This is your life, Jeff Runnings; Cherry Death, Eklectica tonight; Graham Ulicny, Omaha Girls Rock Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:52 pm July 22, 2016
jeffrunnings

Jeff Runnings’ career and future career are celebrated tonight at Hi-Fi House.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The super secret/mysterious Hi-Fi House is putting on a special program tonight at 7 p.m. called “This is, Jeff Runnings.” This celebration of Running’s career “so far” will include a sit-down Q&A discussing his musical endeavors as well as a spin of his latest album, Primitive & Smalls (2016, Saint Marie), which I’m listening to now on my home hi-fi system (worth dramatically less than the one at Hi-Fi House).

Runnings, as you may or may not know, was a member of seminal Lincoln ambient-rock band For Against, which I wrote about waaay back in 2007 when the band reunited. The write-up includes a brief history of the band, whose members also included guitarist/keyboardist Harry Dingman III and drummer Gregory Hill. Runnings was the singer and chief songwriter. Read that story here.

In their day, no one around these parts were writing and performing the kind of music For Against was making. Spotify users can dive into the catalog, though I’m told there may be a vinyl alternative available again soon.

Runnings new album takes the most accessible elements of For Against and modernizes it in beautiful ways. Jeff’s breathy voice lies warmly atop layers and layers of synths and beats that shimmer like a dream. Gorgeous stuff.

I’m not sure what the rules are for Hi Fi House, and there is no information on the Facebook event listing. If you’re interested, I suggest showing up just before the 7 p.m. start time. The house is located at 3724 Farnam St. Capacity is limited to 100. See you there.

What else is happening tonight and this weekend?

Tonight at the infamous Brothers Lounge Oklahoma City indie band Cherry Death headlines. Check out their latest EP here. Opening is Stomach, Carl Miller & The Thrillers and Nathan Ma & The Rosettes. Whoa, that’s a huge bill. This 9 p.m. show will run you $5.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Waterloo, Iowa band SIRES plays with Eklectica and Lineman’s Rodeo. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night the kids from Omaha Girls Rock! play a summer showcase at The Waiting Room. The free event starts at 5:30 p.m. Then later that night at O’Leaver’s, the Omaha Girls Rock instructors are putting on a show of their own. Who will grace the stage? Find out. $5, 9;30 p.m.

There’s a special program at Kaneko Saturday night — the tbd. dance collective will be performing to live original music by Graham Ulicny of Reptar. In addition, Nik Fackler will be premiering a short film called “One Day, One Month, One Year.” The 6:45 p.m. show is free for Kaneko members and $10 for the rest of you. Kaneko is at 1111 Jones St.

Also Saturday night, Scott Severin performs at The Barley Street Tavern with Two Shakes and Bazille Mills. $5, 9 p.m.

That is all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a red, hot American 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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BFFFF (Laura Burhenn, Anna McClellen), Bloodcow tonight; Son, Ambulance, Well Aimed Arrows, Omaha Girls Rock! Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm July 15, 2016
Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015. She plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Quite a few shows this weekend, though no national touring indie bands (What else is new?). Let’s get on with it.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s is pretty gnarly fundraiser for the Benson First Friday Femme Fest (BFFFF). Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds will be playing a set along with Anna McClellan, Mesonjixx and Badland Girls. Your $10 admission goes to a good cause. According to the invitation: “BFFFF is completely DIY with no budget, and everything made the day of (after pay-to-play costs of the venues/PA rentals/etc.) goes to the bands.” Starts at the usual 9:30.

Also tonight, Bloodcow returns to devastate the Barley Street Tavern with their other-worldly metal mayhem. Joining them are tough guys Hand Painted Police Car and Leaving Vaudeville. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night everyone’s going to The Brothers Lounge for a sharp bill that includes Well Aimed Arrows, Those Far Out Arrows and Son, Ambulance. $5, 9 p.m.

Before you head out for the evening, there’s a super fun early evening event at The Slowdown. It’s the Omaha Girls Rock! showcase. This performance is a culmination of the girls’ hard work in one week to learn an instrument, form a band, and write a song. Always a good time, and a chance to see the stars of tomorrow. Show starts at 5:30 and suggested donation is $5. Find out more about this very cool program at omahagirlsrock.com.

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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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Lazy-i Podcast: Foxygen, Alex Cameron, Oquoa, Outlaw Con Bandana, Simon Joyner; Omaha Girls Rock benefit tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 9:31 am April 9, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Because of the past weekend’s holidays and my travel schedule, I posted an abbreviated Lazy-i Podcast yesterday. Listen to it below. It includes live clips from Foxygen, Alex Cameron, Oquoa, Simon Joyner and Outlaw Con Bandana, as well as a recommendations for this coming weekend’s shows (and there ain’t that many). So, only 14 minutes. Check it:

BTW, The Lazy-i Podcast is now available in iTunes right here. Subscribe and don’t miss a single episode.

* * *

Slowdown Jr. is hosting a benefit for Omaha Girls Rock! tonight featuring Lot Walks, Pancho the Contraband and Bach Mai. All proceeds of the $8 ticket goes to OGR, which is a pretty awesome non-profit that teaches girls how to be in a rock band, as well as other necessities of life. Find out about OGR here and make a donation. Show starts at 8.

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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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Pleasure Adapter, Pro-Magnum, So-So Sailors tonight; Eros & Eschaton, S. Joyner tomorrow; Omaha Girls Rock! CD release show Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:41 pm November 15, 2013

ogrcompby Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s a busy weekend at Slowdown; a busy weekend all over…

Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Pleasure Adapter (featuring new bass player Matt Maginn of Cursive fame). It’s been awhile. Opening is The Brigadiers (featuring Clint Schnase, formerly of Cursive fame) and proto-punk noise masters Pro-Magnum. $5, 9 p.m.

Check out some Pro-Magnum below:

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, it’s the return of So-So Sailors with McCarthy Trenching. $5, 9:30 p.m.

What to do, what to do…

Also tonight, Lincoln yee-haw rockers 4020 play at The Waiting Room with their pals The Filter Kings and The Willards. $8, 9 p.m. Don’t forget your cowboy hat.

It’s back to Slowdown Jr. Saturday night for the return of Eros & Eschaton (ex-It’s True, as if you didn’t know), who is opening for Simon Joyner, who is about to head out on a national “living room tour” in a couple weeks. Also on the bill, Minneapolis duo Fort Wilson Riot. $8, 9 p.m.

Last but not least, Sunday at Slowdown Jr. its the Omaha Girls Rock! Compilation release show.

The 11-track comp features tracks by Little Red Rocket, The Mynabirds, Tilly and the Wall, Howard, Domestica, UUVVWWZ, Hers, Tin Kite, Manic Pixie Dream Girls, La Real Misses Sneaks, and the mighty Urban Scrunchies. Get a sneak preview and purchase it right here on Bandcamp.

Sunday’s show will feature live performances by Howard, Urban Scrunchies, Manic Pixie Dream Girls and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. $7 admission gets you a download card for the comp, brought to you by HearNebraska.org and Phenomblue. Show starts at 6 p.m.

Did I forget something? Put it in the comments section. Have a grand 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Omaha Girls Rock! rock a near sold-out Slowdown…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:47 pm August 5, 2013
The big finale at the Omaha Girls Rock! 2013 summer camp showcase.

The big finale at the Omaha Girls Rock! 2013 summer camp showcase.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The last time I attended an Omaha Girls Rock! summer-camp showcase was the organization’s inaugural year in 2011. That concert, also held in The Slowdown’s big room, was a warm, fun family affair that attracted maybe 100 people, mostly parents of the girls on stage. The crowd clapped politely as if attending a school recital.

This Saturday’s show was totally different. You’d have thought you were at a sold-out Bright Eyes concert. In fact, this year’s Omaha Girls Rock showcase nearly sold out. There was barely enough room to stand on the floor without being jostled by either a roving band of boys playing whiplash or by those boys’ parents walking blind through the crowd because their eyes were focused on their cameras, which were squarely focused on their daughters on stage.

There were 10 bands playing this year, most were 5-piece ensembles and almost all featured five vocalists. The play order went from the youngest to the oldest and/or most experienced. Kudos to the wise OGR organizer who figured out that if you have a steady beat going on stage, you can keep nearly anything together. The drumming for all 10 bands was pretty darn good (and the last few were nearly “real” band quality!). No matter what anyone was playing on bass or keyboards or guitar, that boom-chuck drum kept it going.

I’m not one to go on about ultra-cute kids’ stuff. I don’t have any kids and have never been one to really give a shit about other peoples’ kids. You know, good for them. Whatever. But I have to tell you this program is a ton of fun if only for the mere fact that you know these girls were scared out of their skulls. As mentioned by the organizers, most hadn’t held an instrument prior to going to camp. And here they were, just a week later, having written a song with a group of new friends, performing it in front of a near sold-out Slowdown crowd. Every note played, every word sung was a little triumph of will over fear. There’s something to be learned there, even by the most jaded of music critics.

Best band of the evening honors goes to the one with the most stage mileage. This was the third time Urban Scrunchies have played at an OGR concert, and their experience showed from the singing to the instrumentation to the professionalism. Their tune was weird and proggy, like an indie campfire song. I guess you can thank the volunteers for the overall indie-influence. Most of the bands, right down to the pippest of pip-squeaks, had funky Velvet Underground overtones.

Omaha Girls Rock has to be one of the most successful grass-roots non-profit efforts in the Omaha arts community. Everyone involved should be proud.

* * *

The good news: The head cold that hung on through the weekend has finally let me out of its grip. The bad news: It kept me from a lot of good shows this weekend. Looks like I got some catching up to do…

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Underwater Dream Machine CD release, Adtrita debut, Well Aimed Arrows tonight; Omaha Girls Rock!, The Hussy/DL, Mardock Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:02 pm August 2, 2013
Art for Underwater Dream Machine's new CD, Can You See Behind the Moon

Art for Underwater Dream Machine’s new CD, Can You See Behind the Moon

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s going to be a busy next few nights.

Tonight at The Barley Street Tavern Underwater Dream Machine celebrates the release of their new CD Can You See Behind the Moon. The album builds on what Bret Vovk started with A Very Lonely Dream About Space a year or so ago, but this one seems more focused. Vovk is one of Omaha music’s best kept secrets, much to the dismay of those of us who believe he needs to be heard on a bigger stage. Opening is the always entertaining Touch People (Darren Keen of TSITR fame) and Cooper Lakota Moon (Dim Light). $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, the new project by former The Stay Awake frontman Steve Micek called Adtrita debuts at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Also on the bill is Well Aimed Arrows and Eric in Outerspace. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, pop-punkers The Beat Seekers have a record release show with a number of bands including Bullet Proof Hearts. $7, 9 p.m.

And in case you’ve forgotten, it’s Benson First Friday. I suggest riding your bike to Benson instead of driving.

Tomorrow evening it’s the annual Omaha Girls Rock! showcase at The Slowdown. The star-studded lineup for this go-round:

Contagious Flamingos
Feisty Females
Fire Fusion Five (F3)
Justice Warrior 5
La Real Mrs. Sneakz
Neon Thunder
Tie-Dyed Harp Seals
Trouble Clef
Umm, I don’t know?
Urban Scrunchies

Always a good time, with proceeds going to support the Omaha Girls Rock! project (find out more). One of the funnest shows of the year and a chance to see tomorrow’s stars today! Show starts at 6:30, $5 (but you can add more if you want).

Later Saturday night, at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Digital Leather headlines a show featuring Madison, Wisconsin band The Hussy along with locals Coaxed and No I’m the Pilot. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Check out some Paris Hussy below:

Over in Benson at The Barley Street Tavern, Eli Mardock plays with headliner The Brian Wheat band Saturday night. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally O’Leaver’s is hosting a rare Sunday night show featuring The Seen, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks (a New Jersey-based folky project, led by Real Estate bassist Alex Bleeker), and Lars and Mal. $5, 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Omaha Girls Rock! goes camping and gets IRS-legit; Maria Taylor goes momma; Jenny Lewis goes solo and NE Pop Fest follows through…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm July 24, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Following up on a column from earlier this year, Omaha Girls Rock! announced yesterday that its second annual Rock Camp for Girls will take place the week of July 30. “OGR will provide 50 girls ages 8-18 with a chance to unleash their inner rock stars and to learn songwriting, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and vocals,” sayeth the OGR press release.

The week-long day camp, hosted by the College of St. Mary, includes five days of instrument instruction, band practice, guest performances, and “enrichment workshops.”

The girls are supported by trained, on-site female volunteers, including local and national teachers, social workers, professionals, and musicians. Campers learn instruments, form bands, and write their own original songs. The week culminates in a performance at the Slowdown, Omaha’s premier rock club, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4. After camp, girls will receive a CD including a recording of their original songs mixed and mastered by a professional sound engineer.

In other OGR news, the organization recently was designated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organizations by the IRS. That means your donations to OGR can be deducted from your taxes. So what are you waiting for? To donate, go to omahagirlsrock.com.

* * *

While I’m catching up on my in-box , here’s a heart-warming little story from Alabama’s ai.com where Maria Taylor talks about what it’s like being a mom after having her first baby in May. So how is she going to tour that upcoming Azure Ray album with a baby in tow? “Luckily, my mom has offered to be tour nanny,” Taylor said in the article. “We’ll have a separate car for me, my mom and the baby, and we’ll see how he is touring. We’ll just take it as it comes, and figure it out.”

We already knew about the new Azure Ray album coming out on Saddle Creek Sept. 4, but Taylor also talked about a new duo she’s formed with producer Andy LeMaster of Now It’s Overhead. “I think the record is going to be pretty eclectic in its sound, with a pop sensibility and guy-girl harmonies,” Taylor said in the article. “We have about nine songs, and the hardest part is finishing the lyrics. We’re used to writing by ourselves.”

No word on who’s releasing the debut of this unnamed Taylor/LeMaster project, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Saddle Creek had been mentioned in the discussion…

* * *

In “where are they now” news, SPIN reports that Jenny Lewis is working on a B-side collection of Rilo Kiley tracks as well as a follow-up to her Acid Tongue solo album. She’s also been composing the score and serving as music supervisor for a new movie called Very Good Girls.

I’ve gotten my heart broken, and fallen in love, and moved out my shitty rent-controlled apartment, and lost my father, and tried to rebuild my relationship with my mother,” she said in the article. “All of these things have definitely popped up in my songs and I want to write something that’s real that people can feel.”

Check out the fan-made video for new song “Head Under Water,” performed with he old partners in crime, The Watson Twins.

* * *

Finally, the Nebraska Pop Festival, which took place in Benson a couple weeks ago, presented a check July 17 for $1,630 to Arts For All Executive Director Judy Mallory, according to a press release. Last year NE Pop Fest raised $711 for the AFA. Kudos to festival promoter Chris Beiermann for following through.

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Gus & Call, Howard, Omaha Girls Rock tonight; Sleigh Bells (SOLD OUT) Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 12:43 pm April 13, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

So, the weekend…

Omaha Girls RockTonight’s big show is a benefit at Slowdown for Omaha Girls Rock. You can read about the program and tonight’s show in my column this week in The Reader, or online here at thereader.com. I won’t belabor the point that this not only is a worthy cause, it’s a great night of entertainment AND it’s the conclusion of a contest involving all the bands — Gus & Call, Howard, The Betties and Sun Settings. At the conclusion of each set, the band will perform a new original song written this week centered around the theme “Superstition.” The crowd will vote for its favorite, and the winning band will send one Omaha Girls Rocker to camp. All money raised from your $10 ticket will go to the program. The show starts at 9 p.m., I’m not sure if this is on the big stage or in Slowdown Jr. (the website doesn’t say, which usually indicates that it’s in the big room). See you there.

Also tonight at The Waiting Room, a show that could have been called Omaha Boys Rock, headlined by The Eightyseven and featuring Filter Kings, Noah Sterba & The Cocktails and The Whipkey Three. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, John Klemmensen and the Party headline a show at The Barley Street Tavern with Mike Saklar’s Comme Reel, Dirty Fluorescents and the ingenious Nick Carl. $5, 9 p.m.

Saturday night it’s Sleigh Bells, Javelin and Elite Gymnastics at The Slowdown. This one has been SOLD OUT for quite a while. Note early 8 p.m. start time.

Also Saturday night, Snake Island is the featured artist for the Guitar Center 1-Year Anniversary show at The Waiting Room. Also on the bill are The Seen, The Curtain Calls and Cordial Spew. The hook: At least one member of each band is a Guitar Center employee. $5, 9 p.m.

One last thing: House of Loom’s Friday Afternoon Club continues this afternoon with “Non-DJ DJ” Megan Hunt a.k.a. Princess Lasertron a.k.a. fashion maven and entrepreneur behind Camp. PL will be spinning her favorite goth tracks from 5 to 8 at Loom. Drop by before you head to Slowdown for the ORG event. It’s free and fun.

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Lollapalooza goes very old school; Omaha Girls Rock bene is Friday; DCFC/Low tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:56 pm April 11, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lollapalooza

And the announcements keep right on coming. Lollapalooza unveiled its lineup for the Aug. 3-5 festival in Chi-town, and wow, is it retro. Red Hot Chili Peppers? Black Sabbath? What’s a matter people, couldn’t you get Foghat or Blue Oyster Cult? I’ve got to admit, I like Sabbath as much as the next guy, and I’m sure it’ll be a hit at Lolla, at least from an irony standpoint. This isn’t your grandpa’s Lollapalooza…. or maybe it is.

On the other hand, I’ve always loathed RHCP. Anthony Kiedis is the most overrated, untalented vocalist in the history of rock. Of course that hasn’t stopped him from becoming an icon of the ’90s alternative nation. But the underscored word here is “90s.” Lolla is taking a step back in time with this lineup, but let’s be honest, the festival hasn’t exactly been cutting edge since the ’90s.

Other “big name” Lolla acts: The Black Keys and Jack White. *zzzzz*… It doesn’t start getting interesting until the next tier. At the Drive In? OK. Justice could be fun. And the kids love Passion Pit. Then you get to the small type and things really get hopping: M83, Afghan Whigs, Dum Dum Girls, Chairlift and First Aid Kit (believe the hype). Those are the highlights, and they’re outweighed by the fluff.

The more I see these national fest line-ups, the more I respect SXSW, where you can see bleeding edge bands in a much better setting. Ah, but what am I bitching about? There’s no way in hell I’d go to a clusterfuck like Lolla, where the only people having a good time are the VIPs being driven around on golf carts.

You have to wonder if the bro’s going to see Sabbath give two shits about bands like Polica or Tame Impala. Seems like Ozzfest always was a second-tier festival for the trailer-park crowd who are only a couple evolutionary steps above the Faygo-drinking Juggalo fraternity. Looks like they’ve graduated to the “big time.” BTW, discounted souvenir and early bird three-day passes priced at $75 and $200 have sold out. Regular priced $230 passes are available.

* * *

Today’s column in The Reader is an interview with a future rock star named Isa Luzarraga, who you might remember as the frontwoman of 2011 breakout artist The Jellybeans. Isa and her mom, Julie, along with Val Nelson and Jenn Bernard give the skinny on Friday night’s Omaha Girls Rock Benefit at Slowdown, and the 2012 OGR program. Read all about it in this week’s Reader, or right here at The Reader website.

* * *

Tonight at The Music Hall, it’s Death Cab for Cutie with The Magik*Magik*Orchestra & very special guests, Low. Tickets are still available for $30 to $45. The gig starts at 8. Get there early for Low, who will be tons more entertaining than DCFC.

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Column 333: More on Omaha Girls Rock, Playing With Fire; Cowboy Indian Bear, The Dear Hunter tonight…

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings ignite Playing With Fire, July 16, 2011.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings ignite Playing With Fire, July 16, 2011.

 

Column 333: Live Reviews: Omaha Girls Rock and Playing With Fire

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I can only imagine what it was like backstage at the Omaha Girls Rock (OGR) showcase moments before the night’s first band, The Jellybeans, took the stage. Utter chaos? Faces gripped in panic-fear? Tears? Nervous laughter?

For most of the 24 girls who took part in this, the inaugural OGR band camp, it would be their first time on any stage. Many had never held an instrument before signing up. Now here they were, formed into six bands — The Jellybeans, Cherrybombs, I Just Don’t Like Trees, Mischieff Managed, Urban Scrunchies and Pandas Of Peace — about to perform their own songs in front of an audience of more than 200 that likely included their proud, nervous parents.

OGR volunteer Jenn Bernard, a professional teacher who also performs in indie rock band Fortnight, said volunteers did their best to prepare the girls for their moment under the lights.

“Before the doors opened, we took each group on stage and showed them their mics and where their instruments would be,” Bernard said. “Then, to distract them, they took a tour of the Saddle Creek (Records) warehouse. After the tour, we sang the ‘camp song’ a few times together and got ready to go on stage. The girls’ instruments were all ready to go and everything was very organized.”

The Jellybeans at the Omaha Girls Rock! showcase July 16, 2011.

The Jellybeans at the Omaha Girls Rock! showcase July 16, 2011.

Even I was nervous when the four Jellybeans were introduced to hoots and applause. They took their places behind their instruments and microphones, and then did something most of us could never do. A little redheaded firebrand in a purple outfit grasped the mic like a miniature Janis Joplin and belted out her words with absolute, utter confidence while two friends joined in on guitar and keyboards, the fourth tapping out a rhythm on a drum set.

No, they didn’t sound like the band in School of Rock. They sounded better than that, because what they were doing was real — fun and goofy and filled with charming mistakes.

It was only a matter of time before someone organized something as smart as Omaha Girls Rock. The talent that created Omaha’s indie music scene a decade ago — a scene that’s become world-renowned — has grown up and had (or will have) kids of their own. And though those musicians may not make a “living” making music, they’ve figured out a way to keep music in their lives. Now they’re passing on what they’ve learned to the next generation, who will carry on the tradition in their own way, in their own voices.

Everyone left The Slowdown that evening with grins on their faces, and for the organizers, a few proud tears. Find out more about OGR and make donations at omahagirlsrock.com. Get involved.

*  * *

Who knows, maybe some day one of the OGR campers will emerge as talented as Sharon Jones, who along with her band, The Dap-Kings, performed Saturday night at this year’s Playing With Fire concert in a sauna called Stinson Park.

Blame the heat for a crowd that looked to be around 2-3,000, not the 7-8,000 organizers had hoped for, and maybe that was a good thing considering the size of Stinson Park, located in the newly minted Aksarben Village. The venue, a last-minute substitute for the flooded Lewis and Clark Landing, worked out well. The crowd, with its lawn chairs and bug spray, had plenty of room to roam along the grassy bowl, while vendors hocked pizza and beer from tents along the closed Mercy Road.

Playing with Fire organizer Jeff Davis said the concert was successful, all things considered. “First we worked three days in heat indexes over 100 degrees,” he said. “Second, Aksarben Village squeezed us in between three other events. This required our load-in and load-out logistics to be timed perfectly. We made gates at 4 p.m. and were well ahead of schedule on move out. That was one of our success measures. We were pleased with everything about the show / venue / crowd, except the heat. It impacted the size of the crowd by at least 30 percent. That impacted our vendors, none of whom did well.”

No doubt MECA’s Red Sky Music Festival, being held this week at the TD Ameritrade ballpark and surrounding griddle-like parking lots, also will see attendance impacted by the blistering, painful heat. Why not simply hold these outdoor events earlier or later in the year?

“We didn’t do June because it interfered with the College World Series. NCAA said no,” he said. “(The) August date we gave to the MAHA (Music Festival) since we had cash for just one show. September never works because of Big Red. May means graduations, weddings and rain. We settled on July 16 because that was the date we could get Sharon.”

That was reason enough. It was one of those shows where you felt lucky to be there, to be able to say you saw and heard this incredible band live and in person. Jones, age 55, performed with more energy than most R&B divas one-third her age — singing, dancing, grooving, pulling guys on stage to act as foils for her “you-better-do-me-right” rockers. I’ve never heard a band half as a good playing this style of R&B.

“It was cool to see people of all ages, color and backgrounds having a great time,” Davis said. “That is the true power of music.”

As for next year, “We are going to make an attempt one last time to gain sponsorship dollars,” Davis said of the Playing With Fire concert series. “We would do this forever if we could just break even. Unfortunately, the heat took that away from us this year. Wish us luck.”

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It’s been a monumentally slow week for shows. Finally tonight there’s something going on worth talking about. At The Barley Street Tavern it’s the return of Lawrence indie pop band Cowboy Indian Bear with KC band AcB’s and veritable BT house band All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. $5, 9 p.m.

No, it’s not Deerhunter playing at The Waiting Room tonight; it’s The Dear Hunter, a Providence R.I.-based indie prog-rock band on New York label Triple Crown Records. Opening is Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground (members of Gatsbys American Dream), and Atlanta experimental band O’Brother. $14, 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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


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