Oh Pep!, Wagon Blasters, tonight; Sucettes, Dave Nance, Against Me! Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:55 am February 24, 2017

Oh Pep! at The Waiting Room, Sept. 30, 2016. They return tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The power just came back on, and I have something to do over the noon hour, so this is gonna be quick-quick-quick…

NOTE: THIS SHOW IS CANCELLED due to weather. Almost Music in the Blackstone District is hosting a show tonight featuring Wichita band The Travel Guide, Omaha proggers Relax, It’s Science, and something called Nance Jessen Marasco, which Almost Music proprietor Brad Smith tells me is “improvisational freedom rock from David Nance, Kyle Jessen and Mike Marasco (Prairies, Simon Joyner, etc).” Oh boy! $5, BYOB, starts at 8.NOTE: THIS SHOW IS CANCELLED due to weather.

The Barley Street Tavern tonight is hosting Broke Loose, Brazen Throats and the mighty Wagon Blasters. No price listed but probably $5 and probably 9 p.m.

Oh Pep!, the Aussie duo of Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs, who opened for Mountain Goats last September and whose album, Stadium Cake (2016, Dualtone) made it on my best of 2016 list, and who took part in a Ten Questions Survey right here, are opening tonight for Valerie June at The Waiting Room. I don’t know who Valerie June is, but I can tell you that Oh Pep! is worth the $15 admission on their own. Starts at 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s off to Reverb Lounge for an all-star garage/indie/low-fi concert headlined by Sucettes with Dave Nance Band and Mike Schlesinger. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at The Slowdown, Laura Jane Grace and the folks from Against Me! headline a show Saturday night with Mobina Galore and Typesetter. $20, 9 p.m.

That’s it for now. I might update this later if new info comes my way this afternoon. If not, have a great weekend and be safe on dem icy streets…

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Dereck Higgins Experience, Wagon Blasters, Big Al Band; Ten Questions with Dawes; Bandcamp results…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:42 pm February 6, 2017

Dereck Higgins Experience at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 4, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Dereck Higgins, one of Omaha’s most prolific musicians, unveiled yet another new project Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s. This new four-piece combo, called The Dereck Higgins Experience (or DHX, as he referred to it from stage), continued in a similar jazz fusion direction heard on Higgins’ recent solo album, Flyover Country. In fact, the combo created a live version of  at least one song from the movie soundtrack.

On bass and synths and acting the role of Emcee, Higgins was joined by James Cuato Ballarin on synths/wind instruments, Aaron Gum on synths, and stellar guitarist Jacob Cubby Phillips. All but Gum also are in progressive jazz band Chemicals, a more experimental, free-form combo than DHX, whose set felt split between smoother fusion numbers a la Spyro Gyra, and funky, digital-fueled jazz concepts. Less intricate and less challenging than Chemicals, DHX’s music likely is more accessible to a larger audience.

I’m told this offshoot of Chemicals isn’t a replacement for that band, who according to Higgins has a scheduled gig at the Harney Street Tavern Friday night, while DHX will play the following evening at The Down Under.

Next up was Wagon Blasters who were in particularly fine form, maybe because it was Guitarist William Thornton’s birthday. Gary Dean Davis yelled through a rowdy set of trademark tractor-punk rock songs, doing his darndest to break through O’Leaver’s floor and onto the birthday/karaoke party going on in the basement.

As a lark, I tried streaming Wagon Blasters’ set via Facebook Live through the faux window sills off stage left. You can still view a recording of the performance in Facebook (or below). Scroll to the 23:38 mark in the video to see Gary’s epic punk-rock stage fall!

Finally, Big Al Band closed out the night with his flying V and Holly Pop on the drum kit. Favorite moment of the set — the final song wherein Al swapped out the V for a bass for a go at song called “Jolly Roger.” Nice.

As mentioned, O’Leaver’s now has a basement party room. I snuck (sneaked?) down there Saturday night and was pleasantly surprised at the set-up, which includes a full bar and karaoke stage, all of which is available for rental at a bargain price. Let’s see, sand volleyball, live music, tiki bar, two outdoor beer gardens and now a karaoke party room? What more can O’Leaver’s squeeze into their entertainment complex?

* * *

As you see below, I’m continuing the Ten Questions series both here and in The Reader. I recently got some push back from a publicist, asking if I would be able to do an actual interview with the band he represents rather than the survey. Fact is, I simply don’t have time to interview and write band features for every interesting act coming through town (and considering the pay for these features ($0.00), can’t afford it.). The Ten Questions format allows me to hype a touring indie band’s upcoming show in a way that’s not too time taxing. Let me know what you think of these surveys…

 

Dawes, photo by Matt Jacoby.

LA folk-rock band Dawes epitomizes a style of music I grew up listening to — tequila sunrise ’70s soft rock. You know what I’m talking about — those laid-back groovy bands they used to play on the FM (and AM) stations and still do if you have a classic rock channel in your town (and who doesn’t?).

But somewhere/somehow over the past few years it’s become accepted for snotty, tone-deaf hipsters and hipster wannabes to denigrate (via Facebook) music infused with a peaceful, easy feeling. And that’s a shame, because the new folk rock that they often laud — from the likes of Wilco, Ben Kweller, Jenny Lewis and even our very own Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band — owe much of their sound to those FM giants.

Certainly Dawes does. That classic ’70s El-Lay studio sound is evident on their latest album, We’re All Gonna Die (2016, HUB Records), which, at times, reminds me of One of These Nights-era Eagles (there, I said it). On songs like the title track, the slow burnin’ “Roll with the Punches,” the wah-wah funk of “When the Tequila Runs Out,” heck, just about every track, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith unapologetically puts a modern spin on AOR gold, sounding like the second coming of Don Henley or Glenn Frey, complete with warm-cushion vocal harmonies. And that’s about as cool as it gets.

We caught up with Taylor Goldsmith and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Taylor Goldsmith: Always changing but I often go back to Warren Zevon self-titled.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Even though she’s one of my heroes and maybe the greatest songwriter that ever lived, there’s a song called “Not To Blame” by Joni Mitchell that I really hate.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

The shows. The songs get to change shape every night and we get to pull out old ones we haven’t played in years sometimes.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Being gone from home so much of the year. While I love touring, it’s hard to keep a semblance of a normal life in order by being gone over half the year sometimes.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Coffee. I always want more coffee. About to make some.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

We love playing at home for our friends and family and also love playing places like Nashville or NYC for the amazing venues and sold out shows, but there is also something special about coming into cities we’ve never been to or rarely play and having those more intimate experiences. It’s fun to still be building audiences in cities. It feels like we’re going into the past and future of the band from night to night depending where we are.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

An LA show in 2012. I had really lost my voice. I got a steroid shot and it made it a lot worse. By the time we got onstage I could barely whisper. But we couldn’t cancel because everyone was there already and I didn’t want to let the band down. It was rough.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yeah, music pays the bills. We quit our jobs and moved out of our homes the day before our first tour for North Hills. It meant we couldn’t afford places for a while, but we’ve never had jobs since.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

It’d be fun to be a novelist. I really idolize those guys. My brain just doesn’t work that way though. I’d hate to do just about anything that meant I couldn’t go outside during the day.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Well our good buddy Conor Oberst lives there so any stories we know are somehow indirectly connected to him and the community he’s introduced us to. After spending some serious time there (more time than we typically can in a city during tour) we’ve really fallen in love with Omaha and have been looking forward to this show for a while.

An Evening with Dawes is Tuesday, February 7, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $23 Adv./$25 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Bandcamp says it sold nearly a million dollars worth of music on Friday: “With several hours remaining, we estimate that fans will have bought just over $1,000,000 worth of music today, which is 550% more than a normal Friday (already our biggest sales day of the week). All of our share of that (12%) goes directly to the ACLU. The other 88% (less transaction fees) goes directly to the labels and artists…

A lot of those labels and artists also donated their share to ACLU or other charities. If you bought something, good for you. We’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of efforts over the next four years as the current administration continues to do all it can to dismantle the nation’s arts, take away women’s rights and bar immigrants from our borders. Do what you can; it makes a difference.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

New Simon Joyner (and others) for sale for a good cause; BFF, Mitch Gettman tonight; Wagon Blasters Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:05 pm February 3, 2017

Mitch Gettman at The Waiting Room, May 2, 2014. He plays tonight at The Barley Street Tavern.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get to what’s happening (or what’s not happening) this weekend, let me point you to a special deal from singer/songwriter Simon Joyner. Here’s Simon, via Facebook:

Friends, I’m putting up “The Phoenix Demos: Songs for Upcoming 2017 Album” for exclusive purchase during the Bandcamp fundraiser tomorrow. Nine out of 12 songs I recorded live a couple of weeks ago in Phoenix with just guitar, vocal and Michael Krassner on piano to prepare for the new album we are about to record with the band in Omaha. Get the stripped down sneak peak at songs being considered for a new album.

“I’m only making these demos available for one day at a premium to hopefully raise some money for the ACLU Nationwide, Planned Parenthood, and the Refugee Empowerment Center. You are encouraged to pay more than the asking price if you can, it will all go to these organizations. I’m also making available “Salt Lake City House Show 10-20-16 (with David Nance).” It’s a particularly well-recorded show from the Diss Riptide living room tour we did a few months ago and the only show that David Nance joined me for the entire set!”

The sale is part of #NoBanNoWall, a Bandcamp effort with more than 200 artists and labels donating their Bandcamp profits to the ACLU and other organizations in support of immigrants and refugees. Check out the index and buy some stuff.

Also, Saddle Creek Records is donating the proceeds from its Bandcamp sales today to the Refugee Empowerment Center in Omaha.

* * *

Well, this is about as sparse a weekend for shows as I can remember.

Tonight, of course, is Benson First Friday, and I would be remiss in not mentioning the art show being held at the gallery operated by my wife — The Little Gallery in downtown Benson across the street from The Sydney on the storefront level of the Masonic Lodge. Titled Oscillating Bodies, the show features the work of Torrey Smith and Nadia Shinkunas. Opening hours are 6 to 9 p.m., free and snacks and beer/wine will be available. Swing by and say hello and buy some art. More info here.

The BFF showcase at The Barley Street Tavern features FINO, Lowercase Tres, Ben Jones and singer/songwriter Mitch Gettman. 9 p.m. $5.

That brings us to Saturday night, when you’ve got one of the most eclectic mixes to appear in one night at fabulous O’Leaver’s. It kicks off at 9:30 with Dereck Higgins Experience — the debut of Higgins’ new band project. Dereck is one of Omaha’s most well-known and talented bass players, whose history dates back to ’80s first wave act Digital Sex. Next up is the always entertaining Wagon Blasters featuring tractor-punk legend Gary Dean Davis behind the microphone. The night ends with the two-person heavy-metal grind of Big Al Band. All this for a mere $5.

Aaand, that’s it for the weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Speed! Nebraska celebrates 20 years; Her Flyaway Manner, See Through Dresses, OEAA showcase tonight; Felice Bros. Saturday; Pro-Magnum Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:48 pm October 21, 2016
The Speed! Nebraska executive team, circa 2006. The label celebrates its 20 year anniversary Saturday night at The Brothers Lounge. Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

The Speed! Nebraska executive team, circa 2006. The label celebrates its 20 year anniversary Saturday night at The Brothers Lounge. Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I dropped the ball. The immensely talented Andrew Spellmon reached out earlier in the week and asked if I would contribute my thoughts to a story he was working on for Hear Nebraska. His one and only question:

What is Speed! Nebraska’s legacy/impact on the local/national scene?

I immediately responded to Andrew saying I’d be happy to comment. The deadline was Wednesday night. And things being what they are in my life these days, I completely forgot to send him anything. It didn’t slow ol’ Spellmon down, however, and yesterday Hear Nebraska published a very lengthy, detailed story called “Racing at 45 RPM: SPEED! Nebraska reaches 20 year milestone.” You can read it right here.

The feature includes “stories and memories” from the artist and collaborators who have taken part in the Speed! Nebraska history, including Jon Taylor (Domestica, Mercy Rule), Dan Jenkins (Ideal Cleaners), Lee Meyerpeter (Filter Kings), George Peek (Solid Jackson), Mike Tulis (co-creator of Speed! and member of The Monroes), as well as people like Dan Schlissel, who created competing label -ismist and now runs Stand Up! Records, and Trey and Lallaya Lalley, who ran the Capitol Bar & Grill and now run The Brothers Lounge.

Stellmon didn’t need me at all. Go read the story right now because it’s good.

Ten years ago, when Speed! Nebraska was celebrating its 10-year anniversary, I penned this story for The Reader that highlighted the label’s origins. At the time,  Speed! was enjoying its high-water mark. Or as Jesse Render, the label’s “special project coordinator,” put it: “We’re like a family. You do whatever job needs to be done. This is kind of the Golden Age of Speed! Nebraska.”

So to answer Stellmon’s original question, I’d have to say Speed! Nebraska’s legacy is not only the 37 vinyl and CD releases that it put out over the course of 20 years, it’s also the people who made the music heard on that stellar catalog of rock ‘n’ roll. Most of them are still doing it, and doing it well. Certainly Speed! Nebraska record executive Gary Dean Davis is going strong, as is the rest of the executive team mentioned in that 2006 article.

In fact, you can see for yourself Saturday night at The Brothers Lounge when Gary’s band, Wagon Blasters, is joined by Mike Tulis’ band, Lupines, for a 20 year anniversary celebration that should be epic in its awesomeness.

What else is happening this weekend?

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s another group is celebrating a 20th anniversary — Lincoln band Her Flyaway Manner. Watch as these fossils sling their guitars over their walkers and wheel chairs for a set that should go down in geriatric history. Joining them are Jump the Tiger and Wrong Pets (members of Little Brazil). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, See Through Dresses headlines at Milk Run. Joining them are New York band Haybaby (Tiny Engines Records) and The Way Out. No price listed, show starts at 9 p.m.

And lest we forget, tonight is the annual OEAA nominee showcase in Benson featuring more than 40 bands playing at six venues. Your $10 wristband gets you in to all shows all night. More info here.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is the aforementioned Speed! Nebraska 20th anniversary bash at The Brothers Lounge. Wagon Blasters vs. Lupines. $5, starts at 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, The Felice brothers headline at The Waiting Room. They’re out supporting their latest, Life in the Dark (2016, Yep Rock). Shelby Earl opens. $15, 9 p.m.

Finally Sunday afternoon is the Benefit for Standing Rock at O’Leaver’s. The line-up includes Dark Diamond, DJ Machmuller, Noah Sterba and Pro Magnum. The benefit kicks off at 3:30 p.m. $5. Find out more about the benefit right here.

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

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Closeness, Thick Paint, BAMF, Relax It’s Science; 10 Questions with The Besnard Lakes…

Closeness at O'Leaver's April 30, 2016.

Closeness at O’Leaver’s April 30, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Closeness is a new project by Orenda and Todd Fink. We all know who they are, and if you don’t, how’s life been in that cave the past 20 years? A better question: Why have they waited so long before collaborating on music? Maybe they’ve always been collaborating and we just didn’t know it. Regardless, now we get to hear the product of these two musical masterminds, and it’s been worth the wait.

Their kit is an assembly of synths, keyboards and other sound robots placed on tables surrounded by lights, cables and other gizmos. Their equipment looked like an operating theater where the couple was about to perform surgery, but with Orenda donning an electric guitar over her scrubs.

They performed face-to-face, though from my vantage point, Todd mainly looked down or over or into his microphone. Orenda, her microphone echoing with delay, provided most of the vocals, with Todd adding his distorted, vocoder-like harmonies deep or high or robotic. Musically, Closeness goes way beyond what you’d expect. Sure, there were the familiar hypnotic beats, of which Todd always has been a master, but it was the melodies and the counter melodies and the layers upon layers of textured sound that set it apart.

Most songs were thick, mid-tempo grooves reminiscent of Orenda’s O+S material, but there were moments of lilting Caribbean-style tempos and traditional electro-rock you’d expect from The Faint. Their short set was only five songs long. Among my faves was a mid-set corker that featured the couple harmonizing on a slow melody that recalled Low’s Sparhawk and Parker.

No surprise that the crazy-packed crowd loved it and wanted more, but there wasn’t any. So has any of this music been recorded, and who will have the honor of releasing it? Or maybe they’ll release it themselves and then hit the road. Ah, what a life.

Thick Paint at O'Leaver's, April 30, 2016.

Thick Paint at O’Leaver’s, April 30, 2016.

Garnering just as much enthusiasm from the crush mob was Thick Paint, the one-man show featuring Reptar’s Graham Patrick Ulicny. With just a small synth, his voice and his guitar he enraptured the audience with his beautiful songs that, at times, reminded me of early Cat Stevens played to a beat box. Really gorgeous stuff.

I realize I’m going backward through my Saturday night, which actually ended at O’Leaver’s. It began at The Lookout Lounge and the Big Al Music Festival (BAMF) First, a word about The Lookout. No other club in town has managed to capture the glorious, run-down ambiance of ’90s-era Omaha rock venues quite like this place. It was like walking into the past, right down to the smell.

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016.

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016.

Like the old Knickerbockers or Capitol Bar, the venue is split in two, with a bar in one room and a decent sized music room adjacent with an impressive elevated stage. Imagine the old Sokol Underground shrunk down to half its size and you get the gist. The walls and ceiling tiles were painted black, and air vents over the stage were appropriately covered in fuzzy grime, no doubt a reminder of decades of cigarette smoke, now long gone. Lookout isn’t fancy, but the best rock clubs rarely are.

Big Al, who has been doing his free festival for nine years. kept things on schedule. I walked in at 8:45 and Wagon Blasters were just getting started — right on time. Gary Dean Davis and  crew looked right at home bouncing on the Lookout stage, belting out their usual high-quality tractor punk. Someone in the crowd of around 30 yelled out “Fishin’ Hole”! Hey, you can’t blame anyone for mistaking these folks for that classic ’90s punk band.

Mike Saklar at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Mike Saklar at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Mike Saklar took the stage next playing solo electric renditions of songs from his former band, Ravine. Ravine (who you can read about here) was Saklar’s post-Ritual Device band that played very heavy-bordering-on-metal rock music way back in the ’90s. Deconstructed as solo material, the songs sounded more tuneful than I remember them, though Saklar is no less a master on guitar. What are the odds that he could resurrect a few of these songs with a full band?

Relax, It's Science at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Relax, It’s Science at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Then came Relax, It’s Science, the latest project from drummer Jeremy Stanosheck (ex-Kite Pilot, among others). The trio consisted of Stanosheck and two bass players cranking out huge, anthemic, proggy instrumentals with intricate, powerful rhythms. Each bass took turns providing a semblance of a melody countered by the other’s pounding rhythm lines. It was appropriate that the only spot highlighted on Lookout’s stage was where Stanosheck had his drum kit, because he was center of the attention putting on a clinic with his throaty stick work. It’s time Stanosheck got the respect he deserves.

Hat’s off to Big Al for such a strong line-up. This was the first time I’ve attended one of his festivals, and I was impressed by how it was run. On a table in the back of the room was a large pile of canned and packaged foods destined for the food bank. As Gary Dean Davis said at the end of this set, “Keep feeding the world, Big Al.” Here’s to Year 10.

* * *

Tonight Canada’s Besnard Lakes returns to Omaha, this time at Reverb Lounge. You really should go to this one. Look, it’s a 9 p.m. show but with only one opener (Sub Pop and Burger Records band Jaill, which could be a headliner by themselves).

The Besnard Lakes play tonight at Reverb Lounge.

The Besnard Lakes play tonight at Reverb Lounge.

Ten Questions with The Besnark Lakes.

The Besnard Lakes’ music is so massive, so mammoth, it’s the sound you hear while teetering on the edge of a cliff with the gorge spread out in front of you, the river below a mere silver sliver among the rocks.  The Montreal-based six-piece is centered on the husband-wife core of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, who released their first studio album, Volume 1, in 2003 (but which was rereleased by their label, Jagjagwar, in 2007).

While the band is undoubtedly indie — Lasek’s and Goreas’ harmonies are reminiscent of Low — their gorgeously dense music has touch points in ’70s arena rock recalling bands like Yes and Boston, acts that knew how to make their anthems sound majestic. And most of Besnard Lakes’ new album, A Coliseum Complex Museum (2016, Jagjaguwar) is, indeed, majestic — a swirling miasma of beautiful multi-tracked sounds cut to the core by Robbie MacArthur’s sparkling guitar solos. It’s a sound so large one can only wonder how it’ll fit inside tiny Reverb Lounge Monday night.

We asked The Besnard Lakes to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what Olga had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

The Besnard Lakes’ Olga Goreas: Side two of The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Anything that doesn’t come from a sincere heart.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Playing bass. I love that thing so much!

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

I really can’t complain about any aspect of being in a band. It’s pretty much the best job in the world. I don’t know, long rides in the van can get tedious I suppose.  I’ve got restless legs too, but I don’t think I can blame it on being in a band! Just gotta get up and stretch once in a while.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

I do enjoy a well-made double espresso.  Caffeine is the one drug I could never give up.

6. What city or town do you love performing at?

Chicago has been a special city for us.  The audience is always super appreciative, and the city too is quite lovely.  The old architecture melds with the new really well.  I almost get a Canadian vibe from it too, more than any other American city except maybe Minneapolis. Also love playing Glasgow, London and just the UK in general.  Audiences seem to understand us best in the UK.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

That honor belongs to Victoria, BC.  It had actually started quite well – we took a ferry from Tsawassen to Victoria and two of our bandmates at the time ran into the drummer from Def Leppard, who happened to be playing the same night in the big arena.  We actually went to see them and then went to play our show.  I don’t know if it was something weird in the air but it was a very strange crowd and we tried to be loud enough to be heard over the rowdies.  Jace was trying to sing a song and just got fed up and told someone in the audience who was basically yelling the whole time to shut the fuck up.  This person replies “get over yourself” to which another person in the audience gets into some altercation and the night basically ended with bar fights and the cops being called. The end!

8. How do you pay your bills?

Online baby!

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I went to university and studied Psychology.  I’d like to be a researcher or a clinical psychologist.  The mind is a fascinating creature to me.

I wouldn’t be able to work at a collection agency or anything that involves taking money from people who don’t have it.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

We played once in Omaha many years ago. There was a college football game and nobody came to our show.  It’s totally fine, that sort of thing happens here for hockey so I get it. I also remember going to a laundromat and seeing bullet holes in the window. I started calling Omaha “Omaharsh” after that.

The Besnard Lakes plays with Jaill Monday, May 2, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $12. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Robert Thornton benefit; O’Leaver’s explained, more Reader top bands; Severin, AYGAMG tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:53 pm October 8, 2015
The Lupines at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The Lupines at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

“If you’re a praying person, send your prayers to the Thornton family.” Solemn words from Lupines frontman John Ziegler, and a reminder why the bands were playing last night at The Waiting Room.

As outlined yesterday, Robert (Bob) Thornton is going through serious medical issues that have kept him from working and created mountains of medical bills. Find out more about the situation at his GoFundMe page and lend a hand.

Last night’s show was a benefit for Bob, and despite the tragic circumstances surrounding the evening, the bands brought their A games, performing rousing sets performed in front of about 100 fans. Ziegler’s message came smack-dab in the middle of the Lupine’s usual break-neck/ball-buster set we’ve come to expect from the Omaha garage-rock giants.

Wagon Blasters at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

Wagon Blasters at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

Lupines followed a set by tractor-punk heroes Wagon Blasters, a band that features Robert’s brother Bill Thornton on guitar. Gary Dean Davis and the crew were in rare form, with the Waiting Room’s stage finally giving GDD the space he needs for maximum bounce height/trajection.

The Sun-less Trio at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The Sun-less Trio at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The evening was rounded out by a gorgeous set from The Sun-less Trio, a band that features Mike Saklar on guitar and vocals, galvanized by the rhythm section of drummer Marc Phillips and bass player Cricket Kirk.  The music’s style was earthy, laid-back and (dare I say it?) soulful, powered by Saklar’s masterful guitar work. The band has a new record coming out Oct. 18. Their set was the perfect way to end a night of music dedicated to a good cause.

* * *

Word to the Totally indeed.

Word to the Totally indeed.

The hits keep on coming from The Reader. As part of The Reader‘s annual Music Issue, this morning my big-ass feature on O’Leaver’s went online. Matt Maginn, Ted Stevens, Craig Dee and Ian Aeillo give the skinny on what’s happening these days at The Club as it enters its next renaissance. The story covers everything from the new sound system to Live at O’Leaver’s to the booking policy to the new, massive beer garden. The story is on newsstands now and online right here.

This O’Leaver’s feature story is the central part of the issue’s look at Omaha music venues. I also wrote about The Waiting Room and Slowdown, and Wayne Brekke and BJ Huchtemann  wrote about their favorite clubs, including the styles of music, booking etc. Those stories will be online soon but why wait? Grab your copy of the paper right now.

Included (and now online) is BJ Huchtemann’s list of Top Bands, that joins my list and Wayne’s list in the issue. BJ kicks off her list by saying how much she hates lists, and points to John Heaston for coming up with the whole “lists” idea. But, in fact, the blame is all mine. Sorry Beej. Check out BJ’s list right here.

* * *

What’s happening tonight?

Lincoln singer/songwriter Scott Severin is playing down at the Harney Street Tavern with Jack Hotel. That free show starts at 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns returns with LA’s Nicky Davey and Mesonjixx. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Bob Thornton benefit bash (Wagon Blasters, Electroliners, Lupines, Saklar Trio) tonight; more Reader’s Best Bands (the Wayne edition)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:47 pm October 7, 2015
Bob Thornton, left, rocking with the Wagon Blasters.

Bill Thornton, left, rocking with the Wagon Blasters. The band plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Could it be the local show of the year? It’ll definitely be in the running.

Tonight the stars align for a benefit show for local legend Robert (Bob) Thornton at The Waiting Room. Seems Bob has had some medical issues that have kept him from work and are generating some big-ass medical bills.

As you may know, I use the world “legend” sparingly and only when I mean it. Bob is, indeed, a legend. Among the glorious bands he’s played in are Clayface, Culture Fire, Say No More, X-Factor, Body By Heroin, Carmine, Now Archimedes!, Qing Jao, Past Punchy and the Present and Students of Crime and The Wagon Blasters. Read more about Bob (and his brother Bill), in this 2006 Lazy-i interview.

But it doesn’t even matter if you know who Bob is. You’d be kicking yourself if you missed this show. On the bill are Bob’s current band The Wagon Blasters along with Lupines, Electroliners and The Mike Saklar Trio. All for a mere $10. And this is an early show, with a 7 p.m. start time. Get there early!

If you can’t make it, you can still help out Bob by going to his gofundme page, where you can read all the details about his medical condition and lend a hand.

* * *

An addendum to yesterday’s blog entry regarding The Reader‘s annual list of the area’s best bands: Reader music writer Wayne Brekke’s top bands list went online yesterday, and includes a lot of names I would have added to my list if he hadn’t already called dibs on them (the jerk). Check out Wayne’s list here and find out more about the best bands in the area.

* * *

So you’ve gone to the Bob Thornton benefit but you want to go to cap off your night with even more music?

Well, the Legendary Shack Shakers will be playing right around the corner at Reverb Lounge tonight. Joe Fletcher opens. $13, 9 p.m.

Tulsa band Nuns (Passive Recordings) headlines at Slowdown Jr. tonight with Low Long Signal and Relax, It’s Science. $10, 8 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Giant’s Arrow, Wagon Blasters, Domestica; VMAs; White Mystery, The Blind Shake tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:59 pm August 31, 2015
Giant's Arrow at O'Leaver's Aug. 29, 2015.

Giant’s Arrow at O’Leaver’s Aug. 29, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Fun night of music at O’Leaver’s this past Saturday.

The consensus (even voiced from stage) was that Lincoln band Giant’s Arrow carries on the tradition of mid-’90s emo bands like Boys Life and Caulfield bands like Christie Front Drive. Their style is angular indie bordering on prog, soaring, complicated rhythms, and scream/yell vocals that lack a central melody, with ferocious guitar licks that are jittery and spastic. There also were moments of melodic lucidity. I jotted down At the Drive-in and early Husker Du. At times they reminded me of local boys The Stay Awake or even Fromanhole, though without the those bands’ precision.

The performance brought on a discussion (again) of what “emo” means and how the term evolved from its original label used to describe Rites of Spring-style punk bands. Giant’s Arrow’s sound is one-generation removed, to the pleading/angular style of emo that would later evolve into the poppier punk style of Promise Ring. At least that’s my take on it.

That said, I liked them. The four piece flailed around stage so much I thought they were going to slam their guitars into each other. Lots of kicking and jumping and wagging of heads in time with the music’s energy. They don’t play songs as much as proggy rock constructions.

Wagon Blasters at O'Leaver's, Aug. 29, 2015.

Wagon Blasters at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 29, 2015.

It’s a distinction that separates Giant’s Arrow from the other bands on the bill Saturday night. Wagon Blasters and Domestica write and perform rock songs. Gary Dean Davis may not “sing,” but there’s no denying the musicality of a Wagon Blasters’ tune. Tractor punk indeed. There is not now, nor has there ever been a band that does what Gary Dean Davis bands do.

Domestica at O'Leaver's, Aug. 29, 2015.

Domestica at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 29, 2015.

The same can be said about Domestica. Heidi, Jon and Pawl create punk anthems about everyday life that feel like rooting for the home team. Taylor’s guitar work remains somehow both raw and pristine, brutal riffs hone to a razor’s edge.

The whole evening felt like it could have taken place sometime in 1995. But then again, isn’t all great rock music timeless?

BTW, O’Leaver’s improved its sound system again. Sound engineer Ian Aeillo said they upped the wattage so the sound is cleaner not so much louder. I don’t know how much more that room can take. They’ve also added a booth in the back so that Ian or whoever is running sound can now look down over you as he twiddles dem knobs… as it should be.

* * *

I watched the VMAs last night. What? What’s wrong with that? Alright, it does sound a bit creepy that a guy my age would watch a program clearly targeted toward teen-aged girls, but hey, as a music critic, you have to keep up with the trends.

There was a time — a loooong time ago — when MTV broadcast culturally cutting-edge content. That time has long passed. Last night’s VMAs showcased R&B, hip-hop and pop music. Notice I didn’t mention rock? That’s because today’s pop music has nothing to do with rock music, which is one of the distinctions about the VMAs of today and the VMAs from 25 or so years ago. Rock music used to have a place in popular music culture. That’s really no longer the case. Rock ‘n’ roll isn’t dead, just sort of hiding in plain sight…

* * *

Speaking of rock music, there’s a big rock show going on tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s.

White Mystery is playing a set as well as screening their new film That Was Awesome. Opening is The Blind Shake and a DJ set from the uber talented Dave Goldberg. $5, 9:30 p.m. What a way to kick off your week!

* * *

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

Thanks for coming to the show!; Hop Along, Old 97’s tonight; Whipkey for lunch…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 2:16 pm June 4, 2015
Son, Ambulance at The Reverb June 3, 2015 -- the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

Son, Ambulance at The Reverb June 3, 2015 — the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Whoa, what a night. Thanks to everyone for coming out to the Big 50 concert at Reverb last night. It was a great way to welcome in the next half-century — great friends, great bands, great times. Now what am I going to do for 51?

The Lupines at The Reverb June 3, 2015 -- the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The Lupines at The Reverb June 3, 2015 — the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

Wagon Blasters at The Reverb June 3, 2015 -- the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

Wagon Blasters at The Reverb June 3, 2015 — the Big 50 benefit for Hear Nebraska.

And there was some news at the show. All three bands either have recorded or are recording new music. When they will release it, none could say, but based on what we heard last night, we’ll all be adding lots of new music to our record collections very soon. Thanks again to the bands for playing the gig. It was a blast!

* * *

There’s another rather huge show tonight, this time at Slowdown Jr., where Saddle Creek’s latest and greatest signing, Hop Along, makes its Omaha stage debut. The band’s just-released album, Painted Shut (Saddle Creek, 2015) sits at No. 16 on the College Music Journal Radio 200 chart and No. 18 on the KEXP Variety Music Chart. Not to mention the record is getting air time on Sirius XMU, which is becoming sort of an ad hoc national indie radio station. This could be Saddle Creek’s biggest non-Omaha signing since Rilo Kiley. Here’s your chance to see them on a small stage. Opening are fellow Philly bands Lithuania and Field Mouse. $10, 9 p.m.

Also tonight Dallas alt-country band Old 97’s play at The Waiting Room with Oil Boom. $25, 9 p.m.

* * *

And this just in over the lunch hour, Matt Whipkey and his band kicked off this season’s Hear Omaha concert series in the Old Market (right underneath the atrocious sculpture of the Husker kid in a baseball cap). The series, brought to you by Hear Nebraska and various sponsors including First National Bank, features a different local band performing over the lunch hour every Thursday.

Whipkey rocked a crowd of around 100 consisting of dudes and women in business suits, local hipsters who live in the surrounding lofts and other tourists/curiosity seekers wondering what all the good-time noise was about. Next week Orenda Fink plays the Hear Omaha stage. Check out the full schedule here.

Matt Whipkey at Hear Omaha in the Old Market, June 4, 2015.

Matt Whipkey at Hear Omaha in the Old Market, June 4, 2015.

* * *

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

The Big 50 concert: Son, Ambulance, The Wagon Blasters, The Lupines tonight at Reverb…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:36 am June 3, 2015
The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight’s the night at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. in Benson. It’s an early show — 8 p.m.

The amazing Lupines kick things off — one of my all-time favorite Omaha bands.

They’re followed by the tractor-punk stylings of The Wagon Blasters, a band that features the legendary Gary Dean Davis in the driver’s seat.

The evening closes with a very special set from Son, Ambulance, one of the most storied bands of the Saddle Creek era, playing music that is as vital today as it was a decade ago.

That’s three great bands for $10, and every penny goes to support Hear Nebraska, an organization near and dear to my heart. Plus, there will be cake! RSVP here.

Thanks to my wife, Teresa, for putting this together.

See you tonight!

* * *

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