Did anyone notice that the line-up for this year’s Maha Music Festival had a slight change?
Downtown Boys, who describes themselves in Wiki as a “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence,” has joined the line-up, replacing Surfer Blood. Downtown Boys has released material on Don Giovanni Records; they signed to Sub Pop this past February.
* * *
See Through Dresses yesterday dropped the first single off their upcoming sophomore album Horse Of The Other World, titled “Violet.” Very dreamy! Check it.
* * *
I don’t know who this Robert Hinrichs is other than he lives in Lincoln and he’s trying to give James Murphy a run for his money. His video for “Can U DigIt,” dropped today. The track is off Hinrichs’ latest album on Interrobang (2017, Tremulant).
* * *
Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s long awaited return of Denver band Dressy Bessy (Kindercord Records). Opening is Arc Flash, Uh Oh and Nathan Ma and The Rosettes (whew! that’s a big line-up). $7, 9 p.m.
If you’re in Omaha or the surrounding area and have even an inkling of interest in the Maha Music Festival you’ve already heard the line-up. There’s no way you could miss it. Still, for Lazy-i readers in far-off lands (or living off the social media grid) here is the list of who will be playing at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village Aug. 19:
Run the Jewels
Belle & Sebastian
The New Pornographers
Built to Spill
The Hottman Sisters
First time in Maha history where I’ve been familiar with every act (though I’ve never heard music from Priests before).
Run the Jewels is a massive “get,” though I’m probably the only one in America who didn’t like their last couple of albums (I’m more of a Tribe Called Quest kinda guy). However, I dig their new single, “Ticketron.” And hip-hop does very well at Maha.
Belle & Sebastian is a bucket list band for me, and by themselves would be worth $55 or more.
Anyone who’s been to a Faint concert knows they bring it every night, though I have a feeling they’re going to amp things up just a little more for this show.
Sleigh Bells… meh. They’ve always been a one-note act to me, but they should be fun to watch.
The question I have about The New Pornographers — will Neko Case and Dan Bejar a.k.a. Destroyer be part of this show’s line-up? — a central question.
Built to Spill is practically a local band considering how many times they’ve played in Omaha. If they can keep Doug Martsch from turning it into a 30-minute jam session it could be a great addition.
I’ve followed singer/songwriter Torres for a few years. She’s a quiet addition that will break up a rather noisy day of music.
Surfer Blood is sort of outside of my wheel house. They have their fans.
Like I said, Priests I’d only heard of. I listened to their latest album, Nothing Feels Natural (Sister Polygon Records), on my way to work this morning. Sort of alternative post-punk that’s light on melody. We’ll see. Part of the fun of any festival is checking out new acts. Maybe they’ll stick, maybe not. Check out the song “Pink White House” and tell me it doesn’t remind you of Mercy Rule.
Which brings us to the last two acts on the bill — both locals. High Up is a no-brainer — probably the most talked about indie band from Omaha (along with Closeness) in the past couple of years. Christine Fink has a stage presence that never fails to capture an audience.
The Hottman Sisters have the unfortunate chore of kicking off the day, a slot that historically is played to an empty field, which brings up one of the criticisms of Maha. When Maha first began all those years ago, local acts played a big role in the festival, playing throughout the day. In years’ past locals alternated with nationals throughout the day up until the early evening. These days local acts are relegated to the first two slots of the day and The Faint (who, while a local band, has a national following).
I can’t say I can necessarily blame Maha pulling back on locals. They don’t sell tickets and most can be seen any given weekend in Benson or some other midtown venue. The loser, of course, is local bands, who are denied a platform for expanding their audience.
Some also might criticize Maha because it no longer features under-the-radar indie acts as in years past. Let’s face it, other than Priests and Torres, this line-up is packed with well-established names. You won’t hear any complaints from me, though there is something to be said when a festival can look back and say something like “We had Dum-Dum Girls back in the day….”
So, the big question: Will it sell out. Or more specifically, is this line-up strong enough to compete with Lady Gaga? The answers are yes and no. Yes, I think it will sell out eventually (probably day of show), but no, it can’t compete with Gaga.
To me, there is a sweet irony to Lady Gaga playing the same day as Maha. I’ve always viewed her as a novelty act, a kids’ pop act… until this latest album, which goes beyond the usual kitsch and could, at times, appeal to an indie-music listening audience. Maybe that’s why her latest record seems to be lagging behind the previous ones, at least in terms of notoriety. The new, less popular Lady Gaga would have fit right in on a Maha bill…
By the way, I’ve heard from two or three people who are NOT associated with Maha that Gaga could make a surprise appearance at the festival. After all, she used to have a Nebraska connection, and her show has been sold out for a long time. I think it’s highly unlikely, and even if she did, how does that help Maha sales when they can’t market around it?
* * *
The new Milk Run launches tonight at Midtown Art Supply, 2578 Harney St.. The featured bands: Altas, DHX (Derick Higgins), Mint Wad Willy and Jack McLaughlin. $7, 9 p.m. Could be weird.
Meanwhile, tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s, it’s Sam Adam Martin, Thick Paint, and the premier of Thor Dickey. 9:30pm. $5.
Also tonight, it’s night one of two nights of Matt Whipkey Band at Growler USA, 16274 Evans St., which I wrote about here yesterday. The gig is free and starts at 9 p.m.
And The Nadas return to The Waiting Room tonight with Dan Tedesco. $15, 9 p.m.
Tomorrow night it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Bien Fang, Siamese and Idlefox. $5, 9:30 p.m
The legendary Voodoo Glow Skulls are headlining at Lookout Lounge Saturday night. Joining them are The Shidiots, Graveyard Smash, Heat@aves and Noizewave. $10, 8 p.m.
That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend. This rain has to end sometime…
Brent Malnack, owner of new brew pub/restaurant/music venue Growler USA IM’d me yesterday to say Matt Whipkey Band will be playing free shows at his place from 9 to 10:30 p.m. this Friday and Saturday.
Growler USA, part of a national chain, is located way out in what I’ve heard referred to as Wonder Bread Land — 16268 Evans Plaza (right off 162nd and Maple). Malnack, who books the club, said he’s focusing on original music, not cover bands — which is something new for West O.
“All original music with the exception of the Rat Pack Jazz guys and other jazz acts,” he said. “Singer-songwriter types like Mace Hathaway and Sarah Brandt. We have Gaudio, Matt Cox Band, Charlie Burton and others coming up.”
Malnack says he and his co-owner wife have put much coin into the 120-capacity room’s sound system. “We’ve got over 1,000 pounds of custom sound panels hanging in the room. It is more studio than club,” he said. “Tom Ware did all of the sound treatments.” Ware is a legendary soundman who runs Ware House Productions.
“Our thought is that with no cover charge people will drop in with nothing to lose,” he said. “If they hate it, they’ll leave. We’re trying to keep some of the younger folks from making the trip to Benson, or at least stopping by our place on the way down.”
Still, I assumed based on the bands he mentioned that he was interested in mostly Americana and blues acts and might stay clear of indie, garage and punk rock. “Only one rule so far,” Malnack said, “no pointy guitars (metal, hair metal). Everything else is welcome.”
Over the years I’ve gotten into lengthy arguments with members of the Omaha music community over whether original music like the stuff booked in midtown would go over in West Omaha. I believe there is an enormous, exponentially huge audience of kids, young adults and music fans west of 72nd St. who are untapped in this music scene. It would be interesting to see how a traditional O’Leaver’s/Brothers/One Percent-type band — i.e., indie/garage band — would translate out west.
Something tells me the pay scale blows away midtown clubs. Just sayin’. Here’s an opportunity for bands to grow a fan base and make good money.
I plan on checking out Growler USA this weekend. If I do, I’ll have a full report next week.
In the meantime, Kevin Coffey has a detailed article about Growler USA in today’s Go section. Check it out.
* * *
Tonight the Maha Music Festival folks have their big reveal at Reverb Lounge starting at 7 p.m. No doubt they will be tapping into their social media streams to spread the news as bands are announced. Maha’s “line-up video” premiers at 8 p.m. Reaction here tomorrow. As I mentioned before, it’s an impressive line-up and a bit of a change in direction from last year’s festival. And yes, I think it could very well sell out again this year…
* * *
Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Lawrence band Arc Flash headlines. Joining them is our very own Those Far Out Arrows and Condor & Jaybird. $5, 9 p.m.
Also tonight, Modern Lovers founder Jonathan Richman (featuring Tommy Larkins (Giant Sand) on drums) plays The Waiting Room. 8 p.m., $15.
The fine folks at the Maha Music Festival will start selling tickets Friday for this year’s fest, which takes place Aug. 19 at Stinson Park/Aksarben Village. Tix are GA $55 and VIP $185, though the actual line-up won’t be known until March 30.
Will it be worth the price of admission? IMHO, the answer is yes. From what I’m hearing about the line-up, this one could very well sell out, despite the fact that it’s the same day as Lady Gaga at CenturyLink Center. That little fact has Maha sweating, but let’s face it, we’re talking about two very separate, very different audiences…
* * *
Pitchfork today reviewed the new Conor Oberst album, Salutations, and despite Ian Cohen spending most of the review lambasting the record as a sort of easy-path sell-out of Ruminations, still gave the record a 6.6 rating.
Says Cohen: “Oberst re-recorded all 10 songs (of Ruminations) with a full band and a host of guests, added seven new ones and hit shuffle—a decision that drags Salutations down and bring its predecessor along with it.” Cohen goes on to say Salutations effectively turns Ruminations into a collection of demos. Maybe so, though that stunt worked just fine for PJ Harvey.
If you haven’t already guessed, I won’t be going to SXSW this year. The festival in Austin gets rolling tomorrow, though there’s showcases going on today. Those of you stuck in Omaha will at least be treated to a couple Digital Leather shows in the coming days.
Here I thought the band had broken up, but now I’m told DL will come out of hibernation if the prices is right (Why not?). This morning the band announced a free show at Blackstone Meatball on St. Patrick’s Day with opener Chalant.
This is presumably a warm-up for their opening slot for Corey and the Angels March 18 outside at Maloney’s Irish Pub on 72nd St. — maybe the strangest show of the year. Joining Corey Feldman and Digital Leather will be Thick Paint and Glow in the Dark (new project featuring Aaron Gum). It’s a $30 ticket, but who can put a price on memories that could last a lifetime?