Live Review: Maha Music Festival year 10: Is bigger better?; Cults, Metric tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — @ 12:45 pm August 20, 2018

ZZ Ward performs during day 1 of the the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

A few things before we get started.

First, the line-up. It was controversial the day it was announced if only because this was the 10-year anniversary of the Maha Music Festival. There’s only a few of us who have been to all 10, who know the dips and turns that this festival has gone through over the past decade. And every one of us has a favorite year. Mine just happens to have been last year when Maha coaxed Belle & Sebastian to their festival stage along with Downtown Boys, New Pornographers and the Faint. Run the Jewels was the usual meh headliner, but at least made a statement that Maha wasn’t going to be be mistaken for a dad rock festival.

The speculation for year 10 ranged from LCD Soundsystem to Courtney Barnett to Arcade Fire to Wilco. Three of those four names had released a relevant new album in the past year. When Weezer was announced as the headliner, an enormous group yawn came over Omaha’s tiny audience of indie music followers. Weezer was never an indie band, doesn’t play indie rock, could even be mistaken as an MTV band thanks to it’s classic “Happy Days” video for “Buddy Holly.”

What indie fans failed to realize is that if Maha is going to pay a quarter-million dollars (or whatever they paid for Weezer) the band better be able to sell a shit-ton of tickets — or at least draw a massive crowd. And Weezer did just that. I don’t know the numbers, but Stinson Park was overflowing last night when Rivers kicked off their set with the “You Wanted to See It” bite from Happy Days.

On the other hand, the crowd was less than massive the prior evening for TV on the Radio, but I’ll get to that.

The second thing to mention before digging into the performances is how well this festival operates — and has operated from day 1. No event has better trained, better prepared volunteers than Maha — all 700 of them. I was greeted with a smile every where I turned, from check-in to buying drink tickets to the eager young lady who explained which container to dump my trash/recyclables. That doesn’t just happen, believe me. Working with an army of volunteers is a difficult, thankless job that’s ignored when it’s done right.

Finally, one of the smartest/best things to happen to Maha was selecting Stinson Park at Aksarben Village as its location. No matter what happens in the future, no matter how big or small the festival becomes, Stinson should remain ground zero for this annual event. Nothing could be more convenient.

Time for a Format Change

All that said, there was one thing that became glaringly obvious after this year’s two-day festival — there’s no reason to start bands before 6 p.m.

Yes, there was only a few hundred on hand to hear Clarence Tilton kick things off at 6 p.m. Friday night, but the crowd just seemed to grow faster by the moment. Whereas Saturday festivities were lightly attended all the way up until Hop Along took the stage. As a result, few saw some of the festival’s best performances — specifically David Nance and U.S. Girls.

Organizers, ask yourselves: If you know no one’s going to be at the park at noon to see these artists, why bother booking them so early? I would have loved to see a 6 p.m. crowd eat up Nance’s set, or for that matter, if an early-evening audience would have tried to dance to U.S. Girls.

I’m sure there’s a good reason for starting at noon. I don’t know what it is.

The perfect Maha Festival would run three days — Thursday, Friday, Saturday — each day starting at 6 p.m. Six bands each on Thursday and Friday, five bands on Saturday. That’s 17 high-quality bands, each getting a decent shot at playing in front of a sizable crowd instead of the usual handful there at noon for reasons we’ll never know. This is the only option if Maha is never going to take the plunge and book one of its headliners very early in the day in an attempt to get the crowd out early.

The later start times also allow festival-goers to avoid most of August’s oppressively hot/humid weather. Why haven’t they done it this way in the past? Does it have to do with better-utilizing vendors and facilities? I would be surprised if they’re covering labor costs before 5 p.m. As for the bands that “get their break” playing the early stage, that’s been a running joke since the festival started — “We played Maha… in front of 18 people at noon.”

Yeah, you might have a smaller crowd at 6 p.m. than at 9 p.m., but it’s going to be bigger than what was there Saturday for The Dilla Kids.

Day 1

Caveat: I wasn’t even planning on attending Friday night’s festival, but when Maha offered me a press pass, I had to go if only to see Clarence Tilton on that ginormous stage. The Omaha-based alt-country five-piece belted out its usual great set of rural-tinged rock that would make Uncle Tupelo proud.

Clarence Tilton performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2018.

I’ve seen these guys play the best stages in town all the way down to a neighborhood street party and they never disappoint. The big stage only magnified their talent, though as mentioned, only a hundred or so were there to hear it. No matter. They kicked it up as if the Stinson bowl was filled.

State Disco performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2018.

State Disco followed from the smaller “Omne Partners Stage,” but I’ll be damned if that stage didn’t sound louder than the main “Decades Stage.” Unlike what the name implies, State Disco don’t play no disco. Their style sounds derived from 2000s-era Vegas alternative band The Killers with some Muse and Strokes thrown in for good measure.

I walked up to the stage to get the photos and turned around to see about a dozen girls standing in a line, grooving. Cute. In the words of a seasoned musician who I bumped into: these dudes are professional, and you can tell they’re dying to get heard on the radio.

Hurrah for the Riff Raff performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2018.

Half of the multitude of people I spoke to Friday night were there to see Hurray for the Riff Raff, hence (I assume) the reason they were on the big stage. Front woman Alynda Segarra is hard to take your eyes off of. She certainly commands the stage, though the band’s brand of rootsy rock failed to capture my attention, and after a few songs I was off to check out the Rabble Mill mini-ramp on the other end of the park.

Benjamin Booker performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2018.

I got back in time to watch New Orleans blues-rocker Benjamin Booker on the side stage. He and his band played a blue-stomp rock in the Black Keys vein but with more variety (which isn’t saying much). Booker’s stuff comes out on ATO, the same label as Alabama Shakes, Drive-By Truckers and Hurray for the Riff Raff (I assume it was a package deal). Seems like blues-rock replaced alt-country as an indie outlier genre. We can thank Black Keys for that.

As middle-of-the-road as those two ATO acts were, they were light-years ahead of blues rock act ZZ Ward. For the half-dozen of you who asked how Dusty and Billy sounded, the “ZZ” stands for Zsuzsanna, as in Zsuzsanna Eva Ward. I would have preferred Dusty and Billy.

The music kinda sorta reminded me of Shania Twain hick-country; I halfway expected Ward to rip into “Man, I Feel Like a Woman.” It was at this point that I was thinking these last three bands would have been a great fit for the ol’ Playing with Fire concert series. Maybe that’s the crowd Maha was after.

Needless to say, Ward was an odd choice to precede early-2000s indie rock icons TV on the Radio, the band the other half of the crowd was there to see. By now Stinson was crowded, though the bowl was only half filled; the power lines leading to the side stage that cuts the park in half acted as a pseudo barrier. It was crush full on the other side of that line and pretty far back. The Maha folks had to be pleased.

TV on the Radio performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2018.

What can I say about TV on the Radio’s set? I’ve never been a fan, and don’t know much beyond 2008’s Dear Science, which stands as a landmark album from that era. I recognized “Golden Age” from that album, but few others. They sounded strong and tight, as if they released that album last year. I didn’t hang around for the full set, though I’m told they played “Staring at the Sun” for an encore.

Day 2

The Dilla Kids had the inauspicious honor of opening Day 2 at 12:30 to what appeared to be about 50 people. The ensemble totaled 11 on the big stage including a graffiti artist who would hang out through a good part of the afternoon.

The Dilla Kids kicked off Day 2 of the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 18, 2018.

I’ve never seen these folks before and was very impressed with the band — every aspect but especially the rhythm section. Top-notch beats that would not stop. Fronting them were MCs Marcey Yates and Xoboi, who were all about getting the party started at lunch time, rapping about “Wings and Thighs.”

Did I mention it was humid as hell? Just as miserable as you’d expect in mid-August.

David Nance Band performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 18, 2018.

David Nance Band got the day going on the side stage. Playing as a four-piece with guitarist Jim Schroeder, bassist Noah Sterba and drummer Kevin Donahue, they ripped into a guitar-fueled set of songs, many I assume from the band’s upcoming Trouble in Mind debut due Oct. 5.

Among my faves was a song presumably called “Kingdom of Shit” and the roarin’ first single, “Poison.” Nance and Schroeder played off each other throughout, challenging themselves to a feedback contest. The new stuff has a Neil Young / Crazy Horse vibe, with jams you’d love to have gone on for 20 minutes or more. He ended the set with a dirge, which is a no-no for any festival (He would have killed them if he’d closed with “Negative Boogie”).

U.S. Girls perform at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 18, 2018.

Then came U.S. Girls. I was expecting something more electronic and dance-beat fueled like on their new album, In a Poem Unlimited. Instead, the band ripped into heavy guitar rock that morphed into dance-beat fabulousness spurred on by front woman Meghan Remy’s inviting coo.

The sound was slow, heavy and erotic, Remy out front and inviting, imploring the crowd of around 300 to dance instead of just standing there staring like lumps. The lead guitarist, dressed head-to-toe in red, looked like an extra from an episode of Starsky and Hutch but was friggin’ amazing. This was not your typical Maha moment, it was something completely different, and I don’t think the audience knew what to make of it. A highlight.

Next up was Mesonjixx at 3 p.m. In all years past, there have been some holes in my coverage of the Maha Music Festival, and this year would be no exception. One looks at the schedule and picks the spots when they’re going to go home to recover from the heat, or, in my case, go home and let the dogs out. This was my chance.

As a result, I missed Mesonjixx, who I’d seen just a few weeks ago at Slowdown, as well as Hop Along (who I intended to catch at O’Leaver’s Sunday night, but failed) and Ravyn Lenae.

Tune-Yards perform at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 18, 2018.

I returned at 6:30 for Tune-Yards and am happy I did. This was my favorite set of the festival. Tune-Yards play as a trio fronted by super-talented Merrill Garbus standing on a platform with a battery of pedals at her command used to trigger a myriad of loops and samples. With bass player Nate Brenner on one side and a drummer on the other, she crushed a large-ish crowd with thick beat, high-rhythm art-rock songs as experimental and interesting as Eno-era anybody.

The band is enjoying some notoriety thanks to scoring the break-out film Sorry to Bother You, but Tune-Yards already were well-known with the indie set, having plenty of airplay on national streaming indie stations and Sirius XMU. Her song “Gangsta” somehow gets sneaked into every cable program, and single “Water Fountain” has been used in a number of commercials.

The rhythms were pounding, and god help me, some people were actually dancing.

The Kills perform at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 18, 2018.

It was a hard act to follow but The Kills did the best they could from the side stage. A band this big, I was surprised to see them relegated to the small side, but it didn’t tamp down their energy.

As you’d expect from a festival, the fans got a greatest hits set that included “List of Demands (Reparations),” which is the only Kills song I can pick in a line-up.

(Festival sets are kind of like listening to a band’s Greatest Hits album. Everything is out of context and placed in an unfamiliar order and as a result, looses a bit of whatever it was that made the music stick in the first place.)

Father John Misty performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 18, 2018.

By the time Father John Misty started at 9 the audience had arrived. The whole park was filled and the bowl was a crush mob. The Omaha World-Herald reported the attendance was “almost 8,000” (by comparison, the 2015 Maha with Modest Mouse was officially sold out, whatever that means, so which had a bigger audience?). Let me put it this way: It was a shit-ton of people.

I expected a sleepy set from FJM a.k.a. Josh Tillman and got anything but. He came out dressed to the nines and ripped though a greatest hits set of his own backed by an incredible band. I never realized how many good songs FJM has, from “Nancy From Now On” to “Real Love Baby” to the current hit, “Mr. Tillman.”

His stage shtick is looking debonair and reserving his smooth dance moves for just the right moments. He has one of those voices that is unmistakable and bound to be a touchstone to this era, at times reminding me of Elton John.

I expected some snappy patter but he only got in one zinger from stage, paraphrasing, “I want to dedicate this song to all the sad-looking Weezer fans up front. Hang in there, guys. It’s almost over.”

From there he kicked into a wicked version of “Pure Comedy,” a song whose message I’m sure went well over their heads. He closed with “I Love You, Honeybear” — the set seemed to fly by.

Weezer performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 18, 2018.

Then came Weezer. I only stuck around for the first four or five songs. Weezer sounded great. Just like Weezer. And the crowd loved it.

Which brings us back to the line-up. Look, I don’t know where Maha hopes to go from here. It’s hard to imagine them bringing in a more commercial band than Weezer and still maintain some sort of indie-rock connection. You could say they stepped away from that years ago, or were never really concerned about it (Let’s face it, Garbage is hardly a cutting-edge indie band).

Maha will never have my dream line-up because my dream line-up would probably sell a total of 300 tickets. That’s not what it’s about. Maha is about bringing community together around music. You can’t do that without having a radio-friendly legacy act at the top of the bill. And if you can slip in a U.S. Girls or Tune-Yards or David Nance along the way, well then, you’ve succeeded. And they have. Here’s to the next 10 years…

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NYC band Cults headlines tonight at The Waiting Room. In addition to Columbia, the band’s music is released on Lilly Allen’s In the Name Of label. Dreamy synth rock in the vein of early M83. The Shacks (Big Crown Records) opens at 8 p.m. %15.

Also tonight Metric opens for Smashing Pumpkins at CenturyLink Center. 7 p.m.

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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.


It’s Maha Festival weekend: Clarence Tilton, TV on the Radio tonight; David Nance, U.S. Girls, Hop Along, Tune-Yards, Father John Misty Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:00 pm August 17, 2018

U.S. Girls is among the highlights of tomorrow’s Maha Music Festival, which kicks off tonight at Stinson Park.

by Tim McMahan,

Ah, Maha. The festival gods must be looking down kindly on this one as the weather is looking perfect and from all indications, this is gonna be big event.

Everyone is asking about ticket sales. The fact that Maha hasn’t sold out of VIP tickets yet (and everywhere you look someone is giving away passes) may be an indication of sales sluggishness, but the fact is Maha and other festivals do a lot of walk-up sales, and with this weather, I have no doubt that’ll be the case.

Tonight’s first-ever Friday showcase has a ringer with TV on the Radio headlining at 10:30. I have to admit TOTR is a band that went right by me when they first hit the scene in the early 2000s. That said, there’s a ton of buzz about this set.

Tonight will mostly be a night of discovery for me. I’ve had zero (known) exposure to ZZ Ward, Benjamin Booker and Hurray for the Riff Raff. And to be honest, the band we’re most excited to see is opener Clarence Tilton at 6 p.m.

GA tickets for tonight are $45; VIP tix are $110.

Them comes the really big show tomorrow.

Like Omaha World-Herald’s Kevin Coffey, I also have five acts that I’ve deemed “must-see”:

David Nance Band at Reverb Lounge, Nov. 15, 2016.

David Nance Band — With a new album coming out in October on Chicago’s Trouble in Mind Records and on the verger of a massive Eastern U.S. Tour, Nance is one of those acts that any festival would love to have — and he’s grouped in with Maha’s “local acts.” Nance and Co. are headed to this year’s Gonerfest in Memphis next month. Their music is a rough-shod style of psych-rock direct from the garage rife with amazing guitar work and Nance’s Jon Spencer-like bark. If you haven’t seen him, here’s your chance. He comes on after The Dilla Kids at 1:15.

U.S. Girls — The Philly band fronted by Meghan Remy has had records released by Siltbreeze, FatCat and their cuurent label, 4AD. Their latest, In a Poem Unlimited, is loaded with pop songs, like the infectious “Rosebud” that Madonna would kill for. They can be dancey, they can be spacey, but it’s Remy in the middle with her sweet coo. This one starts at 2 p.m.

Hop Along at Slowdown Jr., June 4, 2015.

Hop Along — The new-era Saddle Creek Records act is no stranger to Omaha. Frances Quinlan has a guttural, scratchy, feral-cat growl of a voice on tuneful indie songs that have become Sirius XMU staples. The band’s latest album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog (2018, Saddle Creek) is a personal favorite, having just acquired a new puppy of my own that enjoys barking way too much (in fact, she’s barking as I type this, dammit).

Hop Along goes on at 4:15. BTW, rumor has it that Hop Along is the “secret show” at O’Leaver’s Sunday night. No one has confirmed or denied that rumor…

Tune-Yards — They’ve gained new notoriety for having been included in the soundtrack to 2018 break-out dark-comedy Sorry to Bother You. I know them from their 2011 4AD Records debut release Whokill, and its tasty single “Gangsta.” They used to be the duo of Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner. I’m assuming they’ve grown since I saw them play at SXSW in 2009. Interesting, weird, arty act. On stage at 6:30.

Father John Misty — This could be a real wild-card. Misty, who’s no mystery to Omaha fans having played here before, can either put on a blow-your-head-off set filled with laff-riot between-song patter or he could be BAF, depending on his mood. Let’s hope he’s the former. I know a lot of people who bought tickets to Maha for this performance alone. 9 p.m. start time.

Then there’s Weezer, who didn’t make my list because, well, I’m not a huge Weezer fan. They lost me after Pinkerton, which came out something like 22 years ago. That said, the crowd will crest for their set.

If ticket sales are slim this year it’ll be because your typical Weezer fan not only doesn’t know the who the openers are, but doesn’t care. They’re looking at this as a $70 Weezer concert, which may be a tad steep. Actually, if they walk-up tomorrow, they’ll be paying $80. That’s lot of cash to see a band play a Toto cover.

Maha Festival headliners have never been the draw for me. My all-time favorite Maha moment came from an afternoon set by Belle & Sebastian. I typically catch the first couple songs by the headliner than head out. We’ll see what happens this year.

Here’s the full line-up w/times:

The Friday night gig:

6 p.m. – Clarence Tilton
6:30 – State Disco
7:20 – Hurray for the Riff Raff
8:15 – Benjamin Booker
9:10 – ZZ Ward
10:30 – TV on the Radio

The Saturday schedule:

12:30 p.m. – The Dilla Kids
1:15 – David Nance Band
2 – U.S. Girls
3 – Mesonjixx + Omaha Girls Rock
4:15 – Hop Along
5:30 – Ravyn Lenae
6:30 – Tune-Yards
7:45 – The Kills
9 – Father John Misty
10:30 – Weezer

More info at See you there.

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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.


New Music (announcement) Tuesday: David Nance, Digital Leather, SAVAK, Young Jesus…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:52 pm August 14, 2018

David Nance Band has a new record coming out on Trouble in Mind Records.

by Tim McMahan,

I’m figuring out a way to group new music announcements into a single weekly blog post. This may or may not work. Stand by…

David Nance, Peaced and Slightly Pulverized, slated for release on Trouble in Mind Oct. 5.

Last week David Nance announced that his latest full-length, Peaced and Slightly Pulverized, is coming out on Chicago’s Trouble in Mind Records Oct. 5. It’s credited to the “David Nance Group” and features Nance alongside his recent “hot-shit live band” of fellow Omaha musicians; guitarist Jim Schroeder, bassist Tom May, and drummer Kevin Donahue.

The 7-song LP was mastered by Mikey Young of Total Control and Eddy Current Suppression Ring (no word as to who produced and recorded it). Nance dropped the first single via SoundCloud, “Poison,” and it’s pretty awesome.

Nance is my pick for the next Omaha act to grab some national traction (You could argue he already has). He launches a tour of the Eastern U.S. Sept. 8 in St. Louis that includes a performance at the legendary Gonerfest in Memphis Sept. 29. and Detroit’s Third Man Nov. 8.

The tour rolls home to Omaha Oct. 12, but you can catch Nance sooner — he’s playing the Maha Music Festival this Saturday.

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Digital Leather, Feet, is slated for release sometime this fall on Stencil Trash Records.

Digital Leather posted in Facebook Aug. 2 that the project (headed by Shawn Foree) has a new limited vinyl-only release coming out on German label Stencil Trash Records. No drop date, but we know it’s called Feet, and there’s a track listing.

The possible track listing for the forthcoming Digital Leather album, Feet.

The 12-song LP apparently has been sent to the plant “to be released in about three months” according to the Stencil Trash Facebook page. The label creates elaborate packaging for its releases. Accordingly, “The cover will be printed inside-out on 350g/m² paper. The circle as a glossy sticker and the little hinge as a ‘real’ hinge will be glued on the cover. Limited to 333 copies on 180g black vinyl and dedicated to Peter Eichhorn/P.Trash Records.”

Stencil Trash doesn’t take pre-orders, so…

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SAVAK, Beg Your Pardon, is slated for release on Ernest Jennings Nov. 9.

World-famous Omaha ex-pat now Brooklynite Mike Jaworski’s latest project, SAVAK, announced that their third album, Beg Your Pardon, will drop Nov. 9 on Ernest Jennings Recordings.

The band recorded and produced Beg Your Pardon themselves in their Gowanus practice space and then handed off the songs to Mikey Young (Royal Headache, Kelley Stoltz), Geoff Sanoff (Nada Surf, Luna), Ed Ackerman (The Jayhawks, John Wesley Harding) and Matthew Barnhart (Superchunk, METZ) to mix.

Check out the first single, “Dead Dick,” below.  The band will tour the U.S. and Europe in the fall.

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Young Jesus, The Whole Thing is Just There comes out on Saddle Creek Oct. 12.

Finally, one of Saddle Creek Records new-era artists, Young Jesus, today dropped the first single, “Deterritory,” from their forthcoming album, The Whole This Is Just There. The record drops Oct. 12 and pre-orders are now being taken for limited edition yellow vinyl.

The band announced a massive U.S. tour that runs throughout the fall, but alas, is a NOmaha joint.

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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.


New stuff from Jason Steady, David Nance; Lupines, Noah Sterba, Rusty Lord, Dog Party tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:38 pm July 11, 2018

Dog Party at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2017. The band returns to O’Leaver’s tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

This past Monday Jason Steady (once of the band Talking Mountain, among others) dropped me a line about a new track he’s recorded — a cover of Gram Parsons’ “One Hundred Years From Now,” which, I must say, is sublime. It marks a new direction for Steady, a sound which I described as “psych-country,” but which Jason calls “outer space cosmic death nature sounds.”

Check it out below and/or download/buy it along with Steady’s cover of George Jones’ “Things Have Gone to Pieces” (and a demo  of the Parsons cover) at his Bandcamp page.

Speaking of new music, David Nance posted that his next record, titled Peace and Slightly Pulverized, will be released Oct. 5 by Trouble In Mind Records. The Chicago label’s roster includes Dick Diver, Paperhead and Ultimate Painting, among others. The seven-song vinyl features Nance backed by his band — Kevin Donahue, Jim Schroeder and Tom May. Nance blew a hole in the wall with last year’s Negative Boogie (Ba Da Bing Records). I can’t wait to hear this one…

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Two shows of note tonight…

Pageturners Lounge continues its summer concert series tonight with a triple-bill: Lupines, Noah Sterba and Rusty Lord. Is this the show that the real-life Rusty Lord finally makes an appearance? Find out. This one’s free and starts at 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Sacramento’s Dog Party — the garage rock duo of sisters Gwennie and Lucy Giles — returns to fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them are Mad Dog and the 20/20s and Muscle Cousins. $7, 9 p.m.

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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.


Thick Paint, Nest Egg, David Nance, Druids tonight; Preoccupations’ New Material review…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:54 pm May 2, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

A couple of shows tonight…

Over at The Brothers Lounge Thick Paint headlines a show with David Nance. In the center spot is Asheville, NC band Nest Egg. Via the trio’s Facebook page: “Nest Egg has already made a name for themselves with their amazing fog-heavy, zoned and honed live show. Warping minds and winning fans with their heady, atmospheric take on progressive, ethereal vibed-out rock music.” Their sound is kinetic and fun. Check out the track below. $5, 9 p.m.

There’s also a heavy rock show at fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight with Des Moines psych-metal trio Druids. Locals Bonghammer and The Long Awaited open. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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

Preoccupations, New Material (2018, Jagjaguwar)

Preoccupations, New Material (Jagjaguwar) — From the guys who used to be called Viet Cong. I listen to a lot of SiriusXM First Wave, which plays post-punk/New Wave music from the ‘80s and ‘90s, and some of these tracks could be dropped into rotation and no one would notice. Opener “Espionage,” for example, sounds like ‘80s Gary Numan synth rock crossed with Interpol. On the other hand, “Antidote” is Eno-esque modern and dissonant while “Solace” sounds like reimagined New Order. A favorite.

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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.


Parquet Courts headlines Lincoln Calling; Maha line-up tonight; Cigarettes After Sex, Headroom, David Nance tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm April 17, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

I’m sure you’ve already seen the initial line-up for Lincoln Calling 2018. I’m not going to list all the bands. You can see the full line-up at, but the highlights (for me, anyway):

Parquet Courts — Break-out indie band from Brooklyn on Rough Trade. They’ve been through here a few times, including a gig at Sweatshop Gallery.

Waxahatchee — Very cool indie singer-songwriter. Gorgeous stuff.

Japanese Breakfast — On rotation at Sirius XMU, another indie singer-songwriter.

Ron Gallo — Blew it up at Slowdown Jr. last year.

The Nude Party — North Carolina indie band will be touring with Sunflower Bean in June.

Ought — On Merge Records, Pitchfork darlings.

That’s some quality shit. Alone, none could sell out The Slowdown, taken together and we’re talking the stuff of an epic SXSW day party.

Add a ton more nationals and a strong collection of locals and you’ve got a nice little festival on your hands. Remember, this is only the “initial announcement” — there’s more to come.

The event takes place Sept. 17-22. The venues are the usual LC suspects: Duffy’s (inside and out), The Zoo, Bodega’s and 1867, plus 14th St. for a night market. Missing is The Bourbon Theater, which I’m told currently is on hold. Bourbon hosted major acts at LC in years’ past.

Tickets start at $35 and go up to $75 for VIP. One price gets you into the shows all week. Cheap! The performance schedules aren’t online yet. If you’re like me, you’re not driving to Lincoln more than once, so that schedule will be crucial…

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Speaking of schedules, the Maha Music Festival line-up is scheduled to be announced tonight. The embargoed press release says hold until 7 p.m., but I’m guessing Maha will leak the names prior to that time.

Yes, I’ve seen the line-up. My only hint: I haven’t seen any of the three primary headliners perform live before. Considering the thousands of bands I’ve seen live, take that for what it’s worth. The main headliner will likely cast a wide net. Stay tuned…

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Two good shows are happening tonight:

At The Waiting Room tonight it’s an evening with Cigarettes After Sex. The El Paso dream-pop act has been getting some serious Sirius airplay with their self-titled debut, out last year on Partisan. No opener listed. $20, 8 p.m.

Also tonight New Haven psych-rock band Headroom headlines at The Brothers Lounge. Joining them are David Nance Band, Alcools and Systematic Development Band (a four-band bill on a Tuesday night?). $5, 10 p.m.

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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.


New Sam Martin, new David Nance; See Through Dresses at Daytrotter; Shovels and Rope tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:39 pm March 15, 2018

See Through Dresses on Daytrotter TV.

by Tim McMahan,

Some new music news…

Sam Martin of Capgun Coup fame has a new solo album that came out just yesterday on Bandcamp called Slack City. It’s a full band recording and classic Martin low-fi garage goodness. No details who’s playing on this with Martin. Maybe it’s just Sam? Anyway, check it out here and below.

Meanwhile, David Nance has been busy creating a “loving interpretation of the classic 1972 Doug Sahm LP, but certainly not a note-for-note recreation.” I had to look up Doug Sahm. According to Wiki, the Texas songwriter co-founded the Texas Tornados with Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender and Flaco Jiménez. In 1965 he formed the Sir Douglas Quintet and had a top-20 hit in the U.S. with “She’s About a Mover.” Nance’s album is limited to 100 hand-numbered copies with paste-on covers and insert. Order it here. Very psychedelic!

See Through Dresses’ Daytrotter session went online a couple days ago. Recorded Feb. 15 in the Horseshack, you can now watch the performance as well as simply listen. Check it out.

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That Shovels & Rope show at The Waiting Room tonight is now officially SOLD OUT. Starts at 8, and no opener listed…

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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.


David Nance Group, Candace, Stronghold, RAF tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm October 13, 2017

David Nance at The Sydney, July 7, 2017. He plays tonight at Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

Super quiet weekend for shows, which I guess is par for the course when we’ve had such a strong week of shows what with Church/Zola/Whispertown. Why couldn’t any of those shows been on Friday or Saturday? Oh well…

Tonight, David Nance Group plays at Brothers Lounge with Portland psych/shoegaze band Candace (formerly Is/Is) who count Verve and Loop among their influences. Check out the dreamy track below. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight Omaha hardcore act Stronghold celebrates an EP release at Lookout Lounge. Sharing the bill are punk legends RAF, Finch x Kovacs and Black Velvet. $7, 9 p.m.

O’Leaver’s tonight has Rivercourt, Timecat and Light Speed Highway. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) O’Leaver’s has Lonely Estates, Ojai and Ft. Collins act Slow Caves. $5, 10 p.m.

And, jeeze, that’s it. I know I’m missing something… I always do.

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: David Nance, Noah Sterba; Unknown Relatives, Pretty Shitty, No Thanks tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:47 pm July 17, 2017

Noah Sterba at Reverb Lounge, July 14, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

What more to day about Dave Nance and his band that I didn’t say in last week’s Sydney review other than this was a longer set, played (apparently) with inlaws among the packed crowd (it can make a difference). We got to hear most of the songs off Negative Boogie, including the cover of Merle Haggerd’s “Silver Wings” with Icky Blossoms’ Sarah Bohling providing harmony vocals. Beautiful.

So packed was it for Noah Sterba’s set that people were forced beyond the sound room’s door trying to get in (though there was space on the other side of the room if you could get through the human traffic jam). Sterba, backed by an eight-person band, performed the closer from his new album — titled “The Dark American Rodeo” — in its entirety. In this incarnation, it was a 20-minute noise collage with Sterba front-and-center earnestly reciting the lyrics/poem/manifesto.

I got at the bar right as Sterba’s drone was starting, and was told later it was the sole song he performed, which, on one hand, was good because it meant I didn’t miss anything, but on the other hand, a bummer because Sterba didn’t perform my favorite songs from the album, such as “Three Sheets to the Breeze” and “The 12-Bar Blues.” Next time, maybe…

Nance plays the Bourbon in Lincoln Wednesday night and then hits the road through the first week of August.

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A couple Austin-based punk bands roll into Brothers Lounge tonight.

Unknown Relatives releases material on Austin underground label Super Secret Records. Tour-mates Pretty Shitty are worth the price of admission if only to hear “Don’t Surf.” Omaha’s own No Thanks also is on the bill. $5, 9 p.m.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


David Nance, Noah Sterba album releases tonight; See Through Dresses album release Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:52 pm July 14, 2017

See Through Dresses at Maha Music Festival in 2016. The band had an album release show Saturday night at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s a busy weekend of shows as far as local band releases are concerned.

It kicks off tonight with a duo release show at Reverb Lounge featuring David Nance and Noah Sterba.

David Nance, Negative Boogie (BaDaBing, 2017)

Nance’s new album, Negative Boogie, out today on Ba Da Bing Records, is among my favorites so far this year — a tight, gritty collection of blues rock songs straight out of the garage (or basement), straight to a studio and straight to your heart. The closest comparison I can come to Nance’s intensity is ’90s-era Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, though Nance’s music sounds nothing like it. Nance already has attracted national attention. After this record and subsequent touring, expect him to jump to the next level.

Noah Sterba, 13-Bar Blues (2017, Grapefruit)

Then there’s the release today of Noah Sterba’s 13-Bar Blues on Simon Joyner’s Grapefruit Records label. This is a re-working of his 12-Bar Blues cassette that came out in 2015 on Unread Records, weeding out the covers and adding a few new ones.

Sterba sits in the rarified company of Joyner and Oberst when it comes to turning a golden phrase; his lyrics are central to these bluesy folk-rock tunes. Who else could imaging building a house of out porkchops and eating his way out? The album concludes with a 16-plus-minute opus that features Sterba spitting out a manifesto of sorts over jangly garage blues chords.

Both Nance and Sterba and their bands perform tonight at Reverb Lounge. Joining them is the inimitable Sean Pratt & The Sweats. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, alt country-folk band Clarence Tilton headlines The Waiting Room with Excellency and Sack of Lions. $8, 9 p.m.

See Through Dresses, Horses of the Other World (2017, Tiny Engines)

Then Saturday night is the album release show for See Through Dresses latest, Horse of the Other World (Tiny Engines), at The Waiting Room. The record is something of a breakthrough for a band who in the past too often sounded like a reincarnation of ’90s college rock a la Dinosaur Jr. They come to their own with this album, creating a sound that combines post-punk shimmer with classic dream-pop drone for an end-product reminiscent of Saturdays = Youth-era M83 or early New Order. Opening is Fullbloods and Bokr Tov. $8, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, LA four-piece Froth (Burger, Wichita, Lollipop) plays at Milk Run. On their new album, Outside (briefly) (2017, Wichita), they reinvent their sound in solid dream-pop fashion. So much so, the band goes on tour with Ride following this show. Sam Martin opens. $10, 9 p.m.

That’s all 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.