Pageturners Lounge weekend (Jake Bellows, Digital Leather, David Nance Band, Solid Goldberg, special guests?); Gary Numan Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm September 9, 2022
Pageturners Lounge at 50th and Dodge celebrates its 10-year Anniversary this weekend, starting tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight is the first night of the Pageturners Lounge 10 Year Anniversary weekend. I still don’t know how they’re gonna cram all this entertainment into that little bar, but at least now we have start times and line-ups, as follows:

FRIDAY 9/9:

6:30PM
Las Cruxes
Cat Piss
Digital Leather
Oquoa
Marcey Yates
Jake Bellows

MIDNIGHT:
Specter Poetics
DJ Tyrone Storm

SATURDAY 9/10:

6:00PM
Stathi
Bug Heaven
M34n Str33t
Mesonjixxx
Felice Brothers w/ Special Guest

MIDNIGHT:
Solid Goldberg
Crabrangucci

SUNDAY 9/11: 

6:00PM
Hartford/Focht
McCarthy Trenching
Megan Siebe
Ben Eisenberger
Jim Schroeder Band
David Nance & Mowed Sound

Not listed in the acts above Conor Oberst, who’s name is prominently displayed on the the weekend’s show poster. I’m told there may be an unannounced performance (of sorts) tonight was well, which should be the crush mob as Jake Bellows is headlining and there are tons friends and family dying to see Jake back on stage, especially with the re-release of the entire Neva Dinova catalog on Saddle Creek Records. Should be something special.

“Suggested Donation” is $10, which I guess is an alternative to charging a cover (is this a tax dodge?)? If you’re going, get there early, though I have a feeling there will be a constantly rotating audience throughout the night, cuminating with the headliners each night (Felice Brothers w/”Special Guest” headline Saturday night, which has got to be the Oberst appearance (if there is one)). 

It’s a shame this isn’t being held outdoors (but where would they put it?). Of course it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so that would have brought everyone inside anyway. 

Pageturnersfest not the only thing going on this weekend. 

Gary Numan’s long rescheduled concert is finally happening Saturday night at The Waiting Room, and lo and behold, the show still isn’t sold out. This is among his last shows on Numan’s tour and who knows when he’ll tour again (if ever). I Speak Machine opens at 8 p.m. $35.

Also Saturday night, Des Moines singer/songwriter Dan Tedesco headlines at Reverb Lounge. Local boys Farewell Transmission and singer/songwriter Jeremy Mercy open. 8 p.m. $17.

Is that everything? Oh yeah, 311 is playing out at Shadow Ridge Country Club tonight. Wouldn’t want to forget that. Did I miss your show? Put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Bright Eyes and the new The Admiral Theater…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:46 am July 3, 2022
Bright Eyes at The Admiral Theater, July 2, 2022

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

As much as some things change, some things never change. Like finding parking around The Admiral f.k.a. Sokol Auditorium.

I didn’t get down there Saturday night for the Bright Eyes concert until well after 9 p.m. and was thrown into a time warp circa the early 2000s, driving the same back streets I did back then, looking for a parking space. I remembered my ol’ standby about three blocks southwest of the auditorium. Wasn’t there a church there before? And where did this high-rise condo/apartment building come from?

Neighbors were out on their stoops, getting ready to watch street fireworks. “You going to the show?” a young lady said while her husband chatted up a neighbor across the street, a baby in his arms.

“Sure am.” I said.

Well, have a good time!

Ah, that South Omaha charm, it never fades.

The building’s exterior hadn’t changed at all. Security was out front on the sidewalk checking IDs for drinkers, and someone asked to see my Vax card (few if any wore masks in the audience). Once inside, I emptied my pockets and lifted my seed cap to a guy holding a scanning wand, wondering how long the line must have been an hour earlier.

Once past the stairway and into the actual hall and you’re met with what feels like a new facility. The biggest updates on first glance were the fresh coat of paint (gilded gold along the balcony and the stage crown) and the gorgeous, new enormous bar in the north end of the building where the gym used to be (Note: no Rolling Rock. I settled for an $8 Stella tallboy).

Bright Eyes at The Admiral Theater, July 2, 2022

Bright Eyes already was on stage when I entered. So the big question: How did the room sound? I’m no audiophile, but it sounded more balanced and less boomy than I remembered. The PA speakers are now flown from the ceiling, and there’s an enormous new soundboard. It sounded as good as any large performance venue in Omaha, heard through my earplugs because the high volume.

The first thing I noticed missing from stage — Mike Mogis. Turns out he got COVID and missed the show — a real bummer.

Frontman Conor Oberst was his usual shambolic self, doing his new, weird solo dance during “Dance and Sing,” that looked forced and unnatural. You know what they say, dance like no one is looking. And that’s exactly what he did.

Showing high energy to the point of being jittery, Oberst’s voice was a bit frayed, especially on the more energetic numbers. He was backed by a small orchestra and a band that included MiWi La Lupa on multiple instruments, amazing drummer Jon Theodore (Queens of the Stone Age, ex-The Mars Volta), and Nate Walcott, who played the Paul Shaffer role as the pseudo bandleader giving cues from across the stage.

The 2022 version of Bright Eyes includes Oberst performing a number of songs with only microphone in hand — not behind a piano or a guitar. That freed him to do his wonky dancing and odd hand gestures, running to and fro across the stage. Oberst was at his best seated at a piano or playing guitar, more relaxed and more natural. In fact, as big and bombastic as this version of Bright Eyes is, I’d prefer to see the band stripped back down to Mike, Nate, Conor, MiWi and that drummer, just like the good ol’ days.

You can see the full set list below, which for the most part followed what he’s been playing on tour (with a couple order changes). The highlight was a modernized version of “Neely O’Hara” pushed forward by a very cool electric guitar counter melody. It was followed by a stripped-down version of “First Day of My Life” that had the crowd singing along.

I’ve been going to Bright Eyes concerts for 25 years, and this was one of the more downcast set lists I can remember — lots of slower, darker songs. On stage Oberst acknowledged his ongoing pessimism/sarcasm, and punctuated it with his usual between-song political rants, which we’ve all heard before and all agree with.

He strayed from politics only a few times. Once reminiscing about living in the apartment house on 40th and Farnam nicknamed the Jerk Store back in ’98 and ’99 (and where I first interviewed him while Joe Knapp practiced music somewhere upstairs). The other was toward the end of the set where he acknowledged the new Admiral. “I’ve played here a thousand times,” he said. “I wouldn’t call what I’m feeling ‘deja vu’ as much as ‘The Twilight Zone.’”

The band stuck to their usual three-song encore and then the lights went up and I could see the Admiral a bit better.

The Admiral Theater looking from the balcony toward the new bar area, July 2, 2022.

The floor was the same as I remembered, as was the chandelier. With everyone filing out the security guard let me see the balcony — maybe the biggest improvement of the entire remodel. It’s completely different, with a new built-out bar that runs along the building’s east wall and windows, and is amazing. It’s like a small club separated yet open to the balcony. The actual balcony wings were the same, though now you can see into the backstage area (maybe you always could?).

Gorgeous new Admiral balcony bar. Notice the windows in back, which are the building’s front windows. July 2, 2022.

Balcony tickets were $75 vs. the $45 general admission. Definitely worth the splurge for the right band. I’m not sure Bright Eyes fits the bill. That said, I’ve never been a fan of watching performances from the balcony. It’s too isolated, too separated from what’s going on down on the floor.

Which brings up one more big improvement at The Admiral. Friday’s show was crowded — probably a sell out. In years’ past, shows like that at Sokol Auditorium would have been a test to endure the heat and humidity. The Admiral’s HVAC did yeoman’s duty, keeping the place relatively cool and air well-circulated — which is even more important considering how COVID is beginning to spike again in Douglas County.

Jim Johnson and Marc Leibowitz — the masterminds behind the renovation — looked like a couple proud papas. They should be proud. They’ve created a jewel of a live performance space and saved a piece of Omaha history in the process. And they did it the old-fashioned way — as part of a team of investors who put their own money on the table along with their sweat and blood. That takes enormous courage after what this city — and this country — has been through. I have no doubt the gamble will pay off.

Check out their shiny new website. Looking at their calendar, I see more Admiral in my future. On my radar: Sunny Day Real Estate Sept. 14, Kurt Vile and the Violators Oct. 20 and Godspeed You! Black Emperor Nov. 4., which, by then, will mean trudging through snow drifts to get back to our car.

Here’s the setlist from the July 2 Bright Eyes show at The Admiral:

Dance and Sing
Lover I Don’t Have to Love
Bowl of Oranges
Mariana Trench
Old Soul Song (for the New World Order)
One and Done
Falling Out of Love at This Volume
No One Would Riot for Less
Haile Selassie
Persona non grata
Tilt-a-Whirl
Stairwell Song
Neely O’Hara
First Day of My Life
The Calendar Hung Itself
Comet Song

Encore:
Ladder Song
I Believe in Symmetry
One for You, One for Me

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Phoebe Bridgers, Charlie Hickey tonight outside of Reverb (SOLD OUT)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 6:35 am June 1, 2022
Phoebe Bridgers performing in Better Oblivion Community Center at The Slowdown, March 21, 2019. She plays solo tonight at The Waiting Room Outdoors.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The big Phoebe Bridgers show is tonight outside on Military Ave. next to Reverb. They call it “The Waiting Room Outdoors” but they should really call it “Reverb Outdoors” since that’s where it is — outside of Reverb, on Military Ave.

Look, this show has been sold out for months; I think it literally sold out in a matter of days. I saw Bridgers three years ago (Has it really been that long?) when she played alongside Conor Oberst in Better Oblivion Community Center and that was a great show. I’ve seen Oberst perform at least a few dozen times since he was 16 and it was the happiest I’ve seen him on stage. These days Oberst is so pissed off with the world that he’s walking off stage and leaving his band high and dry two songs into sets (in Houston), so I guess the happy days are over.

Not so for Phoebe. Nothing bothers the bride to be. Expect a lively show tonight performed in front of a crowd of young female fans and their boyfriends, sort of like a Taylor Swift concert, though Bridgers’ music is more indie than Swift’s pop candy. Or I should say, Bridgers’ “song” is. As much as I like Bridgers, most of her music sounds the same, and it doesn’t help that her mewing vocal style and phrasing never vary. So yeah, I like Phoebe’s song, but I liked BOCC’s songs more.

The mystery is whether Bridgers will acknowledge the elephant in the room and say something about Oberst from stage. My money is on a veiled reference to Saddle Creek Records’ music/bands “which I grew up on and love,” and so on. Poor Conor.

Opening the show tonight is Charlie Hickey, whose debut album, Nervous at Night, was released by Bridgers’ Saddest Factory label (a boutique imprint of Dead Oceans). This is indie bordering on pop. In some ways he reminds me of Christian Lee Hutson, though Hutson has a more mature and realized folk sound, which makes sense since Hickey looks like he’s 18 while Hutson is 31. Hutson, btw, is opening for Bridgers for two weeks of PNW dates in late August, following his own summer tour that takes him nowhere near Omaha.

BTW, tonight is No Vax No Entry, so bring your evidence or you’re not getting in. Show starts at 7.

Sorry to say I’m going to miss this show as I’m headed out of town. Let me know how it went. I’ll try to post a weekend preview before I split…

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Bright Eyes Covers Chesnutt, 1% says ‘we’re back’; new Spirit of the Beehive (Saddle Creek)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm February 25, 2021
Vic Chesnutt in his practice space in 2005. Photo by Tristan Loper.

I woke up this morning with a dozen hits on the ol’ Conor Oberst Google Alert, thanks to Bright Eyes releasing a cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Flirted with You All My Life,” on YouTube. The track was first released as the B-side of last year’s “Persona Non Grata” 7-inch. 

Vic’s version was originally part of his 2009 album At the Cut, one of his last, released the year of his death at the age of 45. It is, indeed, a dark piece of work, with a chorus that goes, “Oh, death / Clearly I’m not ready.” 

In the press materials, Oberst talks about seeing Chesnutt perform many times from a young age. I, too, remember seeing him play around town back in the ‘90s, most notably at a show at the old Capitol Bar & Grill with sideman Omahan Alex McManus seated next to his wheelchair. Chesnutt was indeed an original, and it’s good to see his songs live on for another generation to enjoy. 

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Which gets me thinking, I never wrote a postscript on the Phoebe Bridgers’ SNL appearance, which I thought would end Oberst’s drought on the late-nite sketch show. I’ve been predicting Conor’d perform on SNL for years, but he wasn’t part of Bridgers’ band that night, so the wait continues. I figure if Bright Eyes didn’t get a slot on SNL last year, it probably will never happen. As for Bridgers and her guitar-smashing histrionics, you have to wonder what she’ll do next. There are no boundaries for her except the limitations of her own songwriting. 

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Yesterday One Percent Productions sent out its email newsletter proclaiming “We’re Back.” 

After shutting down completely in March of 2020, we were able to produce some events from late June through early December. And after stopping again over the last few months, we are back at it again! So we just needed to thank all the artists for still performing and the customers for still attending the shows. We look forward to continue producing safe events while patiently waiting for the party to return!!!

Those events include closing out a run of a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch this month, and Yutan band The Long Awaited playing tomorrow night at Reverb with Gallivant. The first bigger national show is Crash Test Dummies March 20 at The Waiting Room.

A big test will be the April 3 Bennie and the Gents show at The Waiting Room. Always a good draw, this should be a good indicator as to whether people are willing to go to an “inside show.”

Now would be a good time for venues to consider how they’ll host shows outdoors while we wait for the vaccine to get into people’s arms.

I got in touch with about a dozen local artists last weekend for an article that will appear in next month’s issue of The Reader, asking when they’ll return to the stage. Look for that one in the racks next week, as well as online. 

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Saddle Creek’s latest signing, Spirit of the Beehive, yesterday released its second single off the upcoming Creek debut, Entertainment, Death, out April 9. Check out “The Server is Immersed,”  below. 

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Have we taken live music for granted (in the column); it’s time to write your representative (again)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:14 pm November 16, 2020
Skeleton Crew: Conor Oberst joined Phoebe Bridgers on stage at The Troubadour in West Hollywood during the live-streamed Save Our Stages Festival Oct. 21, 2020.

The National Independent Venues Association (NIVA) is making another push for you and me to write our representatives in Washington to get the Save Our Stages Act included in the next COVID-19 relief package, which is apparently being negotiated now.

All you have to do is go to this web page and fill out the form. You can use their sample letter or write one of your own. Once you hit the submit button, it’ll go to the right offices of your Congressional representatives. It really does only take 30 seconds and it could make all the difference.

Click this, go there, and do it now.

Along those lines, the November issue of The Reader is out now with my column that focuses on the Save Our Stages efforts while asking if we’ve taken live music for granted. It’s online at The Reader website, here and I’ve also included it below. Please to enjoy:

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Have We Taken Live Music for Granted?

#SaveOurStages is a lifeline for the live music industry

As I type this I’m watching the Save Our Stages Fest (#SOSFest) on Oct. 21, a few weeks before the election. Indie phenom Phoebe Bridgers and her band are dressed in skeleton costumes played alone in the West Hollywood bar where Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Linda Ronstadt paid their dues.

Singer/songwriter pals Conor Oberst and Christian Lee Hutson joined in the streamed event. A little over halfway through the set between songs about death and loneliness Phoebe turned to the camera and said, “Click the donate button because….” After a long pause Conor chimed in: “Because we need a place to play.

That was the reason for SOS Fest. The three-day virtual festival featured 35 artists performing at 25 venues beamed directly to your computer or phone screen, with proceeds benefiting independent music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you read this, the election is (hopefully) over. No matter who won, there’s still a shit-ton of problems to solve thanks to COVID-19. Somewhere on that long list after “figure out a way to keep people from dying (or at the very least from catching the disease)” is “figure out a way to reopen the rest of the country for business.”

While 90 percent of U.S. businesses have reopened, the first businesses to shut down — the bars and music venues — are still closed. And many could stay that way for a very long time.

Beginning in April, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) — a group of more than 2,900 independent music venues and promoters — has lobbied Congress to pass legislation that provides recovery funds and tax credits to help venues survive during the pandemic. First it was the Save Our Stages Act, which passed in the House; and now the HEROES Small Business Lifeline Act is being considered in the Senate as part of the CARES Act.

NIVA asked music fans to write their lawmakers urging them to support the bills, and they have to the tune of nearly 2 million emails. (And more letters are needed. You can write your representative from this handy page on the NIVA website. It only takes 30 seconds!).

But here we are on Oct. 21 and Congress has yet to pass anything, while the future of the live music industry grows bleaker and bleaker. According to a survey of NIVA members, 90 percent of independent venues will close permanently without federal aid in the coming months.

We’re already seeing it here. The Lookout Lounge on 72nd Street closed permanently earlier this summer, and The Barley Street Tavern in Benson gave up the ghost in September. What role COVID-19 played in those closings is uncertain, though it no doubt helped rush some decisions. Now I’m told a third well known club is on the verge of shutting down.

And while two of the best stages in Omaha — The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge — have reopened, they’re only booking comedy acts and cover bands at very limited capacity shows. Downtown showcase The Slowdown held an outdoor festival in its parking lot featuring local acts just to remind people it was still there, though its doors remain locked.

With stages dark, musicians also toil in darkness. According to Business Insider, with the decline in album sales, live events provide 75 percent of all artists’ income. Strangely, thankfully, a ton of new music has been released during the lock down (including albums by Bright Eyes and Phoebe Bridgers) despite the fact that no one is touring.

Three things:

One: Legislation will pass. It has to. It may not be ’til after a new Congress is in place (or heck, it may happen before this column sees print), but it will happen. Too many people have been without for too long. The assistance needed for bars and venues to survive that’s outlined in SOS and HEROES acts will be among the law’s provisions. But it won’t be near enough.

Two: We will climb this mountain of a pandemic and come out on the other side. But it’ll take more than a vaccine. It’ll take a concerted effort by everyone, regardless of political leaning, to do what scientists say we need to do.

And three: Venues will reopen at full capacity, and bands will begin playing and touring again. But, god help us, it may not be until this time next year, or even later. And when the smoke clears, the venue landscape will look very different.

Once people feel safe again, fans will flock to clubs like they never have before thanks to a hunger for live entertainment. But you’ll be surprised how quickly people forget what they’ve been through.

The sad fact is we’ve always taken live music for granted. While ticket prices for arena shows have gone up around 30 percent over the past five years, according to Fast Company those increases haven’t kept up with prices for other forms of entertainment.

It’s the same story for small touring bands that, prior to the pandemic, were lucky to get home from tours with anything in their pockets. Ticket prices for touring indie shows have risen only gradually over the past five years, always being outpaced by the costs required to tour.

And then there are local shows.

I’ve covered live music for more than 30 years. When I started, the cover charge to see live, original bands was $5. Thirty years later, the cover at small clubs is still $5 for local shows, while some larger venues have pumped it up to a whopping $7 or $8. Try splitting that between three bands and a sound guy.

Why are we willing to spend up to $15 to see a movie, but won’t spend $15 to see a live local band, to hear music performed in front of our eyes by living, breathing musicians who put themselves out there for our amusement and/or enlightenment? At the end of a typical night at a rock club, too many local bands go home with nothing except an empty wallet and a hangover.

And yet, I’ve never talked to a band that didn’t want to keep doing it. For them, it’s all about the music. It’s certainly not about the money. Why can’t they have both?

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

Originally published in The Reader, November 2020. Copyright © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Glow in the Dark; Fizzle/Laces rereleased; Update: Conor drops out of Carhenge show…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:46 pm November 13, 2020
Conor Oberst plays a concert tomorrow at Carhenge in Alliance, NE.

After watching about a dozen live streams early in the pandemic I pretty much quit tuning into them other than a couple well-crafted special-feature concerts produced at The Slowdown. The reason: Most are just godawful boring acoustic performances that do a poor job both at showcasing the performers and their songs. And I’m alone in this opinion. The number of live streams has dropped like a rock after the first few months of the pandemic as artists became frustrated with the limitations of the productions and the low number of people watching them.

Now after saying that, let me point you to last night’s Virtual @ Low End concert featuring Glow in the Dark. This was one of the most entertaining live streams I’ve seen on both a local and a national level. Reason being Aaron Gum and Lawrence Deal — the duo behind Glow in the Dark — know how to put on a great virtual show, along with the fine folks at The Bemis. The program was a collage of quick-cut performance footage along with interlaced video (most of it vintage) and very good stage lighting and sound. So much was going on, you never had a chance to get bored. The only thing missing was a runway and a troupe of high-heeled models in futuristic day-glow cone bras.

Topping it off was Glow in the Dark’s synth-powered music whose style and sound owe a lot to ‘80s and ‘90s acts like Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails and Ultravox as well as local synth-masters like Digital Leather and The Faint. Gum guides the sound behind a panels of keyboards while a Deal growls out the melodies like a mountain man version of Trent Reznor. It’s so well produced you’ll wonder how much was live and how much was Memorex, especially considering how tight they performed.

Glow in the Dark performing at Low End at the Bemis Nov. 12, 2020.

This is the first time I’ve seen these guys play a full set, so I’m unsure how much was old music or songs off their forthcoming LP, due out next April. Here’s the link to the replay. Play this tonight. Turn out the lights, turn up the sound and enjoy.

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One of the most overlooked local singer/songwriters of the late ‘90s/early ‘00s is Doug Kabourek whose landmark album Golden Sand and the Grandstand, released under the name Fizzle Like a Flood, is one of the great lost treasure bedroom-pop recordings of all time. Doug had a different project before Fizzle named The Laces that encapsulated the same bedroom-pop singer/songwriter approach that would have been perfect released by a label like K Records.

Instead, The Laces recordings were released by under-the-radar label Mighty Feeble Records, who just just rereleased the entire Laces discography on their Bandcamp page. Now you can relive the CDR-etched dream that was Forever for Now, released way back in 1999 (reviewed here), as well as other Laces nuggets. Or if you’re in a hurry, check out Wooden Change, a professionally mastered (by Doug Van Sloun) “best of” collection available here for the first time ever.

Doug Kabourek action figures…

If that wasn’t enough, anyone who buys the entire Laces discography will get a handmade Doug Kabourek action figure (I’m not kidding). As an added bonus, all proceeds will be donated to the Tony Hawk’s Skatepark Project to help under-served communities create safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth. Check it all out at the Mighty Feeble Laces Bandcamp page.

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Finally, there is an indie rock show happening this weekend, but it’s happening way out in the Nebraska panhandle.

Atlas Obscura and Nissan present Rogue Routes: Auto Mode, a concert tomorrow evening at Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska. Headlining the event is Conor Oberst, who will be joined by Chicano Batman and street artist Swoon.

UPDATE: Via @AtlasObscura: Due to an unexpected shift in our line-up Conor Oberst will be unable to join us for tomorrow’s Rogue Routes performance.

This is a drive-in style event — event audio will be done via FM transmission to your car stereo (There will be no amplification). Your $55 $20 ticket gets your vehicle into the performance along with four human beings. As of this writing, only 15 tickets were still available. The program runs from 4:30 p.m. MST until 7:30 p.m. at Carhenge, 2151 Co. Rd. 59, Alliance. More information including tickets here.

Don’t feel like driving to Alliance? Well you can watch the performance live for free via at atlasobscura.com/rogue.

That’s all I got. Have a great weekend!

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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.

Lazy-i

Phoebe/Conor perform for NIVA; Mal Blum gets the Saddle Creek Document treatment; new Beauty Pill…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:49 pm October 20, 2020
Mal Blum gets the Saddle Creek Document treatment…

Did you tune in last week for SOSFest? I didn’t, either. But most of the performances are now online if you still want to watch. Among them is Phoebe Bridgers at the Troubadour in Hollywood, with special guests Conor Oberst and Christian Lee Hutson. It’s pretty good, but dang, her music is some serious bummage. See below.

Make sure you make a donation toward NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund, which benefits “independent venues in peril.”

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Mal Blum was among the acts scheduled to play at The Reverb Lounge before COVID-19 blew everything up. It was through researching that show that I discovered Pity Boy, the band’s 2019 Don Giovanni release, which I fell in love with. It’s punk but it’s poppy enough to sing along to, clever, smart with great guitars. It would have been on my 2019 list if I’d known about it in 2019.

Today Saddle Creek Records announced that Mal Blum will be featured as the 14th installment of their Document Series. The 7-inch “Nobody Waits” b/w “San Cristóbal,” will be released Nov. 20 and you can preorder it (and hear the A-side) today.

The tracks were the last thing the band recorded before the COVID-19 lock down. Check it below and keep your fingers crossed that One Percent reschedules Mal Blum at Reverb when the pandemic is finally under control…

BTW, Mal Blum is doing a Crowdcast tonight at 7 p.m. CT. Register here.

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D.C. punk band Beauty Pill dropped a video for new song “Instant Night” today, a song “released out of urgency to inspire people to vote in the November election.”

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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.

Lazy-i

The return of Bright Eyes: Conor Oberst on the new album, COVID-19 and the good ol’ days (in the column)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:30 pm September 10, 2020
Bright Eyes circa 2020 from left are Nate Walcott, Conor oberst and Mike Mogis.

In this month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader, an interview/feature on Bright Eyes wherein the fearless frontman Conor Oberst talks about the band’s new album, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was (2020, Dead Oceans), how he’s coping with the pandemic and his love of the folks he played with during the good ol’ days when Omaha was the shining star of the indie music world.

You can read it in the current print edition of The Reader, on news stands now (I picked up my copy at Hy-Vee, but you can find them all over town). You also can read it online right here at The Reader‘s website.

Some background on the interview: It was conducted Aug. 19 over the phone with Oberst calling from his home here in Omaha. We spent most of the 30-some minutes talking about the COVID-19 pandemic and what he’s been doing since it started. It’s all well-covered in the article. Discussing the new album actually came as an afterthought toward the end of the interview.

Among the content that didn’t make it into the story were his thoughts on the actual making of the album. I asked what was the toughest part of putting it together. He said it was effortless for the three of them — Conor, Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis — to jump back in after nine years away from the project.

“As you know, all Bright Eyes records are kind of different,” he said. “There’s different players, and so it was exciting to get to work with, like, Jon Theodore (of Queens of the Stone Age), Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers), and people that we had never worked with before. So I can’t really pinpoint something that was like really hard. As with all the records, you don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s a little bit of mystery and there’s a little bit of excitement, but that was stuff I love. I never thought that it’d be, like, Flea doing a slap-bass thing on a Bright Eyes record in my life, but it sounds cool when he does it.”

Check out the article here. I’ll also post it on this website in a few days…

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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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Conor talks COVID-19’s impact on the live music biz; Omaha venues go to #RedAlertRESTART tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm September 1, 2020
Bright Eyes at Westfair Amphitheater, June 4, 2011.

Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst knows how COVID-19 is killing the live music industry.

In an outtake from an interview last month, which will appear in the September issue of The Reader (on newsstands any day now), Oberst talked about how the pandemic is impacting independent agencies like Ground Control Touring, who has been his booking agent for more than 20 years.

He said Eric Dimenstein at Ground Control Touring asked him to get involved with efforts like the National Independent Talent Organization‘s (NITO’s) push to get legislation passed that will help venues and the entire independent live music ecosystem survive. Oberst said it’s vital that they get federal support with the Save Our Stages and RESTART acts to insure there is a live music ecosystem on the other side.

The problem is very real, and with Congress sitting on its hands last month getting nothing passed, you’re going to start seeing real impacts in the form of venues closing (Lookout Lounge, for example), and support industries like booking agencies trying to figure out how to survive until the pandemic gets stomped down.

That’s one of the reasons why there’s a Red Alert tonight (Sept. 1), where #WeMakeEvents, a coalition of trade bodies, businesses, unions and live events workers, will light up their venues, homes and cities red in more than 1,500 locations across the country to raise public awareness and media awareness in support of the live events sector.

Among the Omaha organizations participating tonight are:

Bob Kerrey Bridge
Event Staging Systems
Audio Visions
FadeUp Design Group
TMS
IATSE Local 42
Theater Arts Guild Omaha
Anastasis Theatre
Baxter Arena
Benson B Side
BLUEBARN Theatre
Film Streams
Omaha Community Playhouse
Omaha Performing Arts
Radio Theatre Omaha
Reverb Lounge
The Backline
The Rose
The Slowdown
The Trap Room
The Waiting Room
University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Theatre Department

You can participate, too. Again, you need to contact your representatives using the form on this web page: https://wemakeevents.org/#action

You can also show support by posting a red-tinted photo of your favorite live event to your social media with the following caption:

RedAlertRESTART: the live events we love may never recover from the pandemic, we need to take action! Take 2 minutes to contact your representatives here, and post a red photo of you at your favorite event, too: https://wemakeevents.org #WeMakeEvents #ExtendPUA

You can turn your photo red here: https://www11.lunapic.com/editor/?action=tint.

Let me leave you with some stats from the WeMakeEvents website to gnaw on:

  • Live events employ over 12 million people.
  • Live events contributes over $1 trillion annually to the US economy.
  • 95% of live events have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • 96% of companies have cut staff and/or wages.
  • 77% of people in the live events industry have lost 100% of their income, including 97% of 1099 workers.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Bright Eyes on Colbert; new album drops Aug. 21…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:17 pm June 23, 2020
A screen cap from last night’s Bright Eyes performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

It was a busy day for Bright Eyes yesterday. The outfit led by Conor Oberst announced a new single, “Mariana Trench” and the name and tracklist for their new album, Down in the Weeds Where the World Once Was, out Aug. 21 on Dead Oceans.

And the band performed sort of live on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which you can watch below. See Conor sporting what looks like strangler gloves, Mike Mogis in a seed cap and Nate Walcott splitting time between keyboards and trumpet. It’s the band’s first performance in 10 years. Like I told you, they never broke up.

From the press release: “As a title, as a thesis, Down In The Weeds Where the World Once Was functions on a global, apocalyptic level of anxiety that looms throughout the record. But on a personal level, it speaks to rooting around in the dirt of one’s memories, trying to find the preciousness that’s overgrown and unrecognizable.”

After hearing the first four tracks, it sounds like this is going to be another doomsday album from Bright Eyes, which will make a nice bookend with the new one by Conor’s partner in crime, Phoebe Bridgers, which came out last Thursday: Punisher, also on Dead Oceans (poor Saddle Creek).

This new Bright Eyes track is the best one so far, certainly the most upbeat, and along with “Forced Convalescence” sounds like a natural progression post-Cassadaga had the band not gone wandering for a decade, certainly more so than the wooden, folky stuff Conor released on Ruminations/Salutations

No word on a tour yet. Imagine a Bright Eyes / Phoebe Bridgers / Better Oblivion Community Center joint tour. I think my head just exploded…

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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