Live Review: Zola Jesus; Whispertown, High Up, Mudd Club, Lovely, Still tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:31 pm October 12, 2017

Zola Jesus at The Waiting Room, Oct. 11, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A very sparse crowd last night for Zola Jesus at The Waiting Room; which wasn’t surprising. I remember seeing her five years ago at SXSW with a friend (who also was at last night’s show). The SXSW show was packed — shoulder to shoulder. I remember my friend saying Zola Jesus would have a hard time drawing in Omaha, and he was right… five years later.

I got there just in time to see/hear the last 15 minutes of one of the openers, John Wiese. The act was basically this guy sitting in the dark on stage plugging away at a computer that made loud static noises, layered tones and other dramatic sound effects. Some folks said it sounded like the soundtrack to a horror movie. I thought it sounded like someone working on his car. I wanted to yell, “OK, try it again…

Zola Jesus came on at around 9:15. A trio, frontwoman Rosa Danilova was flanked by a guitarist and violinist. No drums, no bass. All of that was handled by programming and pre-recorded tracks, which I assumed were controlled from the sound board.

When I saw Zola Jesus five years ago, the music was entirely ethereal, ambient compositions, very drone-y. By contrast, last night could have been a dance party — dark, pop songs driven by big beats, thick bass and Danilova’s amazing voice that (to me) recalls early Sinead O’Connor. The set was broken up by gorgeous slower numbers, like album highlight “Witness,” which Danilova said was about suicide. Actually, her new album, Okovi (2017, Sacred Bones) dwells on death, though you wouldn’t know it by the beats.

Five years ago I thought Danilova could become the next Gaga. Now I’m thinking she could be a better, more human version of St. Vincent, sans guitar of course. I guess we’ll see in another five years.

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Tonight there’s a slew of events, some of which don’t have a live music component.

Film Streams, for example, is showing a special memorial screening of Nik Fackler’s feature motion picture, Lovely, Still, in honor of Martin Landau, who passed away a few months ago. The program starts at 7 p.m.

Also this evening author Richard Boch, the doorman at the legendary Mudd Club in the early ’80s, is doing a Q&A with our very own Scott Severin, who was a Mudd Club kid back in the day. You’ll be hearing lots of stories about NYC debauchery in a time when kings like Bowie and Lou Reed ruled the Lower East Side. The event is being held at Hi-Fi House and is free and open to the public. Starts at 8 p.m.

And after all this, there’s a great show at fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight. Indie band Whispertown plays with High Up. $7, 9 p.m.

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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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Zola Jesus, Palm, Thick Paint, The Menzingers tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm October 11, 2017
Zola Jesus at Elysium, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Zola Jesus at Elysium, SXSW, March 14, 2012. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I listened to the new Zola Jesus album, Okovi, all morning. Its description doesn’t match its content. I was expecting a very droll, very somber experience. In fact, the record is probably the poppiest, most upbeat thing Rosa Danilova and Co. have done. She reminds me of very early Sinead O’Connor vocally, compositionally; maybe Kate Bush as well. Read her Ten Questions here.

So I was on the fence between going to that show, which has an 8 p.m. start time with two openers (and a cost of $15) and Palm, who is playing right around the corner at Reverb.

Palm’s new album, Shadow Expert, is something of a departure from their 2015 release, Trading Basics, though no less mathy, disjointed, proggy. The songs have a similar jangled urgency but with better central melodies, more focused, more pop. That Palm show also has the benefit of solid openers. Our very own Thick Paint is on the bill — always a good time — along with Brooklyn trio Real Life Buildings.

And the Palm show is a bargain at $12, but that 9 p.m. start time on a school night… See you at Zola.

Also tonight, emo-punk band The Menzingers are playing at Sokol Underground — yes, Sokol Underground. Salt Creek and Centerpiece open. 8 p.m., $20.

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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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Ten Questions with Zola Jesus; Ice Balloons (TV on the Radio, Samiam), Low Long Signal tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm October 9, 2017

Zola Jesus plays The Waiting Room Oct. 11. Photo by Tim Saccenti.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

After seeing Zola Jesus perform at SXSW in 2012 I walked away thinking frontwoman and creative force Rosa Danilova was an indie Gaga. I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she exploded into dance the moment the band broke into its dreamy, spiritual, post-ambient rock drenched in synths, guitar and drums.

Her music has been compared to Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, though it bears an even darker tone on her latest album, Okovi, released last month on Sacred Bones Records.

While writing Okovi, I endured people very close to me trying to die, and others trying desperately not to,” Danilova said. “This album is a deeply personal snapshot of loss, reconciliation, and a sympathy for the chains that keep us all grounded to the unforgiving laws of nature.”

We caught up with Danilova and asked her to take the Ten Questions survey:

What is your favorite album?

Zola Jesus’ Rosa Danilova: It changes. Right now it’s the Stalker OST.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Hmm… I don’t know that I have one.

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

Being able to insidiously connect with people I’ve never met.

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

The pressure it makes me put on myself.

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

Sap, from trees.

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

I like to play cities that remind me of home…

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

Well, I once cried on stage at Silencio in Paris. Not my best moment.

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?

Thankfully, I am, though it takes a lot of work and sacrifice. I tour a lot and live in the middle of Wisconsin, which is cheap. It helps make it possible to focus on doing what I love.

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

Sometimes I wish I would be an architect, but I would build very bad buildings. I’m sure they would collapse. I’ve worked many jobs in the past and was fired from most of them. I’m not a very good employee!

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

I’m not sure I’ve heard many stories, but I sort of glorify Omaha in my mind. Being a midwesterner from Wisconsin, I feel companionship with Nebraska. Which is why I’m excited to finally play there.

Zola Jesus plays with John Wiese and Ivan Zoloto Wednesday, Oct. 11, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $15. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Tonight Brooklyn noise rock band Ice Balloons (Volar Records) plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band includes Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio and members of Samiam, among others. Benny Leather (Ben VanHoolandt of Digital Leather) and Low Long Signal open. 9 p.m. $5.

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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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SXSW Day 1 in pictures: The Wedding Present, Zola Jesus, Fiona Apple, Sharon Van Etten, Freedy Johnston, more…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 11:41 am March 15, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

So here’s the deal, my 2,500 word summery of my first day at South By Southwest is online right now, right here at thereader.com. Nine bands, includes reviews of Sharon Van Etten, Fiona Apple, Zola Jesus, The Ettes, Blood Orange and more. Read it NOW, then come back and look at the following photo gallery from yesterday’s gigs.

The Ettes at The Ginger Man, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Ettes at The Ginger Man, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Dev Hynes of Blood Orange (center left, hat) talks to Alexa Chung of 24 Hour Catwalk fame, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Dev Hynes of Blood Orange (center left, hat) talks to Alexa Chung of 24 Hour Catwalk fame, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Violin Monster on 6th St. is among the "colorful" sights. SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Violin Monster on 6th St. is among the "colorful" sights. SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Puffy Aureolas at Beerland, SXSW, March 12, 2012.

Puffy Aureolas at Beerland, SXSW, March 12, 2012.

The Wedding Present at Red Eyed Fly, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Wedding Present at Red Eyed Fly, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Fiona Apple at Stubb's, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Fiona Apple at Stubb's, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Sharon Van Etten at Stubb's, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Sharon Van Etten at Stubb's, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Zola Jesus at Elysium, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Zola Jesus at Elysium, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Freedy Johnston at Hilton Garden Inn, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Freedy Johnston at Hilton Garden Inn, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Check back tomorrow for Day 2!!! My back is killing me….

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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.

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