Take Cover 5’s line-up has some interesting combinations (High Up takes on Digital Leather?)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:59 pm January 28, 2016
The 5th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska is Saturday at O'Leaver's.

The 5th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska is Saturday at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Gotta wonder how fabulous O’Leaver’s is going to handle the crowds Saturday night for Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover Pt. 5. I mean, if all the bands performing were to show up at once the club would be at capacity. Where are the fans gonna sit?

The premise every year for Take Cover is the same: A local band covers another local band and also plays a song of their own. This year’s line-up, which was announced Tuesday, has a number of interesting match-ups:

— High Up is covering Digital Leather’s “Studs in Love.” The song has been covered by others (most notably The Hussy on last year’s DL/Hussy split), but High Up will undoubtedly bring something unique to their rendition.

— CJ Mills is covering High Up’s “Two Weeks,” my personal favorite High Up song and one that will demand an insane level of energy for Mills to pull off.

— Well Aimed Arrows is covering Millions of Boys’ “Girl’s Name.” Like a sonic Reese’s peanut butter cup, two of my favorites together in one tasty treat. How will WAA strip this one down to its bare essentials?

— Mint Wad Willy is covering Digital Leather’s “Young Doctors in Love.” Can a band who has more in common with Wilco pull off this post-punk-style gem from a few years back? Digital Leather appears to be the favorite for covers this year, and deservedly so. It’s a shame they’re not covering someone themselves…

— Eric in Outerspace is covering Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship’s “Wrecking Ball Girl.” This one seems like an obvious combination stylistically, though EiO could make the tune sound even grittier.

There’s more, lot’s more. Check out the lineup at Hear Nebraska. Again, the show is Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. Admission is a $10 donation at the door. The fun starts at 9 p.m. See you there.

* * *

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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Who Is Chick Pee (not a typo)? O’Leaver’s hot upcoming shows (Mothers, Dirty Dishes); Love Cop tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 1:56 pm January 19, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I was going back and forth yesterday with booker Craig Dee about who exactly is in new O’Leaver’s supergroup Chick Pee (yet another in a series of cleverly drafted award-winning band names from the folks who brought you Peace of Shit and Dumb Beach.)  (By the way, members of Chick Pee are Johnny Vredenburg and Jeff Lambelet of Digital Leather and  Austin Ulmer of Dumb Beach, all three are former members of legendary blood-punk band The Shanks).

…when Craig asked who I was looking forward to seeing on the just-released O’Leaver’s gig calendar other than Chick Pee (who play March 21, opening for Memphis band Manatees). I turned it around and asked Craig the same question.

Among the high fliers he pointed out that are set to play on the vaunted O’Leaver’s stage:

— Athens band Mothers, who plays O’Leaver’s Feb. 16. Started as a solo project by frontwoman Kristine Leschper, the four-piece’s debut album was produced by Drew Vandenberg (who’s mixed/engineered Deerhunter and Of Montreal albums). In fact, Mothers toured with Of Montreal last fall. Their single “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t” has just shy of 600,000 spins in Spotify. They are red hot. NYC label Grand Jury will release Mothers’ debut this year.

— LA duo Dirty Dishes plays at The Club Feb. 20. Their debut, Guilty, was released on Exploding in Sound records last year and includes the single “Red Roulette,” which has around 150k Spotify spins.

— Seattle garage-glam band Wild Powwers, who plays O’Leaver’s March 4, have a new album coming out called Hugs And Kisses And Other Things.

Other March O’Leaver’s gigs include Mamiffer (Isis frontman and Hydra Head Records founder Aaron Turner) March 28, Brooklyn band TEEN (Carpark Records) on March 31, as well as two more yet-to-be-announced O’Leaver’s shows by Naytronix (member of Tuneyards) and Athens band New Madrid.

Add to O’Leaver’s list God Speed! You Black Emperor Feb 10 at The Slowdown, Eleanor Friedberger Feb. 27 at Reverb, and Titus Andronicus / Craig Finn March 11 at Lookout Lounge and the calendar starts to look impressive.

We just need to get through January first.

* * *

There’s actually a pretty interesting show tonight at Milk Run. Burger Records Portland duo Love Cop (read about them here at Hear Nebraska) headlines a bill that includes Thick Paint, Little Ripple and The Way Out. $6, 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.

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The Reader’s 2015 Top Music Venues / Top Bands stories (in link form)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:37 pm October 13, 2015
The interior of The Slowdown, photo taken waaay back in 2007 when the club opened.

The interior of The Slowdown, photo taken waaay back in 2007 when the club opened.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Let’s assume you haven’t picked up a copy of the printed version of The Reader, which is (obviously) the most convenient way to read all the content included in the Reader‘s 2015 Music Issue.

Trying to read all the Music Issue information online can be a bit frustrating. It would have been nice for The Reader to place all the info into one “package” that flows from one piece to the next.

Fear not, that package is right here.

This morning my feature on The Waiting Room and The Slowdown went online at The Reader‘s website. It joins Wayne Brekke’s piece on the Harney Street Tavern and BJ Huchtemann’s picks of favorite venues including the 21st Saloon, and my feature on O’Leaver’s, which went online last week. Here’s the index:

The Reader‘s Music Issue — The Venues:

While were at it, here are the Reader‘s Best Bands lists:

Of course, you can always just grab your copy of The Reader at your local bar, coffee house or bookstore.

* * *

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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Live Review: Robert Thornton benefit; O’Leaver’s explained, more Reader top bands; Severin, AYGAMG tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:53 pm October 8, 2015
The Lupines at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The Lupines at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

“If you’re a praying person, send your prayers to the Thornton family.” Solemn words from Lupines frontman John Ziegler, and a reminder why the bands were playing last night at The Waiting Room.

As outlined yesterday, Robert (Bob) Thornton is going through serious medical issues that have kept him from working and created mountains of medical bills. Find out more about the situation at his GoFundMe page and lend a hand.

Last night’s show was a benefit for Bob, and despite the tragic circumstances surrounding the evening, the bands brought their A games, performing rousing sets performed in front of about 100 fans. Ziegler’s message came smack-dab in the middle of the Lupine’s usual break-neck/ball-buster set we’ve come to expect from the Omaha garage-rock giants.

Wagon Blasters at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

Wagon Blasters at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

Lupines followed a set by tractor-punk heroes Wagon Blasters, a band that features Robert’s brother Bill Thornton on guitar. Gary Dean Davis and the crew were in rare form, with the Waiting Room’s stage finally giving GDD the space he needs for maximum bounce height/trajection.

The Sun-less Trio at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The Sun-less Trio at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The evening was rounded out by a gorgeous set from The Sun-less Trio, a band that features Mike Saklar on guitar and vocals, galvanized by the rhythm section of drummer Marc Phillips and bass player Cricket Kirk.  The music’s style was earthy, laid-back and (dare I say it?) soulful, powered by Saklar’s masterful guitar work. The band has a new record coming out Oct. 18. Their set was the perfect way to end a night of music dedicated to a good cause.

* * *

Word to the Totally indeed.

Word to the Totally indeed.

The hits keep on coming from The Reader. As part of The Reader‘s annual Music Issue, this morning my big-ass feature on O’Leaver’s went online. Matt Maginn, Ted Stevens, Craig Dee and Ian Aeillo give the skinny on what’s happening these days at The Club as it enters its next renaissance. The story covers everything from the new sound system to Live at O’Leaver’s to the booking policy to the new, massive beer garden. The story is on newsstands now and online right here.

This O’Leaver’s feature story is the central part of the issue’s look at Omaha music venues. I also wrote about The Waiting Room and Slowdown, and Wayne Brekke and BJ Huchtemann  wrote about their favorite clubs, including the styles of music, booking etc. Those stories will be online soon but why wait? Grab your copy of the paper right now.

Included (and now online) is BJ Huchtemann’s list of Top Bands, that joins my list and Wayne’s list in the issue. BJ kicks off her list by saying how much she hates lists, and points to John Heaston for coming up with the whole “lists” idea. But, in fact, the blame is all mine. Sorry Beej. Check out BJ’s list right here.

* * *

What’s happening tonight?

Lincoln singer/songwriter Scott Severin is playing down at the Harney Street Tavern with Jack Hotel. That free show starts at 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns returns with LA’s Nicky Davey and Mesonjixx. $5, 9:30 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: O’Leaversfest (Lupines, Dumb Beach, Digital Leather); Joyner book pre-orders end today; Ecstatic Vision, Swamp Walk tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm September 21, 2015
Digital Leather at O'Leaver's, Sept. 19, 2015.

Digital Leather at O’Leaver’s, Sept. 19, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I have little to add to what I’ve already said about O’Leaver’s new beer garden. It will be a game changer for the club if this past weekend’s crowds are any indication. I think the word is just starting to leak out about how nice it is. It was shocking how the main club emptied between bands, and how quickly the room filled once the music started. To give people more room tables were removed in front of the “stage,” allowing for more people to throw their devil horns right in bandmembers’ faces.

Dumb Beach sounded brutal as ever. Looks like they’ve had a personnel change since the last time I saw them (Ian Aeillo was back at the soundboard instead of playing guitar). When will we get a formal recording from these boys?

The Lupines at O'Leaver's, Sept. 19, 2015.

The Lupines at O’Leaver’s, Sept. 19, 2015.

Lupines played their usual stellar set, throwing in a couple new songs that frontman John Ziegler said will appear on a upcoming 7-inch single.

Finally (for me anyway, since I left before M34N STR33T) Digital Leather crushed the place, playing a heavy dose of songs off their new album, All Faded. The band will be opening for a string of Desaparecidos dates in late November, a tour that’s bound to see their fan base grow, especially if they play with the ferocity heard Saturday night. For this performance the band had three synth players — I’m not sure who joined Todd Fink and Ben VanHoolandt behind keyboards. They closed as they always seem to do these days with a blistering version of “Studs in Love.” I’ve heard them play this live at least a dozen times — no two performances sounding the same. It never gets old. I’d love to see how the Desa crowds react when Foree pines about his love of hairy asses and Wrangler butts.

* * *

Last minute news just hit my in-box from Simon Joyner.

Joyner has a book of selected lyrics coming out (yes, book) called Only Love Can Bring You Peace from Magic Helicopter Press. The publisher is taking pre-orders through today and anyone who orders gets their choice of a broadside of one of the “Blues” titled songs for free. There’s also a collector’s edition, which is signed by Mr. Joyner and comes with all eight broadsides, plus an mp3 of an unreleased outtake from his latest album, Grass, Branch & Bone. More details and pre-order info here.

* * *

It’s back to O’Leaver’s tonight for Philly psych band Ecstatic Vision. The band counts Hawkwind, Aphrodites Child, Olatunji, Can and early Amon Duul ll among their influences, though Pitchfork mentions Sabbath and Zeppelin in this 7.6 rated review of their new album, Sonic Praise (Relapse, 2015). Swampwalk and Megaton open. $5, 9:30 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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O’Leaversfest Weekend; Gordon tonight; Kris Lager Saturday; Desa sells out…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:52 pm September 18, 2015
O'Leaversfest is this weekend...

O’Leaversfest is this weekend…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s another O’Leaver’s weekend…

The Club is celebrating the grand opening of its new beer garden (pictures of which you saw right here) with a three-day “festival” that kicks off tonight with music by Bonehart Flannigan, Brad Hoshaw, McCarthy Trenching and Rebecca Lowry. The usual $5, 9:30 p.m.

Then tomorrow the real festival kicks off with a beer and sausage party (Isn’t it always a sausage party at O’Leaver’s?) beginning at 11 a.m. in the beer garden. Methinks this will be O’Leaver’s take on the classic Oktoberfest, but with professional drinkers as participants. Expect things to get rather sloppy by 7:30 p.m. when the music begins inside The Club with M34N STR33T, Digital Leather, Lupines, Dumb Beach, Worried Mothers and Stephen Nichols. $7.

O’Leaversfest closes out Sunday with a Sunday Social featuring sausages and veggies from The French Bulldog at 2 p.m. and bands lighting up the stage at 5 p.m., including Members of the Press, Bloodcow and Baltimore band Darsombra (featuring Brian Daniloski from Meatjack). $5.

Yes, there are other things happening this weekend.

There’s a rock show tonight (Friday) at Slowdown Jr. headlined by Gordon with Powers and No Getter. $5, 9 p.m.

The Sydney is hosting a Country & Western show tonight with Western Automatic, The Willards and The Electroliners. $5, 9 p.m.

One Percent Productions has Kris Lager at The Waiting Room Saturday night with AZP ($8, 9 p.m.) and Universe Contest at Reverb with The Philistines & Tenderness Wilderness ($7, 9 p.m.).

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

* * *

BTW, that Desaparecidos show slated for O’Leaver’s Nov. 22 I told you about yesterday? It’s sold out. You snooze, you lose…

* * *

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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Take a Look at O’Leaver’s new patio; more Live at O’Leaver’s (Eli Mardock, Gordon, Sam Martin, more)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:47 pm September 16, 2015
O'Leaver's new patio / beer garden, looking from the back benches toward the new bar and patio entrance. The door from inside O'Leaver's that leads to the patio is on the far left.

O’Leaver’s new patio / beer garden, looking from the back benches toward the new bar and patio entrance. The door from inside O’Leaver’s that leads to the patio is on the far left at the end of the concrete ramp.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I had a chance to snap a few photos of O’Leaver’s new patio when I was at The Club the other evening. I’ve had lots of people ask what the new beer garden — which is now open for business, just in time for this weekend’s O’Leaversfest — looks like. Instead of describing it, see for yourself. It’s huge.

A look at O'Leaver's new patio / beer garden from the new bar looking toward the back benches.

A look at O’Leaver’s new patio / beer garden from the new bar looking toward the back benches.

I’m told the patio’s new bar will be manned on Friday and Saturday nights, and the occasional special event. I could see people hanging out there all night, smoking and getting blasted. I’ve used the phrase “game changer” to describe this patio before. I think it fits.

Check it out tonight if for no other reason than the fact that there’s nothing else going on and it’s gorgeous outside.

* * *

Speaking of O’Leaver’s, another batch of Live at O’Leaver’s recordings hit their website yesterday. The new batch includes Eli Mardock, Sam Martin, Once a Pawn, Roman Polanski’s Baby, Miwi La Lupa and Gordon. Check out the tracks below.

* * *

CORRECTION to yesterday’s post: I said yesterday in the section that included my review of the new Mynabirds album Lovers Know that The Mynabirds show at The Slowdown was Wednesday when in fact it’s tomorrow (Thursday). Ooops. Sorry. Thanks to Nayef for pointing this out!

* * *

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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Live at O’Leaver’s goes live (finally); Jon Spencer Blues Explosion tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:59 pm June 15, 2015
Live at O'Leaver's went live this morning.

Live at O’Leaver’s went live this morning.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This has been a long time coming.

This morning the music team at fabulous O’Leaver’s headed by Ian Aeillo announced the long-awaited launch of the Live at O’Leaver’s website, located (of course) at liveatoleavers.com

This initial roll-out of this vast new music library, designed to house selected recordings of bands who performed on O’Leaver’s stage, includes 30 session recordings. Among them Matthew Sweet recorded July 30, 2014; Orenda Fink recorded March 24, 2015, and Digital Leather recorded May 30, 2014, and tons more, such as Domestica, Deleted Scenes, Twinsmith, Little Brazil, Gordon and must-check-out obscurities such as Iska Dhaaf that’ll blow your mind. All streaming, all sharable, all somewhat incredible.

It’s like being at these shows without having to smell like you’ve actually been there.

There’s a whole story behind this project that I was going to write about for a column… last summer. But the project was delayed while Ian perfected the tracks and the website. I’m not going into the weeds about how it works other than to say the bands are recorded live via a super-secret recording suite hidden in the basement catacombs of the club. We’re talking super-high-fi studio-quality recordings.

Actually, I don’t know how Aeillo does it, how he makes the recordings sound this good. I’ve been to a lot of the shows that are featured on the website, and though O’Leaver’s has a first-rate PA/sound system in the room, let’s face it, it’s still O’Leaver’s, where the in-person audio experience is honed and filtered through countless bottles of Rolling Rock. In person it never sounds like what you’re hearing on liveatoleavers.com.

I’m sure an astute publication (such as hearnebraska.org) will go into the technical nitty-gritty of what’s behind the recording. Needless to say, the quality is so good that O’Leaver’s has set themselves up to be a sort-of live-stage version of Daytrotter, where touring bands can perform and get release-quality recordings of their live sets. All for free. That’s right, they can release the tracks themselves if they want. There’s some fees associated with getting an entire set mixed (discuss it with Ian), but for two or three songs, it’s completely free.

BTW, not all bands playing at O’Leaver’s are recorded. The decision to record is based on a pseudo-scientific formula that involves personnel availability and/or lucidity. We’re talking O’Leaver’s here, where anything can happen and usually does. Also, performances aren’t recorded unless bands give Ian or his staff permission.

Today’s launch is only the first wave of recordings. There will be 30 more bands released sometime in the coming weeks, followed by another 30 bands and another until the entire library is available online. Aeillo said he’s recorded 157 live sets, and has mixed more than 110 of those. This website will be the most complete archive of live recordings performed in the Omaha area available anywhere.

Check it out here, and spread the word via the website’s share tools. Here are a few of my favorite sessions:

* * *

All right, show of hands: Who remembers when Jon Spencer Blues Explosion released the seminal album Orange? It was a huge album, way back in 1994, some might say groundbreaking. With the release of this record, JSBE became one of the coolest bands on the planet. Now 21 years later, JSBE comes to Omaha for one night at The Waiting Room. I’m kind of surprised this show hasn’t sold out. Opening is fellow blues/roots/punk band Daddy Long Legs (Norton Records). $15, 9 p.m. Don’t miss this chance to see legends in action…

* * *

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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MC Payne and DJ Russell spin the hits at The Holland; Bye-bye Brendan (at O’Leaver’s); New Pornos, Pains Pure Heart, Charlie Siren tonight…

Album sleeve for the upcoming vinyl release of the American Hustle soundtrack.

Album sleeve for the upcoming vinyl release of the American Hustle soundtrack.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Went to Feature VI last night at the Holland Center, the fund-raiser for Film Streams featuring directors Alexander Payne and David O. Russell. I love all of DOR’s movies (and some of Payne’s). Among the highlights was Russell showing off a double-colored-vinyl release of the soundtrack to his last film, the sublime American Hustle, which isn’t available until Black Friday Record Store Day, Nov. 28.

The album will include some rare ELO material. According to Madison Gate Records and Legacy Recordings, who are issuing the vinyl, “American Hustle – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack premieres ‘Stream Of Stars,’ a previously-unreleased song from the legendary Jeff Lynne (Electric Light Orchestra, Traveling Wilburys) alongside ELO’s ‘Long Black Road,’ an ultra-rare track previously available only on the Japanese release of Zoom, ELO’s final studio album.”

Russell apparently was intimately involved in the production of the vinyl release “supplying hand-written excerpts from the script, unique imagery from the film and artwork to enhance the look and feel of the album’s gatefold and sleeve.”

It is indeed an impressive looking package, though someone has to teach these guys the proper way to treat vinyl. I cringed as Russell grabbed the colored vinyl from the sleeve and then began blowing/spitting on it and brushing it with his fingers. DJ Payne cued the tracks on a portable turntable, starting with a Duke Ellington number. Nice. But when he decided to change songs, he scraped the needle across the surface, dropping it over and over until he found the groove for an ELO song. Come on, man!

As Russell said with each Payne-induced scratch, “That’s part of the fun.” I don’t think a vinyl enthusiasts like, say, Dereck Higgins would agree…

Anyway, here’s the track listing for the record, below. I’ll be writing more about Feature VI in my column in The Reader Thursday, which is actually sort of a tribute to Film Streams…

American Hustle  Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

2LP Colored Vinyl

Side One
1. Jeep’s Blues | Duke Ellington
2. Dirty Work | Steely Dan *
3. A Horse With No Name | America
4. 10538 Overture | Electric Light Orchestra
5. I’ve Got Your Number | Jack Jones

Side Two
1. White Rabbit | Mayssa Karaa
2. I Feel Love | Donna Summer
3. Don’t Leave Me This Way | Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes
4. Delilah | Tom Jones

Side Three
1. Live And Let Die | Wings
2. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart | Bee Gees
3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road | Elton John
4. Papa Was A Rollin Stone | The Temptations *

Side Four
1. I Saw The Light Todd Rundgren *
2. Long Black Road | Electric Light Orchestra
3. The Jean Genie | David Bowie *
4. Stream Of Stars | Jeff Lynne
5. The Coffee Song (Theyve Got An Awful Lot Of Coffee In Brazil) | Frank Sinatra *
6. Its De-Lovely Ella Fitzgerald *
7. Irving Montage | Danny Elfman

* Songs not on CD release

* * *

Yesterday we got word that Brendan Greene-Walsh, the long-serving booker and sound man at America’s favorite divebar / rockclub, O’Leaver’s, is hanging up the reins.

“...after over 10 years of booking shows, running sound and bartending my time at O’Leaver’s will come to a close at the end of November,” Brendan wrote. “I would like to thank you who receive these emails for all you do for music in the state of Nebraska. Whether it is posting events to calendars, writing features, reviews or interviews or simply going to shows, what you do to perpetuate culture is appreciated. The club will continue on booking great shows.

So why’s he leaving? Brendan said the club decided the position needed to be restructured to add marketing and PR responsibilities, as well as have someone who could be at the venue during shows. In case you didn’t know, Brendan already has a full-time job at UNO. So who will take over the reins? Whoever it is has some massive shoes to fill…

* * *

Tonight at The Slowdown it’s the return of New Pornographers. Tonight’s line-up is stellar, featuring A.C. Newman, Neko Case and Dan Bejar. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, who would be a hot-selling ticket all by themselves, is opening. $28, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, The Down Under continues its recent streak of shows with punk bands Charlie Siren, Let Yourself Go, Buggy Lewis and the Rabbit Grenades, and Wake the Neighbors. $5, 7 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Matthew Sweet, Tommy Keene; 2Q’14 reviews roundup (in the column); Brilliant Beast, Filter Kings tonight…

Category: Column,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:39 pm July 31, 2014
Matthew Sweet at fabulous O'Leaver's, July 30, 2014.

Matthew Sweet at fabulous O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It was nothing less than a dream come true for Matthew Sweet fans. There he was, literally steps in front of them, surrounded by a top-notch band playing all of his “greatest hits” one after the other in fine voice. As Sweet said, it was like playing a gig in someone’s living room.

Earlier in the day someone apparently hauled more PA equipment to bolster O’Leaver’s modest system. Speaker stacks were balanced on either side of the the club’s staging area. I was told 100 tickets were sold for this show, but the crowd was probably two-thirds that size — I’ve seen it more crowded in there at Digital Leather shows. With the tables taken out, there was plenty of room up and around the band. Sweet seemed to like the proximity to his fans. “I’m used to looking down on you.” Not last night.

Tommy Keene at O'Leaver's, July 30, 2014.

Tommy Keene at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2014.

Before he kicked into his set, The Lupines warmed up the crowd with a fractured set of Nebraska-style garage rock that I’m sure startled some of the oldsters there to see Sweet. A badly shorting cable marred the set’s opening song, but after some fiddling around the crew got it fixed and the good times rolled.

Next up was surprise “special guest” Tommy Keene, an East Coast-based singer songwriter who Replacecments fans may remember for having played guitar with a touring Paul Westerberg in the late ’90s. I remember him from his handful of solo albums released on Matador earlier in that same decade. Keene was always a first-rate songwriter who despite a sizable push by Cosloy and Co. never took off as everyone had hoped.

With a 12-string and later an electric guitar, Keene played a selection of tunes from his career, closing out the set backed by the band that would back Sweet. And what a band it was. Consisting of two members of Velvet Crush, bassist Paul Chastain and drummer Ric Menck, they were joined by guitar-slinger Dennis Taylor who shared grinding leads with Sweet all evening.

Sweet was all business as he rolled through an hour-plus-long set that included just about every song any fan would want to hear, drawing heavily from his classic ’90s breakthrough album, Girlfriend. We’re talking “Winona,” “Evangeline,” the title track, and on and on, spanning through songs off Altered Beast and 100% Fun and beyond.

It really was a greatest hits show for Sweet fans who will not be disappointed if they make the trek to Lincoln to see him perform again tonight. That show, at the shiny new Vega, will be a completely different and no doubt more detached experience than the reach-out-and-touch-him intimacy of last night’s O’Leaver’s show. I wonder if anyone happened to record it…?

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In this week’s column, the quarterly album reviews round-up (featuring an exciting new rating system!) including thoughts on new ones by Strand of Oaks, Courtney Barnett, Alvvays, Mark Kozelek, Digital Leather, Gold-Bears, Mitch Gettman, The Both, Bob Mould, Orenda Fink and more. It’s in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

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Tonight, it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Minneapolis indie band Brilliant Beast with up-and-coming Omaha band Post Verse. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Omaha’s favorite outlaws The Filter Kings open for Jason Boland and The Stragglers at The Waiting Room. 8 p.m. $15.

Tonight also is the public opening of 1912, the new bar and roof-top deck across the street from The Waiting Room. Drop by and grab a cold one and get a whole new view of Benson.

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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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