Live Review: Jon Langford & Friends, Kyle Harvey; Black Marble, Ian Sweet, Thick Paint tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:51 pm May 30, 2017

John Landford and his supporting Omaha supergroup at O’Leaver’s May 28, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What a crazy Sunday night. It felt like a Saturday with all the shows going on and with everyone having Monday off…

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s Jon Langford of The Mekons performed a cracking set that included songs from his upcoming album as well as some Mekons gold and songs from his Waco Brothers project. I was expecting a C&W set, but Langford’s style was more of a rootsy British folk meets rock mix. He started off with a handful of acoustic tunes, including a fantastic version of “Millionaire,” which happens to be the only Mekons EP I own.

A storyteller at heart, Langford filled time between tunes with charming quips and anecdotes that reached back to his early punk rock days. Oh, the stories he must have. He said he was in town to visit inlaws that live in Omaha. That said, this show, along with a special gig at Hi Fi House the night prior, were the first times he’s played in our fair city.

Next, Langford brought up a “local super group” that included Mike Tulis on bass, Matt Rutledge on guitar and Sue Hendrick on drums. Great stuff, as you can hear from the embedded Facebook Live video, above. I’m told the band had a head’s up in terms of what they’d be playing, and did their best to learn the numbers before Langford showed up. They sounded like they’d been playing with him for years.

Kyle Harvey at the Down Under Lounge, May 28, 2017.

I didn’t catch the end of this set because I had to head off down Leavenworth to the Down Under Lounge where everyone’s favorite wandering poet musician Kyle Harvey was playing a solo set. There was Kyle and his beard on stage belting out songs from his new solo album surrounded by a packed room of fans and friends. It makes you wonder why he ever backed away from music in the first place. While the material stands strong as a solo presentation, I’d love to hear these songs fleshed out with a full band. Dare to dream…

This was my time inside Down Under since it switched over from being The Side Door Lounge. The room has a more laid-back, lived-in groove to it than its more refined previous self. It feels more inviting and less pretentious, which is what you want from a live music spot.

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One Percent has a couple interesting shows happening in their properties tonight, both are on NYC label Hardly Art.

Over at Reverb Lounge NYC artist Black Marble headlines. The project, fronted by Chris Stewart, is out their latest, It’s Immaterial. Very cook, jangly post rock. This one looks sneaky good. Cult Play and Effluvium open. $12, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, NYC dude Ian Sweet headlines. Last year’s Shapeshifter LP is kind of dreamy. Just as dreamy is opening band Thick Paint. $10, 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Sucettes, BIB tonight; Kyle Harvey, Brad Hoshaw, Jon Langford Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:46 pm May 26, 2017

Kyle Harvey at The Waiting Room, Feb. 21, 2014. Kyle returns to Omaha Sunday night for an album release show at Down Under Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Ah, the proverbial first weekend of summer…

It starts tonight at Brothers Lounge with a show headlined by Omaha garage super-group Sucettes. Opening is Lazy Wranglers and red-hot noise-punk band BIB. $5, 9 p.m.

That’s really the only show on my radar for tonight, and there’s virtually nothing happening from an indie music standpoint Saturday. How did that happen?

Things turn around on Sunday.

We welcome back long-lost musician, poet and bartender Kyle Harvey. He’s in town for a CD release show at the Down Under Lounge Sunday night. I’ve been listening to Kyle’s new record and it’s pretty much what we’ve come to expect — warm-hearted songs about life and love with a mountain twang and a bearded croon. I assume there will be some sort of beard-off early in the evening between Kyle and the opening acts Brad Hoshaw and Justin Lamoureux. This is an early show — starts at 7:30. And it’s free!

The other big show happening early Sunday evening is Jon Langford at fabulous O’Leaver’s Langford is the founding member of the Mekons, Three Johns and Waco Brothers. The Electroliners open. This one starts early, too, at 6 p.m. and costs $5.

And that’s all I got for this Memorial Day weekend. 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 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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Live Review: Brad Hoshaw & the Seven Deadlies; Kyle Harvey (and his poetry tonight)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 2:05 pm February 24, 2014
Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlines at The Waiting Room, Feb. 21, 2014.

Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlines at The Waiting Room, Feb. 21, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Friday night’s Brad Hoshaw & the Seven Deadlies concert at The Waiting Room was more of a victory lap than a CD release show. Hoshaw’s new record, Funeral Guns, was produced partially through a Kickstarter campaign, so 100+ people already have been in possession of the CD for a few weeks.

The evening began with a solo set by Kyle Harvey, the former musician and Benson resident now poet from Fuita, Colorado (who just so happens to have a poetry reading tonight at Pet Shop Gallery in Benson, see below). The last time I saw Harvey perform was on the same stage a few years ago surrounded by no fewer than a dozen people, none of whom were standing on the floor in front of the stage. Last Friday night that same floor was almost filled. It was the largest crowd I’ve ever seen at a Harvey performance, and that fact didn’t escape Kyle, who said, “I guess you waited until I moved away to finally show up,” or something like that.

Kyle Harvey at The Waiting Room, Feb. 21, 2014.

Kyle Harvey at The Waiting Room, Feb. 21, 2014.

Harvey preceded to play a short set of the introspective acoustic folk he was known for back when he lived in Benson — dark, sad, confessional ballads with a double-helping of lonesomeness for good measure. The irony, of course, is that Harvey is one of the more upbeat guys I’ve known from the scene; his between-song patter was warm and funny and anything but depressing. Harvey says he’s giving up music, but that would be a shame, especially since one of the best songs on the new Hoshaw album was written by him.

Though they’re called the Seven Deadlies, there were only three “deadlies” joining Hoshaw — Vern Ferguson on bass, Scott Gaeta on drums, and guitarist Matt Whipkey, your 2013 “Artist of the Year.” When it comes to this band, Whipkey and Hoshaw have a sort of symbiotic relationship. Yes, Hoshaw’s songwriting and voice are at the center of everything, but it’s Whipkey’s guitar fireworks that add the Technicolor, the panache, the drama.

While I like the new record, there are few things that, uh, left me scratching my head. The production is at times a bit heavy handed. There’s too much organ on too many tracks; and the layered harmonies on a few numbers are reminiscent of dusty Dan Fogelberg albums. There are moments on this record that sound like a product of an El Lay recording studio circa 1975 (to some people, that’s a plus).

All the over-the-top “smoothness” of the record was gone when the music was performed as a four-piece. Hoshaw and Co. stripped the songs down to bare essentials, raw and unvarnished the songs’ natural elements shined so much brighter. It came down to Hoshaw, his acoustic guitar, his songs, his voice, and Whipkey tossing grenades into the audience in the form of his blazing electric guitar work. Whipkey’s solos — while solid on the record — exploded throughout the live set — gorgeous tone combined with glowing drama that (at times) veered close to being out of control, especially on songs like the title track, the grim, gutteral “New Tattoo” and Harvey cover “It Falls Apart.” Riveting stuff.

The night closed with a sing-along encore that included a surreal re-imagining of John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy,” and a quiet, un-mic-ed edge-of-the-stage version of “Blue Bicycle” that left the 200 or so on hand in a trance.

So I get back to what I asked in last week’s column — what’s this guy have to do to break out of Nebraska and be heard on a national stage? That was a common question being bandied about before and after his set. The consensus: It all comes down to getting out on the road — not as a solo acoustic guy, but with this band or at the very least, with Whipkey, the only consistent member of The Seven Deadlies and the most critical.

Something tells me if you asked Hoshaw, he’d say hitting the road is the plan. But it was the plan the last time, and other than one small tour he never got out of town with the band. He has to this time. He has no excuses, and if he ever wants to be heard outside of Benson, he has no choice.

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As mentioned above, Kyle Harvey reads from his new book of poetry, Hyacinth, tonight at the Petshop Gallery, 2727 No. 62nd St. in Benson. Joining him will be Greg Kosmicki (the 2000 and 2006 recipient of the Nebraska Arts Council’s Merit Award), Paul Hanson Clark (co-founder and operator of the poetry studio SP CE in Lincoln), and Omaha musician and novelist Michael Trenhaile. It starts at 7:30 and as far as I know it’s free. 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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Kyle Harvey on why he prefers words to music; Ghost Foot, Those Far Out Arrows tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:45 pm February 13, 2014
Poet Kyle Harvey

Poet Kyle Harvey

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, an interview with Poet Kyle Harvey on what it’s like to be a poet and why he turned his back on the music world. It’s in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here, and since this tangentially involves music, you can read it below.

* * *

Over the Edge #94: The Life of a (Real) Modern-Day Poet

Hyacinth (Lithic Press, 2013)

Hyacinth (Lithic Press, 2013)

Just the word “poet” makes some people’s eyes roll in exasperation and disbelief. “Who does he think he is, calling himself a poet? Is he serious?” To those same people, anyone who would classify himself as a poet is very likely a self-involved, deluded, pretentious asshole who thinks he has all the answers and can even make those answers rhyme. Either that, or he’s a university professor.

The only problem with that theory is that Kyle Harvey is a poet, and he’s anything but a pretentious asshole.

He used to be a musician, the kind that plays rock ’n’ roll and folk songs of his own writing. Once upon a time when he lived in Omaha, Harvey was known to stand on stage with his guitar behind his rather bushy beard and sing painful, personal love songs designed to draw tears from your eyes (and often succeeded). He also played in a rock band that no longer exists called It’s True, which released records and drove around the country in a van playing concerts in night clubs.

All of that was a long time ago. These days Harvey lives in picturesque Fruita, Colorado, a town of around 12,000 located just outside of Grand Junction on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife, Veronica, live a quiet life raising kids (with twins on the way), hold down day jobs and are part of a community where Harvey recently was elected to the City Council.

But on top of all that, Harvey writes poems, like this one from his latest “chap book”:

Tulips

There’s an overcoat of cottonwood,
on a quilted field in Holland.

Words spill from one pocket
and rhythms from the other.

Down into the soil they seep,
Cupping seeds in their hands

and sprouting the promise of bulbs
from which colorful miracles leap.

“I’m only a poet when I write a poem,” Harvey explained. “The rest of the time I’m just an average dude.”

How does one go from performing rock songs in front of an audience to quietly writing at the foot of a mountain? Harvey says at some point he “fell out of love” with being a musician and the pressures that came with it.

“Music just doesn’t hold as much value as it used to,” Harvey said. “I think it stopped a long time ago, well before I started stepping back from it. I got burned out on the formula of writing songs. Poetry seemed a little bit more open-ended and felt a little more free.”

Harvey said he also didn’t feel fulfilled playing rock shows. “The fulfillment came from the process of creating something,” he said. “With the band, the value for me was hanging out with my friends and traveling to different cities, but the shows and the grind of it was not as exciting or fun. I don’t crave being on stage in front of people, I almost like not being on stage — which is weird considering how long I played music.

“There doesn’t seem to be much to a poet’s lifestyle, like there is to a musician’s.” he added. “Poetry is solitary, you do it in solitude.”

Well, except for when he takes part in poetry readings, but even then all he has to do is read four or five poems. “Then you get to hang out with people who read books,” he said. “I’d rather read a book than listen to an album.”

What? Sacrilege!

Harvey said he began writing poetry back in his musician days. After he moved to Colorado one of his poems, “Hyacinth,” won the 15th Annual Mark Fischer Poetry Prize awarded by the Telluride Arts Council.

Shortly after that, friend and fellow poet Danny Rosen suggested Harvey collect his poems — many of which had been published in small poetry journals and magazines — and put out a book. Named after that award-winning poem, Hyacinth was published by Rosen’s Lithic Press. Harvey calls it a “chap book,” which he said is the term for books under 42 pages that use staples for the binding.

Unlike the music business, which seems to thrive on album sales, there isn’t a lot of pressure to sell copies of his chapbook. Harvey said Rosen would love to at least break even, but “in his mind, the most important part (of the process) is creating the artifact, the beautiful book,” Harvey said. “(Rosen) would tell you he already considers it a huge success, which is neat to hear.”

So what’s the pretentious part in all of this?

“There’s a misperception that (poetry) is some sort of pretentious high art. It’s not like that at all,” Harvey said. “What I’ve learned is that the poetry world to me doesn’t seem nearly as pretentious as the music world. Even the biggest, most widely read, best-selling poets — and there’s not a whole lot of them — are still nothing like rock stars. There’s a purity to it that maybe comes from the fact that there’s not much of an audience for poetry, and from the lack of exchange of money. There’s not even a whole lot of people who have been to a poetry reading. They’re almost considered taboo.”

And now you can take part in this taboo ritual when Harvey presents some of his work at a poetry reading Feb. 24 at the Petshop Gallery, 2727 No. 62nd St. in Benson. Joining him will be Greg Kosmicki (the 2000 and 2006 recipient of the Nebraska Arts Council’s Merit Award), Paul Hanson Clark (co-founder and operator of the poetry studio SP CE in Lincoln), and Omaha musician and novelist Michael Trenhaile.

And if you’re wondering what Harvey sounded like on stage, well you’ll get your chance to find out when he once again slings on a guitar as the opener at the Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies album release show Feb. 21 at The Waiting Room. No one said poets can’t sing, too.

Over The Edge is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

First published in The Reader, Feb. 13, 2014. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Tonight at O’Leaver’s, Shreveport band Ghost Foot plays along with locals Those Far Out Arrows. Whenever I see shows like this listed, I wonder how they got booked. Ghost Foot has almost no web presence. They have a Facebook page with 375 likes with an “about” section that has almost no information about the band. They have a bandcamp page but no formal releases. Beyond that, nothing. And yet, here they are hundreds of miles away from home on tour.

Somehow they found O’Leaver’s, or O’Leaver’s found them and they booked a show for tonight. Maybe they’re friends with the TFOA guys, who also only have a Facebook page and a Reverb Nation page. I think it’s safe to say this is the punk underground at its finest. $5, 9:30 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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First Bright Eyes song released from captivity; Kyle Harvey’s Space Christmas tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 3:38 pm December 21, 2010

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It was only a matter of time before we got the first Bright Eyes song from the new album, The People’s Key, and here it is, “Shell Games.” In various interviews over the past few days, Conor Oberst has been saying that he’s walking away from the played out indie/Americana/folk sound of his past two solo albums for a new rock sound, and for the most part, that’s exactly what he’s done. You’d never mistake this song for Americana. But then again, it isn’t exactly a “rock song,” either. It does, however, sound distinctively Bright Eyes-like, and that’s a welcome sign of things to come. The song feels like something that could have come from Cassadaga, but with the heavy synths toward the end of the track, there are some overtones of Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (an album that got lost beneath the shadow of I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and marketing that stressed its “modern sound.” But with songs like “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)” and “Gold Mine Gutted,” Digital Ash still holds up as one of Bright Eyes’ better albums). This Pitchfork link also includes the album art for The People’s Key, and unless my eyes deceive me, it’s the work of Zack Nipper, who took home a Grammy for the Cassadaga album sleeve. The paper cut-out-style design and color scheme is reminiscent of the gorgeous art Zack did for the Every Day and Every Night EP.

* * *

Tonight at The Barley St., it’s a different kind of Space Oddity when Kyle Harvey hosts the First Annual Merry Christmas From Outer Space. Join Kyle and his fellow space aliens as they celebrate the release of his new holiday album. Songs include “Crop Circle Christmas,” “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus, Merry Christmas Alf,” and “Baby, It’s Cold In Space.” “Come dressed as spacemen, astronauts, aliens, men in black, Santa Claus, or any other galactic or holiday themed gear and receive free admission!” How can you beat that? Show starts at 9.

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Kudos to the fine folks at Silicon Prairie News for today’s shout out. No one in town covers Fast Company-style, next-generation entrepreneurial business quite like those guys. Keep it up, gentlemen. (And yes, Kurt Anderson would call this “logrolling in our times,” but at least it’s heartfelt).

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Tomorrow we take another trip down memory lane with a feature on Slowdown Virginia and Polecat, just in time for Thursday night’s big reunion show…

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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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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