CWS rising; new Slowdown big room ‘seating’ prices; weak year for music (so far)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:37 pm June 15, 2016
The Great Wad at CWS 2012. Here it comes again...

The Great Wad at CWS 2012. Here it comes again…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Quiet week show-wise, which gives me an opportunity to catch up on things that have been falling through the cracks.

Such as reminding you (if it hasn’t already been drilled into your head) that the College World Series kicks off this weekend. I’m reminded of this every time I look out my office window and see the white tents slowly rising like mushrooms throughout the parking lots around TD Ameritrade Park.

For The Slowdown, Friday marks the beginning of the annual harvest, when Jason Kulbel and his team scour their local hardware stores for 55-gallon trashcans, which will be used to stuff the enormous wads of cash that the out-of-towners will be dousing them with throughout the next two weeks. I envision a “counting room,” like the ones you see in those casino movies, and Jason (wearing a green, translucent visor) diligently creating stack-towers of bills in various denominations, surrounded by tired grunts humping enormous canvas bags overloaded with coinage to smoking-hot change-counting machines.

I mention all this only to give you a head’s up that live music at The Slowdown is going to be limited for the next two weeks. Sure, Slowdown is changing things up this year for the CWS with an outdoor stage in their parking lot, but the talent booked consists almost entirely of cover bands. I can’t say’s I blame them: Slowdown is catering to the gee-whiz sports audience that doesn’t give two shits about your favorite indie band (or, probably, music in general). Though, wouldn’t it be great if Slowdown booked a couple decent indie bands for just one night, sort of like throwing a bone to the rest of us? I would go.

Anyway, you can always see Slowdown’s CWS schedule online at theslowdown.com. The venue goes back to regular programming after June 25, and has among its upcoming offerings Femi Kuti & the Positive Force July 14, The Jayhawks July 31 and Bob Mould Sept. 9.

I point out these three big-room shows because all feature Slowdown’s new tiered ticket pricing. For example, the Femi show is $25 for general admission or $45 for reserved “pitside” seats. Jayhawks is $25 GA, or $40 for the balcony. Bob Mould was $22.50 GA or $35 for pitside or balcony seats. Those higher-priced Mould tickets are already gone, btw.

I’ve heard some whining from a few people about this new pricing scheme. But I have to hand it to Slowdown for finally taking full advantage of their facility. Targeted seating prices are nothing new in other cities; plenty of people are willing to pay a premium for prime seating — or just the opportunity to sit down. My wife, who is abundantly smarter than me, has no appetite for standing up for three hours straight at a rock show. So yeah, I’d have plunked down an extra $10 for those Mould pitside seats (too bad they’re gone).

I was originally concerned that this new ticket scheme was going to screw me — I like to stand on that pitside edge, along the wall, stage left, near the exit door. That’s my spot. I was afraid that spot no longer would be available without shelling out for a seat. But Jason tells me, no, I’m going to be okay. In fact, if you like to stand in the bowl in front of the Slowdown stage, your GA tickets have you covered. I guess it’s only lazy old people who will be impacted by this new ticket scheme, and most of them have the extra cash to shell out, anyway…

But is there really that much demand for balcony and pitside seating? Jason says balcony tickets for Mould sold out in a few hours, and I notice the 24 pitside seats for Jayhawks are gone, too.

* * *

I know my postings here at Lazy-i central have been somewhat erratic lately. I blame a new fitness schedule that has me up at 5 a.m. every other day. By the time I finish my morning jog, I don’t have time to write. I’ll figure it out. Also, there hasn’t been a whole helluva lot of indie news lately.

Now that we’ve hit June, I’m going to begin posting reviews of albums released in the first half of the year. And man, it’s been a shitty year for music. We lost two giants — Prince and Bowie — we’ve had to endure this unending hate-a-thon election, and to top it off there hasn’t been many stand-out releases so far in ’16. I’ll try to find the handful that demand your attention. Watch these pages.

* * *

I can’t find a single show going on tonight..

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

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

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

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

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

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

Sons of O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

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

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

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

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Cultural Attraction (Mike Tulis birthday), Little Brazil Saturday; Chris Cohen, Son Ambulance Sunday; Ten Questions with Nothing…

O'Leaver's for Mike Tulis' celebration of silver & gold...

O’Leaver’s for Mike Tulis’ celebration of silver & gold…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Busy weekend for shows. Very busy. But the big stuff doesn’t start until tomorrow.

First, a mention of the OEAA showcases going on in Benson this weekend. I admit to knowing almost none of the bands performing this year. The few stand-out bands I recognize include John Klemmensen, Mitch Gettman, Latin Threat and Ragged Company. The full schedule is online right here. Cost is $10 one night, $15 for both nights. This is the only OEAA event that I participate in; it’s always fun to walk around Benson and check out new bands.

Onto Saturday night…

The marquee show is, of course, the Silver & Gold Celebration for Mike Tulis at fabulous O’Leaver’s. For his 50th, Tulis is getting the band back together — in this case, Cultural Attraction. Read all about the band’s history right here. Opening is Little Brazil and The Sons of O’Leaver’s. This can’t-miss show starts at 9:30. See you there.

Also celebrating a birthday Saturday night is The Brothers Lounge — opened apparently in conjunction with Tulis’ birth (both are 50 years old). Playing the party are Minnesota band Jaw Knee Vee, Lincoln madman Plack Blague and surprise guests You’ll Love These Rockets. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday, Jerry’s Bar in Benson is hosting a festival all afternoon and evening. Among the performers are Matt Whipkey and Clarence Tilton. More info and the day’s schedule here.

Sunday it’s back to fabulous O’Leaver’s for their Sunday Social and one of the best line-ups of the weekend: Chris Cohen (Ex Deerhoof, Ariel Pink’s Huanted Graffiti), Son, Ambulance, Kansas City’s Shy Boys and Thick Paint. All for $8 plus FREE FOOD (no idea what kind of food, but it’s free). This starts early — 4 p.m.

* * *

Nothing plays Slowdown Jr. Sunday night.

Nothing plays Slowdown Jr. Sunday night.

Sunday night Nothing plays with Culture Abuse, Wrong and Bib at Slowdown Jr. Here’s Ten Questions with Nothing…

Ten Questions with Nothing

Philly band Nothing may be known as much for its frontman’s brutal history as its music. As the story goes, Domenic Palermo spent a couple years in the slammer after stabbing someone in a fight back in 2002 when he was a member of hardcore punk act Horror Show, according to NPR. As you would expect, the experience changed him and his musical direction. With Nothing, Palermo returned to his first love: shoegaze. The music on the band’s latest album, Tired of Tomorrow (2016, Relapse) sounds like a reinvention of (or at least heavily influenced by) bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive combined with early Smashing Pumpkins. The product is dense, bleak and oftentimes brooding.

We asked Nothing to take our 10 Questions survey. Palermo took the plunge:

1. What is your favorite album?

Nothing: Sun City Girls, You’re Never Alone with a Cigarette

2. What is your least favorite song?

Theme song to “Frasier”

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

Not having to be at home.

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

Having to be on the road.

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

Semen

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

Chicago

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

Chicago. I fell asleep standing up, while we were playing.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Relapse Records allowance money.

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

Writing questions for newspaper; prostitution

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

One about these two brothers. One’s a cop and one’s a bad ass. The bad ass brother gets in a fight and kills a man in a bar fight. The cop brother chases him down through the back roads all the way to Canada, but decides to let him go, because a man that turns his back on his family, just ain’t no good.

Nothing plays with Culture Abuse, Wrong and Bib Sunday, June 12, at Slowdown Jr., 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $13 Adv./$15 DOS. Showtime is 7 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great (red hot) weekend…

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Celebrating Mike Tulis, Cultural Attraction and Kilgore’s (in the column); Sam Beam duets, Fishbone tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm June 8, 2016
Cultural Attraction playing at Kilgore's circa late summer 1994. Says Mike Tulis, "The photograph is taken from the middle of the room; the stage is now where the Shelterbelt audience sits, and the Shelterbelt stage blocks the old entranceway to Kilgore's. The bar is off to screen right." From left on stage are Mike Tulis, Bob Garfield, Kevin McClay, John Riley and Milan Seth.

Cultural Attraction playing at Kilgore’s circa late summer 1994. Says Mike Tulis, “The photograph is taken from the middle of the room; the stage is now where the Shelterbelt audience sits, and the Shelterbelt stage blocks the old entranceway to Kilgore’s. The bar is off to screen right.” From left on stage are Mike Tulis, Bob Garfield, Kevin McClay, John Riley and Milan Seth.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

My column in the June issue of The Reader is a feature interview with Mike Tulis (whose birthday is today) about his former band, Cultural Attraction. Mike and the band will reunite this Saturday night at O’Leaver’s for what no doubt will be a reunion of a lot of people from back in the day.

You can read my interview with Mike — which also traces the rise and fall of golden age music venue Kilgore’s and the role it played in the very early days of Omaha’s indie rock scene — online right here. FYI, the building that housed Kilgore’s at 3225 California Ave. is now the home of Shelterbelt Theater, and has been for a couple decades.

* * *

Sam Beam of Iron & Wine will be singing duets tonight with Jesca Hoop in The Slowdown’s big room. Their new album, Love Letter for Fire (Sub Pop, 2016) got a 7.5 rave from Pitchfork. Marlon Williams (the New Zealand singer/songwriter, not the American DJ also known as Marley Marl) opens at 8 p.m. $28.

Also tonight at The Waiting Room, Fishbone celebrates 25+ years playing ska-flavored punk rock. Downtown Brown & Cornerstone Dub open. 8 p.m., $18.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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

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

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

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

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

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

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

A couple red hot shows tonight.

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

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Christopher the Conquered tonight; Icky Blossoms, Channel Pressure, Chemicals Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 10:19 am June 3, 2016
Christopher the Conquered at Slowdown, Jr., Dec. 16, 2015. His band celebrates a record release tonight at O'Leaver's.

Christopher the Conquered at Slowdown, Jr., Dec. 16, 2015. His band celebrates a record release tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First off, thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes, whether they be via Facebook or wherever. Very likely I’ll be hanging out in Benson for BFF and O’Leaver’s, so if you see me, feel free to buy me a Rolling Rock…

Speaking of fabulous O’Leaver’s, tonight Des Moines’ Christopher the Conquered and his band will be celebrating the release of his debut LP, I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll (Maximum Ames Records). Opening is Rothsteen and Fun Runner. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, the two bands I’m forever mixing up — Super Moon and Super Ghost — play at Barley Street Tavern with King Thumper. $5, 9 p.m.

While in Benson tonight, swing by the Little Gallery (right across the street from The Sydney) and see Julie Jenowe’s installation, Alchemical Remains of Love. We’re open 6 to 9 p.m. Say hello!

Tomorrow night (Saturday)’s marquee show is Icky Blossoms at Reverb Lounge. The band just released a new VR/360 degree music video a couple days ago that is setting the world on fire. Opening is Channel Pressure — the duo of The Faint’s Todd Fink and Reptar’s Graham Ulicny. Kicking things off at 9 is Chemicals, the latest project featuring Dereck Higgins, Jacob Cubby Phillips, Jake Reisdorff, Blake DeForest, James Cuato and drummer John Evans. Get there early. $10. Would not be surprised if this one sold out…

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The Reader gets new blood; remembering Tom Rudloff; Ten Questions with We Were Promised Jetpacks…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Reader has a new managing editor. It’s David Williams, the former editor at Omaha Magazine and their family of publications. This new addition is a big deal for Omaha’s favorite arts and entertainment monthly, and long overdue. John Heaston and Eric Stoakes have been handling all the editorial decisions at the pub for a long, long time.

Also joining The Reader staff is another Omaha Magazine refugee: Super talented music write James Walmsley. James has been writing music profiles for Omaha and Encounter for some time, including this rather well-written profile of little ol’ me that appeared in Encounter. Walmsley’s title at The Reader will be something like Music Contributing Editor.

These additions represent surprising growth for a print publication in a time when word of magazines and papers shutting their doors comes on a daily basis. In fact, the June issue of The Reader looks to be the fattest in recent memory. It’s the annual “Music Issue,” and highlights a run-down of all the best places in town to buy vinyl. Also included is my annual list of favorite bands, as well my column that recaps the history of Cultural Attraction and local music legend Mike Tulis on the occasion of his 50th birthday. I’ll be posting a link to that column in the coming days, but you can read it right now in the printed edition of The Reader, available wherever fine journalism is sold.

* * *

I would be remiss to not mention the passing of Antiquarium proprietor and all-around good-guy Tom Rudloff. I first met Tom when I was a nerdy young lad, probably around 12 or 13. My mother drove me to the bookstore where Tom was selling a large collection of comic books. Among the one or two I bought that day was a copy of Avengers No. 4, the first appearance of Captain America in the Silver Age, a comic book I still own.

Over the years I got to know Tom through my writings about Bill Farmer, a local artist who I profiled in a couple cover stories for The Reader (You can read one of those profiles online here). Tom and Bill always were very patient with my questions about art and the lives of those who make it and, in Tom’s case, support it through running an art gallery.

Tom was known for holding court inside the bookstore, offering coffee and conversation to anyone who wanted to drop in. The kids and record hounds headed to Dave Sink’s record store in the basement probably wondered who that tribe of intellectuals was gathered just inside the entryway. They could be intimidating, though Tom never was.

Tom was funny and smart and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. He will be missed.

* * *

We Were Promises Jetpacks at Mohawk Patio, SXSW, March 19, 2010.

We Were Promises Jetpacks at Mohawk Patio, SXSW, March 19, 2010.

We Were Promised Jetpacks has become something of an indie staple. Seems like every year I journeyed to Austin for South By Southwest since 2009 the Scottish 4-piece was playing the festival, drawing large crowds for a sound that takes a guitar-fueled indie dance vibe (see Phoenix, Tokyo Police Club) and injects it with an emo sensibility that Cursive would approve of. The band continues to tour its 2014 release, the exquisite Unraveling (FatCat Records), making one assume that they must be working on new material. Find out if that’s the case when they play The Slowdown Monday, June 6.

I asked WWPJ to take the Ten Questions survey. Guitarist Michael Palmer stepped up to the challenge.

1. What is your favorite album?

We Were Promised Jetpacks: Right now, it’s The Wilderness by Explosions In The Sky. We’re just off a support tour with those guys and they’re the nicest people and the best band. Love them. All time favourite (yup, that’s a ‘u’ in there – don’t take it out) is probably Kid A or something.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Happy Birthday.” We once all started singing it to a friend of a friend on a night out, it was going great, then we all got to the “dear…” bit and, at the same time, realized that none of us knew her name. So we all just sort of stopped…

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

The part when you start writing a new song, and play it together the first few times. Before you have to talk about changing things. That part.

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

Not getting to see certain people for long stretches of time.

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

Pepsi.

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

Glasgow, because afterwards I don’t have to get into a van. It’s not that getting into a van afterwards isn’t sometimes amazing, it’s the not having to that makes it special.

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

Glasgow. Early on. There was a show where there were only like 10 people there and none of them cared at all. So we thought it would be funny to all kick our shoes off at the same time. It was. It was hilarious actually. Never mind.

8. How do you pay your bills?

I’d like to point out here that I used “where there were” in a sentence above and it was awesome. We pay our bills the usual way, I guess.

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

One where you get to leave at 5 p.m. and go to your own home EVERY SINGLE DAY! That’s the answer to both halves of the question, by the way.

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

I hear that there’s a $200 million development plan for land off the I-80. But that’s just because I went to omaha.com and read one of the headlines. I love that there’s an omaha.com, great work guys!

We Were Promised Jetpacks plays with Tokyo Police Club Monday, June 6 at The Slowdown. Tickets are $16 Adv./$18 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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

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

Arbor Labor Union at Milk Run May 28, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The Hotelier, See Through Dresses tonight; Sucettes, Lupines, Arbor Labor Union Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm May 27, 2016
Sucettes at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

Sucettes at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014. The band has a record release show Saturday night at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s another holiday weekend. Shows, shows, shows, but nothing on Sunday night. Come on, bookers! Don’t you know we all have Monday off? The one time you could have booked a great show on a Sunday night and you drop the ball… again.

Enough of that. Here’s what’s happening.

Tonight’s marquee show is at Milk Run and features indie act The Hotelier. I’m listening to their just-released album Goodness (Tiny Engines, 2016) as I type this. Pitchfork just gave it an 8.0. Retro-’90s emo never sounded so good. In an effort to outdo itself, Milk Run has made this a five-band bill that starts at 8 p.m. with a set by No Getter. Filling out the bill are Loone (which Milk Run describes as “currently an all trans and genderqueer four-piece,” New York “bedroom punk” artist Told Slant and Omaha’s own (and Hotelier label-mates) See Through Dresses. $12.

That’s it for Friday. There’s more variety on Saturday night.

At Reverb Lounge Saturday night Omaha super-group Sucettes celebrate the release of their new record. Joining them are DWNR and Those Far Out Arrows. $6, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Lupines will be playing new material from their forthcoming LP, which they just wrapped up at ARC Studio. Opening are Sean Pratt & The Sweats. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Milk Run just keeps booking the best touring indie shows. This time it’s Sub Pop artist Arbor Labor Union, who just released I Hear You, an album that I would describe as classic late ’90s Sub Pop fodder. They may be from Georgia but they sound like they’re from Seattle. We’re talking a big-sounding band playing in a tiny little room. Opening is brand new band Was, featuring Aaron Parker of Gordon fame, Jeremy Stanosheck of Relax, It’s Science fame and Ali-Jo Meyerhoff of Was fame.  Also on the bill are Justin Ready & the Echo Prairie and She/Her. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Actually, there is one show happening Sunday. The Cuterthans are playing at Lookout Lounge with Koo Koo Kanga Roo. The $10 Adv./$12 DOS show starts early at 5:30 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

TBT May 25, 2006 — What you hear too loud CAN hurt you…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:51 pm May 26, 2016
Good ol' ear plugs...

Good ol’ ear plugs…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

For Throwback Thursday, a bit of a public service announcement —  a column I wrote 10 years ago about hearing protection at concerts and what was at the time considered an epidemic of people playing their iPods too loud, damaging their hearing.

I’m happy to say that my hearing remains intact after 10 more years of attending rock concerts, thanks to constant use of ear plugs at shows. These days people not wearing hearing protection is the exception rather than the rule, which is a good thing.

Lazy-i – May 25, 2006 – OK, consider this week’s column a public service announcement. I listen to a lot of music, both in live settings and with a variety of headphones. Within the last few months there has been a ton of press about the dangers of iPods to your hearing. In some articles, that fear bleached over to concern about wearing headphones in general. So I packed up my iPod along with my iPod earbuds, my Etymotic ER*6 earphones and my Ultrasone HFI-700 headphones and dropped in on earguy extraordinaire Dr. Britt Thedinger, who’s name I got from commercials heard every morning on NPR affiliate KIOS 91.5 FM.

We spent about five minutes talking about iPods and headphones and spent the rest of our two hours together talking about rock shows and earplugs. An area of focus that didn’t make it into the column was concerns faced specifically by musicians who are bombarded by loud music every night. He said being behind the stack protects them somewhat — it’s louder in front of the speakers. But that ultimately there are risks for rock stars. Just look at Pete Townshend, who has become a spokesperson for hearing loss.

“The point is, musicians are realizing that they’re at risk,” Thedinger said, “Old rock stars saying, ‘You young people, this will happen to you.'” Thedinger recommends making an appointment and getting fitted for “musicians earplugs” which cost around $150 but are effective in blocking out only dangerous frequencies and not all frequencies — like my trusty yellow earplugs do. It’s a small price to pay to be able to rock when your 65.

Column 78: Don’t be a Tough Guy

There are a few things that can make you feel like “an old guy” at a rock show. I won’t get into the gloomy specifics involving people looking young enough to be your children or bartenders not even looking for the fluorescent wrist-band — everyone knows you’re old enough to drink, pops.

Earplugs are another one. I’ve been wearing them to rock shows starting back in ’93 when I road-tripped with Lincoln band Mercy Rule to a show at Harry Mary’s in Des Moines. Before their set, bassist/frontwoman Heidi Ore strolled through the crowd of angry punks with a prescription vial in hand.

She wasn’t passing out drugs, she was handing out earplugs. She ambled up to one big guy with his arms crossed and made an offering. He just nodded his head. He didn’t need them. The pixie-ish, bespeckled, five-foot-nothing dynamo responded flatly, “Don’t be a tough guy, just take them.” He did. So did I. And she was right, we needed them. Few bands play as loudly as Mercy Rule did, thanks to Jon Taylor’s roaring guitar.

That was the first time I wore earplugs at a show. I’ve been wearing them ever since — little yellow pieces of foam tied together by a handy blue cord, the kind railroad workers wear in the field and in the shops. I’ve had a case of them in my cupboard all these years and always keep extra pairs in my car in case I forget to take them with me. Dr. Britt Thedinger, an otologist at Ear Specialists of Omaha, says the practice may well have saved my hearing.

I know, I know, you’ve read a gazillion stories about the dangers of loud rock music. I don’t blame you if you stop reading. And to be honest, I didn’t seek out Thedinger to do a story on earplugs. It was my iPod that motivated me, along with the dozens or recent stories about how prolonged listening to iPods could cause hearing damage. Could I have wasted all those years wearing earplugs only to be butchering my hearing with my iPod while cycling the Keystone Trail?

I dropped by Thedinger’s midtown clinic last Saturday morning. What I heard surprised me. I expected gloom and doom. In fact, things aren’t that bad.

Turns out the iPod scare is mostly hype. “I don’t think there’s a huge iPod crisis of people losing their hearing right and left,” he said. Still, too much of anything can’t be a good thing. Thedinger said a sign that you’re listening to your iPod too loudly is if the person next to you can clearly make out what you’re listening to. That’s pretty freaking loud. But what about my trusty Etymotic in-ear isolator earphones? “If they’re turned up so loud that they hurt your ears, you’re damaging your hearing,” he said.

Pretty simple advice. Okay, so while I’m here, what about those standard yellow, foam earplugs that cost about 50 cents at the Quik Pik? Are they doing the trick? Thedinger said they block about 29 dBs, more than adequate to protect me at a typical rock show, which he says can get as loud as 115 dBs. Wadded up toilet paper, by the way, blocks only 3 to 5 dBs — in other words, it doesn’t work.

But even if I didn’t wear earplugs at every show, Thedinger said I’d probably be okay. Hearing damage occurs from prolonged high-decibel noise exposure. “At that level, it has to be continuous,” Thedinger said. “The quiet few minutes between songs is usually enough to recover.”

It also depends on the room’s acoustics and where you stand, like right in front of speakers that can blow out up to 125 dBs. Even a short exposure at that level can erode your ability to hear frequencies between 2,000 to 8,000 hz — the range where human speech makes lispy syllables, like “sh,” “th,” p’s, and f’s.

Which brings us to tinnitus — the ringing in your ears that everyone’s experienced after a night at The Qwest Center. Turns out that ringing is always there. We just don’t notice it until our hearing has been damaged — then it’s all we hear.

“When I was doing my residency in a Boston emergency room, we’d have patients come in after a concert at The Garden saying, ‘My ears are ringing and it’s driving me nuts.’ The membranes had swollen in their ears resulting in decreased hearing capability, so they could hear the tinnitus. After a few days the swelling went down, their hearing improved and the tinnitus went away.”

Unless, of course, they sheered off the nerves, permanently damaging their hearing.

You might recover just fine after a few loud concerts without earplugs, but night after night of unprotected hearing will sneak up on you. “It’s an insidious process,” Thedinger said. “People don’t realize the damage they’ve done until it’s too late. And once you’ve lost it, it’s gone.”

It still amazes me every time I look around at rock shows and notice that I’m the only one wearing earplugs. The excuse that they “ruin the experience” is lame. They allow me to actually focus more on the bands and worry less about damage — even if they may make me look like an old wuss in the eyes of guys too tough to wear them.

“You can be as tough as you want,” the good doctor said, “but it’s a real pain in the ass being hearing impaired.” — Lazy-i, May 25, 2006

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A quick thank you to those who donated yesterday to Hear Nebraska during Omaha Gives!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i