Live Review: Tears of Silver; Leggy, Those Far Out Arrows tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:48 pm October 3, 2017

Tears of Silver at Hi-Fi House, Oct. 2, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Going to Hi-Fi House is like going to a music church, a place where people seem to worship music as much as enjoy it. Everyone speaks in whispers for fear of annoying someone who is listening to whatever’s being played on the “big stereo.” In the case of the music being played before last night’s Tears of Silver show, the music was a grating art jazz album that sounded like 30 minutes of noodling. But the folks at Hi-Fi want to build an appreciation for jazz among the rock ’n’ roll masses. Instead, the bonk-bleep noise likely irritated an already frayed audience that had spent the day getting updates on the Las Vegas massacre and the dead/not dead status of Tom Petty.

So we all sat and politely listened to whatever awful jazz record someone had selected, quietly seated in the house’s long couches and ’70s-era padded chairs, no one talking above a hush. Finally, at about a quarter past 8, Tears of Silver came into room, which was set up perfectly for this sort of concert. The band is a four piece — three guitars and keyboards — and no drums. I don’t know how it would have worked with a drum set considering the room’s nearly silent acoustics.

Fronted by Posies’ Ken Stringfellow and Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue, the band played a set that included covers of songs by Neil Young, Flaming Lips and Al Kooper, as well as songs by the members’ respective bands: Posies, Mercury Rev and Midlake, closing the night with a Big Star cover. In fact, everything they sang sounded like a Big Star version of whatever they were covering — slow, soothing, very dreamy. Stringfellow and Donahue  continue to sport strong, gorgeous voices. Local vocalist Molly Welsh joined the band for a few songs, including two Stringfellow tunes from an “opera” he’s penned.

My personal highlight was hearing their cover of Pavement’s “Here,” which took on a mournful, melancholy air, certainly different than the slacker anthem Pavement fans are familiar with.

The room was at full capacity as in every seat was taken and a few members of the mostly older crowd sat on the floor. Hi-Fi House it’s a good venue for this kind of sit-down, focused performance; it was almost like being at a recital… or in a church.

* * *

I’m gonna miss Tom Petty. He’s one of those guys whose music felt like is always existed, and who I thought would always be around. It’ll be strange not having him in this world. Everyone’s talking about their favorite Petty album, mine is the overlooked Southern Accents album, certainly it’s the one I listened to most, having bought it on cassette the day it came out way back in 1985…

* * *

Cincinnati power trio Leggy plays tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. They’re a self-described “feminist trio who speak openly about consent, self-worth, sexuality and female empowerment.” They also rock like Hole meets L7 meets X.  Opening is dreamy Chicago clap-snap-pop band Varsity (think upbeat early Liz Phair). Our very own No Thanks starts it off at 9 p.m. $5.

Also tonight, Those Far Out Arrows returns to The Sydney in Benson. They’re headlining a show with a couple Kansas City garage bands bands — Arc Flash (actually, they’re from Lawrence but they’re on High Dive Records) and Drugs & Attics (Creep It Real Records). $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Tuning into Hi-Fi House (in the column); Tears of Silver tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm October 2, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight Hi-Fi House hosts Tears of Silver, an indie super group that includes members of Posies and Mercury Rev. I’m told by HFH owner Kate Dussault that seating is limited, so if you want to go, you need to RSVP at this site ASAP.

Speaking of Hi-Fi House, Dussault granted me an interview late last month for The Reader to explain what HFH is trying to do, how it works and where it’s headed. You can read it in the October issue of The Reader, online at The Reader website, right here, or… you can read it below.

There was tons of additional info that didn’t make it into the story, which I’ll share with you over the next couple days. Until then…

One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems.

Over the Edge: Tuning into Hi-Fi House
The hush-hush private music club finally goes public.

On the surface, it seems difficult to explain the concept behind Hi-Fi House, a private club that charges members anywhere from $75 to $1,000 a year for the privilege of playing its record collection on its stereo systems.

You might naturally say to yourself, “I could buy a whole bunch of records for $1,000 that I could play whenever I want to in the privacy of my own home,” but you’d be missing the point.

The club, located at 3724 Farnam St. in the Blackstone District, has been operating privately for more than a year. I first stepped foot in Hi-Fi House last year during a Record Store Day event where the public was allowed a sneak peek.  The facility is first class all the way — a huge open, carpeted space with comfortable furniture arranged in circles throughout, centered around stereo equipment set-ups, including one I was told cost $80,000.

Behind the big room is a couple smaller rooms. Inside the first is Hi-Fi House’s massive album collection — more than 10,000 vinyl records. A glance at the titles indicates the music touches all genres, with issue dates ranging from the 1940s to present. Some of albums look unplayed and are still sealed. On display are a number of interesting music-related items, like a Patti Smith edition of a Pono Music Player — something I’d never seen in real life.

On the afternoon of that sneak peek, local bands performed in the space, including an early incarnation of the progressive jazz combo Chemicals. A small crowd watched the performance while enjoying beer and wine served at a bar near the club’s front door.

For reasons I never understood, Hi-Fi House was hush-hush back then. At the time, owner/operator Kate Dussault wouldn’t give me an interview on the record, though the club had been operating for months, including offering special music programming for children.

Well, the cloak of secrecy finally was lifted from Hi-Fi House last month when the organization launched a website — www.hifi.house — and began actively soliciting memberships. Dussault, now on the record, explained why the club operated in secrecy for so long.

“One reason was that we really wanted to experiment with all the programming,” she said, seated at one of the club’s large tables alongside Hi-Fi House General Manager (a title made up on the spot) Jon Ochsner while that $80,000 stereo system quietly played some funky jazz sides.

“The other reason was to really let the music community have the space pretty much to themselves for a period of time. We were able to have a lot of conversations with local artists and people who work in the industry to find out how we could best live in this community and serve it.”

In a nutshell, Dussault said, Hi-Fi House was built “so musicians could have their own private club. We’re offering a place where they can communicate with each other.”

She said musicians often don’t have time to chat when they’re at venues performing, “but when they come over here, they can really sit down, share music and listen to music together, and a lot of them really love that experience.”

Think of it like The Omaha Press Club, but instead of focusing on journalism and public relations, Hi-Fi House focuses on music. Fees start at $75 a year for a “lab membership” that allows access to Hi-Fi House during daytime hours. In the evenings, Hi-Fi House turns into a private club whose membership fees (which cover one person and a significant other) range from $300 a year for musicians to $600 a year for members of “the industry” — a broad category that includes any career that touches music, from journalists to studio employees to club owners to people involved with music-related nonprofits.

Finally, there’s the general public membership at a cost of $1,000 per year. Dussault doesn’t sound like she expects to sell many of those, but with the venue’s capacity rated at only 125, she doesn’t want to oversell memberships, anyway. She said she’s already sold a few hundred memberships, with all the money received channeled back into covering facility costs, which include constantly buying new records for the club’s ever-growing collection.

In addition to access to that collection, members are invited to attend special night-time programming that includes exclusive album listening parties, chats with artists and industry professionals, and intimate performances, such as a private concert last year by The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson.

With its heavy music education focus, you’d assume Hi-Fi House would consider becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity, but Dussault wants to steer clear from that for now. “The truth is most nonprofits have to scrap and re-raise their operating money every year,” she said. “It’s difficult, and they are at the whims of, in some cases, the same very few people who are supporting everything else. It doesn’t give you a chance to break out and invite new people to the party.”

So sure is she of the Hi-Fi House concept, she’s already planning to expand to other cities. After spending the next three months working alongside Ochsner, Dussault will move to New York City where she’ll spend three months with lawyers and other associates to review expansion plans.

“We’ll be solidifying New York, and then I’ll be traveling to Boston and other nearby cities,” she said, adding that there’s already “movement” for clubs in Denver, Des Moines and Chicago. “We’re talking to people in San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Portland and Seattle, as well as five different Los Angeles locations.”

Surely Dussault must be a wealthy woman to make all of this happen. She just laughs at the suggestion.

“This is a labor of love,” she said. “I work two full-time jobs while I do this. I have a medical house-call company in New York that I spend a good six hours on a day on and I do some work for a music supervision firm in New York. If I weren’t doing those things, we wouldn’t be alive.

“Everything doesn’t have to be a nonprofit,” she added. “Some people have to take their own money and get out there and gamble it on making changes. I’m willing to live or die based on what I can deliver these people, and whether they’re happy with the experience.”

First published in the October 2017 issue of The Reader. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved. Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts.

* * *

The doors open at Hi-Fi House at 7 p.m. for tonight’s Tears of Silver show. Showtime is 7:45 p.m. Admission is free with RSVP. And if you haven’t already, check out the Ten Questions Q&A with Tears of Silver’s Ken Stringfellow and Grasshopper right here.

Also tonight, singer/songwriter Todd Grant will be playing tonight at Barley Street Tavern with Michael Treinhail. Showtime is 10:30 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Ten Questions with Tears of Silver’s Ken Stringfellow and Grasshopper (@Hi-FI House Oct. 2); Lincoln Calling starts tonight…

Tears of Silver play at Hi-Fi House Monday, Oct. 2. Photo by Greg Dohler.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tears of Silver is an indie supergroup that truly lives up to that designation. It consists of Posies’ founding member Ken Stringfellow, who’s also played in Big Star and R.E.M., along with three members of Mercury Rev — Sean “Grasshopper,” Jonathan Donahue (Flaming Lips) and Jesse Chandler (Midlake).

The band is touring America playing “unconventional venues,” which are announced 48 hours prior to each gig. Think of it as a “secret show” tour. Omaha’s hidden venue is at the not-so-secret Hi Fi House Monday, Oct. 2.

According to the Tears of Silver website (where you can acquire access) “The evening will be a chance to enjoy the modern classics from each artist’s long history as well as some new music they have created for the occasion (and certainly cover songs beloved to them repurposed and retooled for this tour). This is the first time Mercury Rev’s music has been performed in many parts of America for nearly a decade.”

Below, my Ten Questions with Ken Stringfellow and Sean “Grasshopper”:

1. What is your favorite album?

Ken Stringfellow: I’m too curious to really return to a reliable favorite. I’m always hoping to hear something unexpected and refreshing. Also, at any one moment I have something I’ve recently worked on that I’m proud of and I definitely give a few victory lap listens. This week, it’s the Supercalifragile album by Game Theory I produced. How can I summarize… Game Theory was a wonderful, brainy, exuberant band from the 80s… one of the classic ‘college radio’ bands. I was a fan then, and over the years befriended the band’s mastermind, Scott Miller. He had contacted me about rebooting the band after nearly 20 years, but unfortunately took his own life before this album could be completed. It was up to me to see it through; some songs were partially completed that I was able to finish up and mix; other songs were just fragments of ideas on various hard drives/phones and needed to be finished from the composition to the final mix… to this end I gathered some of his close friends and colleagues that he’d already hoped would have been involved in the album — Aimee Mann, Will Sheff, etc… and we delivered what I think is a stunning album, very true to Scott’s intentions as best as we could know them. It’s out now: https://gametheory1.bandcamp.com/

2. What is your least favorite song?

I woke up today thinking about “Holding Out for A Hero.” It makes zero sense. It’s so typical that this song was written by men, and humiliating that a woman had to sing these preposterous words, that bear no resemblance to anything that I can see in the reality of human relationships.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Time away from them! If it’s my long time band. I mean, it’s also lovely what a band and its music can mean to people over time. Being that we are celebrating the Posies’ 30th anniversary next year… it’s lovely to have a community that shares the appreciation for the years of work and the results of the music.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

I don’t think I hate anything about being in a band, temporary (like this assembly for this tour)  or long term (like the Posies). The Posies has been, for example a motivating factor in making me work out issues with my bandmates. If we didn’t have a legacy to uphold, I might have ended these friendships. So, in the short term, I hated being stuck with someone with whom I was having a conflict, but ultimately, it made me work to resolve it rather than abandon the relationship.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

I basically have beatlemania for fresh figs. I’m quite passionate about wine, too, and have a pretty decent cellar in Seattle, and another one in Paris, another in… etc.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Well, Seattle is always special, it’s ‘home’ in many ways, still. I have to say, tho, that there are places that have adopted me, too … I feel very ‘home’ when I play in Helsinki, or Barcelona… my shows in and around Barcelona are pretty amazing, in terms of the audience’s openness and love. And then all the stuff around it — the sunshine, the wonderful food and wine, the Mediterranean… and these relationships just keep growing with the years… the more good experiences I have with an audience, the better the *next* show is likely to be… it’s about building trust and good experiences.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Hmmm. Have to  be careful here! I had a pretty weird show in Hamburg, years ago, before I really perfected the art of managing being onstage alone. The club was scuzzy, the audience small, and I was insecure, and let that take over. I couldn’t really complete the show, I started to think nobody there cared etc…  it was awful. No fault of Hamburg, had plenty of great shows there since. It was just where I was at at that point in my life and in my learning curve about being a solo artist.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

I like to say I have been unemployed since 1989. I am loathe to think of what I do as a ‘job.’ It’s really more a continuing flow of miracles, and there’s always enough money to get what I need in life. I basically took a leap of faith at that moment in 1989, when I was 20, to not have a job per se. I starved, until I didn’t. What was important was that I retooled my focus on making my music and my communication the best it could be. It’s still how I think.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Well, I was very interested in natural sciences; I could have been a biologist, perhaps. I am quite squeamish about human blood and tendons so pretty sure orthopedic surgeon would be hell on earth.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Well, there’s that whole menage-a-trois thing that Warren Buffet had going, right? it’s pretty fascinating, and I’m sure there are many more tales that all locals know, but… I had to hand it to them for being so open about it. I know, I know, billionaire, so people will say yes to whatever, but … it *sounds* like there was much respect and openness to let that situation be what it was. You tell me!

From Grasshopper:

What is your favorite album?

Grasshopper: Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain

2. What is your least favorite song?

“The Farmer In The Dell”

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

The smell of gasoline exhaust in the morning.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

The smell of gasoline exhaust in the evening.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Emeralds.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Poughkeepsie

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

In Las Vegas, Nevada, because I’ve never played a gig there.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

I’ve generally been able to support myself through music for 20 years. When times are good I’ve fed the ponies, during tough times, they have given back…

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I would love to be a jockey. I have the height, but I don’t think I could make the weight. I’d hate to be a proctologist.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Tom Waits – “A Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis.” The song’s protagonist mentions, in regard to Omaha:  “Everyone I used to know is either dead or in prison”

Tears of Silver are playing Monday, Oct. 2, at Hi-Fi House, 3724 Farnam St. To attend, go to https://tearsofsilveromaha.eventbrite.com. Show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, go to www.tearsofsilver.space.

* * *

It’s night one of Lincoln Calling. Day passes are $29 for Thursday and $34 for Friday and Saturday (per day). Three-day passes are $59 (plus $8 fees). Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Bourbon Theater
Best Coast
Cayetana
Twinsmith

Duffy’s Outdoor
Palehound
Wand
Post Animal
Acid Dad
Matt Stansberry & the Romance
Salt Creek

Zoo Bar
Mount Moriah
Ian Sweet
McCarthy Trenching
The Artichoke Hearts

Bodega’s Alley
Malcolm London
R.O.E.
M Shah
HAKIM
Maddog & the 20/20’s
Stathi

The Bay
Frankie Cosmos
Navy Gangs
Thick Paint
Sean Pratt

1867
Street Sects
Cult Play
Crease
Darren Keen
Low Long Signal
Verse and the Vices
Bomb Earth

Night Market
Jens Lehman
Karmen Delancey
Indigenous AK
Bach Mai
Orion Walsh

Also tonight, The Melvins return to The Waiting Room. Spotlights opens. $20, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Hi-Fi House goes public; Thick Paint, Sean Pratt/Sweats tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm September 14, 2017

Chemicals performing at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016. HFH “went public” yesterday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yesterday Hi-Fi House launched its official website, or as Kate Dussault who runs the place said on Facebook: “We’re public now.”

Hi-Fi House has been operating on the down-low for over a year. I first wrote about it in April 2016 (right here), when HFH had a sort of open house for Record Store Day. Four months later, the Omaha World-Herald‘s Mike Kelly did a formal column about HFH (discussed here), which was sort of a coming out party, but still, details about the operations were tightly held.

Now HFH has stepped out of the shadows and began actively soliciting memberships via its website at http://www.hifi.house. On the website, HFH defines itself as “a social listening library where people gather to share their love of music” and lists details about its listening room, library, musicology, events and lab projects. I know it as a place people can go to listen to selections from its enormous vinyl collection on HFH’s multi-thousand-dollar sound system. It’s also a venue for live performances (recently, with a heavy jazz bent).

Memberships are listed as running between $300 and $1,000 annually. For actual costs and benefits, you have to contact them or drop by the space, which is located at 3724 Farnam St.

Is there more to say? Yes, but I’ll wait until I get a chance to interview Dussault on the record. In the meantime, check out the place during one of its upcoming events.

* * *

Speaking of events, there’s one just up the street from Hi-Fi House tonight at the Brothers Lounge. Thick Paint (back from the road) headlines a show that also features Sean Pratt and the Sweats and Jim Schroeder. No price listed (probably $5), starts at 10 p.m.

* * *

True story: Last night I had a dream that I was singing Husker Du songs to a high school concert band. This morning I woke to find Grant Hart had died. As one of his bandmate’s once sang, makes no sense at all…

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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OWH tries to uncover mystery of the Hi-Fi House (but some questions still go unanswered…)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:37 pm August 29, 2016
One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems. The house was the subject of a Mike Kelly column in the Sunday World-Herald.

One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems. The private club was the subject of a Mike Kelly column in the Sunday World-Herald.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yesterday the Omaha World-Herald got the exclusive interview with Kate Dussault about the mysterious Hi-Fi House on Farnam St. Columnist Mike Kelly wrote a lengthy piece that gave a broad overview of Hi-Fi and its services, though Kelly never really explained how it works — i.e., what exactly do members get for their membership fee, which runs from $300 per year for musicians to $1,000 per year for others —there was no breakdown of the different cost levels in the article. Many of the details — like how the house actually works — will likely come when their website gets updated (It’s live at www.hifi.house). and I’d love to get the answers via interview Kate as well.

The ultimate question that continues to bubble up after reading the column: Would you pay to be a member? What exactly do members receive? Time will tell, though I get the feeling that if Dussault pursues creating the country’s only vinyl archive (from the article: “There is no state-of-the-art, playable vinyl-record library anywhere,” she said, “and we have a chance to make Omaha home of the first.”), that 501(c)(3) status could be an eventuality, and that income would also come from sponsorships, grants and large donations. When asked how she’d fund the library in the article, “Kate Dussault smiles and says she has financial sources.” Mysterious!

Or maybe Hi-Fi won’t be a non-profit. What little is known about the model is similar to the Omaha Press Club (OPC), where working press paid one price for membership, “civilians” paid another, and so on. I remember when I was fresh out of UNO’s journalism school the OPC was considered a very exclusive thing. That’s where all the local reporters supposedly hung out. It felt elite. Of course I was never able to afford the membership fee, so I never felt comfortable going to events there, even when I was invited.

When I began freelance writing for downtown businesses — Union Pacific, ConAgra, Creighton, etc. — I learned that corporate memberships were what helped float OPC’s boat. Something changed with tax laws and membership fees no longer were considered business expenses (and tax deductible) and businesses quit paying their employees’ membership dues, and that impacted OPC.

Anyway…. OPC offered an exclusive place to meet for journalists (and corporate communicators); Hi-Fi House appears to offer a similar refuge for musicians? Though I wonder how many will be able to afford $300 a year when they no longer are making money from selling their recordings (Thanks, Internet) and are finding that rising costs are making touring difficult or impossible. Whenever I talk to bands they’re just trying to scratch together enough money for their next recording. I assume Hi-Fi will provide a lot of benefits for musicians that weren’t outlined in Kelly’s story.

To me, the concept of a national vinyl archive is interesting. While the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has extensive audio archives (check out the listing here), I’m not sure if it has a straight-forward vinyl collection. Hi-Fi could corner the market here, though they’d need more than a house, more like a massive Raiders of the Lost Ark-style warehouse to contain even a fraction of all the records that have been produced over the years, especially if their collection will be inclusive of all genres and not just rock. Very exciting.

To me, the performance and interview aspects of Hi Fi are the most enticing parts. I’ve heard nothing but accolades about the recent Tommy Stinson interview and performance.  No doubt Hi-Fi could have easily sold high-dollar tickets to that Stinson program. But instead, well, membership has its privileges.

Anyway, read Kelly’s write up here and also read my initial take on Hi-Fi house from this past April.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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About that Tommy Stinson event; Protomartyr, Channel Pressure tonight; Bummers Eve Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:01 am August 12, 2016
Protomartyr at 2014's South by Southwest Festival. The band plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

Protomartyr at 2014’s South by Southwest Festival. The band plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A brief comment about last night’s Tommy Stinson (of The Replacements) interview/performance at Hi-Fi House. Someone asked why I didn’t write about the event in Lazy-i yesterday. The reason: To my knowledge, the event wasn’t a “public event.” You had to be “invited” to attend. So writing about it would have been like presenting you with a shiny coin and then snatching it away at the last minute.

How does one get invited to Hi-Fi House events? I’m not sure. You can become a member of Hi-Fi House for an annual fee, which is applied on a sliding scale depending on if you’re a musician, a member of the local music industry, or a civilian. One assumes members are automatically invited to these kinds of events. I received an invitation, but was unable to attend due to a prior engagement.

I’m told that one of these days in the very near future I or some other member of the media will be granted an interview with the folks who run Hi-Fi House and explain their services and fees. Until then, the music clubhouse on Farnam remains a mystery, though you can always drop in and ask someone about how to get involved.

* * *

My above-mentioned “prior event” that kept me from Stinson was supposed to keep me in Chicago all weekend, but my plans changed overnight, which means I’ll be able to go to tonight’s Protomartyr show at Slowdown Jr. This is one of the highlight concerts of the summer, in my opinion. Here’s how I described their performance at South By Southwest a couple years ago:

“The Detroit-based punk band is fronted by a guy who looks like an insurance salesman, complete with a sensible haircut and full-on business attire, but who has a singing style akin to Husker-era Mould or The Fall’s Mark E. Smith. Deadpan anger, straight-faced disgust, like an upset father with a controlled rage and a back-up band that is pure Gang of Four post punk.” 

Their last album, The Agent Intellect (2015, Hardly Art) topped a lot of year-end best-of lists last year, and received a whopping 8.2 on the Pitchfork meter. Yeah, these guys are still pretty red hot. No Thanks and Shrinks opens. Show starts at 8 p.m., tickets are $12. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one sells out.

If it does, you can always go see Channel Pressure, a project featuring Todd Fink of The Faint and Graham Ulicny of Reptar (and The Faint), perform at House of Loom tonight. It’s part of a party they’re calling Flesh Danse, which also features DJ sets by members of The Faint. $5, 8 p.m.

Saturday night over at fabulous O’Leaver’s its Bummers Eve, described by writer Art Fin as “Simple, fun surf punk trio from Cincinnati with lots of reverb and distorted vocals that reminds me of Wavves, early Crocodiles, maybe Terry Malts and going back to one-chord wonders like the Ramones.” Check out “I Want Your Drugs” below. Also on the bill are The Sunks and Ridgeways. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Chemicals (and Hi-Fi House), Record Store Day recap; Rick Moranis tonight…

My Record Store Day 2016 haul...

My Record Store Day 2016 haul…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, another Record Store Day has come and gone and we’re all a little lighter in the wallet for it.

I purchased the majority of my booty down at Homer’s, which by early afternoon was still basking in the afterglow of the mob scene that it withstood earlier that day. Did I buy everything I wanted from the 2016 RSD collection? No, no. But I got what I needed. BTW, that Feelies recording is particularly sublime.

One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems.

One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems.

I hit Drastic Plastic next, then after my trip downtown I checked out the mysterious Hi-Fi House that was celebrating RSD with an open house of its own. Located at the old Joseph’s College of Beauty building at 3724 Farnam St., the facility is first class all the way — a huge open, carpeted space with comfortable furniture arranged in circles throughout, centered around stereo equipment set-ups, like what I was told was an $80,000 system (shown above).

Part of the Hi-Fi House's extensive vinyl library.

Part of the Hi-Fi House’s extensive vinyl library.

Behind the big room are a couple smaller ones. Inside the first is the Hi-Fi House’s album collection, or what I was told was merely a portion of the collection (which is spread out in locations around the country). A glance at the titles indicated that the music touches all genres. Some of it looked unplayed and was still sealed. There also were some interesting music-related items lying around, like a Patti Smith edition of a Pono Music Player — something I’ve never seen in real life.

Tucked further back in the building was the remnants of the Bomb Shelter Radio studio, which had been housed at Milk Run. One assumes the broadcasts will continue at Hi-Fi House. But I can’t tell you for sure as I still can’t get anyone from the organization to do an on-the-record interview. Hi-Fi House might be open but it’s still hush-hush, for now.

Chemicals at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016.

Chemicals at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016.

There was 20 or 30 people on hand at Hi-Fi House when Chemicals began its set. Of all the bands I’ve seen Dereck Higgins perform in since Digital Sex broke up, Chemicals was the most impressive. I don’t know much about jazz — or improvisational jazz for that matter — but I can still recognize great music played with fire and funk, and Chemicals was all of that. Higgins said during the set that the band was still in its development phase, but you couldn’t tell by Saturday’s performance.

The band includes guitarist Jacob Cubby Phillips and keyboardist Jake Reisdorff. Horns were provided by trumpeter Blake DeForest and the always amazing James Cuato on saxophone (and keyboards). But keeping it all together was gritty drummer John Evans crashing the beats with style and finesse, and of course Higgins himself at the center, one of Omaha’s greatest bassists holding it all together.

At first I wasn’t expecting much thanks to the long, unstructured noise collage that kicked things off, and then Evans cut through the clutter with a defined beat and Higgins dropped his bass line and we were on our way. This is modern, progressive rock jazz in the same vein as Kamasi Washington, progressive but tuneful and exciting, and well played. I’m sure there was a lot of improvisation going on, but there was no mistaking each song’s foundation and arrangement — this wasn’t random noodling. Can a recording be far behind? (Hey Hi-Fi House, why not put it out on vinyl?).

Hand Painted Police Car at Almost Music, April 16, 2016.

Hand Painted Police Car at Almost Music, April 16, 2016.

After Chemicals I strolled down to Almost Music and caught Hand Painted Police Car rip the paint off the walls while a crowd thumbed through the bins.

Then it was off cross-town to the new Recycled Sounds, sort of hidden on 76th St. across from Buffalo Wild Wings but tucked in behind a strip mall. It’s easy to miss, but you won’t want to miss it. Recycled moved from its old location in Lincoln and will become a regular stop for used vinyl (along with Almost Music). The releases are very well organized — by band by alpha — and there’s a ton of it. It’s where I found that Lloyd Cole 12-inch 4-song 45.

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge a handful of Omaha performers are getting together to celebrate the genius of Rick Moranis. Among them are Kait Berreckman, Michael Campbell, Castor, Vago, Doug Kabourek (who is the living embodiment of ’80s-era Rick Moranis) and Stephanie Krysl. Expect classic SCTV skits in the bar and the best of the best from past Canada Day events on The Reverb stage. $7, 8 p.m. Tell them Louis Tully a.k.a. The Keymaster sent you…

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Little Brazil, Clarence Tilton tonight; Record Store Day, Hi-Fi (Open) House Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:51 pm April 15, 2016
Record Store Day is Saturday, April 16.

Record Store Day is Saturday, April 16.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What’s the worst thing that can happen when the first really warm weekend of spring finally rolls through your town? You come down with a cold. I don’t know if this is an actual cold or just severe allergies or a reaction to the Kansas bonfires, but my head feels like an over-stuffed pillow this morning, and I have a Kleenix hanging out my right nose. This does not bode well as we approach another weekend of fine live indie music.

First on the list: Lookout Lounge has done it again. The midtown rock club tonight features everyone’s favorite emo punks Little Brazil. Word on the street is that the LB dudes are wrapping up a new album that will finally break through to a national audience. Find out what it sounds like tonight. Lil’ Brazil is the second band on stage. First out of the shoot is pop punk divas The Beat Seekers; last up is headliner, Kansas City’s The Architects. $8, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, in the heart of Benson, 2015 breakout C&W band Clarence Tilton headlines at The Barley Street Tavern. Also on the twang-filled bill are Rich & Germaine and Matt Cox. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight Delta Spirit dude Matthew Logan Vasquez plays at Reverb Lounge with Reverend Baron. $15, 9 p.m.

almostmusic1Tomorrow is, of course, RECORD STORE DAY! Everyone will be up and at ’em to get in line early at Homer’ for all the cool stuff. Homer’s details here.

But the real fun starts at noon at Almost Music at their new location at 3925 Farnam St. In addition to having plenty of RSD merch (Almost Music also opens at 10 a.m.) the store will feature in-store performances all day long. Here’s the sched:

12:00 – Nathaniel Hoier
1:00 – John Klemmensen and the Party
2:00 – Brad Hoshaw Music
3:00 – Bien Fang
4:00 – Hand Painted Police Car
5:00 – See Through Dresses
6:00 – Sucettes
7:00 – The Shrinks
8:00 – Ramon Speed

drastic copyDrastic Plastic also will be taking part in the RSD feeding frenzy. I’m told they have tons of RSD merch that also will be thrown to the masses at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Even the Saddle Creek Shop will be open Saturday from noon to 4 selling all kinds of Creek merch including RSD releases by The Thermals and that Fink-powered combo Cho-Cho & Dasheen.

While your downtown near Slowdown, check out Urban Outfitters RSD in-store at 2 p.m. featuring performances by High Up & Dominique Morgan, as well as free beer!

That’s all great, but something REALLY special is happening Saturday — you’ll finally get a chance to see inside the uber-secret Hi-Fi House, the vinyl listening library located in the Blackstone District at 3724 Farnam St. (in the old Joseph’s College of Beauty building). According to their description in Facebook:

We operate as a musicology lab by day serving educators and health care providers who use music to enhance the lives of their students and patients. We transform into a private club at night to serve artists, industry, neighbors and friends who love music as much as we do.

More details about Hi-F- House I cannot tell you since I’ve never been there, but I intend to drop in Saturday afternoon, and so can you.

The Hi-Fi House Open House starts at noon and “goes until the last record is played.” The day features live, in-house performances by Chemicals (yet another Dereck Higgins’ project), Ricki and Victoria (Pleiades and the Bear) and Mitch Gettmann starting around p.m.. Ticket into the door is a receipt from your purchase on RSD (any record purchased qualifies).

One last RSD-related event — Recycled Sounds records store, formerly located in Lincoln, is now open in Omaha at 322 No. 76th St. The store will have live performances starting at 5, concluding with a live set from Virgin Mary Pistol Grip at 8 p.m. According to their poster Recycled will also have some RSD merch (store opens at 10 a.m.) as well as 15% off used vinyl.

Saturday night, classic psychobilly band The Rev. Horton Heat plays at The Waiting Room with Nashville Pussy, Unknown Hinson and Lucky Tubb. $25, 8 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show (or your Record Store Day event) leave it in the comments section. Have a great *aschew!* 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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