A look ahead at the calendar of touring indie shows…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 12:27 pm July 2, 2024

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When nothing’s going on, I like to update the list of upcoming touring indie shows. Not much change over the last update except the addition of that Bright Eyes date (so rare to have a Steelhouse concert on the list!). I also added A Giant Dog at Reverb Sept. 5 and a couple others. Grrrl Camp is in just a few weeks! Get your tickets now.

  • July 7 – X @ The Waiting Room
  • July 7 – TV Star @ Reverb
  • July 8 – The Baseball Project @ The Waiting Room
  • July 15 – Etran de L’Air @ The Waiting Room
  • July 18 — Blanky at Pageturners Lounge
  • July 19-20 – Grrrl Camp @ Falconwood
  • July 24 – Caspian @ The Waiting Room
  • July 31 – SNÕÕPER @ Reverb
  • Aug. 3 – Orville Peck @ The Admiral
  • Aug. 3 – Shiner @ Reverb
  • Aug. 7 – Cults @ The Waiting Room
  • Aug. 9-10 – Outlandia Music Festival @ Falconwood
  • Aug. 15 – PACKS @ The Slowdown
  • Aug. 17 — Petfest @ Petshop Gallery
  • Aug. 19 – King Buzzo @ The Slowdown
  • Sept. 5 – A Giant Dog @ Reverb
  • Sept. 12 – Soft Kill @ The Slowdown
  • Sept. 21 – Built to Spill @ The Waiting Room
  • Sept. 22 — Bright Eyes @ Steelhouse
  • Sept. 24 – Why? @ The Slowdown
  • Sept. 25 – Descendents @ The Admiral
  • Oct. 1 – Jungle @ The Astro
  • Oct. 4 – Brigitte Calls Me Baby @ Reverb
  • Oct. 4 – Turnover @ The Slowdown
  • Oct. 5 – Fontaines D.C. @ The Slowdown
  • Oct. 16 – Mdou Moctar @ The Waiting Room 
  • Oct. 17 – Superchunk @ The Waiting Room
  • Oct. 18-19 – Cursive @ The Waiting Room
  • Oct. 22 – Psychedelic Furs/Jesus and Mary Chain @ The Astro
  • Oct. 26 – Porches @ Reverb
  • Oct. 31 – Lunar Vacation @ The Slowdown

Am I missing something? Let me know…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Roger Daltrey, Inhaler; The Goalie’s Anxiety… Bokr Tov, B.B. Sledge tonight… 

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:23 pm July 1, 2024
Surprisingly sparse crowd for Roger Daltrey at the annual Memorial Park concert June 28, 2024.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

On one hand, I was surprised at the light turn-out for the Roger Daltrey/Inhaler free concert at Memorial Park Friday night. On the other hand, I had to wonder how many people under the age of 30 know who Roger Daltrey is and was. 

To underscore the latter perception, Omaha Magazine posted a video on social media wherein one of their “reporters” asked random kids if they knew Daltrey’s music. You can imagine the results.  Add to that week-long weather forecasts that warned of thunderstorms (the weather was beautiful, btw), and I guess I can see why the attendance was lower than I expected. 

Inhaler at the annual Memorial Park concert, June 28, 2024.

It’s a shame, because Friday’s concert was somewhat awesome and maybe the best Memorial Park show I’ve attended. Opening act Inhaler featured Bono-from-U2’s son, Elijah Hewson, on lead vocals and guitar and was a solid band. It’s unfair to compare Inhaler to U2 I know, but it’s impossible not to. Hewson’s voice is a doppelgänger of his old man’s, but their pop-alt-rock music was a far cry from the power and energy heard on albums Bono was making when he was Elijah’s age. Ah, but those were different times. 

Inhaler’s slick, formulaic approach to songwriting will either mean their music will remain unforgettable or, considering the pedigree and the power of Universal (their label), that they’ll be superstars. I wish the Omaha Magazine folks would have asked the same kids if they knew who Inhaler was. 

Right at 8:30, on came Roger Daltrey and his band. The last time I heard him sing live was years ago when The Who played at CHI Center (or whatever it was called at the time). Back then, Daltrey was clearly under the weather – or so we were told – and his voice was a rasping, ragged ghost of its former self. 

Roger Daltrey performing in Memorial Park, Omaha, June 28, 2024.

That wasn’t the case Friday night. At age 80, Daltrey can still hit (most) of the high notes and is smart enough not to try when he knows he can’t. I was astonished at how well he sang.  

The setlist was a great collection of classic Who songs and appropriate covers, opening with a cover of Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open the Door,” which Daltrey said The Who should have recorded. Lots of old Who songs followed, including “Substitute,” “Squeeze Box” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again” alongside a rarity like “Tattoo.” Daltrey did an a cappella rendition of the first few lines of “Love, Reign O’Er Me” just to sort of prove to the crowd that he could, and after the first chorus said, “That’s enough of that.” 

The band, which included guitarist Simon Townshend (Pete’s son, who sang leads on “Going Mobile”), was solid, replacing pulsing organ and synths lines on songs like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and set closer “Baba O’Riley” with violin and accordion, to great effect. 

As the set ran toward 10 p.m., Daltrey said they had time for one short one, and so they ripped into “The Kids Are Alright.” A few seconds into the song, Daltrey said from stage, “They’re telling us we have to stop. They’re giving us the hook,” but despite this, the band played to the end. I don’t know if they were being directed by a curfew or the start time for the disasterous fireworks display, which came on immediately after Roger said goodnight.  

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Tonight at The Slowdown, Philly band The Goalie’s Anxiety at the Penalty Kick headlines. The six-member band has a real throwback sound to ’00s indie, almost like early K Records chamber-pop bands (or our very own Slumber Party Records’ acts). Also on the bill are local indie bands Bokr Tov and B.B. Sledge. 8 p.m. $15. 

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Roger Daltrey and Bono Jr. in the park; Bug Heaven Friday; Healer, Lightning Stills Saturday… 

Roger Daltrey of The Who plays tonight in Memorial Park.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Roger Daltrey of The Who is scheduled to perform in Memorial Park this evening.

Apparently Daltrey doesn’t like it when people look up his past set lists to see what he’ll be playing at his concerts. That said, here’s a link to his setlist played at Meadow Brook Amphitheater in Rochester Hills, MI, June 25. It reads like “The Who’s Greatest Hits,” minus anything from Tommy. I expect “Baba O’Riley” will be the night’s epic closer. 

For some, Daltrey’s opening band, Inhaler, is why they’ll be at the park. The Dublin band is fronted by Elijah Hewson, Bono’s son. who sings just like dear old dad. Their latest LP, Cuts and Bruises, was released last year on Universal. As a U2 fan, I’m looking forward to seeing these guys, though I’m also a long-time fan of The Who. 

I’m not a fan of the recent weather, however, and the National Weather Service has put Omaha in the “Slight Risk” category for severe weather to strike sometime between 4 and 11 p.m. – i.e., when the concert is supposed to be happen. Channel 7 is saying the storms should be over by showtime. Fingers crossed.

Inhaler is scheduled to come on at 6:45. Daltrey comes on at 8:30. Fireworks at 10. Park at UNO and walk over. Look for the guy in the Lazy-i baseball shirt.

So what else is happening this weekend?

Tonight at The Sydney in Benson Bug Heaven headlines a bill that includes a couple bands I’ve not heard before – Old Wolves and Russell Wolf. $10, 8 p.m. (but seeing as this is The Sydney, count on a later start time). 

And then Saturday, there’s a big metal show at The Waiting Room called The Great American Metal BBQ. Tucked in among all the metal bands is Healer. Dan Brennan, who fronts Healer, said this will be a solo set for Healer as his bandmate, Johnny Svatos, can’t make the show. 

You may not be aware that Svatos’ music store, Ground Floor Guitar (GFG), was robbed again last week, with two thieves stealing two valuable consignment guitars as well as Svatos’ car. GFG is closed until they figure out a business model wherein they can secure their stuff from thieves. A GoFundMe was set up last week that raised over $10,000 for GFG and Svatos.

As part of the fundraising effort, Brennan will be selling Healer mech and GFG merch at Saturday’s show, with all proceeds going to GFG. Dan will also be taking donations via Venmo since the GFM is now closed. 

Seeing Dan’s solo set and supporting GFG is reason enough to drop by the metal BBQ. Also on the bill are The Tale Untold, Catsclaw, Conflicts, Zach Adkins and Bloodwork. Healer (Brennan) will go on sometime around 7:30. Tickets are $15.

Also Saturday night, the country and western band born out of a punk band – Lightning Stills – opens for Denver country/folk band Clay Street Unit at The Slowdown. $12, 8 p.m. Yee-haw!

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 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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bright Eyes brought to you by 89.7 The River? #TBT: The River Music Summit – my, have times changed… 

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:54 am June 27, 2024

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I haven’t listened to FM radio station 89.7 The River in years, so when the Sept. 22 Bright Eyes concert at Steelhouse was announced as being “presented by 89.7 The River,” I had to wonder… Does The River even play Bright Eyes’ music? Because they never used to.

Back in the day, The River was an alt-rock/metal/grunt-rock radio station. If you were looking for Korn or Slipknot, you found your home on the radio dial. Listening to the station’s live stream as I type this (at 8 a.m. CT, June 27, 2024), they just played Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Daughtry, Filter and Ghost, though the set started with The Last Dinner Party. 

After a bit of digging, I found The River’s playlist for the week of June 17 online at their website (the play list is here) and alas, Bright Eyes wasn’t on it. Of the 50 or so bands listed, almost all were on major labels, most were alt-rock or metal. The closest thing to an indie band was Black Keys, who started out on Fat Possum and Nonesuch but are currently on Warners. And just now, the station’s promo announced that The River is “Your anchor for metal and modern rock.” So there you go.

If that’s the case, why is the Sept. 22 Bright Eyes concert brought to you by The River? If I had to venture a guess, I’d say it had something to do with the fact that Omaha Performing Arts (the owner Steelhouse Omaha) is booked exclusively by Live Nation, a company that books national tours by a lot of the bands on The River playlist. 

The Steelhouse / Bright Eyes booking was a head-scratcher from the beginning. Bright Eyes is a Ground Control Touring band and their shows were historically booked by 1% Productions, which runs The Admiral and The Astro (with Mammoth Productions) – two venues that also would have been a good fit for this Bright Eyes show.  To be honest, I’m not sure how all these players work together.

Still, the question persists: Will 89.7 The River add Bright Eyes to their regular rotation? I know I’ve heard Bright Eyes on the station before (and not just on one of their specialty shows)… but it was probably 15 years ago. 

Anyway, all of this reminds me of the time 20 years ago when I sat on a panel hosted by The River’s Sophia John. The topic of “The River Music Summit” was how to succeed in the music business. While the Internet was definitely up and running, streaming didn’t exist (neither did iPhones), though music downloading had already begun. 

Let’s take a trip back to 2004 on this Throwback Thursday and contemplate how much — and how little — the music industry has changed…

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Who wants to be a rock star? The River Music Summit rehash – from Lazy-i, June 28, 2004

Let me preface this to say I was probably the wrong person to be on Saturday’s panel at The River Music Summit. Just a glance at the audience pretty much indicated that the vast majority of the 300+ people in the audience were metal fans, loyal listeners of 89.7 The River and support how they operate their station. I don’t listen to The River and don’t agree with their decision to play mainstream commercial metal on what’s supposed to be a college radio station. Regardless, the audience was made up mostly of musicians whose idea of success is moving a million units and being on MTV (or a Clear Channel radio station). Successful indie bands are lucky to sell 10,000 copies of their CDs. Really successful indie bands could sell 100,000. Almost none of them sell a million.

So anyway, here I was on this panel. To my left (according to the program) was Andrew Linde from Tinderstick promotions, a company that handles a lot of indie bands. To my right, three or so current or former radio executives, none from traditional college radio stations. At the far end of the table, Mike Fratt representing Homer’s Records and MarQ Manner representing Delmar Productions. Linde and I were clearly outnumbered, but then again, I doubt the majority of this audience cared two shits about the indie music scene.

The core message — how to promote your music to radio and press — was more of a seminar on how to get your music on commercial radio — i.e., how your band could be the next Korn. Sophia John, the program manager at 89.7 The River, did most of the talking. Appropriately, I said very little. At one point I had a chance to ask the crowd, “How many of you would be satisfied selling 10,000 copies of your CD?” A few dozen hands went up. Then, “How many of you would be happy selling 100,000 copies?” About half the audience raised their hands. Finally, “How many of you won’t be happy until you sell a million copies.” Here, more than half the hands went up.

Later I asked, “How many of you are in this business to make a million dollars?” One hand. Good. “All right then, how many of you are doing it for the money?” Some hands, not many. Then, “How many are in it for the music?” Most hands went up. I told them that if they could be satisfied selling 10,000 copies, they could make music the way they wanted to make music. But if they want to be on a major label, they’re going to have to compromise to the suits, and will lose control of their music — talk about stating the obvious, eh?

Still, I doubt this was what the organizers wanted communicated at the summit. The radio guy next to me made the point that the music business is all about greed — he was a real Gordon Gecko type. Sophia’s message was that The River was going to save the Omaha music scene and that it’s the only radio outlet for local music.

There was some verbal jousting between Sophia and the panelists (me included). Her and Linde argued over debt and major label record deals. Linde said that most musicians don’t realize that as soon as they sign with a major label, they’re immediately in debt. Why? Because the advance money and promotional costs are really loans to the bands, that the label is acting like a bank, loaning money that they expect to recoup through CD sales. 

Sophia took exception to this, asking Linde to name one band that had to pay back an advance to a label after they were dropped. Linde said he knew bands that were in that exact situation, but couldn’t name names. Sophia said she’d never ever heard of a failed band forced to repay a label. An apparent VH1 Behind the Music watcher in the crowd yelled, “What about the Goo Goo dolls?” Sophia yelled back, “What about the Goo Goo dolls? They’re making millions of dollars for themselves and their label.” Yeah, the guy said, but what if they hadn’t gotten signed by Warners after they were dropped by Metal Blade?

Sophia was right, of course. It seems doubtful that a major label would call out the dogs to get advance money from a failed band, probably for the simple fact that 1) It would cost more in lawyers fees and bad PR to pursue it and 2) Because the band simply doesn’t have the cash and probably never will. But wasn’t Linde’s point the fact that the bands are, in fact, in debt from the second they sign a deal? Sure, they may never have to pay back the money, but they know they’re still responsible for it, that they ethically should do what they can to pay it back. Instead, one of the panelists pointed out how it’s important for bands and musicians to set up a separate incorporated business so that the labels can’t sue them for their personal money.

Sophia didn’t like my admiration for Saddle Creek Records (It should be pointed out here that I asked the crowd to raise their hands if they had even heard of Saddle Creek Records. I counted maybe seven or eight hands). I mentioned Saddle Creek early in the panel as an example of a label that would be doing pretty well if a new artist sold 10,000 copies of a CD. That, despite the fact that Creek’s total sales since it was formed wouldn’t equal a tenth of what Eminem sold of his last CD, the label is still held in the highest esteem as a leading national indie label.

So, when someone asked about press kits, I said I threw one-sheets away — put your info on the internet along with your press photo and include the URL on the CD case. I then made the mistake of mentioning how Saddle Creek printed a brief bio on the back of their artists’ promo jewel cases. Sophia had had enough. “Saddle Creek! Is that the only label you can talk about? What about Suckapunch Records?” I replied that I didn’t think Suckapunch printed their bios on the back of their discs, then went on to talk more about Creek, which was met with Sophia’s shaking head… Oh well.

I’m guilty. I like Saddle Creek Records, their artists and what they’ve accomplished. I also think it makes sense to use them as an example as they’re the second most successful local record label (Mannheim Steamroller being the most successful overall, Creek being the most successful rock label). Historically, The River hasn’t been the biggest supporter of Saddle Creek. But according to their website, they now play Cursive and Azure Ray in rotation. Still, it’s embarrassing that you can’t hear Creek’s most successful band, Bright Eyes, on the radio in the band’s own hometown.

Sophia’s last argument (with me, anyway) came when a couple of the execs were talking about how artists get their music played on the radio. Their point appeared to be that the name of the game these days is “pay for play.” I kind of got lost here, when out of the blue, Sophia said she didn’t know how reviews get published and asked if bands or labels pay to have reviews placed in the paper. No, I said, newspapers don’t receive payments for running reviews. But Sophia disagreed, saying that it might not have happened in my experience, but she was certain that it happens all the time, which she said would explain a lot of the bad CD reviews that she’d read.

Sophia may be right. I can’t speak for Rolling Stone or Magnet or Alternative Press. I don’t know anyone who works at those pubs. They may very well be rolling in payola from CD reviews. But somehow, I doubt it.

At the end of the panel, I think the audience got what they wanted to hear. At one point, one of the radio guys said something like “I know these guys are telling you to be satisfied with selling 10,000 CDs, but I’m telling you the guys from Korn were sitting right where you are now, and they did it. You can too!” – June 28, 2004

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Bright Eyes – album, video, Omaha show Sept. 22 (presale now)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 11:35 am June 26, 2024
Screen cap from Bright Eyes’ new video for the single, “Bells and Whistles.”

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Remember what I said yesterday about going to the French Cassettes show “barring the threat of ‘baseball-sized hail’”? Yikes.

And while it sucks to miss the show, it must really suck for Slowdown and the bands. This is the worst spring weather-wise in recent memory, and it must be having a negative impact on local clubs and music venues. Like I’ve always said: If you’re even vaguely contemplating going to a show – GO! Who knows when you’ll get another chance, especially if it’s a touring indie band. 

Anyway, speaking of shows…

Yesterday Bright Eyes announced their new album, Five Dice, All threes, is being released Sept. 20 via Dead Oceans. From the press release: “Comprised of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nate Walcott, the beloved band’s 10th studio album features guest performances from long time friends Cat Power, The National’s Matt Berninger and The So So Glos’ Alex Orange Drink.” 

Based on the video that also dropped yesterday for the first single, “Bells and Whistles,” local legend Roger Lewis also is playing drums in this iteration of Bright Eyes. The video was shot a few weeks ago after a cattle call for locals to participate. See if you recognize anyone you know. 

The album was recorded in Omaha at ARC Studios produced and recorded by Oberst and Mogis. Preorder the album here

The band also announced a six-date US tour that includes a show at Steelhouse Omaha Sept. 22, followed by a 9-date European/UK tour. 

Presale tickets to the Steelhouse show are on sale now using the code “ALLTHREES” and range in price from $49 to $130. Get ’em while you can

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


French Cassettes, Ojai, Andrew St. James tonight at Slowdown…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 8:57 am June 25, 2024
Ojai at O’Leaver’s March 18, 2024. The band plays tonight at Slowdown w/French Cassettes.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Barring the threat of “baseball-sized hail,” as currently forecast (at a 10-30% chance) by the National Weather Service, I’ll be at tonight’s French Cassettes show at Slowdown’s front room.

In case you missed it, French Cassettes frontman took the Ten Questions survey last week (read it here, and watch their classic Union Pacific railyard video). Omaha indie-rock trio Ojai is one of tonight’s openers. Fronted by singer/songwriter Michael Hulstein, the band just dropped a new video, directed by Tony Bonacci (The Headliner), shot in locations around town. Check it below. 

Also on the bill is San Francisco singer/songwriter Andrew St. James, who’s touring with French Cassettes. I think his last album was 2021’s Light After Darkness.  $15, 8 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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Jenny Don’t and the Spurs, Wagon Blasters tonight at Reverb Lounge…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 7:38 am June 24, 2024
Jenny Don’t and the Spurs play tonight at Reverb Lounge. Photo by Julia Varga.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

No shows again for me this past weekend, but this week is looking up…

For example, take Jenny Don’t and the Spurs gig tonight at Reverb Lounge. The Portland band’s name and cowboy get-ups would have you believe they’re exclusively C&W; and while there’s plenty of twang to go around, Jenny’s yodally vocals remind me more of Neko Case than Tammy Wynette on songs that lean into rockabilly and cowpunk territory.  The band’s latest long-player, Broken Hearted Blue, was released earlier this month by on Fluff & Gravy Records. 

Opening this show is Nebraska’s own tractor-punk heroes Wagon Blasters, who by themselves are worth the $15 ticket price. Start time is 8 p.m. What the hell else you got to do on a Monday night?

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


JAMC/Psych Furs tickets on sale today; Dip Tet, Cupholder, Universe Contest Saturday; Murder By Death, MellowPhobia Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 9:20 am June 21, 2024
The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.
The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont as part of South By Southwest, March 15, 2012. The band is playing with Psychedelic Furs at The Astro Oct. 22.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The big news: Tickets to the Oct. 22 Psychedelic Furs/Jesus and Mary Chain concert at The Astro Theater in La Vista go on sale today at 10 a.m. Tickets will run $59 to $99. There’s much buzz for this show, which could actually get me out to The Astro for the first time. Frankie Rose (Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stills) opens. Get yer tickets here at 10. Good luck. 

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Tonight at The Sydney local ambient/slowcore/indie band The Ivory Claws headlines a show with The Bedrock and Little Rooms. I’m not familiar with any of these acts, but the few Ivory Claws tracks I’ve listened to are intriguing. $10, 9 p.m. 

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to The Sydney for Lincoln indie/alt rock band Univese Contest. The band has made The Sydney their second home.  Universe Contest opens at 9 p.m. followed by Benson Soul Society until close. Just $5! 

Also Saturday night, there’s a free indie-punk show at fabulous O’Leavers with Cupholder, Dip Tet (members of Ideal Cleaners, Halfwit, FACE), and Valley Street (self-proclaimed ‘Millard-core’ band). 9 p.m. and, like I said, it’s free!

Sunday night, Bloomington’s Murder by Death headlines at The Waiting Room. They call their sound “gothic country,” which is a pretty apt description, and have released albums on Bloodshot and Vagrant. Their single, “Coming Home,” was used in Inglorious Bastards promos and Sons of Anarchy. Wildermiss opens at 8 p.m. $35.

Also Sunday night, Kansas City alt rock band MellowPhobia headlines at Reverb Lounge with Wood Hoops and LYXE. $13, 8 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 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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Bright Eyes, Monsters of Folk, Spirit of the Beehive, Jeremy Mercy; Cursive’s Devourer rocks…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 9:53 am June 20, 2024
Spirit of the Beehive at The Slowdown May 11, 2022. The band has a new album coming out on Saddle Creek Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Cleaning out that ol’ email box…

More and more, indie artists are using Instragram almost solely for their announcements, moreso than any other social media platform. At least that’s been my experience. Facebook is for “old people,” Tik Tok is for the younsters, Twitter/X is for Trumpers, but Instagram still holds value for hip. young music fans, maybe because it’s harder for advertisers to usurp.

Take Bright Eyes, for instance. Earlier this week the band announced it has a new album coming out this fall via this video “reel” on Instagram featuring Conor Oberst’s nephew, Sam. And a day or so prior to that, Bright Eyes posted a photo from what appears to be the inside of ARC Studio in Omaha, with the caption “baking cake.” Ho-ho!

Online publications like Exclaim! glommed onto the posts and amplified the news with headlines like “Bright Eyes Confirm 11th Album Arriving This Fall.” More info coming soon… no doubt, via Instagram. 

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Monsters of Folk, on the other hand, used a traditional Press Release to announce the band’s just released reissue of their 2009 debut via ATO Records. The reissue includes five additional tracks recorded in 2012 with Centro-matic’s Will Johnson for use in an unproduced science fiction film scripted by Conor Oberst (which we’d all love to see. Maybe Conor can share the script with Icky Blossoms’ guitarist and motion picture director Nik Fackler?). 

Here’s another of those newly released sci-fi tracks…

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While Saddle Creek Records’ original crown jewel bands Bright Eyes and Cursive announced new albums on competing record labels, Omaha’s hometown record company last week announced it’s releasing the next album by Spirit of the Beehive, titled You’ll Have to Lose Something, on Aug. 23. 

The band dropped the first video from the album (below), and announced its U.S. tour, which unfortunately doesn’t include Omaha. Closest passes are Chicago’s The Outset Sept. 28 or Denver’s Meow Wolf Sept. 30.

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Closer to home, singer/songwriter Jeremy Mercy’s latest band — Jeremy Mercy and the Rapture Orphans — released a new single called “Dead Headlights (Another Winter in Omaha)” from their forthcoming EP Heavyweight: Volume II. The tracks were recorded at Make Believe Studio and were produced and mixed by audio engineer extraordinaire Ian Aeillo (Flight School). Check out the new track below.

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And what have I been listening to lately? I’ve been spending a lot of time with Cursive’s new album, Devourer, which comes out Sept. 13 on Run for Cover Records. I’ve already written a review of the album, but the band’s PR folks want me to hold it until the record drops, which is fine (whatever happened to building anticipation?).

I will say this about the album, however – it’s a return to classic Cursive and is, in my humble opinion, the best thing they’ve done since Happy Hallow. You’ll have to wait to read the rest of the review…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with French Cassettes (@ Slowdown 6/25)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 10:44 am June 19, 2024
French Cassettes play at Slowdown June 25. Photo by Marisa Bazan.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Hailing from San Francisco, French Cassettes give a nod to The Beach Boys and Magnetic Fields as two “apparent influences” to the music on their third LP, Benzine (2024, Tender Loving Empire). Their dedication to well-constructed indie pop, however, is also reminiscent of acts like Whitney, Guster, Ben Folds and (a less earnest version of) Okkervil River. 

Singer/songwriter Scott “Benz” Huerta is the trio’s center-pivot, having formed the band (originally a four-piece) with guitarist/bassist/keyboard player Mackenzie Bunch back in 2006. The current iteration is rounded out by new drummer Rob Mills. While Huerta’s voice has that classic indie frontman croon, it’s Bunch’s harmonies that give their songs extra lift. 

Huerta agreed to take on the Ten Questions gauntlet in support of the band’s June 25 show at Slowdown with Ojai. But before we get to that, a quick story that involved my former life at Union Pacific Railroad: 

It was January 2015 and in an effort to attract young recruits to consider railroad careers, Union Pacific attempted what can only be called “a social media experiment.” The railroad’s Corporate Communications department created a video series, developed and filmed by videographer/musician/all-around-good-guy Django Greenblatt-Seay, wherein small national indie bands performed songs safely within the confines of a live rail yard. 

French Cassettes was among the bands involved in that experiment. They were shot performing their song, “Radley,” at Union Pacific’s Oakland Intermodal Terminal. The final product is linked at the end of 10Q, right after an 11th question about Huerta’s memory of the project.

Please to enjoy…

What is your favorite album?

Scott Huerta, French Cassettes: i by The Magnetic Fields is definitely #1.  And I know this is cheating the question but I feel like I have to honorably mention:
Discovery – E.L.O. 
Comfort Eagle – CAKE
Room on Fire – The Strokes

2. What is your least favorite song?

I don’t like pickin’ fights so I don’t go around saying this, but “Piano Man.” I like Billy Joel I just don’t really want to hear about a guy who plays piano for 5-and-a-half minutes. Maybe I just don’t get it. 

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

This is a TalkBoy.

Singing harmonies with talented singers. I’ve wanted to have that since my grandma showed me Beach Boys when I was super young. As fun as it was layering a bunch of my voice with my TalkBoy, I prefer being in an actual group. 

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

I got a bum knee and my amp weighs 40 pounds. 

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Legal: green tea boba

Illegal: pickin’ fruit from trees hanging over people’s fences 

6. In what city or town do you love to perform (and why)?

San Francisco of course because it’s home base. Anywhere in Central Valley CA. We played Sacramento the other night and talk about a good-time-havin’ rowdy bunch.  New York and Denver are always really kind to us and like to sing the songs. 

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

A long time ago we played a blood drive — us in a parking lot with 100 folding chairs set up and not a single person showed up. The staff felt bad and made all the employees watch. Then as a peace offering, they gave us a tour of the blood bank and I almost passed out halfway through. I learned that day that I’m not a blood person. Nice folks, though. 

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

We’re not doing that bad, I’d say. I live pretty modestly so that helps when it comes time for bills. But especially recently we’ve been blown away by the support from our fans. That being said, there were definitely days where I was eating cans of tuna for breakfast lunch and dinner. But I don’t mind – I love tuna. 

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I attempted to be a child actor, but no one showed up to my first class, not even the teacher, so I took that as a sign. Also I was 30.  There’ve been a few others. Carpenter, mechanic, mailman in Ireland. 

I wouldn’t want to work in a kitchen only because I move pretty slowly and everyone would hate me; I got too thin skin for that. 

10. What stories have you heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Sorry, I’m sure you get this all the time but honestly just what Toro y Moi sings about in his “Omaha” song. I’ve learned Omaha is one of people’s favorite cities to say out loud, very beautiful word. Basically, I’ve got much to learn and I plan to soak in as much as possible while we’re there this tour. I bet it’s my kinda place. 

Extra Question: What do you remember about filming the Union Pacific rail yard video?

I remember it was very early. And they told us legally we had to wear all the gear. But mostly I remember the comments on YouTube, so good. “What does this band have to do with trains?,” “music’s not as bad as I expected.” They get even better. It’s worth checking out when you have time. Union Pacific let us keep the wardrobe and I used the glasses as goggles for cutting onions, which did not work at all – do not recommend. 

French Cassettes play with Ojai on Tuesday, June 25, at Slowdown. Tickets are $15; showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.