New release Friday; Conor plays for free; Big Wheel, Nathan Ma tonight; Ceremony, InDreama, Gramps, Omaha Girls Rock! Saturday; Ataris, Little Brazil Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:52 pm July 10, 2015

by Tim McMahan,

NPR had a solid feature this morning on New Music Fridays — the shift of release schedules for new albums from the traditional Tuesday to Friday. It began today. I think it’s probably a mistake, but what do I know? Record stores “owned” Tuesdays because there was nothing else going on that day. Fridays are crowded with film releases and the general hub-bub that surrounds the weekend…

But in this new streaming age, does the release date matter to anyone except brick-and-mortar stores?

Are we headed toward an age when music is released digitally whenever? Probably not, at least not while record labels continue to exist because they depend on that bulge of sales/stream traffic that comes with release dates, and market for it.

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Yesterday right after lunch the PR folks at Omaha Performing Arts announced that Conor Oberst will be the headliner for the first-ever Holland Stages Festival on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Sez the press release: “The free all-day performing arts event is a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Holland Performing Arts Center. The festival will be held on five stages inside and outside the building at 1200 Douglas St., with family-friendly performances, followed by a variety of jazz, roots, world and blues artists until 5 p.m., and ending with the Holland Stages ‘After Dark,’ which will include Oberst’s performance at 8 p.m. and a House of Loom dance party afterward.”

It’s free, but you’ll still need a ticket to get in. How they’re going to pull that one off without pissing off a lot of people is anyone’s guess, but we’ll find out how they’ll do it “at a later date.” And if they need an opener, I can think of a certain band from the North Carolina region

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Tonight’s really big shoe is the Big Wheel CD release show at Reverb Lounge. Big Wheel was born of the musical collaboration of songwriters Jason Churchill and Kevin Hiddleston, who just happen to be sound engineers. Believe me, if you go to shows, you’ve seen these dudes running around making sure everything sounds good. Anyway, they added Bill Nanson on drums and Mike Matsui on bass. “We don’t play emo, we don’t play metal; we play guitar-oriented rock songs with hooks.” That it is. We’re talking traditional rock ‘n’ roll here, and considering the personnel involved, you can imagine how well recorded it is. Opening is The Sons of Reverb Lounge and The Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck. $7, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Nathan Ma and the Rosettes headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Madison band The Minotaurs and Navy Gang. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And if you’re hanging around downtown early in the evening, check out Matt Whipkey playing at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Lee Bowes also is on the bill, which begins at 6 p.m.

BTW, the Down Under has moved to where the Side Door Lounge used to be at 3530 Leavenworth. Check out their new stage at a free show tonight featuring Aly Peeler and a bunch of other performers. Starts at 8 p.m.

I realize it’s probably going to be a late night for all of us, but you’ve got to get up early Saturday morning and run in The Indie 5K / 10K race. I’ll be there sweating up a storm. More info here.

Tomorrow night it’s Matador band Ceremony at The Sweatshop Gallery. Read an interview with the band at Hear Nebraska. The band’s new album, The L-Shaped Man,  is indeed a departure from their past metal sound. Now they sound like Interpol. Opening is Tony Molina, Creative Adult and FLAK. This will be a packed show. $10, 9 p.m.

Under the Radar Festival is going on all weekend. You can check the schedule at their website, but Saturday night there’s a special performance by Nik Fackler and InDreama at Sokol Auditorium. The entire show starts at 7:30. Check out the line-up and ticket info here.

Also Saturday night, it’s time for another Omaha Girls Rock! concert, this time at The Waiting Room. The non-profit puts on a special concert with all their summer camp participants annually, and it’s always a hoot. Support this great cause and see tomorrow’s stars today. $5, 5:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Gramps (featuring Love Drunk director Django Greenblatt-Seay) opens for Thinkin’ Machines and Beth Bombara at The Barley Street Tavern. $5, 9:30 p.m.

While over at O’Leaver’s Saturday night All Young Girls Are Machine Guns headline with High Up (featuring the Fink sisters, Christine and Orenda, and a host of heroes) and Manic Pixie Dream Girls. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally, Sunday night at The Lookout Lounge (formerly The Hideout) pop-punk band The Ataris headlines. The band will be playing Blue Skies, Broken Hearts…Next 12 Exists (1999, Kung Fu Records) in its entirety. Also on the bill, local heroes Little Brazil and Low Long Signal and touring act Arliss Nancy. $10, 8 p.m. Never a better time t check out the club under new management?

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 — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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