Remembering Harlan Ellison; Post Animal, Hussies tonight; Sean Pratt/Sweats, Dave Nance, Dirt House, Centerpiece Saturday; Big Bite, BiB Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:42 pm June 29, 2018

A portion of my Harlan Ellison library… and my 45s.

by Tim McMahan,

First, a non-music note: Harlan Ellison passed away yesterday. The best requiem I could give him beyond the photo of my personal Ellison collection at the top of this entry is the following, written for The Reader back in 2013:

Known primarily as the guy who wrote the best episode of Star Trek (“City on the Edge of Forever”) and for penning the material that became the 1976 Don Johnson bomb A Boy and His Dog, I’d read Ellison’s short stories for years before picking up his collection of essays and criticism called Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed in 1984. That was followed a year later by An Edge in My Voice (in fact, this column’s title is a play on that book’s title). It is impossible to read Ellison’s essays and not absorb his rhythm, syntax and style. His is a voice of measured anger bordered by reason, sarcasm, intelligence and wit. I spent a good chunk of my college years emulating Ellison’s writing style before figuring out one of my own.

A day does not go by where I don’t think about Ellison and his writing.

Onward (but with a heavy heart)…

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Tonight’s the annual Memorial Park concert/fireworks display featuring Mickey Thomas’ Starship and Boston/Styx cover band Bostyx. I can’t imagine a worse combination, but the folks going to the concert aren’t there for the music, they’re there for the fireworks.

I assume organizers are aware no one cares about the music and thus book the most benign acts for this show. If they’re going to get 50,000 people in the park regardless of the entertainment, they should consider other options, but I’m sure I’m not the first person to suggest that.

Needless to say, I’ll once again be stationed on my front porch with my trusty over-and-under cradled on my lap telling the passing mob to “Get off my lawn!

Now for the real music news…

Why haven’t they cleared out the tents from CWS? Because they’ve got a home run derby at the park Saturday night. They shouldn’t get in the way of tonight’s show at Slowdown Jr., where Chicago psych-rock band Post Animal (Polyvinyl Records) headlines. Minneapolis “dream-punk” act Slow Pulp opens. $12, 9 p.m

Tonight Hussies headline at The Brothers Lounge. KC band Red Kate also is on the bill along with Tiananmen Squares. $5, 9 p.m.

Sean Pratt and the Sweats return to fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night. They’re bringing with them Brooklyn’s Becca Ryskalczyk (of Bethlehem Steel). Dave Nance opens the evening at 10 p.m. $5.

Dirt House celebrates the release of its debut EP Come Over at Slowdown Jr. Saturday night. Opening is Kait Berreckman and The Jim Schroeder Quintet (Schroeder plays guitar with Dave Nance, among others). $8 adv/$10 DOS, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Centerpiece, a band I just heard about yesterday, is celebrating the release if its debut EP Simple at Reverb Lounge Saturday night. North by North and I Forgot to Love My Father open. $7 adv/$10 DOS. 9 p.m.

Sunday night there’s a 5-band indie-punk show at Reverb headlined by Big Bite. Also on the bill is Supercrush, BiB, Death Cow and Ginger Ale. $8, 9 p.m.

Finally, The Waiting Room is hosting its annual Canada Day showcase — 10 bands playing Canadian covers including Mike Saklar, Korey Anderson and The Electroliners. This is a benefit for the Siena / Francis House with food available and everything. $8, 8 p.m. More info here.

And 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


FortyTwenty, Filter Kings tonight; McCarthy Trenching, Dirt House Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:00 pm December 15, 2017

McCarthy Trenching at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015. The band plays The Slowdown annual Shake Your Trunk sale Sunday afternoon.

by Tim McMahan,

Slim pickins show-wise this weekend and this time of year. There’s not too many bands on the road this close to the holidays let alone routing through Omaha, and even the locals are setting down for a long winter’s nap (or at least prepping for the few “holiday” shows happening around or after Christmas).

That said, there’s a hoot ‘n’ holler of a show tonight at The Waiting Room. Lincoln hay-rack-ride rock band FortyTwenty headlines a bill that also includes Omaha’s favorite outlaw country band, Filter Kings, and honky-tonk swingers The Willards. So dust off your cowboy boots (or leather jacket); this one starts at 9 p.m. and will run you $10.

Sunday night The Slowdown is hosting its annual local artist trunk sale — we’re talking tons of made-local Christmas gift ideas along with performances by McCarthy Trenching, Dirt House and CJ Mills. The shop is open from 1 to 7 p.m. I’m not sure when the show starts, but it’s free. For more information and vendor list, go to the Slowdown listing.

Can you believe those are the only shows featuring original music this weekend? Neither can I, so if I missed your gig 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: Son, Ambulance, Lodgings, Dirt House at O’Leavers…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:46 pm December 4, 2017

Son, Ambulance at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 2, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

Oh. My. God. I finally made it to a show.

Saturday night’s show at O’Leaver’s is the first rock show I’ve gone to since Zola Jesus way back on Oct. 11 — easily the longest stretch I’ve had between shows since sometime in the ’90s probably.

I actually intended to go to two shows this past weekend. I walked down to The Waiting Room Friday night to see Whitney/NE-HI after our art show ended at The Little Gallery (and after checking out the new B-Side, which is very nice indeed) only to find that it was sold out. I was disappointed yet happy for the the sell out — people really do still love going to indie rock shows.

Saturday night was the return of Son, Ambulance to O’Leaver’s. The band seems to re-emerge on a stage somewhere every six months or so with a slightly different line-up. Backing frontman singer/songwriter Joe Knapp this time were a couple horns, pedal steel, drums, Dereck Higgins on bass and instead of a second guitar someone playing sitar.

I was stationed at my usual spot, peeking through the glassless window panes by the bathrooms, which placed me right next to the aforementioned sitar. It sounded not so much like the traditional instrument we all know from Ravi Shankar, but more like a plucked-out high-end bass line. At times, distracting, but didn’t cover up the rest of the band, which was, for the most part, pretty solid.

Son, Ambulance played three old ones (including set staple “Paper Snowflakes”) and three new ones, the best of which was set-closer “Fuck Trump,” a rocker that wasn’t so much a call-and-response anthem as much as a song about living in the here and now, punctuated by the title lyrics.

Knapp says expect to hear a lot more from Son, Ambulance in 2018. With such a huge back catalog of songs, they’re among the few local bands I’d go see once a month.

Lodgings at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 2, 2017.

Lodgings is an act I’ve somehow managed to miss over the years, which turns out to be a huge bummer because they play a style of music I love — a laid-back, slacker rock that’s part Pavement part Pixies part Grifters, essential ’90s indie, often slow, sometimes quiet but also bold and loud.

So packed was O’Leaver’s that I ended up standing behind the amps so I couldn’t hear frontman Bryce Hotz terribly well, though the rest of the band came in loud and clear, including cellist/keyboardist Megan Siebe and guitarist Jim Schroeder (bassist Michael Laughlin and drummer Eric Ernst round out the combo).

The set drove me to seek out the band’s recordings on Spotify; and as a result, I spent a good part of the balance of the weekend listening to last year’s eponymous release and their more recent 6-song EP Daisies, which, had I found it earlier, would have been included in my local faves for 2017.

Dirt House at O’Leaver’s Dec. 2, 2017.

Last up was Dirt House, the new band from Annie Dilocker, who has surrounded herself with some of the best musicians in Omaha. Joining Amy Carey on violin is a rhythm section consisting of drummer Roger Lewis and bass player Miwi La Lupa. It doesn’t get more solid than that.

Dilocker is a long-time music scene veteran who’s been involved in a number of projects including Sweet Pea, Hubble, and for a brief time, Digital Leather. Her piano-driven songs are reminiscent of Regina Spektor or Sarah Bareilles though her melodies aren’t as varied. Dilocker’s vocals at times got lost in the mix. I wanted her to really belt it out — a necessity when backed by such a strong band. Considering her piano skills and her melodies, I wonder how her songs would fare without a backing band.

No doubt Dirt House is beginning to capture a fan base (the audience for Dirt House looked different than the one for Son, Ambulance) and the band’s Facebook page says they’ll be recording by the end of the year. More to come.

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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.