2020 Music Year in Review: A look back at the year that wasn’t (trends,favorite albums, live shows)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 11:11 am December 31, 2020
Lazy-i 2020 Music Year in Review

Before I began writing this annual music year in review article, I glanced back at last year’s reflections on 2019. It was mostly gripes. Music sales have dried up. Touring has become an expensive, money-losing proposition. And with the constant exodus of talent moving away from Omaha, who was going to play on all these stages (with even more planned in the coming years)? I even complained about the lack of quality touring indie bands coming through town.

Oh woe is us.

After the year we’ve just been through, you have to laugh at those comments. What spoiled, entitled, jaded brats we’d become. We didn’t know how good we had it. Well, we know now.

The Year of Our Lord 2020 — the Year of COVID-19 — needs no explanation to any of you. We each have our own pandemic story. You were lucky if you weren’t struggling to stay alive or to keep someone alive or to pay your rent or feed yourself and your family.

You were lucky if being bored was on top of your list of worries. That said, life without live music — for those us who love it — can be pretty boring.

I miss it. To the point where, when I watch concert footage online or on TV and see the shots of dark, crowded clubs or jam-packed arenas filled with maskless faces, I literally am in awe, and wonder if it will ever be like that again.

It will be. Eventually.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all this it’s how much live music and the local music scene has become part of my personal identity — the music, the bands, the venues and, above all, the people. How strange it is to lose it, if only for a year. How much more strange it must be for those who make a living from it.

They could have sat home alone and pouted, but instead musicians and venue owners looked for ways out of the darkness, and will emerge from the pandemic stronger for it.


For the first time, live music entrepreneurs joined together — more than 2,900 independent music venues and promoters — to form the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA). Their mission: To lobby Congress to pass legislation that provides recovery funds and tax credits to help venues survive the pandemic.

Their message throughout has been that independent venues were the first to close and will be the last to fully reopen. Their dire warning is that 90 percent of independent venues will close permanently over the course of the coming months without federal funding.

In fact, so far two Omaha venues have closed permanently at least in part due to necessary COVID-19 clampdowns — The Lookout Lounge on 72nd Street and The Barley Street Tavern in Benson — and more may be on the verge of falling off the financial cliff. Club owners from The Slowdown, The Waiting Room and O’Leaver’s have been among the most vocal local members of NIVA pushing since this summer for legislation and asking their patrons to write lawmakers and prod them to sign on to Save Our Stages legislation.


Meanwhile, artists found new ways to stay engaged with their audiences. Within months of the national shut-downs and tour cancellations, bands began to take to the internet for live-streamed performances. Suddenly Zoom sessions — as quiet and distant as they felt — became the new normal.

Without income from live performances, some artists turned to Patreon, an online platform that connects musicians with fans by offering membership tiers that provide perks such as premium content and early exclusive access to new work, all for a monthly fee. Among the artists with Patreon accounts are Ben Folds, Circa Survive and ’80s indie legend Lloyd Cole, whose offerings include everything from private-streamed concerts to online guitar lessons.

Despite being sidelined from performing, 2020 still ended up being another strong year for new releases from both a national and local indie perspective. Last month, The Reader published links to more than 40 Nebraska-based artists who released new music during the pandemic, all available on the usual streaming services as well as Bandcamp, the online digital music store that has become the central marketplace for new and independent bands.

Which brings us to my list of favorite albums of 2020. Here they are, in no particular order:

Waxahatchee, Saint Cloud (Merge)

David Nance, Staunch Honey (Trouble in Mind)

Christian Lee Hutson, Beginners (Anti)

Nation of Language, Introduction, Presence (self release)

Porridge Radio, Every Bad (Secretly Canadian)

Criteria, Years (15 Passenger)

No Thanks, Submerger (Black Site)

Phoebe Bridgers, Punisher (Dead Oceans)

Sufjan Stevens, The Ascension (Asthmatic Kitty)

Disq, Collector (Saddle Creek)

HAIM, Women in Music Pt. III (Columbia)

Digital Leather, New Wave Gold (No Coast)

Those Far Out Arrows, Fill Yer Cup (self release)

Fontaines D.C., A Hero’s Death (Partisan)

Bright Eyes, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was (Dead Oceans)

This is where I usually list my favorite live performances from the past year. It would be unfair to forget the concerts that took place before COVID-19, such as:

Susto at Slowdown Jr., Feb. 24, 2020.

Susto at Slowdown Jr., Feb. 24 — A night of story-telling rock reminiscent of the late, great Jim Croce.

PUP and Screaming Females at The Waiting Room, March 4 — PUP’s Stefan Babcock remarked that the set was a disaster, but it sure sounded great from where I stood, and certainly the fist-pump-fueled crowd loved it.

PUP was the last live show I saw before the pandemic. I was all set to see Nap Eyes at The Waiting Room March 15, but it was cancelled along with everything else — including this year’s Maha Music Festival — as one by one venues closed down beginning in March.

Favorite livestream performances included Mike Schlesinger and Rebecca Lowry streamed from The Sydney March 27; No Thanks, Little Brazil and Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship streamed live from The Slowdown May 21 and 23, and Glow in the Dark streamed live from Low End at the Bemis Nov. 12.

And How at Petfest, Aug. 15, 2020.

And there were a couple outdoor concerts — Petfest Aug. 15 behind Petshop in Benson, featuring killer socially distanced performances by And How and Those Far Out Arrows; and Slowdown’s 3-day outdoor festival held in the parking lot behind the club Oct. 1-3.

I even snuck into one indoor live club show when local bands Dead Letters and Las Cruxes played at the newly remodeled Reverb Lounge Sept. 19. But that was it. By the time fall came ’round, live indie rock shows evaporated as everyone hunkered down for the next wave of COVID-19.

As I write this in mid-December, a second vaccine is being approved by the FDA, and shots are being fired into arms of healthcare professionals and first responders throughout the country. They’ll eventually get to your arm, too, and masks will become a thing of the past, but now I’m getting into 2021 predictions, and you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for more of those.

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Lazy-i Best of 2020 Compilation

Relive the year gone by with the  Lazy-i Best of 2020 Comp CD!

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: Waxahatchee, David Nance, Bright Eyes, Digital Leather, Sufjan Stevens, Run the Jewels, Fiona Apple, Nathan Ma, Criteria, McCarthy Trenching, HAIM, Future Islands, No Thanks and lots more.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 4, at midnight.

Or listen on Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i Best of” in Spotify, go to the Playlists tab, and you’ll find the 2020 playlist along with a few from past years, too!

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Congress passes #SaveOurStages Act; new Bryce Hotz (Lodgings)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:48 am December 22, 2020

Maybe Christmas and Hanukah will be a little merrier for club owners this year now that the Save Our Stages Act has passed as part of the COVID-19 relief bill.

For those of you not keeping track, club owners and promoters pulled together early in the pandemic and formed the National Independent Venue Association — or NIVA — to rally the troops to contact their lawmakers to get this legislation passed. It became attached to the bigger omnibus relief package in late summer and passed in the House but — as we all know — sat on Sen. McConnell’s desk ever since, waiting for a Senate vote.

According to NIVA: “The legislation provides critical help to shuttered businesses by providing a grant equal to 45% of gross revenue from 2019, with a cap of $10 million per entity. This grant funding will ensure recipients can stay afloat until reopening by helping with expenses like payroll and benefits, rent and mortgage, utilities, insurance, PPE, and other ordinary and necessary business expenses.”

Trump has yet to sign the bill, but he will. He better. Next up, NIVA is working with the Small Business Administration to make sure the money gets distributed as the bill intended. And while no doubt this will be a great help, something tells me that more relief funds will be needed since it’s going to take a shit-ton amount of time to get that vaccine in everyone’s arm…

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You may know Bryce Hotz as the frontman to Omaha indie powerhouse Lodgings, whose 2019 album, Water Works, was one of my favorites that year. Well, encapsulated as we all are in this COVID cocoon, Hotz has been working on new solo material and yesterday released the first track, titled “All the Rain.”

It’s a sort of stoner-esque departure from the Lodgings’ material. Hotz says it’s more in line with his 2011 solo album, Fix’r Up’r, which you also can find at his Bandcamp page.

Expect Hotz’s full-length by the close of 2021. By then hopefully he’ll be hosting a real, live album-release show.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


NIVA / YouTube hosts #SOSFEST (and why isn’t it being aired on TV?)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:49 pm October 15, 2020

The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) is really pushing this weekend’s streamed Save Our Stages Festival #SOSFEST. The event, co-hosted with YouTube, is an effort to drive donations to NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund, which benefits “independent venues in peril.”

The three-day festival showcases performances by a lot of the country’s top pop stars that I frankly don’t give a shit about, acts like Miley Cirus, Foo Fighters and Dave Matthews (Phoebe Bridgers is the only indie act I recognize on the list). But I get it, they’re after the biggest audience possible, which means the biggest pop stars available.

Which begs the question: Why isn’t this being broadcast on network television? The Save Our Stages and other aspects of the HEROES Act benefits a lot of venues, from concert stages to Broadway stages to any stage that hosts concerts. Saving venues benefits artists, many of whom are television staples. Keeping these stages open only benefits the television industry that thrives on the talent that crosses those stages.

Instead, it’s being (*ho-hum*) live streamed. By now everyone’s tired of live-streamed performances, whether streamed from people’s bedrooms or from empty auditoriums. They’re just dead boring. I get that it’s the only option, but adding a live broadcast television element to this would, without a doubt, broaden the audience and enhance the experience.

It is, after all, a glorified telethon.

The entertainment industry is really blowing it. NIVA has been pushing for legislation all summer, yet very few artists have mentioned it on television, during broadcast performances or chat-show interviews. By now we should be exhausted of hearing about Save Our Stages; instead the average Joe on the street has no idea what it means.

I just don’t get why every musician isn’t motivated to work 24/7 to get this legislation passed. Every stage that goes dark is one less opportunity to make a living doing your craft.

Anyway, tune in if you want, or just make a donation to the Emergency Relief Fund.

#SOSFest Full Line-up And Schedule

FRIDAY, October 16
5 PM PT / 8 PM ET – Alec Benjamin, Hotel Cafe
5:30 PM PT / 8:30 PM ET – FINNEAS, Teragram Ballroom
6 PM PT / 9 PM ET – Sebastián Yatra, Broward Center 
6:40 PM PT / 9:40 PM ET – Dizzy Fae, First Avenue
7:10 PM PT / 10:10 PM ET – Macklemore, Neumos
7:50 PM PT / 10:50 PM ET – YG, Troubadour
8:15 PM PT / 11:15 PM ET – G-Eazy, The Independent
8:45 PM PT / 11:45 PM ET – Marshmello + Demi Lovato, Troubadour 
8:55 PM PT / 11:55 PM ET – Dillion Francis, Teragram Ballroom 

SATURDAY, October 17
1 PM PT / 4 PM ET – Jason Mraz, Belly Up Tavern
1:40 PM PT / 4:40 PM ET – Adam Melchor, Hotel Cafe
2:10 PM PT / 5:10 PM ET – Kelsea Ballerini, Exit/In
2:40 PM PT / 5:40 PM ET – JP Saxe, Troubadour
3:15 PM PT / 6:15 PM ET – Cautious Clay, World Cafe Live
3:55 PM PT / 6:55 PM ET – Bea Miller, Teragram Ballroom
4;35 PM PT / 7:35 PM ET – Gus Dapperton, (Le) Poisson Rouge
5:15 PM PT / 8:15 PM ET – Phoebe Bridgers, Troubadour
6:00 PM PT / 9 PM ET – Rise Against, Metro
6:25 PM PT / 9:25 PM ET – Brittany Howard, Ryman Auditorium
6:55 PM PT / 9:55 PM ET – Leon Bridges, Troubadour
7:15 PM PT / 10:15 PM ET – Miley Cyrus, Whisky a Go-Go
7:35 PM PT / 10:35 PM ET – Foo Fighters, Troubadour
8:10 PM PT / 11:10 PM ET – The Roots, Apollo
9:20 PM PT / 12:20 AM ET – Portugal. The Man, Crystal Ballroom
10:10 PM PT / 1:10 AM ET – Major Lazer, Gramps 

SUNDAY, October 18
2 PM PT / 5 PM ET – Little Big Town, Exit/in
2:35 PM PT / 5:35 PM ET – Brothers Osborne, Mercy Lounge
3:05 PM PT / 6:05 PM ET – Dave Matthews, Jefferson Theater
3:40 PM PT / 6:40 PM ET – Monica, Center Stage
3:55 PM PT / 6:55 PM ET – Black Pumas, The Parish
4:10 PM PT / 7:10 PM ET – Nathaniel Rateliff, Boulder Theater
4:50 PM PT / 7:50 PM ET – Reba McEntire, Ryman Auditorium
5:30 PM PT / 8:30 PM ET – The Revivalists, Tipitina’s
6:05 PM PT / 9:05 PM ET – The Lumineers, Boulder Theater

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


#SaveOurStages legislation gets heavy push this week (and now it’s your turn to help)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:07 pm July 27, 2020
A screencap from the WOWT-TV report that shows how The Slowdown could be configured once it reopens.

You will begin noticing (if you haven’t already) a heavy push to write your congressmen and ask them to co-sponsor or support pending legislation designed to help save the live entertainment industry through the COVID-19 pandemic.

As I mentioned last week, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) along with a ton of musicians and promoters are pushing for a couple pieces of critical legislation, and need to get something passed before The Hill’s the August recess, which begins Aug. 7.

First thing’s first: Go to https://www.saveourstages.com/ and voice your support for the Save Our Stages Act (S. 4258, introduced by Sens. Cornyn and Klobuchar) and the RESTART Act ( S. 3814/H.R. 7481, introduced by Sens. Young and Bennet in the Senate and U.S. Reps. Golden and Kelly ). Adding your voice involves filling out a simple form (or writing your own heartfelt text in the space provided) that automatically goes to your respective senator/representative based on your zip code.

Gotta do it TODAY, as in RIGHT NOW, as in it will only take a minute. If you’ve already done it, do it again.

Slowdown’s Jason Kulbel talks about it in this WOWT report from last week.

And here’s a bunch of venue owners talking about being on the verge of going out of business.

As The Slowdown says in a grim Facebook post: “There is no way we want Slowdown to end. It is too soon. It is also not too late.”

People are making this sound like end-of-the-world stuff, because quite frankly, it is. You are going to be shocked at the number of venues that will shutter as a result of the pandemic, and then you’ll wish you’d have done something about it. Here’s your chance.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Sen. Deb Fischer responds to music industry ‘take action’ letter; legislation introduced…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 2:23 pm June 11, 2020
Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A few weeks ago I begged you to write your representatives in Washington via the the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) website, asking them to start paying attention to how COVID-19 is destroying the live music industry and to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Well, last Wednesday I got a response from Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer. The reply pretty much was what I expected — a templated letter that outlined past COVID-related legislation, introduced with, “Congress and the Trump administration have taken a number of steps to restore confidence to the American people.”

A few hundred words later toward the end of the letter it read, “Rest assured I will keep your thoughts in mind regarding the impacts on the live entertainment industry.

OK, this doesn’t give me confidence that Deb’s going to do much to help the live music industry recover financially post COVID other than keep it in her thoughts. Certainly she doesn’t mention introducing or supporting a bill, etc. Does that mean you shouldn’t submit a letter via the NIVA website? No. The more our representatives hear from us, the more likely they will begin to realize their constituents are concerned about this issue.

And since I sent my note, a piece of legislation has been introduced: S. 3814, the ReStart Act, introduced by Senators Todd Young (R-Indiana) and Michael Bennet (D-Colorado). According to NIVA, who supports the legislation, the act:

— Finances the equivalent of six months’ worth of payroll, benefits and fixed operating costs.

— Allows for flexible use of loan proceeds and loan forgiveness with no minimums on the percentage dedicated to any one expense.

— Expands eligibility to ensure access for small businesses that have many part-time employees.

— Allows up to 90% loan forgiveness for businesses with fewer than 500​ ​FTEs (full time employees) ​and high revenue loss.

— Implements a generous 7-year payback schedule, wherein principal payments are not required for two years and interest payments aren’t due for the first 12 months.

So with that in mind, I’m going back to the Take Action form and sending another letter to my congress people. Hey, it can’t hurt.

No doubt an intern in Deb’s office is responsible for keeping track of how many of these letters are received, and after that number exceeds some imaginary threshold, senators like Fischer will begin paying attention. Or not.

Read more about how COVID-19 is impacting the live music industry in this new NIVA fact sheet. Among its tidbits: According to a survey of NIVA members, ​90 percent of independent venues report they will close permanently in a few months without federal funding. ​Current PPP funding will not solve the crisis.

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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


One Percent says tell Congress to #SaveOurStages; new Shiner (after 19 years)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:19 pm May 5, 2020

It’s time to write congress and tell them to save the live music industry.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve been waiting for this NIVA thing to take off and maybe this is the week it happens.

NIVA is the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a group of more than 1,200 independent music venues and promoters in all 50 states, which I wrote about here.

Today, One Percent Productions joined those venues and promoters nationally urging folks like us — music lovers who go to rock shows — to write Congress and ask them to protect the live music industry and everyone it touches by providing financial support necessary for it to survived and reopen after COVID ends.

When this crisis began, independent music venues were the first to close, and we will be the last to open. While completely shuttered, we have no revenue, our employees and artists are without jobs, and normal bills keep coming, regardless,” wrote One Percent Productions, which runs Reverb Lounge, The Waiting Room and brings in the best touring indie bands to perform throughout our city.

They’re asking us to go to nivassoc.org/take-action and send a message to our senators and congress people.

Yell it, scream it, clap your hands, and pound your feet like you’re calling the band back for an encore! Please help us ensure we survive by using your voice now (and tell a friend or 100 friends!). #SaveOurStages.

NIVA sent out its initial call for legislation a couple weeks ago. I haven’t heard whether it resulted in any actual legislation. But once that legislation is written or added to another bill, it’ll be even more critical for us to lobby our representatives to support it. The first step is to get off your ass and go to nivassoc.org/take-action and tell them to start legislating this sucker…

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Kansas City band Shiner has a new album coming out this Friday called Schadenfreude, their first album in 19 years. Check out the first singles, “Paul P. Pogh,” and “Life as a Mannequin.” Just like old times…

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bright Eyes cancels tour through mid-June; why aren’t artists backing NIVA efforts? Old Cactus Nerve Thang, new Beauty Pill, PUP…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:58 pm April 27, 2020

D.C. band Beauty Pill has a new single from a forthcoming album.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Last Friday Bright Eyes sent out a press release saying it is cancelling or rescheduling a number of U.S. dates beginning in May through mid June.

From the release: “Regretfully, yet predictably, we have had to re-think many of our upcoming tour dates. We hope to be in a better position to gather and celebrate at a later date.

No surprise here. Hey guys, when’s the album coming out?

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What I am surprised about is why artists haven’t jumped onto the NIVA efforts to drum up legislation to help venues, promoters and artists sidelined by the COVID pandemic. NIVA is the National Independent Venue Association, which I wrote about here last week (take a look).

I assumed this week we’d see a bunch of artists voicing support for NIVA’s lobbying effort, which will no doubt impact them and their careers greatly. And yet, I haven’t seen a word on social media or elsewhere from artists lending their support. Or maybe it’s too soon for them to act? Certainly amplifying NIVA’s current efforts can’t be a bad thing.

* * *

A couple new songs came through my email this morning.

Beauty Pill is a D.C.-based indie rock act that’s been kicking around since 2002, born out of the ashes of another band I dug called Smart Went Crazy. The band has a new album coming out May 8 on Northern Spy Records called Please Advise. “The Damndest Thing” is the second single. Check it out out.

The last concert I saw before the lock down was PUP at The Waiting Room March 4. Fun show. The band today released its first new song of 2020 called “Anaphylaxis.” Check it:

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I almost forgot…

Once upon a time there was an Omaha band called Cactus Nerve Thang. It consisted of Lee Meyerpeter, guitar/vocals; Pat Dieteman, drums/vocals and Brian Poloncic, bass/vocals. Their sound was a sloppy mix of lo-fi noise, rock, grunge and punk. Their one and only album, Sloth, was recorded in ’93 at Junior’s Hotel in Otho, Iowa, and released on Grass Records, and featured what many believe to be one of the ugliest album covers in the history of recorded music (though I don’t think it was that bad).

Over the weekend someone posted an old Cactus Nerve Thang performance on YouTube: “Rose,” performed live at Davey’s Uptown in KCMO, 2/19/1993. Enjoy.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


What is NIVA and why (and how) is it trying to save the live music industry?

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 11:45 am April 24, 2020

The National Independent Venue Association is trying to save the future of live music as we know it.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Jason Kulbel who runs The Slowdown yesterday forwarded me a copy of the letter written by NIVA that was sent to Washington outlining how the live music industry and its participants will quickly go the way of the dinosaur unless Congress does something now to help support them during and after the COVID pandemic.

NIVA is the National Independent Venue Association, a just-formed organization that currently has more than 900 charter members in 50 states, including all the legendary clubs we know and love like 9:30 Club in D.C., First Avenue, Bowery Ballroom, Mohawk in Austin and of course our very own Slowdown, The Waiting Room/Reverb/Sydney and fabulous O’Leaver’s.

The first half of the letter, which you can read in its entirety right here, explains the role music venues, promoters and artists play in our economy, our culture, the very fabric of our country. Next it outlines the problem — how venues were the first to close and likely will be the last to reopen, and how everyone involved is being impacted, and how historic, iconic institutions could be forced into permanent closure.

Finally, the letter outlines solutions, including flexible and abundant federal loan programs, tax relief, unemployment insurance, mortgage and rent forbearance, debt deferral and recovery funds.

Those recovery funds and tax credits will help venues comply with new health guidelines when they’re allowed to reopen.

Another key provision: “Establishing national guidelines for resuming and continuing large gatherings in a safe manner to ensure uniformity throughout the industry.” This is critical because without it, there’s no way artists and promoters could schedule tours without knowing which states’ venues are able to book shows; without national guidelines each state would do its own thing and that would be a mish-mash, patchwork approach.

Unfortunately, Trump doesn’t appear to support those kinds of national guidelines, leaving it up to the states to decide. Oh what a mess he’s made.

I was skeptical when I saw this letter, figuring most members of Congress don’t know a thing about the entertainment industry. But Kulbel wisely pointed out that Congressional staffers know what’s going on; they frequent venues and understand what role they play in communities. He’s optimistic.

Kulbel continues to book shows at Slowdown despite the constant wave of cancellations so the club will have something in place when allowed to reopen, hopefully sometime this summer. Keep your fingers crossed.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for legislation that includes the above provisions. No doubt some smart congressman or senator will include them in a bill or create a bill that adopts these provisions, and when he/she/they do, it’ll be your job to reach out to your representatives and lobby for their support.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.