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:
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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…
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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.