Milk Run headed to Midtown Art Supply basement; Pleasures, Wolf Dealer, Andy Shauf, David Nance tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:44 pm March 29, 2017

A photo of the Midtown Art Supply basement taken in November 2014. Milk Run is slated to move to this space starting Friday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The mystery has been solved. Milk Run, which left its old Leavenworth St. location last month, has moved to Midtown Art Supply, 2578 Harney St. This according to a post on Facebook:

Starting March 31st, Milk Run will operate in the basement of Midtown Art Supply. After looking at several different spaces, MAS’s modified skatepark basement was the best choice for us. We are excited to continue as an independent entity, but this time alongside the gracious MAS crew. Our first show is this Friday, March 31st, with Atlas, Dereck Higgins Experience, Mint Wad Willy, and Jack McLaughlin!

Former Milk Run operator Sam Parker confirmed the move. The cavernous basement has been used in the past for secret raves and other sordid events. Here’s a description of that space from a Nov. 26, 2014 Lazy-i entry:

“…While the (upstairs) performance space isn’t much to look at, the interior of this building is cavernous and covered with eye-popping graffiti — huge spray-painted murals, which might explain the headache-inducing acrylic smell that hung over the back rooms. The building continues down into a basement where a skateboard ramp leaned against a wall. Down it went to another huge space broken up by support poles where I was told massive thousand-person raves had been held in years past. Another opening led to a blackened room filled with hundreds of doors leaning in stacks against each other. I was told there were more passages somewhere through the darkness that led who knows where…”

If my memory servers, access to the space could provide some interesting challenges. I guess we’ll  find out Friday night…

* * *

Pleasures at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 6, 2016. The band plays tonight at Pet Shop Gallery in Benson.

Here’s one that’s been flying under the radar happening tonight: Florida psych-rock band Pleasures headlines at Pet Shop Gallery (the old Sweatshop performance space at 2725 No. 62nd St. in Benson). The band played O’Leaver’s last August. At that show, “The four-piece drenched everything in technology, from the guitar, which was run though an onslaught of pedals, to the the stack of synths to Katherine Kelly’s vocals that were twisted and stretched and strangled by synths and vocoders and pedals all night. The music dripped in a haze of buzzing distortion cut through by a top-notch rhythm section that kept things grounded and rocking.”

Just like at that August show, Universe Contest will be opening tonight. Joining them is Wolf Dealer, which I’m warned could be their last show for awhile. There’s no price listed for this show, still, you better bring at least $3 to get in (could be more). No time listed, either. I’d get there around 9.

Also tonight, singer/songwriter Canadian Andy Shauf (Anti-, Arts & Crafts) headlines at Reverb Lounge. David Nance opens. $12, 9 p.m.

* * *

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

Live Review: Landlady, Thick Paint; Milk Run moving locations…

Category: Column,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:45 pm February 13, 2017

Landlady at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 10, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Friday night’s Landlady show will likely go down as my first top-5 music moment of 2017. Fronted by Adam Schatz a.k.a. Brown Sugar of the band Man Man, the five-piece played a striking set of proggy indie rock that recalled Schatz’s other band and, for me any ways, acts like Les Savy Fav and Head of Femur. Landlady’s sound is inventive without being disjointed, melodic but sonically adventurous. And there’s nothing quite like Schatz’ voice, a high, cooing nasal delivery that bounces and jumps along with the acidic, almost afrobeat-style rhythms.

Drummer Ian Chang is one of the best stickmen I’ve seen under O’Leaver’s record collection, a marvel of poly-rhythms, he kept the sound boiling as Schatz and company rifled through a set of tunes off the bands’ last couple of albums. Highlights were a raging version of standout tracks “Electric Abdomen” and “Driving in California,” both off stellar new album The World Is a Loud Place (Hometapes, 2017).

At set’s end, Schatz brought up a small horn section, who stayed for the epic closer, a 10-plus-minute performance of “Above My Ground” where-in Schatz climbed above the crowd, leading them in a chorus of “Always, always, always…” that built to a climatic release. Well, you can see and hear for yourself in the following clip recorded from my phone for Facebook Live.

I’m told this was one of first times that opening act Thick Paint has performed as a full-blown band. Joining Graham Patrick Ulicny was a second guitarist, Icky Blossoms’ Sarah Boehling on bass, and two drummers.

Thick Paint at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 10, 2017.

The product was proggy goodness reminiscent of early Talking Heads. Like Schatz, Ulicny has a unique, high-end voice like no one else around here. The only set-back was that the band only played four songs because they’re so new together. We all want more, Mr. Ulicny.

* * *

More about the above video: I am, again, pleasantly surprised at the audio quality one can capture from a handheld iPhone 7. I figured the mics would be blown out, but this doesn’t sound bad at all.

I had someone tell me I should do these iPhone recordings at every show. I don’t for a number of reasons, the first being it’s probably illegal, at least without the band’s permission. Second is that it’s got to be rather annoying for the band to see some guy holding a camera while they’re playing. And third, I’d rather just enjoy the music. Still, if I can sneak one song onto Facebook Live by bands that I know won’t mind, I will. Follow me at facebook.com/mcmahan.

* * *

Arbor Labor Union at Milk Run May 28, 2016.

Word went out over the weekend that Milk Run is leaving its current location at 1907 Leavenworth. In fact, this weekend’s shows were the last at that specific venue, which hosted its first show Nov. 6, 2015.

Sam Parker, one of the founders of Milk Run, confirmed the rumor, saying the all-ages performance space will move to a new location with cheaper rent.

“It’ll be before the end of of the month. Possibly as early as this week,” Parker said. “It’ll be in the midtown area.”

Tried as I might, I could not pry the new location out of Parker. He said the owners will make an announcement this week “when they’re ready.” He did say the new space will be “roughly the same size” as the old Milk Run space. He also said expect the same sort of progressive, indie-flavored bookings.

Milk Run is one of the few places in town that consistently books out-of-town indie, post-punk and progressive bands. I was hoping the new place would be a tad larger than the crackerbox space on Leavenworth. We shall see soon enough…

* * *

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

Live Review: Daughter; Zipline joins the Slowdown complex; Milk Run under new management…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 2:17 pm November 21, 2016
Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s the same ol’ question: How does a show headlined by a band like Daughter sell out Slowdown’s big room?

The band releases music on respected though somewhat small indie label 4AD. Needless to say, Daughter gets zero airplay locally. In fact, before I headed down to Slowdown Saturday night I double-checked to see if the show wasn’t slated for the small room. When I arrived at 9 p.m., a line stretched all the way past Film Streams. Where did all these people come from? Granted, Daughter is a remarkable indie band, but since when does that translate to sell-out crowds?

The North London 4-piece, fronted by Hepburn-esque lead singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, plays hypnotic, chiming shoe-gaze rock that recalls a broad range of post-punk acts from My Bloody Valentine to The xx. Tonra’s clear, ringing voice can turn ferocious on a dime, sort of like a modern-day Sinead, singing dark songs drenched in loss and loneliness. Take a song like 2012’s “Smother,” that starts with, “I’m wasted, losing Time / I’m a foolish, fragile spine,” and ends with “I sometimes wish I’d stayed inside my mother / Never to come out.” How much bleaker can they get?

That lyrical bleakness is tempered by a dark power and broad dynamics — some songs start off with just Tonra and a keyboard, and quickly rise to a Mogwai-esque rock symphony. Drummer Remi Aguilella was amazing, pounded the kit with mallets, while guitarist Igor Haefeli rattled the rafters. Their performance was powered by a first-rate light show — a combination of spots and strobes and dense colors — gorgeous stuff.

While I listened I thought about all the ’90s British shoegaze acts I never saw perform live, and wondered if this was what they were like, and thought about how how fortunate I was to be able to see this band at the height of their powers.

* * *

A couple quick notes…

Last week Zipline Brewing announced that it is opening a new location in the old Saddle Creek Shop space next to The Slowdown and Film Streams. It’s not just the Creek shop, it’s also the old Saddle Creek warehouse space, so it’s actually pretty huge.

Saddle Creek used to be officed in the same space, but recently moved their offices back upstairs to a co-working space shared by Hear Nebraska and the folks from Maha Music Festival. All their warehouse stuff was moved off site to a different warehouse.

So now you’ll be able to buy booze at Slowdown, Tap Room, and Zipline. It’s like No Do is trying to compete with Benson, but with newer buildings. We’re beginning to see the vision for that part of town become reality, albeit almost 10 years after the Slowdown complex was built. Better late than never.

* * *

milkrun

Milk Run

Did anyone else get a barrage of notices in their Facebook inbox this past weekend notifying them of people “rating” Milk Run? The fact that the tiny club is under new management might have something to do with it.

Milk Run made the announcement via Facebook yesterday. There are three new managers, while See Through Dresses’ Sara Bertuldo will continue to help book it along with Myer Stevens. Milk Run co-creator, Sam Parker, “will be stepping back from direct operations to pursue exciting new projects in the coming year,” according to the post. Parker also works at Hi-Fi House, which has hosted a steady slew of shows and events the past few weeks.

Hear Nebraska has a little more about the management changes here. If you haven’t been to a show at Milk Run, do yourself the favor. They’ve got a big one coming up this Friday night when Sad13 (Sadie from Speedy Ortiz) headlines with Mannequin Pussy and Vagabon. I’m actually surprised the show hasn’t sold out yet, considering the club’s limited capacity.

* * *

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

Under the Radar Festival kicks off; Milk Run double header (Conny Franko, The Bricks) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:41 pm July 6, 2016
A frame from the Studio Fackler film "One Day, One Month, One Year," which premiers Saturday night at Kaneko as part of the Under the Radar Festival.

A frame from the Studio Fackler film “One Day, One Month, One Year,” featuring members of the .tbd dance collective. The film premiers Saturday, July 23 at Kaneko.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The third annual Under the Radar Festival kicks off tonight at Project Project, 1818 Vinton St. I don’t know what Project Project is, nor do I know much about this festival, which runs through Saturday at venues around downtown. But I guess that’s why they call it “under the radar.”

The event describes itself as an annual “experimental performance” festival. “We emphasize non-commercial and independently created work, and work that represents under-represented ideas and identities,” says the website. Performers come from all over the country to take part. The common denominator is “avant garde,” which is a rarity (and a tough sell) in Omaha.

One of the highlights is a show being held at The Slowdown Saturday night that features the .tbd dance collective.

Another festival highlight is Thursday night at House of Loom where a handful of electronic musicians will perform, capped off by Dereck Higgins, the local legend who should add “hardest working man in the biz” to his unofficial title. Higgins is in at least four bands the last time I counted (including the sublime Chemicals).

And Friday night Milk Run holds the UTR court with a show featuring Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes).

Full festival details, ticket info and schedules are available at http://www.undertheradaromaha.com/.

* * *

Speaking of Milk Run, tonight the tiny club on Leavenworth is hosting two shows simultaneously. Minneapolis punk act Fucking headlines with Conny Franko (a.k.a. Conchance of M34n Str33t fame), Flak and CBN over in the tiny side, while The Bricks headlines in the art gallery side with Kate Berreckman Sam Vicari and Lincoln’s Scott Severin. The shows are $5 each and start at 9 p.m.

* * *

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

Sam Parker’s running Milk Run (with a little help from his friends); live review: Outer Spaces; Blitzen Trapper tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:48 pm June 27, 2016
Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016.

Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First, let’s put a capstone on last week’s question about who’s running Milk Run. Sam Parker, who was at Friday night’s Milk Run show, made it clear he’s still very much involved with the venue. He’s enlisted members from a few local punk bands (No Thanks and See Through Dresses among them) to help run shows. And that Facebook post asking for people to help book the room was merely a way to give others an opportunity to try their hand at the show promotion game.

Parker will continue to book Milk Run, along with his promo company Perpetual Nerves. In fact, Parker mentioned a couple interesting upcoming shows at Milk Run that have yet to be announced, so stay tuned. Missing from the equation is Chris Aponick, who Parker said has stepped away from both Milk Run and Perpetual Nerves for personal reasons.

If that wasn’t enough, Parker, who also works at the mysterious Hi-Fi House, has been über busy working on yet another exciting live music project, which you will hear about shortly.

Friday night’s Milk Run show was held not in the micro-sized music room, but the adjacent, larger art gallery. They made the move because the AC in the small room was on the fritz. One reason shows haven’t been held in the gallery was fear of the acoustics — it’s a bigger room with a tin ceiling — but bouncing sound wasn’t a problem for this show. Even with their smallish PA, the room sounded pretty good.

So did Outer Spaces. The Baltimore four-piece (looks like they added a new bassist) played a short, sweet set of songs from their just released album, A Shedding Snake (2016, Don Giovanni). On that record, frontwoman/guitarist Cara Beth Satalino has a voice that at times is the spitting image of Edie Brickell’s, at other times she reminds me of Maria Taylor, whereas my wife think she sounds like Anna Waronker (That Dog). Performing live, Satalino has a simple, quiet quality all her own on songs that are classic ’90s-style indie. The live set was more laid-back than what you get on the record, which is one of my favorites from the first half of the year.

I told Parker he should use that gallery space for shows more often. In addition to sounding good, it was more comfortable, with plenty of room to move around. No doubt the room’s capacity is twice as much as the small room, and concerns that the gallery would feel empty during small shows was unfounded. Friday night’s show felt well-attended even though only 15 or 20 people were in the audience.

Find out for yourself tonight when Austin band Pale Dīan plays at Milk Run, a band whose music has been described as “dreamy swirling melodic sounds inspired by classic 4AD artists like Cocteau Twins and Lush.” Shrinks and Hiraeth open. Price ranges from $5 to $7 (you pick). Show starts at 9

The Pale Dian show has been cancelled.

 

Also tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Portland-based indie folk group Blitzen Trapper (Vagrant, Sub Pop). Opening is Frontier Ruckus. $18, 8 p.m.

* * *

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

Who’s booking Milk Run? Outer Spaces tonight; Love Cop Saturday; Peter Bjorn and John Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:25 pm June 24, 2016
Outer Spaces play Milk Run tonight...

Outer Spaces play Milk Run tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This is the first time I’ve ever said this, but: It looks like it’s going to be another Milk Run weekend.

The tiny venue on Leavenworth is hosting touring indie rock shows Friday and Saturday night. And the weird thing about it: Milk Run is kinda/sorta rudderless these days. I’m not sure who’s running the show, based on the following message posted on their Facebook page:

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could start booking local shows? Bringing your favorite touring bands to your favorite local venue? Milk Run is going to give you the opportunity to do just that. We are looking for 3-5 people to curate 3-5 shows a month. Your bands, your show, your night. If you are interested in learning more email milkrunomaha@gmail.com

Is this in addition to the folks currently booking Milk Run? I’ve been told by a number of sources that management of Milk Run changed a few weeks ago. I’m not sure who is running it these days. I have a message out to Sam Parker, who, as far as I know, is still associated with the all-ages venue. Well, whoever it is, they have a couple red-hot shows going on this weekend.

Tonight, Baltimore band Outer Spaces headlines. The trio released a few EPs and a single on mighty Matador Records prior to their debut LP, A Shedding Snake, on Don Giovanni Records. The opening line-up is stacked with Thick Paint, Anna McClellan and Fullbloods. $8, 9 p.m.

Saturday night at Milk Run Portland psych rockers Love Cop headlines. They’ve got releases on Burger and Lollipop Records. It’s another stacked line-up with Well Aimed Arrows, Funeral Gold and AllSortsOfGood. $7, 9 p.m.

Last I heard, Milk Run’s AC was on the fritz. If that’s still the case, it could be a couple hot, stinky nights.

There are other shows going on this weekend.

Tonight Wichita band The Travel Guide plays at fabulous O’Leavers with Timecat and Fake Plants. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday night, Brothers is hosting experimentalist Bill Nace (half of the duo Body/Head with Kim Gordon ) & Jake Meginsky, Screaming Plastic and Big Slur. 9 p.m. start. I don’t see a price on this, but it’s probably at least $5.

Also Saturday night Uh Oh opens for White Wolf T-shirt and Des Moines band Pets with Human Names at O’Leaver’s. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Of course Sunday night is the Peter Bjorn and John concert at The Waiting Room (which I already wrote about here). All Young Girls Are Machine Guns opens at 8 p.m. $20.

Also Sunday night, Paul McCartney’s son, James McCartney, plays at Reverb Lounge with Tara Vaughan. 8 p.m., $15.

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

* * *

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

Goodbye, Prince… Maha Festival line-up announced tonight; Milk Run’s first sell out; 10 Questions with Frankie Cosmos…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm April 21, 2016
Far too young to die...

Far too young to die…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

CNN just now at 12:30 confirmed that Prince has died. It’s the only news that matters today.

* * *

Tonight’s the Maha Music folks will announce the line-up for the 2016 festival, to be held Aug. 20 in Stinson Park.

Here’s the deal: I and my friends in the media already know who’s playing. We received an embargoed press release last week and were told to keep mum until after the big announcement event, which takes place tonight at Reverb Lounge from 6 to 7:30. I think it’s fair to say you’re going to be surprised at what you hear.

They’ve been sending out clues this week via their instagram page (@mahafestival),  but the best clue comes from the mahamusicfestival.com website.

“Maha’s got a great beat. You can totally dance to it. Even if the only part of your body moving is your eyebrows, it really doesn’t matter so long as something’s moving and music’s playing. Dust off those dancing shoes and start working on your Maha moves.” 

The implication is that Maha will be booking dance-focused acts this year. I’ll leave that up to you as to whether that description fits the line-up. More than that, I cannot say, other than to swing by the Reverb event tonight, which is free. And if you can’t, well, just watch social media. I’ll let you know what I think about the line-up tomorrow, right here.

* * *

Why am I not surprised that the April 24 Frankie Cosmos concert at Milk Run has already sold out? Forget that Cosmos’ new album, Next Thing (Bayonet, 2016), received a “Best New Music” rating from Pitchfork, and the fact that Milk Run only holds about 100 people.

Instead, consider the overall line-up for Sunday’s show. In addition to Cosmos there’s Eskimeaux, whose new album, Year of the Rabbit, just earned a 6.8 on Pitchfork; Yowler, whose new album, The Office, just gained an 8.0 Pitchfork rating (and features Maryn Jones, who just played Milk Run with All Dogs), and Omaha’s own Anna McClellan, one of the hottest new singer/songwriters on the local scene. All for $10.

Yeah, I know it’s a Sunday, but it starts at 7 and should be done by 11 if Milk Run has its act together. This show marks the first “official” sell out of Milk Run, though I’m told that their recent Bib / Lemonade show drew a larger-than-sell-out crowd. Consider yourself lucky if you got a ticket.

All that said, let’s promote this sold out show a little more…

Frankie Cosmo plays at Milk Run Sunday, April 24.

Frankie Cosmos plays at Milk Run Sunday, April 24.

Frankie Cosmos is Greta Kline, a NYC singer/songwriter/rocker who writes, sings and performs heartbeat-powered indie rock that recalls the best of K Records. That’s a shorthand way of saying her music is mostly quiet soul-searching personal love songs with a kick deftly supplied by a first-rate band that includes Aaron Maine of the band Porches.

It should be added (for the record) that Greta is the daughter of Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates, which, one might say, doesn’t matter, but let’s face it, it does. You can’t grow up in that house surrounded by those people without having some talent rub off on you. It also shouldn’t matter that Pitchfork gave her latest album, Next Thing (Bayonet, 2016) an 8.5 rating and a “Best New Music” designation, but it does, because, let’s face it, lots of people read Pitchfork. All of this is part of the reason Sunday night’s show at Milk Run is sold out (that, and the fact that Milk Run is only slightly larger than my closet).

I asked Frankie a.k.a. Greta to take our Ten Questions survey and here’s what she had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Frankie Cosmos: One Foot In The Grave by Beck

2. What is your least favorite song?

I don’t usually listen to music that I don’t like so I don’t really know, but we listened to “Hoes in My Room” by Ludacris in the car today and it was pretty awful.

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

Connecting with my bandmates when we play together.

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

Getting sick or feeling emotionally drained on tour sometimes.

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

Dogs or water.

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

New York (my home)

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

No such thing as a bad gig. Our weirdest ever was in Fargo ND but it was still awesome.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Touring, and selling records and stuff.

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

I’d like to attempt teaching. I would hate to be an astronaut cause it’s like touring times a zillion (in terms of being away from home and out of ur element)

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

Yo I heard that Anna McClellan is from there. That’s a pretty good story.

Frankie Cosmos plays with Eskimeaux, Yowler and Anna McClellan Sunday, April 24, at Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth St. Showtime is 9 p.m. The show is SOLD OUT. For more information, visit facebook.com/milkrunomaha

* * *

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

Live Review: High Up, Big Harp, Timecat and a night at Milk Run…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:34 pm December 1, 2015

HighUp112815by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Welp, things got out of hand yesterday so this didn’t get posted! Here you go (better late than never?)…

It was one of those holiday crowds you expect to see during Thanksgiving weekend. Despite the fact that The Good Life was headlining at The Slowdown Saturday night — and I love The Good Life — our plan was to catch the openers and then drive across downtown to check out Milk Run and its new art gallery, which was having its grand opening.

We got in at around 8:45 and got a table in the bar nearest the stage. High Up came on right at 9, the full ensemble kicked into one of their bluesier numbers that got the attention of the smallish crowd standing in the bowl. Frontwoman Christine Fink, a fireball of manic energy, told the crowd after the first song that everyone on stage was sick, then added that she just totaled her car. And with that, they went right into the next number.

Maybe everyone was sick but you couldn’t tell from the performance. Christine directed that golden voice of hers with the usual bombastic energy, and sang with panache the band’s brand of golden blues, emoting in a way that the late Joe Cocker would admire — all jerky moves and pained expression, with a little James Brown shake thrown in to make it ultra-groovy. Fink is one of those rare performers who you can’t take your eyes off of, belting out each number as if she’s singing right to you… or at you.

About half-way through the set it was clear she wasn’t feeling the best. She pulled out a handkerchief from her back pocket and swabbed the sweat from her face, offering to dry off bassist Josh Soto’s own dew-covered melon. He passed, but she did it later in the set anyway.

The band ended in a blaze of glory playing the single “Two Weeks” — a favorite of 2015 — and left the stage in a roar, winning over yet another crowd. High Up is closing out the year on a high note as the most talked-about band to emerge from the Omaha music scene in recent years. So who’s going to release their inevitable full-length? Saddle Creek could certainly use another show pony in its stable.

 

Big Harp at The Slowdown, Nov. 28, 2015

Big Harp at The Slowdown, Nov. 28, 2015

If you haven’t heard by now, the once folky Big Harp has a brand new bag. The trio, which features the Chris Senseney, his wife Stefanie Drootin-Senseney and drummer extraordinaire Daniel Ocanto, went electric with their last album — the cassette-digital release Waveless (Majestic Litter, 2015) — and haven’t looked back. I overheard their new style described as psych rock, but it’s more of a garage rock / post-punk hybrid. Songs off Waveless would have fit in nicely on Frank Black’s earlier albums — a mix of solid melodies and heavy-rhythms but not afraid to take a proggy turn.

Chris’ golden bray — the chief asset on Big Harp’s earlier albums — is just as comfortable on these brittle melodies, though it’s the frenetic, propulsive rhythm section that’s driving the band these days. These songs are jitter bombs of nervous energy. How long will the trio commit to this style of rock, or will they eventually fall back into the sleepy folk style where it all began? Here’s hoping they stay their current course (but not forget their past).

Timecat at Milk Run, Nov. 28, 2015.

Timecat at Milk Run, Nov. 28, 2015.

By the time we left Slowdown the club had filled nicely, but was far from a sell out. I’m told the number was around 350, which is a bit light for a Good Life show. Holidays, maybe? It was off to Milk Run next, but before we got there, a quick stop to pick up libations. Milk Run, located at 1907 Leavenworth (right next to Shuck’s seafood restaurant), is an all-ages venue that doesn’t sell booze but let’s you bring your own. We stopped at All Nations on 24th Street, an old-fashioned neighborhood liquor store, and picked up a couple quarts that had made a long trip from across the border — my Modelo Especial and Teresa’s Corona.

The 0709 Art Gallery, looking from back to front.

The 0709 Art Gallery.

We pulled into the parking lot behind the building and made our way into the fenced-in back area that connects the Milk Run venue with the 0709 Art Gallery — the name apparently a play on the addresses (Milk Run is 1907, the gallery is 1909). It is a huge space for an art gallery, and seemed even larger due to the limited number of pieces in the current show, “American Dizzy” by Collin Pietz of the band Fake Plants.

Part of the plan for the gallery space is to have showings consisting of art created by members of bands playing next door at Milk Run, highlighting the full creative spectrum of these talented musicians/artists. A noble mission indeed.

Next, we made our way through the revelers chilling outside and entered Milk Run. It’s amazing the difference a fresh coat of paint can make. The tiny venue was patterned in white and black vertical panels, sure to be a signature look in any photo taken at the club, just like those zig-zag stripes that hallmark any photo taken at the old Sweatshop Gallery. The original plan was to put the sound-mix equipment in a small room behind the stage that has a glass window, but apparently that didn’t work out since the small sound board was now located in the back near the entrance, taking even more space.

What can I say, Milk Run was designed to be a small venue for small shows, and it’s downright tiny. No idea on what the actual capacity is, but I’d say no more than 60 would fit in there comfortably, especially when bands take up as much space as those playing Saturday night. There is no stage, merely a hard-wood floored performance space, where was stacked two huge Marshall amps — way more power than was needed to fill that room — along with two stacks of PA equipment. It was like putting a 350 Hemi in a ’67 Volkswagen Beetle. Good thing I had my ear plugs.

Timecat, a local four-piece, was pretty amazing playing their style of heavy, aggressive indie rock (notice how I didn’t use the word “angular”?). Great stuff, but because of the over-powered amps, there was no way to hear the vocals through the much smaller PA — a shame. Chock it up to the new venue’s learning curve, one assumes they’re still feeling out the right combination of equipment, etc.

Chris Aponick, who owns/operates the place with Sam Parker, said in this interview they “wanted a room that makes a crowd of 30 to 50 people feel like an event instead of a bummer.” Mission accomplished. The whole vibe that night was right on. With only 30 or 40 people in the room, it felt exciting, like you were experiencing something special. But had the crowd been much bigger…

I have to believe Milk Run is going to be rather limited with the kinds of bands they can book for such a small room, a room that feels like it’s half the size of Sweatshop. That said, they have options. They could host larger shows in the art gallery; better yet, they could take out the wall where the “green room/sound room” is located behind the stage and simply make the entire room that much larger. Decisions, decisions. Regardless, I’m excited at the prospects for Milk Run…

Check out Milk Run’s Facebook page for a list of upcoming shows.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Capgun Coup, Domestica, Anonymous American tonight; The Good Life, Big Harp, Ocean Black, John Klemmensen Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 10:33 am November 27, 2015
Anonymous American perform The Replacements at Slowdown Jr., Nov. 30, 2011.

Anonymous American  at Slowdown Jr., Nov. 30, 2011. The band reunites tonight at The Barley Street Tavern.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Feels like a Saturday, doesn’t it? The holidays will do that to you, especially if you have the day off.

Lots o’ shows going on this weekend. Let’s get right to it…

Expect a nutso crowd at The Brothers Lounge tonight for a reunion of Capgun Coup. Today as in 2004 when the band first got rolling, Sam Martin, Greg Elsasser and the rest of the crew were/are on the verge of something. Find out what that “something” is tonight. Joining them is hip-hop crew M34N STR33T. $5, 9 p.m.

Listen to “Bad Bands” from Capgun Coup’s Maudlin (Team Love, 2009), below:

Also tonight at brand new all-ages rock venue Milk Run there’s a three-band bill featuring Lincoln band Domestica — consider it a christening of the club as only Jon and Heidi can. Also on the bill are The Morbs (Lincoln indie-pop trio featuring members of Manic Pixie Dream Girls) and Relax, It’s Science (Jeremy Stanosheck and Co.). $5, 9 p.m.

Read more about Milk Run in my detailed interview with the club’s proprietors, Chris Aponick and Sam Parker, and watch this interview from Hear Nebraska.

Speaking of reunions, Matt Whipkey and the boys of Anonymous American reunite at The Barley Street Tavern tonight. The band, which also features Wayne Brekke, Bobby Carrig and Corey Weber, hit its stride with the 2004 self-release of When the Drummer Counts to Four. Opening is Travelling Mercies. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night is all about The Good Life at The Slowdown main room. Consider it a victory lap for the band whose been touring on and off since the release of Everybody’s Coming Down (Saddle Creek, 2015) this past August. Read about the record here. It’s a star-studded bill with the return of Big Harp, whose new cassette Waveless (Majestic Litter, 2015) is a career high-water mark. If that wasn’t enough to get you to Slowdown, the hottest Omaha band of 2015, High Up, opens. $13, 9 p.m.

Also going on Saturday night, Ocean Black (the band formerly known as Nightbird) headlines at O’Leaver’s. Joining them are Laughing Falcon and Montee Men (Matt Baum and Co.). $6, 9:30 p.m.

And John Klemmensen and the Party headlines at Lookout Lounge, 320 So. 72nd Street. Also on the bill are Anthems, Low Long Signal and Super Ghost. $5, 9 p.m.

Consider Sunday a day of rest.

That’s what I got for this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a frosty 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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McCarthy Trenching, BFF tonight; Milk Run debut (American Cream), Dilly Dally, Simon Joyner Saturday; Laura Stevenson Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:15 pm November 6, 2015
McCarthy Trenching at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015. The band celebrates the release of their latest album tonight at O'Leaver's.

McCarthy Trenching at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015. The band celebrates the release of their latest album tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Crazy frickin’ weekend for shows and stuff.

Let’s get the big one out of the way first: McCarthy Trenching celebrates the release of their new album, More Like It (Sower, 2015) tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. You’ve already read about the record here, now check out the band. I’m told a few folks may join Dan and his partner in crime James Maakestad on stage. Find out who. I can tell you for sure that Sower labelmates Bud Heavy and the High Lifes will be opening the extravaganza. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, it’s another Benson First Friday. Of note is the first annual “little show @the little gallery,” the gallery Teresa and I run at 5917 Maple Street, right across the street from The Sydney. All works, created by local artists, are 6” x 6” or smaller and retail for $100 or less. Think about giving the gift of locally produced art this holiday season! If you get there early, you might even be able to buy a piece by yours truly — one of my old-time-style classic cassette covers, which comes with a recorded cassette of my faves from 2015 (featuring lots of local and national acts). The reception runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Booze provided.

Tomorrow night is the grand opening of Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth, the new all-ages music venue run by the guys behind Perpetual Nerves Productions, Chris Aponick and Sam Martin. You read about the club here (and if you haven’t, go read now). The bands honored with opening what is bound to be a legendary venue are American Cream (featuring STNNNG’s Nathan Nelson), David Nance Band, Robust Worlds and Church of Gravitron. Show starts at 9. Entrance in the back of the building, where there’s also some parking. $5, BYOB.

Also tomorrow night, a show that seems to be flying under the radar (or at least I haven’t seen a word about it yet) — Toronto punks Dilly Dally headline at Reverb Lounge. Their new album, Sore (Partisan, 2015) got a massive 8.0 rating from Pitchfork. Frontwoman Katie Monks sounds like the second coming of Courtney Love on songs that Hole would have killed to have written.

Dilly Dally, Sore (Partisan, 2015)

Dilly Dally, Sore (Partisan, 2015)

The album’s artwork is kind of gross, so much so that I asked Monks to explain it to me. Here’s what she said, via email:

“The album cover relates to our music in many different ways, but I would rather not spell it out. That would spoil the fun. Listen to the record and if you still don’t get it, feel free to enjoy the image based on the fact that’s pretty badass lol.”

It’s badass alright. No Thanks opens. $10 9 p.m.

Also tomorrow night (Saturday), Londoners Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs (Transdreamer Records) headline at O’Leaver’s. Opening is Simon Joyner and the Ghosts and Those Far Out Arrows. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Then along comes Sunday…

Folk rocker Laura Stevenson and her band headline at Slowdown Jr. She’s on the road supporting her just-released album Cocksure (Don Giovanni, 2015). Opening is a slew of acts: The Ridgways, No Getter and Crypt Kid. 8 p.m., $10 Adv./$12 DOS.

Also Sunday night, O’Leaver’s is rolling out another night of the hard stuff with Tallahassee band Ex-Breathers, Gnarwhal Peace of Shit and FLAK. $7, 9 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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