and his music, you’ve got to go to this one. Tickets are still available for $45 and $100 (VIP) right here. Get them while you can. And the concert is a benefit for Hear Nebraska!

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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SXSW recap Pt. 2 (Icky Blossoms, Viet Cong, Natalie Prass, PUJOL, Mynabirds, Krill); Born Cages tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:42 pm March 25, 2015
Icky Blossoms devising their set list prior to their SXSW performance at Stay Gold March 19.

Icky Blossoms devising their set list moments before their SXSW 2015 performance at Stay Gold March 19.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

More SXSW 2015 recap-ilation.

The weather was still pretty awesome on Day 2 of SXSW (last Thursday), so why not take a walk to the Saddle Creek / Nicodemus Showcase at Stay Gold? I mean, hey, it’s just on the other side of the freeway in east Austin, right?

Well, two miles by foot later we finally came upon Stay Gold, a new venue with a great outdoor beer garden and a sweet indoor stage where Josh Berwanger Band already was playing (Alas, we were too late for Twinsmith and Orenda Fink).

Berwanger, a former member of Lawrence band The Anniversary, is repped by Nicodemus Agency. No idea what label he’s on, but the band was pretty good in a straight-forward indie rock sort of way. Very clean, very tight and a good preview to PUJOL, who took the stage next.

I’ve never seen Daniel Pujol and his band play live. I think they’ve only played in Omaha once, despite being signed to Saddle Creek Records. I’ve had discussions with local garage-rock aficionados who say Pujol (who apparently counts Jack White among his fans) was Creek’s stab at releasing a garage rock band. I don’t believe that was their motivation at all. Pujol’s sound is too controlled, to pro to be mistaken for garage, reminding me more of Marshall Crenshaw or Graham Parker but with a bit more dirt behind the ears. My quibble: Too many of his songs sound the same, but you could make that same argument about Crenshaw and Parker’s music…

Laura Burhenn of the Mynabirds followed with a solo keyboard set that included a number of old favorites and a few from her upcoming Saddle Creek album, Lovers Know, played in a down-key style that accentuated her rather luscious voice. How will the new material sound with a full band?

Last up at Stay Gold (for me, anyway) was Icky Blossoms playing in front of a max crowd of maybe 50 people – no doubt a sharp contrast to their sold-out send-off show a few weeks earlier at Slowdown Jr. The band kicked right into some tunes off their last album before rolling out a couple new ones from Mask, including “In Folds,” which translated just OK in the live setting.

They could have beefed up the energy level, but what do you expect playing to a half-empty club on a Thursday afternoon? Icky is playing as a five-piece — didn’t recognize the drummer or bass player, but it was indeed a good rhythm section. This was easily the best vocal outing for Sarah Bohling, who continues to grow into her frontwoman role alongside Derek Pressnall, the consummate professional, while Nik Fackler is the band’s wild-card wild man.

They need to get more new songs polished and stage-ready before hitting the road. As much as I like the Creek debut, I’m crazy curious about this new record. Maybe we’ll hear more new stuff when Icky Blossoms returns to Slowdown (in the big room this time) April 14 with Reptar.

It was back to the Courtyard for evening festivities, specifically the controversially named Viet Cong. The place was even more packed than the night before — I could barely move. On stage Viet Cong’s drummer was playing hurt with a cast on his left hand. Somehow he managed to soldier through the set Rick Allen-style. The band’s sound is abrasively indie with some prog flourishes here and there. I’m not sure why they’re so hot these days, unless it’s all about the name.

Afterward I high-tailed back to Red River and the 720 Club, a tiny bar with a small indoor stage area all but vacant on this Thursday night. Under the lights warming up, Krill, a band that colleague Chris Aponick has suggested I check out. The Chicago trio also has caught the attention of such taste makers as Stereogum and Pitchfork, though you wouldn’t know it by the eight people standing in the club. I guess it was everyone else’s loss, as Krill brought their A-game to a post-punk set that recalled Protomartyr but with (much) better vocals. These are the kinds of sets I go to SXSW for — intimate, special, the feeling that you’re seeing something you’ll never see in Omaha.

Finally it was time to pluck one of the artists off my must-see list — Natalie Prass. I’ve been enjoying her debut self-titled album (on Spacebomb) for a few months — rich singer/songwriter stuff, like Jenny Lewis singing Joni Mitchell. The venue listed was Maggie Mae’s. I figured she’d probably be playing at the venue’s rather large rooftop stage.

My SXSW badge got me past the line and right up the stairs, but I didn’t recognize the band performing. Did I get the date wrong? I asked the door person, who had no idea who was playing that night. There actually are three performance spaces in Maggie Mae’s — the rooftop, the Gibson Room and the standard downstairs stage. Turned out Prass was slated downstairs.

Once again, there was no problem getting in and plenty of space right up next to the stage. By the time her set began, the floor was filled, but not uncomfortably so. There was Prass seated behind a piano, her face hidden behind her dark brown curls. Backed by a solid band, Prass performed a half-hour of the best songs from her album. It was the closest thing to a “perfect moment” I experienced at SXSW this year. Check out part of the performance (along with snippets from everyone else mentioned above) in the podcast below.

Vega just announced this morning that Prass will be playing there July 22. I might have to make a pilgrimage to Lincoln….

The final chapter of my SXSW 2015 journey tomorrow…

* * *

Tonight, alt-rock band Born Cages (Razor & Tie) plays at Slowdown Jr.. The band apparently opened for Guns & Roses a couple times, though they sound more like an indie version of Simple Minds. Opening for them tonight is fellow New York band Dreamers and Omaha favorite The Kickback (from Chicago) and Low Long Signal. $10, 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Back from Austin, a recap of SXSW in podcast and photo form; Darren Keen, Calm Fur tonight…

Looking down on Sixth Street from Maggie Mays at South By Southwest 2015.

Looking down on Sixth Street from Maggie Mays at South By Southwest 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This will go down as the least impressive, least satisfying year I’ve attended South By Southwest. Sure there were a lot of bands, but not nearly as many as year’s past and even fewer legends. Still, I had fun and didn’t get beat up, and that’s always a good thing.

This year I tried to podcast from Austin. The results are below. I’ll probably never try it again, based solely on the number of hits each stream has gotten. That said, there’s probably no where else online that has snippets of this many performances. Each podcast is only about 10 minutes long and includes bits from every band I saw. Check them out:

Day 1: Performances by White Mystery, Twin Shadow, Dotan and Speedy Ortiz.

Day 2: Performances by PUJOL, Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds), Icky Blossoms, Viet Cong, Krill and Natalie Prass.

Day 3: Performances by Courtney Barnett, Best Coast, LITE, Drivin’ and Cryin’, The Pop Group and Will Butler.

And here are the photos. If you follow me in Instagram or on social media you’ve seen most of these, but here they are again, in living color.

White Mystery at Beerland Patio, March 18, 2015.

White Mystery at Beerland Patio, March 18, 2015.

Twin Shadow at Iron Castle, March 18, 2015.

Twin Shadow at Iron Castle, March 18, 2015.

Dotan at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 18, 2015.

Dotan at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 18, 2015.

Speedy Ortiz at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 18, 2015.

Speedy Ortiz at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 18, 2015.

Josh Berwenger Band at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Josh Berwenger Band at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

PUJOL at Stay Gold March 19, 2015.

PUJOL at Stay Gold March 19, 2015.

Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Icky Blossoms at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Icky Blossoms at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Viet Cong at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 19, 2015.

Viet Cong at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 19, 2015.

Krill at the 720 Club, March 19, 2015.

Krill at the 720 Club, March 19, 2015.

Natalie Prass at Maggie Mae's, March 19, 2015.

Natalie Prass at Maggie Mae’s, March 19, 2015.

 

Best Coast at the SXSW Convention Center, March 20, 2015.

Best Coast at the SXSW Convention Center, March 20, 2015.

Courtney Barnett at the SXSW Convention Center, March 20, 2015.

Courtney Barnett at the SXSW Convention Center, March 20, 2015.

LITE at The Ginger Man, March 20, 2015.

LITE at The Ginger Man, March 20, 2015.

Drivin' and Cryin' at The Ginger Man, March 20, 2015.

Drivin’ and Cryin’ at The Ginger Man, March 20, 2015.

The Residents at The Paramount Theater, March 20, 2015.

The Residents at The Paramount Theater, March 20, 2015.

The Church at Buffalo Billiards, March 20, 2015.

The Church at Buffalo Billiards, March 20, 2015.

The Pop Group at Maggie Mae's Rooftop, March 20, 2015.

The Pop Group at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop, March 20, 2015.

Will Butler at Maggie Mae's Rooftop, March 20, 2015.

Will Butler at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop, March 20, 2015.

There may or may not be a formal review of each gig to come. Check back tomorrow. There will be a column in the April issue of The Reader about SXSW. Watch for it.

* * *

Tonight at the Sweatshop Gallery Darren Keen headlines with Calm Fur and Just Jace. $5, 9 p.m. Say goodbye to Darren before he flies back to Gotham City…

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Live Review: Digital Leather, White Mystery, Calm Fur; Of Montreal, Deerhoof tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:33 pm March 16, 2015
Digital Leather at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

Digital Leather at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What a weekend for sold out shows. Friday afternoon Icky Blossoms sold out its Slowdown Jr. gig — no surprise there. Then on Saturday afternoon, Criteria’s Reverb show that evening sold out. Again, not a surprise when you consider the capacity of the Reverb’s small performance space.

I ended up at Reverb Friday night for Digital Leather and White Mystery. First up was Jason Meyer’s latest creation, Calm Fur. First time I saw them a few months ago at Barley Street it was a gritty, noise-rock set — quite a contrast to Friday night’s set, which sounded more streamlined and pop-oriented. The band has tightened up everything, and the result is sublime. Meyer recently posted on Facebook that he’s no longer involved in his other project, Feel tight. Does that mean he’s dedicated his services to Fur?

There was a song about halfway through Digital Leather’s set that was a departure from their usual synth punk debauchery. The tune was, dare I say it, downright groovy, with a huge central hook. I tracked down one of the band members afterward, who told me the song was called “Gary…” off the band’s next album (I didn’t know they were working on a new record, but is DL frontman Shawn Foree ever not working on new music?).

White Mystery at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

White Mystery at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

DL rolled out a brand new song to start their set, something they said they wrote that afternoon — it was typical of their usual rough-hewn garage rock, bracing and hard. The rest of the set was selections from the last few records and were played with the usual DL panache. Keyboardist Todd Fink, who everyone thought would be a temporary piece of the DL puzzle, now fits in like just another one of the boys, adding backing vocals on a few songs. Is DL Fink’s main focus with The Faint apparently in limbo?

The set ended in classic fashion with a brutal version of “Studs in Love,” played by request from one of the band’s biggest fans (and it wasn’t me). Foree’s said before that he doesn’t like playing the song anymore. He was doing it for the fan. “Studs in Love” has become a staple of Digital Leather’s live set; I’ve heard at least three different arrangements of the song over the past couple years. Each time it gets a little more powerful.

White Mystery closed out the night. The brother-and-sister guitar-and-drum duo of Alex and Francis White roared through a set of monolithic garage-rockers. Who needs a bass player, anyway?

* * *

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Of Montreal with opening band Deerhoof. From the review of the Nov. 3, 2013, Of Montreal show at The Slowdown:

Theatrics did abound. Three “extras” made stage appearances in a variety of costumes, most resembling blobs or giant wadded up pieces of paper. When they weren’t stumbling around in bulky costumes, the extras slipped into place in white body stockings, unfolding umbrellas that reflected targeted projected graphics (see the eye-popping skull above).

What kind of pageantry are you in for this time? Here’s what the band played Friday night in Chicago, I recognize at least one favorite. Tickets are $20 and the show starts at 9.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Bloodcow, Universe Contest; Hop Along track leaked, album details (Omaha date); Helmet tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:49 pm March 9, 2015
Bloodcow at Reverb Lounge, March 7, 2015.

Bloodcow at Reverb Lounge, March 7, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Unlike the last time I saw them at The Waiting Room, no one threw empty beer cans at Universe Contest during their set Saturday night at Reverb Lounge in Benson. Did the band ask the crowd to reframe from throwing shit? Did fans naturally hold their throwing hands because they didn’t want to soil the pristine confines of the newish Reverb? I do not know.

Also absent was the band’s giant light rig. Maybe they didn’t want to hassle with putting it together or hauling it up from Lincoln. Instead, they settled for Mercy Rule-style floor floods — always a trusty standby, and hard to beat for simple drama.

And Universe Contest already has plenty of drama when it comes to their music. They still sound like early Modest Mouse, driven in part by the lead guy’s spot-on Isaac Brock screech / yell and their own halting, angular, arty wallop. I don’t remember them having a violin player. Regardless, you couldn’t hear her during the set as she was drowned out by the rest of the band. Maybe it’s the Reverb’s small space, but there wasn’t much sonic separation between instruments, and as a result, it sounded like a bassy mish-mash.

Especially during Bloodcow’s set. I tried recording it for the podcast — no dice. The volume was too high (and I had my microphone set wrong) so the entire set was clipped. Bloodcow brings the low end. They also bring the rock. I would classify this as heavy metal more than metal — I divide the two based on guitar solos. I grew up on metal music where every song included a high, whining, blazingly fast guitar solo.

Bloodcow songs are more about riffage and rapid-fire lyrics about sex, booze, drugs, all the things that make up rock ‘n’ roll. There was nary a high-flying guitar solo during the first three songs, and only a few sprinkled throughout the set, usually buried in the plodding mix.  I’ve heard their upcoming release — Crystals and Lasers — and can attest to its blazing glory. The album is a better showcase than what we heard Saturday night, though the show was still plenty fun.

By the way, that new record is still at the pressing plant. The band had CDs on hand Saturday night but no vinyl, which is part of the reason why the show wasn’t their official album release show. Nor is next Saturday night’s opening slot at The Slowdown for The Killigans. We might have to wait until April for that extravaganza…

* * *

Saddle Creek’s latest and greatest signing, Hop Along, leaked the first track off the band’s Creek label debut, Painted Shut, titled “Waitress.” The album was recorded with producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile). Check out the track below and pre-order the album here at the Saddle Creek online store. The album hits store shelves May 5.

And (best of all) Hop Along is now scheduled to play at Slowdown June 4.

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s brittle ’90s post-punk band Helmet on their Betty 20th Anniversary tour. Betty was released on June 21, 1994, and peaked at number 45 on the Billboard 200 album chart, making it Helmet’s highest ranking album. The band will perform the seminal album from start to finish tonight. There are no openers listed. $20, 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: J Fernandez, Shy Boys; No Coast Music Festival announced (vs. Maha?); Retox tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm March 2, 2015
Shy Boys at Almost Music, March 1, 2015.

Shy Boys at Almost Music, March 1, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

My only show this weekend wasn’t a show at all. It was a pre-show. Yesterday afternoon, J Fernandez and Shy Boys did an in-store at Almost Music in Benson prior to their gig last night at O’Leaver’s.

Set up in the Solid Jackson Bookstore area, each band played a half-hour set to a handful of people. I didn’t know about the in-store until yesterday morning via an IM on Facebook. Needless to say, it could have been better promoted, but it was a last-minute thing.

Both bands played low-key sets. Since I didn’t go to O’Leaver’s last night, I don’t know if these were typical, but I can say they were rather awesome. Fernandez style is a mix of garage and art rock, think early Talking Heads soaked in swirls of reverb guitar with a less-severe vocal that was warmer and more inviting than Byrne’s bark. They were jazzier more than they were arty.

Kansas City’s Shy Boys’s garage rock was sweet, sweet, sweet; with sweet, sad-eyed vocals atop great kick-back rhythms. Gorgeous stuff. Listen for snippets of both performances in this week’s podcast Wednesday (if I can get it done).

* * *

Speaking of Almost Music, the store took part in Saturday afternoon’s Bar Stool Record Swap at The Brother’s lounge along with four or five other vendors including Homer’s and Drastic Plastic. Music fans flipped through boxes of vinyl with one hand while drinking booze with the other — the perfect combination. I scored a sealed copy of Ritual Device’s Henge album on orange vinyl — something I thought I’d never see.

* * *

The River, 89.7 FM, and One Percent Productions this morning announced the No Coast Festival, June 2 at Westfare Amphitheater. The line-up includes major-label pop bands Cage The Elephant, Bleachers, Joywave, Saint Motel, In The Valley Below along with Saddle Creek band Icky Blossoms, and more.

Though a “festival,” No Coast can’t be compared to the other big local rock “festival” — the Maha Music Festival. No Coast is a full two months before Maha (which takes place Aug. 15) and targets a younger alt-radio audience vs. Maha’s college-age-plus indie crowd.

But when talking about these two festivals, there is a a subtle irony that can’t be ignored. Indie bands by their very nature appeal to a smaller audience. That’s the way it’s always been. Major label acts like Cage the Elephant, Bleachers (both on RCA) and Saint Motel (Elektra), which enjoy more radio support, draw a much larger audience. As a result, you’d naturally assume No Coast — with its more popular bands — would have the higher ticket price, but in fact No Coast’s $10 ticket (which is what you’d typically pay for a mid-level show at The Waiting Room) will likely be about a quarter of the price of Maha Festival tickets.

Factor in that non-profit public radio station The River may be underwriting a lot of the No Coast Festival’s costs (which they can “write off” as a promotional expense) and that No Coast could draw substantially more people than Maha (high volume brings down prices), and you begin to understand the $10 ticket versus a $40+ ticket.

No doubt if No Coast draws an exponentially larger crowd than Maha there will be those who argue the reason is either better bands or a lower ticket price or both. But one can’t ignore the sheeple factor. There is only one radio station in the Omaha/Council Bluffs market that plays modern music, albeit shitty modern music. A lot of people grudgingly listen to The River because it’s the only alternative to the oldies/freedom rock stations that litter the FM dial. Those River listeners can expect to hear a constant barrage of advertising for No Coast Festival between now and June 2. Strike that. Public radio stations aren’t allowed to air advertising, right? So if they’re not ads, I guess you’d have to call them, what, “targeted announcements”?

Poor Maha. A true non-profit organization, can it afford the level of radio advertising that No Coast undoubtedly will get? Add to that the fact that most of Maha’s bands historically don’t get airplay in the Omaha market and it’s an uphill climb. This is what happens when you don’t have a radio station that plays College Music Journal (CMJ)-style indie music in a market the size of Omaha.

One Percent also announced this morning the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover, a 2-day festival in Waverly, Iowa, June 19 and 20 headlined by the dreadful Mumford and Sons but that also includes Jenny Lewis, My Morning Jacket, Flaming Lips and Jeff the Brotherhood among others. Still, Waverly is about 260 miles (more than 4 hours) from Omaha…

One other 1% show — Built to Spill returns to The Slowdown May 23. (I thought this one was going to be the big 10 a.m. announcement).

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr., it’s a punk featuring San Diego hardcore act Retox (Epitaph Records). The four-piece was founded by Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian,whose tour of duties include stints in The Locust, Head Wound City, and Holy Molar. Joining them is Atlanta noise rock band Whores and Lincoln black noise band Vickers. $10, 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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