The return of John Klemmensen; Son Ambulance, Oquoa, English Beat tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:15 pm July 12, 2018

John Klemmensen and the Party at Reverb, May 1, 2015. Klemmensen returns to the stage tomorrow night (Friday) at O’Leaver’s as a member of The Candy Boys.

by Tim McMahan,

Hard to believe it was more than three years ago — May 1, 2015, to be exact — that John Klemmensen & The Party hosted their album release show for the LP Party All Night at Reverb Lounge.

The album was a career benchmark for Klemmensen, who had been performing music for more than 20 years both solo, with The Party and in a slew of bands, the most recent having been Landing on the Moon.

But shortly after that album release show, Klemmensen’s world unraveled. Among the lows was when Klemmensen stole a King Kong poster from a King King fast-food restaurant wearing a panda hat — an act that got broadcast on Crimestoppers. It was just part of a downward spiral.

“The underlying story was depression, massive prolonged intake of HARD drugs, overall bad decision making. A lot of self-sabotage, basically,” Klemmensen said.

“I never planned on taking such a long hiatus, but getting myself out of the trouble I had caused myself took some time,” he said.  “I’m still working on being human.”

And among the best parts of his humanity is his music. Klemmensen will return to the stage tomorrow night (Friday) at fabulous O’Leaver’s fronting a new rock band called The Candy Boys. The band consists of Vern Fergesen on bass, Daniel Dean Leonard on drums, and Klemmensen on guitar and vocals.

Klemmensen said it’s “a little more sloppy and loud (on purpose) than ‘the Party.’ I think it’s closer to where I came from, like Reset or Revilo (although I wasn’t in Revilo).”

Tomorrow night’s set will focus on all new music, a reflection of Klemmensen’s new life. “I’m better now,” he said. “Weed, ice cream maybe an occasional shot of whiskey. I’m a good boy now.”

The Candy Boys play tomorrow night (Friday) at O’Leaver’s with Columbus/Omaha punk/folk act Not Funny.

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OK, but what’s going on tonight at O’Leaver’s? Just another stacked bill. Headlining is Oquoa (Max Holmquist and the boys) with Saddle Creek Records band Son, Ambulance. Joining them is Denton, Texas act Claire Morales, whose new record All That’s Wanting, was released June 29. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, The English Beat, who probably plays more often in Omaha than in their origin city of Birmingham, England, returns to The Slowdown. The Bishops open at 8 p.m. $28.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The English Beat, Matt Whipkey tonight; Satchel Grande Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:00 pm November 24, 2017

Tommy Keene at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2014. Keene passed away last night.

by Tim McMahan,

Listening to Tommy Keene this morning, specifically his 1989 release Based on Happy Times, which you can find on Spotify. Keene passed away yesterday, reportedly in his sleep, which may be the best way to go. He opened for Matthew Sweet at O’Leaver’s back in 2014, and opened for him again on a recent tour. Keene might be one of the most overlooked singer/songwriters of the ’80s, ’90s, today. He was a power-pop master and a great guitarist.

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Another light weekend for shows. Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of The English Beat, a band that’s made Omaha a second home (or so it seems, considering the number of times they’ve played here over the years). Opening is local ska band The Bishops. $25, 9 p.m.

Also tonight Matt Whipkey and his band are playing around the corner at Reverb Lounge. Tonight’s show will be a sort of sneak preview of Whipkey’s latest release, the double LP Driver, out Feb. 23. Whipkey just released a single from the album, which you can check out below. Opening is Travelling Mercies. $10, 8 p.m.

Saturday night Satchel Grande returns to The Waiting Room with Funk Trek. $8, 9 p.m.

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

For those of you doing the Black Friday treasure hunt, good luck. I’ll likely be hitting the racks this afternoon, so don’t take all the good stuf.

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


#TBT March 23, 2007: Little Brazil release show for Tighten the Noose; The English Beat tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm March 23, 2017

Little Brazil circa 2007. The band hosted the album release show for sophomore album Tighten the Noose 10 years ago today.

by Tim McMahan,

Another highlight of ’07 along with the opening of The Slowdown and The Waiting Room was the release of Little Brazil’s sophomore album Tighten the Noose.

The album’s official release date according to was Feb. 6, 2007. That website gave the recording a 3-1/2 star rating, but was less than complimentary in its review, saying, “…while these are perfectly admirable sonic references, they point up Tighten the Noose’s primary flaw: Hedges’ songs are solid, and he’s a perfectly decent singer and guitarist, but there’s a faintly anonymous quality to Tighten the Noose that keeps the album from sounding like more than the sum of (Landon) Hedges’ influences…

I remember when I first read that review thinking it was pretty lazy, especially considering the comparisons the writer threw out (Dream Syndicate? Apples in Stereo? Huh?). To me, Tighten the Noose would become Little Brazil’s “rock album,” comprised of the catchiest tracks they’ve recorded in their career. Tunes like “Last Night,” “Shades” and “Never Leave You” became staples of their set over the years and epitomized their sound. These are the tunes the band will be remembered for, along with the more epic, story-telling songs on the follow-up, 2009’s Son.

At this point in the band’s career, Little Brazil was still trying to pull itself away from Landon’s association with a couple of his former bands — Desaparecidos and The Good Life.

From Lazy-i March 21, 2007:

(Bass player Danny) Maxwell is skeptical that Hedges’ history has had an impact on drawing people to Little Brazil shows. “They don’t say, ‘Holy shit, it’s the guy from Desa.'”

Still, Maxwell said fans are aware of the band’s history and its connection to the Omaha music scene. “They ask us what Conor is doing right now,” Maxwell said. “I usually respond with, ‘I don’t know. We’re here with you tonight.'”

“There are fans out there that love that style of music and ask us what it’s like to be part of it,” (guitarist Greg) Edds explained. “I don’t mind when they’re being sincere. On the other hand, there are the ones who hand us gifts to bring back to Conor and Tim (Kasher).'”

“It’s annoying at this point in our careers,” Hedges said.

“But it’s getting to be less and less of a problem,” (drummer Oliver) Morgan added. “We’re starting to make our own mark.” — Lazy-i March 21, 2007

Read the whole story here.

According to my review in Lazy-i the next day, about 250 people showed up for the album release show at Sokol Underground March 23, 2007. The Photo Atlas was the opener. There was even a balloon drop halfway through Little Brazil’s first song, and Landon almost passed out from the heat/humidity.

From the 2007 review:

“Landon… is a pure crooner, an Omaha-style indie singer cut from the same bolt of cloth as Tim Kasher (a la The Good Life, not Cursive). Every time I see him with his just-woke-up hair and cheap wireframe glasses I think of Corey Haim as Lucas or a bespeckled Bobby Brady, age 13. His voice kinda/sorta matches his appearance — an unpretentious caterwaul that has no problem reaching for the high notes at the peak of a heart-wailing phrase. Little Brazil’s music isn’t exactly a bold, new direction in the world of indie rock. You got your cool guitar riffs, your lean bass lines, your thunderous drums (Oliver Morgan is always at his best every time I see him on stage — he has no second gear), coming together to form a verse-verse-verse song (why are there never any choruses these days?) that typically builds to a predictable — if satisfying — “big ending.” The differentiator — Landon’s Bobby-at-13 voice, that is both honest and simple and, well, good enough to cut through the din. It’s kind if quirky, but perfectly on pitch. And it follows a melody that rises and falls…” — Lazy-i, March 24, 2007

The next day the band drove to Denver to open for The Photo Atlas at their album release show…

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out Tighten the Noose at Bandcamp. I listened to it again this morning on my way into work and it holds up exceptionally well. Wouldn’t it be a kick in the head if Landon and Co. got together for a 10-year anniversary performance of Tighten the Noose? Think about it, Maha…

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One of those bands that never seems to forget Omaha when it tours, Dave Wakeling and The English Beat, return to The Waiting Room tonight. Local ska band The Bishops opens. 8 p.m., $25.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.