Can Lizzo, Lewis, Barnett and Thee Oh Sees sell tix? Maha thinks so; Jason Steady and Chris Twist tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:39 pm April 24, 2019

Jason Steady and the Soft Ponies at Burrito Envy, Oct. 26, 2018. Jason returns with Chris Twist tonight for an early 7 p.m. album release show.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

By now you’re familiar with this year’s Maha Festival line-up. On the day they announced the bands I was thrilled, and said something like “I’m going to provide an in-depth review Monday, blah-blah-blah…” But Monday came and I didn’t have time before work; same thing Tuesday. And now here we are, and while I think it is, indeed, my favorite line-up they’ve ever put together, I’m wonder how well it’ll draw.

For example, headliner Lizzo isn’t exactly a household name like Weezer or Death Cab for Cutie. When I posted in as much Friday, someone said “You just wait and see.” But I’ve had a handful of people who follow indie music and Maha ask me who the heck she is. Her style is hard to describe. I consider her a modern-day Queen Latifah. I didn’t discover her until she came through Omaha a couple years ago, when I watched a couple of her YouTube videos, and flipped for “Good as Hell.”

No doubt the audience for Lizzo isn’t your typical indie fan. Her new record, Cuz I Love You (2019, Atlantic), is getting positive/mixed reviews (some complained she’s trying too hard to make a hit). And no doubt she’ll be touring late night TV for the next few months.

Jenny Lewis and Courtney Barnett are personal favorites. Lewis has a hot new album, On the Line (2019, Warner Bros.), and is a long-time friend of the Nebraska scene from way back in the Saddle Creek glory days. Barnett has written some of the best indie songs in the past few years. Her record that came out in 2018, Tell Me How You Really Feel (Mom + Pop Records) was on my favorites list. The caveat for Barnett – I’ve seen her perform at SXSW a few years ago and she basically just stood up there and played with little crowd interaction, so it was kind of a snore, but… great music.

The highlight of the line-up (for me, anyway) is Thee Oh Sees. A garage/psych-rock band that in my opinion blows away anything Jack White has ever done. I’ve been bitching for years that this band has avoided Omaha/Lincoln on all its national tours, which made me think they had something against Nebraska, though I know a lot of rabid Oh Sees fans around here.

The band is powered by guitarist/vocalist/legend John Dwyer, a madman on stage. I’ve seen them play a couple times in Austin. Expect craziness. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they play in the field among the crowd instead of on stage. I’ve loved this band and Dwyer’s previous band, Coachwhips, for years. But again, though there’s a hardcore following among in-the-know indie people locally, Thee Oh Sees are very likely widely unknown among Omaha’s great unwashed masses. So, not likely to be a big ticket-seller. And neither is the rest of the line-up… More tomorrow (probably)…

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Tonight at, of all places, Burrito Envy & Tequila Bar in Benson, Chris Twist and Jason Steady are celebrating the release of their new album, Return of the Paisley Angels. I’ve seen Steady play at the burrito place and it’s a surprisingly good venue for what’s essentially an low-volume / unplugged-type country rock show.

I’ve written about these guys a few days ago (read it here). Lincoln duo Smith’s Cloud opens at 7 p.m. – yep, it’s early. But the whole thing is free so you’ll have plenty of cash to buy a margarita or a taco. Fun!

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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