Simon Joyner, Orenda Fink at Pageturners tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:48 pm January 7, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Simon / Orenda poster

Simon / Orenda poster

Tonight at the house Conor Oberst and Phil Schaffart built (I’m talking about Pageturners Lounge on Dodge Street) Simon Joyner and Orenda Fink will perform. The gig starts at 9 with Orenda joined by Ben Brodin and Christine Fink. They’re followed by Mr. Joyner, who I believe will be doing a solo set. The best part: The show is absolutely free. If you (like me) haven’t been to Pageturners yet, here’s your chance to check out this cool new bar and see two of the area’s best singer/songwriters.

When Pageturners opened last year the initial reports were that it would not host live shows. Since then, Dan McCarthy has become a regular performer on the bar’s piano, Chris Machmuller (of So-So Sailors) has done a set and now this. And why not? There’s always room for more stages in the Omaha music scene.

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Lazy-i Best of 2012

Lazy-i Best of 2012

Speaking of Simon, his song “If I Left Tomorrow” is among the collection on this year’s Lazy-i Best of 2012 compilation CD, along with songs by Paul Banks, Tame Impala, Cat Power, Mere Mortals, The Faint, Ladyfinger, Pujol and a ton more.  The full track listing is here (scroll to the bottom). To enter the drawing to win a free copy send an email with your name and mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.comHurry! Deadline is Jan. 15.

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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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Life is Cool debuts (online); Lincoln Calling, Rd. 2; Sandbox questions; Pageturner in OWH; Lightning Bolt tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:38 pm September 13, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Going through the ol’ mailbag…

James Reilly of Pharmacy Spirits tapped my shoulder via Facebook to say that he’s got a new band called Life Is Cool. Among the members: Eric Bemberger (ex-Beep Beep), Eli Mardock (ex-Eagle Seagull), Mike Elsener, Ben Armstrong and Kendra Campbell (Cat Island). They’ll be debuting Oct. 14 at Duffy’s in Lincoln, but you can check out a track from their SoundCloud page, below.

So is this a prescription for the end of Reilly’s other band, Pharmacy Spirits? Not at all. In fact Reilly said PS is recording a new EP right now with Mark Wolberg. And look out for PS drummer Courtney Nore’s new band Tubetop, which is the best new band name I’ve heard in a long time.

Life is Cook, JDWYD

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What else…

Lincoln Calling announced its second round of bands for this year’s festival, slated for Oct. 9-14. You can see the current list and get other pertinent info at the Lincoln Calling website. The geographic breakdown:

Acts by city (21 cities total):
73 Lincoln
14 Omaha
5 Kansas City
4 Chicago
4 Omaha/Lincoln
2 Des Moines, San Diego
1 Baltimore, Denver, Kansas City/Lincoln, Lawrence, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Paris, FR, Portland, OR, Provo, UT, Quincy, IL, Seattle, Springfield, IL, Stillwater, Twain Harte, CA

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Lots of early buzz about tomorrow night’s show at The Sandbox — Wild Nothing and Diiv. Both bands are red hot in the Pitchfork/indie world right now, and as a result of the interest, I’ve been getting questions about the venue.

The last time I was at the Sandbox was December 2011 for The STNNNG. Here’s the write-up/description of the venue. I’m told that since then they’ve added a new stage, new sound and professional lighting. But unless they’ve remodeled the entire upstairs of that building, it’s still going to have a warehouse/loft vibe, and as such, this gig could feel like a loft show. Depending on what you like, that’s either a good thing or a bad thing (from my point of view, it’s a good thing).

I’m told venue capacity is around 200, but as I’ve said, this isn’t your typical venue. Tickets are available online at mooseriot.com. As for parking, you’re on your own…

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Could the description of Pageturners Lounge in today’s OWH make the bar sound any more boring? “The sunken bar and dim lighting are reminiscent of retro Omaha neighborhood bars like the Holiday and the Interlude — places where (Phil) Schaffart and his friends have spent a lot of time over the years. And the menu is no-fuss — 10 beers on tap, another 25 in bottles and cans, four house cocktails (a fifth is coming as soon as one of the spirits comes in), and several dozen wines.” *yawn* Sounds like your run-of-the-mill hole-in-the-wall neighborhood bar, but maybe that’s what Phil and co-owner Conor Oberst were after. Mayhaps I’ll find out for myself this weekend…

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Tonight at The Waiting Room, Providence, RI noise-rock duo Lightning Bolt takes the stage. They’re one of those bands that bring the party to you,  playing directly on the floor instead of the stage. We’ll see if they follow suit tonight. Opening is Touch People (Darren Keen, ex-The Show Is the Rainbow). $10, 9 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Larry Boehmer remembered (The Note, June 1993); Pageturners opens tonight; fading Big Red (in the column); Twin Shadow Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:27 am September 7, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The June cover, June 1993

The June cover, June 1993

Sorry for the lack of updates this week. I’ve been on the side of a mountain on the outskirts of Breckenridge, Colorado, since last Sunday. Without WIFI, there was no way to update the blog. But really, when you’re on vacation, aren’t you supposed to set aside such menial tasks and try to reconnect with what’s important in life? Or at least drink as much as possible?

While gone, it was reported that Larry Boehmer, the man who turned The Zoo Bar in Lincoln into a national blues destination, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 65. There’s no denying the role Larry played in

Behind Bars, pg. 1, The Note, June 1993

Behind Bars, pg. 1, The Note, June 1993

Lincoln’s and Nebraska’s music scene — as well as the national blues scene — for decades.

Click on the three thumbnail images on the left side of the page (and then click on the images two or three more times to magnify the scans) to read a cover story about Larry and the history of The Zoo Bar written for The Note waaay back in June 1993 to mark the 20th anniversary of the bar. Read more memories of Larry here at hearnebraska.org and the obit in the Lincoln Journal Star. He will be missed.

Behind Bars, pg. 2, The Note, June 1993

Behind Bars, pg. 2, The Note, June 1993

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Also while I was gone, I got an email from Phil Schaffart saying that Pageturners, the new bar he’s launching with Conor Oberst, will open its doors for the first time at 4 p.m. today, Friday, Sept. 7. Pageturners the bar is located where Pageturners the bookstore used to be, just west of 50th Street on Dodge (right next to Goldberg’s). Expect a crush mob, paparazzi and plenty of happy drunks. Will Conor and Phil (and Roger) be standing next to the taps slinging drinks? Will someone pull out a guitar and belt out a few bars of “How Dry I Am” or “If Winter Ends”? As that song goes, “And so I drink to stay warm / And to kill selected memories…” Don’t we all? Now we all have a new place to do it…

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In this week’s column, a look at how Big Red mania engulfs everything in its path, and how we still don’t know what happened to UNO’s football team, or why it went down like it did. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader, or online right here.

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Let’s get  into what’s happening tonight and this weekend. Looks like I got back in town just in time…

It’s another “First Friday” in Benson. Look for art stuff happening along Maple Street throughout the evening. For details, go here.

While your stumbling around Benson gawking at all the art, drop in at The Sydney for Lightning Bug and Conchance. $5, 10 p.m.

Another hot ticket tonight is Toxie at The Brothers Lounge. Toxie (Goner Records) is a Memphis four piece with two guys and two girls playing endearing garage indie.. Check it out for yourself. Also on the bill are The Lupines and Solid Goldberg. $5, 9 p.m.

It’s back to Benson tomorrow night (Saturday) for a show I’ve been looking forward to for a few months. I’m not talking about Jake’s “Because We Can” block party, which is happening outside at 62nd and Military and features Satchel Grande, Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship, Rock, Paper, Dynamite, Dim Light and Millions of Boys starting at 7 p.m. No, I’m talking about Twin Shadow at The Waiting Room.

Twin Shadow is Dominican-born George Lewis Jr. whose album Confess (4AD) is a dizzying trip back to ’80s electro-pop with a sound that recalls everything from General Public to Fine Young Cannibals to New Order to Peter Gabriel. For what it’s worth, Pitchfork gave it an 8.2 rating. It’s also one of my favorite albums so far this year for the sheer fun of it. Twin Shadow is one guy, so I have no idea what he’ll bring to the stage. For a gig last month in Seattle, Twin Shadow performed as a three-piece. Tickets are $12 today, $14 tomorrow. Opening is Sub Pop synth band Niki and The Dove. Starts at 9.

Twin Shadow, Five Seconds (4AD, 2012)

 

If all that ’80s synth pop just ain’t your thing, check out the return of Peace of Shit to fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night with Killer Blow (Genie Molkentine on drums and vocals, Todd VonStup on guitar) and Mosquito Bandito. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Council OKs Conor & Phil’s booze license; Dundee Theatre renovation (in this week’s column); Gerald Lee Jr./Klemmensen tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm April 25, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

According to our friends at the Omaha World-Herald, Phil “Con Dios” Schaffart and Conor Oberst got the OK from the Omaha City Council yesterday afternoon for the liquor license for Pageturners, their proposed bar at 5004 Dodge St., but with a couple weird provisions. Among them: They can’t sell single-servings of off-sale drinks, which I guess means I won’t be able to go there to pick up my nightly 40 of King Cobra. The story also quotes Super Attorney of the Stars Sean Kelley saying that there would be no “loud live music,” and that the room’s capacity will only be 50. Fifty? That’s a tiny friggin’ bar. To put it in perspective, I think Conor traveled with more than 50 musicians during his White Tuxedo Tour of 2002. Just glancing through the front window, there’s got to be more room in there than that.

Dundee Theatre

Dundee Theatre

Speaking of new and improved Dundee establishments, check out my column in this week’s issue of The Reader (online here) with details about the top-to-bottom renovation of the Dundee Theatre, including returning the theater’s original live stage, last used during the vaudeville era. That’s right, The Dundee Theatre will host live stage performances in addition to movie screenings. If you’re like me and have been going to flicks at the Dundee for the past 30-odd years, news of its renovation is a big deal. Read about it here, and congrats to Denny Moran and wife Janet for making it happen.

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Looks like this year’s free Memorial Park concert June 29 will feature the King of Wonder Bread rock, Huey Lewis & The News — big step down from last year’s Cheap Trick show. Ah well, at least all the old folks in the neighborhood will be thrilled.

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Night Two of Big Al’s Free Music Fest features Gerald Lee, Jr. (Filter Kings), John Klemmensen and the Party and two bands I’ve never heard of. Like the name says, it’s free and starts at 9 at The Hideout, 320 So. 72 St. More info here.

Also tonight, Des Moines band Bright Giant plays at Slowdown Jr. with Lightning Bug. $7, 9 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The secret show that never happened; Conor Oberst’s new bar; Live Review: Cowboy Junkies, McCarthy Trenching; Back When tonight; Icky Blossoms tomorrow…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:01 pm April 20, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I feel an obligation to explain the cryptic message at the end of yesterday’s blog. The message: “One more thing: Omaha peeps keep a close eye on the various and sundry social media sites late today and into the early evening. More than that, I cannot say…

A few days ago I received an email notifying me of a secret show that was to take place at O’Leaver’s last night. The catch: If too many people find out before-hand, the band will cancel the gig, so don’t tell anyone until the night of the performance. Then yesterday at around 6, I got a text that said the show was off. Too many people had heard about it, so the band canceled.

I can’t tell you who the band is because doing so could jeopardize other future shows by this unsaid band. Of course, most people who live in Omaha and read this blog regularly know exactly who I’m talking about, and understand why this band lives under a paranoid veil of secrecy. Or maybe they don’t. I certainly don’t. What is the point of telling people that you’re doing a secret show, and then canceling the show because too many people know about it? And how many, exactly, is “too many people”? And how do you figure out that people are talking? Was a secret poll conducted of people huddled around Smoke Genies throughout the Dundee/Benson bar district?

“The numbers are in, boss. Thirty people confirmed knowledge of the show, with a high concentration located around Jake’s.”

“Fuck it, the show’s off. They knew the rules. I will not be defied.”

The whole sitch was the cause of much mirth at O’Leaver’s last night, where we came up with a new name for the band which combines the first eight letters of the band’s name followed by the word “pussies.” You do the math. I suggested that all this secrecy could hamper the band’s upcoming tour of national secret shows.

“Guys, I just cancelled Chicago. Way too much chitter-chat. And Minneapolis is in jeopardy. When I say ‘No talking,’ I mean no talking. They better learn: I WILL CANCEL EVERY SECRET SHOW ON THIS TOUR IF THEY KEEP IT UP. Now someone go text that…”

It sounds like I was one of the few people that got the 6 p.m. text saying that the show was canceled. I talked to a number of people in the large crowd at O’Leaver’s last night that didn’t find out until after they arrived. Well, at least they were treated to a fine set by McCarthy Trenching.

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Speaking of secrets. A couple weeks ago someone tipped me off that Conor Oberst and Phil Schaffart were planning on opening a bar at 5004 Dodge Street in the old Pageturners storefront. Like the dutiful journalist I am, I emailed Phil and asked if it was true.

His response. “Yes, Conor and I are opening a lounge in the old Pageturners bookstore on Dodge st. We’re still in the planning stage but we hope to be open by mid summer. I appreciate your interest but was hoping you could please refrain from mentioning this in print for the time being? We have yet to be granted our Liquor License and we’d rather not draw any extra attention. Once all the dust has settled, I’d be happy to give you the details on the space and and what we’re planning for it.

So what do you do? I could easily have ran with my information without contacting Phil. I already verified it via public filings. But I thought it would be better to get it from the horse’s mouth. And once I got Phil’s email, I felt obligated to sit on it until Phil said it was OK to run. I didn’t want to fuck up their plans.

Well, last night city councilman Pete Festerson tweeted about the bar, including its location. Moments later I got an email from Phil saying that The Omaha World-Herald was about to publish a story confirming the information. “I apologize if the OWH is able to print this info before you as you were indeed the first to inquire.”

Oh well.

So here’s what I know. The place will be called Pageturners Lounge and will open in late summer. And that’s about it. I haven’t been able to talk to Phil, who is on tour right now with M. Ward. But when I get details, I’ll pass them along.

Again, this wasn’t exactly a well-kept secret. Someone else had told me about it earlier yesterday evening, and I just nodded my head, knowingly. That person asked if Conor and Phil plan on doing live music at their new bar. I said I did not know. Having looked at the space myself, I could tell him that it’s a long, narrow room with a full basement.  Coffee-shop style performances might work; but I couldn’t imagine seeing a band there, but who knows (other than Phil and Conor, who presumably is sequestered inside a bunker deep within his Fairacres mansion)? I said I had a feeling that they may follow the Krug Park model, which so far seems to have been wildly successful at drawing a crowd by simply serving fantastic beer. Time will tell.

This morning’s OWH article seems to confirm my assumptions. I think you can tell by its tone that Phil wasn’t too eager to talk about the project.

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Cowboy Junkies at The Slowdown, April 19, 2012.

Cowboy Junkies at The Slowdown, April 19, 2012.

There were around 200 on hand for last night’s Cowboy Junkies show at The Slowdown, which turned out to be a “sit-down” affair. Rows of folding chairs were placed in the area in front of the stage, apparently to appease an older crowd. And I do mean older; I practically felt like a spring chicken. But in their defense, old people know what’s good and definitely know what they like, and there was a lot to like about last night’s performance.

Margo Timmons and the band came on at 8 and preceded to play two one-hour sets and an encore. The stage felt intimate in the dim light, with Margo seated out front next to a vase filled with red roses. If you’re a fan of this band and were there, you very likely were entranced. At times their set had that same hushed, haunted feel heard on their early records; at other times, they pulled back the lid and rocked. Timmons has a fantastic, even, ethereal voice on haunted songs about haunted lives. To their credit, their new album contains some of the best material of their career.

Chatting with a couple who drove in from Lincoln for the show, I guessed that the band wait until the encore to play their famous cover of Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane.” Instead, they launched into it as the first song of their second set, as gorgeous as ever.

I didn’t stay for the whole show, since I wanted to see McCarthy Trenching at O’Leaver’s. Opening was James Maakestad of Gus & Call, who played a set of rustic acoustic jams that highlighted his amazing voice. How would these sound with a full band? Do they even need to be fleshed out with anything beyond his voice and guitar? Maakestad stayed on stage to back Dan McCarthy on stand-up bass. McCarthy is Omaha’s Randy Newman — a musical genius who has a unique, funny and touching way with words. He sang a number of songs from his new album, along with “The Ballad of Dorothy Lynch,” which is bound to be an instant classic.

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Briefly (because this is running long) here’s a recap of some of the better shows this weekend:

Back at O’Leaver’s tonight it’s Back When with Ketchup and Mustard Gas and New Lungs. Bring your earplugs, it gonna be loud. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow at Elmwood Park it’s Earth Day. The full schedule of events is right here, but the highlight from a performance standpoint is Icky Blossoms, who play from 3:40 to 4:25. Should be a blast, and it’s free. More info here.

If you’re in Lincoln tomorrow, Duffy’s is hosting a benefit show for KRNU. The lineup: Great American Desert, AZP, Manny Coon, Shipbuilding Co., Good Show Great Show, Pharmacy Spirits, Sun Settings and Machete Archive. Show starts at 5 p.m. and suggested donation is $5. More info here. I only wish we had a KRNU here in Omaha…

And don’t forget that tomorrow is Record Store Day. Get out to The Antiquarium (check out all their cool-ass promotions), Homer’s and the Shop at Saddle Creek and buy some vinyl.

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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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