Live Review: David Nance, Matthew Sweet; new Whipkey, Twinsmith, See Through Dresses streams…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm July 11, 2017

David Nance at The Sydney, July 7, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s been pointed out to me that David Nance didn’t just come out of nowhere. He’s been plugging away and putting out music since before 2013, including as a member of Simon Joyner’s band The Ghosts.

And while I knew this, my point was that it’s been within the last year or so that Nance’s profile has exploded. I point toward  Matador co-founder Gerard Cosloy who listed among his favorite recordings in 2016 Nance’s More Than Enough (Ba Da Bing Records). That captured some people’s attention, but Nance already had the ball rolling thanks to his live sets.

Last Friday night was another classic Nance performance, this time at The Sydney as part of Benson First Friday. Nance backed by a drummer, bass and someone making noises on a pedal, ripped through a solid set of songs, some of them off his remarkable new album Negative Boogie, which comes out this Friday on Ba Da Bing. The difference between this set and past Nance sets (for me) was the shorter songs. I’ve seen Nance play sets comprised of only two 20-minute noise ensembles. By contrast, Friday’s set was practically a pop concert.

His guitar work is already respected — ranging from big riffs to lead fills to walls of feedback — now his voice is taking center stage. The only comparison in my mind is early Jon Spencer, and Nance does have a similar stage appeal, albeit hidden behind that huge head of hair.

I managed to capture a couple songs on Facebook Live Friday night, which you can view below. The picture doesn’t come in focus ’til after the 30-second mark (wtf, Apple?!).

Yesterday Brooklyn Vegan premiered a track off Negative Boogie. BTW, if you missed the last Friday’s show, Nance will be playing a duo release show with Noah Sterba this coming Friday night at Reverb Lounge. Sean Pratt & The Sweats opens. Sterba’s new album, 13-Bar Blues, comes out Friday on Simon Joyner’s Grapefruit label.

Also on last Friday night’s bill was Oquoa, who had the center slot. This is one of the tightest collections of local all-stars Omaha has to offer. Now if I only knew what language frontman Max Holmquist was singing in. Max’s vocals make lyrics virtually indecipherable and are more of an additional instrument to the overall psychedelic/shoe-gaze sound.  It’s interesting, but I confess to be a lyrics dude who gets added enjoyment when he knows what the music’s about.

Speaking of undecipherable lyrics, opener FiFi NoNo provided a tense barrage of rhythmic noise, augmented by shriek/mumble/yell vocals. You either got it or you didn’t. I thought it was a weird trip.

* * *

Matthew Sweet at The Waiting Room, July 8, 2017.

Saturday night’s Matthew Sweet show at The Waiting Room drew a respectable crowd — respectable both in size and in manner. It was nice not being the oldest dude in the room for a change. In fact, the majority of fans looked like they were in their 50s, no doubt followers of Mr. Sweet since his ’91 breakthrough album Girlfriend.

Well, those fans got what they paid for as Sweet performed the best songs from that album, including the title track and my personal favorite, “Winona.” The happy crowd sang along to all the hits, which Sweet and his band performed as if they’d been playing them for more than 20 years. My only criticism is that Sweet and his band don’t do much on stage except stand there and play, which can become somewhat boring, but the crowd didn’t mind as long as he kept playing those oldies.

* * *

Matt Whipkey dropped a couple new tracks from his upcoming album, Driver, via his Pledge page yesterday. Matt says he likes this new pre-sale platform. Check them out.

* * *

Speaking of new music, Under the Radar yesterday began streaming the entire new Twinsmith album, Stay Cool, which comes out Friday on Saddle Creek Records. Check out the album here.

* * *

And See Through Dresses today is having their new album, Horse of the Other World (Tiny Engines) streamed in its entirety at Brooklyn Vegan, right here. Says BV about the record: “Co-fronted by the ethereal Sara Bertuldo and the whispered baritone of Mathew Carroll, See Through Dresses work bits of Cocteau Twins, The Cure, and other reverby ’80s bands into Horse of the Other World.”

Me, on the other hand, was mostly reminded of M83. This is definitely a change of direction for STDs. The band celebrates the album’s release Saturday night at The Waiting Room.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Live Review: Umm, Oquoa; Charlie Burton, Muscle Cousins tonight; Leafblower, David Nance, Closeness, BIB Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm April 14, 2017

Umm at Reverb Lounge, April 13, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

So now I get the name change. Umm, the new project by Stef Drootin and Chris Sensensey, sounds nothing like their other band, Big Harp. There was nary a twang to be had when the duo rolled out a set of new material last night at Reverb Lounge.

In fact, everything was different — the rock style, the blistering pace, the guitar/bass tones, even Senseney’s voice — now cool and easy — was a big contrast to the grave-pit vocals heard on Big Harp albums.

Whenever I listen to female/male husband/wife duos, I subconsciously compare them to other duos where the vocals are shared or harmonized between a male and female. Top of list is usually Yo La Tengo, Low, Sonic Youth, White Stripes and, of course, Fleetwood Mac, Sonny & Cher… okay, maybe I’m going too far back into the archives. The act that came to mind last night was someone no one likes but me — a vintage husband-wife duo that recorded on I.R.S. called Timbuk3, a one-hit wonder whose fantastic catalog was virtually ignored because of that hit song — which should be a warning to any band dying for a break-through single. Sometimes a the hit can ruin your career.

Anyway, the Timbuk3 comparison is purely on the periphery of what Umm is doing, and based solely on how Stef and Chris harmonize. Stef said those harmonies are the result of an Everly Bros. fetish. Whatever the inspiration, the end result was gorgeous, and provided the perfect counter-point to the duo’s fast, heavy but tuneful indie rock.

Played over laptop beats, each instrument shared the leads throughout the set. Whereas Senseney is one of the best guitarists I’ve ever heard shred a solo, Drootin’s bass work was just as prominent and oftentimes more brutal, providing a fuzz tone that peeled paint off Reverb’s rafters. There was one tune in the middle of the set where the duo shared an intricately played musical phrase as if performing a high-stakes trapeze act without a net. It was laugh-out-loud holy-shit good.

Underscoring the entire performance was the songwriting. These are some of the best pop songs I’ve heard in awhile, songs you immediately want to listen to again. I’m told the duo already recorded an album’s worth of music at ARC. This was only their fifth live performance, and it was red hot. Do I like this better than Big Harp? Yes, because in general I’m tired of twangy, rootsy, indie folk music, something Big Harp did as well as anyone. And while you could listen to Big Harp and respect it for what it was, Umm’s music and songs are something I’d reach for again and again.

Oquoa at Reverb Lounge, April 13, 2017.

BareBear, the new Rob Walters project, opened the night, but I missed it. Oquoa followed with one of their better sets. Keyboardist Patrick Newbery now dominates the solos even more so than frontman Max Holmquist’s guitar. Newbery’s synthwork is multi-layered and varies throughout like nothing heard before. Holmquist’s vocals are at times nearly operatic in tone… and enunciation — i.e., I sometimes wondered in what language he was singing.

Oquoa’s style has morphed into a psychedelic, shoe-gaze sound reminiscent of drummer Roger Lewis’ old band, Conduits. The four-piece isn’t afraid to take their music to space, pulling off repeated riffs and soundscapes that are nothing less than trippy.

* * *

It’s a moderately busy weekend of shows coming up…

Omaha/Lincoln legend Charlie Burton is playing tonight and tomorrow night at Growler USA, 16274 Evans Plaza in West O. Burton’s latest combo is called Charlie Burton and Or What! The last time I interviewed Charlie was way back in 1998 when he called his act The Texas Twelve Steppers (read the article here). I suspect old fans will be flocking to this show. It starts at 9 p.m. and is free both nights. I recommend getting there early if you want a seat. The venue draws a crowd even without music, thanks to its massive beer selection.

Also tonight Muscle Cousins headlines at Reverb Lounge. It’s a new project founded by siblings Andy, Mari and Collin Matz. The Matz kids have been playing music in Omaha for years in bands like Capgun Coup, Manic Pixie Dream Girls and Saturn Moth. Opening is the epic-ly named Boner Killerz and psych-folk-rockers Those Far Out Arrows. $7, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night’s big gig is the Leafblower EP release show at The Brothers Lounge (which I told you about here). Check it out at Bandcamp. Opening is JAZID and folk-psych-superstar David Nance. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tomorrow night, there’s a special dance performance by the tbd. dance collective at Kaneko downtown. “As a part of KANEKO’S ‘Passion & Obsession: From the Collection’ exhibition, tbd. dance collective will create an original performance exploring the idea of movement as an intangible collection, able to be viewed, but only truly stored in the mind.” Closeness, the new project by Orenda and Todd Fink, also perform. Tickets are $10, show starts at 8 p.m.

It’s a night of hardcore at the new Milk Run, 2578 Harney St. Headlining is KC band Blindside USA. Joining them is red-hot noise rock act BIB, Jocko, Jade Lacy and Daphne Calhoun. No price listed but you know it’s got to be at least $7, right? Show starts at 9. Remember, enter through the back door.

Finally, indie band Low Long Signal is playing Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s. They’re opening for headliner The Ramparts. Human Teeth Parade also is on the bill. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


John Klemmensen, Montee Men tonight; Oquoa, Bien Fang, Pupppy, Benson After Dark Saturday; Jayhawks, Shy Boys Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:48 pm July 29, 2016
Oquoa at Farnam Festival, Sept. 12, 2015. The band celebrates a cassette release Saturday night at O'Leaver's.

Oquoa at Farnam Festival, Sept. 12, 2015. The band celebrates a cassette release Saturday night at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Here’s your weekend round-up, again heavy on the locals, light on touring bands, but what else is new?

It’s been nearly a month since I went to a show, which has to be some sort of record. I blame timing (late night shows during the week ain’t happening) and the preponderance of local shows by the same handful of local bands weekend after weekend. I’ve never been someone who tries to see the same local band perform more than a couple times a year. Call it a personality trait (or flaw?) — I also own zero DVDs as I have no interest in seeing the same movie more than, say, once every 10 years.

I understand why some local bands play weekly (a few play multiple times during the week). They’re trying to generate a fan base or want the gig money for touring, recording, etc. Or they just love playing all the time. But that doesn’t make their shows any more interesting.

John Klemmensen and the Party at Reverb, May 1, 2015. He plays at The Barley Street tonight.

John Klemmensen and the Party at Reverb, May 1, 2015. He plays at The Barley Street tonight.

One act I haven’t seen for quite a while and who is consistently interesting is John Klemmensen. He’s doing what appears to be a solo set tonight at Barley Street Tavern with Muscle Cousins, Robo Dojo and Michael Wunder. $5, 9 p.m.

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Montee Men opens for The Regulation along with Sidewalkers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

At the Down Under, 3530 Leavenworth (formerly the Side Door), Relax, It’s Science opens for Pyrate and Anonymous Henchmen. No price listed, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night, Qquoa celebrates the release of a new cassette that’s a follow-up to their 2014 debut. I have a cassette deck, a nice one. But you have to wonder how many other people have a tape deck these days. Bien Fang opens along with Lodgings and Another Afternoon. $5, 9 p.m.

Benson After Dark, the Maple-street-wide music event, happens Saturday night as part of Benson Days. Six venues (seven if you count the beer garden outside of Jake’s, which also will host live music), 25 performers, all for $10. Bands get rolling at 9 — Jake’s show begins at 1 p.m. The full lineup is online here.

Two New York City acts play Milk Run Saturday night, apparently both as solo artists — Thelma and Pupppy. Also on the bill are Nathan Ma and the Rosettes and Middle Folk. $7, 9 p.m.

Then comes Sunday.

Over at The Slowdown it’s the return of The Jayhawks, who you read about earlier this week right here. Fernando Viciconte opens this big room show at 8 p.m. GA tickets are $25 (I guess they sold out that special balcony/wing seating).

Also Sunday night, O’Leaver’s is hosting a “Sunday Social” headlined by the Burkum Boys but also featuring a couple Kansas City bands: Shy Boys and Fullbloods. This show runs 5 to 8 p.m. and your $7 entry also gets you “food,” though I do not know what that “food” will be.

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Live Review: Farnam Festival (Oquoa); The Coathangers tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:50 pm September 14, 2015
Oquoa at Farnam Festival, Sept. 12, 2015.

Oquoa at Farnam Festival, Sept. 12, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

Had a great time at the Blackstone / Farnam Festival Saturday night. It was kind of like a big, cool block party with live music, very much like Jake’s Block Party in Benson. They closed off 40th Street up by where Mula is located near Farnam, set up a beer tent and away they went. Hear Nebraska curated and organized the bands.

We hung around for Oquoa, which did their usual take on slacker/shoe-gaze — big, plodding, and even more intimidating on an outdoor stage, though I still can’t understand a word guitarist/vocalist Max Holmquist is singing. It never mattered with Conduits; I don’t suppose it matters here (though it really does).

My only gripe about the festival was that it didn’t showcase the quality restaurants located in the Blackstone District — Mula, Noli’s, Night Owl. If you wanted their food, you had to leave the compound. In all honesty, I don’t know how they could have provided their vittles, anyway. Instead, four food trucks provided grub. As least we could enjoy some fine craft brews from Scriptown and Infusion. If they do this again next year I’d love to see them to figure out a way to feature the local restaurants’ fare.

* * *

Atlanta power punk trio The Coathangers (Suicide Squeeze Records) headlines a show tonight at Lookout Lounge. Also on the bill are No Thanks, Bien Fang and Tiananmen Squares. $8, 8 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Where does Maha go from here? (in the column); Oquoa, Rocky Votolato tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm August 10, 2015
The Maha Music Festival is this coming Saturday, Aug. 15, at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village.

The Maha Music Festival is this coming Saturday, Aug. 15, at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village.

by Tim McMahan,

The Maha Music Festival is this coming Saturday, and chatter continues that this could be the first year it actually sells out. I don’t know what “sells out” equates to — 10,000 tickets? If it happens it would create a new benchmark and would likely signal a change in how the festival is run in the future. Expansion to a 2-day event? Partnering with other local entities?  A move of venue?

Those options are covered in this month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader. Maha Vice President Lauren Schomburg talks about the current state of the festival and possible future scenarios. The jury is definitely split as to whether Maha should remain a quaint 10,000-sized one-day indie music festival or take steps to grow into something bigger at the risk of losing some of its charm. Read the column (online here) and then let me know where you weigh in. And purchase your $50 tickets before it sells out.

* * *

Tonight at Pageturners Lounge Oquoa plays a free set as part of the bar’s summer concert series. The show starts at 9 p.m. More info here.

Also tonight, singer/songwriter Rocky Votolato (Barsuk Records) headlines at Slowdown Jr. with Dave Hause and Chris Farren. $12, 8 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.



#TBT: We hardly knew ye: local clubs, restaurants and music stores circa March 23, 2004; Oquoa, Miniature Horse tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:02 pm April 30, 2015

by Tim McMahan,

With nothing in particular going on news-wise today, let’s step into the Wayback Machine and pull up this Lazy-i blog post from 11 years ago, March 23, 2004 to be exact. How many of these clubs and restaurants did you frequent and how many are gone now?

From Lazy-i, March 23, 2004: Because I’m often asked this question… 

The 49'r

The iconic sign for The 49’r…

For whatever reason, I’m constantly getting e-mails from national promotions/labels/media marketing companies, etc., asking me to point out local clubs, restaurants and music stores. Who knows why. Maybe it’s a backlash to all the national attention we’ve been getting as part of the “booming Omaha scene.” Anyway, I got another request from a largish music promotions company yesterday. After I wrote the reply, I figured I might as well post the info on the blog for others who may be after this sort of info. Most of you will disagree with my picks, but, hey, I don’t care.

Here’s what I wrote:

Live bars
Sokol Underground, 13th & Martha — You’re probably already aware of these guys, who go by 1 Percent productions. They book the place. Indie ground zero.
O’Leaver’s, 1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd. They take most of the Sokol Underground overflow — one of the places that bands play that can’t draw 300 people. It’s capacity is around 100. Aveo is there tonight. Tilly and the Wall played there a month or so ago. My new favorite hangout. Check out their horrible website:
The 49’r, 49th and Dodge St. Another smallish club for indie music, w/capacity at around 150. A good live music vibe, maybe the best in town for interested crowds (not so for singer/songwriters — Owen (of Joan of Arc fame) played there once and was drowned out by chit-chat).
The Ranch Bowl, 1600 S. 72nd St. Omaha’s oldest still-operating venue, they book mostly hardcore and goon-rock acts, but also do the occasional indie show, for example, the Starlight Mints play there tonight. 1 Percent’s arch rival.
Sullivan’s Bar, 40th & Farnam. Small bar that occasionally hosts unannounced shows by Creek-related acts. Consafos and Son, Ambulance recently played there.
Mick’s, 59th & Maple, a folkie singer/songwriter hangout that also does jazz.
— The brand new Goofy Foot Lounge at 10th & Pacific. It hosted the Simon Joyner CD release show last week — he’s a local singer/songwriter icon that influenced the Saddle Creek crew.

Non-live bars

— The Brothers Lounge, 3812 Farnam. It’s become famous as thee indie drinking hangout, thanks to having the best jukebox in town that plays a lot of local indie/punk along with ’90s punk classics. Where everyone goes when there isn’t a show. Owners are local legends.
The Homy Inn, 1510 No. Saddle Creek. A neighborhood hole-in-the-wall that attracts scenesters. Tiny. Cold Duck on tap. Peanuts in dog bowls. You get the picture.

Record stores

–The Antiquarium, 1215 Howard St. Arguably the home of indie/punk records and CDs. Home of Dave Sink, local music impresario often credited for nurturing the scene in the ’90s.
Drastic Plastic, 1209 Howard St. Great punk/indie music store on the Old Market’s main strip.
Homer’s, three Omaha locations, including one in the Old Market. Independently owned/operated local music store chain with the largest selection of music in Omaha.


I don’t eat out much, but when I do, I go to:
Trini’s in the Old Market, 1020 Howard St. — best Mexican in town
The Indian Oven in the Old Market, 1010 Howard St. — best Indian in town
LaCasa, 4432 Leavenworth St. — best pizza in town
The Rice Bowl, 505 N. Saddle Creek. — best Chinese in town
Trovato’s, 5013 Underwood — Italian/pizza all-around hang-out in the neighborhood

MJ Java, 1299 Farnam
13th St. Coffee Shop, 509 So. 13th St.
Mojo’s, 4826 Dodge St.
Blue Line, 4924 Underwood
Caffeine Dreams, 4524 Farnam

Popular restaurants I don’t eat at because I don’t dig the cuisine:
The Greek Isles, 3821 Center. Greek, but I’m told it’s still good.
McFoster’s, 302 So. 38th St. A popular veg place.

The scene certainly has changed a lot in a decade.

* * *

It’s the final night of Oquoa’s residency at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band has been playing there all weekend, and now their time is up. Joining them tonight will be the amazing Miniature Horse and James Maakestad. $5, 9:30 p.m. Really, you should go.

Also tonight is a fundraiser at The Barley Street Tavern called Songwriters for Autism Awareness. Your $5 cover will go t  the Golden Hat Foundation ( Among those taking the stage:

Ash Trenhaile
Brad Hoshaw Music
Dan Quinn
Daniel Burns
Dominique Morgan
Jacob Radley Duncan
Jason Norman Wellsandt-Musician/Artist
Jeff Dworkin
Jeremy Mercy
Joe Watson Music
Kait Berreckman Music
Mace Hathaway Music Page
Michael J. Fillmore
Sam Burt – Music
Scott Evans
Scott Severin
Stephen Monroe

Show starts at 8 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Hear Nebraska heads West; Matthew Sweet records demos, album delayed; Oquoa, Sam Martin, Big Al Fest tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:00 pm April 23, 2015
The Good Living Tour

The Good Living Tour

by Tim McMahan,

Hear Nebraska yesterday announced its first (annual?) Good Living Tour, which brings Omaha and Lincoln bands to small-town Nebraska throughout the summer.

The concert series features “27 of Nebraska’s top, all-original bands playing free, all-ages concerts across nine Greater Nebraska communities. An associated storytelling project will include Hear Nebraska’s production of a total of over 27 music/arts-related feature stories and videos highlighting the elements that make the communities great to live, work and play, especially for young people,” according to the HN press release.

Here’s the sched (for your summer vacation planning needs):

July 17 – Imperial
July 18 – Ogallala
July 19 – Scottsbluff/Gering
July 20 – Valentine
July 21 – North Platte
July 22 – Kearney
July 23 – West Point
July 24 – Nebraska City
July 25 – Grand Island

Hear Nebraska isn’t releasing the names of the bands involved in the series yet, but as a Hear Nebraska Board Member (full disclosure!) I can tell you the line-up is indeed impressive. HN will start announcing the bands April 27.

I think the biggest challenge to pulling large audiences to these shows will be underscoring the quality of the bands, many (most) of which are completely unknown in places like North Platte and Ogallala, where no doubt national mega-pop/American Idol acts, C&W and Freedom Rock is their daily music diet (You could argue that’s the same basic diet to most Omaha and Lincoln residents, as well as the rest of ‘merica). So, it’s a challenge, but no one said it was going to be easy.

Good Living Tour strikes at the core mission of Hear Nebraska, which is to “cultivate Nebraska’s vibrant, fertile music and arts community by providing resources and a voice for bands, artists and members of Nebraska’s creative class and the people and businesses that support them.” Find out more about Hear Nebraska at

* * *

Omahan Matthew Sweet said he’s recorded “at least an album’s worth of demos” for his upcoming album (with the working title of Tomorrow Forever), which he said probably won’t be completed until this fall, according to a Kickstarter update he posted yesterday.

“At this point, anything new I write will go straight to recording stage, as obviously I am running late,” Sweet said. “I am expecting to record one more batch of fifteen songs, at which point I can start putting together an order and getting a feel for what the album is. Most likely we will do this final recording in late May or Early June. We will do a few dates in July but otherwise I now hope to finish singing and overdubbing by Sept realistically.”

Sweet original said in his Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $55,000, that the album would be completed in early spring 2015. “I know it is quite typical for Kickstarter projects to run late,” he said. “When you run a campaign, you have to pick a date to shoot for, and I’d really hoped to make it. But it has to be better that I make the best album I can and take a little longer than to rush something out.”

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Oquoa continues its month-long residency. Joining them are Thinking Machines and Sam Martin, whose latest album, A Notion in An Ocean (Make Believe Recordings) is one of my favorite local releases so far this year. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tonight also is the kick-off of the Big Al Free Music Festival at The Hideout Lounge, 320 So. 72nd St. In addition to performing, bands will have free recordings available for swapping. The fest (which runs through Saturday) is also a food drive. Bring a can of food with you — donations will go to the Food Bank for the Heartland.

Here’s tonight’s sched:

8:00 – 8:30 Adam Peterson
8:35 – 9:05 Pflames
9:15 – 9:45 ARMY of 2600
10:00 – 10:30 The Sun-Less Trio
10:40 – 11:10 Low Long Signal
11:20 Digga DJ +1 with Big AL

* * *

And if you haven’t already, check out this week’s Lazy-i Podcast. The 20-minute program features music by Wagon Blasters, Soft Moon, Blue Bird, Ladyfinger and music and an interview with Super Ghost, along with my picks for the best shows this weekend. Check it out below:

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Live Review: Foxygen, Oquoa; Whirr tonight; Simon Joyner release show, Swearing at Motorists, Sons of Reverb Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:49 pm April 3, 2015
Foxygen at The Waiting Room, April 3, 2015.

Foxygen at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

Foxygen was hysterically entertaining last night at The Waiting Room, and by that I mean the band played as if every single member had snorted a Hefty garbage bag filled with Peruvian marching powder prior to the set.

Whirling dervishes one and all, but especially frontman Sam France, who came off like an ultra-glam cross between David Bowie and Mick Jaggar (with a smattering of Iggy Pop thrown in for good measure). Over-the-top energy. To say the band played full-on would be a vast understatement. On fire. Yes. And nothing close to what I was expecting having heard their last two (and only two) albums, which ooze slacker disdain. There was nothing slacker about last night.

Playing as an 9-piece (keys, bass, two guitars, vocals, drums, three back-up singers in spangles and spandex) the band barged through a set that epitomized ’70s glam with hints of psychedelic and Motown. The end product was like an indie version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch spot-welded to Jim Steinham / Meat Loaf by way of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Vamping was a key ingredient, along with synchronized dance steps and multiple costume changes.

The frenzy of the manic stage show was only eclipsed by the unceasing drive of the exhaustingly energetic music — a night-and-day contrast to the low-key noodling heard on …And Star Power, their latest album which can be rather…challenging to listen to. The Internet is filled with stories about how this band is either already broken up (and this is their farewell tour) or are in the process of dismantling. You wouldn’t know it by watching last night’s spectacle, which will very likely will be among my top-5 favorite shows of ’15. Here’s hoping all the break-up drama is merely that, and that Foxygen keeps it going, With a show like this, Broadway is calling.

Alex Cameron at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

Alex Cameron at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

Before Foxygen it was one-man Aussie sensation Alex Cameron and sax player Roy. The shtick is Cameron looking and dancing like Talking Heads’ David Byrne and singing like Bryan Ferry to pre-recorded ’80s-flavored beat tracks. Shades of Andy Kaufman, amusing and (somewhat) mesmerizing, though it wore a bit thin after 15 minutes. Cameron’s a funny dude in a Flight of the Conchords sort of way. The crowd didn’t know what to make of him, but he won them over in the end.

Oquoa at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

Oquoa at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2015.

Opening the night with a strong set (though to a half-empty room) was Omaha’s own Oquoa. I hadn’t seen these guys in at least a year and was pleasantly surprised at how their sound has evolved. Frontman Max Holmquist has added more drama to his voice (and these new songs), sounding like Paul Banks fronting a shoegaze version of Interpol.

Oquoa has been compared to Lewis’ former band Conduits, a comparison that no longer fits thanks to Patrick Newbery’s spaced-out keys, which are prominent in the mix. The band’s core sound is now drums, bass, keyboards and Holmquist’s siren voice (His electric guitar was all but unheard in the mix). The product, especially on the set closer, was haunting and harrowing. The only nit I have to pick is that (as with Conduits) I couldn’t tell you what a single song was about as the words were virtually undecipherable, with all annunciation lost in the delay. When it comes to this kind of music, do the words really matter anyway?

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Let’s get right to the weekend lineup:

Tonight Whirr (Graveface Records) plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band’s shoegaze sound has been compared to My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. Opening is Fort Collins band Sour Boy, Bitter Girl and Those Far Out Arrows. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Timecat celebrates the release of their debut album Living in the Dark at The Reverb Lounge. Also on the bill are Eric in Outerspace, Lover’s Speed and Feral Hands. $5, 9 p.m.

BTW, It’s first Friday in Benson. Start looking for parking now.

One other show going on tonight worth your attention: Metal/punk band Cult Leader plays at the very cool Midtown Art Supply, 2578 Harney. Joining them are Varmint, Survive Us All and Omaha’s sludgemeisters Nightbird. $7, 8 p.m.

Saturday night is the Simon Joyner Album Release Show at Slowdown Jr. Opening for Simon and his band are Outlaw Con Bandana and L. Eugene Methe. Tix are $8 today and $10 tomorrow. If you haven’t already, listen to this sweet interview with Simon Joyner from this week’s Lazy-i Podcast. Simon talks about his voice, his music and where he finds the characters that inhabit his songs.

Also happening Saturday night, Swearing at Motorists celebrate its 20th Anniversary Tour at O’Leaver’s with Burger Records band DTCV and Peace of Shit. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday The Sons of Reverb play at The Reverb Lounge with Left Is West. $7, 9 p.m.

And yet one more show in Benson Saturday night: Relax, It’s Science plays at The Sydney with The Clocks and Laika the Space Bitch. $5, 9 p.m.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Oquoa, Son Ambulance tonight; Felice Brothers Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:49 pm June 27, 2014
Cheap Trick at the Bank of the West concert in 2011. Now that's a band I wouldn't mind seeing again in Memorial Park...

Cheap Trick at the Bank of the West concert in 2011. Now that’s a band I wouldn’t mind seeing again in Memorial Park…

by Tim McMahan,

Though one of the most tepid line-ups ever for a Memorial Park concert, tonight’s Bank of the West concert may draw one of largest crowds. Blues Traveler, Sugar Ray, Uncle Kracker, Smash Mouth — not a single act here of interest, but these four bands have sold millions of records and define modern rock to the army of soccer moms and not-so-hip dads that populate greater Omaha. If it’s not rained out, expect the usual 50k+ mob.

When I lived on J.E. George Blvd., the annual slobfest was something to dread as that street was a main northern thoroughfare to the park. A constant parade of cooler-toting yahoos walked past our house beginning just after lunchtime. Snarled traffic made coming and going difficult. We were held hostage in our own home. We now live about three blocks west of J.E. George, and while fewer people junk up the streets, traffic is still a hassle. It’s all just part of the fun that goes with living near the park.

As for the music, I’ve always thought Blues Traveler was an abomination. The gargantuan John Popper was  lauded for his harmonica prowess, whereas I was amazed he could make an awful song that much worse with his grating atonal bleeps. I assume Mark McGrath is still in Sugar Ray. I think more people know him from Celebrity Apprentice or Wife Swap than his music. I get Smash Mouth and Spin Doctors mixed up.  And I admit I’ve never heard an Uncle Kracker song before, though according to Wiki its evolved from rap-rock to country-rock.

As I type this at home, they’re doing sound check in the park, and it sounds like Popper (Pooper?) and Co. are playing their shitty music in my basement.

So what’s really going on musicwise this weekend?

Well tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the reintroduction of Oquoa. The band has gone through a few line-up changes, and according to this Hear Nebraska story, tonight’s show will be the last for JJ Idt, who’s moving to Portland, whereas the band has added Patrick Newberry (Cursive) and Jim Schroeder (UUVVWWZ). They’ll be playing songs off their new 8-song album, check out a track below via Soundcloud. Opening is Son, Ambulance and the Luke Polipnick Trio. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight in Benson, the Sweatshop Gallery is hosting a six-band bill that includes Lincoln’s Life Is Cool and The Decatures. $5, 8 p.m. More info here.

Over at The Barley Street Tavern tonight, The Brigadiers and Goon Saloon are among the bands on a 5-band bill. $5, 8:30 p.m. More info here.

What’s with all these multi-band shows in Benson tonight? I don’t know but I refuse to acknowledge Benson Fourth Friday.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Shreveport band Ghost Foot headlines with instrumental act A Great Disturbance. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) we’re all headed down to The Slowdown for The Felice Brothers. Opening is Nashville singer/songwriter Robert Ellis. $15, 9 p.m.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Live Review: Jake’s Block Party (See Through Dresses, Oquoa, Twinsmith); Jim James, Basia Bulat, Youth Lagoon tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:02 pm September 10, 2013
And the crowd looked on, at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

And the crowd looked on, at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

by Tim McMahan,

Jake’s Block Party in Benson has become an annual (or semi-annual?) must-attend event for anyone interested in local indie music. As in years past, the stage was set up right outside of Jake’s on Military Ave., leaving room for food vendors (Lot 2/Baxter’s, a food truck, fine brews by Jake’s).

This time  the party was teamed up with Benson First Friday, which may explain the rather light crowd for opening band Twinsmith. Though the audience was thin, interest was intense for a marquee act that has all the earmarks of a local breakthrough. Again, I was reminded of Vampire Weekend. Make your own comparisons. One of the most pop-friendly indie bands to emerge from the Omaha scene in recent memory.

Oquoa at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

Oquoa at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

Moreso than when I saw them a couple weeks ago at their O’Leaver’s debut (or maybe it was the outdoor stage) Oquoa sounded like Conduits with a male lead singer, which of course makes sense considering core members of Oquoa were in Conduits. Thick, dense waves of sound rolled through the old brick buildings, but instead of Jenna Morrison’s tonal coo cutting through the feedback we got Max Almquist’s brassy rock voice. I still don’t know what he’s singing about, but that will come when we get a lyric sheet (or a clean recording). If you were a Conduits fan, you need to check these guys out.

See Through Dresses at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

See Through Dresses at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

See Through Dresses had a sound that bounced between Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Needless to say Sara Burtuldo’s interplay with with frontman Matt Carroll (Nate Van Fleet and Robert Little round out the four-piece) gives the band a Thurston Moore / Kim Gordon flair. When they throw in a New Order cover, well, things get out of hand (in a good way). As a whole, less punk and more post-punk than Sara’s other project.

Speaking of Sonic Youth, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship followed STD and played their usual cranked up post-punk set, louder than ever. By then, the block was packed. Alas, I didn’t stick around for headliner Universe Contest.

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Early in the evening, word leaked that Conor Oberst was going to mark the anniversary of Pageturners with a performance on the bar’s ad hoc stage. What to do, what to do? In the end, I sat tight at Jake’s figuring that I wouldn’t get there in time to get in and/or if I did the place would be crushed. Unlike Conor’s Krug Park “secret show” a year ago when video and reports leaked everywhere afterward, the only thing I’ve seen to prove that this actually happened was a dark, blurry photo posted on the Pageturners Facebook page.

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Two shows going on tonight. Top o’ bill is Jim James (of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk) at Slowdown. Is Conor still in town? If he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he joined his old pal on stage for a couple songs. Opening is the amazing Basia Bulat, whose new album, Tall, Tall Shadows, comes out on Secret City Records Oct. 1. As of noon, tickets were still available for $27. Show starts at 9.

Also tonight, spacey rockers Youth Lagoon a.k.a. Boise Idaho’s Trevor Powers, plays at The Waiting Room. His new album Wondrous Bughouse was released on Fat Possum this past March and is, indeed, a head trip in a Floydian sort of way. Opening is Austin low-fi trio Pure X. $14, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.