Save Our Stages (SOS) Act included in revised HEROES Act; review: Christian Lee Hutson…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm September 29, 2020

Yesterday an updated Heroes Act was introduced in the House of Representatives. This is legislation that, among other things, will extend unemployment benefits to those impacted by COVID-19. This new revision (surprise-surprise) included the Save Our Stages — or SOS Act.

To save you time reading the massive 87-page title-by-title summary document (the actual HEROES Act is 2,150 pages long, wouldn’t you hate to be a politician?), the summary language is:

Section 619: Grants for Independent Live Venue Operators (H.R. 7806, Save our Stages Act or the SOS Act)

  1. Authorizes $10 Billion for the SBA to make grants to eligible live venue operators, producers, promoters, or talent representatives to address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain live venues.
  2. The SBA may make an initial grant of up to $12 million dollars to an eligible operator, promoter, producer, or talent representative; and a supplemental grant that is equal to 50% of the initial grant.
  3. Such grants shall be used for specified expenses such as payroll costs, rent, utilities, and personal protective equipment.

This all seems well and good, but, of course, it has to pass the House and then the Senate, and there’s no guarantee this language will survive. Or that Trump would sign it.

Look, I know this shit’s boring to some of you but it’s super important. And if you don’t believe me, check out this list of venues that have closed as a result of COVID-19, published by Billboard last week. No Nebraska venue is on the list, though we can point to Lookout Lounge as one of COVID-19’s casualties.

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Random review…

Christian Lee Hutson, Beginners (2020, Anti-) — Kind of Sufjan Stevens, early Pete Yorn, no question Simon and Garfunkel and lots of Elliott Smith. I think of him in conjunction with Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst because he was a member of Better Oblivion Community Center. And while Oberst has a better way with words and Phoebe has a sweeter voice, Hutson is a stronger songwriter melody-wise than both of them. He writes in a quiet, indie-folk tradition, mostly confessional lyrics as if singing from a journal, which makes these songs maybe a bit too personal to reach a wider audience. They’re heart-breakers, played on chiming acoustic guitar, sung in a voice that’s more Paul than Art. The single “Get the Old Band Back Together” sounds like an out-take from XO until the drums come in and amps things up. It’s the star and a standout, along with “Northsiders,” in a collection of stars and standouts.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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.

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#TBT: who remembers Flatlander Fest?; Oberst/Bridgers BOCC concert is sold out… sort of, with Christian Lee Hutson, Lala Lala tonight…

The laminate for 1994’s Flatlander Festival.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I hold onto festival laminates. I don’t know why, especially since I don’t have many (Other than Maha and SXSW years ago, I avoid festivals). I found this one while digging through stuff recently, and it has a connection to The Reader‘s 25th anniversary, which is being celebrated this month in print.

If I remember correctly, John Heaston and The Reader (or what would become The Reader) was responsible for this festival, which was held at Sharky’s on around 77th and Cass St., a club that became the new Music Box and which has long been razed and replaced with a 24-Hour Fitness (or whatever they’re calling that monstrosity).

Sharky’s had a railroad business car attached to the west side of the building, and I believe that The Reader had its offices in that rail car for a brief period around when this festival took place. I can’t remember who played the fest, though I think Cactus Nerve Thang was on the bill. Was anyone else there?

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Tonight is the big Better Oblivion Community Center a.k.a. Conor Oberst/Phoebe Bridgers show at The Slowdown.

This show sold out very quickly, within a few days. It was discovered that scalpers bought a large block of tickets, which showed up on sites like stubhub.com. As days passed, those tickets dropped in price. I’ve heard they were as low as $8 at one point — quite a discount compared to the $25 face value.

No doubt ticket scalping has become a problem in some parts of the country where shows sell out and then tickets become available overnight in the after-market for twice or more the face value. That wasn’t the case here, and one wonders if the scalpers got soaked this time. This morning I saw a ticket for under $20 for tonight’s show.

There is no moral to this story. One could argue that in this case, everyone won — the venue sold out a show immediately and fans who understood the after-market situation could buy tickets for well under face value. Which begs the question: Are you better off buying tickets the day they become available or waiting a few days to see how prices shake out?

For example, folks who bought tickets to last year’s Jack White show at The Baxter on the first day paid way more than they needed to, as tickets became available for a fraction of face value due to poor demand. On the other hand, had the show sold out and if there was serious demand, those who waited would have had to pay a premium for seats.

Anyway…

If you’re going to the show tonight, get there early. Opening act Christian Lee Hutson is someone worth catching. He plays in BOCC and has written with Phoebe Bridgers in the past. His latest song, “Northsiders,” has a definite Elliott Smith vibe that leaves you wanting more. The other opener, Lala Lala, is pretty awesome as well.

Doors are 7 p.m., the show starts at 8 p.m. If you want to catch Hutson, get there early because no doubt there will be a line to get in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the opening band from the sidewalk outside of Slowdown because of the lines (which are slow due to the whole under-age look-up scenario).

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i