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.

One step closer…; Petfest, Maha to return; Dolores Diaz/Live at O’Leaver’s…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:19 pm May 14, 2021
Dolores Diaz & The Standby Club at The Waiting Room, May 21, 2016. The band’s debut album, Live at O’Leaver’s, was released on vinyl today.

I was out and about in Benson late afternoon yesterday, hours after the CDC announced new mask guidelines that say you don’t have to wear a mask indoors if you’ve been vaccinated. I expected it to be like VE Day, with people kissing in the streets. Instead, while a lot of people were maskless on the sidewalks, a lot also still wore masks.

I talked to a masked Maple Street proprietor who had a “masks required” sign on his door. He hadn’t heard the news, and wasn’t bowled over by it. “We’re still requiring masks until we’re told otherwise,” he said, adding that he’d been vaccinated (and also had COVID last year). “Let’s see what happens. If cases start spiking again, the masks will be back.”

Maybe, maybe… And though I’m a bit giddy at the prospect of putting my masks away, I also can’t imagine, say, shopping at the Saddle Creek Baker’s without one (but maybe that has nothing to do with COVID…).

And maybe it’s a coincidence, but suddenly show announcements are popping up again. Last week Petfest announced that it’s coming back Aug. 14 outside of Pet Shop, and the line-up is pretty staggering. It includes Those Far Out Arrows, Lightning Stills, Anna McClellan, And How, Leafblower, Benny Leather and tons more. Full line-up here.

Not to be outdone, Maha announced it’s hosting a one-day music festival July 31 at Stinson Park, with limited capacity. No word on the line-up yet, but no doubt the announcement is imminent. Make your headliner guesses in the comments below.

Speaking of Those Far Out Arrows, that May 28 show at The Sydney is now officially sold out. If you’re like me, you didn’t even know there were tickets for sale!

The moral to the story is if you want to go to a show in the coming weeks / months, you better get your tickets when you can. People are starving for entertainment, and until they pull back on all restrictions, shows are going to be at limited capacities. Looks like I’ll have to wait until Petfest to see the Arrows…

One final note: Today Live at O’Leaver’s, the debut album by Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club, was released on vinyl. The album can be picked up at your local record store (try the new Grapefruit!). Or you can order directly from the 15 passenger Bandcamp site. As someone who was there, it’s worth it if only a memento of another amazing night at The Club.

Now if only O’Leaver’s can remove those booths from their “stage” and get the “Live” thing rolling again…

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


#BFF & #BSS this weekend (Brion Poloncic (ex-Cactus Nerve Thang)) at Little Gallery; Kasher launches Home Phone; Grapefruit Records opens; and it’s Bandcamp Friday…

Hey there, here’s that column I mentioned last week about not updating my blog in so long and how it will live forever (or at least until I don’t). It’s published in the May issue of The Reader, and online here. Go read it!

. ( ( ( .

Brion Poloncic’s Weird Therapy opens at The Little Gallery Saturday.

It’s an anomaly similar to the perfect aligning of stars in the sky — both Benson First Friday and Blackstone Second Saturday are this weekend.

BFF you know about. BSS is a new art effort in Blackstone where galleries host openings. To celebrate, The Little Gallery Blackstone (formerly in Benson) is hosting Weird Therapy – a collection of 130 small ink-on-paper works by Brion Poloncic.

Local punk rock fans with a sense of history will remember Poloncic from his work the bands Tomato a Day and seminal Grass Records act Cactus Nerve Thang. Poloncic’s art is as mind-blowing as his music.

The show runs from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday at The Little Gallery Blackstone, 144 So. 39th St. (inside The Mansion just north of Night Owl). The event is free, distance controlled, and wear a mask! Free beer! Come by and say hello.

. ( ( ( .

In music news, Tim Kasher of Cursive and The Good Life launched a new Patreon called Home Phone. The archive project is a mix of new songs under the Home Phone moniker: “Short, catchy, to-the-point jams – unreleased songs I’ve written for Cursive / The Good Life / solo material that never saw any light of any day,” Kasher said of the project.

The online subscription service costs $6 a month (or $5 a month with annual subscription). The Patreon site will also include live streams, and if this goes the way of other Patreons I’ve seen have, Kasher will be doing all kinds of outlandish things online in no time. Check it out at

. ) ) ) .

In other Kasher news, there’s a massively long video interview with Tim by Bringing It Backwards – the online interview show of American Songwriter magazine. The nearly hour-long interview delves deep into the history of Kasher’s music, Cursive, Saddle Creek Records and more. Check it below.

. ( ( ( .

Azure Ray has dropped yet another track from their forthcoming album, Remedy, out in June on Flower Moon Records. This one has a good beat, you can dance it, check it out.

. ) ) ) .

Grapefruit Records opens today in the Old Market.

Simon Joyner’s new record store in the Old Market, Grapefruit, is slated to open today at 11 a.m. The shop, located at 1125 Jackson St., Suite 5, will sell new and used records, and the space will also be the world headquarters of Joyner’s Grapefruit Records label.

. ( ( ( .

And lest I forget, it’s the first Friday of the month which means Bandcamp Friday – that day when Bandcamp waives fees on its download sales. Go to Bandcamp and buy some stuff!

That’s all I got. Have a great weekend!

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Grapefruit Records to open in Old Market; Saddle Creek signs Indigo De Souza; new Cursive interview…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 3:20 pm April 23, 2021

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the ol’ blog. In fact, I just wrote a column that’ll be published in the May issue of The Reader saying that it’s been a long time since I updated the ol’ blog, but that I haven’t given up — there just hasn’t been anything to write about music-wise (which is basically the lede to the column).

As I continue to point out, ain’t been a whole helluva lot of rock shows to write about, but there has been some news.

. * * * .

I just discovered via his Instagram page that Omaha singer/songwriter Simon Joyner is about to open a new record store in the Old Market that will also act as the world headquarters of his Grapefruit Records label. The new shop is located at 1125 Jackson St., Suite 5, which appears to be the old Antiques Annex space on 12th street.

Joyner says the store will open either May 1 or May 7, depending on how preparations go, and will feature new and used records. The shop marks the 3rd record store in the Old Market, joining Homer’s and Vinyl Cup. Hey, just like ol’ times…

. * * * .

The other hometown record label, Saddle Creek Records, has been on a roll lately.

Their most recent release from just-signed act Spirit of the Beehive, ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, was bestowed with the “Best New Music” honor from Pitchfork, who gave the album a massive 8.3 rating. If you haven’t heard the album yet, grab some headphones and some LSD and enjoy. It’s a… challenging listen, but people love it.

On a more pop-flavored level, Saddle Creek this week announced that it signed Asheville, NC, singer/songwriter Indigo De Souza and is rereleasing her 2018 debut album, I Love My Mom, April 23. De Souza’s sound is more in line with the indie sound you’d hear on something like Sirius XMU — poppy, fun, accessible.

. ( ( ( .

A week or so ago out of the blue music blog Vinyl Writer Music posted an interview with Cursive’s Matt Maginn.

Matt covers the usual history/influences/Ugly Organ topics before he gets to what’s next for Cursive. He said he’s spent his off time repairing “a couple of bars/pubs in our beloved hometown….” and then goes on to say “Musically, it’s a bit more depressing. We have thrown around lots of long-distance ideas, but we have really not had the time to focus on them….

…I think we will start writing again as soon as it is safe and ideally get back on the road as soon as possible too. We are playing the Psycho Festival in Las Vegas, which we are really looking forward to at the moment. It will give us a chance to feel a little normal again and remember we are a band.

We had to cancel a lot of good shows when the pandemic struck, so we are itching to get out there and play. It sounds like a dream right now to actually return to a life that involves writing, rehearsing, and playing live. It’s funny how one year can really change how you feel about your existence and purpose in the world.

Read the entire interview here.

. ) ) ) .

That’s all for now. I’m hearing various and sundry things about upcoming music events. Things are happening. We’re almost there. Get vaccinated and we’ll get there sooner.

Have a great weekend.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Pitchfork’s 36 ‘Best Live Music Venues’ surviving COVID, includes Slowdown; Moderna’d (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 8:13 am April 7, 2021
The Slowdown is a survivor.

Everyone’s favorite indie music tastemakers, Pitchfork, published an article Monday where it interviewed operators of 36 independent music venues on surviving COVID-19. Among them was Jason Kulbel of Slowdown.

The article gives a (very) brief history of the bar, described as being best know for “Modernizing live music in Omaha.”

Before the pandemic, Kulbel had hoped 2020 would be one of the most successful years in Slowdown’s history,” says writer Andy Cush. “Today, they’re operating with a reduced staff and plan to resume limited-capacity shows with local bands in April.

Kulbel gives a rather bleak view of what lies ahead.

Said Kulbel in the article: “‘Reopening is going to be really hard, because everything that you had before is gone. The staff is gone, the shows are gone. We’re opening with all local stuff, which is fine, but it’s not going to bring people out, it’s not what people really want to see as a whole. So you’re going to be opening as a skeleton of yourself. It would almost be easier just to open a brand new place.’”

Would it really?

Kulbel goes on to cite Against Me! as one of his favorite shows, though it’s not his favorite band. Read the full Slowdown section here.

Other Midwest venues featured in the Pitchfork article include First Avenue, Wooly’s in Des Moines, and The Hideout in Chicago.

Check out the full article here.

. * * * .

Speaking of COVID-19, my column in this month’s issue of The Reader is about my experience getting Moderna’s and how the anti-vaxxers are going to really screw things up for the rest of us. Mark my words, we’re going to be wearing masks for a long time because of the conspiracy theorists and their reticence for getting shots.

The column is online here and, of course, in print wherever you find your copy of the The Reader.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Slowdown returns tonight with Journey tribute; it’s another Bandcamp Friday, recommendations…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 11:09 am April 2, 2021
Is it Bandcamp Friday?

Tonight’s Journey tribute show (Recaptured) at Slowdown is the club’s first indoor show in 385 days. And as you might have guessed, the rules have changed since their last show.

Guest and staff are required to wear masks when entering and moving around the club. A mask is recommended but not required if you’re seated at a table. See all the COVID rules here.

This is in line with most other venues’ rules. One new one that I haven’t seen before at Slowdown: Re-entry is not permitted. This is a curious addition, and I’m not sure why it’s there. I have a feeling there will be a few other surprises as part of the post-COVID era…

Anyway, it’s a $15 general admission show, but you can also buy balcony seating at $25. A glance at the seating chart shows that most table seating is considered balcony seating, but there must be tables further back that are not “balcony”? Show starts at 8:30.

Not to be outdone, The Waiting Room has a Garth Brooks tribute show tonight that’s $15 and starts at 8:30 p.m.

That’s it for shows this weekend. We’re all still waiting for some indie local and national shows to return, but that’s a ways off. Get vaccinated. That might change the equation.

Speaking of vaccinations, my vaccination journey is outlined in my column in this month’s issue of The Reader. Find it. It’s not online yet.

. * * * .

It’s another Bandcamp Friday, which means Bandcamp today is waving its fees taken from your download purchases from their website. Most labels are following suit.

For what to buy locally, I point you again to this article, that lists a ton of local stuff available on Bandcamp.

There are others who always have new merch, including Lightning Stills, Flight School, Simon Joyner, Problems, and Dereck Higgins. There needs to be a Nebraska online marketplace where one can easily find links to new music released by Nebraska artists.

Here’s some stuff I’ve been listening to that you should check out/buy today on Bandcamp Friday:

Parannoul, To See the Next Part of the Dream – This Korean-language shoe-gaze act got a rave write-up in Pitchfork and is indeed mesmerizing. You can’t understand what they’re singing, but when it comes to shoe-gaze, what else is new? Bandcamp link.

Cassandra Jenkins, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature (Ba Da Bing!) – This is one of the break-out recordings of early 2021. Lead track “Michelangelo” is a heart breaker. Bandcamp link.

Wild Pink, A Billion Little Lights (Royal Mountain) – Gorgeous indie from NYC. As good as this sort of thing gets. Bandcamp link.

Kneeling in Piss. The Columbus, Ohio, band has a new EP coming out (not out yet) called Types of Cults that is like next-generation Parquet Courts. They’ve been around for awhile. A new favorite. Bandcamp link.

Mixtape for the Milky Way – The latest by Minneapolis’ Jeremy Messersmith is a sweet collection by one of the country’s best singer/songwriters. Bandcamp link.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Azure Ray via Flower Moon Records; some reopening info and new stuff (black midi, Iceage)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:26 am March 25, 2021
Azure Ray circa 2021. The duo has a new album coming out June 11.

This morning Azure Ray’s publicist announced the duo will release its first new full-length album in a decade, Remedy, June 11 on Maria Taylor’s Flower Moon Records.

Produced by Brandon Walters (Lord Huron, Joshua Radin), the band worked individually through the COVID-19 pandemic across three separate recording locations in southern California,” sayeth the press release. “With Remedy, Taylor and Fink sought to explore new structural arrangements and sonic dynamics, providing Walters with both the creative direction and freedom to expand upon the bands long-established ambient sound. Reoccurring themes of tragedy, chaos and anxiety present from the very first Azure Ray record (as a result of immense personal loss) reveal themselves with new meaning set against a world – not just their own lives – in turmoil.

Sounds uplifting. But no one goes to an Azure Ray album expecting to dance. Preorder the album here, and check out the first single, the title track, below.

For young readers who may be wondering why I’m writing about Azure Ray since the duo doesn’t live in Omaha — here’s a bit of history. Azure Ray used to be on Saddle Creek Records and were part of the Omaha scene starting way back around 2003 when Hold On Love was released. Can’t believe it’s been nearly 20 years.

. * * * .

WOWT Channel 6 posted a story that says Blackstone District will be hosting a Farnam Fest in mid-May followed by a barbecue fest of some sort later this summer. No doubt there will be a performance stage. The story also has info about The Orpheum’s upcoming season, which includes full-capacity shows. More signs that COVID is finally leaving (and vaccinations are under way).

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the One Percent Productions website, you know their clubs are getting back in gear, with The Waiting Room and Reverb hosting a couple shows earlier this week. They also announced a Mt. Joy show May 4 at Falconwood Park with Rough Trade hippie-psych band Hello Forever.

Things are still pretty slow, though. I’m still looking for my return-to-the-clubs show, especially since I’ll be fully vaccinated come the first week of April. Right now the only gig on my radar is the May 28 Those Far Out Arrows show at The Sydney with Marcey Yates…

. * * * .

Just noticed that Omaha World-Herald killed its Go! Section. I assumed they probably did this when music reporter Kevin Coffey left the paper. Turns out they killed it when COVID began last year. No events, no advertising. With COVID waning, with the OWH bring back GO?

. * * * .

A couple things on my hit list:

This new video for black midi’s single, “John L,” is intense, just like everything the band releases. They’ve got a new album, Cavalcade, coming out May 28 on Rough Trade. Check it.

Dutch band Iceage made a splash on Matador Records back in 2013. They were red hot back then. Not so sure these days, though I dig this new track, “Shelter Song.” They have a new album, Seek Shelter, out May 7 on Mexican Summer.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Yes, South By Southwest is (virtually) going on right now…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:57 pm March 18, 2021
The Wedding Present at Red Eyed Fly, SXSW, March 14, 2012.
The Wedding Present at Red Eyed Fly, SXSW, March 14, 2012. While SXSW is happening this year, there’s no live venue shows thanks to COVID-19.

COVID-19 disruption continues. One holiday I look forward to most is St. Patrick’s Day — when I can drink Guinness beer in the stank basement of The Dubliner and watch March Madness while listening to live Irish folk music (or something close to it).

Not this year.

St. Patty’s Day was spent drinking Guinness out of a bottle while watching The Quiet Man at home (“Here’s a good stick to beat the lovely lady.” How has this film not been cancelled yet?). March Madness doesn’t start until tonight (play-in game). Disruption!

Another thing happening this week that happens every year is the South By Southwest Festival in Austin. Last year’s SXSW was one of the first major music festival to get cancelled due to COVID-19. Well, SXSW is on this year, but it’s being held “virtually.” What that means is that the music performances are all being streamed via the SXSW portal, but just like every other year, it requires a pass to view, yours for the low price of $399.

This year’s participants are being marketed as “all opening acts, no headliners” — meaning that top-drawing acts are skipping the virtual experience. That being the case, SXSW could have actually expanded its reach this year by making those streams available free. Certainly would have helped the artists as well, though I guess the SXSW organization probably needs the cash to keep going. The full list of bands participating in SXSW is here.

Hopefully the SXSW — with its long lines, free food and ever-present haze of pot smoke — will be back in full force in 2022.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Green shoots? Dinosaur Jr. announces North American tour (including 9/20 at The Waiting Room)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:37 pm March 11, 2021
Dinosaur Jr. announced a North American tour that includes Omaha Sept. 20 at the Waiting Room.

As you can imagine, I get a lot of emails from music promoters, labels and bands. Maybe 100 a day? Something like that. For the past year they’ve all been hyping new videos or releases by acts that, like the rest of us, have been stuck at home due to COVID-19.

You’ve seen the stories I did in The Reader about venues reopening and local bands returning to local stages. Well today I got the first email (that I’ve opened and read, anyway) announcing a full North American tour taking place this year.

Dinosaur Jr. today announced it’s hitting the road in late summer for a tour that includes more than 40 dates throughout the fall and into winter, starting July 27 at Big Indian, NY, and wrapping up Feb. 26 at Denver’s Ogden Theatre.

The tour includes a Sept. 20 gig at The Waiting Room.

The band will be supporting their forthcoming album, Sweep It Into Space, out April 23 on Jagjaguwar Records. “As is typical, Lou Barlow writes and sings two of the album’s dozen tunes (delivering perhaps his finest Dinosaur contribution in “Garden”) and Murph’s pure-Flinstonian drumming drives the record like a go cart from Hell,” says the press release.

Here’s hoping this is the first of many such tour announcements from bands that will be returning to the road later this year as COVID-19 fades away like a bad dream… I, for one, can’t wait.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Steady Wells and a peek inside Dahlia House (Love Drunk #144)…

Category: Blog — @ 1:25 pm March 8, 2021
A screen cap from the new Steady Wells video for the track “Hurts,” shot inside the Dahlia House in Benson.

So what’s that big A-Frame-type building that’s going up behind the Bucky’s in Benson? Well, the new Love Drunk video for the song “Hurts” by Steady Wells solves that mystery while providing some sweet folk rock to ease your troubled mind.

First, Steady Wells is newish project by Jordan Smith of Twinsmith — “newish” because the Smith has put out four singles dating back to July 2020. But with this pandemic, you might as well say it’s a brand new project since none of us have had a chance to see Steady Wells perform live, until now.

Love Drunk is a one-take live performance video series helmed by video mastermind/musician Django Greenblatt-Seay that’s been putting out videos of local and national bands since 2010, all shot in unique locations.

The video for “Hurts” was shot inside Dahlia House, an Airbnb owned and operated by Angie Norman that’s located right behind Bucky’s in Benson. Judging by the video, which was shot last week, they’re getting close to being open for business.

Take a peek inside Dahlia House and enjoy some Steady Wells goodness below:

. * * * .

Last week’s blog post concerning McCarthy Trenching and OEA Awards got hacked! That’s why it disappeared from the website. I’m not reposting it, but I’m relinking Dan and Co’s live-streamed performance from The Trap Room from last month below.

Last Sunday The Trap Room played host to Andrew Bailie and Matt Arbeiter; this Sunday it’s Blue Moon Ghetto and on March 21 it’s Steady Wells, followed by Hartford/Focht March 28.

Check out the full schedule here.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Local bands talk about returning to the stage (in the column); Slowdown announces reopening…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 8:30 am March 5, 2021
Jon Taylor of Domestica’s funky get-down space.

The Slowdown announced Tuesday that they’re reopening in April. The plan calls for shows only on the main stage to make more room for social distancing as the pandemic begins to wind down. It’ll be a fun opportunity for smaller bands who are used to playing the small room to try the big stage and its massive sound and lighting system.

Their first show is April 2 featuring Journey cover band Recaptured followed by Two Drag Club April 9.

Slowdown joins The Waiting Room and Reverb, who announced late last month that their stages are reopening.

When will the majority of our favorite local indie acts be returning to stage? That was the subject of my March column in The Reader, which is online right here. I contacted a dozen local musicians to find out when they’re coming back, and their responses underscore their caution as COVID-19 is still very much with us in this community.

The story is in the printed edition of the paper, which should be in the racks around town now or very shortly. Check it out. And heck, you can also read it below:

What Are They Waiting For?

As COVID-19 retreats, the stage has been set. It’s the artists who have cold feet.

Last month I told you where some of the more important local stages for indie music stand in regard to booking shows. A year after the pandemic began, places like The Slowdown, The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge are reopening their stages. And while it’ll be some time before touring bands hit the road again, local acts are invited to plug in and rock on.

The only thing stopping that from happening are the bands themselves. I reached out to a dozen local musicians to find out when they’d play again on a local stage. Their answers reflected a serious respect for COVID-19.

Jon Taylor, lead guitarist for Lincoln-based seminal punk trio Domestica, is waiting for folks to get vaccinated. “Based on current vaccine shipping schedules, summer appears to be the earliest anyone should consider assembling large groups of humans for any reason,” Taylor said. He’s passed the pandemic time rocking out on his own glittering basement stage where, “I’m able to self-medicate with high volume until gigs happen.”

Domestica has been known to share a stage with Wagon Blasters, the tractor-punk powerhouse fronted by the inimitable Gary Dean Davis. Those with a sense of history will remember how these folks’ previous bands — Mercy Rule and Frontier Trust — were integral to Nebraska’s first wave of indie punk almost 30 years ago.

Davis has spent his downtime focusing on his record label — SPEED! Nebraska — which reissued Frontier Trust’s debut CD in June and released a new Mezcal Bros. album, Shakin’ Dog, in September.

“As Joe Strummer famously said, ‘The future is unwritten,’” Davis said. “Hopefully things can calm down over the summer, (and) we are able to return to playing shows. Maybe we’ll need to start off outside to keep everyone safe?”

Wagon Blasters bandmate, bassist Kate Williams, said while she would be comfortable on stage once vaccinations have reached the majority, “It will be strange to return to the small, intimate venues that I love, where the audience is right on top of the band.”

Williams hasn’t seen Davis or her other bandmates in person in a year. “Many of us are high-risk (or high-risk-adjacent) and aren’t comfortable practicing in an enclosed basement yet with each other, let alone playing in a room full of friends that we also haven’t seen in the last year,” she said. “It will happen though — I miss all of it so much!”

Caution also was the theme for legendary bassist/musician Dereck Higgins. “I’ll be 66 in July, and that is why I am being cautious and in no hurry to get out in the public gigging,” he said, pointing to fall for a possible return. In the meantime, he’s been recording new music and working on an art project with local choreographer Lauren Simpson.

Craig Fort of punk band Leafblower created an entirely new, outlaw-country-infused musical persona called Lightning Stills during the pandemic. “Obviously COVID is keeping us from booking anything, as well as neither project has been in the same room together in a year,” Fort said. “We all take this very seriously. Not being able to play shows is what’s keeping me from releasing anything physical. Without shows, I don’t have a booth to peddle my goods.”

Indie rockers See Through Dresses frontwoman Sara Bertuldo said her band is still together, “but we’re just focusing on different things at the moment. Some of us are back in school, focusing on work, and/or learning some new skills.” And she added, “We’ve also been working on our third album!”

One of my favorite songs released during the pandemic is “Snake in my Basement,” an infectious (in a good way) garage rocker by Those Far Out Arrows. Guitarist/vocalist Ben Keelan-White thinks his band will be back on stage possibly in early- to mid-summer.

“Outdoor shows seem more likely, but maybe some indoor venues might be willing to make some moves,” he said. “I feel like there is an optimism with more vaccine administration on the horizon. Nobody wants to be a part of a spreader event, but I think the type of individuals who want shows back would be absolutely willing to take the utmost precaution needed to go forward.”

“We’re all dying for shows, but nobody should die for shows,” said Aaron Gumm, half of the red hot electronic rock duo Glow in the Dark. “My parents in Iowa get their second shot next week, and my sister in Austin got her first today. Things are moving in the right direction.”

Some aren’t waiting to return to the stage. Josh Hoyer, one of the area’s best blues and soul voices, played a Sunday residency Feb. 21 at The Jewell in downtown Omaha.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but it came down to me needing to get back to work and the venues needing to start getting people in or shutting down for good.” Hoyer said. “At this point, I am trusting people to do what is best for their health and the health of the community. So far, everything has been good, but the moment I feel that there is too much risk in any given venue, I will have to reassess my involvement with them. I think if people are intelligent about it, we can slowly get back to live entertainment.”

Darren Keen, the mastermind behind The Show Is the Rainbow and now a new electronic act, Problems, has a gig booked on St. Patrick’s Day at Boombox Social Club in Lincoln.

“As long as people are masked up and distanced, I’m OK with it at this point,” Keen said. “I’m still hesitant to book my own shows because I can’t honestly say, ‘You gotta come to this gig’ right now. I respect that people want to stay home and safe, and so if I can’t promote things 100% I’m not comfortable booking them.”

I saved the final word for Landon Hedges of one of my all-time favorite indie rock bands, Little Brazil. Hedges doesn’t know when he’ll be back on stage.

“It’s a matter of responsibility and feeling comfortable in the sort of environment that I’m used to playing a show or going to a show,” he said. “I want to do both. But this virus isn’t about me or what I want to do. I just want to try to do the right thing. It fucking sucks. You can quote me on that one.”

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at First published in The Reader, March 2021.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.