Craig Finn, Titus Andronicus, Hottman Sisters tonight; Travel Guide, Mitch Gettman, Super Ghost Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:27 pm March 11, 2016
Titus Andronicus at Sokol Underground, Nov. 21, 2012.

Titus Andronicus at Sokol Underground, Nov. 21, 2012.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Is this the biggest indie-rock show The Lookout Lounge has ever hosted?

Craig Finn is the lead dude from The Hold Steady striking out on his own for a solo tour. Titus Andronicus, known for the long, drawn-out waltz-time punk rock songs, is one of the more interesting indie bands to emerge from Matador Records in the past half decade. You get both tonight at Lookout Lounge, along with Lincoln’s Universe Contest (on their way to SXSW) and Omaha band Gordon (get there early, you don’t want to miss them) for one price of $18. Tickets available at the door. I have yet to venture into the Lookout Lounge. This could be the night.

Also tonight, Americana/folk band Ragged Company headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them is Justin Ready & the Echo Prairie and Omaha buzz band The Hottman Sisters. For whatever reason, I thought the Hottmans were a country & western band, then Ian sent me a link to the following Live at O’Leaver’s. Check it. $5, 9:30 p.m. And pssst… the back patio is open!

Also tonight, Chicago is invading Milk Run. Chi-town bands Ratboy and Coaster headline, with locals Bed Rest and Crypt Kid. $7, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night Mitch Gettman and The Way Out open for Wichita band The Travel Guide.  $7, 9 p.m.

While down at Slowdown Jr. Omaha emo band Super Ghost headlines a show with Blét, This Machine Kills Vibes and Intergalactic Star Hero. $8, 9 p.m.

By the way, my favorite time of year begins Sunday morning at 2 a.m. — that’s when Daylight Savings Time kicks in. Does that mean we lose an hour of drinking or gain an hour of drinking?

One more thing: The Brigadiers are headlining a show at Reverb Lounge Sunday night with Glen Hollow and Polka Police. The event is a fundraiser for art/photography startup Copper Collective. They’re trying to construct a dark room. The 7:30 p.m. show is $7. Find out more here.

That’s it for shows. If I missed your, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Conor Oberst returns in Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club; Titus Andronicus/Craig Finn March 12…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 6:47 pm December 15, 2015
Conor Oberst at Sokol Auditorium, June 4, 2014.

Conor Oberst, left, at Sokol Auditorium, June 4, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, I guess Conor Oberst is feeling better.

Today our friends at fabulous O’Leaver’s announced a very special show for Jan. 3 at the club. The featured act: Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club. The country cover band’s all-star line-up includes Dolores Diaz (of course), Matt Maginn (Cursive), Dan McCarthy (McCarthy Trenching), Ben Brodin, Phil Schaffart (Con Dios), Miwi La Lupa, Roger Lewis (The Good Life), Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes) and Conor Oberst. If that weren’t enough, opening the show is good ol’ Johnathan Rice.

With the usual O’Leaver’s door price of just $5, something tells me this show will sell out. Better get on the guest list (which will be a mile long). To my knowledge, this is the first show Oberst has scheduled since Desaparecidos cancelled its fall tour Oct. 28 after Oberst fell ill in Jacksonville, Florida, and was briefly hospitalized due to laryngitis, exhaustion and anxiety.

* * *

That’s not the only interesting show announced today.

Lookout Lounge keeps hosting bigger indie shows. This time it’s Titus Andronicus with Craig Finn of The Hold Steady March 12. Also on the bill are Universe Contest and Gordon. I’m told Lookout Lounge will sell around 300 tickets to this show. How will the bar handle such a large crowd? $16 advance tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m.

Then there’s Wolf Alice April 12 at The Waiting Room. Winter hasn’t even started and it feels like spring is almost here.

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Titus Andronicus, Brother Ali tonight; Yo La Tengo, Hotlines (debut) Saturday; Eros & Eschaton Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:55 pm September 20, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Titus Andronicus is playing tonight at the Sweatshop Gallery, the space next door (south) of The Barley Street Tavern. Sweatshop’s performance space looks like it has a capacity of around 50 (including the band) which could make for tight quarters, especially if Titus draws the 75-100 or so who came to see them play at Sokol Underground last November.

I asked someone who went to the Parquet Courts show at Sweatshop this past June if the venue opened the overhead door in the back of the performance space. He said they didn’t, and as a result, the show was a tightly packed, sweaty mess, but he felt lucky to be there. I’m told Titus purposely booked small, non-traditional venues for this tour, which supports Local Business (2012, Matador), the same album they were supporting at that Sokol show. It’s worth the effort. Opening is NYC band “Lost Boy?” $10, 9 p.m.

Just up the street tonight Brother Ali returns to The Waiting Room. Ali is co-headlining with Immortal Technique. Also on the bill is Hasan Salaam & I Self Devine. $20, 9 p.m.

Also tonight over at fabulous O’Leaver’s Millions of Boys headlines with Kansas City’s The ACB’s and The SuperBytes. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Check out The ACB’s, below:

Lastly tonight, Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan is doing a solo set at Slowdown Jr. with Matt Whipkey. $20, 9 p.m.

Saturday’s marquee event is the weekend’s marquee event: An Evening with Yo La Tengo at The Waiting Room. No opener, just Ira, Georgia and James (and co.) for an evening of music by one of the most influential indie bands in the last 20 years. $18, 9 p.m. See you there.

Also Saturday night, new band Hotlines has its stage debut at O’Leaver’s. Hotlines consists of heavy hitters from a number of local bands: Dereck Higgins, Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, Javid Dabistani and Luke Polipnick. Flamethrower opens. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally Sunday is a homecoming of sorts down at Slowdown Jr. Eros and Eschaton is the new project by Adam Hawkins of It’s True that also features his wife, Katey Sleeveless. I’ve heard the new album, Home Address for Civil War (2012 Bar/None), and can tell you if you loved It’s True, you’ll love this new incarnation that takes the same rich songwriting and covers it in dollops of shoe-gaze feedback. Opening is hot newcomers Twinsmith and the Omaha’s heartbreak king John Klemmensen and the The Party. This is an early show — 7 p.m. $8. Go!

Did I miss anything? Put it in the comments section. Have a fantastic weekend.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Titus Andronicus, Ceremony; Who is Gordon?; Criteria, Domestica Saturday…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:01 pm November 23, 2012
Ceremony at Sokol Underground, Nov. 21, 2012.

Ceremony at Sokol Underground, Nov. 21, 2012.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m guessing by the size of the crowd that in the battle between Tilly and Titus, Tilly won. One of my music cohorts blamed indie slacker girlfriends for the poor turnout at Sokol Underground Friday night — maybe 75 tops for a band that packed The Waiting Room the last time they came through. His contention was that the girlfriends insisted on going to Tilly and the Wall at The Slowdown rather than Titus Andronicus at Sokol — girls’ music versus guys’ music — and that the girls will always win that argument. What a goddamn sexist thing to say, Chris! There were a few girls in the crowd at Titus, but something tells me there were a heckuva lot more at Tilly. Sometimes stereotypes are right on.

A little after 10 the warm-up band, Ceremony, took the stage and began playing their brand of post hardcore hardcore music to a tiny mob in front of the stage intent on moshing even if no one else wanted to. Three or four guys bounced around before eventually giving up and maintaining a metal-esque headbob routine. The S.F. four-piece isn’t a hardcore band, at least not anymore, not like they were before they signed with Matador Records. Still, their brutal post-punk sound crossed into hardcore territory during more intense moments or when frontman Ross Farrar introduced a song as “an old one.”

Their more recent streamlined sound is compared to early Wire, some have called it an homage. I wouldn’t go that far for, among other reasons, how much they lean on their guitars. On their new record, they remind me more of Bad Religion than any proto-post-harcore band. I would argue that they’re better live because they’re willing to blur the lines between the old and new as much as they want to, the yelling sounds more genuine.

Titus Andronicus at Sokol Underground, Nov. 21, 2012.

Titus Andronicus at Sokol Underground, Nov. 21, 2012.

We had a bet going on how long Titus would play. The consensus was an hour and 15 minutes. They went about a half our over that (with no encore). Patrick Stickles and company came on in a matter-of-fact fashion and barreled through a set that included the best off the new album (including “Tried to Quit Smoking” “My Eating Disorder” and “Titus Andronicus Vs. The Absurd Universe (3rd Round KO),” and a handful of the classics from the past couple of albums, including “A More Perfect Union,” “Titus Andronicus Forever” and “No Future Part Three: Escape from No Future” with the rousing chorus “You will always be a loser.” Big, anthemic fun without the nasty filler.

Before I left a member of one of the opening bands, called Gordon (the band’s name, not the guy’s name), gave me a copy of their six-song demo EP, I guess they were just handing them out. After listening to it this morning, I’m sorry I got to the show late.

Pretty fantastic stuff, especially opening track “No Masters, No War,” a soulless, dark little counter-argument to the neon-colored youth-freedom anthems that Tilly was singing just a few miles away to a much cuter audience, an audience who would blanch at lines like “And there were piss stains on the carpet / Where I laid my head and slept / There was a memory that I lost / Couldn’t remember when I woke up.” Ew, gross! There is something bracing and honest about a chorus that goes “It was love / It was death / There were no masters / There was no war.”

That goes right into a straight-up indie pop number called “I Don’t Mind” whose guitar lines and rhythms owe a lot to The Cure and Dinosaur Jr., with scratch vocals that are a direct nod to J. Mascis. Short and sweet.

Track three, “Down Goes Red” is a buzzsaw guitar and a droll mumble and a shout chorus of “Bang, Bang, Bang / Goes my gun.” Kind of an RFTC vibe, minus the candy coating. The last few songs are cleaned up garage songs that rock. The whole thing’s good and at times borders on brilliant.

On these recordings (according to the lyrics sheet included in the unlabeled heavy-black plastic CD case) Gordon is Austin Mayer, guitar/vox; Nick Sortino, drums/vox; Josh French, bass/vox, and Aaron Parker, guitar/vox. I don’t know anything about these guys, other than that French is in Snake Island, and that Mayer and Parker are in a project called Scratch Howl.

Don’t know where you can find a copy of these recordings, but they’re worth finding.  The note scratched on the lyrics sheet next to the recording credits says “We suck, we know.” Do you?

* * *

Looking at the sched, it’s going to be a quiet Friday night EXCEPT at The Barley Street Tavern, where Lincoln DIY punk legend Jim Jacobi and the Crap Detectors take the stage with The Shidiots and Never Trust the Living (Rob Rutar, Troy Garrison, Chad Roles and Dave Carnaby). Look, this is the only thing of substance going on tonight, you have no excuses. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night is the long-awaited (annual) return of Criteria. And when I say return, I mean with new material. Sayeth Criteria frontman Stephen Pedersen “Criteria is writing new material (for the first time in 6 years).  Should be 3 or 4 new ones for the show. I am excited to perform them live.” Oh, and we’re excited to hear them, Steve. Opening is Landing on the Moon and Lincoln post-punk strategists Ideal Cleaners. $8, 9 p.m. Expect a crowd.

Just down the street, Lincoln anthem rockers Domestica take the stage with The Lupines (Frontman John Ziegler, Mike Friedman (ex-Movies, member of Simon Joyner and the Fallen Men), Mike Tulis (Monroes, Fullblown, Sons of ___, The Third Men),  Javid Dabestani (Ghost Runners, among others)). $5, 9 p.m.

Have a good weekend…

* * *

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

Little Brazil’s new lineup; Tilly and the Wall Vs. Titus Andronicus tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:49 pm November 21, 2012
Little Brazil, circa now.

Little Brazil, circa now.

by Tim McMahan. Lazy-i.com

You might have wondered the same thing I did when you saw the sexy new band photo for Little Brazil (above) posted yesterday: Where’s the rest of the band?

Guitarist Greg Edds (the guy on the left) confirmed that drummer Oliver Morgan and wife Megan have left the band to focus on their other band, Landing on the Moon.

Edds characterized the line-up change this way: “Obviously, we all are still close friends and you’ll most likely find us in Benson shooting Rumplemintz and tossing Busch Light cans at each other. It’s all good.”

So who’s playing drums now? None other than Desaparecidos drummer Matt Baum. Edds said Baum is filling in for the band’s next show — Dec. 27 at The Waiting Room with The Sons of The Waiting Room, John Klemmensen and the Party, and The Brigadiers (more about them in a sec).

Oliver’s technical, intricate drumming style with lots o’ cymbals has always been a core element of the band’s sound. “Bombastic” might be the best way to describe Baum’s style (Edds referred to Baum’s “Hulk Smash” skills — quite appropriate). The only thing more signature than Baum’s booming style is his habit of getting up from behind the kit between songs and yelling at the crowd.

One of the few other local drummers that hits the toms as hard as Baum is former Cursive drummer Clint Schnase, who put away the sticks back in 2007, returning for a one-shot performance at the August 2011 Maha Festival. Well, Schnase’s back, this time as drummer of The Brigadiers, a band that includes Shane Lamson, guitar, vocals; Mark Weber (ex-Box), lead guitar, vocals; and Vic Padios (ex-Calico, ex-Gymnastics), bass, vocals. This Dec. 27 show is looking pretty hot…

* * *

In this week’s column, random notes written a week ago (due to pushed-up holiday deadlines) about Lance Armstrong, Bob Kerrey and the new Ralston Arena. You can read it in the current issue of The Reader (which I’m told is already on news stands) or online right here.

* * *

We all have the day off tomorrow, so there’s no excuse for not going to a show (unless the show sells out), and there are some doozies to choose from.

Tonight at The Slowdown it’s the return of Tilly and the Wall. The band has been on the road for a few weeks supporting their most recent Team Love release, Heavy Mood. For me, Tilly’s always been a sweet little tap-dancing-fueled combo tailor made for the little girl in all of us — cute and fun, with rarely noticed sinister lyrics lying just beneath the covers.

That changed with Heavy Mood, which, after you get past the B-52’s-flavored opening tracks, is as good of an indie rock album as I’ve heard this year. For me, the best part is that the band has finally learned to harmonize. In the old days, everyone sang the same note at the same time, which while sounding “youthful” also sounded very amateurish. Harmony rich tracks like “Hey Rainbow” and “I Believe in You” give Azure Ray a fun for their money. “Echo My Love” is flat-out one of the best tracks I’ve heard this year. Opening tonight’s show is Saddle Creek Records act UUVVWWZ and Sun Settings. $13, 9 p.m. In her weekly email, Val kinda/sorta warned that this one could sell out, so if you’re into it, get your tickets online now.

Also tonight, down where Omaha indie rock was born — Sokol Underground — it’s the return of Titus Andronicus. Their new album, Local Business (XL Records) takes a few steps back from their last two epic-strewn releases to more stripped-down territory. Heck, there are even a few songs in the 3- to 5-minute-long category. But ol’ Pat Stickles just can’t help himself and thus, right in the middle is the 8-plus-minute “My Eating Disorder” while the nearly 10-minute “Tried to Quit Smoking” closes out the record.

Those long songs just seem to meander, especially when played live. I’ve seen these guys a number of  times and their best sets have been at SXSW, where they were forced to keep it simple and keep it quick. As a headliner, expect another epic (and long) performance. Opening this four-band bill are local boys Gordon, Iowa City’s Slut River, and Matador Records band Ceremony, who by themselves would be a decent draw. $15, 9 p.m. Slowburn Productions kinda/sorta warned that this one might sell out, too. You might want to get your tickets right now right here.

Also tonight, the 3rd Annual Benson Canned Food Drive is happening at the Barley Street Tavern. Performers include Brad Hoshaw, Kyle Harvey (I guess he’s in town for the holidays), Matt Cox, John Klemmenson, Nick Carl, Bret Vovk, Rebecca Lowry and Matt Whipkey. Admission is two cans of food. Show starts at 9.

And The Waiting Room is hosting a slew of “tribute” (more like cover) bands including REModeled doing their version of Reckoning, Surfer Rosa and Rock and Roll Suicide doing Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. $7, 9 p.m.

Better get it in tonight, folks, because there ain’t shit going on tomorrow or Friday night.

Happy Turkey Day…

* * *

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

SXSW Day 2: Jesus and Mary Chain, Neon Trees, Cults, Glen Hansard, Purity Ring, Titus Andronicus, more…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:35 pm March 16, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Same routine as yesterday: Go here to thereader.com and read my Day 2 recap of SXSW featuring reviews of performances by Neon Trees, Glen Hansard, and Gardens & Villas, and the amazing Jesus and Mary Chain, then take a look at my photo diary, below.  And if you really want to know about the pain that is SXSW, read my column in this week’s issue of The Reader, online here.

Inca Abraham at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Inca Abraham at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Neon Trees at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Neon Trees at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Glen Hansard at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Glen Hansard at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Cults at 1100 Warehouse, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Cults at 1100 Warehouse, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Gardens & Villa at Mohawk Patio, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Gardens & Villa at Mohawk Patio, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Purity Ring at Central Presbyterian Church, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Purity Ring at Central Presbyterian Church, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Titus Andronicus at The Belmont, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Titus Andronicus at The Belmont, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.

Tomorrow: Day 3. See you then…

* * *

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

Live Review: Titus Andronicus, Free Energy; Appleseed Cast tonight, Bloodcow Saturday; Cursive Sunday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:43 pm September 17, 2010
Titus Andronicus at The Waiting Room, Sept. 16, 2010.

Titus Andronicus at The Waiting Room, Sept. 16, 2010.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

How would I describe last night’s Titus Andronicus show at The Waiting Room? I wouldn’t say it was “epic” as much as an attempt at being epic. You could describe Titus’ music as tuneful anthem punk — the songs usually start off as quiet indie ballads that slowly build and explode into pounding riffs, sing-along lyrics and the occasional Celtic-flavored melody. It’s a lot of territory to cover, and that means some pretty long songs. And though I was exhausted at the end of their 90-minute set, I felt like I just saw what could become an important band at a pivotal moment in its history.

They’re still just starting out. While Titus has gotten a lot of national press and attention (including some late-night network chat-show airplay) for a band that’s only been around only a couple years, it’s still very much flying under the radar, judging by last night’s draw of only a couple hundred, many of whom came to see pop opener Free Energy. In fact, at the end of the set, Titus did the ol’ “We’re looking for a place to crash tonight” spiel from stage. They’re definitely living out of the van these days, but judging by last night’s performance, they won’t be for long.

The band is centered on frontman Patrick Stickles, who looks like your typical indie rock beardo but sings like a man trying to exorcise his own evil spirits. He’s both a crooner and a howler, and as I said in yesterday’s feature, has often been compared to Conor Oberst vocally. You could hear some of that last night, and Stickles even acknowledged it about four songs into the set, saying that though the band has never been to Omaha, they’ve been plagued by a certain Omaha singer/songwriter, and then went on to say that his next song’s self-loathing nature (“No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future”) would showcase this. And that’s exactly what it did. We got the bray, we got the shrill screams, but they weren’t a central part of his vocal style, and when he flat out sang, he didn’t resemble Oberst at all.

Beyond the countless anthems, the highlight was the ironically named “Theme from ‘Cheers'” (my fave from their latest album) and their cover of The Misfits’ “Where Eagles Dare.” Stickles has a great band behind him these days (Titus has gone through a number of personnel changes over the past couple years), but the most entertaining addition is guitarist/violinist Alexi Crawford, whose constant pogoing — bouncing around the stage — was infectious, especially to the crowd up front. She’s the kind of person anyone would want in their band because in addition to being an amazing musician and having a sweet voice, she is intensely “into” every song — you get the sense that she feels like the luckiest person on the face of the earth to be on stage performing with this band.

If Titus has a drawback, it’s in their lack of editing. There were just too many anthems, too many attempts at heroics with each song. One can only stand so many epic closers before they begin to wear on you. It’s hard to fault a band that is just trying to entertain the best way it knows how — and with large portions. But sometimes you have to push yourself away from the table and say “no more” (but this comes from a guy who has zero interest in sitting through one of Springsteen’s legendary four-hour marathon concerts — an hour is more than enough of the Boss). I think Titus is still trying to figure out the right balance, and when they do — both on stage and on their recordings — they’re going to find themselves sleeping in the Hilton downtown instead of on somebody’s floor.

Free Energy at The Waiting Room, Sept. 16, 2010.

Free Energy at The Waiting Room, Sept. 16, 2010.

Lots o’ hype about opening band Free Energy, and like I said, they were the reason a large portion of the crowd was there. And while I like pop rock as much as the next guy, I just wasn’t feeling it. Sure, they know their way around a good ’70s-style rock song, but frontman Paul Sprangers (following in a long tradition of frontmen who don’t play an instrument on stage) is no Robin Zander or Phil Lynott (or Julian Casablancas, for that matter) when it comes to cock-rock stage presence (if anything, he reminded me of Evan Dando). But that may come with time, along with some better songs. One of their set’s biggest crowd-pleasers was when members of Titus joined them on stage for a cover of Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down” that made me wonder why more people don’t cover that song.

* * *

On the radar screen this weekend

Tonight at The Waiting Room, Appleseed Cast returns. As interesting as the headliner are opening bands Lawrence’s Cowboy Indian Bear and new Omaha shoe-gaze flavored rockers Conduits. $12, 9 p.m.

Down at Slowdown, Ember Schrag returns. Opening is The Chiara Quartet and Noah Sterba & The Cocktails. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, this year’s Nebraska Pop Festival continues (it’s been going on in Benson for the past few days) at PS Collective. On the bill is Lincoln’s Floating Opera along with Omaha’s Thunder Power and a slew of out-of-towners. The full line-up is here. 7 p.m., $5.

Tomorrow night punk superstars/deviants Bloodcow celebrates its 10 year anniversary at The Waiting Room with Filter Kings and Saudi Arabia (The Dinks). $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at O’Leaver’s Saturday night, it’s a Speed! Nebraska mini showcase with Wagon Blasters, Ron Wax (Ron Albertson of Mercy Rule) and Students of Crime. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Then Sunday night, it’s night one of two nights of Cursive at The 49’r. Opening is So-So Sailors. Starts at 9, SOLD OUT.

Finally, at The Waiting Room Sunday night, it’s the Pine Ridge Live Recording session for a benefit CD that will be sold later this year to generate cash for Lash LaRue’s annual Toy Drive. Slated to perform: Kyle Harvey , Jake Bellows, Dustin Clayton, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Son of 76 , Platte River Rain, Korey Anderson, Vago, Matt Cox, Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship, Brad Hoshaw, Josh Dunwoody, LL Dunn, Mariachi San Juan, Cass Brostad, Brad Thompson and more. The show starts at noon and runs ’til closing, and is absolutely free.

* * *

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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lazy-i Interview: Titus Andronicus; CVS protest today; Titus, Pixies tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:03 pm September 16, 2010
Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus


Our Civil War

Titus Andronicus’ music addresses the battle within ourselves.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A caveat before reading further: Titus Andronicus’ frontman Patrick Stickles’ comments came under the influence of having not slept in 26 hours, after he and the rest of the band drove over night from Toledo to St. Louis to play on a hot Saturday afternoon at LouFest.

“I guess ‘Lou’ is short for St. Louis,” he said, adding that the band was playing “smack in the middle of seven or eight bands. Broken Social Scene is the headliner.”

It was just two years ago that Titus Andronicus, which hails from Glen Rocks, New Jersey, began to break through the oversized, amorphous cloud that is the U.S. indie music scene with their XL Records debut The Airing of Grievances, an LP that captured their rowdy, raucous anthem-punk style.

“A lot’s happened since then,” Stickles said. “We went through a couple guitar players and made this whole other record. We’ve pretty much wildly exceeded our expectations.”

Titus Andronicus, The Monitor (XL Records)

Titus Andronicus, The Monitor (XL Records)

The “other record” is sophomore effort The Monitor, released by XL this past March. While it continued in the same rambunctious fashion as their debut, the album is sprawling — more than an hour long with half the songs over seven minutes in length, and one clocking in at a whopping 14 minutes.

“I’ve never been too good at editing myself,” Stickles said. “At the time we were theorizing these songs, I guessed all would be three or four minutes long. What we ended up recording is a byproduct of me having poor temporal reasoning skills. We always strive for a level of grandiosity, but even I couldn’t have predicted that we’d go that far.”

The recording also expanded on the band’s low-fi punk sound, adding new instruments (bagpipes, fiddle, trombone, cello) that elevated these epic, drunken, Celtic-flavored sing-along ballads to a level as grand as the album’s so-called Civil War theme, which Stickles said shouldn’t be taken too literally.

“The music is set in modern times. The Civil War is only used allegorically; I thought it would be an apt metaphor,” Stickles said. In fact, the lyrics on The Monitor (named after the Civil War-era battleship) are both self-flagellating and confrontational, with slogan-like lines “Baby we were born to die,” “You’ll always be a loser,” “I was born to die like a man,” and most central to the album’s theme: “The enemy is everywhere.” Booze provides a lyrical counterbalance to desperation and hostility.

“The point is that we’re all complacent in our various societal ills,” Stickles explained. “All this stuff about the enemy being everywhere, just as often it’s inside us, our own bodies, our earthly prisons. We as individuals have to be willing to take responsibility for our own happiness and fulfillment. There seems to be a tendency of humans trying to pass the buck for their unhappiness, and say, ‘If other than xyz, I would have the life of Riley.’ To me, it’s a defense mechanism at best. It’s quite possible to achieve peace and happiness on this crazy planet, but we have to allow that to come from within rather than look for external reasons.”

Heady stuff, but beyond their deeper meaning, all those angry lines make for some amazing sing-along moments. Stickles agreed. “They tend to make the best rock and roll songs,” he said, acknowledging how much the band loves it when the crowd shouts the lines back at them. “Their enthusiasm has a way of quickly creating enthusiasm on stage.”

Stickles said the band has never played in Omaha, but heard that the city’s punks “like to rock out in the basement.” He also said he and his high school pals grew up listening to Saddle Creek Records, which opened the door to the next line of discussion.

There are probably 100 reviews of The Monitor online and in print, and I venture to guess that at least half of them compare Stickles’ rambunctious vocal style to Omaha’s very own Conor Oberst, from the overdriven screams to that distinctive Conor bray.

Stickles said he admires Oberst’s honesty. “He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’s too scared to lay it on the line,” he said, “though his last two records kind of left me cold.”

As for the comparisons, “I’ll tell you because you rep the Omaha readership,” Stickles said. “I think it’s a little short-sighted.

“The constant comparisons to anyone gets old, even if it’s Jesus Christ. Doesn’t everyone want to be themselves? Don’t we all want to blaze our own trail, though I know this is rock and roll, and there’s not too much under the sun? But it seems kind of like, uh, cheapening slightly to say that if you’ve heard one guy you can pretty much guess what this guy is going to sound like. After awhile it feels like a feedback loop, a house of mirrors, like sometimes (reviewers) get these things to sound so similar that I’m reading reviews of other reviews. But maybe that’s me being a self-righteous, entitled type. Even if it were true, is it helpful? Who’s to say? It’s not in my control. As I put my art out into the world, it’s out of my hands. History will judge.”

It will indeed. Now go get some sleep.

Titus Andronicus plays with Free Energy Thursday, Sept. 16, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $10. For more information, call 402.884.5353 or visit waitingroomlounge.com.

* * *

An addendum to yesterday’s CVS Pharmacy item: There’s an organized protest taking place today at 4:30 p.m. on both sides of Dodge Street outside The 49’r. It’s called “The Rally to Preserve the Integrity of Dundee.” Find out more at the event’s Facebook page. Will it make a difference? Who knows… it couldn’t hurt…

* * *

So, tough choice for tonight: The Pixies or Titus Andronicus? I grew up listening to The Pixies and love all of their albums. I consider them to be among the most influential indie bands in the last 30 years. And tickets are still available in the $35 to $65 range. The show is at The Orpheum and starts at 7:30. I guess since it starts so early, there’s no reason to not go to both shows…

Opening for Titus Andronicus at The Waiting Room tonight is Free Energy, a hot hot hot new indie pop band from Philly that sounds influenced by ’70s arena acts like Cheap Trick, The Knack and yeah, Thin Lizzy, along with a healthy dose of Pavement. 9 p.m., $10.

* * *

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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i