Anna McClellan, Staffers, MiWi La Lupa, Blanky tonight; We Were Promised Jetpacks, Motherfolk Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:51 pm February 21, 2020

Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. She plays tonight at The Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

Busy weekend.

Tonight at The Brothers Lounge it’s the tour kick off for Anna McClellan and Staffers. They’ll be selling a new split cassette, which is only available on tour. Also on the bill is the debut of Curtain, a new band featuring members from Dave Nance Band, Lazy Wranglers and Subtropics, among others. Rogue Moon opens at 10 p.m. $5. If I go out, this is where I’ll be.

Also tonight, Miwi La Lupa is playing at The Sydney in Benson. MiWi’s latest LP is Tips, which came out last year. Joining him tonight are Sean Pratt and Annie Dee. 10 p.m., $5.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Lawrence duo Blanky headlines. They call their style of music “folkgaze.” Also on the bill are Bokr Tov and Sgt. Leisure. $6, 10 p.m.

Tomorrow night’s big show is We Were Promised Jetpacks down at The Slowdown. This one originally was a front room show but has been moved to the big room by popular demand. Opening is Slaughter Beach, Dog. 8 p.m. start time, $20.

Meanwhile, over at Reverb Lounge Saturday night, Cincinnati indie band Motherfolk headlines with Bach Mai and Rascal Martinez. $10, 9 p.m.

Also, I never mention stand-up comedy shows because I don’t go to stand-up comedy shows, but CJ Olson from Saddle Creek Records reached out to let me know that the label’s latest signing, funnyman Adam Cayton-Holland, is having an album release show Saturday night at O’Leaver’s for the vinyl version of Adam Cayton-Holland Performs His Signature Bits. $15, 8 p.m.

And 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 — 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.


The return of Jeffrey Lewis and The Voltage, Sean Pratt & the Sweats, Anna McClellan tonight at Brothers…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:47 pm November 4, 2019

Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts at Reverb Lounge, Nov. 15, 2016. Lewis and his band plays tonight at The Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

The last time I spoke to Jeffrey Lewis was right before Trump was elected president. We did an extended Q&A in two parts, because he was willing and because I dig his music and his writing (and his comics). It’s interesting to look back on that interview. I think we were both were in denial. I certainly was.

Here’s part one, which focused exclusively on the 2016 election, posted the day after.

Here’s part two, where talks about his music, his comicbooks and art, all kinds of stuff.

Anyway, Jeffrey and his band are playing tonight at The Brothers Lounge and if you get a chance you should go see them. Lewis is an amazing performer and his new album, Bad Wiring (2019, Don Giovanni), is another keeper (Gad, is that the best you can say about an album? Well, these days, if you’re “keeping” a record, it must be pretty damn good).

I wish I would have looked back to these interviews when I found out Lewis was returning. I would have scheduled another interview to get his take on Trump four years later. I think both of our worst fears have been realized.

Sean Pratt and the Sweats and the always amazing Anna McClellan open. $10, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


RSD Weekend!; Lupines, Wagon Blasters, Sucettes, Stelth Ulvang, McCarthy Trenching tonight; Bill Hoover, Mynabirds, Whipkey, State Disco Saturday; Anna McClellan Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:35 pm April 20, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

There’s a shit-ton going on this weekend so let’s get to it:

First off, it’s Record Store Day weekend, which means that as I type this there could be vinyl nerds standing in line downtown in front of Homer’s. There certainly will be tomorrow morning. Here’s how it breaks down:

Homer’s opens at 10 a.m. and is offering free coffee, breakfast and donuts for line-waiters. Country-blues artist Matt Cox will be performing outside at 9:30 a.m. in support of the release of his vinyl release High Places. Homer’s gets the biggest shipment of RSD merch because they’re the biggest record store in Omaha. If you’re looking for that rare hard-to-find limited RSD release, get in line.

Almost Music, which also will be selling RSD merch, is hosting performances all afternoon and into the evening. Blackstone Meatball will be slinging meatballs in the shop. The schedule for the Almost RSD-fest:

12:15 — Bill Hoover
1 p.m. — Pagan Athletes
1:45 —Megan Siebe
2:30 — Kyle Jessen
3:15 — Those Far Out Arrows
4 — Tom Bartolomei
5 — Putter & Co.
5:45 — Rusty Lord
6:30 — Death Cow
7:15 — Houma
8 — Conny Blanco w/ Dojorok

Both Drastic Plastic locations in the Old Market are taking part in RSD. They’re handing out coffee and pastries and a full selection of RSD bootie. Stores open at 10 p.m.

Don’t forget Ear Wax Records and Collectibles, 5054 So. 135th St., which opens at noon; and Recycled Sounds, 322 No. 76th St. , which also opens at noon. Both are taking part in RSD merch-stock promotions.

And when you’re all done, chill out at the Hi-Fi House open house, where you can brag up your lucky finds with fellow vinyl fanatics.

When it comes to my luck getting the good stuff, I’m still trying to find a Red House Painters box set from RSD a few years back, something I’d actually play on my record player. I know there’s got to be one out there (for less than $400)…

* * *

Onto the rest of the weekend.

As the weather improves, so do nights at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Tonight the club has Lupines in the headline position with Wagon Blasters opening and a new act called Sidewalkers sandwiched in the middle. 10 p.m., $5.

Meanwhile, over at The Sydney in Benson, Sucettes play with headliner Lincoln’s Laughing Falcon. Green Alter opens at 10 p.m. $5.

Also in Benson over at The Barley Street Tavern McCarthy Trenching is on a bill that includes Smith’s Cloud and The Wildwoods. $5, 9 p.m.

And let’s not forget Stelth Ulvang of Lumineers (whose Ten Questions you read yesterday) opening for Wild Child at The Slowdown’s big room Friday. $17, 9 p.m.

Saturday kicks off with Earth Day in Elmwood Park. The big-name performer is Saddle Creek Records act The Mynabirds playing at 4 p.m. The aforementioned Matt Cox has the stage at 2:20. Of course it’s all free. Full schedule is right here.

It’s back to O’Leaver’s Saturday night where Matt Whipkey has the center slot with stoner-rock heavies Ocean Black opening and headliner Bokr Tov, who have new self-titled EP. $7, 10 p.m.

Also Saturday night, State Disco, which calls their sound “indietronic dance rock,” celebrates the release of their new album Going to Sleep Is Giving Up at The Waiting Room. The album was produced by Graham Ulicny (Thick Paint, Reptar) and recorded at The Faint’s Enamel Studios. Opening is Saddle Creek Records band Twinsmith and Chicago’s The Kickback (Julian Records). $10 Adv/$13 DOS. 9 p.m.

Finally on Sunday night hometown hero Anna McClellan returns, this time to OutrSpaces, 1258 So. 13th St.. Joining her is Staffers, LA’s Syko Friend and Jim Schroeder Band. Starts at 8 p.m. Suggested donation: $10-$20.

Gaddamn, what am I missing? Put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The Thermals quit; Cursive rumblings; Flower Moon comp; Anna McClellan review; Erika Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:42 pm April 10, 2018

The Thermals at Slowdown Jr., May 6, 2016. The band announced its break-up yesterday.

by Tim McMahan,

The Thermals yesterday announced that they’re breaking up. I first read about it here at Brooklyn Vegan though it was announced via their Facebook page. The reason given: “we feel our band has reached far beyond our initial expectations and goals, and are stepping away from it while we still cherish it.”

It got me wondering why bands make these sorts of announcements; especially if they’re not contractually obligated to do anything like record another album or tour. The Thermals are on Saddle Creek Records, which historically has worked with bands on an album-by-album basis — i.e., I’m not aware of any three-record deals with Saddle Creek (then again, I’m not privy to their contracts).

I guess with some bands there would be concern over owning the name. What if Hutch Harris decided to record a solo album and call it a Thermals album? Is that really possible, would he do such a thing? I can’t imagine it. It would be like Tim Kasher releasing a solo record and calling it a Cursive album. No way. I can see that being an issue with arena acts maybe, but not indie bands at this level.

So why announce that you’re breaking up? Just go off and do your thing, be it a solo album or some other project, and if/when the mood strikes and the timing’s right, get together with your comrades and do shows or write another record.

Bright Eyes, which is really a loose-knit collection surrounding Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott, never really announced a break-up. The Faint went for years between records. Cursive has been known to “go on hiatus” while members do other things like The Good Life or Mayday.

I’m rambling now. The Thermals are gone, but I wouldn’t count them out. Or heck, maybe they’ll never play together again…

* * *

Speaking of Cursive, the band has been named among those performing at Fest 17 in Gainesville, Florida Oct. 26-28. I’ve heard Cursive has been busy recording a new album slated for release on their new label, 15 Passenger Records. With this fest date now in the books, can a full tour announcement be far off?

* * *

High Up, Orenda Fink, Jake Bellows and Maria Taylor are among the artists on the upcoming 2-LP comp album Friends and Family Volume 1 , out May 11 on Taylor’s Flower Moon Records.

These are all musicians I greatly respect and have been fans of for years – but what makes the compilation unique is that they are also part of a collaborative community of friends and family members who have been working together and supporting one another for years. I wanted this compilation, and Flower Moon Records, to be a vehicle to continue to support, promote, and celebrate their work.” The quote is unattributed, but I assume it’s Maria Taylor saying that.

There’s a lot of other familiar names on the 16-track list, including Whispertown, Nik Freitas, Umm and Taylor Hollingsworth. Full track listing and preorder info here.

* * *

Q1 2018 CD reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

Anna McClellan, Yes and No (2018, Father/Daughter)

Anna McClellan, Yes and No (Father/Daughter) — More than any other female indie singer-songwriter doing piano-driven confessionals, my heart hurts when I hear her slightly off-kilter voice warble through a set of yearning love notes. McClellan unashamedly holds nothing back when she belts out her stories unpolished and beautiful. She’s a broken-hearted nerd who deserves to win, just like the rest of us.

* * *

Tonight The Waiting Room hosts Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards fame. her new album rocks. Jessica Errett opens at 8 p.m. $17.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with Mimicking Birds; new Anna McClellan track; John Maus, LukDlx tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:49 pm January 17, 2018

Anna McClellan this morning leaked a new track off her upcoming LP, Yes or No. Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

by Tim McMahan,

Sunday night Mimicking Birds opened for someone at The Waiting Room or Reverb, not sure who now. Regardless, the band’s publicist had reached out weeks ago for some promo. I sent her the Ten Questions survey; she’d get back to me.

A few days before the show she sent me some answers from Mimicking Birds frontman Nate Lacy — half of them. Nate didn’t want to answer some things, and asked for different questions. I explained the premise behind Ten Questions is that everyone answers the same 10 questions. He wasn’t interested, and so, no harm, no foul.

Then Saturday afternoon Nate had a change of heart and his publicist sent the following answers. Too late. She asked that even though the concert had passed, would I run them anyway, so here they are. I’ve been listening to Mimicking Birds on Spotify this morning before work. The music is trippy, ethereal, laid-back indie rock that kind of reminds me of Ester Drang. It’s definitely worth checking out. From Portland. On Glacial Pace Records.

So, here’s Ten Questions with Mimicking Birds:

Mimicking Birds

What is your favorite album? 

Mimicking Birds’ Nate Lacy: Pink Floyd’s The Wall 

What is your least favorite song?

Prob anything by AC/DC

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

The exhilaration of performing together as if we’re one entity.

What do you hate about being in a band?

Touring is prob a hate/love relationship, the uneconomical and negative environmental impacts of it, the exhaustion/health affects, being away from loved ones for long periods of time, the danger of endlessly careening across highways in deranged states, etc., etc., but at the same time there are few things  more rewarding than bringing your music to people and experiencing first hand how much the art has affected lives, and being able to hug those people and share that moment of deep connection through the music and its message.  It truly gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment more than any amount of money or things ever could.

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?


In what city or town do you love to perform?

Denver, CO

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

We’ve had a fair amount in similar fashion but more recently prob Austin due to late set time (12:30-1 am set), rude crowd, poor sound, exhaustion, sick, etc., bookended by very long drives.

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?

No, I also work at a hotel in Portland as a bellman/valet.

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


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

Heard many times we should have been in Omaha instead of Lincoln, NE.

* * *

I’ve been listening to this new Anna McClellan album, Yes or No, a ton. My favorite track is the 8-plus-minute epic “Nail-biting Song” which takes you around the sun and back again. Anna’s got such a unique, soulful voice, there’s no question in my mind she’s going to be discovered by a large audience. It takes time.

Anyway, today McClellan dropped another song from the album (below), which comes out Feb. 23 on Father/Daughter Records. You should pre-order your copy now before they run out, cuz they probably will and then you’ll feel stupid for not pre-ordering your own copy.

* * *

John Maus plays electronic music. Here’s a guy who (according to Wiki) took two years off to learn how to build modular synthesizer. Now that’s dedication to a genre.

A couple of his albums have garnered praise including a “best new music” nod from Pitchfork; the latest, Screen Memories (2017, Ribbon Music) garnered a massive 8.0 Pitchfork rating. Whoot!

Maus headlines tonight at Reverb Lounge. LukDlx opens.$15, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Sara Bertuldo (See Through Dresses) on racism and exploitation in art; Thick Paint, Anna McClellan tonight…

by Tim McMahan,

In my November column in The Reader, I wrote an essay titled “With the Best of Intentions: Yellow face, the N-word and a divided music community.” The column discussed accusations of racism made toward members of the Omaha music community. If you haven’t already, read the column now to understand the context of the rest of this post.

As an addendum at, I also posted a Q&A with Simon Joyner about the controversy, which you can read here.

After I posted links to both the column and the Q&A in Facebook, a number of people reacted, saying I didn’t capture both sides of the issue. Someone suggested I ask See Through Dresses front woman Sara Bertuldo for her thoughts on the matter, and Bertuldo indicated she’d be willing to do an interview or answer questions.

See Through Dresses was on tour at the time, so I suggested we do it via email (as I’d done with Joyner’s Q&A), and sent Sara the following questions to be published with her responses as a post in Lazy-i.

My questions:

— What was your reaction to: Joyner’s song, Noah Sterba’s song, Harouki Zombi?

— Do you think the artists in question have done anything wrong or were trying to intentionally hurt anyone through their actions?

— Is it OK for artists and musicians to broach these sorts of topics in their work? Why or why not?

— Were you satisfied with the apologies or explanations offered by these artists about their choices?

Sara sent her responses late last week in the form of the following essay:

The first reaction is anger.

Imagine someone says something bad about you. What you did. What you said. Or maybe what you wore. How would you feel? I’d feel pretty angry. Is it really bad? Was it something to feel ashamed about? Did you make a mistake? Can you apologize for it? Should you?

Now imagine someone says something else bad about you. Only this time it’s something undeniably true, like something about your identity. Or the color of your skin or shape of your eyes. Something you can literally do nothing to change. How does it feel? I know I was angry. 

When you react with anger, people say things like “don’t take it the wrong way” or “it’s a joke” to minimize it. What it feels like when that happens is that they minimize me and my experience.


It’s a scary word to a lot of people.

My experience with racism is like a book I carry with me. That book is a heavy weight that sits on my chest. And every time I experience something like this, that book opens. It is filled with my memories of prejudice. Memories of being asked if I was Chinese or Japanese in elementary school, being told I “act white,” being fetishized, and learning my mother withheld our language from me to make me more American. She did this to help me fit in. She was treated poorly because of her accent when she immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. When she had children she promised herself that wouldn’t happen to them.


Racism is a normal word to me.

I believe it is embedded in all of us and the only way we can fix it is by educating ourselves.

I’m really tired of absorbing everything and keeping silent. It makes me feel sick.

There was a time that I let things slide. I kept quiet because I wanted to preserve some sort of peace. Talking about it was way too real. And people say things that make you question how you feel. To make you quiet. But all these little things that have been said just add up. Every single thing I hear or read, it just eats at me.


I had written something before detailing my experience post-Harouki Zombi stuff. I personally left out names. I didn’t want people to feel attacked. I did not want them to feel the way I felt. I was so angry when this all started, but I tried to let go of that for a moment and write my story. I felt by offering a personal account on what it feels like to be a person of color I could help them see how upset I was. I thought my way for me to change someone’s views was through compassion and not anger.

But months later, it keeps coming up so here we are again.

So to Orenda, Noah, and Simon:

With all due respect, yes, you are all artists. And you are all white. You benefit from things I do not. You absolutely have the freedom to do whatever you wish in your art. But if you are so progressive minded, if you are as compassionate as your friends say you are, please treat our culture and words with reverence. Keep making art, but please do not exploit us. I don’t believe there was intent to cause harm. But the fact of the matter is, you did. I believe it’s more meaningful to take a step back and listen now. Listen to us.

I resent this whole ordeal. I am upset it’s taken so much time from me. I spent so much time thinking about it, crying about it. I’ve cancelled band practice over it, been depressed about it at work, and now I’m out on tour writing about it when I should be enjoying where I am.

And to the people that were so outwardly angry about it, I sympathize with that anger. I really do. People called them bored, childish, social just warriors… You know why marginalized people react that way sometimes? It’s because people don’t listen to us. And it happens again and again.

Here is one marginalized person’s opinion. Because we coexist in this community, I thought you should hear it. You can take it or leave it.

I find solace in my friends and family that support me. I can only work on the people I care about or people that want to be better and if you don’t want to learn from this, that is totally fine.

I’m sorry if that sounds angry, but if anger is all you see then you’re missing the point.
— Sara Bertuldo

Thanks, Sara, for the thoughtful comments on a very difficult subject.

* * *

Tonight at Brothers Lounge it’s the return of Thick Paint. The band has been on the road for awhile and swings back into Omaha with Anna McClellan, who just leaked the first single, “Heart of Hearts,” from her forthcoming album Yes and No, due in February on Father/Daughter. Dilute also is on tonight’s bill. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Orenda Fink, Anna McClellan tonight; Lodgings, Leafblower, Low Long Signal Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:51 pm December 9, 2016
Anna McClellan at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015. She plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. She plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan,

We’re entering a dead zone for shows — the weeks leading up to Christmas, bleak cold days where it takes massive effort for people to venture out into the arctic cold. Like what we’re experiencing right now. The only worst time for shows is after the holiday and before spring. But we’ll get to that, eventually.

There’s a couple big benefit shows happening this weekend.

Tonight there’s an “amplification concert” (my term) called Mobilize Omaha at The Waiting Room. A handful of nonprofits will be presenting their messages to an audience who will also see performances by Orenda Fink, Anna McClellan, Masonjixx, Kait Berreckman and a “surprise guest.” It’s organized by Planned Parenthood, but your $5 donation will be split among all participating non-profits. Starts early, at 5 p.m. and suggested donation is $5, but you can do better than that.

Tomorrow night it’s back to The Waiting Room, this time for a benefit for Youth Emergency Services featuring performances by Low Long Signal, Armful of Tiger Lilies, Slow Stoics, The Clocks, & Port Nocturnal. Tickets are $5 today, $7 DOS. Show starts at 9.

Also Saturday night, they’re calling it “Dad Rock Night at Milk Run.” The line-up ain’t exactly dad-rock-like: Lodgings (members of NAWAS*, Son Ambulance, Head Of Femur, UUVVWWZ, Sound of Rails); Leafblower (members of Little Brazil, NAWAS, New Lungs, Face For Radio), The Sleeperhits and Mike Saklar (Sun-Less Trio, Comme Reel, No Blood Orphan, Ravine). All four acts for just $5. Starts at 9 p.m. at Milk Run.
     * Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship

Also Saturday night, The Brothers Lounge is hosting a Toys for Tots concert featuring DSM5, Jump the Tiger and Mim Aparo (Anthems). $5 or a toy gets you in. It’s a great cause. Starts at 8 p.m.

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 — 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.


BFFFF (Laura Burhenn, Anna McClellen), Bloodcow tonight; Son, Ambulance, Well Aimed Arrows, Omaha Girls Rock! Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm July 15, 2016
Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015. She plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Quite a few shows this weekend, though no national touring indie bands (What else is new?). Let’s get on with it.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s is pretty gnarly fundraiser for the Benson First Friday Femme Fest (BFFFF). Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds will be playing a set along with Anna McClellan, Mesonjixx and Badland Girls. Your $10 admission goes to a good cause. According to the invitation: “BFFFF is completely DIY with no budget, and everything made the day of (after pay-to-play costs of the venues/PA rentals/etc.) goes to the bands.” Starts at the usual 9:30.

Also tonight, Bloodcow returns to devastate the Barley Street Tavern with their other-worldly metal mayhem. Joining them are tough guys Hand Painted Police Car and Leaving Vaudeville. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night everyone’s going to The Brothers Lounge for a sharp bill that includes Well Aimed Arrows, Those Far Out Arrows and Son, Ambulance. $5, 9 p.m.

Before you head out for the evening, there’s a super fun early evening event at The Slowdown. It’s the Omaha Girls Rock! showcase. This performance is a culmination of the girls’ hard work in one week to learn an instrument, form a band, and write a song. Always a good time, and a chance to see the stars of tomorrow. Show starts at 5:30 and suggested donation is $5. Find out more about this very cool program at

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Dog Party, Sneeze Attack, Frigs, Anna McClellan tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm July 12, 2016
Anna McClellan at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015. She opens for Frigs tonight at Brothers Lounge.

Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. She opens for Frigs tonight at Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

Briefly, a couple very good shows are happening tonight.

Firstly, Toronto band Frigs, who I wrote about yesterday here, are playing tonight at the Omaha’s No. 1 punk bar, Brothers Lounge. Opening the show is the amazing Anna McClellan and her band and Collin Duckworth & The Transcendental Lovers AKA Sophie Hug & The Kisses AKA Nathan Ma & The Rosettes. This $5 show is said to begin at 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Asian Man/Burger Records band Dog Party headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Opening is Sacramento duo Sneeze Attack (one of the better band names in recent history, right up there with Dog Party) and Omaha’s own The Ridgways. This $7 show is start to start at 9 p.m.

* * *

Finally, condolences to the Maxwell family on the passing of Frank Maxwell, 49. Frank was a member of legendary Omaha rock band Fifth of May, who I remember seeing at the old Howard St. Tavern many many moons ago. His loss is being felt throughout the entire Omaha music community.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Live Review: Anna McClellan, Razors; Filter Kings, Clarence Tilton tonight; Simon Joyner, Sam Martin Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:05 pm December 4, 2015
Anna McClellan at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015.

Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

Capacity crowd at O’Leaver’s last night for Anna McClellan. The former Omahan returned to town after a 2-week tour, which I guess made the show a homecoming of sorts. The packed house looked like it included lots of proud parents and relatives mixed in with the usual woke-up-at-4 p.m. O’Leaver’s crowd. It felt like a holiday show thanks to all the love in the room.

Miniature Horse at O'Leaver's Dec. 3, 2015.

Miniature Horse at O’Leaver’s Dec. 3, 2015.

Opening the night was the enchanting Miniature Horse a.k.a. Rachel Tomlinson Dick and her trusty electric guitar. Compared to the three or four times I’ve seen her before, Dick sounded a bit reserved, maybe because her amp was overpowering her vocals, which felt meeker than I remembered. Dick’s stripped-down sound is comparable to early PJ Harvey on louder performances. Last night I was reminded more of Joni Mitchell and her delicate finger-picking guitar.

Razors at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015.

Razors at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. Notice what the club did to the usually obtrusive flat-panel TV?

The only person I recognized in the crowded 7-piece band Razors was Jim Schroeder of UUVVWWZ, who supplied keyboards on a set of psychedelic garage rock songs that wavered between gritty Brian Jonestown Massacre and the baroque style of ’60s acts like Left Banke. Male/female vocals pushed the band to the next level, especially when they attempted to harmonize. Schroeder’s keys also were essential. These folks are worth keeping an eye on.

Finally at around midnight Anna McClellan took the O’Leaver’s worn-carpeting-patch of a stage, this time as a trio. Fans remember McClellan from her earlier incarnation in indie rock band Howard. Her solo work is more stripped down and personal, relying on chiming acoustic piano and a unique voice that ranges from a flat, bored howl to a bluesy, Billie Holiday croon.

Her new release, Fire Flames (Majestic Litter, 2015), is a collection of pretty songs draped in a winsome loneliness, small portraits of everyday life and love sung by a woman with an intense awareness of herself, her wants and needs and the limits of the hand she’s been dealt. There’s an abstract honesty to every word of every song.

Superstar Conor Oberst sings harmonies on the title track, which also happens to be the most haunting song of the collection. No doubt Oberst was hanging out at Mike Mogis’ ARC Studio with engineer Ben Brodin the day they recorded the tune. It’s no surprise that the record has that dusty-library quality of early Saddle Creek Records releases, making it a must for anyone who follows that label.

The McClellan trio played mostly songs off Fire Flames, plus a few new numbers that continued in the same vein. McClellan in full brassy voice belted out each number like a classic torch singer but draped in flannel rather than lamé, a snapshot of Midwestern melancholy. The crowd adored her, and she soaked it in with appreciation. Few of us will ever be lucky enough enjoy such a homecoming.

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A quick note of one minor but important change at O’Leaver’s — the management finally figured out a way to cover up that big, ugly flat-panel TV screen that loomed over all the performers for the past seven or eight years, marring every photo taken at every show. They created a sort of album-jacket camouflage insert that miraculously makes the TV seamlessly blend in with the rest of the crippy-crap album jackets stapled to the walls (see Razors photo, above). It’s a small thing, I know, but it makes a difference. I hope my whining about the TV helped spur the change…

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Onward to the weekend. There are no touring indie-rock bands playing anywhere (What else is new?), but there’s still plenty to see and hear.

Tonight’s prime offering is something called Telecaster Disasters at The Waiting Room. In fact it’s a night of alt-country-fueled guitar rock headlined by The Filter Kings (first show in ages) with Monday Mourners, The Willards Band and one of the most talked-about newcomers of 2015, Clarence Tilton, whose debut album is destined to make it onto a lot of local “best of” lists. $8, 9 p.m.

Also tonight (Friday), Eklectica headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Lineman’s Rodeo and David Nance Band. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And there’s the Omaha Zinefest Benefit Show at West Wing, 301 So. 38th Ave. (across the street from The Brothers Lounge). According the Facebook listing, “Omaha Zine Fest is coming at you on March 12th! Help us raise funds to offset the cost for local and regional zinesters to come to town and showcase their work.” Playing are Bib, The Sunks, Pro Magnum and Jocko. $5 donation, 9:30 p.m. More info here.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Simon Joyner returns to the Reverb stage. Joining him is Sam Martin, who is celebrating a cassette release — look as I might online, I can’t find any info on what this cassette is, who’s putting it out, etc. Also on the bill is Noah Sterba Band. $7, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday is O’Leaver’s annual chili cook-off. For $5 you get to eat chili from 1 to 5 p.m. at The Club. Later that night, Kait Berreckman headlines with Tara Vaughan and Blue Bird. The music starts at 9:30 and cover is $5.

That’s what 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 — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.