Your comments on OEAA/MAHA spur my comments on OEAA/MAHA; Blind Pilot, Hoshaw tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 5:30 pm July 12, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

You may or may not know this, but Lazy-i has a comment feature. It’s located right at the end of each day’s post. You simply click on the “Comment” link and voila, you’ve got a space to espouse your own opinions about whatever it is I’ve been talking about.

Some of you made good use of that comment feature on yesterday’s blog entry, specifically commenting on the news that local band The Big Deep won the “popular vote” at last weekend’s OEAA Summer Showcase, and as a result, was named to open the MAHA Music Festival on Aug. 13. Some were not pleased; one person, OEAA Board Member MarQ Manner, rushed to defend MAHA’s process. You can read all the comments right here.

I’ve avoided the fray on all this, except for Friday’s blog entry where I once again kicked a dead horse over the lack of signed local bands participating in the OEA showcase. Chatting this weekend with three bands that turned down offers to play the showcase, it came down to this: 1) It wasn’t a paying gig. They all said they’ve played benefits before, but didn’t consider the OEAA’s award banquet to be a “charity”; 2) A couple bands said they didn’t “fit in” with the rest of the OEAA bands — interpret that any way you want, and 3) All understood that by playing the OEAA showcase they could win a slot to play at the MAHA Music Festival (which they’d all love to do), but knew that they had absolutely no chance of winning the “contest” (and they were absolutely right). There was also considerable loathing of the idea of bands “battling” each other. Actually, I don’t know anyone who likes the battle of the bands concept, other than Manner and the bars who put on such events and probably The Big Deep and, of course, the MAHA organizers, and MECA and the Red Sky people.

OEAA organizers could solve the problem of not being able to attract “signed” local bands to their showcase. They could name one “headliner” per night per venue, and pay them. An unrealistic suggestion I suppose, but all three bands said they would have played the showcase for a few hundred bucks — a small fee to pay for credibility. So would all the other bands who agreed to play for free cry foul? Maybe. Maybe not. Without such a system, however, OEAA leaves out a huge segment of the Omaha music community, and defines itself as a purely amateur event.

As for the comments about MAHA’s selection of The Big Deep, well, you can’t hate on the band for winning. That said, the commenter named “Mike” made an excellent point. “I doubt that the fans that came out to (the OEA Showcase) to see The Big Deep are going to shell out $30 to see them at Maha, and Indreama fans wouldn’t have shelled out $30 just for Indreama (or whoever… just wanted a name of a band for an example), but the Indreama fan is more likely to have a ticket and might show up earlier, buying more food, more beer and being seen by show sponsors…” So true.

Don’t agree? Add a comment…

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Tonight at The Waiting Room one of Omaha’s most beloved (and talented) singer/songwriters, Brad Hoshaw, and his band The Seven Deadlies opens for Portland folk duo Blind Pilot. $10, 9 p.m.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



  • 300 bucks?
    how many of those bands play for peanuts at Oleaver’s?

    cannot blame an event organizer for not wanting to pay 300 to a band that might play for 50 any other night they choose to play at a non sanctioned OEA event.

    Comment by Timmy — July 12, 2011 @ 5:56 pm

  • I am not a fan of battle of the bands, nor did I (we) really set up the OEAA Summer Showcase to be one. MAHA approached us or someone approached MAHA about the tie in…not really sure how it went down…and it made sense. It makes sense for MAHA as you have sixty bands and artists out mentioning their event over and over again and making it seem like a big deal to play it. It motivates bands and artists to get people to the OEAA Summer Showcase…so that works for us.

    The goal of the OEAA Summer Showcase is not to be a battle of the bands for MAHA. It’s to get a bunch of musicians playing the same night, networking, playing in front of people that might not come out to “try them out” on a three band bill somewhere. It’s about exposure. We try to raise money to put on an awards show to further expose not only musicians, but visual artists, spoken word artists/poets, and theater.

    That is really it. No other agenda there. I realize some people don’t like or get the concept, and I is fine with that. I get that. I had that mentality at one point in life. There are a lot of artists in town that do like it, have a great time, and get mileage out of it. So we keep doing it for them. If that were not that case we wouldn’t volunteer hundreds of hours every year putting on all of these events. The only reason we do is because we feel that there is a lot of quality out there that a lot of people are not seeing-or that we think more people could see.

    I love Omaha indie music and invite that whole scene and open it up to them every year. Some play…many do not. Omaha has a lot of other styles of music going on too…and if they are more open to this type of thing…then it is what it is. There are many people that like more than one style of music, and so these types of events are very fun for them also.

    As far as paying a headlining band? We have a board of directors and that would be up to the entire entity. I personally would be very against it. It’s not fair to the other bands and artists that work hard every year and have been so generous with us and have given back to the arts scene in Omaha. I would have a big problem with that. Some people are into the community and support aspect of it…and those are the bands that I enjoy working with. Any band or artist or scene is invited to participate. I and our organization does not consider one type of music superior to another.


    Comment by MarQ — July 12, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

  • I played the showcase and was told it was not a battle of the bands this year. Showed up, player then saw the voting boxes. Said lame and drank beer. Not suprised some no name west Omaha band got on the bill. The Maha folks lost the pulse of the scene along time ago and this pick shows that…

    Comment by dude — July 12, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

  • That’s my biggest problem with the Omaha music scene. Too many dudes.

    Comment by JOC — July 12, 2011 @ 10:26 pm

  • I think you’re mistaking the OEA as a professional event when it is really an amateur talent show. Of course established bands aren’t giong to perform. They’ve moved beyond doing free events. The OEA shows are a chance to discover new bands that haven’t established themselves. That’s why none of them are on record labels. A Saddle Creek band doesn’t need to do stuff like an OEA showcase.

    Comment by Annie GG — July 12, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

  • It’s a 2 day show with a focus on local music. Play it or don’t. It isn’t a damn contest to see who is better. If you can’t take one night to do a free 40 minute set to show support of the local scene, help an organization that is trying to shine a light on local artists/performers/musicians/etc then that’s the bands choice. But don’t say that the “best” bands aren’t playing. Maybe Saddle Creek bands are “above” participating… but if they are, why enter them into this conversation at all? That’s like saying it isn’t really a showcase for the BEST local bands because 311 isn’t playing. Kinda lame.

    Comment by Alan — July 13, 2011 @ 10:37 am

  • 311 hasn’t been a “local band” since they moved to Los Angeles 10 years ago. Whether you want to admit it or not (because your band played) the best bands in Omaha do not and have not participated in an OEA thing in years, and I mean more than just the Saddle Creek Records Omaha crew, who by the way, do still live here (at least Tim Kasher and Connor Oberst and guys from the late great Faint).

    Comment by Boris — July 13, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  • has anyone ever noticed that it’s a pre-requisite for Tim to post about Saddle Creek or something related to Saddle Creek in nearly every story he writes?
    and sometimes desperately tries to tie in Saddle Creek into something that is in no way related… ha

    Comment by Timmy — July 13, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  • We’re a band. We made a decision to play because we like playing live. Nothing else was read into it. We didn’t think how we “fit in” (we played between The Machete Archive and The End In Red… 2 fantastic bands that are nothing like us musically), we didn’t think about pay because we we knew the situation going in, we didn’t think in terms of best or worst or anything…. we just played. It’s up to everyone else to consider the rest… As for the 311 example, it was just that… an example. I’m not picking a fight here. I would just like to see more original bands play and more people enjoy them without overthinking it, reading too much into it, or creating divisions. That’s my $.02.

    Comment by Alan — July 13, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  • Tim is pretty good about keeping the old boys network alive and building divisions and pitting people against one another, that’s what Saddle Creek pays him to do.

    Comment by Timmy — July 13, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  • I’m an avid reader of Tim McMahan’s columns and website. I enjoy his writing and the content.

    Comment by Alan — July 13, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

  • “the best bands in Omaha do not and have not participated in an OEA thing in years”
    Comment by Boris — July 13, 2011 @ 10:50 am

    You’re overestimating your personal taste and it’s value to the rest of the world.

    Comment by JOC — July 13, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

  • Timmy,

    I’m pretty sure TMAC hasn’t written about Old Boy Network in several years.

    Comment by JOC — July 13, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

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