Live Review: Gary Numan; Tragic Jack, Brad Hoshaw tonight; Lodgings, Sun-Less Trio, Wagon Blasters Saturday; House Vacations, Tom Bartolomei Sunday…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 11:57 am September 28, 2018

Gary Numan at The Slowdown, Sept. 27, 2018.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Recent Gary Numan recordings, specifically Savage (Songs from a Broken World) (2017, BMG), have been compared to recordings by Nine Inch Nails, a band who has cited Numan as an influence. While there’s no mistaking the similarity in the preponderance of deep beats, synths and power chords, recent NIN albums rarely have contained songs as tuneful as Numan’s recent stuff, and certainly Trent Reznor doesn’t hold a candle vocally to Numan, who, on these recordings (made when he was in his late 50s), sounds as good or better than he did in Tubeway Army.

I mention this because last night’s Gary Numan show at The Slowdown was heavy with the new stuff, which sounded like Middle Eastern-influenced NIN albeit with a greater reliance on Numan’s cold-steel synth sound.  Numan, looking more like a dude in his late 30s than a guy who just turned 60, performed really elegant modern dance throughout the set, interpreting every chord and drop beat like a ballet dancer in Desert Storm trooper boots, all a part of the band’s ragged matched costuming that made them resemble extras from Mad Max: Fury Road.

Right out of the gate Numan and his band sounded great, maybe a bit too great. When he started singing I immediately wondered if he was lip-syncing. The vocals simply sounded too rounded and perfect to be live, especially with the calisthenics Numan was performing. It didn’t even look like he was holding the microphone up to his mouth, though the vocals coming out of the stacks were spot-on perfect. And, strangely, he never spoke to the audience between songs (at least while I was listening).

I’m not a sound tech and I haven’t talked to the band so I have no idea what exactly was going on. I know all the band members wore in-ear monitors; and while everyone had microphones, it sure didn’t look like they were singing most of the time. In fact, the band sounded absolutely perfect throughout the set. I’m not sure this means they were performing with a backing track or what (though I’m sure the soundguy knows).

Regardless, the sound was pristine and magnificent and the crowd didn’t seem to care a whit whether the performance was being “sweetened” or not, they were too ensconced in the light, movement and sound.  The tale of the tape came 10 songs in when the band performed “Cars,” an arrangement that was mostly faithful to the original, and Numan here seemed to be singing, or at least he sounded different than earlier in the set. He also was a lot less animated, pacing between the microphone and the back of the stage.

He lit right back into the new stuff afterward (you can see the full setlist from last night here), and continued with his elegant balletic moves, amazing and inspiring from a guy his age. It was a fun show no matter what was going on.

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Looks like it’s going to be cold, rainy weekend, which means there’s no excuse for not going to some shows.

Tonight, Tragic Jack plays a down at Slowdown Jr. The band has a new album, Glasshouse Town, coming out Oct. 12 on Silver Street Records. It’s not so much indie as straight-forward, traditional FM rock. Marty Amsler, the former member of The Millions who plays bass in Tragic Jack, gave me a copy of the record and said “this probably isn’t your thing.” It’s not, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any good. Hey man, despite my indie music leanings, I grew up on FM rock and can tell quality when I hear it. Copies of the record will be available at tonight’s show, which also features openers Brad Hoshaw and Soul Ghost. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, The Hottman Sisters are celebrating the release of a new EP, Louder, at The Waiting Room. Ruby Force and Kethro open at 9 p.m. $12.

Lodgings is a pretty awesome band consisting of Bryce Hotz, vocals; Jim Schroeder, guitars; David Ozinga, bass; Eric Ernst, drums. Their 2016 debut, which also features cellist Megan Siebe and Trumpeter Sean Lomax, is one of my recent faves. The band headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night. Joining them in this stacked line-up are The Sun-Less Trio and The Wagon Blasters. 10 p.m., $5.

Finally, O’Leaver’s Sunday early-show series continues with House Vacations, CatBeret, the return of Omaha singer/songwriter Tom Bartolomei, and Lincoln’s Threesome Egos.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Son, Ambulance, Lodgings, Dirt House at O’Leavers…

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

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

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lodgings at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 2, 2017.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at 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.

Lazy-i

Oquoa, David Nance, BFF, Lodgings, Digital Leather tonight; Matthew Sweet weekend; Rips, Thick Paint Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:52 pm July 7, 2017

Matthew Sweet at fabulous O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2014. Sweet and his plan plays at The Waiting Room Saturday and Sunday nights.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Who’s going to the horse races this weekend? Anybody? Anybody? Ah well, what else is going on? Glad you asked…

Tonight is Benson First Friday, and part of BFF is a show at The Sydney featuring Oquoa, Dave Nance Band and FiFi NoNo, who just dropped a new single (below). 10 p.m. and free, according to Facebook (though the last free show I went to at The Sydney cost me $5).

If you’re going to the Sydney, you might as well drop by The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple, at the bottom of the Masonic Lodge building. We’ll be opening a new show featuring prints by Myles Dunigan. The show runs 6 to 10 p.m. And as always, the beer is free. Come on over… More info here.

Also tonight, Lodgings is playing at fabulous O’Leaver’s. I’m told their recently released EP, Daisies, is about to come out on colored vinyl. Jump the Tiger headlines this show and St. Bernard opens. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And The New BLK is having a moving out party tonight at what will soon be their old digs at 12th and Howard. The new The New BLK will be located at 2626 Harney, about a block west of Midtown Art Supply. Anyway, the party starts at 4 and runs until 2 p.m. Performers include Digital Leather and Conny Franko. Find out more.

Tomorrow and Sunday night Matthew Sweet is playing at The Waiting Room. The two-night engagement is in support of his new double album, Tomorrow, Forever, which I reviewed here yesterday. Tommy Keene, who was releasing music on Matador back when Sweet was on Zoo, is opening both nights. Keene opened for Sweet when he played at O’Leaver’s a few years ago, and is something of a legend in his own right. Tickets for either night are $20; these are early shows with 8 p.m. start times.

Finally Sunday NYC band Rips plays at Milk Run. Their debut album was produced by Austin Brown of Parquet Courts. Thick Paint and Razors also are on the bill. No price given for this 8:30 p.m. show, so you’re on your own.

And that’s all I got for this 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.

Lazy-i

Orenda Fink, Anna McClellan tonight; Lodgings, Leafblower, Low Long Signal Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:51 pm December 9, 2016
Anna McClellan at O'Leaver's, Dec. 3, 2015. She plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. She plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We’re entering a dead zone for shows — the weeks leading up to Christmas, bleak cold days where it takes massive effort for people to venture out into the arctic cold. Like what we’re experiencing right now. The only worst time for shows is after the holiday and before spring. But we’ll get to that, eventually.

There’s a couple big benefit shows happening this weekend.

Tonight there’s an “amplification concert” (my term) called Mobilize Omaha at The Waiting Room. A handful of nonprofits will be presenting their messages to an audience who will also see performances by Orenda Fink, Anna McClellan, Masonjixx, Kait Berreckman and a “surprise guest.” It’s organized by Planned Parenthood, but your $5 donation will be split among all participating non-profits. Starts early, at 5 p.m. and suggested donation is $5, but you can do better than that.

Tomorrow night it’s back to The Waiting Room, this time for a benefit for Youth Emergency Services featuring performances by Low Long Signal, Armful of Tiger Lilies, Slow Stoics, The Clocks, & Port Nocturnal. Tickets are $5 today, $7 DOS. Show starts at 9.

Also Saturday night, they’re calling it “Dad Rock Night at Milk Run.” The line-up ain’t exactly dad-rock-like: Lodgings (members of NAWAS*, Son Ambulance, Head Of Femur, UUVVWWZ, Sound of Rails); Leafblower (members of Little Brazil, NAWAS, New Lungs, Face For Radio), The Sleeperhits and Mike Saklar (Sun-Less Trio, Comme Reel, No Blood Orphan, Ravine). All four acts for just $5. Starts at 9 p.m. at Milk Run.
     * Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship

Also Saturday night, The Brothers Lounge is hosting a Toys for Tots concert featuring DSM5, Jump the Tiger and Mim Aparo (Anthems). $5 or a toy gets you in. It’s a great cause. Starts at 8 p.m.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at 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.

Lazy-i

#TBT April 14, 2005: Selling the Ranch (Bowl); Carl Miller/Thrillers, Alexa Dexa, Lodgings are Live @ O’Leaver’s…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:41 pm April 14, 2016
The long, lost Ranch Bowl...

The long, lost Ranch Bowl…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This being Throwback Thursday, why not we step into the Lazy-i Wayback Machine and turn the dial to 11 years ago, to April 14, 2005? Omaha was still basking in the glow of national attention thanks to Saddle Creek Records. Adding to the ever-changing local music landscape was the advent of new clubs that would eventually dot the Omaha landscape in the coming years, presumably to ride that indie music wave.

In 2005 the only games in town for indie shows were the Sokol properties (the auditorium and “Underground”), Saddle Creek Bar, Mick’s and various hall shows that were blurring into the ether. And then there was The Ranch Bowl, a relic from an earlier time that had seen better days.

It was on this day 11 years ago that I posted the following column, which reported that the legendary Ranch Bowl, once located on south 72nd St., was finally closing its doors for good and would be torn down to make way for a Wal-Mart. The news sent mild shockwaves throughout the music scene, even though The Bowl had lost its luster years earlier…

Column 21: Selling the Ranch

Mike Brannan isn’t talking.

When news began buzzing through the music scene last Wednesday that the once legendary Ranch Bowl — the venue Brannan owns and operates with partner Dan Crowell — will be closing its doors, Brannan confirmed it, but said nothing more.

Rumors of the venue’s demise had begun circulating earlier in the week, and were met with skepticism by those of us who have followed the music scene for any amount of time. We’d been hearing those rumors for years, from before Brannan and Crowell took over in 2003, back when Matt Markel ran the place. And every time the rumors ended up being false.

Like last October, when rumors were flying that Markel was about to somehow sell the joint out from under Brannan and Crowell, that the IRS had raided the bar during a Little Feat concert, and that the duo had been bouncing checks all over town.

Brannan responded that time, saying he had been involved in a very tough negotiation with the Markels, who had attempted a last-minute renegotiation of their purchase deal. That led to lawsuits from both sides, which eventually were settled. Brannan said that it wasn’t the IRS but the Nebraska Dept. of Revenue that had made an unannounced house call to the Bowl and levied them for $800. He also said that he and Crowell had some additional property under contract, and that other projects would be coming on line that would be unveiled accordingly. “The Ranch Bowl will now receive considerably more attention from Dan and myself as we consider what to do with it,” he had said last October. “We, however, had to resolve the deal with the Markels before we could push ahead with anything else, as that handcuffed us for quite some time.”

Five months later and the rumors were back. But this time there were no denials. Brannan confirmed on SLAM Omaha — the city’s music-scene gossip Web board — that the Ranch Bowl will finally be closed and torn down. A deal had been made to redevelop the site, finalized April 4. All their original renovation plans had been scrapped because they “lacked the local goodwill required for us to make the additional investments required” and that he and Crowell “look forward to putting the first proper mid-sized music venue online in Omaha.”

The next day, The Omaha World-Herald made it official, but Brannan didn’t add any Technicolor. Instead, the paper pursued the Wal-Mart angle. Seems Brannan and real estate man John Lund have been working together to acquire the Bowl property from Markel, which they will turn around and sell along with a sizable chunk of surrounding property. Instead of dropping big bucks on renovating the Bowl, it had to make more sense for Brannan to cash in and invest in a new venue that doesn’t need as much renovation (and doesn’t have a bowling alley attached to it). A place like Club Joy on the southwest corner of The Old Market, for instance.

But that’s all speculation. When contacted Sunday, Brannan was unwilling to comment about the new venue and its location; he wasn’t even willing to say what style of music it will cater to, only saying that there would be an announcement made when the time is right.

He did say that Artery Studios, located in the Ranch Bowl complex, would stay open after the Bowl closes, and that he’s looking for somewhere to move the studio once the bulldozers arrive. Though not eager to run a studio, he said he likes the co-op nature of the recording business, and this time he’ll be bringing in some new players.

But the real questions remain unanswered. Like why Brannan thinks he’ll have better luck with a new venue when he couldn’t make it work with an established enterprise like The Ranch Bowl, a club that once boasted shows by acts like The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pavement and Bob Mould.

Or how a city the size of Omaha can support a new 500-capacity venue — as well as a second new live music venue rumored to be announced this month, also located downtown — when it can’t support the ones that are operating now.

All good questions. But Brannan ain’t talking. — Lazy-i April 14, 2005

Needless to say, The Ranch Bowl was demolished and Brannan never opened another club, but two new mid-sized clubs did pop up a couple years later, but that’s another story…

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The good folks at Live @ O’Leaver’s rolled out three new sessions this week. Check them out below:

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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.

Lazy-i