Live Review: Higgins, Snake Island; Gardenheads, Dondero, Stevens tonight; Junkfest #19 Saturday; more O’Leaver’s mystery…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm November 8, 2013
Snake Island at The Waiting Room, Nov. 8, 2013.

Snake Island at The Waiting Room, Nov. 8, 2013.

by Tim McMahan,

With bands rotating on and off stage playing only 20-minute sets, last night’s Flyover Country CD release show felt like a social gathering more than a rock concert. The smallish crowd of fewer than 100 got a taste of a handful of bands with tracks on the CD. The two highlights I caught were Snake Island playing a blistering, well-crafted set of garage-ish rock that was too well-played, too “put together’ to really be considered “garage.” The word “slick” came to mind, along with “professional” and “tight.”

Dereck Higgins at The Waiting Room Nov. 8, 2013.

Dereck Higgins at The Waiting Room Nov. 8, 2013.

The other highlight was composer/performer and local legend (he probably gets tired of hearing that description) Dereck Higgins, who took the stage behind a keyboard and laptop and performed throbbing, synth-fueled multi-layered dance tracks that got a handful in the small crowd moving their asses — no easy feat in flyover country. Cool stuff that anyone who grew up listening to Factory dance records, or bands like New Order or Depeche Mode would appreciate. Higgins said the movie soundtrack was a taste of the material he put together during those creative sessions. Look for a new full-length Higgins release in the near future. I’d love to see how his stuff would translate at House of Loom played to an audience that came to dance.

A final footnote on Flyover Country: The film’s premiere is tonight and tomorrow at The Omaha Community Playhouse. Film rolls at 7:30, and tix are available from

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Way back in September, I wrote a column about a Springfield, MO band called The Gardenheads. The piece, which you can read online here, was a review of the band’s LP release Growing Season, wherein I referenced Big Star, Alex Chilton, Matthew Sweet, The dBs and Wilco, among others. I called the record one of the best I’ve heard this year, and certainly one of my favorites. I never expected to hear from the band again, let alone see them play.

Well, lo and behold, The Gardenheads are playing tonight at The Barley Street Tavern. The band is opening for The Beat Seekers, which means if you want to catch them, you’ll have to get there early. $5, 9 p.m. Funny how these things happen.

Also tonight, David Dondero returns to fabulous O’Leaver’s topping a stellar line-up that includes Brad Hoshaw and Ted Stevens Unknown Project. Dondero is on the road supporting his latest album, This Guitar, which was just released on vinyl by Unrequited Records. $7, 9 p.m. O’Leaver’s is  selling tickets to this one, which you can buy online right here.

Meanwhile, over at The Sydney, Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons performs with The Willards and Randy Burk. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday’s highlight is Junkfest #19 at The Sweatshop Gallery. The 11-band line-up is a celebration of Unread Records, which you read about in detail here. Among the performers: Furniture Huschle, Ramon Speed, David Kenneth Nance, Spirit Duplicator, I Am the Lake of Fire, William Wesley & the Tiny Sockets, Simon Joyner, Charlie McAlister, Hossflesh, Church of Gravitron and Nathan MA. 6 p.m., $7. Come celebrate the cassette culture and some fine, fine music.

Also Saturday night, Snake Island plays at O’Leaver’s with Ex Nuns and Pisswalker. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Oh yeah, one more thing… They’re calling these folks the return of emo, and judging by their name, I can see why. Sunday at Slowdown Jr. it’s The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (yes, that’s the name). Pitchfork compares their new album Whenever, If Ever (Top Shelf) to Bright Eyes and Arcade Fire in this 7.8-rated review. Opening is Better Friend and I Forgot To Love My Father. $8, 7 p.m. Bring a hankie.

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The latest clue regarding O'Leaver's Black Friday concert...

The latest clue regarding O’Leaver’s Black Friday concert…

Speaking of O’Leaver’s, I receive yet another clue about their mysterious Black Friday show in the form of the graphic on the left. No idea what it means. I did receive some other data regarding this show last night, basically confirming that no, this is not a warm-up show for Cursive’s December residency at The Waiting Room, nor is InDreama on the bill. Others have speculated (correctly) who one of the bands will be. See if you can figure it out.

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Did I leave anything off the list? Put it in the comments section. Have a fine weekend.

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



1 Comment

  • The secret show is Mean Street,Video ranger, and Talking Mountain. You’re welcome.

    Comment by Omaha guy — November 11, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

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