Live Review: Neva Dinova, Doom Flower; Las Cruxes tonight; The Reader sendoff, Tom Bartolomei Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 11:32 am December 15, 2023

Neva Dinova at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 14, 2023.

by Tim McMahan,

Fans of Jake Bellows came out in droves last night at Reverb Lounge where Jake, Roger Lewis and Megan Siebe performed as Neva Dinova. It wasn’t a sellout but (I was told) dang near one, with a couple hundred people on hand to welcome their wayward son back to an Omaha stage. 

Bellows, who looks identical to the guy I interviewed in his basement practice space 22 years ago, ripped into an hour-plus set of old favorites (“Dances Fantastic,” “Brooklyn” among them) and new rockers. That’s right, I said rock songs, as the new tunes Jake and Co. unveiled (mostly) ripped at the same pace and power of the band’s recent single (which was also performed last night). 

I stood next to a long-time Neva fan throughout the set and would often turn to him after songs, both of us saying, “That’s another new one.” Turns out the band will be in town for an extended period as they record a new album, no doubt capturing on in the studio the songs we heard last night. 

Jake Bellows holding court at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 14, 2023.

They weren’t all rockers. It wouldn’t be a Neva Dinova/Jake Bellows concert without its share of slow-motion dirges that glow dimly like light through a NyQuil bottle… up until that point in every one when Bellows ripped into one of his Gilmour-esque guitar solos.

Early in the set, the band brought even more fire power on stage by asking Sun-Less Trio frontman/guitarist Mike Saklar to join them for five or six numbers, including some of those Neva chestnuts. Saklar’s ax work added just the right touch of extra spice to the musical stew. 

Doom Flower at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 14, 2023.

It wasn’t until I got home and did some research that I discovered the frontwoman of opening band, Doom Flower, was none other than Jess Price of the band Campdogzz, who releases music on Cursive’s 15 Passenger label. Unlike that band’s full-throttle rock, Doom Flower was going for a shimmery, Mazzy Star vibe – mid-tempo songs bordering on slowcore accented with trip-hop beats, a lead guitar tone that sounded like synths, and Price’s withdrawn, indecipherable, mumbled vocals. Gorgeous in its own way if only for the vibe, though I did wonder what Price was mewing about…

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It’s another weekend of local shows, which is what we get this time of year.

Tonight at The Sydney in Benson, Las Cruxes headlines a show that includes locals Frankie Chairo and No Sé, a band that has a potent shoegaze sound – no idea who they are or where they’re from, but check out their two tracks on Spotify. $10, 8:30. 

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s the big sendoff for The Reader at The Admiral Theater. Omaha’s arts and entertainment weekly turned monthly quit publishing earlier this year and the world hasn’t been the same since (for me, anyway). The invitation says there will be a roast for those responsible, which no doubt will focus on founder/publisher John Heaston. That alone is worth the price of admission (free!), but there also will be music from Stylo, Hector Anchondo, Noizewave and Mandown (it’s like a latter-day Ranch Bowl reunion). The fun starts at 7 p.m. Like I said, it’s free, with any donations going to a charity. Stop by and say goodbye to an Omaha institution!

Also Saturday night, Pageturners in Dundee is hosting a night of local singer/songwriters with Tom Bartolomei, Sean Pratt and Mike Schlesinger. This one is free, though there’s a $10 suggested donation. Starts at 8 p.m. 

Sunday night it’s back to Pageturners for a late afternoon musical treat provided by McCarthy Trenching. Starts at 5 p.m. and, same as before, free with suggested donation.

Also Sunday night, Nebraska singer/songwriter Andrea von Kampen provides a night of music at The Waiting Room. Von Kampen was a top-10 finalist in the 2016 NPR Tiny Desk Contest, which likely helped land her a record deal with Fantasy Records. She’s from Ann Arbor, but went to high school in Seward and received her degree in music at Concordia University. $20, 7 p.m. 

And 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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