#TBT March 23, 2007: Little Brazil release show for Tighten the Noose; The English Beat tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm March 23, 2017

Little Brazil circa 2007. The band hosted the album release show for sophomore album Tighten the Noose 10 years ago today.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Another highlight of ’07 along with the opening of The Slowdown and The Waiting Room was the release of Little Brazil’s sophomore album Tighten the Noose.

The album’s official release date according to AllMusic.com was Feb. 6, 2007. That website gave the recording a 3-1/2 star rating, but was less than complimentary in its review, saying, “…while these are perfectly admirable sonic references, they point up Tighten the Noose’s primary flaw: Hedges’ songs are solid, and he’s a perfectly decent singer and guitarist, but there’s a faintly anonymous quality to Tighten the Noose that keeps the album from sounding like more than the sum of (Landon) Hedges’ influences…

I remember when I first read that review thinking it was pretty lazy, especially considering the comparisons the writer threw out (Dream Syndicate? Apples in Stereo? Huh?). To me, Tighten the Noose would become Little Brazil’s “rock album,” comprised of the catchiest tracks they’ve recorded in their career. Tunes like “Last Night,” “Shades” and “Never Leave You” became staples of their set over the years and epitomized their sound. These are the tunes the band will be remembered for, along with the more epic, story-telling songs on the follow-up, 2009’s Son.

At this point in the band’s career, Little Brazil was still trying to pull itself away from Landon’s association with a couple of his former bands — Desaparecidos and The Good Life.

From Lazy-i March 21, 2007:

(Bass player Danny) Maxwell is skeptical that Hedges’ history has had an impact on drawing people to Little Brazil shows. “They don’t say, ‘Holy shit, it’s the guy from Desa.'”

Still, Maxwell said fans are aware of the band’s history and its connection to the Omaha music scene. “They ask us what Conor is doing right now,” Maxwell said. “I usually respond with, ‘I don’t know. We’re here with you tonight.'”

“There are fans out there that love that style of music and ask us what it’s like to be part of it,” (guitarist Greg) Edds explained. “I don’t mind when they’re being sincere. On the other hand, there are the ones who hand us gifts to bring back to Conor and Tim (Kasher).'”

“It’s annoying at this point in our careers,” Hedges said.

“But it’s getting to be less and less of a problem,” (drummer Oliver) Morgan added. “We’re starting to make our own mark.” — Lazy-i March 21, 2007

Read the whole story here.

According to my review in Lazy-i the next day, about 250 people showed up for the album release show at Sokol Underground March 23, 2007. The Photo Atlas was the opener. There was even a balloon drop halfway through Little Brazil’s first song, and Landon almost passed out from the heat/humidity.

From the 2007 review:

“Landon… is a pure crooner, an Omaha-style indie singer cut from the same bolt of cloth as Tim Kasher (a la The Good Life, not Cursive). Every time I see him with his just-woke-up hair and cheap wireframe glasses I think of Corey Haim as Lucas or a bespeckled Bobby Brady, age 13. His voice kinda/sorta matches his appearance — an unpretentious caterwaul that has no problem reaching for the high notes at the peak of a heart-wailing phrase. Little Brazil’s music isn’t exactly a bold, new direction in the world of indie rock. You got your cool guitar riffs, your lean bass lines, your thunderous drums (Oliver Morgan is always at his best every time I see him on stage — he has no second gear), coming together to form a verse-verse-verse song (why are there never any choruses these days?) that typically builds to a predictable — if satisfying — “big ending.” The differentiator — Landon’s Bobby-at-13 voice, that is both honest and simple and, well, good enough to cut through the din. It’s kind if quirky, but perfectly on pitch. And it follows a melody that rises and falls…” — Lazy-i, March 24, 2007

The next day the band drove to Denver to open for The Photo Atlas at their album release show…

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out Tighten the Noose at Bandcamp. I listened to it again this morning on my way into work and it holds up exceptionally well. Wouldn’t it be a kick in the head if Landon and Co. got together for a 10-year anniversary performance of Tighten the Noose? Think about it, Maha…

* * *

One of those bands that never seems to forget Omaha when it tours, Dave Wakeling and The English Beat, return to The Waiting Room tonight. Local ska band The Bishops opens. 8 p.m., $25.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Was I duped by a rock ‘n’ roll band? (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — @ 12:59 pm March 22, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader, which came out three weeks ago but has just now gone online, leads with an analogy about truthiness in journalism involving a story I wrote for The Note more than 20 years ago.

The column’s lead:

As we enter the “fake news” era, here is my first run-in with the genre.

The year was 1994. I had been writing about local music for a monthly regional magazine called The Note as a freelancer for two years, in charge of covering Omaha’s indie and punk music scene. The publication’s editor asked me to write a cover story about an Omaha punk band that recently had been signed by a national record label and was about to hit the road for an East Coast tour.

At the time, Nebraska bands rarely performed outside of the state. In fact, the idea that a local band could grab the attention of a national audience, let alone go on tour, was very much a novelty.

For the story, I came up with the idea of asking the band to call me from the road with tour updates. This was years before cell phones, so the calls would come long-distance via pay phones with reverse charges. Every day for a week, someone from the band — usually the frontman — would call from a remote East Coast location and recap road story after road story dripping with unbridled debauchery, kinky depravity and everything else that makes rock ‘n’ roll what it is.

A side note: I knew these guys well, or at least I thought I did. I had interviewed them before, and had watched them perform on Omaha stages numerous times. I trusted them.

Well, I wrote the story and it was published and distributed throughout college towns in Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas. A few days after it hit the streets, I walked in local record store/music Mecca The Antiquarium, and there was proprietor/guru Dave Sink behind the counter holding a copy of the article.

“Great piece,” he said. “I really loved the writing, but you know all those road stories were completely made up, right?”

What happens next and what does it have to do with Trump? You’ll have to go to the column to find out (right here). This is what they call “a tease” in the business, folks. Go read the column and come back. We’ll still be here waiting for you…

Dum-de-dum… *looks at watch*… OK, all done?

By the way, the incident mentioned in the column wasn’t the last time something like that happened. Years later I wrote another rather lengthy band profile and was told afterward (this time via social media) that the entire interview had been a ruse, a lie. Of course I confronted the band who said the guy who posted the comment was Looney Tune-city, completely speaking out his ass.

Still, it never dawns on anyone conducting an interview (especially of an artist) that the person you’re interviewing could be lying directly to your face just for kicks, just so s/he can point at the story to his/her pals in the bar and say, “Check this out, I was bullshitting the whole time.” To my knowledge, it’s never happened to me.

Like any other journalists, I fact-check what is fact-checkable. And if anyone tries to pull the wool over my eyes regarding the local music scene, well, I know people and ain’t afraid to ask more questions. That’s what journalists do.

Still, its’ weird times we live in when we have to assume our president’s words are very likely bald-faced lies…

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Back from Florida; Oberst hates playing in Omaha; Portugal. The Man. Tonight.

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:39 pm March 21, 2017

Wilder Sons at Fenway South Stadium, Fort Myers, FL, March 19, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I just got back in town from sunny Florida. What did I miss? Sounds like a bunch of you had a big ol’ time at the Corey Feldman Show.

I contemplated going to that one myself (had I not been in Florida) simply to see the return of Digital Leather, but even then, the $30 ticket price was too rich for my blood. Not so, it seems, for the hundreds who showed up last Saturday at Maloney’s on 72nd St., and while I’ve heard Feldman was a shit show, no one’s said boo about Digital Leather. Come on, people…

Sanibel Island Florida is exactly as it sounds — a sleepy beach community located south of Fort Myers populated mostly by rich retirees looking for a place to die. We picked it for that very reason — to get some beach time without the Spring Break idiocy, and that’s exactly what we got. Though we also enjoyed some spring baseball courtesy of the Minneapolis Twins and Boston Red Sox.

The above photo was taken outside of JetBlue Fenway South stadium and goes to prove that indie bands exist even in remote locations like South Florida. Wilder Sons played a mainstream version of indie pop reminiscent of Vampire Weekend and our very own Twinsmith. Hear for yourself. Unfortunately, spring MLB baseball is the wrong place for indie-style music, as the band played mostly to people walking by in garish Red Sox gear eating polish dogs and drinking aluminum bottles filled with Bud Light. At least the Twins won.

Anyway…

Last week Interview Magazine ran an interview with Conor Oberst where he confirmed what many said he mumbled during his last show at The Waiting Room — that he hates playing in Omaha.

From the interview:

INTERVIEW: I know you’re spending more time in your hometown Omaha these days. Do you like to play there?

OBERST: No. I hate playing in Omaha. Worst crowds, all your friends and family are there. It’s a fucking disaster. I hate it. My least favorite place to play is Omaha.

INTERVIEW: You grew up playing there. I would have thought you were inoculated to that.

OBERST: No, it’s the worst. They’re over me … they’re not listening. They’re just there because they sort of feel like they have to be there. It’s fun to get drunk and hang out, and whatever—it’s just a different thing. It’s like if I were to play at a backyard barbecue or something. Sounds great in theory, but it turns out your friends don’t really want to listen to you.

Some might take the above as a negative thing. I find it bracingly refreshing. He’s not saying he hates Omaha, he’s saying he hates playing here, and he’s right: Oberst shows aren’t like any other national traveling indie show — they’re more like family reunions or wedding receptions. A huge portion of the crowd grew up with Conor and has seen him perform dozens of times. Such a crowd is easily distracted.

Though I will say in Omaha’s defense, the last time he played here also was the 10 year anniversary of the venue he was playing at, and most of the crowd had been partying at Reverb Lounge for hours leading up to the concert — i.e., they were lit.

There have been respectful Oberst/Bright Eyes crowds in the past… I remember one at Sokol Underground where everyone sat on the floor in silence during the performance, as if watching a cult leader. I don’t think that’s the kind of audience Conor’s hoping for…

* * *

Former indie act Portugal. The Man plays tonight at The Slowdown. Last time I saw them was back in 2009 at The Waiting Room wherein I said they belonged on a major label, and now they are, and as a result, they’ve lost their proggy edge somewhat. Well, what did you expect? HDBeenDope opens this 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $27.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Dinosaur Jr. (at The Waiting Room March 18); Jabid, Big Slur tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 7:41 am March 16, 2017

Dinosaur Jr., form left, J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph. The band plays The Waiting Room Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What is the soundtrack to your youth? For some very hip folks in their 30s, 40s and 50s, that soundtrack would have to include Dinosaur Jr. The band has been at it in one form or another since 1984, releasing their debut — a mish-mash of punk, heavy-metal and C&W — under the name Dinosaur in 1985.

Back then it was J Mascis on guitar, Lou Barlow on bass and Murph on drums. Just like the rest us, that line-up would go through some changes over the years, but would circle back to its original line-up in 2006 and pretty much stay that way right up to the band’s latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016, Jagjaguwar). In between, the band released seminal albums like 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me, 1991’s Green Mind, 1993’s Where You Been and 2007’s Beyond, keeping that soundtrack going for the next generation (and the generation after that).

We caught up with Dinosaur Jr. drummer Murph and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey.

1. What is your favorite album?

Murph: Jimi Hendrix’s Axis Bold as Love

2. What is your least favorite song?

Wham’s, “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”

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

Performing live on stage is the best thing about being in a band.

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

Constant compromise, hardest thing about being in a band.

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

Coffee

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

New York

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

Worst  gig was in Pawtucket RI, sketchy vibe, and horrible sound.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

I haven’t always been able to support myself through my music and it has taken a long time. I’ve supplemented my income with drum lessons and odd jobs.

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

Profession I’d like to try is teacher or therapist, and worst profession would be being a cop.

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

Omaha Nebraska, “where’s the Beef”!  My mother always used to order Omaha steaks at Christmas time.

Dinosaur Jr. plays with Easy Action Saturday, March 18 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $22 Adv./$25 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

* * *

Get your pre-St. Patrick’s Day partying in before us idiots take over.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Jabid (Javid’s project), False Brother and Stephen Nichols. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at experimental art/noise space Project Project, 1818 Vinton St., Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman’s project) opens for Amulets along with Teetah and Erinome. Let’s face it, I’ve never heard any of these acts, but Dan says it’ll be good. $6, 7 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

Lazy-i

Closeness’ formation a matter of the heart; review: Posse 7-inch; STRFKR, Matt Harnish (Bunnygrunt), Wagon Blasters, Bloom tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:01 pm March 15, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Today a story from Orenda Fink about the formation of Closeness, the new project she shares with her husband Todd, was published at talkhouse.com. I’m not sure this was reported before, it probably has been, but this is the first time I’ve run across it, and never so eloquently.

Orenda writes about her long-term heart ailment, something that’s plagued her since her days in Little Red Rocket, and how matters only worsened over the years, leading to Todd insisting she get it checked out. Good thing he did and she did, because the docs quickly put her under the knife. I’ll let Orenda describe what happened next, but the outcome not only is a healthy Orenda, it was impetus for her finally forming a band with her husband, something she’d thought about for years.

Read the story here, then go out and buy a copy of the the new Closeness album, Personality Therapy (2017, Graveface). And if you’re in Austin this week, check them out live.

* * *

I’m listening to the first release of Saddle Creek Records’ new “Document” series, featuring Seattle band Posse — the single “Kismet” b/w “Keep Me Awake.” The A-side is slow, dark and atmospheric, and includes a sweet Gilmour-esque guitar solo toward the end. I prefer the B-side, which has its own ripping guitar solo in the middle and which you’re going to have to pay to hear. With vocals handled by Paul Wittman-Todd and Sacha Maxim it strikes near to Painful-era Yo La Tengo territory, except that whoever’s playing that guitar blows Ira away.

The black vinyl single comes with a folded one-sheet that includes a history of Posse Seattle practice spaces that have seen the wrecking ball (or flood waters). The package is definitely worth $8. When’s the next one, Saddle Creek?

* * *

Some noteworthy shows for a Wednesday night…

Tonight trippy Portland indie pop band STRFKR (Polyvinyl, Badman) headlines at The Waiting Room with labelmates Psychic Twin. $20, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Matt Harnish from well-known (by some of us, anyway) ’90s indie band Bunnygrunt does a solo show at Brothers Lounge. Joining him are opening acts Wagon Blasters, Noah Sterba and Googolplexia. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Harrisburg post-hardcore band Bloom headlines a show with Bishops (the Bob-Mouldish garage rock band, not the ska band), Gogfermour and Medlock. $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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Maha rising; Conor Oberst gets Pitchforked (6.6); Digital Leather returns; Chuck Prophet tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:05 pm March 14, 2017

Screen capture from the video for “Digital Lust” by Glow in the Dark.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lots of little stories today….

The fine folks at the Maha Music Festival will start selling tickets Friday for this year’s fest, which takes place Aug. 19 at Stinson Park/Aksarben Village. Tix are GA $55 and VIP $185, though the actual line-up won’t be known until March 30.

Will it be worth the price of admission? IMHO, the answer is yes. From what I’m hearing about the line-up, this one could very well sell out, despite the fact that it’s the same day as Lady Gaga at CenturyLink Center. That little fact has Maha sweating, but let’s face it, we’re talking about two very separate, very different audiences…

* * *

Pitchfork today reviewed the new Conor Oberst album, Salutations, and despite Ian Cohen spending most of the review lambasting the record as a sort of easy-path sell-out of Ruminations, still gave the record a 6.6 rating.

Says Cohen: “Oberst re-recorded all 10 songs (of Ruminations) with a full band and a host of guests, added seven new ones and hit shuffle—a decision that drags Salutations down and bring its predecessor along with it.” Cohen goes on to say Salutations effectively turns Ruminations into a collection of demos. Maybe so, though that stunt worked just fine for PJ Harvey.

Read the review here. I’m still waiting for that Tim Kasher review, Pitchfork.

* * *

If you haven’t already guessed, I won’t be going to SXSW this year. The festival in Austin gets rolling tomorrow, though there’s showcases going on today. Those of you stuck in Omaha will at least be treated to a couple Digital Leather shows in the coming days.

Here I thought the band had broken up, but now I’m told DL will come out of hibernation if the prices is right (Why not?). This morning the band announced a free show at Blackstone Meatball on St. Patrick’s Day with opener Chalant.

This is presumably a warm-up for their opening slot for Corey and the Angels March 18 outside at Maloney’s Irish Pub on 72nd St. — maybe the strangest show of the year. Joining Corey Feldman and Digital Leather will be Thick Paint and Glow in the Dark (new project featuring Aaron Gum). It’s a $30 ticket, but who can put a price on memories that could last a lifetime?

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the rock ‘n’ roll stylings of Chuck Prophet and his band The Mission Express. You read about Chuck here yesterday. This 8 p.m. show is $20.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Tonight) and Chuck Prophet (Tuesday at The Waiting Room)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:45 pm March 13, 2017

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Two, count ’em two Ten Questions interviews! Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is tonight, while Chuck Prophet is tomorrow night. Both are at The Waiting Room.

* * *

Ten Questions with Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

I’m not sure how this will sound to the creative force behind Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, frontman Alec Ounsworth, but maybe the band’s slow disintegration was the best thing to happen to him? After all, the new CYHSY album, The Tourist, is my favorite recording by the band.

The Tourist sounds like a cross between Radiohead and anthemic Arcade Fire. Ounsworth has that yearning Thom Yorke vocal styling going on, while the chiming synths and electric guitars, and snap-crack percussion on “Better Off” recall DIIV’s atmospheric essence.

I’ve never heard the back story behind the band’s erosion, only that the four-piece that broke big with its self-released 2005 debut had dwindled to just Ounsworth after 2014’s Only Run. He described the new record as “a type of purge.”

“I am a relatively solitary person and seem to work best alone,” he said. “I do count on others to help the project as the process of making and releasing an album moves forward, but if it doesn’t match what I have in mind, it’s hard for me to really be there for it. I guess this is one reason why the project has been independent all this time. Trust me, I understand that thinking this way is both an asset and a liability.”

We caught up with Alec and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey.

1. What is your favorite album?

Alec Ounsworth: I have been listening to a lot of Randy Newman lately . . .

2. What is your least favorite song?

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

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

I guess the travel.

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

The travel.

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

Coffee

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

New York is usually nice.  Tokyo is great.  Omaha is fantastic.

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

We had a rough one in Birmingham, Alabama, some years ago.  Usually there are technical difficulties involved. I imagine this was the case.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

I am lucky enough to be able to support myself through music.  It took years to get there.

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

I would like to play professional basketball. I would not like to play semi-professional basketball.

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

I have heard that it is bigger than I thought it was.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah plays with Vita and the Woolf Monday, March 13, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $16. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com
* * *

Chuck Prophet plays at The Waiting Room March 14.

Ten Questions with Chuck Prophet

California rocker Chuck Prophet has taken a long road to stardom, starting in the ’80s with psychrock/Americana band Green on Red. Prophet went onto work with a number of music luminaries including Alejandro Escovedo, Kelly Willis and Lucinda Williams while nurturing his own solo career.

Prophet’s latest, Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins (2017, Yep Rock), is classic barroom rock with Prophet sounding like the second coming of Ray Davies. He said the album was inspired partly by the mysterious death of rocker Bobby Fuller in LA in 1966. “California has always represented the Golden Dream, and it’s the tension between romance and reality that lurks underneath the surface in all noir films and paperbacks, and that connects these songs,” Prophet said.

We caught up with Chuck and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey:

1. What is your favorite album?

London Calling by The Clash

2. What is your least favorite song?

Pavarotti once said he hated the sound of his own voice. Only one voice he liked less. Add that was Placido Domingo. I’m sure my least fave song it out there. I just haven’t heard it yet.

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

When it’s all clicking, it’s just a great joyride playing with a band as great as The Mission Express.

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

Hate is a strong word. But there are people out there don’t know that The Old Man in the Sea is not about fishing. Being in a band. It’s a shared experience. And that’s the best and worst part of it. There’s no way to share a pulled muscle with somebody else. Pain. We do that on our own.

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

I appreciate a good bowl of cereal. That’s hard question. But if you ask me, “Who’s your favorite drummer?” There’s no one answer to that. That’s like saying, “What do you like best for lunch. Do you like tuna fish sandwiches?”

9. How much do you tip?

I always tip 20% and I always round up.

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

Austin, TX

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

Albany, NY. I’d have to start taking medication if I revisited that night.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Too long. I’ve been playing in bands since I was 12 years old. There have been times where I washed dishes, parked cars, or even gathered signatures. But mostly, I haven’t had a job other than playing music and writing songs. I don’t know if I’ve been making a living. But, I suppose not having a real job is a start.

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

I doubt it’s much fun being a corrections officer.  And I’m sure it’s pretty stressful and altogether unpleasant. Madness. Short leashes. But people who can do that? With dignity. I have to give them my respect.

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

Seems like a good and livable place. Been there a long time. They must be doing something right. I once drove across the country by myself. Sat in a Borders in Omaha from the time it opened until it closed. People came and went. Kids were doing homework. I got to know the staff. It was a good time. I made up my own stories about them.

Chuck Prophet plays Tuesday, March 14, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $17 Adv./$20 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Conor Oberst; Closeness, High Up tonight; Sam Locke Ward, Simon Joyner, Growlers Saturday; Cold War Kids Sunday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:50 pm March 10, 2017

Conor Oberst at The Waiting Room, March 9, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Conor Oberst was the main event of last night’s Waiting Room 10th Anniversary bash.

Oberst, with his wacky wild man, just-rolled-out-of-bed hairdo, took the stage at 9:30 and kicked through about 75 minutes of folk rock backed by The Felice Brothers. The set consisted mostly of songs off his new album Salutations, which to me, sounds like a soft-rock combination of Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Conor’s lyrics have never been sharper, though his melodies have lost their edge, especially when laid beside older material like “Poison Oak” and “Cape Canaveral.”

That said, Salutations takes the stripped-down material from Ruminations and thoughtfully beefs it up to create his best album since his 2008 eponymous release. Last night’s set was heavily weighted with the new stuff — this definitely will not be a greatest hits tour.

From my vantage point, Oberst approached the performance with workmanlike precision, fueled by a well-oiled Felice machine. It left me wistfully dreaming about Bright Eyes shows gone by, where Oberst was a lit fuse ready to either explode or fizzle out on stage. Kevin Coffey of the Omaha World-Herald reported (second hand) that he did blow up on stage. I guess I missed it.

In fact, I was expecting (hoping for) some political diatribe between songs, but no. Maybe Conor let off on the anti-Trump rhetoric because it was the Waiting Room’s birthday, which he referenced numerous times throughout the night.

Oberst closed with a three-song encore that included a angst-fueled solo piano tune I didn’t recognize that was among the best songs of the night, and a scorching version of “Napalm” with the brothers Felice from the new album, a real Live Rust moment.

It was one of the most packed nights I can remember at The Waiting Room, a real crush mob, with more than a few lit patrons, one assumes from enjoying the pre-party over at Reverb before the show (which, sadly, I missed).

* * *

After the past few weekends with little to do, this weekend is chock full o’ shows.

It starts off tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s where Closeness celebrates the release of their new EP, Personality Therapy, out today on Graveface. This is sort of a warm-up show as the duo of Orenda and Todd Fink get ready head to Austin for SXSW. Joining them tonight is the mighty High Up (Orenda’s pulling double duty!) and the provocatively named new act BareBear.  $10, 7 p.m.

Also tonight, dark wave leather-fetish dance sensation Plack Blague headlines at Reverb Lounge with Cult Play and Solid Goldberg. $6, 9 p.m.

Satchel Grande and Carson City Heat also take The Waiting Room stage tonight. 9 p.m., $8.

Saturday night Almost Music is hosting Sam Locke Ward with Simon Joyner and the return of L. Eugene (Methe) Group. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at O’Leaver’s, Sean Pratt headlines with Landon Hedges (of Little Brazil, Desaparecidos, Wrong Pets and Fine, Fine Automobiles). $5, 9:30 p.m.  This show has been CANCELLED.

Also Saturday night, The Growlers return to The Waiting Room. $15, 9 p.m.

El Ten Eleven returns to The Slowdown Saturday night with Mylets and Fontenelle. $12, 8 p.m.

Then Sunday night Long Beach indie rockers Cold War Kids headline at Sokol Auditorium. Middle Kids open the 8 p.m. show. $26.

Also Sunday night, Vancouver art rock band Bad Pop headlines at Reverb Lounge. Relax, It’s Science and Low Long Signal open. $7, 8 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it on 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT: The Waiting Room: Book It and They Will Come; Conor Oberst (SOLD OUT), Har Mar Superstar headline anniversary show…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 11:35 am March 9, 2017

Marc Leibowitz, left, and Jim Johnson a few days before the March 9, 2007, grand opening of The Waiting Room Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Has it really been 10 years? Guess it has, though it doesn’t seem like it.

When the venue opened March 9, 2007, there was never any doubt in my mind that The Waiting Room would still be in operation a decade later. And sure enough, here we are. The club is bigger and better than ever, and arguably was the keystone on which the Benson revitalization was built upon.

I’m not going to get all maudlin and nostalgic about the club or the people behind it (I’ll save that for The Reader article, which I’m hoping to write for the June issue). Instead, here’s the original interview with Waiting Room founders Marc Leibowitz and Jim Johnson from the March 8 2007 issue of The Reader (and entry on Lazy-i.com) where the dynamic duo explain why they built the club and their plans for the future.

Actually, before we get to that, tonight is the official 10th Anniversary show featuring Conor Oberst and The Felice Brothers. This one has been sold out for a long time. The club is having an invitation only celebration prior to that show, though everyone is invited to the 10th Anniversary After Party featuring Har Mar Superstar at Reverb Lounge. Tickets are still available for that one for $10, but I suggest you buy them before it, too, is sold out. Har Mar starts at 11 p.m.

Now let’s step into the Wayback machine to March 8, 2007…

The Waiting Room: Book It and They Will Come
from Lazy-i.com, March 8, 2007

A mere month after taking possession of the building that used to house Marnie’s Place, D Dubs and the legendary Lifticket Lounge, The Waiting Room in the heart of Benson is ready for business.

Its owners — Jim Johnson and Marc Leibowitz — are ready for business as well.

Since getting the keys from the landlord, a visibly worn but excited Johnson has spent 12 hours a day every day cleaning, painting and repairing the facility, from building a gorgeous new bar to upgrading the stage to remodeling the bathrooms, and he’s not through yet. One week prior to its grand opening more work still needed to be done. The Pepsi guy was scheduled to show up the next morning, more tables and chairs were on the way, a collection of posters from past One Percent Productions shows (what the duo is known for) had yet to be hung and the booze hadn’t arrived yet (nor had their liquor license).

But the most important element — the venue’s monster stage, sound and lighting system — was in place and ready for lift-off. Using an iPod plugged into the soundboard, Johnson and Leibowitz ran a brief test of the system, playing tracks by Red House Painters, The Replacements and Frontier Trust, finally settling on Beck’s Sea Change. Even with one of the large stage speakers still yet to be hooked up, the sound was pristine — huge and full-bodied — and very loud.

“It’ll be even louder when the bands are playing,” Leibowitz said. “It’s basically a supped-up version of Sokol Underground’s PA in a room half the size. It has the same speakers, but the amps are better. The monitors are the same, the board is a lot better and there are twice as many stage lights.”

Enormous subwoofers are mounted beneath the stage, surrounded by 5,000 pounds of sand used to dampen vibration. Running the board will be soundman Jason Churchill from the Satellite Blues Band, who has been working sound at One Percent shows for the past couple years. “We thought he had a good sound from the get-go,” Leibowitz said. “He’s used to working with large bands. We bought his PA, he sold his cube truck and now this is his home.”

It’s a first-class set-up that will quickly be recognized as one of the best performance rooms in the city. And unlike Sokol Underground, where large metal poles always block your view, all sight lines are unobstructed.

Beyond the stage and sound, the lounge itself sports a clean, comfortable, lived-in feel, from the booths along the south wall to the pinball-machine room in the back. The place even boasts two sets of restrooms — one by the pinball room, the other to the right of the stage. Johnson will get to know them intimately as he’ll be the guy cleaning them every morning after what he hopes will be plenty of use.

Although lifted from a Fugazi song, the club’s name — The Waiting Room — is appropriate for reasons beyond sheer tribute. Leibowitz and Johnson waited 11 years to open the club.

“We thought in 1996 that we’d find the right place within a year,” Johnson said. “We figured we could do shows as One Percent Productions for awhile and prove that we could make enough money to convince a bank to give us a loan. Eleven years later, and we realized it wasn’t that easy.”

Part of the reason for the delay was that they were too “picky.” Over the years they considered venues in the Old Market, along Farnam St., in South Omaha and even the building that currently houses Sullivan’s. Then this last December Johnson stepped into Marnie’s Place at 6212 Maple St. and talked with the building’s owner. Within weeks, he was handed the keys.

“One reason we chose this location was because it was affordable,” Leibowitz said. “Every other place we looked at cost too much money. And we like Benson. A lot of people that go to our shows live around here.”

Friday night’s opening will feature Art in Manila (a new band fronted by Orenda Fink, who has released albums on Saddle Creek Records), Lawrence band 4th of July and folk band Black Squirrels. The following night, punk bands Bombardment Society, Now Archimedes!, and The Stay Awake take the stage. Sunday night’s show is a special invitation-only affair that will feature one of the area’s biggest acts.

That’s three nights of indie and punk bands, and although One Percent built its rep on indie music, Johnson and Leibowitz know that they’ll have to reach beyond that genre to keep the bar open, especially with Saddle Creek Records’ mammoth Slowdown entertainment complex opening downtown in just a few months.

“We’re not indie music promoters; we’re independent promoters,” Leibowitz said. “Indie music got us where we are today, but we now book more metal and hardcore than anyone in town.”

“These days, I’m really getting into country music,” Johnson said, adding that had someone stepped into the building anytime over the past month, they would have heard plenty of pedal steel along with the hammers and saws.

“We want to book whatever people want to come see,” Leibowitz said. “Yes, the indie shows that can fit into this room will be here. But there also will be some bands that we would have booked at Mick’s — like Jolie Holland and Dave Dondero. We want to do the Americana stuff that the Sunday Roadhouse series is known for. We’ve been offered jazz and reggae shows in the past and had no room for them. Now we do. It’ll be all across the board.”

Which begs the question how One Percent will be able to book Sokol, Slowdown and their own club without an obvious conflict of interest. Leibowitz said The Waiting Room isn’t in those venues’ league.

“The competition will be between Sokol, Scottish Rite Hall and Slowdown. All really cater to the same size shows,” he said, adding that economics differentiate the three. Sokol is cheap to operate. “From what we’ve been told, Slowdown could be more expensive, and Scottish Rite is very expensive.”

Where an artist plays will depend on what the artist wants out of a show. “They may want to play a less expensive room that allows them to walk out with more cash,” Leibowitz said. “On the other hand, from a production standpoint, nothing will touch Slowdown. It’ll have the nicest stuff in town. It comes down to expenses, availability and capacity, and I can push artists only so far in one direction.”

For example, Leibowitz said he would prefer to have the upcoming Andrew Bird show at The Scottish Rite Hall. “It would have been amazing,” he said, “but the economics of Sokol Underground made more sense to them.”

As you can tell, despite the new bar Leibowitz’s focus will remain on growing One Percent Productions. Johnson will be dedicated to running The Waiting Room full-time. “You won’t see the two of us running around everywhere like before. We want hands-on control of this bar.”

The whole point of having their own club was to be able to do it their way. Every time they started booking shows at a new venue, they’ve brought a list of suggestions to improve its business. “We asked Sokol to repaint, put in some lighting in the room adjacent to the main room and add seating so people could sit down and drink. No one listened,” Leibowitz said. “We went into the Saddle Creek Bar and said ‘Make it sound right. Don’t add more speakers, make it better. ‘ At O’Leaver’s I walked out of one show (a performance by the band Bella Lea) embarrassed. I can’t put a delicate sounding band in there.”

“We never held any of our own cards at those other bars,” Johnson said. “Here, we have control of our own destiny. We can make it the way we want to make it. After doing 800 shows, we think we’ve determined what this town needs.”

With that level of control, a risky proposition like opening a bar is a chance they’re willing to take. “We’ve proven with Sokol that people will come if you book the right shows,” Leibowitz said. “O’Leaver’s has proven that, too. We know if we bring in bands people want to see, they’ll come. — Lazy-i.com, March 8, 2007

* * *

More trivia: That was a busy night back in 2007 even if you weren’t at The Waiting Room. Kite Pilot, Razz the Kid and Or Does It Explode played at The Saddle Creek Bar. Or Does It Explode was a band that featured Robert Little and Matt Stamp from Mariannes, Tim from Latitude Longitude, and Pat D from RTO and Cactus Nerve Thang. $5, 9 p.m. The Terminals were playing the Black Shoe Bash and Dance Party at the Bemis Underground with Brimstone Howl and Denver’s The Machine Gun Blues, and The Take Action! Tour was happening down at Sokol Auditorium with The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Emery, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, A Static Lullaby, and Kaddisfly… Ah, those were the days…

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lucy’s Pub featured in new Uh-Oh video; House Fest next weekend…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:55 pm March 8, 2017

House Fest is March 17-18

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Sorry for the outage the last couple of days. Crazy work, ya know. While I’ve been away, the fine folks of the band Uh-Oh released a new video for the tune “Songs in the Kitchen” from their latest album You’re Not Dead. The vid is embedded below.

Directed by Matt Mejstrik and Ian Snyder, the video captures a night at Lucy’s Pub, 8932 Blondo St. which isn’t a pub at all, rather it’s the location for house shows, including the one captured last December in this video. Mejstrik has made videos in the past for the likes of Universe Contest, Bogusman and The Way Out. The video feels like a modern-day John Hughes movie (or at least the party sequence from one) supporting a song that sounds like sounds like a mash-up of alt country, indie and emo (Uncle Tupelo emo?).

If Lucy’s Pub looks like a fun place to hang, you can find out for yourself next weekend, when the house hosts Houses Fest in conjunction with We’re Trying Records. The festival, which runs March 17-18, has a deep schedule of performances. Consider it your alternative to SXSW (which will be happening at the same time in Austin). Check out the line-up below.

Entry is $5 per night, but all proceeds go to Planned Parenthood!

March 17 @ 7p-12a

7 p – Doom Lagoon \\ Omaha, NE \\ Pirate Battle Funk Jazz

7:45 p – Low Long Signal \\ Omaha/Lincoln, NE \\ Space Rock

8:30 p – House Vacations \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Swamp Rock
http://www.housevacations.bandcamp.com/

9:15 p – No•Getter \\ Omaha, NE \\ Indie/Punk
https://nogetter.bandcamp.com/

10 p – The Way Out \\ Ashland, NE \\ Shoegaze/Indie Rock
http://music.thewayoutband.com/

10:45 p – Uh Oh \\ Omaha, NE \\ Rock & Roll
http://www.uhoh.bandcamp.com/

11:30 p – Walk By Sea \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Indie Rock
http://www.walkbysea.bandcamp.com/

12:15 a – No Thanks \\ Omaha, NE \\ Punk
https://no-thanks.bandcamp.com/

1 a – Remo Drive \\ Minnesota \\ Dance Punk

March 18 @ 12p-12a
Basement Stage
12:40 p – Timecat \\ Omaha, NE \\ Midtown Moon Rock
http://timecatne.bandcamp.com/

2 p – Bed Rest \\ Omaha, NE \\ Sleepy Rock
https://bedrestomaha.bandcamp.com/

3:20 p – Bogusman \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Punk
http://bogusman.bandcamp.com/

4:40 p – Salt Creek – NE \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Indie Rock
https://saltcreekne.bandcamp.com/

6 p – Idlefox \\ Omaha, NE \\ Fox Rock
http://idlefox.bandcamp.com/

7:20 p – Pelafina \\ Chicago, IL \\ Midwest Emo
https://pelafina.bandcamp.com/

8:40 p – The Morbs \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Synth Garage
https://themorbs.bandcamp.com/

10 p – Leftmore \\ Denver, CO \\ Indie Rock
http://leftmore.bandcamp.com/

11:20 p – Hideaway \\ Custer, SD \\ Shoegaze/Indie Rock
http://hideawaysd.bandcamp.com/

12:40 p – Riala \\ Kansas City, MO \\ Cinematic Ragamorales
https://riala.bandcamp.com/

Garage Stage
Noon – Employer \\ Kansas City, MO \\ Garbage Rock
http://thisisemployer.bandcamp.com/

1:20 p – Chess Club \\ Lawrence, KS \\ Emo/Math Rock
https://chessclubband.bandcamp.com/

2:40 p – Kill Vargas \\ Wichita, KS \\ Alternative
https://killvargas.bandcamp.com/

4 p – Lulay \\ Omaha, NE \\ Pop Crunch
https://lulay.bandcamp.com/

5:20 p – This Machine Kills Vibes \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Dream Punk
http://thismachinekillsvibes.bandcamp.com/

6:40 p – The Ambulanters \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Sad Rock
https://theambulanters.bandcamp.com/

8:00 p – Super Ghost \\ Omaha, NE \\ Rock
http://superghostnoise.bandcamp.com/

9:20 p – I Forgot To Love My Father \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Party Emo
http://iforgottolovemyfather.bandcamp.com/

10:40 p – Better Friend \\ Lincoln, NE \\ Punk
https://betterfriend.bandcamp.com/

Midnight – Staghorn \\ St. Louis, MO \\ Post-Rock
http://staghorn.bandcamp.com/

1:20 p – Lobby Boxer \\ St. Louis, MO \\ Heavy Pedal Leopard Thunder
http://www.lobbyboxer.bandcamp.com/

More info here.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i