Early head’s up: Lambchop tomorrow night and the McManus connection; The Life and Times, Once a Pawn tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:27 pm April 26, 2012


by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Because there’s so much going on and I’m afraid this one could fall through the cracks, here’s an early head’s up about tomorrow night’s Lambchop show at Slowdown Jr. To the best of my knowledge, this will be the first time the legendary band has played in Omaha. Centered around genius singer/songwriter Kurt Wagner (who Salon calls “The best songwriter working today”), Lambchop has been marketed as “Nashville’s most fucked up country band,” and is often grouped in the alt-country category for reasons that seem to ignore the band’s eclectic style. Lambchop’s latest, Mr. M. (Merge, 2012), is a rather subdued collection of songs dedicated to the late, great Vic Chesnutt.

Lambchop used to be a huge ensemble, but on this tour the band is performing as a five-piece, or at least they did when they played in Chicago Tuesday night for what was described in this review in the Chicago Tribune as a “full yet hushed” performance. Among the questions entering this show: Will Omahan Alex McManus join the band during their set?

McManus was a member of Lambchop and is credited with appearing on at least six of their albums, going back to 1998’s What Another Man Spills to 2008’s OH (Ohio). McManus’ musical history includes backing Vic Chesnutt from 1994 through 1998, which led to his Lambchop tour of duty. From a 2003 Lazy-i interview with McManus (still online here):

At the same time, McManus had met Kurt Wagner, the frontman for the Nashville-based ensemble Lambchop, a backporch orchestra that contained as many as 15 members playing a sort of avant-garde form of country music. Before long, McManus was also touring with Lambchop, which was building a sizable following throughout Europe. “It ballooned from there and I ended up amicably parting ways with Vic to play more with Lambchop,” McManus said.

His relationship with Wagner and the band continues today, having gone out 13 weeks in 2002 with Lambchop’s mini orchestra. “It’s a really challenging thing to work with Lambchop. You have to have a great deal of restraint to not step all over everyone. I can sit back in some songs and just listen and then make a peep or squawk, and then step out again. It’s fun to be able to know your little part is going to make a difference.”

McManus’ current band, the fantastic So-So Sailors, opens tomorrow night’s Lambchop show, and is doing it on the strength of some very good news: The Sailors announced Tuesday that their EP, Young Hearts, will be released in the UK/Ireland in June on No Dancing Records out of Belfast.

If you don’t have the $12 tickets to tomorrow night’s show, you should probably pick them up ASAP as this one is in Slowdown’s small room, though tomorrow is a hugely crowded night for shows, with Conduits at The Brothers, Lupines at O’Leaver’s, and Lights at The Waiting Room.

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KC band The Life and Times return to Omaha tonight, this time to The Waiting Room. The trio just released a new album, No One Loves You Like I Do, on SlimStyle Records. They’ll be touring with prog/metal band UME this summer. Opening tonight is Landing on the Moon and Lonely Estates. $8, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, fantastic Lincoln punk band Once a Pawn plays with Skyman and Escape the Fire at Slowdown Jr. $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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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