The Waiting Room to undergo upgrades; Orgone tonight, So-So Sailors Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:43 pm January 4, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight’s Orgone show at The Waiting Room will be the last at the club for a week as it undergoes a number of improvements. Sharp-eyed and sharp-eared patrons already noticed the recently installed new soundboard.

“We’re completely replacing all aspects of sound and lights,” said Marc Leibowitz, who owns and operates The Waiting Room with partner Jim Johnson. “We are also adding a second dressing room. Other than that, we are installing a true draft system and will go from eight to 26 beers on tap.”

To allow for all this good stuff, the club is closing temporarily. “We aren’t formally closing, but we are closed this Saturday (tomorrow) though next Friday (11th),” Leibowitz said. “Then we are open the 11th and 12th, but close again from the 13th through the 16th. We reopen officially on January 17.”

I didn’t think there was anything wrong with how The Waiting Room looked and sounded before this upcoming renovation; imagine what it’ll be like after it’s done. As for the additional draft beer offerings, I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before they pry my bony fingers from around my bottle of Rolling Rock…

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Like I said, tonight’s hot show is LA funk band Orgone at The Waiting Room with Satchel Grande opening. These guys have built quite a local following starting years ago playing Loom events. $9, 9 p.m. Bring your dancing shoes. Check out some Orgone below…


O'Leaver's new soundboard.

O’Leaver’s new soundboard.

Tomorrow night So-So Sailors play at O’Leaver’s with Django (the D is silent) G-S. And speaking of improvements, O’Leaver’s yesterday tweeted this photo of that club’s new soundboard. Considering the size of the club (and it’s PA) it’s more than they’ll ever need. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night, In Love plays at Slowdown Jr. with Tie These Hands, Flight Metaphor and Joe Champion. $7, 9 p.m.

* * *

More news…

Thunder Power announced a 7-date tour this month (including a Jan. 18 date at The Side Door) in support of their new EP, Volumes, which recently was released on Slumber Party Records.

And even though the holiday is over, you can still download CoCo Art’s Roam For the Holidaze Vol. 4 compilation, featuring new songs from Todd Fink (The Faint), InDreama and Dereck Higgins among its 21 tracks. The best part: It’s absolutely free. Check it out.

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Lazy-i Best of 2012

Lazy-i Best of 2012

And speaking of free compilations, win yourself a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2012 sampler CD! Tracks include songs by Gordon, Ember Schrag, The Faint, Simon Joyner, Mere Mortals, McCarthy Trenching, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Nicky Da B, Violens, Cat Power, PUJOL, Millions of Boys and lots 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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Thunder Power’s monkey business; Capgun Coup tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:03 pm October 31, 2012
A still from Thunder Power's Spiraling Sky" video.

A still from Thunder Power’s Spiraling Sky” video.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yesterday Thunder Power released the first video from its upcoming Slumber Party Records release, Volumes, titled “Spiraling Sky” and featuring a super cute, living-breathing monkey.

Actually, it’s a gibbon (apparently). TP frontman Will Silvey-Simons says the video’s director, Lindsay Trapnell, found the chimp-thing on Craigslist of all places. Was this a rent-a-monkey situation?

“Ha, ‘rental’ is a weird way to say it, but more or less,” Will said. “The two gibbons are the pets of a lady who lives a couple hours away. She responded to the Craigslist ad and thought it’d be fun to have her ‘babies’ in a music video.”

Hey, who doesn’t like monkeys?

The video also features an animated monkey/gibbon in a clip that takes place some time in the early 20th century (based on the costumes, but not on that digital thermostat). Check it out below.

* * *

Not much happening tonight. Halloween is usually a festive “adult holiday” when it falls on the weekend, otherwise it’s a children’s’ holiday, AS IT SHOULD BE.

Anyway, there is one show to go to after you finish handing out candy. Capgun Coup is slated to play at The Sydney tonight with Touch People (a.k.a. Darren Keen) and DJ Kobrakyle. These shows usually start at around 9 and cost around $5.

Happy Halloween…

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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.

Lazy-i

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…

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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.

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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

Column 273; R.I.P. City Weekly?; High Art, Baby Tears tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 10:16 am June 3, 2010

Like last week’s column, this week’s column is a retread of old blog content, due to the fact that all of The Reader‘s deadlines were pushed back four days because of Memorial Day. That means Column 273 is/was this review of last Thursday’s Thunder Power CD release show — ancient history, I know. By the way, a couple people commented on that review, including one that translated the alien-robot-language singing quoted in the story:

Ar-ee op-bop whep bep bay / Op bet tee.”

Translated:

Sorry ’bout winning this one… for the team…

A clever line. I wonder if the rest of the lyrics are that good.

Week-early deadlines mean outdated columns. But I guess I shouldn’t be complaining about deadlines, considering the word on the street is that The Omaha City Weekly is ceasing publication. While I haven’t confirmed that directly from the horse’s mouth, one of the paper’s columnists — MarQ Manner — made the statement on Facebook, and a non-City Weekly editor said the same thing. If it is true, it’s the end of an era. The City Weekly has been around for a long time. Not as long as The Reader, but long enough to be a legacy in this town. Its closure would drop the number of weeklies from four to three (The Reader, Shout! and Go!). I’m sure the survivors are rejoicing, but anytime you lose a publication it’s one less outlet for readers… and writers. Manner said he intends to continue writing his column for Shout! I have no idea what’s going on with CW music critic Will Simons. Hopefully he also will land on his feet, though he’s plenty busy with his band Thunder Power, which just released an EP and is working on a full length. I’ve read and enjoyed Simons’ stuff for years. Just like I enjoy MarQ’s column and Kevin Coffey’s writing (and Niz’s and Christine Laue’s before him at The OWH). For a brief time, I taught a News Editing class at UNO in the evenings. I always told my students that despite the elbowing-though-the-crowd, get-the-story-before-the-other-guy competitive nature of journalism, as a writer I never felt as if I was in competition with anyone — especially fellow writers and critics. And I still don’t. You can only learn from other writers and their work. They should inspire you, not threaten you. We’re all trying to do the same thing — express ourselves and our opinions through the written word. I’ll leave the competition to the publishers, who have to duke it out for advertising dollars in order to pay our meager wages (and I mean meager).

Anyway… I’ll believe the CW is dead and gone when I don’t see it on the stands for more than a month. They went through a similar shut-down earlier this year, only to return from the dead.

* * *

There are two solid shows going on tonight. At The Waiting Room, it’s the Omaha stage debut of High Art, Darren Keen’s new project, which I wrote about in some detail right here. Also on the bill are stdz and DJ Kobrakyle. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, at O’Leaver’s, it’s Doom Town Records‘ crown jewel Baby Tears, with Capricorn Vertical Slum (ex-Vampire Hands) and La Casa Bombas. $5, 9 p.m.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Burning Hotels, Mynabirds, Thunder Power; MDC Sunday…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:53 pm May 28, 2010
The Burning Hotels at The Waiting Room, May 27, 2010.

The Burning Hotels at The Waiting Room, May 27, 2010.

Here’s my report from last night’s Thunder Power album release show at The Waiting Room:

Of the three bands, the opener, Ft. Worth’s The Burning Hotels, was the most professional, the tightest, the hardest rocking and, songwise, the least interesting. Their publicity compared them to The Stills, French Kicks, The Strokes, The Killers and Hot Hot Heat, among others. Someone in the crowd compared them to The Walkmen.

That list hits pretty close to the mark, reflecting the shiny-penny quality of the just-past-indie-headed-toward-Chrysler-commercial rock the young four-piece captured on a stage lit only by four naked fluorescent shop lights stood on end, casting enough white-blue glare to make out their silhouettes, but not enough to really see who they were. It was a convenient metaphor for their formulaic music; all of it played at the same quick-step pace and sung with the same lilting champaign vocals by either of the two frontmen/guitarists. Their songs had melodies — you could hear them outlined in the hyper-aggressive powerchords — but you couldn’t quite make out the details, and certainly weren’t going to remember them after the show. It was perfect background music for lifestyle TV commercials selling products to gullible youth that still think life’s “winners” are the ones with the perfect abs who drink low-carb beers.

There were about 50 people there for The Burning Hotels, who played to a lonely, empty floor while patrons sat and drank cocktails and waited for the next band. The crowd doubled for The Mynabirds, whose popularity is finally beginning to catch hold around town, and for good reason as their debut album is as good as Pitchfork — that online indie-rock kingmaker — would lead us to believe (a respectable 8.0 rating).

Laura Burhenn and Co. played their usual solid set of bluey, alt-country ballads that would become classics if they could just catch the ear of a savvy radio and/or television programmer.  It was a flawless performance. Still, there is something just out of reach about The Mynabirds. It’s as if they’re performing under glass, always separated from the audience by an invisible barrier. I’ve only seen them on the best stages in town — all of them elevated high enough to keep Burhenn standing like a china doll in a curio cabinet. I’d like to see them at a dirty, cramped venue like O’Leaver’s or The Barley Street Tavern or even The 49’r (or Bushwacker’s), someplace where there’s no room to build a glass wall, where the audience could walk up and hug Laura after she brings them to tears with the lonely chords of “Right Place,” or hand guitarist Ben Brodin a shot after the ghostly slide on “Good Heart.”

Thunder Power at The Waiting Room, May 27, 2010.

Thunder Power at The Waiting Room, May 27, 2010.

Finally, there was the headliners celebrating that rock ‘n’ roll victory lap we call The Album Release Party. Thunder Power has evolved from an ironically named, quaint under-the-radar act (Who remembers when there were three exclamation points after their name???) to a perfectly functional indie band built in the shadow of Belle and Sebastian and Yo La Tengo. Singer/guitarist and music critic Will Simons has come into his own as the shy, slightly awkward frontman just confident enough to be heard above the band. He has a good voice with a range that goes from a high-end Ben Gibbard croon down to a throaty Conor (listen again, Oberst really does have a (sort of) low voice). The best part about Simon’s vocals is that they’re completely unadorned with frills or gimmicky flourishes — he sings as straightforward as he talks, as uncostumed as his blue jeans and untucked-shirt.

On the other hand there’s bassist/vocalist Kacynna Tompsett, whose vocal style is so affected, it’s distracting. She has a gorgeous, low, throaty voice reminiscent of Chan Marshall or Ricky Lee Jones, but it’s presented in such a chopped, alien dialect that it sounds like she’s singing in a language consisting of half-words and odd vowel sounds. That singing style is captured perfectly on “Your Pantry,” a song off the band’s 2008 EP Love Yourself, with the catchy opening lines: “Ar-ee op-bop whep bep bay / Op bet tee.” Take me to your leader, Kacynna. Her singing is only slightly clearer on the new EP. When Simon and Tompsett shared some back-and-forth on stage, the duet sounded like a conversation between Charlie Brown and E.T. The Extraterrestrial.

Some of the best vocalists in rock history couldn’t enunciate their way out of a Customs queue at Heathrow. People have sat through entire (recent) Bob Dylan concerts without understanding a single word he sang. Unfortunately, Thunder Power’s music is so laid-back and fey that it demands understandable lyrics to make a connection with the audience. Without them, it becomes sophisticated, well-played background music.

* * *

Tonight looks like another night at The Brothers Lounge, as gig-wise nothing is showing up on my radar. Tomorrow night Landing on the Moon plays at The Sydney with Brave Captain (fIREHOSE tribute band) and The Ground Tyrants.  $5, 9 p.m.

Sunday night is the return of Millions of Dead Cops to Nebraska, this time at The Hole. They’ve been coming to town since ’87, as this column attests. Playing with MDC are Reviver, Cordial Spew, Wooden Coat, Eastern Turkish and Youth & Tear Gas. $10, 7 p.m. All ages (No Booze). Wear your Doc Martins.

Also Sunday night Girl Drink Drunk is doing Shithook-style karaoke at O’Leaver’s, which I think will be a completely different animal than what I’ve seen at The Waiting Room, mainly because O’Leaver’s has a higher percentage of drunks who don’t give a shit about what anybody thinks. I don’t see a price tag attached to this one, and the O’Leaver’s Facebook page is giving a time of 6 p.m. Don’t bet on it.

Lazy-i

Column 272; Conor goes on strike; Thunder Power, Vampire Hands tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , — @ 12:47 pm May 27, 2010

If you’re looking for Column 272, it was a rehash of a couple blog entries from last week, intro-ed by this comment:

My apologies for the brevity of this week’s installment. The Reader moved back its deadlines three days due to a printer scheduling issue that has something to do with the production of 11 issues of Neighborhood News — the shopper that arrives in your mailbox periodically. The Reader produces Neighborhood News along with El Perico and the Spanish Language phonebook and a handful of other secret projects that only publisher John Heaston knows about. You didn’t know this? That’s because like every other newspaper, The Reader does a lousy job of reporting on itself. But it’s opportunities like Neighborhood News and the Spanish language publications that keep this weekly afloat during tough economic times and an era when Omaha’s news stands are crowded with four competing “alternative weeklies”: The ReaderThe City WeeklyShout! Weekly and Go! (The Omaha World-Herald‘s stab at a weekly, but it doesn’t count because it lacks horoscopes, “News of the Weird” and ads for 1-900 porn services).

Bands and venues have little to complain about when it comes to media coverage, now that there are four weeklies tripping over each other to report on the music scene. My column deadline is pulled back again this week, to tomorrow… anyone got any column ideas?

Anyway…

According to this Spinner.com article, Conor Oberst has joined Sound Strike, a boycott of the state of Arizona by a handful of artists including Kanye West, Sonic Youth, Massive Attack, Michael Moore and Rage Against the Machines’ Zack de La Rocha. The boycott “aims to fight the Arizona law — named SB1070 — which requires a person’s immigration status to be determined if he or she is thought to be undocumented.” It’s a crazy, angry law that hopefully will get repealed or overturned by the courts. The folks at The Phoenix New Times have pulled together a benefit comp CD called Line in the Sand that features a track by, among others, Andrew Jackson Jihad. Proceeds go to human rights and humanitarian organizations Puente and No More Deaths. Find out more about the comp here.

* * *

Thunder Power is celebrating the release of its first-ever vinyl outing tonight at The Waiting Room. The album is a 10-inch split EP with Toledo band The 1959 Hat. Co. (who they met on tour) called Hearts Intersect, released by Slumber Party Records. It’s the first in a series of collaborative splits being released by the label. Thunder Power’s three songs are tight, simple, indie rock tracks that would fit in with the lighter side of Belle & Sebastian. The first track, “Heartifact,” already has received a shout-out from Under the Radar (here). The split marks the fourth EP by Thunder Power, who are in the process of writing an entirely new set of songs for a forthcoming LP (their first). Also on the bill is The Mynabirds (currently riding a wave of publicity with the release of their Saddle Creek debut) and Fort Worth band The Burning Hotels. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Travelling Mercies and Ragged Company are playing with Kris Lager at The Barley Street Tavern. $5, 9 p.m. I feel a drunk coming on with this one…

Also tonight at The Brothers Lounge (who seems to be doing a lot of shows lately), it’s the amazing Vampire Hands with Daughters of the Sun and Perry H. Matthews. $5, 9 p.m.

Lazy-i