by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
From the porch of my house on Sunset Trail I could see the lights glowing from the stage through the trees. This was no ordinary block party, it was the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, an event that’s been held since 2014 along the said neighborhood street between Western and Underwood. It’s gotten bigger every year; this year’s featured performer was Clarence Tilton. Next year I expect Wilco to headline.
Despite the stage and professional sound (Hiddleston is first class), it really is just an annual block party. The street was blocked off on either end and long tables were set up leading to the stage, which was a riser surrounded by white Christmas lights strung from poles. It was like a small-town concert, with kids tooling around on push-scooters screaming and laughing, people in groups drinking beers and wine, a portable fire pit and kiosk loaded with flat-panels that showed night college football games for those who couldn’t bear missing a snap.
What I found interesting was how everyone knew everyone; whereas I didn’t know anyone on the street. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised — I don’t live on Parkwood Lane. But then I got to thinking about how many people I really know on my street; know by name. Or who know me. The number is maybe five or six? That’s what happens when you don’t have kids. If you have kids, well, you’re going to know everyone in a four-block radius…who has kids. That’s how it’s always been and should be.
Anyway, we sat on a hay bale and listened as the Clarence Tilton gang ripped though a set of alt-country songs that deserve attention from the rest of the world. At the core is the Weber Brothers on electric guitars and vocals, surrounded by some of the tightest-playing musicians in Omaha. Though alt-country in style, the music reminded me of bands like The Rave-Ups, The Reivers, The Windbreakers and Uncle Tupelo. It’s music that will appeal both to country fans and fans of good, upbeat, tuneful indie music. In fact, I don’t know why they haven’t been discovered by a label. Their debut album, which came out last year, is among the best things produced out of Nebraska.
Though I didn’t see anyone doing a two-step (which got me thinking, these guys really should try playing a few sets at Bushwackers in Ralston) the neighborhood looked like it was having a good time. And the sound was immaculate. We left after about an hour, and of course, was able to continue listening from our house, and didn’t mind at all…
* * *
Tonight there’s a pretty cool electronic/dance show at Lookout Lounge. I haven’t been able to find a shit-ton of info about the headliner, Terror Pigeon, on the interwebs. The best info was from this 2014 Stereogum article:
“…formed as Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, it’s a collective that was created in 2008 by then-SUNY Purchase student Neil Fridd. They signed to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label and put out one full-length in 2010, the charmingly-titled ‘I love you! I love you! I love you and I’m in love with you! Have an awesome day! Have the best day of your life!’ They were written up in The New York Times and played shows at SXSW, CMJ, and around DIY venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Their emoji-heavy website shows that they’ve been touring consistently for the past four years since the release of their debut. With “Girl!,” they’ve officially started the rollout for their sophomore album, called Live It Up Before You Die It Up!, which will be released through Nashville-based label Stay Magical.”
Their music reminds me of Matt & Kim, sorta, though I like TP’s music a lot more. Also on the bill is Real Dom, a lap-top dance dude. Locals Thick Paint (Graham Ulicny of Reptar) and Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes) open. $5, 8 p.m.
Also tonight, Iska Dhaaf, is playing a sneaky show at Milk Run. Sneaky because it came out of nowhere. They played at O’Leaver’s this past April (BTW, here’s Ten Questions with Iska Dhaaf written in support of that show.)Opening are Idle Fox and King Pegion. $8, 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.