Sucettes120917
Sucettes at Pet Shop Gallery Dec. 9, 2017.

Welcome to Lazy-i, an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news.

The focus is on the indie music scene. Yes, there’s a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area, but Lazy-i also offers interviews, stories and reviews about national indie bands.

Most of the feature stories and columns in Lazy-i will have previously been published in The Reader, Omaha’s monthly alternative newspaper.



Weekend preview: Self Evident Thursday; Rosali, Velveteers, #RSD Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 10:21 am April 17, 2024
Rosali at The Waiting Room April 29, 2022. The band plays at O’Leaver’s Saturday night.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lazy-i will be going on a brief hiatus until next Wednesday. Being out of town means I’l miss one of the better shows of the year Saturday night when Rosali plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s. 

Rosali’s new album, Bite Down, was released late last month on powerhouse indie label Merge Records and features a team of Omaha’s finest as her backing band including David Nance on bass, guitar; James Schroeder on guitar, synths; and Kevin Donahue on drums.  The band has been on the road since mid-March supporting Mary Timony and doing solo tour dates in April throughout the country. 

The O’Leaver’s gig is the final stop on the tour, and will no doubt be a special performance. Dereck Higgins as D.H.X. will open. $15, 9 p.m. 

Another show of note actually takes place tomorrow night at The Sydney in Benson. Self Evident is a Minneapolis-based post-punk band that’s been around at least since the turn of the century. Local boys Fromanhole toured with them back in the day (and word on the street is to keep an eye out for a new iteration of Fromanhole under a different name later this summer). Playing with Self Evident Thursday night is another throwback band, Oklahoma City’s Traindodge. Omaha’s own Ojai opens at 8 p.m. (though, knowing Syd’s track record, it could be more like 9). $12.

Back to the weekend…

Also Saturday night, Denver alt rock band The Velveteers headlines at The Slowdown small stage. Their last studio album, 2021’s Nightmare Daydream, was produced by Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach and has a sort of Garbage vibe. Omaha acts JACK and Cape Acidic are supporting. $20, 8 p.m.

And, of course, Saturday is Record Store Day. There was a time when this was a much bigger deal. I guess it still is a big deal for the hardcore collectors who will be in line at Homer’s, Grapefruit, Vinyl Cup and Recycled Sounds trying to nab their limited-edition RSD-exclusive vinyl. For those participating, may the odds be in your favor…

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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Indigo Girls, VNV Nation tonight; upcoming touring indie shows through July…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 9:26 am April 16, 2024

Indigo Girls circa the ’90s. The duo plays at The Astro tonight.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I was sitting on the side of a grassy hill somewhere in Philadelphia circa 1991 the last time I saw the Indigo Girls. It was shortly after the release of their breakthrough self-titled album – a record that carved their name into the zeitgeist of ‘90s pop culture and continues to be popular thanks to the film “Barbie” that used the track “Closer to Fine” in its soundtrack. It’s hard to underscore the album’s impact when it was first released, placing Indigo Girls alongside artists like Tracy Chapman, 10,000 Maniacs, The Sundays and Suzanne Vega. The style wasn’t folk as much as college rock and certainly not something you could hear on Omaha radio stations…

Anyway, The Indigo Girls play tonight at The Astro in La Vista. Joining them is singer/songwriter Annie Humphrey (whereas, when I saw the IGs in the ‘90s, a Lincoln kid named Matthew Sweet opened that show). Tickets range from $51 to $90 via Ticketmaster. Show starts at 7:30. 

Also tonight,  Irish electronic music group VNV Nation plays at The Slowdown in the main room. Joining them is Canadian cold wave duo TRAITRS. $37, 8 p.m. Bring your dance shoes.

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Here’s a glance at what’s on my radar through July. No doubt more shows will be added…

  • April 18 – Self Evident @ The Sydney
  • April 20 – Rosali @ O’Leaver’s
  • April 24 – Sheer Mag @ Reverb
  • April 25 – 9Million @ The Sydney
  • April 27 – William Elliot Whitmore at Reverb
  • April 28 – STRFKR @ The Admiral
  • May 1 – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit @ The Astro
  • May 2-3 – Ritual Device @ Reverb
  • May 3-4 – Lincoln Calling
  • May 7 – Ty Segall @ The Waiting Room
  • May 7 – Wild Party @ Reverb
  • May 12 – Horse Jumper of Love @ The Blindspot
  • May 14 – Local Natives @ The Admiral
  • May 19 – The Chats @ The Slowdown
  • May 22 – Social Distortion at The Astro
  • May 30 – Wednesday @ The Slowdown
  • June 4 – Cloud Nothings @ Reverb
  • June 5 – Dead Horses @ Reverb
  • June 9 – Lucinda Williams @ The Admiral
  • June 10 – The Mars Volta @ The Admiral
  • June 25 – French Cassettes @ The Slowdown
  • July 8 – The Baseball Project @ The Waiting Room
  • July 15 – Etran de L’Air

What am I missing?

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Dip Tet, In Tongues tonight; Las Cruxes Saturday; Slaughter Beach Dog, Twin Tribes, Urban Heat Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 9:03 am April 12, 2024

Urban Heat play with Twin Tribes Sunday night at Reverb Lounge.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here we go:

Tonight at The Sydney, Lincoln slam-bash noise-rock trio Dip Tet headlines a rock show. Joining them is newish noise-rock trio In Tongues, a band that features long-time LinOma indie-punk veterans Robert Little, Jason Ludwick and Boz Hicks. Opening the evening is Radical Sabbatical, who I don’t know, but maybe you do (or maybe you should)? $10, 9 p.m.

Moving on to Saturday, it’ll be another red-hot night at fabulous O’Leaver’s for practically a mini-festival with five – count them five! – bands on the bill. Headlining is Omaha’s favorite Latin punk rockers Las Cruxes. Joining them is a gaggle of bands I haven’t seen nor heard before: Peach Paw, Frankie Chairo, Saving Fiona and Sundown Effect. Look, it’s like one of those mystery bags you get at the comic shop – you never now what’ll be inside, but it’s never boring. And… it’s free! Bands start at 9 p.m. (gonna be a long, hot night). 

Also Saturday night, ‘90s St. Lous ska band The Urge headlines a sold-out show at The Waiting Room. They remind me of a time before Saddle Creek Records when they, along with 311 and a host of Get Go bands, dominated the Ranch Bowl stage and everyone read SLAM Omaha. Joining them is Blue Moon Ghetto and new band Mad Mad Heart. Curtain at 8 p.m. 

Then there’s a couple hot shows on Sunday night.

Philly’s Slaughter Beach, Dog began as a side project by Jake Ewald, the former frontman for indie-emo band Modern Baseball. Their full length was Crying, Laughing, Waving, Smiling, released last September on Lame O Records. These guys got a West Coast easy-living sound even though they’re from the rugged, cold East Coast. Go figure. Joining them at The Slowdown Sunday night is Nashville singer/songwriter Erin Rae. $25, in the big room, starts at 8 p.m. 

Also Sunday night, so-called Texas “darkwave” duo Twin Tribes headlines at Reverb Lounge. We’re talking ‘80s synths, chiming guitars, drum machines, black clothes, eye liner, fake accents, etc. Joining them is fellow ‘80s-style electronic/synth trio Urban Heat and Brooklyn synthy post-punk trio Bootblacks. No doubt this show could be shit-ton of fun if they can get people to dance. 8 p.m., $20. 

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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT photos: Slowdown in 2007, first Maha 2009; The Jewell returns…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 10:20 am April 11, 2024

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve been digging through old photos lately (and will be doing a lot more in the future), and pulled a couple in honor of Throwback Thursday.

The top image was taken at The Slowdown Nov. 4, 2007. Stars was the band performing on stage. Shortly after The Slowdown opened that year, they installed this crazy sculpture in the rafters of the main room made out of (what I thought was) large plastic paint buckets (see top of photo). I thought it was a super-cool addition to the club, and would have loved if they kept it up there, but after a few months, it disappeared. Hey Slowdown, bring it back (and bring back Stars, who this fall will be on a 20th Anniversary Tour in the U.S. for the album Set Yourself on Fire)!

Above, Little Brazil performs at the inaugural Maha Music Festival, held downtown on Lewis & Clark Landing way back on Aug. 29, 2009. This appears to be the Brashear LLP Stage – there also was a second, larger MAHA Stage headlined by Dashboard Confessional, who coincidentally, will be playing at Steelhouse Omaha Sept. 24. Maha stayed at L&C Landing one more year (2010, with Spoon and The Faint), before moving to Stinson Park in Aksarben Village in 2011 due to massive flooding along the Missouri River. Now we continue to wait with baited breath to see if Maha will return downtown in 2025 at the new Riverfront Park…

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Yesterday, there was a new post on The Jewell’s social media channels, heralding the return of what is now being called “The Jewell on Capitol.” The original Jewell shut down operations last September. Sure enough, if you go to jewellomaha.com you’ll see a “Coming Soon” message, along with “Reviving a beloved live music lounge – now hiring servers and bartenders to craft unforgettable experiences.”

More to come…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Faint release Doom Abuse Deluxe; New TIT (w/Conor Oberst); Bats tonight w/Joe Champion (Uh Oh)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 8:35 am April 10, 2024
The Faint at Sokol Auditorium June 12, 2014, during the original Doom Abuse tour.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Conor Oberst’s first record label, Saddle Creek Records, yesterday announced that it’s releasing a digital-only “Deluxe Edition” of The Faint’s 2014 album Doom Abuse. This edition includes tracks from the “Evil Voices” 12-inch which have never been available digitally. If you go to the Saddle Creek page, you’ll see the track listings organized as Disc One and Disc Two, which makes it sound like it’ll be available as a Compact Disc, but no option for ordering a CD is available. No such organization at the Bandcamp page… Would people want a CD version of this Deluxe edition? Probably…

BTW, The Faint have been named in the line-up for this year’s Outlandia Festival, Aug. 9.

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Speaking of electronic music, last week TIT — the dynamic duo of Shawn Foree and Bobby Hussy — released their long-awaited debut album, 10 years in the making. You may know Foree as the mastermind behind punk project Digital Leather. Hussy is the proprietor of No Coast Records and member of the band Wristwatch. TIT first emerged with a four-song EP back in 2013, released by Volar/FDH. 

The 11-song collection includes the track “MGBF,” with lead vocals by Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst reminiscent of this Digital Ash/Digital Urn days.  Check out the full album at the TIT Bandcamp page

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Tonight at The Sydney in Benson, Nashville indie-folk singer songwriter Bats – a.k.a. Jess Awh – headlines a three-act show that also features solo sets by Joe Champion (Uh-Oh) and Mitch Jordan. 8 p.m. $10. 

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Conor Oberst launches Million Stars Records; signs The Felice Brothers…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 8:59 am April 9, 2024

The Felice Brothers, Valley of Abandoned Songs, to be released June 28 on Million Stars Records.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The first I heard of Conor Oberst’s new record label came via a press release with the headline: “The Felice Brothers Sign to Conor Oberst’s New Record Label Million Stars.” Wait, what? New record label? Isn’t Bright Eyes (and Conor Oberst) signed to Dead Oceans? 

In the press release, Conor explained:

“I first encountered the Felice Brothers in 2007 after being given some of their music by a friend. I liked it a lot, but there was something I couldn’t put my finger on—singular and mysterious. An iconoclastic version of what some lazy people call ‘Americana.’ I subsequently met them and played shows together. They became some of my best friends, family, really. I put out two of their records on the label I co-owned at the time, called Team Love. Then we started to perform together with them as my backing band and made a record of mine called Salutations. Needless to say, I love this band, and when I asked that horrible question, ‘Who is your favorite band?’ I always answer ‘The Felice Brothers.’ 

“So when Ian sent me this new collection of songs and told me they just planned to put it up on the internet, I kind of flipped out, because they were so goddamn good. And then I did something I swore I would never do again: I started a new record label. This is my third. It is called Million Stars, and I am so proud to say the new Felice Brothers album is our first release. I can’t quit them. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.”

So, yes, this would be Oberst’s third record label creation. The first was Saddle Creek Records, which he launched with a bunch of folks including his brother Justin, Mike Mogis (now of ARC Studios and Bright Eyes), and Robb Nansel, who still runs that label. The second label, Team Love, was launched in 2003 with his Oberst’s pal Nate Krenkel, who also was his former manager and an A&R dude at Sony ATV Music Publishing. Team Love continues to operate out of New Paltz, New York, though Oberst apparently is no longer involved. 

Based on the press release, it doesn’t sound like the idea of creating a new record label was a premeditated decision, more of a spur-of-the-moment deal, and really, isn’t that main ingredient in every success story?

Valley of Abandoned Songs will be released on June 28 on Million Stars. The 13-song collection consists of recordings primarily from sessions for the band’s 2019 album, Undress, as well as their most recent release, 2023’s Asylum On The Hill, both of which were captured live in an 1870s church with the band’s current lineup of Ian Felice (guitar/vocals), James Felice (piano/vocals), Jeske Hume (bass), and Will Lawrence (drums).

The band will, of course, be touring Europe and the U.S. The closest pass to little ol’ Omaha is Chicago (July 27, Beat Kitchen).

Check out the first single, “Crime Scene Queen”: 

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Petfest announces Aug. 17 festival line-up; what is the One Omaha festival?…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 9:23 am April 8, 2024
Petfest just announced their 2024 lineup for the Aug. 17 event.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Petfest has the honor of being Omaha’s most-eclectic one-day festival, featuring mostly local indie acts and singer/songwriters. Held on the red-carpeted loose-rock parking lot behind Petshop Gallery in the heart of Benson, this year’s festival, slated for Aug. 17, will be no exception.

Unless my eyes deceive me (very possible) this year’s line-up is almost all Nebraska acts, though there are a couple names I don’t recognize. The 21-act list as of this morning:

  • – Problems
  • – Dance Me Pregnant 
  • – Ebba Rose
  • – Jeff in Leather 
  • – Flamboyant Gods
  • – Size Queen
  • – Western Haikus
  • – Heet Deth
  • – McCarthy Trenching
  • – Mesonjixx Trio
  • – The Dirts
  • – Clubdrugs 
  • – Saving Fiona
  • – Riké
  • – Universe Contest
  • – Queer Nite
  • – Bumpadump
  • – Mike Schlesinger
  • – Vempire 
  • – Ex-Lover 
  • – Ol’ Mo and the Varmits

A few highlights: Dance Me Pregnant is a golden nugget from a bygone era of Omaha indie/punk; Vempire is a newish Lincoln project featuring Mike Elfers from Thirst Things First; The Dirts are an emerging showgaze/indie act that has been a regular opener at Reverb indie shows; Mike Schlesinger is perhaps the most overlooked talent in the state, who I’m told has been working on a new album. And Darren Keen will be making the trip from Chicago to provide a return performance as PROBLEMS. 

The performance schedule hasn’t been released yet but the show will run from 2 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $30 Adv/$40 DOS. More info at the BFF FB page. See you there.

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Speaking of festivals, late last month an organization called “Hook n Sync” announced a three-day, three-district music festival taking place this year during the heart of the College World Series weeks, June 13-15.

Called “One Omaha Music Festival,” it’s brought to you by the Hook N Sync Foundation, a non-profit “focused towards creating an extended support platform and performance exposure for local singer songwriters and musicians across the mid west community with a special side focus on uplifting gender equity in creative fields.” 

According to their website, last year “Hook n Sync already had 6 different diverse outdoor festivals including some 2 Day 2 stage ones with multiple National Artists, Grammy Winners, regional and other touring bands and many local artists.” Impressive. The organization’s executive director isn’t listed on their website or on their FB page. Considering the CWS connection, is MECA also involved, or the NCAA? 

Hook n Sync has alredy published a district schedule (Old Market, June 13; Benson & Midtown, June 14; Benson June 15) but no venue names are listed, though they say it’ll take place on “up to 20 stages” and will feature “up to 100 bands” who they appear to be in the process of booking. Hook n Sync posted a couple requests on their Facebook page last week. One asked for your ideas as to who they should book; the other is seeing out local “female influenced music” in Omaha and the surrounding area. 

According to their FB posts this NEVER DONE BEFORE event is a HUGE STEP FOR OMAHA MUSIC. This no doubt is a tremendous undertaking for someone. Just pulling off a one-day music festival like Petfest that focuses primarily on local bands is a major effort that involves lots of planning and coordination. One Omaha is three districts over three days with 20 venues and more than 100 bands during two of the most chaotic weeks in Omaha.

More info as it becomes available…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#BFF, System Exclusive tonight; BIB, Cult Play, Violenteer, Leafblower Saturday; Tommy Prine Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 9:39 am April 5, 2024
Bib at the 2023 Maha Festival. The band plays at The Waiting Room Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s the first Friday of April and that means Benson First Friday (#BFF). If you’ve driven down Maple Street over the past few days you already know the entire length of Downtown Benson is coned for road construction. The city is replacing the old metal curb ramps with new ramps, and decided to do it during the district’s busiest day of the month both for car and foot traffic. Coincidence? 

Anyway, the parking situation is essentially the same, just drive around the cones and construction equipment. 

ADDENDUM: The city has cleared the cones! Proceed with confidence…

BFF highlights local artists in galleries and other businesses up and down Maple Street tonight. Among them is the opening at Ming Toy Gallery, 6066 Maple Street, with feature artist Karen Linder. Drop by, say hi, grab a beer/wine and check it out. The opening runs from 6 to 9 p.m. See you there.

As part of BFF, The Sydney in Benson is hosting Pasadena duo System Exclusive along with Madison Wisconsin electronic artist Carrellee and Omaha’s Jeff in Leather and Specter Poetics. $12, 9 p.m. 

Saturday is noise rock day in Benson.

Starting in the afternoon (3 p.m.) and running into Saturday night is ClüsterFüst 2, a metal/noise concert at The Waiting Room with 15 bands, headlined by local heroes BIB and including acts Ex Lover, Cult Play, Prolapse (Dave Goldberg metal odyssey) and Nowhere, among others. “15 bands playing 15-minute sets.” All for $15, with proceeds going to Youth Emergency Services Omaha. More info and full lineup, here.  

Also Saturday night, Omaha double-bass noise-core band Violenteer headlines a four-band bill at Reverb Lounge. Word on the street is Violenteer has a new album coming out soon, with recorded tracks already in the can. Maybe we’ll get some of the new stuff Saturday. Joining them are Leafblower, Radical Sabbatical and Aircraft Grade. This show is sort of being held in conjunction with ClüsterFüst 2 in that entrance is only $5 with a Waiting Room wristband – smart marketing! Otherwise, entrance is $10. Starts at 8:30.

Also Saturday night, there’s a three-band bill at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Jar, Box Eats Miah and Pretty Beige. Box Eats Miah is sort of emo-ish? Not sure on the others. This one starts at 9 and is absolutely free. 

Sunday night Tommy Prine headlines at Reverb Lounge, and yes, he is the son of legendary singer/songwriter John Prine. They call his music “alt country,” but it leans more toward the Americana spectrum (though there’s plenty of twang on his latest LP, This Far South (Thirty Tigers)). In fact, if you squint your eyes it sometimes sounds like Mystic Valley Band music. Opening for Prine is Kiely Connell. $22, 8 p.m., and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it sells out the smallish Reverb. 

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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Blanky, Virga, The Dirts and Garst…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 8:32 am April 4, 2024

Blanky at Reverb Lounge, April 3, 2024.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Dirts have been playing out for at least a couple years and I still don’t know who’s in this band. Other than an Instagram page, there virtually was nothing I could find out about this intense 5-piece act that consists of four women and one of the guys who also plays in Garst (who we’ll get to later).

Last night’s set at Reverb Lounge was the second time round seeing them and they’re becoming one of my favorite new Nebraska bands thanks to their dense, atmospheric style of shoegaze. In addition to singing well (his voice kind of reminded me of the guy in Pardoner), he did a nice job balancing songs with his relaxed guitar solos. The band’s two women vocalists could barely be heard above the roar, though what I could hear sounded good. Their lack of presence in the mix was likely more due to the fact they didn’t appear to be singing very loudly or very close to their microphones. 

To my knowledge, there are no recordings of The Dirts on the internet or streaming services, and since I don’t know who’s in the band, I don’t know who to ask. I guess I could have asked one of them while I was in the club, but I’ve startled more than my share of young musicians over the years (it’s the cop thing) and was in no mood to do so last night. Short set! Done by 8:30.

Virga at Reverb Lounge, April 3, 2024.

Maybe the women of The Dirts could take a clue from Faith Maddox of Virga, who played next. Fronting a fourpiece with guitar in hand, Maddox’s gorgeous, lonesome voice was a perfect match for Virga’s two chord verses, minor-key, heavy, and at times dirgy downer rock that had a way of exploding before the end of each song. Later, Virga rolled out a few very ’90s-style post-grunge songs reminscent of Lawrence bands from back in the day. 

Maddox said last night was the first stop on their tour, which will take them to Chicago tonight, and was very appreciative of the crowd response. The band closed out with another uptempo number but then, in the end, reverted back to its downer-core as if to say “This is who we really are.” 

As they cleared their gear from the stage, I thought, “For the love of god, please let Blanky play next.” I didn’t want them to get Omaha’d by Garst. 

Thankfully, Blanky did go on next. The trio played in a more upbeat style than what’s heard on their Blood Harmony album, and likely is a sign of where their sound is headed. Frontman Anthony Cunard was the showpiece, a fantastic guitarist who played in an echoing, slow-pulse surf style a la early Pixies or Breeders and sometimes sounded like Jon Spencer on Valium. They had an intensely cool sound and Cunard’s solos were eye-popping. . 

Then came Garst a little after 10:30. These guys are, indeed, ferociously good at what they do, which is play ’80s-style riff rock at a breakneck pace. All four dudes are super talented and mega-tight shredding fast, intricate riffs like a ’70s prog band with fun-loving ’80s hair metal charm. The frontman/guitarist began the set sporting a sort of affected growl that thankfully faded halfway through. I recognized Cat Piss/Pagan Athletes drummer Nate Wolf behind the drum kit, who I assumed was a new addition as the frontman went out of his way to introduce him early in the set. Wolf is one of the city’s brightest new talents. 

While not a style of music I listen to often anymore (Hey, I grew up on bands like Fastway and Van Halen) these guys were impressive, jumping from one riff-fueled groove to another. You could argue Garst was an odd way to end a night of touring indie rock bands (and one great local shoegaze opener), but they also helped bring a crowd. Garst’s fans – many of them young ladies — patiently waited in the back during the early sets, but once their dudes came on stage were went right up front dancing. 

Funniest moment of the Garst set was between songs when the frontman said (and I’m paraphrasing): “There’s a lot of slow core coming out of Lawrence these days. I’ve got a question: Are you guys OK?

To which one of the Blanky guys sitting next to me at the bar responded by yelling, “No, we’re not.”

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lawrence invasion: Blanky, Virga with The Dirts, Garst at Reverb tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 7:49 am April 3, 2024

Lawrence band Blanky plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Two Lawrence, Kansas, bands make the long trip up I-29 today to play at Reverb Lounge tonight.

Blanky has been described as an “alt-country shoegaze” band. Alt-country? Um, nah. Shoegaze? Maybe. Languid, distorted, feedback-fueled, drunken, surf-guitar songs that feel like a morning-after hangover? Sure, especially on their latest album, 2022’s Blood Harmony

Blanky frontman Anthony Cunard has a deep, dry, low voice that sings sordid tales of cautionary love with lines like, “You fell to your death in your baby’s arms / I guess that’s one way to get away,” that sound like a distorted funeral procession… but in a good way. Cinematic murder films shot in black-and-white. 

Very likely driving to Omaha in the same van as Blanky is Virga, who according to The Pitch, classify themselves as “gothic Americana,” which for me sort of misses the mark. Their sound is reminiscent of ‘90s acts like Madder Rose, Lisa Germano, Cowboy Junkies and Kristen Hersh. Stark, slow, indie rock songs that build over their four-minute lifespans, guided by frontwoman Faith Maddox’s gorgeous voice that recalls Margo Timmins. 

T’was a time in the early ‘90s when LinOma and Lawrence swapped bands on a regular basis, almost as if the two regions were part of one post-punk alt-indie scene. Maybe we should get back to that?

Like all the best shows, tonight’s is a study in contrasts considering the Omaha bands that are also on the bill. Garst plays a more straight-forward, riff-fueled indie that borders on alt-rock. The Dirts includes a member of Garst, but the band, who I saw open for Hotline TNT, is something completely different. You’ll see. 

Four acts on a Wednesday? It’s going to be a long night. Bands take the Reverb stage at 8 p.m. — and please be prompt! Those Lawrence folks have a long way to drive back home. $12.  

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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