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.

Lazy-i

‘Mini Maha’ in Council Bluffs; Peach Kelli Pop, Sucettes, Post Verse tonight; Maha Festival announcement (w/M34N Str33t) Sunday…

Category: Blog — @ 1:02 pm April 10, 2015

loessfest2015by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Catching up on the news in my absence…

Yesterday there was a “press event” to present the full Loessfest event schedule, and the festival’s collaboration with the folks who put on the annual Maha Music Festival. They’re calling it “Mini Maha.” The three bands slated to play the free concert at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park May 30 are 2010 Maha festival alum  Ben Kweller, Polyvinyl band The Dodos and Lincoln band Oketo. I didn’t see the press conference and don’t know the logic behind Maha’s participation, though one assumes it’ll be a good platform for marketing the “real” Maha Music Festival at Aksareben Village Aug. 15.

The rest of the Loessfest schedule is ho-hum. Dinosaur act Chicago kicks things off May 23; the rest of Loessfest is “family fun” events like a screening of “Jaws” May 27. The “Mini Maha” show is what I hoped they’d be hosting at River’s Edge throughout the year — it’s a fantastic park. But so far, other than Loessfest, CB has let the property just sort of sit there. Oh well.

* * *

Speaking of concerts, it’s a real hit and miss weekend for shows, with most of the good stuff happening tonight.

Tonight Sucettes headline a show at Slowdown Jr. with Staffers, The Dead Flower Preservation Club Band and Sidewalkers. Sucettes is Dave Goldberg’s latest project with Jeremiah McIntyre, who you may remember from Box Elders. Any time you get a chance to see these guys, you should take it. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile at fabulous O’Leaver’s Friday night it’s Canadian garage band Peach Kelli Pop, who records for notable garage rock label Burger Records, among others. Also on the bill is Austin trio BUHU, Sioux City band It Really Is and Omaha duo Lunch. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And at the Reverb Lounge in Benson Post Verse headlines a show with Sun-less Trio and Swampwalk. $5, 9 p.m.

Looks like I’ll be heading to The Brothers Saturday night as I’m not seeing a single indie rock show on the calendar.

Finally Sunday night it’s the big Maha Music Festival lineup announcement hosted at O’Leaver’s. The actual announcement takes place at 7 p.m. and is followed by a performance by 2014 Maha act M34n Str33t. Be the first person on your block to find out who will be headlining the big stage at Aksarben Village August 15. I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

* * *

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

Lazy-i Podcast: Foxygen, Alex Cameron, Oquoa, Outlaw Con Bandana, Simon Joyner; Omaha Girls Rock benefit tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 9:31 am April 9, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Because of the past weekend’s holidays and my travel schedule, I posted an abbreviated Lazy-i Podcast yesterday. Listen to it below. It includes live clips from Foxygen, Alex Cameron, Oquoa, Simon Joyner and Outlaw Con Bandana, as well as a recommendations for this coming weekend’s shows (and there ain’t that many). So, only 14 minutes. Check it:

BTW, The Lazy-i Podcast is now available in iTunes right here. Subscribe and don’t miss a single episode.

* * *

Slowdown Jr. is hosting a benefit for Omaha Girls Rock! tonight featuring Lot Walks, Pancho the Contraband and Bach Mai. All proceeds of the $8 ticket goes to OGR, which is a pretty awesome non-profit that teaches girls how to be in a rock band, as well as other necessities of life. Find out about OGR here and make a donation. Show starts at 8.

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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 2015 Post Script (in The Reader); 80/35 announces lineup (Wilco, Weezer); mewithoutYou tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:33 pm April 7, 2015
Looking down on Sixth Street from Maggie Mays at South By Southwest 2015.

The belly of the beast: South By Southwest 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Currently stranded at the airport, waiting out another of United’s inept screw-ups (What else is new?). Thought I’d point out that this month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader is online here. It focuses on this year’s South By Southwest Festival and why it will likely be the last one I attend (at least from a music festival standpoint; the movie festival is another matter).

The 10,000-foot summary: SXSW has shifted from being a music festival to being a spring break party scene, with less focus on music and more emphasis on getting loaded. It’s always been a Mardi Gras atmosphere on 6th Street, but never like this past year, when I felt like I was sandwiched between an all-out riot and a Ferguson-style police action. Read about it here.

Who knows. I’ll probably change my mind and go back next year anyway…

* * *

This morning Des Moines’ 80/35 Festival announced its slate of acts for the concert that runs July 10-11 at Westgate Park. The headliners: Wilco on Friday, Weezer on Saturday. Other highlights: Jenny Lewis, Run the Jewels and Cloud Nothings. It gets pretty spotty after that. Check it for yourself at their website.

I’m betting the Maha folks are plenty jealous of 80/35, as Wilco has been on their list from day one. Wilco is one of the more boring bands I’ve ever seen live. Weezer is always fun, even though they haven’t done anything significant since ’96.

As a whole, this is a pretty lame line-up, but I can see where it’ll appeal to a broad audience of ticket-buyers, who will be paying $59 for the two-day ticket, which isn’t a bad price when you consider that Maha’s one afternoon ticket price is $50. That said, I’d still rather to go to Maha this year than 80/35. You’ll see why on Sunday.

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room Philly band mewithoutYou headlines a show that includes Native Lights and Lightning Bug. Is MWY emo? Listen below and decide for yourself. $17, 8:30 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Simon Joyner, Outlaw Con Bandana; New Desa out June 23; Dead Sara tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:53 pm April 6, 2015
Simon Joyner and The Ghosts at Slowdown Jr., April 4, 2015.

Simon Joyner and The Ghosts at Slowdown Jr., April 4, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Simon Joyner never looked more relaxed, more within his element than on the Slowdown Jr. stage Saturday night playing his new music with that band. It was Joyner at his finest singing sad songs to a big crowd of fans and friends and people who have seen and heard him play (in some cases) for more than 20 years.

This version of the Ghosts (his backing band) was as solid as they come. They sounded road-hardened even though they haven’t been touring lately. Among the standouts was guitarist Jim Schroeder, whose muscular style added tension both in his chopping accompaniment and his brazen solos, countered only by Mike Friedman on pedal steel.

Joyner played mainly songs off his new album, Grass, Branch & Bone, all of which already sound like standards to these ears. People are saying it’s the best album he’s ever made, and maybe they’re right. This is the first time I’ve felt that songs from one of his albums could be used in a movie soundtrack or would fit into rotation on a radio station — very likely not something that Joyner was shooting for when he make the album, but wouldn’t it be a kick in the head?

Outlaw Con Bandana at Slowdown Jr., April 4, 2015.

Outlaw Con Bandana at Slowdown Jr., April 4, 2015.

Opening was Outlaw Con Bandana — Brendan Hagberg and Pearl Lovejoy Boyd — playing earthy folk songs with Hagberg either on banjo or acoustic guitar. He’s a throwback performer, a throwback songwriter to a folk style of an earlier time, updated lyrically with stories from his life. It’s the kind of music where you’ll find yourself listening and remembering stories from your own past.

* * *

Desaparecidos finally announced that their next album, Payola, comes out June 23 on Epitaph. The band released a new track, “City on the Hill,” as part of the announcement. The song, below, feature’s Cursive’s Tim Kasher. Album pre-orders can be made here.

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room is the band that Omaha World-Herald music writer Kevin Coffey declared as his favorite act from this year’s South By Southwest Festival — Dead Sara. (I never caught them when I was in Austin). Opening is Wans and Freakabout. $15, 8 p.m.

* * *

Reception will be spotty this week at Lazy-i central as I’ll be on the road. There may or may not be updates (but there probably will be). your best bet is too keep checking back, over and over again…

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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: 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?

* *

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

Joan Jett, Eddie Money in the park; Foxygen, Alex Cameron, Oquoa tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm April 2, 2015
Foxygen plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

Foxygen plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Bank of the West announced the line-up for their annual 4th of July concert in Memorial Park, which actually takes place June 26. Dinosaur acts Eddie Money and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are the featured artists, according to Kevin Coffey here at the Omaha World-Herald. Considering the nature of these concerts, BotW could do worse than Joan Jett, who is a legend on a few levels. Eddie Money will be background music as people find a place to drop their coolers (I actually saw Money play at the Music Hall 100 years ago…).

Again this year BotW is hosting an online contest to book a “local band” to open, but no actual local bands ever win it, so it’s a waste of time and a wasted opportunity for BotW, who could actually show support for local music. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. No one goes to this concert to listen to music; they’re there to get loaded or enjoy a free afternoon/evening of entertainment with their kids. And, of course, to see the fireworks.

That said, it would be somewhat awesome if we could mount an effort to get Plack Blague to open this show….

* * *

Podcast CORRECTION — In yesterday’s podcast (below) I said tomorrow night’s Whirr show at O’Leaver’s costs $5. In fact the cover is $7. That’s what I get for not looking up the show info. Regardless, an evening at O’Leaver’s is priceless no matter the cover charge.

* * *

Speaking of shows, Foxygen is headlining tonight at The Waiting Room. The band is on the road supporting their latest, the massive 24-track opus And Star Power, out on Jagjaguwar records. Opening the show is Alex Cameron (Who the heck is Alex Cameron? Find out here.) and our very own Oquoa. $15, 9 p.m.

Also this evening — or late afternoon — it’s First Thursday presented by Urban Outfitters and Hear Nebraska. The in-store at Urban’s Slowdown complex store features Better Friend and Super Ghost along with free pizza and beer. The show runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free (21+).

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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

Lazy-i Podcast: Simon Joyner on making memories into music; Commander Venus tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:45 pm April 1, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The weekly Lazy-i Podcast went online at thereader.com this morning. This episode features an interview with Simon Joyner about what inspired the stories he tells in the songs on his new record, Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist, 2015), which came out yesterday. We also talk about the nature of his voice and how he uses it, both on this recording and in the past. Simon celebrates the album release Saturday at Slowdown Jr.

Also in this week’s podcast, a recitation of the live reviews posted Monday backed by audio clips recorded at the performances (Little Brazil, Juan Wauters, Matthew Sweet and So-So Sailors). And the line-up for this weekend’s best shows. Listen below:

I’ve been fiddling with the format of these podcasts, trying to make them shorter, and turned around this week and produced the longest one yet at around 23 minutes. Couldn’t be avoided. No doubt next week’s will be lengthy as well as I’m contemplating doing the 1st Quarter 2015 CD Reviews roundup in podcast form. Yikes.

* * *

I was going to lead with this but it already has spread via social media. Work on Conor Oberst’s so-called “secret project” has finally leaked, and what I thought would never happen happens tonight at O’Leaver’s — a reunion of Commander Venus. We all know the hold-out was never Oberst, but Saddle Creek Records exec Robb Nansel. Well, looks like Nansel’s on board (finally). Why they’re unveiling this at O’Leaver’s is a mystery, as the place will be at capacity by 6 p.m. for a show that won’t get rolling until at least 11 (let’s hope those storms don’t roll in early tonight). More info here.

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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

Whipkey gives it away; Triathalon, Coaxed, Eric in Outerspace tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:48 pm March 31, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Singer/songwriter Matt Whipkey writes to say he redesigned mattwhipkey.com, and in honor of the new look he’s giving away all the music that he’s made prior to this year’s self-release, Underwater. That’s right eight Whipkey-related albums including Penny Park, Instant Heart, and all the Anonymous American, Whipkey Three and The Movies titles can be downloaded for free from his website through tomorrow, April 1. Get in on it while you can.

What else..

Tonight Athens GA indie band Triathalon is playing at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band has a shimmery pop sound that’s kinda cool (check it below). They’re actually opening for the Coaxed. Eric in Outspace also is on the bill. $5, 9:30 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 © 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.

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