Tycho, Okkervil River, (the new) Oquoa tonight; Mousetrap, Fischer, RAF return May 17…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:54 pm April 7, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

After a weekend dominated by local shows, we’ve got two nationals going on tonight.

Over at The Waiting Room Sacramento ambient band Tycho headlines. A.K.A. Scott Hansen and Co.’s new album, Awake, came out a couple weeks ago on Ghostly International. People have been geeking out about this show for months (and I’m not sure why, as I think Tycho is a bit of a snooze).

Opening for Tycho tonight is the debut of a new line-up for Oquoa. Joining members Max Holmquist (guitar, vocals) and Roger Lewis (drums) is Patrick Newberry on keys/synths and Jim Schroeder on guitar. That means J.J. Idt has shifted to bass full-time. Roger says the changes “are taking the sound of the band to a different place.”

This is an 8 p.m. show, so get there early. $17.

Also tonight Okkervil River returns to The Slowdown. This show feels “under the radar” as it’s received zero hype. The band has been on the road touring their new concept album The Silver Gymnasium (ATO, 2013), an album that’s been equally overlooked. I do love this band live, though I have to admit I haven’t listened to their latest record. Opening is Austin band Hundred Visions. $18, 9 p.m.

Fischer, Emergency Chorus (1994?, IBB Records)

Fischer, Emergency Chorus (1994, IBB Records)

Speaking of under the radar, there’s been a ton of chatter about One Percent’s latest show announcements, some real humdingers like Guided By Voices June 3, Peter Murphy June 21 and Black Flag June 14.

But missing from the conversation is one of the bigger shows of the early summer: The Omaha Punk Rock Reunion 2014 at The Waiting Room May 17.

The line-up include the return of Omaha legends Mousetrap, RAF, Cordial Spew and (according to the One Percent website) Fischer (Really?). They’re joined by modern-day punkers Bullet Proof Hearts, The Broke Loose & Drop A Grand, among others.

I knew Mousetrap would be headed back our way one of these days, but I never expected to see Fischer or RAF again. This could be a special night…

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Okkervil River; Slowdown’s (brief) transformation into a sports bar; Metzingers tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm June 15, 2011
Okkervil River at The Slowdown, June 14, 2011.

Okkervil River at The Slowdown, June 14, 2011.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I have to tell you, with all the news about the threat of ground-water flooding in downtown Omaha around the Qwest Center after heavy rains, I felt a bit of trepidation about going to last night’s show at Slowdown, what with a big-ass storm on the radar headed our way. Paranoid? Stupid? Yes and yes.

I got downtown at 10:30, just in time to see Titus Andronicus crowded up on the big stage  saying “Goodnight and thanks for coming” (which they did very well). Looking around the bar, it appeared as if Slowdown hadn’t done any cosmetic changes in preparation for the College World Series. That will come.

At the stroke of 11, out walked Okkervil River in front of a backdrop featuring two large wolf heads. Frontman Will Sheff, in a rather warm looking vest and suit jacket and disheveled hair, looked identical to the first time I saw him perform at The Junction in 2002 — a show that he acknowledged from stage, along with a past gig at California Taco. While they may look the same, the band’s sound has changed over the years, from a borderline alt-country-folk act in the Wilco vein to something more polished along the lines of Decemberists.

Maybe it seemed like the set got off to a rough start because I didn’t recognize the material, which probably came from their new album (which I haven’t heard). Unlike the more restrained, tuneful stuff they’re known for, the early portion of the set was dominated by epic anthems with rather unfocused melodies. Okkervil River is one of those bands where you’ll enjoy the music much more if you understand/know the words, which I couldn’t/didn’t.

It was shortly after performing “Red” from their 2002 album, and an awkward almost a capella number featuring just Sheff and his guitar, that things really began rolling, thanks to a thunderous version of “So Come Back, I Am Waiting,” from Black Sheep Boy. Things continued to pick up steam as Sheff and Co. pulled from the entire catalog. I’d forgotten how many good songs they’ve had over the years. While the songs sounded the same, the arrangements were different and better (driven by a terrific drummer) though at times Sheff seemed so off-kilter vocally, just swirling around the melodies, that it took awhile to recognize them. Some of his vocals sounded almost improvised, though still rooted to a central melody. But when it came to an audience favorite it didn’t matter because the crowd took over.

After about 75 minutes, Okkervil closed the set and then came back and finished strong with a two-song encore. It was a terrific show from a band that hasn’t forgotten Omaha as it has oh-so-slowly climbed the rock ‘n’ roll mountain. It was a fitting way for Slowdown to close out its last show before it turns into a virtual Nike Town over the next three weeks for CWS.

The club is closed for the next two nights to undergo its transformation. It reopens Friday with a Goo dance party after the CWS opening festivities, and through June 29 will feature mainly cover bands to support crowds of sports fans, none of whom have heard of Saddle Creek Records or listened to anything other than freedom rock.

Club owner Robb Nansel said Slowdown will boast a new projection screen on the main stage that is 133″ x 236″ so you’ll be able to enjoy all the baseball action from their air conditioned confines. There also will be more TVs throughout the club and outside in the beer garden (no idea if these are permanent or temporary additions, though I assume the latter), as well as food and vendor tents including food from Amsterdam Falafel, Worker’s Takeout, Blanc Burger, Chicago Dawg House and Tank Goodness cookies. Of course entry to Slowdown and its tent city will be free and open to the public. As I’ve said before, the only thing left for Slowdown to do is figure out where to stack all the money that’ll be flowing through their doors and tent flaps over the next few weeks. Perhaps they can build some sort of money-counting “safe room” like they have in casinos, maybe in The Slowdown’s secret basement. Actually, with all the ground water problems, that might not be the best place…

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It’s punk night at The Waiting Room this evening with Kingston, PA, Sideonedummy band Title Fight headlining a bill that includes Touche Amore, Dead End Path and The Menzingers, a band that was featured in a video shot during the Love Drunk 2011 Tour (a video which you can view here). The show is $12 and starts early, at 6:30 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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Newsbriefs: Her Space Holiday to hang it up, Thunder Power fund raiser; Journey, cover band joins Dread Sky; Jessica Lea Mayfield tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm May 11, 2011
Her Space Holiday at Sokol Underground Oct. 9, 2000.

Her Space Holiday at Sokol Underground Oct. 9, 2000.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What a quiet week. No shows. No news. Is this what it’s like in other cities?

Here a few things worth mentioning that I found in the ol’ e-mail bag.

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Anyone remember Her Space Holiday? Maybe this old review will jog some memories. Seems like HSH was a staple in the ol’ Sokol Underground days. Well, after 15 years, HSH a.k.a. Marc Bianchi, has decided to hang it up with the release of his final album, sensibly titled Her Space Holiday, on Aug.16. You can check out a track from the album, which is being released on Bianchi’s own No More Good Ideas label, right here at Soundcloud.

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Okkervil River’s new one, I Am Very Far Away, was released yesterday on Jagjaguwar Records. Look for the band this Friday night on Letterman, and get your tickets to the June 14 Slowdown show with Titus Andronicus and Julianna Barwick.

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You’ve only got a few more days to help out Thunder Power. The band is conducting a Kickstarter campaign to generate $2,000 to cover studio costs for a new album. They’re at $1,630 with three days to go. In addition to that “feel-good feeling,” your contribution will garner you some TP swag. Check out their Kickstarter offer here.

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I keep hearing amazing things about Dave Goldberg’s new project, Solid Goldberg. I was out of town for last Saturday night’s gig at The Brothers. We’ll all get another chance to experience the spectacle this Friday night at The Barley Street Tavern when Solid Goldberg plays with Cloven Path (sounds like an O’Leaver’s line-up!).

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Currently on rotation on my iPhone, new ones by The Envy Corp, The Answer Team, Pantha Du Prince, Psychedelic Horshit, Virgin Islands, Thurston Moore and Well Aimed Arrows. Reviews coming soon…

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More Red Sky announcements were made over the past two days. Journey (sans Steve Perry) with Night Ranger, tribute band The Fab Four, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Buddy Guy with special guess Quinn Sullivan and 10,000 Maniacs join the line-up. Just reading that list is making me car sick. 10k Maniacs seems interesting, until you realize Natalie Merchant hasn’t been with the band since, what, 1993?  We now await the inevitable Kid Rock announcement. So far I’ve hit three on the nose in my March skuttlebutt column. If the line-up balances out with KR, Jimmy Buffett and Black Eyed Peas, we’ll have to rename it The Lame Sky Festival.


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Did I say no shows? There is one going on tonight — Jessica Lea Mayfield with Nathaniel Rateliff at The Waiting Room. I know nothing about JLM other than she plays alt country, her new record, Tell Me (Polymer Sounds) was produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, she looks like a model in her promo photo. The last time I saw Rateliff he was playing as part of the duo Born in the Flood opening for DeVotchKa at The Slowdown in May 2008. $10, 9 p.m.

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Tomorrow’s Column: Can The Cars make a comeback in the modern age?

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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