Live Review: Petfest (And How, Those Far Out Arrows)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:12 pm August 17, 2020
And How at Petfest, Aug. 15, 2020.

Like being stranded in the desert and drinking an ice-cold ladel of water — that’s what it was like to finally see live rock music again.

The opportunity came at Petfest last Saturday — the first live music I’ve experienced since COVID-19 began kicking our collective asses this past March. I can’t tell you how much I’ve missed rock shows. Watching a live band really underscores why live-streamed performances are a poor — but necessary — substitute for the real thing.

And while I know our COVID numbers around here are pretty bad, with the right precautions in place I don’t understand why there isn’t at least a few live outdoor indie shows happening somewhere. But I’ll get to that in a minute.

Just prior to organizers pulling the online ticket sales yesterday morning, there were only four of the 50 available tickets left for purchase, so if it wasn’t a sell-out it was close to it. After I posted my Lazy-i update Friday, organizers decided to nix the inside stage and host the entire event with two outdoor stages. Genius sound engineer Ian Aeillo cleverly pulled the in-door “stage” to the edge of the Petshop overhead doors, adding to the overall safety of the festival.

Before entering the snow-fence-bordered compound behind Petshop in Benson you had to be masked and have a temperature check. Once inside, there was plenty of room to roam, with a bar set up on one side next to the ProBlac tent and a merch tent.

I arrived at around 6 p.m., just in time to see And How’s entire set. A seven-piece ensemble that includes a two-piece brass section (trumpet and trombone) along with the usual keys, guitars, drums, I’d been told by a number of music folks how great they were, and they weren’t kidding. Fronted by vocalist/guitarist Ryan Menchaca, their sound is textured and melodic, floating and soaring like a plastic bag doing a ballet in an updraft between two skyscrapers. Some might say it borders on yacht rock, but these days, that’s a compliment, especially in an indie scene that’s infatuated with it.

Menchaca’s vocals, a perfect mid-range coo, wasn’t the least bit hampered by the mask he wore — in fact, the entire band wore masks throughout the performance, except of course for the brass players who dropped their shields when jams required. If there was a flaw it was in the enunciation — I’m not sure what these songs are about, but if their floating psych-rock sound is any indication, the topics are peace, love and understanding.

Mechaca said the band has only recorded one song, which is linked below. Methinks now would be a good time for them to get into a studio (perhaps Aeillo’s studio?) and get the rest of their set recorded for a debut album.


Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest, Aug. 15, 2020.

And How was followed by Those Far Out Arrows playing in the garage stage (appropriately). The time off due to COVID has only strengthened the four-piece psych-rock outfit, who never sounded more lean and mean. While playing what you could consider traditional garage/psych rock, it feels like they’re headed toward different places these days. I would get caught up in a song’s warm vibe and hope it would go on for another five minutes instead of capping at the three-minute mark, like any good rock song — not jamming as much as a trance-like rhythm and tone.

The masked crowd was having fun hanging with friends, probably for the first time in a long time. Groups of two or three stayed distanced from others (for the most part). I never felt like the space was crowded or dangerous. I guess we’ll find out in a couple weeks should anyone get sick.

The Petshop folks did everything right as far as I could see, and the fact that they essentially sold out this small show at $30+fees per ticket tells me there’s an appetite for more small, safe, socially distanced, outdoor rock shows. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more like this one, but no doubt it takes a lot of organizing. That said, with summer winding down, the opportunities to do more of this before fall and winter comes — and we’re all stuck back indoors — is only going to become more limited. Let’s get it while we can.

* * *

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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Author, Mountains Like Wax, And How tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:36 pm February 25, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Still digging out?

Not much else happening. Lots of shows got cancelled this weekend. I can’t wait until all this winter stuff ends.

As far as I know tonight’s show at Pet Shop Gallery is still on. Minneapolis band Author is on the bill along with Nashville band Mountains Like Wax and Omaha’s And How. No price listed. 9 p.m. start time.

* * *

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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i