Live Review: Petfest (Magū, Those Far Out Arrows) and later that night (Bad Bad Men)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:53 pm August 16, 2021
Lawn chairs and rock ‘n’ roll at Petfest 2021.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If there was any concern about the Delta variant, it wasn’t apparent at Petfest last Saturday. There were maybe two people in the crowd of 40 or so wearing masks. And while that may shock some, it was no concern to me. I got the feeling the people surrounding me were not of the dumb-rube-Republican-conspiracy-tin-hat-wearing-numbskull variety (Tell us, Tim, what you really think of non-vaxxers…). And we were all outside, and for the most part, “distanced” from each other.

As someone who has been to a half-dozen South by Southwest festivals, I can tell you that Saturday’s Petfest was about as close as you’re going to get to what it’s like at a SXSW “day show” without taking a trip to Austin. Two differences: 1) No one was giving out free Lone Star beers and/or breakfast burritos, and 2) the sound quality at Petfest was far superior than the usual high-school-auditorium PA sound system used at SXSW (oh what those poor musicians put up with).

Ian Aeillo, a mad-genius audio engineer with bat-like ears that can hear frontwards, backwards and sideways, had the ol’ Barley Street white-rock parking lot sounding like LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, pushing sound from both stages simultaneously, it was like sitting in your parents’ 1970s basement listening to a Pink Floyd quadraphonic recording, but with indie bands.

As I said last Friday, this fest brought together the finest collection of local musical talent I’ve seen assembled at one concert in Omaha since, well, last year’s Petfest. Whoever the tastemaker was that booked this gig really knows his or her stuff.

Anna McClellan at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

I came in right when things kicked off at 2 p.m. with Anna McClellan and her band. McClellan is a unique artist both musically and lyrically — she’s warm and lonely and sardonic all at the same time. The slightly off-kilter wonkiness of her vocal delivery only gives her songs more authenticity (to me, anyway). Every one of her performances is memorable, and it was a great way to kick off the day.

Magū at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Following Anna in the smaller garage stage was the most surprising set of the day. I’ve written passingly about Magū before (a few years ago, regarding one of their releases), but I’ve never seen them live. What to make of a five-piece that prominently includes a tenor sax front-and-center? There’s not much info about the band online (like who’s in the band?). Stylistically they describe themselves as psych rock / shoe gaze, but I’d peg them as modern indie with touches of classic rock. I loved the sax player’s tone and style, which merely augmented the songs and didn’t get in the way.

And then there was the woman keyboard player who sang leads on one song and knocked everyone on their asses. They’re quite an ensemble, which has been sitting right under my nose for years. When are they playing next?

Lightning Stills at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Magū were followed by Omaha super group Lightning Stills and the Midtown Ramblers (the “Ramblers” part was new to me). Lightning Stills is the countrified alter ego of (former?) punker Craig Fort. He’s surrounded himself with some of the area’s finest ax men, including pedal-steel player Mike Friedman, lead guitarist Tom May, and bassist Danny Maxwell.

I’m told this was the band’s first live gig but you wouldn’t know it by how well they played on these alcohol-drenched tales of personal excess and woe. Hard liquor and twang are a recipe as old as country music itself, and even has its own local iteration in the form of Filter Kings (Hard to beat that band’s “Hundred Proof Man” for pure booze romanticism). The Ramblers do it well, especially when they get into a groove and the players are allowed stretch out on these four-chord-powered jams.

Vocally, you can tell this was Mr. Fort’s first rodeo. Unlike punk, which thrives entirely on angst and energy, you will not get a pass on the vox — ever notice even the slightest waver and/or off-kilter moment when you listen to Waylon or Merle or Jerry Jeff? That’s just part of the deal, and it’s something that Fort will nail down over time.

Mike Schlesinger at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Speaking of vocals, there are few better voices than Mike Schlesinger — around these parts or anywhere. Mike played a short set alone with his acoustic guitar that managed to hush a parking lot full of drinking revelers who leaned in on every note. Schlesinger closed with “Coolie Trade,” one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Gotta wonder what would happen if the right “industry people” ever discovered this mega talent.

Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Next was the first of a two-set day for Those Far Out Arrows. I’ve written about these guys so many times you’re tired of hearing it — they are at the forefront of Omaha’s garage-rock scene, true disciples of that classic ‘60s psych-rock sound epitomized by bands like Them, The Animals and the Kinks.

Two moments summed up their set for me, both took place while playing their A-side single, “Snake in my Basement.” First, I noticed across the parking lot in an adjacent garage covered with No Trespassing signs this rough, older dude working on his car who looked like the dad from Orange County Choppers. He set down his wrench, leaned back in the shadow of the doorway, watched and listened, nodding his head. Second thing — a little boy no more than 5 years old sat cross-legged in the middle of the parking lot and sang along with chorus.

As a band, what more do you want?

I wanted to put earmuffs on the little dude and his sister when the band tore into “Hell Yeah (MF)” from their Part Time Lizards album, with the repeated chorus, “Hell yeah, mother f***er, hell yeah!

MiWi La Lupa (right) at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

The last performer I caught at the fest was MiWi La Lupa accompanied by guitarist Cubby Phillips. The two played a solid set that underscored why MiWi is recognized as one of the area’s better singer/songwriters.

And that was the end of my Petfest experience, though there was a ton more left that afternoon and evening. The whole day felt like being at someone’s very cool block party. I foresee a day when Omaha hosts a SXSW-style festival in which it invites bands from all over the country to play in venues throughout Benson. And when that day comes, Petshop Gallery and BFF will host a day party, and it’ll be something like this.

I was back in Benson later that night for Bad Bad Men and Those Far Out Arrows at Reverb Lounge. I’ve only been to a couple of shows at the new, improved Reverb, and Saturday’s was the most populated. Again, only the bartenders wore masks despite the Delta variant growing in the community.

Bad Bad Men at Reverb Lounge Aug. 14, 2021.

The super-group power trio of Bad Bad Men is fronted by Omaha rock legend John Wolf, with drummer Chris Siebken and bass player Jerry Hug. When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll these dudes are indeed bad, bad men. Their music rides on Wolf’s heavy metal riffage and is powered by that dynamic rhythm section that recalls a filthy, grinding punk rock heard back in Omaha in the ’90s by acts like Ritual Device and Wolf’s own Cellophane Ceiling. It’s dark and fun, with Wolf growling out the lead vocals and stretching out on blistering guitar leads. Their best set yet.

Those Far Out Arrows at Reverb Lounge Aug. 14, 2021.

The night was closed out by another performance from Those Far Out Arrows. They only played something like four songs at Petfest (everyone at the festival played shortened sets). They added another four of so for this evening gig. My only additional note is a tip of the hat to the band’s bass player, Derek LeVasseur, who makes everything they do up there possible alongside drummer Brian Richardson. You can’t make these songs keep chugging along without those guys.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Petfest is Saturday (Anna McClellan, Those Far Out Arrows, And How, more); Salsa Chest, Thick Paint Friday; Bad Bad Men Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:15 am August 13, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

And How at Petfest 2020. The band performs again at Petfest 2021 Saturday.

Petfest is, hands down, the best collection of Nebraska bands to perform on one bill this year. And it takes place this Saturday at Petshop in Benson.

The event is a fundraiser for Benson First Friday (BFF), and features art as well as music (and beer). If you’re worried about the Delta variant, Petfest is hosted outdoors and has a mask requirement.

I went last year during the height of the the COVID-19 pandemic and saw their safety protocols firsthand, so I have no concerns about attending again this year. That said, you do what you do. The only thing that would make this gig safer is if they required proof of vaccination for entry (come on, Omaha venues, let’s make it happen).

The event takes place in the parking lot behind the Petfest building at 2725 No. 62nd St. Last year bands performed both outside and on the edge of the indoor space (the garage), essentially playing outside as well. Tickets are $20 today, $25 tomorrow.

The schedule:

Outside Stage:
2:00-2:20 – Anna McClellan
2:50-3:10 – Lightning Stills
3:40-4:00 – Those Far Out Arrows
4:30-4:50 – McCarthy Trenching
5:20-5:40 – Thick Paint
6:10-6:30 – Her Flyaway Manner
7:00-7:25 – Oqoua
8:05-8:35 – And How
9:15-9:45 – All Young Girls Are Machine Guns

Inside Stage:
2:25-2:45 – Magu
3:15-3:35 – Mike Schlesinger
4:05-4:25 – Miwi La Lupa
4:55-5:15 – Teetah
5:45-6:05 – CHEW
6:35-6:55 – Moon Pussy
7:30-8:00 – Benny Leather
8:40-9:10 – Ghost Foot
9:50-10:20 – Leafblower
10:45-11:15 – Universe Contest
11:30-Whenever – Crab Vs Kobra

More info at the event’s Facebook page.

Petshop actually gets things rolling tonight with a super-hot bill to be held partially outside (in the same space as Petfest). Atlanta experimental artist Salsa Chest (Joyful Noise/Gray Area Cassettes), whose latest was produced by Thick Paint’s Graham Ulicny, is on the bill with Thick Paint, Double Consciousness and headliner Mesonjixx. 8:30, $7.

AND

If you miss Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest during the day Saturday, you can also catch them at Reverb Lounge Saturday night, where they’re playing with The Darma Rose and Bad Bad Men — the supergroup featuring legendary punker John Wolf fronting a power trio rounded out by drummer Chris Siebken and bass player Jerry Hug. $8. 9 p.m.

One last show of note this weekend – Lincoln singer/songwriter Andrea von Kampen (Fantasy Records) has an album release show Saturday night at The Slowdown with Molly Parden. 8 p.m. $20.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. See you at Petfest.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Solid Goldberg, No Thanks, BFF, Bach Mai, Problems tonight; Under the Radar Saturday; Black Pumas Sunday (outside)…and it’s Bandcamp Friday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 11:40 am August 6, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

No Thanks during a performance at Slowdown. The band plays tonight at The Sydney.

This might be the busiest post-COVID weekend since, well, Maha (OK, ok… I know we’re actually still very much in the heat of COVID. If you’re vaxxed, enjoy the weekend; if you’re not, just stay home and enjoy your conspiracy theories).

Tons happening tonight.

Firstly, it’s Benson First Friday (#BFF), which means the art will be flying throughout Benson. The Sydney has a mighty line-up tonight, headlined by the one and only Solid Goldberg. Joining him is one of my favorite local bands, No Thanks, whose last album, Submerger (2020, Black Site Records), was one of the best from last year. Opening is singer/songwriter Ben Eisenberger. $10, probably 10 p.m.

Also tonight in Benson, Reverb Lounge is hosting PROBLEMS (Darren Keen of The Show is the Rainbow fame, doing his one-man thing) with Goth Martin (aka lowercase tres) and W. Groves. Free before 10 p.m., $5, after 10 p.m.

Meanwhile down Slowdown Jr., Bach Mai is hosting its album release show for What You’ve Given, which came out in January, and includes a huge supporting cast and was mixed, recorded and engineered by Rick Carson (Make Believe Studios). Joining him are J. Crum and Steady Wells (Jordan Smith from Twinsmith). $10, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Omaha Under the Radar is happening throughout the city at spaces like Kaneko, Joslyn, OutrSpaces and The Trap Room. Among those performing are Dereck Higgins, who has a new album out today called Future Still. Events are happening throughout the day. No idea on costs. More info here.

Finally, Sunday night at “Waiting Room Outdoors” — which is a blocked-off Military Ave. outside of Reverb Lounge — is Black Pumas with Neal Francis. Gates at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m. $40. Expect a crowd.

Also, today is Bandcamp Friday, which means Bandcamp is waiving its fees for purchases from its site today only. So go to all the above Bandcamp pages and make some purchases, like the new one by Big Nope, “Mt. Baker.”

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Maha Music Festival — Japanese Breakfast, Thundercat, Khruangbin, Edem Soul Music…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Looking out from the stage at the 2021 Maha Music Festival.

It was almost as if the gods looked down from the sky and said, “Let’s give this little festival a break,” and then turned down the thermostat in Omaha for the day and blew away all that nasty Pacific Northwest smoke (only to be replaced with a different kind of smoke later in the evening).

#Maha13 couldn’t have been more flawless from a operations point of view. Unlike the Lizzo-year oversold debacle two years ago, this one was smooth as silk, thanks to ticket limits (due to COVID), which held the number at a manageable 8,000. So well run was it this year, in fact, that I beseech the Maha organizers to continue to limit ticket sales in the future, augmenting their income with more sponsorships and a slightly higher ticket price.

In other words, don’t be greedy.

Who knows, maybe that is the plan? Maha changed it’s setup this year, adding a number of small sponsor tents that lined the north-end perimeter, replacing their “global village” with even more sponsor tents. It might be why Stinson Park never looked better-attended for its early acts, who enjoyed a sizable crowd during their sets.

While I was there for the entire day (a first), I was kinda/sorta working at the Union Pacific sponsor tent, which kept me busy, but not too busy to grab some photos and catch some sets. Some I missed altogether, though I heard them in the background…

Dirt House at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

Dirt House was the first one that got me up to the stage. Annie Dilocker has surrounded herself with some of the best talent from ‘round these parts. Backing her was guitarist Jim Schroeder (2020’s Mesa Buoy, UUVVWWZ, David Nance Band to name a few), drummer Roger Lewis (The Good Life, Neva Dinova, Conduits, local legend), bassist Sara Bertuldo (See Through Dresses) and violinist Amy Carey. We’re talking all-stars here. At the center was Dilocker, who continues to grow as as vocalist and songwriter.

Edem Soul Music at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

The biggest surprise of the day came from Edem Soul Music. I’ve never paid much attention to Edem, as the only time I’d seen her perform in the past was alone with ukulele, which is a tough sell for me. While I was running around doing stuff, I kept getting pulled into her set, thinking, “Holy shit, that’s a good song,” and them moments later, “OK, now that one’s even better.

I finally put down my stuff and went to the stage. Now I need to find out who the heck Edem Garro is. Incredible voice, but beyond that, just straight-up catchy R&B songs. Her online presence is a mish-mash (one song on Bandcamp?, a few singles on Spotify?). Looks like she has a new album coming out later this month…

Shovels and Rope at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

The national bands started at 5:30 with Shovels & Rope, who I knew but hadn’t really listened to prior to this. They were fine, though none of their songs really caught my attention — sort of alt-indie in the Felice Brothers/Dawes/Langhorne Slim vein, with a surprisingly full sound for a two-piece.

It’s a good time to mention the overall festival sound. Maybe it was where I was situated across the field, but there was a lack of underbelly to the bands on the small stage, and all the drums sounded lost in the mix throughout the night. As is the case with all festivals, bands sounded better as they got deeper into their sets, thanks to the sound folks, but there’s only so much you could do with that small stage. But even the large stage had its limitations, moreso than I can remember from any past Maha show (and I’ve been to all of them). The exceptions were the two main stage headliners.

Drive-By Truckers at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

Moving on, like Shovels and Rope, I only have a passing knowledge of Drive-By Truckers. Their style of Dixie-hotdamn-southern indie is not my thang, though there were times I was reminded of heavier John Hiatt tunes. DBT was the heaviest thing dished out this year at Maha, which in past years featured at least one (and usually more) punk-flavored indie bands. Not this year. (Did I mention The Oh Sees were the best part of the Lizzo year?).

Japanese Breakfast at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

I’m probably not the only one who wondered why Japanese Breakfast was placed on the small stage. Maybe it was because they were the only true indie-style band on the festival ticket, and we all know indie bands are used to getting placed at the smaller table. They no doubt deserved to be on the big stage, where we likely would have gotten a better-sounding set. Regardless, the band played through all their “hits” off their last couple of albums.

JB was the one band I was most looking forward to at the festival, and to be honest, their set was sorta ho-hum. But then again, hasn’t indie sort of been headed in a ho-hum direction for the past few years? Vibe bands are taking over indie music along with female singer-songwriters, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m beginning to wonder where the next PJ Harvey or Arcade Fire will come from.

Thundercat at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

Thundercat turned in the most thoroughly enjoyable set of the festival. A.k.a. Stephen Bruner showed off his amazing bass-playing chops on a set of proggy, jazz-flavored, mostly instrumental numbers that also showcased a crushingly talented band.

It felt more like a jazz set than a R&B/rock set, though the intricate, complicated arrangements stood right up there with some of the crazy prog acts I remember from the ’70s, the kind of bands that shifted effortlessness from key and time signatures while playing at breakneck speeds. Impossible to not be impressed, however if you weren’t right up to the stage (as I was from the VIP section) you might get lost in the sound clutter, as most of the numbers didn’t have memorable central melodies.

That came with their final song, “Them Changes,” which has become his funk anthem, the one they play on Sirius XMU, the song that would get airplay if we still had a decent FM rock station.

Khruangbin at the Maha Music Festival, July 31, 2021.

That final Thundercat song was the perfect hand-off to Khruangbin, a band whose music is destined to be heard for many decades playing in the background at your local grocery store.

We all knew their low-key vibe music would be a soft-lit way to end this festival, and boy, it sure was. Along with Thundercat, their sound quality was next level, and their playing was tight as a tick, but man, weren’t much going on up there on stage other than three folks spread out playing their jams. Judging by the always-present smell of weed, I doubt the remaining crowd cared. This is stoner-vibe music at it’s best, the perfect soundtrack for the stoned or for those waiting in line at The Gap.

So how does this Maha rate with past years?

In terms of overall quality of experience, it’s right up there with the best. You will not find a better-run festival with more helpful volunteers.

The line-up? It’s not fair to judge considering we’re coming out of national pandemic. It’s amazing they were able to even pull a line-up together. Most of these bands aren’t in my wheelhouse. While I like that Maha is still booking emerging acts along with more established bands (DBT, for example), I miss the indie rock, and punk. Maybe it just wasn’t available?

Who knows what the future holds for Maha? There’s talk of the festival eventually moving downtown when the new mall is completed, and spreading out shows to multiple venues, a la SXSW. That would be awesome if they can get a transportation plan in place to shuttle everyone around. In the meantime, I have a feeling we’ll all be back to Stinson Park next year, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Maha Festival (Japanese Breakfast, Thundercat, more) Saturday; Wagon Blasters tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:55 pm July 30, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Japanese Breakfast hits the Maha Festival stage at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The big mystery involves tomorrow’s weather — will the rain subside by 2 p.m. for the Maha Music Festival, returning again to Stinson Park at Aksarben Village? Place your bets. If you’re not aware, the festival officially became a “sell-out” yesterday. The cooler weather may actually be a blessing, even if we’re all wearing ponchos.

Gates are at 2 p.m. Here’s the schedule:

2 p.m. Crabrangucci
2 p.m. Kethro
2:30 — J. Crum
3:15 — Dirt House
3:50 — Omaha Girls Rock
4:00 — Edem Soul Music
4:45 — Matt Cox and the Marauders
5:30 — Shovels & Rope
6:45 — Drive-by Truckers
8:00 — Japanese Breakfast
9:15 — Thundercat
10:45 — Khruangbin
Midnight – the party’s over

I can’t remember if in past years they also blocked all the locals to perform early in the festival. The first touring act, Shovels & Rope, doesn’t go on until 5:30. Will anyone be there before that for the locals? Would have been nice to intermix the nationals and the locals, just to pull in a bigger crowd. I’ve said for years that Maha should place a mid-level touring act early in the day to get people in the park. Ah, but no touring band wants to play for anything less than the biggest crowd possible.  

Japanese Breakfast and Thundercat are on top of my must-see list, though I’ll be there all day.
Weather is playing a role in the festival’s set-up. Storms are forecast for this afternoon, but Maha has their act together.

Since it’s an outdoor event, mask wearing is optional for those of us with enough common sense to be vaccinated, but considering the smoke pouring in from the West Coast fires, you may want to wear your mask anyway. 

. ) ) ) .

The weekend partying actually starts tonight at Reverb Lounge in Benson where Wagon Blasters open for Pixies tribute band Surfer Rosa. It’s been too long since I’ve seen Gary Dean Davis and his crew bounce around on stage. This one could be packed — and may even sell out. $10, 9 p.m. 

That’s all I got.  Have a great weekend. Look for a Maha review on Monday.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Las Cruxes, Glue, Solid Goldberg Saturday night at The Brothers…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:02 pm July 23, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Las Cruxes at The Brothers Lounge, Sept. 27, 2019. The band returns Saturday night.

Ah, remember when I updated this blog daily? We’re still a long ways away from daily updates (though if I head to The Brothers Saturday night, expect a live review/pictures on Monday).

In fact, that’s the only show on my radar this weekend. Las Cruxes will return to The Brothers Lounge Saturday night for what I believe is the first live show at Omaha’s favorite punk bar since the pandemic struck. Las Cruxes has been plenty busy, having just been signed to a new label — Lennon MX Records. The first single, “Llueve En Mis Suenos,” came out last month, and a full-length is imminent, recorded at ARC by Ian Aeillo and Victor Salinas.

Also on the bill Saturday night at Brothers is Sioux City punk band Glue.

And to top it all off, Solid Goldberg is on the bill. I’m not sure if he’s playing first or last, so get there early to make sure you catch this one-of-a-kind one-man audio-visual music extravaganza.


All three bands for a mere $7. The show starts at 10 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Relax, It’s Science, Sun-Less Trio, Mere Shadows tonight; Dirt House, McCarthy Trenching Sunday; RSD 2021 Day 2 tomorrow…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:23 am July 16, 2021
Sun-Less Trio at The Sydney, June 10, 2017. The band returns tonight.

As the Delta variant swirls around the country and LA introduces new indoor mask mandates even for those who have been vaccinated, it’s obvious that we’re nowhere near the end of COVID-19.

That goes for what’s happening music-wise. We’ve yet to see a full-on press of quality touring shows coming through Omaha, though the volume of press releases for tours not coming through town (i.e., NOmaha) have risen sharply over the past few weeks. NOmaha tours include Protomartyr, Phoebe Bridgers, The Oh Sees, Courtney Barnett, even our own hometown act Bright Eyes.

BTW, Bright Eyes recently rescheduled its Ireland and UK dates to August 2022 due to COVID-19, though their U.S. dates starting at the end of July are still on. Odd that there’s no Bright Eyes Omaha tour dates… I think the last time Oberst played in Omaha was that Better Oblivion Community Center show at Slowdown in March 2019…

Interestingly, the next rock show featuring national indie bands is… the Maha Festival July 31, where Japanese Breakfast, Thundercat and Drive-By Truckers are among the acts.

Thankfully, we still have some local shows happening. Tonight at The Sydney in Benson Relax, It’s Science returns for a sort of an album-release show for their latest, Now It’s Your Problem, now available on CD. Mike Saklar’s Sun-Less Trio also is on the bill along with Mere Shadows. $10, 9 p.m.

Dirt House (who’s on this year’s Maha Festival bill) plays at Pageturners Lounge Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. with McCarthy Trenching. It’s a free show.

Hey, if we can get at least one good rock show a week do we have anything to complain about?

. ) ) ) .

I missed mentioning Record Store Day Pt. 1 last month. RSD Day 2 is tomorrow. You can check out all the RSD goodies here. Most stores open at 10 a.m.

Another good news story: The Old Market now has as many record stores as it ever did back in the day. You’ve got good ol’ Homer’s (of course), Vinyl Cup Records, 1108 Jackson, the new Grapefruit Records at 12th and Jackson, and they just reopened the Drastic Plastic Vinyl Lounge at 1217 Howard St.

I’ve slowed down on my vinyl acquisitions. It really has to be a record I intend to listen to on my turntable for me to buy it. I just don’t have the room! Anyway, I’ll be buying something…

Have a great 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Idaho, Slights at Reverb…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:32 pm July 9, 2021
Idaho at Reverb Lounge, July 8, 2021.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s a distinctive sound to a distinctive type of indie music played in the ‘90s, a style that was part slow-core, sort of low-fi, usually involved slightly off-kilter, wonky vocals, simple arrangements and lots of feedback.

Idaho was among the bands that played that style of music, a sound stark and downturn, and while it could be bleak, often rays of sonic hope seeped through the cracks. For those of us who were there, hearing it again is like stepping right back into that decade.

Jeff Martin and the rest of the guys who made up Idaho last night at Reverb Lounge provided the time machine. Martin, looking like an indie version of Wade Garrett/Sam Elliott from Roadhouse with his long greying mid-50s hair, sounded as good as he ever did back in the day, backed by a solid band that included guitarist Robby Fronzo on soul-draining feedback-drenched leads.

To show you how little I know about the band, I wasn’t aware that a key component to their sound is that Martin (and Fronzo) played four-string electric guitars (in fact, I can’t remember seeing anyone play a four-string), which I credit at least in part to that far-away, haunted feel of the slower tunes. While tuning between numbers (which Martin did a lot), he said Fronzo had tried playing with the band using a six-string guitar, but it just didn’t sound right.

My knowledge of the Idaho songbook is limited to one album, which I acquired back in ’94 which included the song “Still” that I used in my 1994 best of Lazy-i cassette tape! That said, Martin’s set bounced between oldies and songs announced as “new ones,” that stood up to the old material. Throughout the evening the slow songs reminded me of ‘90s acts like American Music Club, Bedhead and Silkworm, though for every two slow ones there was an upbeat number.

I remembered how much I love this style of music, but wondered how it could ever catch the ear of today’s indie music lovers, who are more synthesized and upbeat and wouldn’t get the fractured sound that makes it so great.

BTW, last night was one of the only times I’ve seen a band play an encore at Reverb.

Slights at Reverb Lounge, July 8, 2021.

Opening band Slights from Kansas City (I’m told one of the members runs the Record Bar?), was an appropriate contrast. The band played a style of rock heavy on the minors and at times bordering on gothic. Frontman Matt Dunehoo has a stellar voice that can counter the heavy fuzz/buzz with a winsome tunefulness that matches his wonky (bordering on bizarre) stage antics.

The highlight of their set came three from the end when they veered from the usual minor-key buzzfest to something more pop, which felt like the sun breaking through the clouds. Throughout the evening Dunehoo commented how great it was to be back playing live and being able to play in front of a crowd. As part of that crowd, I couldn’t agree more.

. ) ) ) .

Unfortunately it’s looking like a quiet weekend show-wise. Only thing I see is the return of Doom Lagoon at The Slowdown Saturday night with 3 Son Green and Mr. E & the Stringless Kite. I have not seen any of these bands, but you can for $15. Show starts at 8 p.m.

The only other thing worth mentioning is that Saturday is Blackstone Second Saturday which means we’ll have a new artist opening at The Little Gallery, located just north of Night Owl in the The Mansion. “Because” features a collection of mixed-media prints on paper by Susan M. Heggestad. We’ll be there from 3 to 7 p.m.

Have a great 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Little Brazil, Living Conditions, Sean Paul, BFF tonight; who remembers Elvis Costello?…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:41 pm July 2, 2021
Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2019. The band plays at The Sydney tonight.

Every week it starts to feel a little more normal around here, though we’re still not where we were before the pandemic when it comes to live music. For the last couple weeks, we’ve had at least one show worth mentioning for the weekend. That’s better than none, but a far cry from the six or seven shows per weekend that used to fill this blog on Fridays.

This weekend’s show is tonight, again at The Sydney in Benson: Omaha indie heroes Little Brazil return to the Sydney stage for the first time since Feb. 7, 2020. Joining them are Omaha screamo band Living Conditions and maybe the city’s best kept secret — Sean Paul. Some may know him from his work with Eric in Outerspace or The Sunks. Paul has been working on a solo album, and from what I’ve heard it’s going to be a scorcher.

The show is $10 and starts at 10 p.m. and is part of July’s Benson First Friday (#BFF). So get to Benson early tonight and soak in all the cool art at the local businesses, then slip on down to The Sydney at 10 for what promises to be a red hot show.

That’s the only gig I see going on this 4th of July weekend. If you know something I missed, put it in the comments section.

. ) ) ) .

If you were anywhere near social media yesterday you heard the news that Elvis Costello will be headlining this year’s Memorial Park Concert Aug. 28. Wyclef Jean is the opener.

For a certain segment of the population (of which I am one) this is unbelievable news. I grew up listening to Elvis Costello, and his debut album is one of my all-time favorites. The fact that this singular talent is playing for free in Memorial Park — a concert that historically has featured over-the-hill county-fair freedom rock acts — is nothing less than a miracle.

But I have to wonder how well it’ll draw. Yes, you and I and our friends all know and love EC, but how well is he known outside of our circles? I bet if you did a man-on-the-street survey and asked 10 random strangers shopping right now at Village Point to name an Elvis Costello song, 9 out of 10 wouldn’t answer. Sure, they’ve heard of Elvis Costello, but do they know his music? It certainly has never been played on local radio, and EC isn’t exactly a television staple these days.

In fact, to be honest, the last EC album that I really dug was Blood and Chocolate, which came out in 1986 — that’s 35 years ago. There’s a couple generations who likely don’t know who EC is. No doubt Elvis will cram his set with the hits from his first few releases (Though wouldn’t it be funny if he did a set consisting of songs from his last six albums? What’s that? No, it wouldn’t?).

Regardless of who’s playing, this will be a crazy event if only because it will be yet another moment that symbolically marks the end of the pandemic.

Have a great 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Saddle Creek signs LA producer/songwriter Pendant, drops first track…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:59 pm June 29, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Chris Adams a.k.a. Pendant is the latest signing by Saddle Creek Records.

Saddle Creek Records continues to impress with all of its activies, from opening a New York office, to releasing new albums by Idigo De Souza and the upcoming Culxr House compilation, and today announcing the signing of LA producer/songwriter Pendant a.k.a. Chris Adams.

Former frontman for the Bay Area noise punk band Never Young, Adams’ debut as Pendant was released on Tiny Engines, which coincidentally or not, was also the former home to another recent Saddle Creek roster addition, Spirit of the Beehive.

From the press release: “Coming from hardcore and noise-punk bands, (2019 debut album) Through a Coil saw a shift in songwriting that melded shoegaze with Britpop recalling the likes of Stone Roses and My Bloody Valentine.”

Adams has apparently decided to take yet another stylistic turn, as evidenced by the new track Saddle Creek also dropped this morning, “Blood Rite,” which the label (accurately) describes as “a gleaming rave-infused, pop track with dark undertones.” Look for Pendant’s full-length debut in early 2022, which Creek says is “an instantly definitive record that connects ’90s house and rave music with hip-hop, shoegaze, and pop.” Hey, this is definitely not your father’s Saddle Creek.

Check out the new Pendant track below.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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