Nebraska to reopen venues; Live Review: No Thanks; Mercy Rule / Sideshow panel tonight; Little Brazil, Noah’s Ark Saturday; RIP Kyle Tonniges…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:33 pm May 22, 2020
No Thanks streamed live from the Slowdown main stage May 21, 2020.

Well, what did I tell you yesterday? As if on cue a few hours after I posted, Ricketts announced bars and lounges can reopen June 1 with the same rules now applied to restaurants. That is: 25 people allowed in the venue, or 50 percent of the venue’s rated occupancy. Patrons have to be seated at tables that are located six feet apart with no more than six people per table. And there must be six feet between entertainers and patrons.

I got this backwards. See CLARIFICATION posted right here.

If it sounds confusing it’s because it is, but I’m sure it’ll all be spelled out before June 1. For example, does the 25-person cap include employees and bands? Do you include employee/band numbers in the 50 percent occupancy restriction? And so on…

So if I’m hearing this correctly, a venue like The Waiting Room or Slowdown could only host shows with a maximum of 25 people in the audience (if employees/bands are excluded from the overall venue count). and even though they’re much smaller, The Brothers and O’Leaver’s also could host the same body count since their capacity exceeds 100.

Any way you slice it, it’s going to be a giant pain in the ass for venue owners who will be responsible for monitoring all those numbers. Some of them might decide to just stay closed until restrictions are loosened even further, and I can’t blame them.

Would I go to a rock show at any of those venues the first week of June? Yeah, I would, but judging from what I’ve seen in social media, I’m in the minority.

For example, I would have loved to have been among the 25 allowed in to watch last night’s No Thanks / Marcey Yates show streamed live from The Slowdown.

It probably would have been like this: I’d have been seated at a table (probably by myself) and I’d would have worn a mask though I haven’t heard any stipulation saying that’s required. That said, I have no problem wearing a mask as long as I could pull down my gator to drink my Rolling Rock(s).

Last night’s show was outstanding. Technically it was next-level as far as streamed concerts are concerned — terrific sound (by Dan Brennan), and video (from Love Drunk’s Django Greenblatt-Seay and his crew) utilizing at least five cameras.

And the performances were terrific. But the one thing missing was an audience — something even more apparent during No Thanks’ set, which had silent pauses between songs where the crowd usually fills in the spaces. Toward the end of the stream, the crew threw in a few whoops and hollers, which was better than nothing.

Yates was accompanied by a DJ and keyboard player as well as a couple additional vocalists — all of them on point and smooth. You can see why he’s on top of Omaha’s hip-hop ladder.

No Thanks did their usual sweaty set, using the occasion to roll out a couple new red hot numbers from an upcoming album (which, yes, they might as well release right now instead of waiting).

Next up on the Slowdown streaming concert series (of which there are two gigs) is tomorrow night (Saturday), when Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship plays with Little Brazil. Any other time, this concert would be a sloppy, drunken good time. Can these bands deliver in an empty auditorium? Find out. Tickets are $5 (plus whatever tip you want to add). The show is scheduled to start at 8:15, though last night’s started at 8:30 (You really notice the extra time when you’re staring at a computer screen). Get your tickets here.

Also happening this weekend — tonight to be exact — is a virtual round table with members of Domestica, Mercy Rule and Sideshow. It’s called Nebraska Music History: Episode 1, presented by Nebraska Performing Arts Hall of Fame. I’m sure we’ll be hearing all about the golden age of Nebraska indie rock born in the early ‘90s from two of the bands that were there. Mercy Rule and Sideshow not only recorded and toured around the country, they often toured together. Expect to hear some gnarly war stories. The program starts at 7 p.m. and is being streamed via Facebook from here.



Finally, yesterday we lost a good one. Kyle Tonniges was a friend of mine who I met working at The Reader. He was one of the funniest, most acerbic, smartest people I ever met, and one hell of a great writer. His music criticism was always spot-on — I know he introduced a lot of readers to new sounds. He went on to write reviews for Publishers Weekly (focusing on cookbooks), where he also did a lot of interviews. He battled cancer like the hero he was, but it got him in the end, and we’re all the lesser for it. He will be missed.



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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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When will Omaha bars reopen? New music: Eddy Mink; Pagan Athletes; No Thanks, Marcey Yates tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:40 pm May 21, 2020

No Thanks at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 2, 2019. The band plays a live streamed showcase tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We’re all still sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting to hear when bars are going to be allowed to reopen, especially after Iowa announced a 50 percent capacity reopening starting next Thursday (May 28).

If you’re like me and you’re watching the various and sundry COVID-19 reports/charts/graphs, the numbers seem to be flattening or headed downwards in Nebraska. Meanwhile, flip through Facebook and you’ll quickly find numbers that say Douglas County is still red hot — cases continue to rise, but so do tests. And yet, I’ve still (luckily) yet to know anyone who has tested positive (or know anyone who knows anyone who has).

With the Nebraska DHM (Directed Heath Measures) proclamation expiring June 1, I foresee we’ll be getting an announcement regarding bars reopening sometime in the next week. If they follow Iowa’s lead and allow for a 50 percent capacity reopening, will you be willing to return that first week of June?

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New music continues to be released even during the shutdown.

The long-awaited new album by Eddy Mink (a.k.a. Kerry Eddy), Open Container Heart Surgery, dropped last week on Spotify and other streaming services.

Recorded at ARC with Ben Brodin in March 2018 with Ben Armstrong on drums/keys, Patrick Hargon on guitar, baritone guitar and pedal steel and Eddy on guitar and vocals, it’s one of my favorite local releases so far for 2020. Eddy has a bright, aggressive voice that’s like hearing one of the Wilson sisters (Heart) fronting a modern indie rock band. The songs gallop on a rhythm section whose bass lines lead the way (see standout tracks “Eaten Alive,” opener “Alarms”).

I’m including a Spotify link below because the band doesn’t have a Bandcamp page (though you can find the entire album here on YouTube).

The Wolf Brothers of Griffin and Nathan are sons of local rock royalty — John Wolf — but that’s not why you should check out their new four-song EP Live at the DN. The drums/synth combo’s recordings are jittery sonic acid trips of rhythm and noise. Call it electro-punk annihilation, or the soundtrack to your personal COVID nightmare.

* * *

The doors are closed tonight at The Slowdown but there’s still a rock show happening on the big stage, and you’re invited to tune in via the internet.

Punk rock show-stoppers No Thanks and hip-hop master Marcey Yates (a.k.a. Op2mus) are the first to be featured in a new live stream experiment at Slowdown. With house sound guy Dan Brennan and renowned videographer Django Greenblatt-Seay behind the controls, this is sure to be a next-level streaming experience.

And it ain’t free. Tickets are $5 (though you can donate more) with the cash going to the talent involved. Ticket holders will receive a link to the event both 48 hours and 10 minutes prior to the event. Performances begin at 8:15 sharp. More info and tickets available here.

It’s the next best thing to going to a rock show. See you there…

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live review Benson Days and Marcey Yates; Wavves tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:44 pm August 1, 2016

Marcey Yates at Burke's Pub as part of Benson After Dark, July 29, 2016

Marcey Yates at Burke’s Pub as part of Benson After Dark, July 30, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Benson’s getting crazy. Saturday night’s Benson After Dark crowds were impressive, but activity on the streets was over the top. But it’s getting that way almost every weekend in Benson. Now if they could just figure out a way to get a little biz in the daylight hours.

Here’s another observation from this weekend: For the first time I can remember, Benson Days worked. After the parade, Maple Street from down by the post office up to the Masonic Lodge was lined with tents and food trucks (maybe the most food trucks I’ve seen at one Omaha event). Hundreds of people crowded the streets. It was… surprising, exciting. When I came back later that afternoon, around 3 p.m., the crowds were still hanging on.

I have no idea if Benson After Dark was a success because the bars would probably have been jam-packed anyway. The venue where I spent a couple hours — Burke’s Pub — had a steady stream of people paying to hear the music.

I hung out at Burke’s not only because my wife was working the door, but because Marcey Yates was on the line-up. Actually, I’m not positive the project is called “Marcey Yates.” Op2mus? The Dilla Kids? Stdnt Body? All those names were used at one point.

The group consisted of a drummer, bass player and two guys with microphones, one of whom controlled samples. Not every song used a sample; some merely featured bass and drum and voices. That minimal, spare production gave them breathing room for the rhythms and backing track.

On a musical level, Yates’ is enticing. Warm, subtle rapping atop the beats. It’s a pleasure to see live instruments at a hip-hop show rather than someone yelling over pre-recorded tracks. The rap flowed smooth from one man to the next; and the room bounced  with the rhythm. The drawback (for me, anyway) was I couldn’t make out a word either of the rappers were saying. I could hear them just fine, rhythmically they were a smooth force, but the meaning was lost, and that’s a shame.

I need to hear and understand the words to get to the next level. Maybe not “understand” as much as comprehend what’s being said. My favorite hip hop (and it’s a short list) has easily recognizable lyrics that take me to wherever the artist is living. Kendrick, for example, can race along at a furious pace and I can still make out every word. Friday night the lyrics were lost on me. Maybe it was the PA, though this morning I’m listening to some of Yates’ Bandcamp stuff and while the production is first class it’s still a struggle to catch all the rhymes.

But I love the groove. So much so I’m contemplating hitting up this Friday night’s New Generation Music Festival at Aksarben Village featuring the Dilla Kids (Marcey Yates and XOBOI). Read more about the event in today’s Hear Nebraska blog entry.

* * *

Wavves returns to The Waiting Room tonight. Seems like the band is making Omaha a regular tour stop. This is the fourth time they’ve played here, if my math is correct (2011, 2013, Maha 2015). Tonight they’re playing with Philly act Steep Leans (Ghost Ramp Records) and Party Baby. $23, 8 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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