The sun quickly sets on Red Sky (so now what can MECA do with that white elephant of a stadium?)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm October 22, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Goodbye Red Sky...

Goodbye Red Sky…

There were two bits of news that came to my attention this weekend. The demise of the Red Sky Music Festival was the least important of the two.

Red Sky has been a failure as a festival from Day 1 (though you could argue that its individual concerts have generated some cash). By unshackling themselves from a festival concept, MECA can now be more flexible with how it books its stadium, focusing on touring mega concerts on the artists’ schedules rather than MECA’s.

If MECA ever was willing to speak publicly about Red Sky, I think it would admit that the board never fully embraced a festival concept sold to them by the suits at Live Nation, whose job it was to book the acts in some sort of thematic, coherent fashion rather than the hodge-podge throw-shit-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks who’s-free-this-weekend lazy-ass approach they ultimately took.

Make no mistake about it. MECA had the money and facilities to do this right. It simply lacked the vision. Imagine what the Maha team could do with Red Sky’s budget?

Anyway, with Red Sky behind them, MECA can now consider booking mega tours whenever they become available, because Lord knows that white elephant of a stadium is being woefully underutilized.

So what was the other news I picked up over the weekend? Well, you’ll just have to wait on that as I continue to get confirmation from one of the parties involved. Here’s a hint: It’s good news for people who like to get stinking drunk.

* * *

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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This really is your father’s (or grand-father’s) Red Sky Festival; Bloodcow tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 1:06 pm May 8, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It would be easy to pile on to the mountain of complaints about this year’s Red Sky Music Festival.

Held at the massive Ameritrade Ballpark and launched with so much withered promise a year ago, Red Sky announced three of its four headliners yesterday over the lunch hour.

MECA, the folks behind Red Sky, is like a group of out-of-touch parents planning a senior prom.

Scratch that. Try again.

Unveiling the Red Sky lineup is like unwrapping a Christmas gift from your grandmother.

OK, waitaminit…

bears

MECA, contemplating Red Sky...

The Red Sky lineup has about as much artistic merit as a Thomas Mangelsen ‘Bad Boys of the Arctic’ polar bear photo.

Hold on…

Red Sky is so ugly…

Look, I could go on all day with the metaphors.  The fact is MECA’s underwhelming choices should be a surprise to no one.

The combination of Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Def Leppard is about as far away from a “progressive concert lineup” as anyone could imagine. I get carsick just thinking about it. But here’s the thing. As crappy as those bands are, each night of Red Sky easily will outsell the amazingly diverse Maha Music Festival. Easily.

It’s not about art. It’s about commerce. As I’ve said so many times in the past: You could add up every album sold by every artist on Saddle Creek Records and it wouldn’t equal the sales of one Paisley or Leppard or Rascal Flatts album. Indie music is more interesting, more intelligent, more artistic, more daring than anything produced by this year’s RS bands, which is exactly why it’ll never be as popular.

So let Red Sky be Red Sky. They were never targeting you in the first place. They were targeting your parents or your boss or your typical Lee Terry voter. Conservative. Dry. Old-fashioned. Boring. Visionless. You weren’t invited, but that’s OK. You didn’t want to go to their party anyway…

* * *

Hey MECA, there’s still room for one more Red Sky headliner, and I can’t think of anyone more straight-laced and conservative than Bloodcow. When these guys aren’t doing volunteer work at the local VA, they’re busy leading bible study classes and hosting Republican party get-togethers at Applebees. Their style of wholesome, feel-good pop music is exactly what your typical Red Sky ticket buyer is looking for. Don’t believe me? Then check them out tonight when Bloodcow headlines at The Waiting Room with Bible of the Devil, Leeches of Lore and The Matador — nice, upstanding Christian boys one and all. $7, 9 p.m. Bring the kids!

* * *

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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Icky Blossoms tonight, Sun Settings Saturday, Maha announcement Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:48 pm May 4, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Very quiet weekend. No national shows worth mentioning. The highlight likely will be tonight, when Icky Blossoms plays at Slowdown Jr. with Video Ranger and Mellow Mic. With no other notable shows going on this evening, has IB grown to the point where they could sell out the frontroom virtually by themselves? We’ll find out tonight. $7, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night, Sun Settings is playing at The Sandbox with Betsy Wells, Video Ranger and Sea Wife. According to this Facebook invite, start time is 7:30, and the show is $6.

Finally Sunday night, traveling troubadour Jeremy Quentin a.k.a. Small Houses plays Slowdown Jr. with Field Club and Howard. $7, 9 p.m.

And that, my friends, is all show wrote.

One more thing: The Maha Music Festival will announce more of its festival lineup Sunday at 9 p.m. This could wind up being the most balanced tickets in the festival’s history (and maybe its best).

Maha beats Red Sky to the punch once again, as MECA intends to announce the Red Sky lineup on Monday. What are my predictions? Well, as I said on an Omahype Facebook thread, I’m pretty sure we’ll see Sharon Van Etten, Spiritualized, Justice, Screaming Females, Wilco, The Oh Sees, M83, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Nora Jones, Bob Mould/Sugar, and the reunited Smiths.

And Poison.

Do I really need to say “just kidding?”

* * *

R.I.P. Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch a.k.a. MCA. We’ll miss the humor, the beats, the music, the man…

* * *

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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Red Sky blows it, loses its biggest night; Gus & Call, Ted Stevens, Pinkerton tomorrow…

Category: Column — Tags: , — @ 1:01 pm June 10, 2011

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Red Sky logo

The story started going around yesterday, spread by an “insider,” and this morning Kevin Coffey made it official in the Omaha World-Herald (story here). The story — the Red Sky Music Festival has decided to cut its “festival” a day short, dropping its evening headliner spot for Saturday night altogether. Wow.

The primary quote from Kevin’s article:

“With the dates we selected, we just couldn’t find something there for that sixth evening,” said Jason Wright, vice president of booking for Live Nation Midwest. “When you’re in a limited window to work with, you’re at the mercy of the touring community. Anyone that was touring this summer, we tried to see if there was a possibility to make work. There was nothing that was available to us on that particular evening.”

Of course that’s complete bullshit. It’s a classic example of “go big or don’t go at all.” With the kind of cash MECA has to throw around they could easily have booked a band to fill that Saturday night slot. It just wouldn’t have been a band as huge as U2 or Jimmy Buffett or as Kevin suggests in his article, Lil’ Wayne or Jay-Z. Believe me, Live Nation has access to a lot of cool bands (though you wouldn’t know it by looking at the actual Red Sky line-up), they could have found an act, and I’m willing to bet Live Nation suggested quite a few to MECA, who turned them down because “It’s the last night of the festival, we have to have someone bigger than that,” or more likely “I’ve never heard of those guys, no.

MAHA organizer Tre Brashear’s defense of MECA and Live Nation in Kevin’s piece —  ”I think people do labor under an assumption that it’s like going to a restaurant and picking off a menu. It’s just not that way” — is true. But somehow with a sliver of the budget that MECA has to work with MAHA has managed to put together a festival that blows away Red Sky, and does it with only one day’s worth of entertainment.

This is what happens when you turn to a conglomerate like Live Nation, who already has its hands full with more established and better-curated festivals (Sasquatch, for example, which boasts Death Cab, Decemberists, Modest Mouse, Bright Eyes…) and built-in assumptions about a Nebraska market, and you have a governing body involved like MECA, who comes off like an uncool uncle — the one who spends all day listening to sports talk radio — trying to select the music to be played at his niece’s Sweet 16 birthday party.

Imagine what One Percent could have put together with MECA’s budget…

And where is MECA in all this? According to Kevin’s OWH article: “MECA officials deferred comment to Live Nation.” Presumably MECA’s PR hack, who also goes by the name Pontius, was washing his/her hands at the time of this proclamation. Well, there’s no hiding from this one. This is MECA’s festival and MECA’s responsibility. The blame lands squarely on their shoulders.

* * *

Not much going on tonight, but tomorrow night’s looking good.

At red hot Barley Street Tavern Gus & Call plays a show with The Low End and Ted Stevens of Cursive. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tomorrow night, it’s the return of Pinkerton, a Weezer tribute band (that performs songs only from the first two albums) whose lineup includes Clint Schnase (ex-Cursive) and Stephen Pedersen (Criteria). I’m not sure who rounds out the band, but they’re probably superstars as well. The show’s at The Waiting Room. Live karaoke band Girl Drink Drunk opens. 9 p.m., $7.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

J.Mascis, Rev. Horton Heat, So-So Sailors added to MAHA; Kid Rock to Red Sky; Make Believe benefit (and comp release) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:53 pm May 17, 2011

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Last night the fine folks at the MAHA Music Festival announced two more main-stage performers — J. Mascis and The Reverend Horton Heat — as well as three local stage performers — Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, So-So Sailors and Lincoln instrumental-only proggers Machete Archive. They now have one main stage act and two locals left to announce. As it stands, unless Laura Burhenn joins the Sailors for their set, this is turning into a sausage party — and an older sausage at that — which makes me think that the MAHA folks are searching high and low for a young, up-and-coming female-fronted national act to fill that final spot. How hard can it be? Very hard.

Full disclosure: Hear Nebraska was responsible for picking the three local stage acts, and I’m on the board of Hear Nebraska, so I was asked my opinion. Needless to say, only one of the three bands chosen was on my short list. As much as I love Noah’s Ark, they played MAHA in year one. Hear Nebraska, which is officed out of Lincoln, wanted a Lincoln band represented this year (I’m now being told that it was the other way around — MAHA wanted a Lincoln band. Regardless of who’s idea it was, it was a good one). Anyway, that helps explain Machete Archive.

For the record, my choices were So-So Sailors, Icky Blossoms and Conduits. There’s still a chance that one or both of my two rejected bands could make the cut, but the odds are slim. One more local stage slot will be chosen by the MAHA board itself, and the fifth slot — the band who will open the festival on the side stage — will be a public selection chosen from bands participating in an upcoming Omaha Entertainment Awards talent show.

I’ve got to hand it to MAHA, though, for dropping their “battle of the bands” approach used for filling most of the local spots in years past. If you’re going to host a festival, you should have the chutzpah to pick your own bands, or at least find someone with the chutzpah to do it for you. The advantage to this approach will be obvious when we find out who plays on Red Sky’s local stage, all of whom will be selected via a battle of the bands process.

MAHA as a whole looks strong; any city would be proud of this festival’s line-up. If they can capture a new, young band for that fifth spot, they’ll have hit for the cycle.

Also, the three local bands chosen for MAHA each has been charged with putting together a showcase in the coming weeks. More on these showcases as the bands are named.

* * *

By the way, Kid Rock was named yesterday as another main stage performer at the Red Sky Music Festival, making me 3 for 4 in the predictions category (but that will probably be the end of it). The one thing Red Sky has done right is to create a line-up that epitomizes every stereotype people have for our state. Folks in, say, New York will take one look at that line up, nod and say, ‘Well of course, it’s Nebraska.” Here’s another prediction: I foresee massive ticket giveaways in Red Sky’s future. They’ll have little choice if they want to fill that stadium. And besides, the tickets aren’t really free. Your tax dollars helped pay for them.

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s a benefit show hosted by Make Believe Studio (the former Baseline Studio) featuring Ketchup and Mustard Gas, Lightning Bug, Flesh Eating Skin Disease, Conchance, and DJs Kethro and Dojorok. All proceeds from the show will go directly to the Bikou-En Orphanage, located in the Aomori Prefect in Japan.  The orphanage houses 65 children and relies on private donation, since they receive no government support.  In the wake of the tsunami, their donations have dropped nearly 60 percent.

But there’s more. Make Believe has put together a digital-only compilation recording, and just look at the contributors: Little Brazil, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, Conchance, Gus & Call, Landing on the Moon, Lightning Bug, Ketchup and Mustard Gas, Flesh Eating Skin Disease, Icky Blossoms, Sam Martin and Greg Elsasser from Capgun Coup, MC Reverie and Sun Settings.

According to Mike Gergen of Make Believe, all material is original to the compilation. “We made it a priority to have tracks that are not available elsewhere,” he said. “Everyone attending the show will be receiving a download card to get the songs through Soundtrax.  There is a limit of 500 download cards.  After that, it will be available through either Bandcamp or Pulley (pulleyapp.com).”

Gergen said he and three other folks at Make Believe created the compilation: Rick Carson, Jeremy Deaton and Brandon Herbel.  ”We were helped along the way by a slew of people who allowed us to use their music, helped us with connections to other bands, helped us get the show through the Waiting Room,” Gergen said. “We contacted the bands, recorded, mixed and mastered them at our studio, found the orphanage and put together the downloadable package.”

Pretty friggin’ impressive. Show starts at 9 p.m. and minimum donation is $6.

* * *

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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Newsbriefs: Her Space Holiday to hang it up, Thunder Power fund raiser; Journey, cover band joins Dread Sky; Jessica Lea Mayfield tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm May 11, 2011
Her Space Holiday at Sokol Underground Oct. 9, 2000.

Her Space Holiday at Sokol Underground Oct. 9, 2000.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What a quiet week. No shows. No news. Is this what it’s like in other cities?

Here a few things worth mentioning that I found in the ol’ e-mail bag.

* * *

Anyone remember Her Space Holiday? Maybe this old review will jog some memories. Seems like HSH was a staple in the ol’ Sokol Underground days. Well, after 15 years, HSH a.k.a. Marc Bianchi, has decided to hang it up with the release of his final album, sensibly titled Her Space Holiday, on Aug.16. You can check out a track from the album, which is being released on Bianchi’s own No More Good Ideas label, right here at Soundcloud.

* * *

Okkervil River’s new one, I Am Very Far Away, was released yesterday on Jagjaguwar Records. Look for the band this Friday night on Letterman, and get your tickets to the June 14 Slowdown show with Titus Andronicus and Julianna Barwick.

* * *

You’ve only got a few more days to help out Thunder Power. The band is conducting a Kickstarter campaign to generate $2,000 to cover studio costs for a new album. They’re at $1,630 with three days to go. In addition to that “feel-good feeling,” your contribution will garner you some TP swag. Check out their Kickstarter offer here.

* * *

I keep hearing amazing things about Dave Goldberg’s new project, Solid Goldberg. I was out of town for last Saturday night’s gig at The Brothers. We’ll all get another chance to experience the spectacle this Friday night at The Barley Street Tavern when Solid Goldberg plays with Cloven Path (sounds like an O’Leaver’s line-up!).

* * *

Currently on rotation on my iPhone, new ones by The Envy Corp, The Answer Team, Pantha Du Prince, Psychedelic Horshit, Virgin Islands, Thurston Moore and Well Aimed Arrows. Reviews coming soon…

* * *

More Red Sky announcements were made over the past two days. Journey (sans Steve Perry) with Night Ranger, tribute band The Fab Four, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Buddy Guy with special guess Quinn Sullivan and 10,000 Maniacs join the line-up. Just reading that list is making me car sick. 10k Maniacs seems interesting, until you realize Natalie Merchant hasn’t been with the band since, what, 1993?  We now await the inevitable Kid Rock announcement. So far I’ve hit three on the nose in my March skuttlebutt column. If the line-up balances out with KR, Jimmy Buffett and Black Eyed Peas, we’ll have to rename it The Lame Sky Festival.


* * *

Did I say no shows? There is one going on tonight — Jessica Lea Mayfield with Nathaniel Rateliff at The Waiting Room. I know nothing about JLM other than she plays alt country, her new record, Tell Me (Polymer Sounds) was produced by The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, she looks like a model in her promo photo. The last time I saw Rateliff he was playing as part of the duo Born in the Flood opening for DeVotchKa at The Slowdown in May 2008. $10, 9 p.m.

* * *

Tomorrow’s Column: Can The Cars make a comeback in the modern age?

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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.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Of Montreal; more *yawn* Red Sky news…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:45 pm May 9, 2011
Of Montreal at Slowdown, May 6, 2011.

Of Montreal at Slowdown, May 6, 2011.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’d heard that Of Montreal’s stage show was a flamboyant circus-like extravaganza that included skits and costume changes, but I wasn’t prepared for the bizarre spectacle I saw Friday night at Slowdown. Strangest moment: Simulated sex between two stage performers in flesh-colored body suits wearing pig-head masks. Most beautiful moment: The scene captured in the above picture involving iridescent metallic body suits and a large iridescent angel/moth costume. Add to that an ongoing wrestling match simulation between various masked performers, a giant blob wearing a gas mask with an enormous crab claw attacking a pig person, and a 12-foot-tall shimmering creature with four arms.

And let’s not forget the actual band, which played a great set of dance-y pop songs fronted by an effeminate Kevin Barnes in hot pants and full make-up.  After the shortish set, the band came out for a couple encores that concluded with a final wrestling match that involved everyone in the band who, one-at-a-time, were tossed or dived into the audience to be carried overhead leaving only the fiddle player on stage, who played a solo version of America the Beautiful before all the musicians and performers returned to stage for a fiddle-powered hoedown. What more could you want from a show?

BTW, this show was well-attended but far from a sell-out (or so it appeared). It was a great crowd, though, that got its aerobic work-outs in on the dance floor. Another aside: Of Montreal used an innovative camera-and-projector system that captured the stage antics, distorted the images, and then projected them onto a huge screen backdrop — the most effective use of projectors I’ve seen at a rock show.

* * *

I continue to get asked what I think of the whole Red Sky Festival situation. I finally told someone yesterday that, really, Red Sky couldn’t be further away from what I cover (which means it couldn’t be further away from what I’m interested in)  especially after last week’s announcement of country superstar Jason Aldean, who I’ve never heard of prior to that announcement. That followed Thursday’s announcement of Better Than Ezra, George Clinton and Cowboy Mouth on the annex stages. Aldean tickets are slightly more than the 311 tix ($54.75, $44.75, $29.75). This sliding scale pricing system is somewhat confusing, especially from a “festival” standpoint, though maybe after all the headliners are announced, Red Sky will announce a one-price-for-everything option. Or maybe not. Perhaps they’re simply viewing this as six days of concerts held in the ball park, each concert seperately priced. Considering your typical 311 fan won’t give two shits about Aldean (and vice versa) this probably makes sense. Instead of a festival, Red Sky is more of a hodge-podge, but it does leave open the possibility that Live Nation will book at least one good alt/indie band during their Week of Banality.

Of more interest is the MAHA Music Festival, and its announcement of three additional main stage bands to join Guided By Voices, Matisyahu and Cursive. When that announcement will be made, no one knows, though one would hope it’s coming soon as MAHA tix are now on sale.

* * *

Let’s face it, last week was pretty strong for shows. But it looks like we’re going to pay for it this week, as I can’t see anything of interest show-wise until Friday night, and of course, Jake’s Fest on Saturday. If you know of something hot going on this week, pass it along…

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Digital Leather, Millions o’ Boys, Baby Tears; Red Sky at night, whoop whoop; The Sky Drops tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:53 pm May 3, 2011
Digital Leather at O'Leaver's April 30, 2011.

Digital Leather at O'Leaver's April 30, 2011.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

My weekend was so musically voluminous that I had to split it into two blog entries. And this is part 2:

I admit I was a little bummed when I heard Digital Leather’s lineup no longer would include keyboards. Not just that Annie Dilocker no longer was playing with the band, but no keyboards at all. Listen to Sorcerer or Blow Machine or Warm Brother. The keyboards are a center point of the band’s sound on all those albums. Make that were a center point. Someone told me that DL frontman/songwriter/genius Shawn Foree’s new songs simply didn’t use keyboards, so there is no reason to have a synth on stage anymore. In fact, Digital Leather was down to a three piece Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. Former guitarist Austin Ulmer is apparently living large in Grand Island. Foree is now on guitar, backed by John Vredenburg on bass and Jeff Lambelet on drums.

So here’s the thing about Foree:  He’s a prolific songwriter that’s constantly evolving his sound. And no matter what the lineup, that songwriting style — his voice — comes through on everything. Such was the case with the new material unveiled Saturday. Yeah, I missed the keys, but to be honest, they almost always were (regretfully) lost in the mix during live sets anyway. And even without them, there was no mistaking these for anything but DL songs. As a three-piece, the shift is to a more stripped down sound (naturally) that borders on traditional garage punk, which isn’t too far from where they’ve been headed for the last couple of years (on stage, anyway). Meanwhile, DL standards like “Your Hand, My Glove” were transformed into punk trash anthems that ride the bass line. “Studs in Love,” with extended riffage, was a highlight (Vredenburg called it their “Pink Floyd version” of the song). After the main set was done, the crowd wanted more and got it. The night ended with a cover of M.O.T.O.’s “Deliver Deliver Deliver.” beefed up raw and twice as fast as the original. Where’s that new album, boys?

Baby Tears opened the night with a set of gutter punk that was all grit and sweat and pain; with staging punctuated by a hilarious smoke machine that looked more like car exhaust than a special effect. Millions of Boys, the second opener, has transformed themselves from the twangy indie band that I saw last August at their debut to a full-out punk band with pop leanings. Both are recommended.

* * *

MECA / Red Sky finally began making some announcements, just a few months before their 6-day spoogefest at TD Ameritrade Park. Last week they announced their initial pricing scheme: 1-Day Pass: $15; 3-Day Pass: $30; 6-Day Pass: $60. Hey Red Sky — there’s no discount between the 3-Day and 6-Day pass — what the f**kl? Doesn’t matter anyway because “All passes include admission to Stages B & C only. Entry to Main Stage in TD Ameritrade Park Omaha is not included.” (their bf, not mine). So, $15 a day to see the county fair bands and the local yokels. If you want to see the headliner, well, that’ll cost ya extra, son.

Red Sky also announced last week that it’s pulling the ol’ “Battle of the Bands” shtick to fill those 20 or so local band spots. I guess I can’t blame them since your typical MECA schlub very likely has never heard a local band play before. I suspect we’ll see all the same bands at their showcases that we’ve historically seen at OEA events — i.e., none of the local bands that actually tour outside of Omaha and/or release distributed recordings (i.e., Saddle Creek bands). But you never know. Red Sky boasts on its “Battle of the Bands” webpage that it’s paying acts who play at their showcases (depending on the draw, whatever that means), as well as those who emerge victorious and make it to the C Stage.

And yesterday, RS announced its first headliner – 311 – which I suspect will set the tone for the entire festival. 311 is a local favorite, and should do very well, especially since tickets are reasonably priced at $35 and $25 (and includes admission to the B & C stages). RS also announced Sublime as part of the 311 package, but we all know that they mean Sublime with Rome, the Sublime knock-off band, who should fit right in line with the Journey knock-off band that will probably be announced next, but not until next week, apparently. RS is drawing out their announcements, for reasons no one knows for sure. Probably because they’ve yet to ink deals with the other big-name acts. Regardless, so far I’m 1-1 on my lineup hunches from way back in March.

* * *

Finally, here’s an interesting show going on tonight: Wilmington, DE, duo The Sky Drops plays at The Barley Street Tavern with Eli Mardock and Pastel Pistol. The Sky Drops is Rob Montejo, formerly of Smashing Orange, who once opened for Lush in London and recorded a John Peel Session in February 1992. The other half of The Sky Drops is Monika Bullette (drums/vocals). This show should be required attendance by anyone interested in first-wave shoegaze. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Column 314: Examining the scuttlebutt behind Red Sky’s imaginary line-up; O’Filter Kings, O’Bloodcow tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: — @ 12:32 pm March 17, 2011

Column 314: Red Sky Mining

Who will play at Omaha’s largest music festival?

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Speculation is always a dangerous proposition. It can be construed as rumor mongering, which to be honest, I’ve never shied away from (as long as there was some substance to the rumors, of course). But when it comes to Omaha’s first annual Red Sky Music Festival, speculation is all we have, for now.

The event, slated to take place July 19-24 at the brand-spanking new Ameritrade Park, has been shrouded in secrecy. Speculation is beginning to bubble up on who will play the event, which is being organized by the star chamber known as the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority, or MECA (or Mecca, as I like to refer to them) and national promotion giant Live Nation. MECA already should have announced the festival’s line-up weeks ago, but here we are, still staring at our watches, tapping our feet.

I have no contacts at MECA. In fact, the Red Sky Festival couldn’t be more outside my wheelhouse as I’m not interested in the brightly colored homogenized pop cheese consumed by The Great Wad, which is bound to be a staple for this event. That said, among the programming rumors for Red Sky is this idea that each day of the festival will focus on one central genre. One day/night would be dedicated exclusively to country music, another would be dedicated to pop, another for dinosaur acts, and one would be dedicated to “alternative rock.” How exactly MECA and Live Nation define “alternative rock,” I do not know, though I suspect they will lean more toward how commercial radio defines it, which means goon-rock outfits heard on 89.7 The River. It’s unlikely to mean the style of indie bands that you and I know and love.

And then there’s the rumor that Red Sky will offer three tiers of musical acts: Huge main stage national bands would play inside the stadium; a second tier of bands that consist mostly of “casino acts” (REO Speedwagon, BOC, that sort thing) would play stages set up outside the stadium, and a third level of club acts and local bands would play on small stages in the parking lots. Perhaps you’ll be able to buy tickets for each individual level, or for one huge price, an all-access laminate for all three. If they follow that model, we could see quality indie bands booked for those second-tier stages.

Anyway, it’s all speculation. And what makes this column all the more risky is that Red Sky could announce its entire line-up the day this goes to press. So at the risk of looking like an ass (again) here are some of the names that I’ve heard kicked around that could be among the 50-odd bands performing at Red Sky:

U2 — This would be quite a coup for the festival’s inaugural year, but looking at U2′s current tour schedule, the band already is slated to play in New Jersey on July 20 and then Minneapolis on July 23. Yeah, that does leave July 21 and 22 open, but U2′s stage is rather massive and takes days to set up, move and tear down. It doesn’t seem likely that they’d be able to sneak in an Omaha date, unless… as a favor to Susie Buffett (who reportedly is a close friend of Bono’s), U2 flew into Omaha and left its massive stage in Minnesota. Maybe, maybe…

Journey — This sounds more like a second-tier stage event, especially considering that Journey no longer is the band most of us know after Steve Perry hung up his microphone years ago. Journey will be touring with Foreigner and Night Ranger in mid July.

Black Eyed Peas — The only other BEP gig scheduled even close to the Red Sky date is the Wireless Festival at Hyde Park in London July 1. I can’t think of a more banal, unoriginal act, but somebody loves them (judging by the Superbowl).

Jamie Johnson — A couple people have mentioned this cowboy. I had to look him up in Wikipedia, which says the “American country artist” had a top-10 hit called “In Color” and has co-written material with Trace Adkins and George Strait, among others. He’s listed as a supporting act for Kid Rock’s 2011 Born Free Tour, which brings us to…

Kid Rock — He’s just the kind of white-trash superstar that your typical Husker-lovin’, pick-up drivin’, Larry-the-Cable-Guy quotin’ stooge would love to see. And he has July 19-21 wide open on his tour schedule.

311 — You can pretty much pencil this one in as a done deal. And if this is what MECA considers “alternative,” well, the MAHA Music Festival folks have nothing to worry about.

Jimmy Buffett — Back when Red Sky was first announced, MECA’s Roger Dixon was quoted by KETV Channel 7 saying Buffett “is probably the No. 1 requested artist to have.” I can’t think of a more vile act other than, well, Kid Rock. Unfortunately for Dixon, Buffett got lost in Margaritaville and fell off the stage at Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Australia, back in January, suffering a head injury. He returns to the road in April, but already has gigs booked for July 19, 21 and 23.

Sublime with Rome — Not sure why this one has so much buzz. Sublime is indeed back on the road with a new line-up after the death of frontman Brad Nowell in ’96. Now fronted by Rome Ramirez, the band was forced to change its name due to legal pressure from the Nowell family, who owns the Sublime moniker.

Bright Eyes — Many thought they were a shoe-in for Red Sky before Bright Eyes announced its June 4 date at Westfair Amphitheater. Now it seems like a long shot, though stranger things have happened, especially when MECA-sized money is involved.

So what’s the real Red Sky line-up? Keep an eye on redskyfestival.com — a website domain owned by MECA — for the announcement. It should come any day now…

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I was pounding my thick, Celtic head trying to figure out who is the most “Irish”-sounding band in Omaha, and then I realized (duh) it’s The Filter Kings. The only band more “Irish” sounding is probably Bloodcow. And then I looked at tonight’s schedule at The Waiting Room and, lo and behold, both bands are slated to preside over the bar’s St. Patrick’s Day activities along with those fine Irishmen The Whipkey Three and The Beat Seekers. You get it all for just $7. Starts at 9.

If you’re in Lincoln, you’d be remiss in missing The Killigans on St. Patrick’s Day, they’re playing at Knickerbockers at 9 p.m.

And then there’s Lady Gaga at the Qwest….

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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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