Another Take Cover weekend; David Nance, Cult Play tonight; Sun-Less Trio, Lodgings, Lupines Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:37 pm January 27, 2017

The Sun-Less Trio at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015. The band plays Saturday at The Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s another Take Cover weekend in Omaha and Lincoln. The annual event, a fund-raiser for everyone’s favorite music non-profit, Hear Nebraska, features local bands covering other local bands’ songs plus performing one or two of their own.

The Lincoln version is tonight at The Bourbon, while Omaha’s edition is tomorrow night at The Waiting Room. Among the 12 performers in Omaha are See Through Dresses, David Nance, Mint Wad Willy and Thick Paint. Covers will include songs by The Good Life, Neva Dinova, Elliot Smith and Bright Eyes.

The 8 p.m. show is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. This is the sixth year for Take Cover and each year it gets bigger and better. Do it.

What else this weekend?

David Nance kicks off a big weekend at The Brothers tonight. He’ll be headlining with Satanic Abortion and Suzie Q. $5, 9 p.m. (though Brothers shows are notoriously for starting late).

Also tonight self-proclaimed dark-techno band Cult Play headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Little Ripple and Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday night…

The Sun-Less Trio have a new CD they’ll be selling at The Brothers Lounge before and after their performance. The disc’s packaging contains a highly detailed explanation of how frontman/engineer/producer Mike Saklar recorded the album — very technical stuff involving analog equipment and other doo-dads. Tape-Op would be proud.

Performed by Saklar on guitar/vocals/keys, Cricket Kirk on bass and Marc Phillips on drums, the 8-song collection has been in the works for a number of years, and now is available for your listening pleasure.

Sun-Less Trio actually opens the Brothers show. Also on the bill are Relax, It’s Science and headliner Lodgings. And the fine folks from B&G Tasty Foods will be on hand slinging their famous loose-meat sandwiches. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, the mighty Lupines headlines at The Sydney in Benson. Sean Pratt and the Sweats and The Morbs open. $5, 9 p.m.

Slowdown Jr. Saturday night has Conny Franko (M34n Str33t), CJ Mills, Haunted Gauntlet and headliner The Regulation celebrating an album release. $5, 9 p.m.

That’s not all. Joining Edison & the Elephant and Satellite Junction at O’Leaver’s is Big Wheel, a rock band that features Jason Churchill and Kevin Hiddleston, two of the most notorious sound engineers in the city. Believe me, if you go to shows, you’ve seen these dudes twirling the knobs. $5, 9:30 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend…

* * *

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.


Yet another festival announced (and it’s fabulous); Cursive gets its own beer…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:21 pm August 30, 2016
The new beer by Zipline with the essence of Cursive in every bottle...

The new beer by Zipline with the essence of Cursive in every bottle…

by Tim McMahan,

And you thought Maha was the end of Omaha’s festival season. Tsk-tsk…

Yesterday a three-day festival was announced that will have everyone talking…. or drinking. Of course I’m talking about O’Leaversfest Sept. 23-25 at fabulous O’Leaver’s.

Among the festival’s highlights are performances by Cursive, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and Saddle Creek band Flowers Forever. Fronted by Derek Pressnall of Tilly and the Wall and Icky Blossoms, Flowers Forever hasn’t played live in a long time (years?). Is this a reunion or the start of FF’s second act? Find out on Sept. 23.

Actually, beyond just being three nights (okay, one night and two afternoons) of music, there’s nothing very festival-y about O’Leaversfest.

And actually, there are two more festivals coming up. You’ve got Femme Fest in Benson this Friday night. I’ll write more about that later this week.

And then there’s Lincoln Calling Oct. 6-8. The LC website is now live at A couple weeks ago LC announced Eros & the Eschaton, Yes You Are and The Lawrence Arms’ Brendan Kelly have been added to the line-up. And while the website now lists who is playing where and on which day, the actual set times won’t be announced until Thursday — this is important for those of us who will be driving from Omaha to see these shows.

This is the first year that Hear Nebraska is producing Lincoln Calling. HN also is involved in Beer Nebraska this year. The fund-raising event (proceeds going to HN), which takes place at Zipline Brewing Company in Lincoln Sept. 24, features performances by Cursive, Criteria, Universe Contest, Better Friend, as well as a Columbia vs Challenge reunion.

And as part of Beer Nebraska, Zipline is producing a special brew called Hoppy Hollow, which apparently tastes exactly like Cursive. Actually, according to HN, “Bursting and blooming with hop aroma and flavor, this session ale is an homage to Cursive’s album Happy Hollow, which was released 10 years ago this month.” Same great taste… Ticket and program info here

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Pro-Magnum 7-inch (out Aug. 18); Clarence Tilton’s Craig Meier joins Hear Nebraska; Those Far Out Arrows christen the (new) Scriptown stage…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:56 pm August 11, 2016

by Tim McMahan,

Pro-Magnum, Desinfectar b/w Black Iron Tongue

Pro-Magnum, Desinfectar b/w Black Iron Tongue

Music kingpin Johnny Vredenburg, frontman of indie metal act Pro-Magnum, says his band will be releasing a new 7-inch, “Desinfectar” b/w “Black Iron Tongue” at their August 18 O’Leaver’s show. “It was recorded in the fall of 2015 by Ben Brodin at ARC studios,” Vredenburg said. “We’ve been sitting on these for a little longer than anticipated. We sent them off to the pressing plant right around Record Store Day, so, of course, the big dogs slow-up the pressing of smaller runs like ours.”

The tracks also became available today on Bandcamp (but they’re going to sound a whole lot better when you hear them on vinyl). Both songs are very much bad-ass. If you like classic devil-horn metal bolted down by a massive rhythm section you’re going to dig these tracks.

In addition to Vredenburg on bass and vocals, Pro-Magnum includes guitarist John Laughlin (Montee Men), guitarist Alex Kinner (Bib, Borealis) and legendary drummer Pat Oakes (Ladyfinger). That Aug. 18 show will also feature Des Moines band Druids and locals Super Moon.

* * *

Ever notice some local non-profit Board of Directors are a mystery? Who runs these organizations? There’s no mystery with Hear Nebraska. Talk about your transparency, they have their entire Board of Directors listed right there in black and white on their website, so you always know who to love (or who to blame).

I mention this because the HN Board just welcomed a new member — Craig Meier, who you may recognize from the alt-country band Clarence Tilton. Meier also just happens to be the CEO of Medical Solutions. Craig isn’t the only new face on the board. Within the past year, Hear Nebraska welcomed new board members Kristine Hull (who’s also the CFO at Heartland Family Services) and Nic Swiercek (a director at Nebraska Appleseed).

With these additions, HN Board is now a massive 9-member rock ‘n’ roll monstrosity (of which I’ve been a member since its birth, what seems like 40 years ago). Find out more about what HN is and does (things like The Good Living Tour and the upcoming Lincoln Calling Festival) right here.

* * *

One show on the roster tonight: Those Far Out Arrows play at Scriptown Brewing Company in the Blackstone District. If my memory serves, this will be the first show hosted at the brew pub. And in addition to great music, the pub is taking $1 off pints from 8 to 11 p.m. Music starts at 8 and it’s free.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Cursive, Criteria headline HN Lincoln fundraiser; See Through Dresses summer tour; Navy Gangs tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:10 pm July 19, 2016
Navy Gangs plays tonight at Milk Run.

Navy Gangs plays tonight at Milk Run.

by Tim McMahan,

If Lincoln Calling and the second year of the Good Living Tour (which kicks off this Thursday in the mighty town of Ord, Nebraska) weren’t enough, Hear Nebraska yesterday announced a mega-fundraiser Sept. 24 in Lincoln. They’re calling it Beer Nebraska — five bands and five breweries. And what bands: Cursive, Criteria, Universe Contest, Better Friend and a reunion of Lincoln band Columbia Vs Challenger. The concert takes place all afternoon in the parking lot of Zipline Brewery in Lincoln at 2100 Magnum Cir #1. Tickets are $30 and include entrance fee and three samples per brewery.

* * *

Tiny Engines, the imprint that releases music by Omaha’s own See Through Dresses, announced that the band is hitting the road on its summer tour starting July 26 at Lincoln’s Vega when they open for Soul Asylum. Afterward it’s off to Hastings for a stop on the Good Living Tour and then a couple dates with Little Brazil in Kansas. After that, STD will be driving along the East Coast, eventually winding up back in Omaha Aug. 20 for a performance at Maha Music Festival.

The band continues to support their 2015 Tiny Engines debut, End of Days, but has begun recording the follow-up, which is slated for release next spring.

* * *

Speaking of the East Coast, Brooklyn band (with Omaha connections) Navy Gangs plays tonight at Milk Run. Hear Nebraska has an interview with the band right here. Opening is Staffers, Vegetable Deluxe and Lush Bruise Crew. $7, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Omaha Gives (to Hear Nebraska); Live @ O’Leaver’s data disaster explained; Peach Kelli Pop tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:50 pm May 25, 2016
Peach Kelli Pop plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

Peach Kelli Pop plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

Omaha readers already know that it would be a good idea to stay away from social media today, as all channels are being flooded with Omaha Gives solicitations.

Every year for one day every non profit in Omaha comes to Facebook and Twitter with hand in hat begging for cash to get them through the year. Fact is Omaha Gives is an effective way for them to raise money. Look, would you rather have someone asking for donations just once a year or all year long?

My advice: Jot down your list of favorite charities, bite the bullet and make your donations. Then step away from the chatter for the rest of the day. Kind of like turning off NPR during their semi-annual fund drives (after you’ve made your pledge, of course).

That said, if you’re a music fan and you’re looking for a good 501(c)(3) organization to give to, you’d be hard pressed to find a better organization than Hear Nebraska. I say this not only because I’m a founding board member of HN, but because no other non-profit does more for local music than Hear Nebraska.

HN’s sole purpose is to promote Nebraska bands and music. That’s it. If you’re in a band, consider HN your personal PR agency. It’s there to help you get people to come to your shows and buy your music. It does this through — a website that covers local bands and musicians with in-depth feature articles, interviews, videos and photos taken at performances (lots of them). The site also has the most comprehensive gig calendar for Omaha and Lincoln you can find anywhere online. HN also organizes a shit-load of programming featuring Nebraska bands all year long throughout the state.

Has Hear Nebraska ever:

— written about your band?
— covered one of your shows?
— posted photos from one of your gigs?
— promoted your upcoming concert on its calendar?
— booked your band to play one of its many programming events?

Or have you ever gone to an event sponsored by, organized by — or that you heard about from — Hear Nebraska?

Then, come on, take a second and click this link and donate to Hear Nebraska during Omaha Gives. Minimum donation is $10 — less than the price of a single movie ticket. That donation will help HN continue to promote Nebraska bands and musicians.

Do it.

* * *

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.49.13 PM
This morning Live @ O’Leavers announced via Facebook the reason why they haven’t released any new live recordings lately. The reason:

“...during an electrical storm, we happened to lose both our main and backup drives which we thought were safe as they were stored at separate locations. This means nearly everything from July to February has been lost.”

Well, not lost entirely. The data still may exists, but it’ll cost just north of $900 for a data recovery outfit to try to get the sessions back.

Among those lost sessions are live recordings of performances from Cursive, Beach Slang, Lithuania, Mike Schlesinger, Bib, Bus Gas, So So Sailors, All Dogs, Whispertown, The Subtropics, Wet Nurse, The Ridgeways, Super Moon, The Vahnevants, Brilliant Beast, Bellum Boca, Sucettes, Lithuania, Ex-Breathers, Boytoy, Eagle Seagull, Megafauna, Lineman’s Rodeo, Sean Pratt and The Sweats, Sharkmuffin, The Olympics, Tara Vaughan, MXMW, Ecstatic Vision, Pleiades and the Bear, The Sunks, Hag, Ocean Black and a ton more. As many as 85 sessions.

That’s a massive chunk of live recordings. O’Leaver’s doesn’t charge listeners for the service, so there ain’t no money to pay for the data recovery. What money they do have to invest in the Live @ O’Leaver’s project has gone toward making sure this kind of massive data crash never happens again.

“We have a better redundancy system in place now; multiple backups of each session spread across five drives placed in multiple locations and a cloud backup of the entire shebang. All told, we have over 11 terabytes of data since the February restart,” said Ian Aeillo, who does all the work surrounding Live @ O’Leaver’s.

Ian says new sessions could begin going online next week, hopefully. To whet your appetite, Ian posted the following recording from local super group Healer, recorded last October before the troubles, appropriately titled “Rainy Day Song.”

* * *

Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s Peach Kelli Pop. Read my 10 Questions interview with frontwoman Allie Hanlon from yesterday. Should be a high-energy show. Opening is The Way Out. $8, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Maha announces it will announce line-up; Good Living Tour 2016 dates/cities; Foxtails Brigade tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm April 4, 2016

by Tim McMahan,

Tickets for this year's Maha Festival go on sale Friday.

Tickets for this year’s Maha Festival go on sale Friday.

The folks behind the Maha Music Festival announced that tickets go on sale for this year’s festival (to be held  Aug. 20 once again at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village) this Friday. Prices are $55 general admission $185 VIP — that’s mere $5 increase in GA tickets — talk about holding the line on prices, but at that price point, don’t expect a mega-band like Arcade Fire or Beck to be on this year’s  line-up.

Speaking of which, Maha will announce this year’s festival lineup April 21 at a big shindig at Reverb Lounge. The announcement party, which starts at 6 p.m., is free and open to the public. Of course if you can’t make it to the party, you’ll hear the line-up via all the usual social media channels (and I’ll make my comments about it on Lazy-i the next day).

Who do you think Maha will get this year? Wish I could give you a hint, but I’m completely out of the Maha loop these days. But if I were to venture a guess, I’d first look at who was hot in 2015: Father John Misty, Courtney Barnett, Grimes, Joanna Newsom, Kamasi Washington, Deerhunter, Alabama Shakes, Beach House, Chvches, and yeah, Wilco, are all on my “guess list,” along with at least one big name Saddle Creek or local artist, such as Conor Oberst (or one of his projects), Mynabirds, Matthew Sweet or Hop Along. God, I just hope it isn’t Black Keys…

* * *

Good Living Tour 2016

Good Living Tour 2016

Hear Nebraska today announces its 2016 Good Living Tour, which has been expanded to 12 cities throughout our great state. Each town will enjoy a free, all-ages concert featuring a diverse mix of all-original Nebraska bands. The 2016 tour stops are:

Thursday, July 21: Ord
Friday, July 22: Kearney
Saturday, July 23: Grand Island
Sunday, July 24: Red Cloud
Thursday, July 28: Hastings
Friday, July 29: Norfolk
Saturday, July 30: Lyons
Sunday, July 31: O’Neill
Thursday, Aug. 4: Grant
Friday, Aug. 5: Sidney
Saturday, Aug. 6: Imperial
Sunday, Aug. 7: McCook

That’s a grueling schedule. So which Nebraska bands are playing where? You’ll have to wait a couple weeks to find out…

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s San Francisco indie band Foxtails Brigade has the center slot. The band, fronted by Laura Weinbach, includes musicians who have played with Bright Eyes, Pinback and Van Dyke Parks. Omaha-based free improvisation/noise quartet Misers is the headliner.  Chemicals opens. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Hear Nebraska gets new offices, spreads to Grand Island; Alexa Dexa, Lazyeyes, Anna McClellan tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:55 pm March 23, 2016
Hear Nebraska presents Hear Grand Island

Hear Nebraska presents Hear Grand Island

by Tim McMahan,

Three big chunks of Hear Nebraska news:

First, last night Hear Nebraska major domo Andy Norman was honored with the Emerging Leader Award at the Governor’s Arts Awards. I did not go to the ceremony but assume that Andy was wearing a tux. I wonder if Rickets understood when he saw Andy on stage that he was looking at his eventual replacement in the state capitol?

Secondly, Hear Nebraska has moved from its Benson offices (i.e., Mueller Studios) to new digs in the Slowdown Complex. To be more precise, Hear Nebraska is now officed in the space that used to be the offices of Saddle Creek Records. The Saddle Creek staff moved their offices down to their warehouse a few months ago. HN doesn’t rule the entire top floor, as the offices are actually a coop/shared space, but still…

And finally, Hear Nebraska Monday announced it’s putting together a 10-week summer concert series in Grand Island that runs June 24-Aug. 26. Called “Hear Grand Island,” the concerts will be held each Friday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. at Railside Plaza in downtown GI. The concerts will feature multiple Nebraska musical acts.

Sayeth Norman: “Everyday, amazing national bands drive right right past Grand Island en route to and from Denver, Kansas City, Des Moines, Chicago and Lincoln/Omaha. We believe Hear Grand Island is an important step toward developing Grand Island’s music community and industry, so we can start getting more and more of those bands — and others — to play concerts in the city.

Hear Nebraska just keeps on growing and growing and growing…

A message to musicians and bands: Remember, Hear Nebraska is there for you. A big part of its mission is to “develop and provide exposure for Nebraska’s music, arts and creative industry.” That means you. HN is there to help get your music heard. Take advantage of it. They’ll love you for it.

* * *

Reminder that tonight is that free Alexa Dexa concert that I wrote about yesterday. It’s an early show at House of Loom — 7:30 p.m. You should go.

Also tonight, the band that comes closest to this website’s name, Lazyeyes, plays at Milk Run. The NYC-based garage band plays shimmering, feedback drenched shoegaze. Cassette label Wiener Records (owned/operated by Burger Records) just rereleased their EP. Listen to the sweet, sweet tracks below. Opening is uber talented Anna McClellan and Brooklyn band Beverly. Bokr Tov opens a 9 p.m.  This is a big show for the little club that Chris and Sam built. $10.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Random Notes: Hear Nebraska takes over Lincoln Calling; Femme Fest talent call; new Big Thief track; Lemonade, Dumb Beach tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:37 pm March 8, 2016
Hear Nebraska is now producing Lincoln Calling.

Hear Nebraska is now producing Lincoln Calling.

by Tim McMahan,

Catching up on some old news…

Hear Nebraska announced yesterday that it is taking over the annual Lincoln Calling music festival, which this year runs from Oct. 6-8 (They wisely cut the festival to just three days) in venues throughout downtown Lincoln.

Full disclosure, I’m on the board of Hear Nebraska. When HN Executive Director Andrew Norman brought up the idea, it made perfect sense. LC fits nicely in HN’s mission to develop and provide exposure for Nebraska’s music, arts and creative industry.

LC founder Jeremy Buckley will still be involved with the event, which will be celebrating its 13th anniversary this year. Says Norman, “Buckley will be in charge of identifying and booking bands, as well as coordinating with some venues and many other planning and logistical elements. HN’s involvement involves budget, relationships and systems (for ticketing and otherwise) building, promotion and lots of logistical/production responsibilities.

LC has proudly done what only a few local festivals do — it pays the bands that perform. That tradition will continue under Hear Nebraska’s direction.

* *
Another festival getting organized for 2016 is the second annual Femme Fest.

Organized by Rebecca Lowry of the band All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, and promoter Emily Cox, the festival, which highlights female talent in Nebraska, takes place Sept. 2 in venues throughout Benson (in conjunction with Benson First Friday).

There’s currently a call for participants under way. The requirement: The band/artist must have one woman actively participating in the submitted project. And like Lincoln Calling “You will be compensated again this year dependent on the response of the people, as you were last year” — i.e. bands will get paid, though they’ll have to negotiate that pay with organizers.

Submissions are being taken until April 2 via email at Find out more here.

Suck part about Femme Fest (for me, anyway) — it takes place the first weekend of September, which (if that continues) pretty much guarantees I’ll never attend because that date coincides with my annual anniversary trip to New York City. Boo!

* * *

Saddle Creek Records’ latest roster addition, Big Thief, just dropped another track from their forthcoming Creek debut, Masterpiece. Listen below. Creek is taking pre-orders for the LP, which is scheduled to drop May 27.

* * *

Tonight at Milk Run Minneapolis band Lemonade headlines with Dumb Beach, Sophie Hug & the Kisses and Jocko. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Take Cover 5’s line-up has some interesting combinations (High Up takes on Digital Leather?)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:59 pm January 28, 2016
The 5th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska is Saturday at O'Leaver's.

The 5th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska is Saturday at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Gotta wonder how fabulous O’Leaver’s is going to handle the crowds Saturday night for Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover Pt. 5. I mean, if all the bands performing were to show up at once the club would be at capacity. Where are the fans gonna sit?

The premise every year for Take Cover is the same: A local band covers another local band and also plays a song of their own. This year’s line-up, which was announced Tuesday, has a number of interesting match-ups:

— High Up is covering Digital Leather’s “Studs in Love.” The song has been covered by others (most notably The Hussy on last year’s DL/Hussy split), but High Up will undoubtedly bring something unique to their rendition.

— CJ Mills is covering High Up’s “Two Weeks,” my personal favorite High Up song and one that will demand an insane level of energy for Mills to pull off.

— Well Aimed Arrows is covering Millions of Boys’ “Girl’s Name.” Like a sonic Reese’s peanut butter cup, two of my favorites together in one tasty treat. How will WAA strip this one down to its bare essentials?

— Mint Wad Willy is covering Digital Leather’s “Young Doctors in Love.” Can a band who has more in common with Wilco pull off this post-punk-style gem from a few years back? Digital Leather appears to be the favorite for covers this year, and deservedly so. It’s a shame they’re not covering someone themselves…

— Eric in Outerspace is covering Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship’s “Wrecking Ball Girl.” This one seems like an obvious combination stylistically, though EiO could make the tune sound even grittier.

There’s more, lot’s more. Check out the lineup at Hear Nebraska. Again, the show is Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. Admission is a $10 donation at the door. The fun starts at 9 p.m. See you there.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Sweatshop’s back (sort of); HN’s ‘How to Get Covered’ overtime; The Renderers, Vegetable Deluxe tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:54 pm September 29, 2015
The Renderers are playing tonight at fabulous O'Leaver's.

The Renderers are playing tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

When The Sweatshop announced it was closing its doors, I was told that a new owner was taking over the venue who had no interest in continuing the gallery’s live performances that were held in the garage out back.

Whoever told me that was wrong.

Last week the folks who run Petshop, the gallery right next door to Sweatshop at 2725 N 62nd Street, announced that “Starting Oct. 1, the Sweatshop space at 2727 will become one with the Petshop space at 2725, all under the name Petshop.”

In addition, the newly merged gallery will continue to book live music. From the Petshop statement:

“Although the well-associated name Sweatshop will be leaving, Petshop will continue to honor the name’s legacy and role in the local and national music and art scenes.  Local musician and artist, Nick Holden will be taking over the music calendar for Petshop, with plans to curate shows for the space.  Expect the return of live music to the space starting on Benson First Friday Nov. 6.  Details TBA. For booking inquiries, please email

“Sam Parker and partner Chris Aponick, of Perpetual Nerves, have also been long-time contributors on the music side of the space, most notably for their role in organizing Sweatfest (July 2015).  They will continue to book music for the space, working through Holden.”

Aponick confirmed the above. It’s great news as Sweatshop has become a go-to venue for all-ages “house show”-type indie and punk shows featuring notable national touring bands.

* * *

A week or so ago, Andrew Stellmon of Hear Nebraska reached out via email asking for an interview on the topic of what bands and musicians need to do to get covered in the press. The article went online last Thursday and includes comments from Kevin Coffey of the Omaha World-Herald, Caroline Borolla of press agent Riot Act Media and local music manager Emily Engles, who in addition to managing Rock Paper Dynamite and Matt Cox (among others) also is the President of the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards Board of Directors.

Check out the story here. It became pretty obvious after reading the story and seeing who else was interviewed that I blew the assignment. I thought the article was targeting bands trying to get national press, not local bands trying to get local press — in that instance, everything will work, from press releases to sending Soundcloud links, etc.

Anyway, as result, a lot of (actually most) of what I sent Stellmon didn’t make it into the article, but being a completest and because I hate seeing anything I’ve written go unread, here are the comments I sent Stellmon, for the record:

Q: Why is it important for the press and musicians/bands to understand their relationship with each other?

Lazy-i: Not sure I understand the question. I’m not sure it is important from the standpoint of a musician as an artist or the standpoint of a journalist trying to get a story. The way they act toward each other is how they define their relationship.

Q: For an aspiring musician/band, what comprises an effective approach to seeking coverage?

Lazy-i: Depends on what the musician/band is trying to accomplish. If the goal is to create art, the musician will continue to create art regardless of the coverage s/he receives. If you believe in your music — and you’re making quality music — the press will find you.

Q: When approaching a media outlet for coverage, especially by email, what are three things that a band should include in its communication? Alternatively, if you receive communication from a band seeking coverage, what three things do you look for in an email, etc?

Lazy-i: The answers to both questions are likely the same. I don’t have time to listen to all the Soundcloud/Bandcamp links that I receive via email. However, if the band sends me a complete download of their recording, I’m more apt to listen to it because I can add it to my iTunes for listening wherever I’m at. If the band sends me a CD in the mail, I’m even more likely to listen to it; and if they send me a vinyl copy of their record I feel almost obligated to listen to it and comment.

These days time permits me to only listen to submissions from local bands I’m already familiar with or national bands that are either signed to a known label or are associated with a band that’s I’ve heard of or is signed to a known label. If I’ve never heard of the band or its label, the odds of me listening to or even finishing reading their email is remote.

An exception is made for touring bands that are playing at venues that I like or respect and that book the style of music I listen to. Clubs like The Waiting Room, Reverb, Slowdown, O’Leaver’s, MAS, Sweatshop (now defunct) are prime examples. I’m apt to listen to the music just to see if it’s something I might want to cover.

Q: Is there anything else you would add?

Lazy-i: On one hand, technology has made it easy and cheap for bands to record and distribute their music. On the other hand, because almost anyone can record their own music on a laptop and upload it to a website, there literally are thousands of people trying to get their music heard and written about. That glut of online music is making it nearly impossible for bands to get their music heard beyond their circle of friends and family. Just like it’s always been, the only way to break through is by touring and live performances because no one has time to listen to all the anonymous music being uploaded to Soundcloud/Bandcamp/Youtube, especially in an era when all music is virtually free via Spotify/Apple Music.

That being said, because of the enormous glut of available music, the role of the music critic has never been more important. Sure, anyone can listen to anything online at any time virtually for free, but that doesn’t mean they have the TIME to listen to it. Critics help listeners decide what they should spend their time listening to.

An addendum to the above: Just this past weekend I discussed this very topic with a couple musicians who have toured nationally at some point in their careers, and they agreed that –despite the advent of technology — touring is the only effective way to get your music heard by an audience outside of your community. It’s common sense.

* * *

There’s another big show tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The Renderers will be in the house. The band from Christchurch, New Zealand, was formed in 1989 by Maryrose Crook and her husband Brian (of The Terminals). They have released records on Flying Nun Records, Merge Records, Ajax Records, Siltbreeze Records, among others. Simon Joyner has toured with The Renderers. As Joe Biden would say, this is a big fucking deal. Hopefully Ian will have the tapes rolling, as I’d love to see this band represented in Live at O’Leaver’s.  Headlining the show is a reunion of The Subtropics. Also on the bill is Vegetable Deluxe, a new project by ex-Brimstone Howl guitarist Nick Waggoner. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.