Live Review: Closeness, Net; Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm August 13, 2018

Closeness at Slowdown Jr., Aug. 10, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

I’ve seen Closeness a few times at O’Leaver’s and have always been moved/impressed with their music, but last Friday night’s show at Slowdown Jr. was next-level in its drive and intensity and overall sound; best set I’ve seen/heard from this duo.

Todd and Orenda Fink set up in their usual face-to-face format aglow in floor floods and LEDs, looking like a couple Amish goth hipsters in their Recapitate headgear (I need to get one of those, sans big-round brim). There’s always a deep density to their sound but Friday’s set felt, well, denser, and had a better flow, enhanced by two new songs (or at least a couple numbers that aren’t on their EP) that were dramatic and dancible, breaking up the monotony of their usual mid-tempo onslaught.

I may be imagining this, but it seems as if Todd is taking more of a lead on the vocals these days, and if there’s a quibble it’s in the overuse of vocoder/digital effects (It was funny hearing him ask for less drums in the monitors in robot voice). Todd has a damn fine voice when it’s unincumbered by techology. But maybe Orenda is supposed to be the “human” to his “robot” on these futuristic duets?

With two new songs, you have to wonder if there’s a new release on the horizon for Closesness. But at the pace in which Todd writes, it could be awhile until we get something in hand, especially if The Faint are also back at it again (They’re slated to play at Cloak & Dagger Fest in LA Nov. 10).

Net at Slowdown Jr., Aug. 10, 2018.

Opening act Oklahoma City’s NET played a strong set of post-rock songs that reminded me of early Devo without their quirk. Fast, spazzy, stacatto rock augmented with synths, they fancy themselves an electronic act, but the guitars dominated from where I was standing. Too often the synths sounded like they were filling in gaps, adding to the clutter rather than enhancing the sound. Because of that, they felt stuck between being an electronic act and a prog-punk band.

Good crowd, though disappointing in size (around 60?).

Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest, Aug. 11, 2018.

Saturday’s Petfest crowd was small but mighty as well, at least when I was there around 7 p.m. to see Those Far Out Arrows play a bad-ass set behind the Petshop in the parking lot.

Bed Rest at Petfest, Aug. 11, 2018.

This is a fun to see a small fest, with a vibe that’s a cross between a SXSW day show and 1968 minus the LSD — laid-back people hanging out with beers behind an orange cyclone fence while some guy sprayed graffiti across the way. Bands played alternating sets inside the Petshop garage, including a roaring Bed Rest, who impressed me with their post-punk bordering on emo rock.

TFOA’s set consisted almost entirely of new songs from their soon-to-be-released High Dive Records debut that is bound to make your best-of-2018 list. I can’t wait to see what happens after these guys hit the road…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Cursive expands, new LP Vitriola Oct. 5 on 15 Passenger; Campdogzz In Rounds reviewed; Melvins tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:58 pm August 8, 2018

Cursive’s next album, Vitriola, comes out Oct. 5 on 15 Passenger.

by Tim McMahan,

The last line of the press release announcing Cursive’s first new album in six years reads:

Cursive is: Tim Kasher (vocals/guitar), Ted Stevens (guitar/vocals), Matt Maginn (bass), Clint Schnase (drums), and Patrick Newbery (keys), with Megan Siebe on cello.

The two surprises here are Schnase and Siebe. Schnase, as all old-time Cursive fans know, is the band’s original drummer and an absolute beast on a kit. It’s good to have him back. But apparently he’ll only be heard on the record, as Ladyfinger drummer (and exceptional print maker) Pat Oakes will be the band’s touring drummer when they hit the road for a month starting Oct. 18. That tour ends with a show at The Waiting Room Nov. 18 with label mates Campdogzz.

(I wonder if Cursive could be the “secret” of the just-announced “secret show” at O’Leaver’s Aug. 19?)

Megan Siebe is a fixture of the Omaha music scene having performed with a number of acts including Simon Joyner’s Ghosts, Anniversaire and live with Cursive (Seems to me someone suggested back in 2013 that Siebe would be a great addition on their next album…)

Enough about personnel. The new album, Vitriola, was recorded at ARC with studio wizard Mike Mogis and drops Oct. 5. According to the press release:

(The album) finds the band struggling with existentialism veering towards nihilism and despair; the ways in which society, much like a writer, creates and destroys; and an oncoming dystopia that feels eerily near at hand.

Holy shit that sounds depressing. But no Cursive (or Good Life) album is ever a joyous walk through the daisies.

Check out the first single, “Life Savings,” below and pre-order at the 15 Passenger website.

While we’re talking about 15 Passenger, some thoughts on the new Campdogzz record, In Rounds. The 15P debut dropped last Friday..

The has a creamy, twangy sound mixed with throaty-beat indie rock; it can be quiet, it can be hard, and falls in the same mood-circle as Angel Olson or Big Thief or Mitski. Let’s face it, women-fronted acts are making the most interesting music in indie rock these days, they’re dominating the genre.

Campdogzz and frontwoman Jess Price can add their names to that rather long list. Price, a Tulsa native, has a weary, prairie-worn voice that sounds like a mix between Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt and a bourbon hangover. There is a desolate nature to this collection of songs that reflect a strange longing and loneliness, with arrangements that in a heartbeat can veer from bending-in-the-wind lullaby to storm-bracing rock — quiet, ferocious, quiet.

Highlights include the torrid, pumping “On My Own,” crunchy rocker “Southern,” which sounds like classic Stevie Nicks, and smoldering hammer-beat track “Souvenir” with the lines “Did you want to get me gone / Did you want to get me / Well that train is going by.” Yikes.

Price’s lyrics are simpler and somewhat more obtuse than, say, Adrianne Lenker’s lyrics (of Big Thief), which are more intimate, personal, straight forward — you always know what Lenker’s singing about, whereas Price, not so much. On the other hand Campdogzz’s music is consistently more compelling and hook-filled than Big Thief’s static confessions (Exceptions, such as “Paul” and “Shark Smile,” are the exception rather than the rule). Regardless, the bands have more similarities than differences.

The Chicago act, which started as a duo with Price and Mike Russell and is now a five-piece, has been kicking around since before 2014. The fact that 15 Passenger lucked into them says a lot about the future of a label that’s built on a bedrock of Kasher-infused quality. How could it go wrong? * * *

They’re practically The Waiting Room’s house band — The Melvins — return to the bar tonight. WE Are the Asteroid opens at 8 p.m. $20.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Beer Nebraska (Conny Franko, Icky Blossoms); Portugal, The Man, Sam Vicari tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:48 pm August 6, 2018

Conny Franko plays the crowd as DJ Kethro looks on last Saturday at Beer Nebraska at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan,

Pretty durn good turnout at Beer Nebraska Saturday night at The Slowdown considering that Chvrches was going on at the same time up in Benson.

I’m not a beer connoisseur but I know what I like, and for me, Zip Line’s Sticky Blossoms and First Street Brewery’s Freakastout got the gold medals in the Lazy-i Taste Test. Drinking five samples of local microbrews made for a different kind of listening experience than my usual Rolling Rock tallboys.

But what about the music? I caught sets by Mesonjixx, Freakabout, Conny Franko and Icky Blossoms.

Franko and DJ Kethro (who was terrific, playing tracks by Thundercat, Kids See Ghosts, Mayer Hawthorne, J Cole and Sade, among others) were the evening’s highlight. That said, as much as I like The Slowdown’s sound system, I couldn’t make out a word Franko rhymed, which is problematic when you’re talking about an art form that emphasizes words as much as beats. Still, you caught the vibe, and his a cappella reading that closed his short set was impactful.

Icky Blossoms at Beer Nebraska at The Slowdown, Aug. 4, 2018.

Icky Blossoms had their usual strong performance (with a few technical glitches early in the set). They play so infrequently that every time I see them I hear something different, though I’m still waiting anxiously for their next album (if one is even in the works).

Mesonjixx rhythm section is what floored me about their set, along with some tasty guitar solos. Their drummer slayed. As did the drummer for Freakabout.

Fun night and a fun crowd there to support Rabble Mill.

* * *

Tonight Chicago singer/songwriter Sam Vicari headlines at Reverb Lounge. Magu and Win/Win open. $7, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, former indie starts Portugal, The Man headline at Stir Concert Cove. 8 p.m. show, tix are in the $40 range…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Candy Boys, Not Funny at O’Leaver’s…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:02 pm July 16, 2018

Candy Boys at O’Leaver’s July 13, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

Candy Boys is John Klemmensen exorcising his demons with an electric guitar and his candy voice. Glean what you will from the lyrics, which one assumes reflect what he’s been through for the past few years. The interpretation is made easier thanks to the fact that Klemmensen always has been one of the few local singers who actually a-nun-ci-ates — i.e., you can hear and understand every word of his world-worn lyrics.

And while Klemmensen was never one to hold back (remember all that stuff about doing cocaine all night from his debut album?), these new songs are even more confessional though no less personal, or at least that’s my take. One guy said to me after the show, “Classic Klemmesen, funny as ever,” though I didn’t hear much Friday night worth laughing at.

That’s not to say this is downer music. Half the songs have that same Motown-by-way-of-New Jersey quality; the other half felt like a re-imagining of Mould’s Black Sheets of Rain — a record Klemmesen had never heard of, btw. He implied that their style is almost intentionally sloppy. If so, I couldn’t tell. Klemmensen’s guitar work was on point, heavy, soulful; and his band — bassist Vern Fergesen and drummer Daniel Dean Leonard — were perfect complements.

So yeah, Klemmensen is back. But are people listening? I didn’t see many familiar faces in that crowd of about 40 (only one, to be exact). Has his lost years meant also losing an audience he worked so hard to develop?

Not Funny at O’Leaver’s, July 13, 2018.

Opener Not Funny was an acoustic-driven 3-piece whose frontman, Aaron David Wrigley, has a unique vocal style that zigs, zags, squeaks and pops. If I had to draw a comparison I’d say it sounds like a combination of John Darnielle (of the Mountain Goats) with Jim Carrey’s acting career – passionate, but all over the place.

Musically there’s a Mountain Goats / Decemberists/ Violent Femmes thing going on, but with more syncopated riffage (the bass really carries these songs). The drawback was that their set was twice as long as it should have been, and by the end, they cleared the room.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Rolling Stone goes monthly; Esme Patterson, Sean Pratt/Sweats tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:00 pm July 5, 2018

Rolling Stone changed its design and became monthly.

by Tim McMahan,

Last week I got a butt-slapper-sized issue of Rolling Stone in the mail and immediately knew something was up.

The previous issue, with Camila Cabello (???) on the cover felt more like a pamphlet than a magazine in all its 66 pages of content. RS has been declining for years in terms of page count and content.

Then along comes this new issue with Cardi B & Offset (???) on the cover (btw, the ??? signifies that I have no idea who these people are. And while I haven’t kept up with pop-chart music for years, at least in the old days I recognized the people on the cover of Rolling Stone. Apparently that’s no longer the case). The giant-sized, perfect-bound issue weighed in at a hefty 136 pages — twice the size of the previous issue. The reason: “A New Era for Rolling Stone” as Jann Wenner put it announcing the new format and the new monthly (instead of bi-weekly) publication.

It typically has taken about five minutes to flip through a Rolling Stone (with four minutes spent in the reviews section). I flipped though this new issue page for page and will likely go back and read the features about the cover people as well as a “booze and hash”-laced portrait of Johnny Depp.

The new format emphasized lots o’ photos (including a Sebastian Salgado feature — he’s been doing pictorials for Stone for decades), “lists” (“100 Greatest songs of the Century… So Far” which is (you guessed it) off the mark), and chart stories (a la Wired), along with its usual fare: Random Notes, National Affairs, and of course, Reviews, which have been expanded (though in the same format).

As a whole, I like what they’ve done with the magazine. The bi-weekly format has seemed somewhat slap-dash for a while now. No doubt this is a last gasp by a magazine that has managed to survive while so many others have been taken down by the internet plow. And while their focus on pop music / bad fashion can be rather gagging, I still enjoy getting it in the mail, as I have for decades….

* * *

Denver folk-pop singer/songwriter Esme Patterson (Grand Jury Records) plays tonight at The Sydney. Joining her are Sean Pratt and the Sweats, Mike Schlensenger and Annalibera. $10, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Reviews: The Feelies in DC, Sunflower Bean, Public Access T.V.; Cold War Kids tonight (SOLD OUT)…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 2:15 pm June 26, 2018

The Feelies at 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., June 22, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

Back from a long weekend in Washington D.C., where last Friday night I got to see The Feelies perform at the 9:30 Club. The venue been located a couple places around town since opening in 1980. The current location feels as if someone took Sokol Auditorium and sliced it in half, added a great stage and sound system as well as a kitchen and numerous bars, which I guess makes it nothing like Sokol Auditorium. It’s sort of like an old, lived-in high school gymnasium with a balcony that circles outward from either side of the stage. A small room in back is filled with CDs from every band that’s performed at the club — thousands and thousands lined up in floor-to-ceiling book cases.

The show was “An evening with The Feelies” which meant no opening act. The band went on around 9:30, sounding exactly like the band I’ve been listening to for ages. Frontman Glenn Mercer sounds no different than he did on albums that came out 30 years ago, a low mumbling voice that’s more spoken murmur than singing. Alongside him guitarist Bill Million and bass player Brenda Sauter were on point.

But what really fueled the performance was drummer Stan Demeski and percussionist Dave Weckerman looking like a couple accountants on leave pounding out the crazy rhythms. Anyone even vaguely familiar with The Feelies knows that their music is sort of a formula — a simple chopping guitar riff, followed by another, followed by crisp, tasty backbeat drums and rhythms. It’s a style that’s unmistakable and that’s influenced an array of bands from R.E.M to Luna to The New Year.

The first set was dedicated to newer stuff — or at least stuff I wasn’t familiar with that sounded like all their other stuff. The second set was dedicated to the “hits” — tunes off my favorite albums, the crowd erupting with every opening rhythm and chord. For the uninitiated, the songs can all sound very similar, but to those who’ve followed them for years, the favorites stand out.

I realized while watching the show that chances that this band will ever come to Omaha is nearly zero, and that the only way I’d ever have gotten to see them was to travel. The fact that the show was happening while I happened to be in D.C. was a stroke of luck, but now I’m starting to get the itch to go to other towns to see bands I know will never come here. Where will I go next?

* * *


Sunflower Bean at Reverb Lounge, June 25, 2018.

A crowd of less than 50 showed up at Reverb last night for Sunflower Bean. The band is riding high on an Sirius XMU hit, the easy-listening indie rocker “I Was a Fool” on heavy rotation and, as I mentioned the other day, sounds like a track from The Sundays.

Frontwoman Julia Cummings’ voice comes in two flavors — a sweet, clear coo a la Harriet Wheeler (of the Sundays) and a pronounced Joan Jett snarl which I wasn’t ready for. Cummings rolled out her Jett growl throughout the set, mostly on songs from their new album, Twentytwo in Blue, which is a more straight-forward pop record than their debut, 2016’s Human Ceremony. The debut is darker and fueled by a post-punk shoe-gaze sound. Whenever the band lit into one of the earlier tracks, like standouts “2013” and “Easier Said,” they shifted into a blue-toned gear.  Kudos to Nick Kivlen’s clever guitar solos throughout the set.

Cummings tried about as hard as any performer I’ve ever seen (outside of a cover band) to get the crowd into the spirit, coaxing call-and-response fist-shake audience choruses, leading overhead hand-claps, and pleading (a number of times) for people to please come closer to the stage. Just another Monday night in Omaha.

Sunflower Bean is a band in transition. I liked where they were headed on their first album; but was less enthusiastic about the pop rock of their sophomore effort. The division between couldn’t be more stark. Where they end up on their third record could make all the difference.


Public Access T.V. at Reverb Lounge, June 25, 2018.

Last night’s opener, Public Access T.V., was a fun-loving indie-pop trio that reminded me of early Strokes or The Fratellis. Fun, young and fashionable, I could see them catching fire with the kids.

* * *

Tonight it’s the return of Cold War Kids, this time to The Waiting Room. The band has a new album called Audience (Live) recorded on stage in Athens. Thomas Abban opens. This one is SOLD OUT and starts at 8 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Little Brazil, Pro-Magnum; Little Dragon tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:03 pm June 4, 2018

Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, June 1, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

What’s the old saying — the biggest crowds come for album releases and farewell shows… and reunions, of course. Because Little Brazil plays so scarcely these days, Friday night’s show at The Waiting Room notched two of those three. It felt sort of like a reunion while at the same time they were celebrating the release of their new record, Send the Wolves (2018, Max Trax). As a result, the crowd was more than respectable: my guestimate 150+.

I got there in time to see the tail end of Pro-Magnum’s arena rock set. At least it felt like an arena rock show. I’ve seen these guys a ton of times at O’Leaver’s, but to really feel the power and majesty of these metal animals you need a stage as big at TWR’s, and a sound system to match.

Pro-Magnum at The Waiting Room, June 1, 2018.

Fronted by bassist Johnny Vredenburg with guitarists John Laughlin and Alex Kinner and legendary drummer Pat Oakes (congrats, Pat, you made “legendary” status) the band played what we used to call in the business “heavy metal,” with Vredenburg screaming/croaking out the lead vocals in Midwest-satanic fashion. The guitar interplay was most impressive, and Oakes’ throaty drumming,  a keynote back in his days with Ladyfinger, is always a wonder to behold.

This really is a different band on a large stage, visually and sonically. I assume this crew was influenced by the great arena metal acts of yesteryear (Scorpions, Slayer, Iron Maiden, etc.) who never played anything but arenas. If Pro-Magnum sounds like this at TWR, how would they sound playing Baxter Arena?

Little Brazil hit the stage at around 11 with a massive storm about to bear down on the city. I watched the radar tentatively from my phone as Landon, DMax and crew tore into a set that included all my favorites from Send the Wolves — “You,” “Making a Mess” and “Motorbike,” which featured a guest vocal by Ladyfinger’s Chris Machmuller, who also sang on the album track.

It was the usual great performance — these guys never fail to deliver. After the first few songs they played two yet-to-be-recorded songs, presumably off the next album, which will give the crowd something to look forward to, though there’s a lot of meat to Send the Wolves, even a track that features Conor Oberst on vocals (DMax stood in for Conor on Friday night). It’s Little Brazil’s best effort to date and as good as anything Desparecidos put out in its waning years (though in no way political).

In their current roles as family-men, it’s hard to imagine the band hitting the road touring the record, and as far as I know, there’s no plans to do so. So the goal I guess is to sell out the short run of vinyl, move some digital downloads and get spins on Spotify (where it’s also available). And then get back in the studio and do it all again. It’s just like the old days when it was every band’s goal to make enough money to write and record the next album. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

* * *

Tonight, Swedish electronic band Little Dragon plays at The Slowdown. The quartet has collaborated with the likes of Gorillaz, TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek and SBTRKT. Kethro opens at 8 p.m. GA tix are $28.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Stef Chura; 15 Passenger signs Campdogzz…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:35 pm May 31, 2018

Stef Chura at O’Leaver’s, May 30, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

It was a small but lively crowd for last night’s Stef Chura concert at O’Leaver’s. Chura wisely played third among the four slated performers, possibly to prevent getting Omaha’d. Her act was a trio with bass and drums and Chura handling electric guitar and vocals.

I assume the first couple songs were new ones off the upcoming record produced by Will Toledo as they were heavier than stuff on her debut album and featured “trick endings” or at least they tricked the audience, who weren’t sure if the song was over or… oh, I guess there’s another verse. Super cool and catchy.

She brought it down in the middle of the set for a few songs off Messes, including a stirring version of personal favorite “Human Being,” where she sounded like a nerdy Stevie Nicks. Chura has a sweet croon that easily slips into a high, country-esque warble that could become her trademark if she’s not careful. On the whole, her vocals were under-powered last night and hard to hear except for those quiet moments.

Other highlights included the new singles, which also were produced by Toledo and are  catchy. Who knows how much influence Toledo will have on her sound. I guess we’ll have to wait unto the new album. Regardless, I think she’s going to be another strong addition to the “New Era” stable of Saddle Creek artists forging the label’s future.

* * *

I’m a few days behind in mentioning that the Cursive guys’ new record label, 15 Passenger, just signed its first act – Chicago band Campdogzz.

According to their bio, the band has been kicking around for years, self-releasing their debut, Riders in the Hills of Dying Heaven, back in 2015. The new one, In Rounds, which comes out Aug. 3 on 15 Passenger, was written over a couple years and recorded in 2017 in Chicago. They’ve played around a lot, opening for Saddle Creek acts Big Thief and Sam Evian, among others.

The new record is solid and sounds like something that would fit into Saddle Creek recent catalog. Check out the first single below and pre-order here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: La Luz, The Whiffs; American Aquarium, The New Trust tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:45 pm May 29, 2018

The Whiffs at O’Leaver’s, May 28, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

As much as I love O’Leaver’s, it does have its limits. Last night’s super-packed La Luz show is one example. When you have that many people crammed up by the band, with people literally sitting on top of the railing, anyone behind that mass of humanity isn’t going to see anything except people’s backs because O’Leaver’s doesn’t have a raised stage (or a stage of any kind).

I made the mistake of hanging outside in the beer garden too long between sets, so when I came back inside, my favorite “spot” (which is along the side, peeking through the “windows”) was already taken, leaving me to hang out by the sound board for most of the La Luz set. They sounded great, playing a modernized version of mid-tempo doo-wop/surf rock.

La Luz from in back of the room at O’Leaver’s, May 28, 2018.

What can I say? The show would have been a blast held outside or in a larger venue (like The Winchester, but I’m told live shows there is a year away). It was still fun. I ended up listening to the last half of the set outside on the old front patio, where I watched one of the band members crowd surf to the bar, take a shot and disappear back over the crowd to the stage — been a long time since I’ve seen crowd surfing at O’Leaver’s.

Luckily there were fewer people in the club when The Whiffs were on stage. The KC four-piece plays power-pop rock reminiscent of bands on the old Titan Records label of the ’70s — acts like The Boys and Gems — bands that would go on to influence national acts like The Knack. Check out the collection: Titan, It’s All Pop on Numero (and on Spotify).

The Whiffs have that same energy, though their sound is slightly harder, rougher but no less fun, rife with three-part harmonies and some killer guitar solos. Check out their album on Bandcamp for some summer fun.

* * *

It’s a busy week for shows…

Tonight New West band American Aquarium plays at The Waiting Room. The North Carolina act’s sound is a twangy Americana which has been compared to Lucero, Jason Isbell and Jeff Tweedy. Cory Branan opens at 8 p.m. $20.

Meanwhile, back at O’Leaver’s it’s The New Trust (ex-The Velvet Teen) with The Long Awaited and Cuddlebone. No price listed, but probably $5. 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Closeness, InDreama, Tbd. dance collective…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:40 pm May 21, 2018

InDreama at O’Leaver’s May 18, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

Friday night felt like a “happening” at O’Leaver’s — a live show on stage and DJs on the patio. It was a wild, fun night.

The music kicked off with a set from InDreama, Nik Fackler’s psych-rock project which hasn’t played live in a couple years. Something indeed has changed over that time as the band never sounded so ferocious. So intense was the set that the music from the band’s debut album felt re-imagined, with Fackler slaying on lead guitar and vocals. Why they’ve been hiding all this time is a mystery.

A big part of the groovy vibe was supplied by the crowd, which was hyped and eager and very responsive. This would prove out next when .tbd dance collective took the stage.

.Tbd Dance Collective at O’Leaver’s May 18, 2018.

I wasn’t expecting much, considering the rather small and grungy confines of O’Leaver’s. The collective would have to come up with something creative to make this space come alive, and they did.

A trio of dancers, which included Fackler’s wife, Kat, walked out in formation dressed in shiny silver skin-tight jumpsuits and grabbed the audience with an interpretation of David Bowie’s “Girl Loves Me” off Blackstar that concluded with them ripping off their suits.

They were joined by the rest of the collective for a couple more routines that fell together seamlessly from song to song, concluding with a frenetic interpretation of Todrick Hall’s track “Dem Beats” where the crowd was invited to join in a communal dance that became a celebration. It was a high point of the evening.

Closeness at O’Leaver’s, May 18, 2018.

Finally Closeness — Todd and Orenda Fink — closed out the night with a set of their usual driving electronic rock. The music was as dense and ponderous as the heavy clouds of smoke that billowed from the floor between songs. I was thinking while listening that Closeness is a natural extension to what Todd did in The Faint married with Orenda’s unique style. Friday night’s show seemed to rely more on Todd than Orenda at least vocally, though both were in fine voice.

Now that summer is on its way O’Leaver’s is reaching some sort of party-scene apex, and I’m told there are more improvements to the club on the horizon…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.