Ten Questions with Gringo Star (at O’Leaver’s tonight); Maha review online (finally); Better Friend at Femme Fest…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:08 pm September 6, 2016
Gringo Star plays at O'Leaver's tonight...

Gringo Star plays at O’Leaver’s tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Atlanta 4-piece Gringo Star is keeping alive the sound their grand-parents adored — ’50s and ’60 rock ‘n’ roll.

“Our grandad started out in radio in the ’40s and ’50s in Columbus, GA.,” said Nick Furgiueles, who started Gringo Star with his brother, Peter, in 2007. “He was a huge promoter of R&B back when it was still super segregated, and he was playing black music and putting on shows with Little Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers, a lot of Gospel shows. So we grew up hearing all these stories, listening to all this music. Our grandfather was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame posthumously. And my grandma — all her photo albums are like Jackie Wilson shirtless backstage, hanging out.”

The sounds of those AM gems reverberate in Gringo Star’s modern take on classic rock infused in surf, garage, doo-wap and psychedelic. The band’s been playing around with indie brethren like The Black Angels, Wavves and Best Coast for years, then at SXSW they caught the attention of Nevado Music execs who put out their new album, The Sides and In Between, just last week. Hear the band play it live tonight at O’Leaver’s.

I sent the Gringos the ol’ Ten Questions survey and Nick was kind enough to fill it out.

1. What is your favorite album?

Nick Furgiueles: David Bowie- Ziggy Stardust

2. What is your least favorite song?

Everything by Fleetwood Mac

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Doing interviews

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Doing interviews

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

The jalapeño.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Bacup, England

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Savannah, GA, we recently played a daytime show that was outside and it was no cooler than 108.  And the stage was in the sun.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Usually I write a check.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I always wanted to be a professional baseball player, but I’d hate to be a police man, having to constantly ticket and leech off the public to maintain the war machine.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

In 1879 the trial of Standing Bear v. Crook was held at Fort Omaha. During the trial General Crook testified on behalf of Standing Bear, leading the court to recognize American Indians as persons. This was the first time this occurred in a U.S. Federal Court.

Gringo Star joins Hussies and Eklectica tonight at O’Leaver’s, 1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd. Entry is $8, show starts at 9 p.m. For more information, go to liveatoleavers.com.

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Hey, remember that festival that took place a few weeks ago called Maha? Well, I went to it and wrote this long-ish review for everyone’s favorite arts and music alternative monthly, The Reader. And now that review is finally online. No, this isn’t Throwback Thursday, and yet here I am, asking you to step into the Wayback Machine and read my thoughts and ruminations about Nebraska’s premiere one-day indie music festival. Of course if you prefer the analog version, you can pick up the latest issue of The Reader, which is on news racks ’round town.

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Better Friend at The Sydney during Benson First Friday Femme Fest, Sept. 2, 2015.

Better Friend at The Sydney during Benson First Friday Femme Fest, Sept. 2, 2015.

Speaking of festivals, I swung by Benson First Friday Femme Fest last week for a drop in on Lincoln band Better Friend at The Sydney (seein’ as they came highly recommended by a certain executive at Hear Nebraska). Fronted by vocalist Meghan Munyon the band cranked out a rough but lively set of dark rock they describe as punk on their Facebook page, though I think leans more toward mid ’90s-era emo (as opposed to, say, ’80s-era emo — there is a distinction (at least in my book)). Munyon is a howler in a sort of Thalia Zedek vein, and when one of her guitarists adds a layer of scream/screech vocals, the emo turns to screamo. The crowd of around 30 seemed into it, and there’s  a lot of buzz about these folks, though I think we’re just seeing where they’re starting off. Where they go next, well, now that could be very intriguing…

As for Femme Fest, there’s little doubt that the annual event (in its second year) has surely become “a thing” that will continue for years 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Live Review: The Thermals at Slowdown Jr.; the reluctant expatriates (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:50 pm May 9, 2016
The Thermals at Slowdown Jr., May 6, 2016.

The Thermals at Slowdown Jr., May 6, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

So why aren’t The Thermals more popular? They’ve been putting out solid, albeit by-the-numbers indie rock albums for 13 years on established labels Sub Pop, Kill Rock Stars and now our very own Saddle Creek, touring incessantly the entire time. Their meat-and potatoes anthems sport a sly, cynical message and are catchy and fun.

And yet here they were Friday night playing to a less-than-capacity crowd in Slowdown Jr. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand the music business. How do bands get to that next level? At they very least they play like these guys. Performing as a four-piece, The Thermals ran through their set list very matter-of-factly, rolling out one song after the next, giving frontman Hutch Harris just enough time to make the crowd laugh with his snappy between-song patter. Clever, funny, his comments are the embodiment of Portlandia (actually funnier).

The band rolled out a number of songs off their latest album, We Disappear (2016, Saddle Creek) that fit right in with everything else. If there’s a nit to pick it’s that their music lacks variety in pace, tone, dynamics, but maybe that’s just the nature of this style of indie rock. Or maybe that’s what’s holding them back.

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The new issue of The Reader is out, which includes this month’s installment of Over the Edge. The topic: Where are you moving to once Trump wins the election? Find it on newsstands around town or read it online right here. Also in this issue, my recent blog entry concerning this year’s Maha Music Festival (which you can read right 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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