Bright Eyes Covers Chesnutt, 1% says ‘we’re back’; new Spirit of the Beehive (Saddle Creek)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm February 25, 2021
Vic Chesnutt in his practice space in 2005. Photo by Tristan Loper.

I woke up this morning with a dozen hits on the ol’ Conor Oberst Google Alert, thanks to Bright Eyes releasing a cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Flirted with You All My Life,” on YouTube. The track was first released as the B-side of last year’s “Persona Non Grata” 7-inch. 

Vic’s version was originally part of his 2009 album At the Cut, one of his last, released the year of his death at the age of 45. It is, indeed, a dark piece of work, with a chorus that goes, “Oh, death / Clearly I’m not ready.” 

In the press materials, Oberst talks about seeing Chesnutt perform many times from a young age. I, too, remember seeing him play around town back in the ‘90s, most notably at a show at the old Capitol Bar & Grill with sideman Omahan Alex McManus seated next to his wheelchair. Chesnutt was indeed an original, and it’s good to see his songs live on for another generation to enjoy. 

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Which gets me thinking, I never wrote a postscript on the Phoebe Bridgers’ SNL appearance, which I thought would end Oberst’s drought on the late-nite sketch show. I’ve been predicting Conor’d perform on SNL for years, but he wasn’t part of Bridgers’ band that night, so the wait continues. I figure if Bright Eyes didn’t get a slot on SNL last year, it probably will never happen. As for Bridgers and her guitar-smashing histrionics, you have to wonder what she’ll do next. There are no boundaries for her except the limitations of her own songwriting. 

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Yesterday One Percent Productions sent out its email newsletter proclaiming “We’re Back.” 

After shutting down completely in March of 2020, we were able to produce some events from late June through early December. And after stopping again over the last few months, we are back at it again! So we just needed to thank all the artists for still performing and the customers for still attending the shows. We look forward to continue producing safe events while patiently waiting for the party to return!!!

Those events include closing out a run of a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch this month, and Yutan band The Long Awaited playing tomorrow night at Reverb with Gallivant. The first bigger national show is Crash Test Dummies March 20 at The Waiting Room.

A big test will be the April 3 Bennie and the Gents show at The Waiting Room. Always a good draw, this should be a good indicator as to whether people are willing to go to an “inside show.”

Now would be a good time for venues to consider how they’ll host shows outdoors while we wait for the vaccine to get into people’s arms.

I got in touch with about a dozen local artists last weekend for an article that will appear in next month’s issue of The Reader, asking when they’ll return to the stage. Look for that one in the racks next week, as well as online. 

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Saddle Creek’s latest signing, Spirit of the Beehive, yesterday released its second single off the upcoming Creek debut, Entertainment, Death, out April 9. Check out “The Server is Immersed,”  below. 

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


1% Productions issues an apology; Disq covers Tweedy; Xiu Xiu tomorrow; Essential Festival Thursday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:45 pm June 30, 2020
Xiu Xiu performs via live stream from Low End at The Bemis tomorrow night.

This morning 1% Productions published an apology via Facebook for statements reported in the Omaha World-Herald after the Aug. 8, 2019, shooting death of Michael Rowell, Jr., outside The Waiting Room Lounge, a club owned and operated by Marc Leibowitz and Jim Johnson, the duo behind 1%. Rowell reportedly had come to watch a performance at the club the night of the shooting.

Arguably Omaha’s most important concert promotion company, 1% books The Waiting Room, Reverb Lounge and other venues around town, and has lined up the acts for the the annual Maha Music Festival for the past decade. In the Aug. 20, 2019, OWH article, Leibowitz said 1% no longer would book local rap artists at The Waiting Room or Reverb Lounge.

In the wake of last year’s tragic murder of Michael Rowell Jr., we made statements to the Omaha World Herald that were hurtful to the local hip-hop community. We want to publicly apologize for the impact of our statements,” the statement reads. “Music, and specifically hip-hop music, has long been a platform for expressing the inequities in society. Now, more than ever, we need to take time to listen to what those voices are saying. As we strive to create a better future, we wanted to officially clarify that we do plan on booking more hip-hop in Omaha. Whether it’s national or local artists, we want to continue our support for the community by trying to provide a safe environment for this critical genre to perform and to be celebrated.”

The Waiting Room, which had been closed since March due to COVID-19, reopened a couple weeks ago after Gov. Ricketts relaxed COVID-related restrictions to music venues. Reverb Lounge likely will reopen in August, Leibowitz said, as the venue is undergoing some upgrades.

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Saddle Creek Records artist Disq today released a cover of Jeff Tweedy’s “I Know What It’s Like” via Bandcamp.

Said Disq’s Isaac duBroux-Slone: “I sped up the original recording a decent amount so I’d have something to play along to and off I went. We decided it’d be fun to present the finished product as an interim release; post-Collector and pre-whatever’s next.” Check it out below…

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Even though these are just “virtual” concerts, I get the feeling things are starting to pick up performance-wise around here.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday) Low End at The Bemis is having yet another virtual concert, this time featuring San Jose experimental act Xiu Xiu (Polyvinyl, Kill Rock Stars). I would have loved to see them play live at Low End; this is the next best thing. The stream, free via The Bemis’ Twitch account, starts at 8 p.m.

And then Thursday night is Essential Festival, a live-streamed concert from the stage at The Slowdown featuring a plethora of local acts, including:

And How
Clarence Tilton
DVH Recordings (Dereck Higgins)
Keith Rodger (Kethro)
Matt Whipkey
McCarthy Trenching
Nathan Ma

It’s a “pick your ticket price” event that benefits Catholic Charities of Omaha, and kicks off at 6 p.m.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The Sydney in Benson gets new (familiar) owners; Har Mar sings Sam Cooke tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:28 pm July 24, 2018

Little Brazil at The Sydney, Feb. 4, 2011.

Little Brazil at The Sydney, Feb. 4, 2011. The bar goes under new management beginning Aug. 1.

by Tim McMahan,

The big news is that The Sydney in Benson is changing hands.

The bar that was once the home of Mick’s (who remembers those days?) became The Sydney in January 2009, with an ownership team that included Jamie Massey of Race for Titles/Ladyfinger fame.

Starting August 1, a new team takes over The Sydney, which is located at 5918 Maple St. I originally heard 1% Productions was the new owners. “It’s not really 1% buying the Sydney,” said Marc Leibowitz, who is part of the 1% team along with partner Jim Johnson. “Revamp (our real estate company) is buying the building and business. The New Sydney is Jim, myself, and Jon Tvrdik.” Tvrdik is co-owner of Krug Park (as well as a member of musical outfits Routine Escorts and Back When).

Leibowitz said the new management isn’t planning on changing much at the bar, especially in the beginning. “We might replace the sound system and POS system, but no real overhaul,” he said.

So will 1% Productions book the live music at The New Sydney? “In terms of booking, we’re not sure yet,” Leibowitz said. “Zach (Schmieder) does a good job and we want him to continue doing it. We might throw some shows down there.”

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You already know Har Mar Superstar as that crazy half-naked dude who sings like Justin Timberlake. Well, Har Mar is actually singer/songwriter Sean Tillmann, and he’s taking a break from the Har Mar hi-jinx to perform covers of Sam Cooke songs backed by a full band. The tour has been getting raves, and rolls into The Waiting Room tonight. Tickets are $15, and the show starts at 8 p.m.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.