Post-script Maha comments, and the live review (in the column); Dereck Higgins Indiegogo campaign, Travelling Mercies, Feel Tight tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:01 pm August 20, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

More comments and review of this year’s Maha Music Festival are in this week’s column. You can read it in the new issue of The Reader, out tomorrow, or online right here.

Some final thoughts/post scripts to Maha 2014:

Domestica's Jon Taylor at the microphone.

Domestica’s Jon Taylor at the microphone.

— Jon Taylor sung leads on at least two Domestica songs during their Maha set — a departure as Heidi Ore has handled lead vocals with Domestica and Mercy Rule for about 20 years. Jon did a stellar job. It’ll be interesting to hear how it translates on future Domestica recordings.

— As mentioned in the review, Icky Blossoms’ new material is harder and more acidic than stuff off their debut album, but that doesn’t make it any less danceable. Expect their new album on Saddle Creek probably early next year.

The intense crowd in front of the stage during Icky Blossoms' set.

The intense crowd in front of the stage during Icky Blossoms’ set.

— Speaking of Icky Blossoms, the band got a nice shout-out from The Head and the Heart during their set, gushing that Icky was their favorite band so far at the festival. Maybe the Ickys should try to get an opening slot on THATH’s next tour?

— I was skeptical about the Maha Ferris wheel until I saw it. It actually was pretty cool and when I went past it early in the evening there was quite a line of people waiting to get on.

—  Maha outdid themselves with this year’s Global Village. Lots of cool shit for kids to do while mom or pop is rocking. This is one of the central things that make Maha a festival rather than just a day-long concert.

— Ain’t none of my business but it was disturbing to see — while leaning through the crowd near the stage during Local Natives’ set — some guy carrying a baby with no hearing protection standing right next to me. Even with ear plugs I thought their set was loud from that vantage-point. Can that level of decibels be healthy for a baby?

— The Boulevard seasonal ale being served in the beer tents (something sweet blended with ginger) was indeed tasty. I’m developing a taste for sissy beers.

— It wasn’t all roses for Maha. The food selection was…lacking. I’m not sure what they can do about this. I swear I saw people walking around with cheeseburgers but I couldn’t find where they were coming from. That said, would it kill them to find a vendor that offered a pleasant, refreshing salad? Or ribs?

— For every person I talked to who loved the line-up there was someone who whined about the line-up. Maha will never be all things to all people, nor should it be. I like their basic two-stage recipe, though I think they’re going to begin struggling to find new, decent locals to fill that local stage who haven’t already played in the past two years.

— BTW, I’ve gotten plenty of shit about missing Radkey’s and Doomtree’s sets. Sorry fans. I’m quite familiar with their catalogs, and it just ain’t for me. Knowing that I was going to miss about two hours of the festival, I had to choose judiciously. I’m sure they were fan-fucking-tastic…

— The biggest disappointment was The Both’s set. The idea was good on paper, but I don’t think it translated to a festival. Aimee Mann’s music is probably better suited for a sit-down concert in, say, the Holland or the Orpheum rather than an outdoor stage. Conversely, someone needs to book Ted Leo at The Waiting Room.

— Oddest moments at Maha: The times between sets when there was no music. I mean nothing. You’d think they’d at least have some house music going over the PA. Even the annoying generic reggae beats that I’ve heard at so many other large concerts between sets would have helped fill the void. The simple answer is for Maha to hire one (or a few) of the area’s many DJs to fill in the gaps between sets. It would be a nice tip o’ the hat to the local DJ culture.

After six festivals, Maha is finally reaching its capacity. No, it hasn’t outgrown Stinson Park. Even at (what I think was) its maximum attendance level (toward the end of The Head and the Heart or at the very beginning of Death Cab’s set) it was still possible to comfortably walk through the crowd (By contrast, try navigating through the crowd during the last band at the annual Memorial Park freedom rock July 4 hog-calling concert).  The attendance number being reported is 7,000. Maha could squeeze a couple more thousand into Stinson, and maybe even reach that golden 10,000 number if they find the right headliner. Does Maha need to get bigger than that? It will have to if it’s going to attract the Beck / Wilco-level headliners.  How else can Maha grow? How about a second day-long festival — one held in the spring, the other in the late summer? Or add an amazing Friday night warm-up set in the park…

BTW, if you went to Maha, fill out the Maha survey so they can capture your thoughts and make it even better next year.

More Maha review here.

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You know that Dereck Higgins release I mentioned the other day that I wondered would ever make it onto vinyl? Well it is, probably. Dereck launched an indiegogo campaign to help fund the pressing. You can contribute (and pre-order the LP) here.

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Hear Nebraska’ second-to-last Live at Turner Park concert for the season is tonight. The line-up is Lincoln bluegrass outfit The Bottle Tops and roots rockers The Travelling Mercies.The show starts at 6 p.m. Bring a blanket and some booze and enjoy. More info here.

Also tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s the debut of Feel Tight, a new project featuring members of Talking Mountain, The Seen and Weird Howl. Opening up is Huge Fucking Waves and Stephen Nichols. $5, 9 p.m.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Bloodcow launches Kickstarter (Come on, guys); Dereck Higgins’ Murphy drops; Chris Walla leaves Death Cab; HN in Turner Park (hip-hop edition); Record Club tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm August 13, 2014
Frightening screen capture from the Bloodcow Kickstarter video.

Frightening screen capture from the Bloodcow Kickstarter video.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, Bloodcow launched its Kickstarter campaign yesterday. They’re trying to raise $8,900 so they can release their 4th album, Crystals & Lasers, on vinyl and other formats. I know there’s some folks who are “anti-Kickstarter,” but I see it as a chance for fans to pre-order a release at a pretty decent price and get some other tchotchkes along the way.

If there’s one disappointment with Bloodcow’s Kickstarter it’s the lack of creative premiums. They’re only offering the usual war chest of goodies — vinyl, CD, T-shirt, play at your house, producer credit, etc. I was hoping for something more becoming of a Council Bluffs band of self-proclaimed Xenu followers. Come on guys, where’s the “Spend a night with Bloodcow at a classy Council Bluffs strip club” or “Have your picture taken with Bloodcow at the BLACK ANGEL OF DEATH” or “Hand-etched Bloodcow tattoo by artist Karl Nicholason” or “Guest role in Aaron Gum-produced drag queen video” or “An actual Bloodcow” (I’m not sure what that is).

Without those, I’ll probably just go in at the vinyl/t-shirt level. You should, too. Check it out.

* * *

Dereck Higgins, Murphy (self-release, 2014)

Dereck Higgins, Murphy (self-release, 2014)

This morning Omaha songwriter/musician Dereck Higgins (InDreama, Strange Attractors)  posted a link to his latest release in Bandcamp, Murphy, the follow-up to his Flyover Country album. Higgins says he might release the all-instrumental Murphy on vinyl late this year or early next year. The record is named after a buddy Higgins knew in high school who had a party spot along the Elkhorn River. Check it out.

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Death Cab for Cutie announced on its website today that longtime member Chris Walla is leaving the band. No reason was given for his departure. This Saturday’s Maha Music Festival will be among the last times you’ll be able to see Walla on stage with the band. DCFC also announced that its new, yet-to-be-titled  album has been recorded with producer Rich Costey (Mew, Interpol, Cave In) and is slated for release in early 2015. Wonder if they’ll be playing any of the new material on Saturday?

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The second in Hear Nebraska’s Live at Turner Park concert series is tonight at 6 p.m. and features local hip-hop artists AZP and BOTH. The concert is free and a fun way to check out Turner Park’s new concert stage. Find out more here.

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Also, tonight’s Record Club at the Shop @ Saddle Creek features Death Cab for Cuties’ seminal 2003 release Transatlanticism. Record Club is a chance for folks to get together and listen to an album in its entirety, then discuss it afterward. Fun! The needle drops at 7 p.m. More info here.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Speedy Ortiz, Digital Leather, Dereck Higgins, Old Bones tonight; Gardenheads Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:35 pm March 21, 2014
The Gardenheads play O'Leaver's Saturday night.

The Gardenheads play O’Leaver’s Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight’s show at The Sweatshop Gallery features three bands that just played at South By Southwest. Headliner Speedy Ortiz is coming off a big splash with last year’s Major Arcana (2013, Carpark) and brand new EP Real Hair (Carpark). They must have played a dozen times in Austin last week, and I missed every performance. No strangers to Omaha, they usually play at the Farman St. house. Opening is Digital Leather returning from their own SXSW tour along with Boston band Pile. This $10 show should be a mob scene. Starts at 9.

Also tonight, Dereck Higgins celebrates the release of his new self-released album, Flyover, at the Carver Bank. The album’s music was written for or inspired by Jim Fields’ feature motion picture Flyover Country. Also performing is singer/songwriter Greg Hand. The show starts at 7 at Carver Bank, 2416 Lake Street. More info here.

Meanwhile, local hardcore supergroup Old Bones (ex-Split Second, 8th Wave, Race for Titles) is headlining tonight at fabulous O’Leavers. Timecat and Goon Saloon also are on the bill. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) O’Leaver’s hosts Springfield, Missouri band The Gardenheads. You first read about them here, where I described their most recent album, Growing Season, this way: “Maybe it was because I’d just seen the Big Star movie, Nothing Can Hurt Me, but the band’s music recalled Chilton, Bell and Co. The Beatles also came to mind, as did Matthew Sweet and The dBs and Wilco and the finer pop moments from the Titan! label.

Yeah, I like their record. Check it out in its entirety below (skip to track 1). I saw them play to six people at Barley Street Tavern last year. Let’s see what they can bring to O’Leaver’s Saturday night. Headlining is Those Far Out Arrows. John Larsen also is on the bill. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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By the way, Bank of the West announced this year’s “Independence Day” Memorial Park concert line-up. It’s a real “must-miss” event with Blues Traveler, Sugar Ray, Uncle Kracker and Smash Mouth. Really, really bad. Book your travel out of the Dundee area June 27.

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Uh, have a good 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Higgins, Snake Island; Gardenheads, Dondero, Stevens tonight; Junkfest #19 Saturday; more O’Leaver’s mystery…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm November 8, 2013
Snake Island at The Waiting Room, Nov. 8, 2013.

Snake Island at The Waiting Room, Nov. 8, 2013.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

With bands rotating on and off stage playing only 20-minute sets, last night’s Flyover Country CD release show felt like a social gathering more than a rock concert. The smallish crowd of fewer than 100 got a taste of a handful of bands with tracks on the CD. The two highlights I caught were Snake Island playing a blistering, well-crafted set of garage-ish rock that was too well-played, too “put together’ to really be considered “garage.” The word “slick” came to mind, along with “professional” and “tight.”

Dereck Higgins at The Waiting Room Nov. 8, 2013.

Dereck Higgins at The Waiting Room Nov. 8, 2013.

The other highlight was composer/performer and local legend (he probably gets tired of hearing that description) Dereck Higgins, who took the stage behind a keyboard and laptop and performed throbbing, synth-fueled multi-layered dance tracks that got a handful in the small crowd moving their asses — no easy feat in flyover country. Cool stuff that anyone who grew up listening to Factory dance records, or bands like New Order or Depeche Mode would appreciate. Higgins said the movie soundtrack was a taste of the material he put together during those creative sessions. Look for a new full-length Higgins release in the near future. I’d love to see how his stuff would translate at House of Loom played to an audience that came to dance.

A final footnote on Flyover Country: The film’s premiere is tonight and tomorrow at The Omaha Community Playhouse. Film rolls at 7:30, and tix are available from flyovermovie.com.

* * *

Way back in September, I wrote a column about a Springfield, MO band called The Gardenheads. The piece, which you can read online here, was a review of the band’s LP release Growing Season, wherein I referenced Big Star, Alex Chilton, Matthew Sweet, The dBs and Wilco, among others. I called the record one of the best I’ve heard this year, and certainly one of my favorites. I never expected to hear from the band again, let alone see them play.

Well, lo and behold, The Gardenheads are playing tonight at The Barley Street Tavern. The band is opening for The Beat Seekers, which means if you want to catch them, you’ll have to get there early. $5, 9 p.m. Funny how these things happen.

Also tonight, David Dondero returns to fabulous O’Leaver’s topping a stellar line-up that includes Brad Hoshaw and Ted Stevens Unknown Project. Dondero is on the road supporting his latest album, This Guitar, which was just released on vinyl by Unrequited Records. $7, 9 p.m. O’Leaver’s is  selling tickets to this one, which you can buy online right here.

Meanwhile, over at The Sydney, Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons performs with The Willards and Randy Burk. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday’s highlight is Junkfest #19 at The Sweatshop Gallery. The 11-band line-up is a celebration of Unread Records, which you read about in detail here. Among the performers: Furniture Huschle, Ramon Speed, David Kenneth Nance, Spirit Duplicator, I Am the Lake of Fire, William Wesley & the Tiny Sockets, Simon Joyner, Charlie McAlister, Hossflesh, Church of Gravitron and Nathan MA. 6 p.m., $7. Come celebrate the cassette culture and some fine, fine music.

Also Saturday night, Snake Island plays at O’Leaver’s with Ex Nuns and Pisswalker. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Oh yeah, one more thing… They’re calling these folks the return of emo, and judging by their name, I can see why. Sunday at Slowdown Jr. it’s The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (yes, that’s the name). Pitchfork compares their new album Whenever, If Ever (Top Shelf) to Bright Eyes and Arcade Fire in this 7.8-rated review. Opening is Better Friend and I Forgot To Love My Father. $8, 7 p.m. Bring a hankie.

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The latest clue regarding O'Leaver's Black Friday concert...

The latest clue regarding O’Leaver’s Black Friday concert…

Speaking of O’Leaver’s, I receive yet another clue about their mysterious Black Friday show in the form of the graphic on the left. No idea what it means. I did receive some other data regarding this show last night, basically confirming that no, this is not a warm-up show for Cursive’s December residency at The Waiting Room, nor is InDreama on the bill. Others have speculated (correctly) who one of the bands will be. See if you can figure it out.

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Did I leave anything off the list? Put it in the comments section. Have a fine 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Flyover Country soundtrack release party, Screaming Females, Gordon, The Photo Atlas, John Klemmensen tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 7:25 pm November 7, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In the Better-Late-Than-Never Department…

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the official release show for the motion picture soundtrack to the film Flyover Country.  While I was unwilling to weigh in with an opinion of the film in this write-up in The Reader, I will tell you that my favorite part of this film is its soundtrack, specifically the work of legendary Omaha musician Dereck Higgins.  Dereck provided the primary score, which is upbeat, moody, an experience in itself.

But in addition to Dereck, the soundtrack features the following songs and artists, making the Flyover Country soundtrack one of the better local music comps I’ve heard in a long time:

“Give Me Light” BLUEBIRD; “Enzymes” DIGITAL LEATHER; “Shine” DOMESTICA; “Airplane Over Me” SUZY DREAMER & HER NIGHTMARES; “Try Too Hard” MITCH GETTMAN; “Hanging Out” GREEN TREES; “Cruel Heart” THE KARMA LOGS; “Details” LONELY ESTATES; “The House” LOW HORSE; “Can’t Get Off That Train” MEZCAL BROTHERS; “Blue View” SPIKE NELSON; “Just You Wait” THE RENFIELDS; “Drinkin Boots” ROCK PAPER DYNAMITE; “Do What You Feel” EVAN SCOTT; “Symptoms” THE SEEN; “Oh Lord” SNAKE ISLAND; “Till Death” TARA VAUGHAN

According to One Percent Productions, tonight’s album release show will feature performances by Dereck Higgins, Snake Island, Blue Bird, Rock Paper Dynamite, Lonely Estates “and more.” $7, 8 p.m.

But that’s not the only thing happening tonight. Down at Slowdown Jr., New Jersey punkers Screaming Females (Don Giovanni Records) headlines a show with one of my favorite new local bands, Gordon. $10, 9 p.m.

Check out some Screaming Females below:

Finally, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s Denver party-electro-spazz-funtime-party rockers The Photo Atlas returns with John Klemmensen and The Party and The Knew. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Check out some Photo Atlas:

Let the weekend begin a day early, I say…

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Dereck Higgins, Now Now tonight; See Through Dresses, The Pines Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 1:06 pm April 12, 2013
Dereck Higgins, space ranger

Dereck Higgins, space ranger

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s Friday already. Here’s the weekend lineup:

Local legend Dereck Higgins (InDreama, ex-Digital Sex) is giving a free performance early tonight as the Carver Bank artist in residence. From what I’ve read, it’ll be like a “Storytellers” performance with Dereck playing songs from his five solo albums interspersed with stories about his life and his career. The show starts at 7, but get there early and buy some grub from Big Mama’s Sandwich Shop. Carver Bank is located at 2416 Lake Street.

Also tonight at The Waiting Room, Minneapolis band Now Now (the band formerly known as Now Now Every Children) headlines a show with The Lonely Forest (both bands are on the Trans label) and our very own Millions of Boys. $12, 9 p.m.

What’s that? You can’t get enough of Millions of Boys? Well good because the band is playing again Saturday night, this time at fabulous O’Leaver’s opening for See Through Dresses (another Sara Bertuldo project, which also features Matt Carroll, Nate Van Fleet and Robert Little), Dan Mariska and the Church Boys Choir and The Rest of Ray Brower. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at Slowdown Jr., Omaha’s favorite troubadour Brad Hoshaw opens for Minneapolis folkies The Pines (Red House Records).  $8/$10DOS, 9 p.m.

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Fackler & Higgins on InDreama; a look back at Fashion Week (in the column); The Lupines, Baby Tears, Jake Bellows tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:08 pm August 30, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s been somewhat quiet news-wise the past few days, which has given me a chance to catch up on some new releases. Look for a slew of reviews online in the coming weeks, including a summary of the best stuff from the first three quarters of 2012. The year indeed started out slow, but there have been a few interesting releases this summer.

What else…?

Omaha singer/songwriter/musician/filmmaker/golden boy Nik Fackler and bass playing legend Dereck Higgins talk about the upcoming InDreama debut right here at Hear Nebraska. The article is an intriguing combination of text and audio files from the interview. Look for the new InDreama to hit store shelves Oct. 23 on Team Love Records.

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In this week’s column, a look back at last Saturday night’s Fashion Week finale, a review that’s bound to get me in trouble… You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s The Barley Street Tavern, it’s the return of The Lupines with Baby Tears and St. Louis band Hope and Therapy. The usual $5, the usual 9:30 start time.

Also tonight, traveling troubadour Jake Bellows (ex-Neva Dinova) is playing a set at The New BLK, 1213 Jones St., as part of the Top Coat and Tails II closing party. Jake goes on at 10. According to The NBLK: “No cover. Free drink (until it’s gone, feel free to byob also). We’ll be taking donations to help Jake put a new clutch in the ’71 Datsun for it’s journey back to LA. Come down.” OK, now you have to go…

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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