Speedy Ortiz, Spacemoth, Slothrust tonight; Bad Bad Men Saturday; Fizzle Like a Flood Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 10:10 am November 17, 2023

Speedy Ortiz plays tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

That headline is a like a movie trailer that gives away the whole movie, except there are little bits and pieces missing that you must know to enjoy your weekend.

First in line is Speedy Ortiz at The Slowdown tonight. You read the interview with Sadie Dupuis on Wednesday, right? You didn’t? Well what are you waiting for? Tour mates Spacemoth is a tuneful post-punk project by Maryam Qudus. Their latest, No Past No Future, was released last year by Wax Nine Records, and is just dandy, as the kids say (They say that, right?). Omaha Girls Rock product UN-T.I.L. opens this show at 8 p.m. and is definitely worth getting there on time for.  This one’s tonight in the front room and will run you $20. See you there.

Also tonight, Brooklyn alt rock band Slothrust headlines at Reverb Lounge. They came through town back in 2019 (at O’Leaver’s!) and just dropped a new album last month called I Promise (on Dangerbird Records) that further galvanizes their cred as the second coming of Garbage. It’s just a matter of time before alt-rock stations discover a banger like “Maybe Maybe” and ascend Slothrust to FM stardom (if such a thing exists anymore). Fellow Broolynites Pronoun (self-proclaimed emo-pop auteur Alyse Vellturo) opens the show at 8 p.m. $20.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), Omaha punk power trio Bad Bad Men headlines at Reverb for their final show of 2023. Two KC bands join them — The Utilitarians (w/Omaha’s Billy Guifoyle on drums) and Dan Jones & The Squids (with Season to Risk’s Steve Tulipana on bass). 8 p.m., $10. Come on, go to the show. The last thing you need to do is stay at home and watch the Huskers lose again.

Finally, Sunday night sees the return of Township & Range (featuring the talented Travis Sing), with Willoughby (Corey Stroud of 89.7 The River). But opening the gig is none other than the legendary Fizzle Like a Flood, one of my all-time favorite local singer/songwriters who the dang lemmings at Saddle Creek Records should have signed back in 2000. Will Doug play “Believe in Being Barefoot”? Show up at 7 p.m. at Reverb Lounge (this is an early show) and find out. $10. 

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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Civic, Bad Bad Men, Bad Religion tonight; Rosali, Fran, David Nance, Mike Schlesinger, Lightning Stills Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , , — @ 7:43 am October 13, 2023

Civic plays tonight at Slowdown, Jr.

by Tim McMahan,Lazy-i.com

Another busy weekend for shows. Here’s where you need to be if you’re ready to rock…

Tonight at Slowdown Jr. Melbourne proto-punk band Civic headlines. Their latest, Taken by Force, was release this past February by ATO Records. Big riffs, precise guitar interplay, snarling Stooges vibe, it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a new touring act just straight-out rock, and these guys bring the fire. Also on the bill is our own power-rock trio, Bad Bad Men, which (in my humble opinion) is a perfect fit for this gig. Bliss opens the show at 8 p.m. $20, front room so get tix if you can.

Competing directly with this Civic show is Bad Religion at The Admiral. Greg Graffin, and the boys have been doing it since the early ‘80s, defining the Epitaph sound and paving the way for acts like Green Day and Offspring, who “acquired” their sound and ran with it. No doubt this show will steal much of Civic’s ticket-buying thunder (Imagine if both bands were on the same bill…). Adding to the show’s fire power at The Admiral is Dwarves, who bring their own unique punk energy. Speed of Light opens at 7:30. $45.

Your Saturday activities start early with Farnam Fest in the Blackstone District, or should I say pre-Farnam Fest activities as Ground Floor Guitar is hosting its first in-store performance ramping up to Farnam Fest. Omaha singer/songwriter/sensation Mike Schlesinger performs in the shop followed by the C&W stomping of Lightning Stills (Craig Fort and his band of punk cowboys). This gig begins at 2 p.m. and is free, though you may want to buy a guitar while you’re in the shop, which is located at 4009 Farnam Street, just west of Noli’s. 

Then comes Farnam Fest ’23 kicking off at 4 p.m. I’m not sure where they’re going to have the stage set up this year, though it’s probably somewhere along 40th and Farnam. The line-up is pretty solid with some of Omaha’s best:

  • – Bad Self Portraits
  • – David Nance Band
  • – M34N STR33T
  • – The Real Zebos
  • – BIB

$10 at the door.

David Nance is one busy dude, because he’s also playing at Pageturners Saturday night with DJ Trolli and The Mighty Vitamins. 8 p.m., no cover but $10 donation is suggested. I’m now told this show has been cancelled (see comments).

Nance and friends will also be backing Rosali at Grapefruit Records Saturday night. The singer/songwriter (who just played at Pageturners herself a couple weeks ago) is playing in the Old Market record store with Chicago indie singer/songwriter Fran, a.k.a. Maria Jacobson, whose latest, Leaving (2023, Fire Talk) is a real beaut.  7 p.m., $10.

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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bad Bad Men album release show, TFOA, Wagon Blasters tonight; RAF Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:42 am August 25, 2023

Bad Bad Men celebrate their vinyl album release tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

No touring indie shows this weekend, but a couple local album release gigs worth your attention: 

Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s the album release show for the debut album from Bad Bad Men. The power trio consists of Omaha rock ’n’ roll legends Chris Siebken on drums, Jerry Hug on bass and frontman/guitarist John Wolf.  The album, Messed Up, is a 10-song scorcher that recalls the gritty, bluesy punk style Wolf brought to classic ‘90s-‘00s act Bad Luck Charm, sung with his distinctive snarl/growl that will have you breaking bottles and starting fights. Siebken and Hug are so tight they sound like they’re attached at the hip, while Wolf’s guitar flies high above it all. 

Recorded over two days at ARC Studios with Adam Roberts, it’s the first new release on Speed! Nebraska Records in recent memory. As a result, the album release show is a pseudo showcase, as label executive Gary Dean Davis’ own band, Wagon Blasters, will kick off the evening. Also on this crowded bill are Omaha garage rock titans Those Far Out Arrows and Pagan Athletes — the prog-noise duo of Griffin and Nathan Wolf, who are, yesss, The Sons of John Wolf (now there’s a band name for you)(Waitaminit, does that make Bad Bad Men “dad rock”?). 

You get all four bands for a mere $12. I expect this show to sell out, so you may want to buy your tickets in advance. You will also want to buy the limited-edition vinyl, which will be on hand at the show but is also available for order online. The fun starts at 8 p.m. Need more info? Check out MarQ Manner’s interview with Bad Bad Men at The Reader website

Then tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s the vinyl release show for R.A.F.’s No Salvation album, which was released this past July. The punk band’s line-up is Paul Moerke, Tim Cox, Dereck Higgins, Dan Stewart and Kelley RAF. At least one of the band’s members is traveling in for this special one-off gig. Also on the bill are punk band Cordial Spew and “2 special guests,” according to the flyer. $15, 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Steelhouse Omaha debut, The Killers, Garst, Bad Bad Men, Noisefest tonight; Matt Whipkey Saturday…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:53 am May 12, 2023
The Killers will christen Steelhouse Omaha tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If you’re wondering what those searchlights are all about downtown, tonight is the big Grand Opening of Steelhouse Omaha, 1100 Dodge St., featuring alt rock band The Killers. The concert literally sold out in minutes and I’ve yet to talk to anyone who was able to buy a ticket. 

That said, I’ll be at Steelhouse tonight, courtesy of the band’s publicist (if all goes well at Will Call). No photo pass, so something tells me we’re going to see some sort of “no photography” policy tonight as the publicist said he’ll provide photos for use with the review after the fact. Still, I’ll try to capture the evening as best I can with my iPhone.

I interviewed Omaha Performing Arts President Joan Squires and Erika Hansen, who is responsible for booking Steelhouse, for an article that appears in this month’s issue of The Reader. That story, which is online here, covers booking policies, including the decision to use Live Nation and Ticketmaster as exclusive booking and ticket agents. It also addressed The Killers ticket sales situation and lots of other stuff. I’ve also posted the article at the end of this post (captured for posterity’s sake).

As a fan of modern indie music, I’m keeping my fingers crossed Steelhouse will book at least one show a month that will coax me into buying a ticket. Two shows a month would be gravy. But I’m not naive. I know that indie music is a niche genre, and while it’s wildly popular along the coasts and in large cities, I’m not so sure how popular it is in Omaha these days. Instead of Book It and They Will Come, the story’s headline should have been Book Acts that will Bring Them In.

I thought, being a non-profit, that Steelhouse and O-pa could take more risks on acts that are breaking through in other parts of the country — really introducing them to the Omaha area — and that profitability would come second to cultural enrichment. We’re talking bands that would draw 300 instead of 3,000. Squires added some clarification:

“We have to raise money every year as a nonprofit organization so I don’t take that as a given that we don’t still have to watch our bottom line just like everybody else,” she said. “We do have a responsibility to make sure we are being fiscally responsible. We want to make (Steelhouse) the right experience and the right fit. Those bands would not be a great fit for Steelhouse because you’ve got a small band and a small audience and you sit in a space that could have 3,000 people. It is not the kind of scene you want for either the artist or the audience.” 

Let’s face it, no one want to play in front of a mostly empty auditorium.

Hansen did go on to say that the venue is flexible and there are adjustments that can be made for certain acts. For example, the upcoming Elvis Costello concert will be a seated event with chairs and a capacity of 1,500 total. 

“3,000 isn’t always a success measure,” Hansen said. “It might be a band that would be a thousand and that’s great and that’s a success. So the capacity of the venue is not a measurement of success.”

Both Squires and Hansen pointed to the future. Although many of the shows currently scheduled for Steelhouse cater to an old(er) crowd, both said those shows don’t represent what will eventually be booked at Steelhouse. Hansen said, essentially, what ’til you see what they have booked for this fall. Their October already is mostly booked.

If you want to check out Steelhouse, the venue is hosting a free Open House on Sunday. It will include tours and a performance by the Central High School Jazz Band, Nebraska All-Star Rock & Roll Band, Omaha Girls Rock, Salem Baptist Church Choir and Enjoli & Timeless. For more info about this and other community events, as well as the latest concert lineup, go to steelhouseomaha.com.

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OK, what else is going on this weekend?

Tonight over at art-space Project Project, 1818 Vinton St., it’s Noisefest, featuring 20 “local and touring noise musicians,” including from Omaha: Lonnie Methe, Dereck Higgins, Alex Jacobsen, Cole Kempke, Smith & Jensen, Bovinae, and Quiz The Machine Elf. I don’t know most of those acts, but you might. The full list of performers is here. This free show starts at 5 p.m. 

Meanwhile, downtown at The Slowdown tonight, Omaha rockers Garst is hosting its album release show with punk super-group Bad Bad Men and BB Sledge. 8 p.m., $12.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), Matt Whipkey is playing two shows at The Jewell in celebration of the release of his new album Gummi Soul: Another Rubber, his reimagining of The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album. The performance will include a reunion of Whipkey’s band The Movies and special guests including the incomparable Stephen Sheehan of Digital Sex and The World fame, and newcomer Kristen Buell. Expect a mix of the Beatles songs and Movies chestnuts. Two shows: 6:30 and 8:30; $15.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

Now, here’s the Steelhouse article. It first appeared in the May issue of The Reader.

Book It and They Will Come

With Its Opening May 12, Steelhouse Hopes to Put Omaha Back on the Tour Map

By Tim McMahan

Everything about the new Steelhouse Omaha music venue, operated by Omaha Performing Arts (O-pa), will be state of the art — the lights, the sound, the overall experience. The 3,000-capacity downtown venue, which is designed for standing concerts (mostly, there are also balcony seats), will celebrate its opening night May 12 with a performance by alt-rock band The Killers, a show that, despite its $75-plus ticket price, sold out in minutes.

The quick sellout proves more important than state-of-the-art facilities is booking quality acts. Last January, O-pa President Joan Squires was interviewed by local media saying one of the project’s motivations was to attract young patrons, specifically between the ages 18 and 45. “The entire venue is going to be an experience that will really help this city attract people this age,” she was quoted as saying.

I was a little bummed. After all, I’m in my mid-50s, well outside that target range. I envisioned a constant stream of TikTok-style pop acts playing in front of a huge, squirming crowd of squeaky-clean youngsters, all holding up cell phones for one giant Instagram moment. 

However, after a few weeks of Steelhouse show announcements, it turns out I might be at the lower end of the target age. Among the acts announced so far: ’90s alt-rock legends Counting Crows, hair-metal bands W.A.S.P and Cinderella’s Tom Keifer, ’70s funk icons Parliament Funkadelic, 68-year-old singer/songwriter Elvis Costello, and The Flaming Lips performing an album released more than 20 years ago. In fact, all the above performers’ heydays were more than 20 years ago. 

Oh, it’s not all legacy acts. Steelhouse is also hosting “fresh” hip-hop performer $not (pronounced Snot), Japanese novelty Babymetal and indie darlings Fleet Foxes, whose breakthrough debut was released 15 years ago, but that’s it for new-ish artists. So, what exactly is the venue’s booking strategy? Squires and Erika Hansen, director of booking for Steelhouse, said these early bookings are just that: early bookings.

“We’re just starting, Tim,” Squires said. “We’re certainly going to continue to move in a younger direction. This just happens to be who’s got opportunities to come to Steelhouse right now.”

Hansen, 48, who hails from Sioux City and has been booking gigs for 20 years, agreed, saying booking summer months was a challenge, because many acts had already been booked for festivals and outdoor gigs. “Not that this lineup is anything to be down about,” she said, “but it is a different type of crowd that we’re probably looking at for the first few months, and then we’re really going to start to get into the diversity that we’ve been talking about. If I showed you everyone who’s holding dates at Steelhouse, it’s a much different look than what you’re seeing right now on sale.” 

Working with Live Nation

To power booking efforts, Steelhouse via O-pa signed an exclusive contract with Live Nation, the country’s largest concert promoter. “We felt they could work with us to ensure we get bands as they route them across the country,” Squires said, pointing out Omaha falls in the gap between Denver, Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis. 

Headquartered out of Beverly Hills, the publicly traded company boasts “bringing 40,000 shows and 100-plus festivals to life” per year and works with just about every successful pop artist, from Alice Cooper to the Zac Brown Band. 

Hansen said she’s in contact with Live Nation multiple times a day. “They definitely will suggest artists they know are touring that they think might be a good fit for Omaha and will work with the venue space,” she said. “It’s a two-way street, though. We definitely have suggested to them, ‘Hey, can you check out this artist or can you look for more artists that are within this genre and see who’s out there?'”

Steelhouse’s real goal isn’t putting on shows that target a specific age group. “(Steelhouse) was built with philanthropic dollars and really is open to everybody,” Squires said. “The target is to attract the bands that have been missing our city because there was no venue of this size.”

“We are absolutely looking at artists that have never played Omaha before or that maybe have played much smaller venues in the market and are now getting to the size where they could fill a venue like Steelhouse,” Hansen added. “I think the purpose is really to add to the music scene in general in Omaha. We want Omaha to be a destination for artists so that all of the agents looking at tour stops think of Omaha as a hot music scene.”

Building awareness is one of the challenges. Squires said Hansen and Live Nation have been busy telling agents and artists that there’s a new kid in town. “Part of it is just getting the word out,” she said. “And the more we book, the more we’ll book.”

What about Indie Music?

As an indie music fan, I had to ask if the venue’s 3,000 capacity will prevent booking important up-and-coming indie artists who draw fewer than 1,000. Squires said the space may not be appropriate for those shows, which would be a better fit for small O-pa-operated venues like the Holland Music Club. However, Hansen said Steelhouse is flexible and has options, including the use of retractable risers. 

“We’re playing with the space,” Hansen said. “I think we will be able to do some smaller shows in there and make it feel full and really cool for the artist and the fan.” But, “we’re not wanting to step on anyone else, either. If some other venue in Omaha has a great opportunity to book a show and it’s a better fit for their room, by all means.”

What about local acts? I suggested local bands could be great openers for larger touring acts. O-pa has done this in the past. Local singer/songwriter Matt Whipkey, for example, opened for the band America at the Holland Center last year. Hansen said artists typically decide who will open their shows, not the promoter, but “if there’s an opportunity, we’ll absolutely do that.”

Ticketmaster ‘the right choice’

I couldn’t let them go without talking about Ticketmaster, a subsidiary of Live Nation that has been embroiled in controversy concerning ticket-selling practices. Just ask Taylor Swift, who appears to be fighting a one-woman battle against the company. Squires said it was O-pa’s decision to use Ticketmaster because “we felt Ticketmaster was the right choice for the marketing, for the fans, for the experience.” 

The almost immediate sellout of The Killers concert left many fans venting their frustrations on social media. Squires said they expected a very quick sellout because The Killers play 20,000-capacity arenas. “We were sorry people were frustrated,” she said. “It was a demand question. We just hope people will stay with us to come back and try something else.”

“I think sometimes Ticketmaster takes kind of a rap for ticketing issues in general,” Hansen said. “Demand is always going to be a problem if you have an artist that has a demand that’s greater than the number of tickets available. That’s not necessarily a Ticketmaster thing.” 

Squires and Hansen were both eager to hear my list of bands I’d like to see play Steelhouse, a list that includes Lana Del Rey, Yo La Tengo, Shame, Gorillaz, Boygenius, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Alex G, M83, The Strokes, Beck, Angel Olsen, Wet Leg, Everything But the Girl, Ladytron and Nation of Language — all touring acts that as of now do not have Omaha as a stop. 

They promised to share the list with Live Nation. They’re looking for your suggestions, too. You can provide them by following Steelhouse on social media, the best place to see the latest announcements. 

“This is going to evolve,” Squires said of Steelhouse Omaha’s bookings. “We’re just getting open. We’re going to continue to reinvent and reevaluate. It’s going to keep moving.”

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Scout Gillett, Anna McClellan, Las Cruxes, Zepparella, Bad Bad Men tonight; Lawrence Deal tribute Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 7:35 am March 31, 2023
Anna McClellan at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 3, 2015. She returns to the club tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

After a busy a week, a busy weekend, (or at least a busy Friday night). 

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s, former KC singer/songwriter now Brooklyn singer/songwriter Scout Gillette performs. Her new album No Roof No Floor (2022, Captured Tracks) vacillates between Mazzy Star dreaminess and Angel Olsen rock and is quite good. Opening is Omaha’s own dreamy singer/songwriter, Anna McClellan. $10, 10 p.m. 

Also tonight… every so often out of the blue Yayo from Las Cruxes drops me a private track of something the band has been working on. I got three tracks last Sunday via Soundcloud, all produced by superstar producer/sound engineer/raconteur Ian Aeillo and all three pretty awesome. And all performed in Spanish, I have no idea what they mean, but they rock. The new records is due Aug. 5. No doubt Las Cruxes will be performing some of those tracks tonight at The Sydney where they play with NYC’s Sky Creature, Omaha’s Bad Self Portraits and Trees with Eyes. What’s it cost? No idea, probably $10. Starts at 8:45. 

Also happening in Benson tonight at The Waiting Room, the return of all-female Led Zeppelin tribute band Zepparella, featuring Clementine in the John Bonham role. I saw them when they came through back in 2014 and they were lots o’ fun. Opening is rough-hewn all-male band Bad Bad Men. $20, 8 p.m. 

Finally, Saturday night at The Waiting Room is a tribute to the late Lawrence Deal, who was a member of such notable local acts as Glow in the Dark and Civicminded. This five-band evening kicks off at 7:30 and is $12, with all proceeds going to a trust fund for Deal’s daughter (gofundme). More info here.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments sections. 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: GoatFest 2023 (Those Far Out Arrows, Bad Bad Men, beer, goats)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 7:20 am March 13, 2023
Those Far Out Arrows at GoatFest, March 11, 2023.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Was it the first-time novelty of the event or a reflection of an actual thirst for Saturday afternoon rock shows? Whatever the reason, Saturday’s GoatFest was a marvelous success judging by the crowd and the good times. When I arrived at a little past 3 p.m., punk-trio Bad Bad Men was already playing in the back corner of Scriptown Brewery, hidden behind a crowd that ran along both sides of the enormous bar all the way to the entrance. From the looks of it, as many people were there to sample a pint of Scriptown’s tasty, just-released Goatsmack Helles Bock as enjoy the music. 

Like I said last week, GoatFest had the potential to provide that same warm party vibe as I remembered from South By Southwest day parties. Anyone who’s been to SXSW will tell you the day parties are the best part of the festival – super laid-back events where you can listen to great bands while enjoying some much-needed day drinking. The only difference: It’s usually 80 degrees and sunny at SXSW, whereas it was 30 degrees and snowing in the Blackstone. But that didn’t slow anyone down. 

Someone told me that Blackstone was considering more daytime rock shows on weekends. It’s something the district could become known for — or that Scriptown could corner the market on if so inclined. Would the crowds continue to show up if they hosted rock shows every weekend? 

To me, it depends on the bands. SXSW day shows, for example, involve the best original indie bands in the country. I wouldn’t go if it featured cover bands or blues acts. Still, plenty of serious beer drinkers like both of those “genres,” and  regardless of the band I could definitely see a regular weekend afternoon series catching on, especially if another venue in Blackstone also got into the act — part of SXSW’s appeal is stumbling from one venue to another and back again to listen to bands all afternoon. 

And Blackstone is tailor made for hosting weekend day shows, more so than Benson, whose stages are dedicated to supporting that district’s robust nightlife, or the gentrified Dundee and its vibrant restaurant scene, or the Old Market that despite its hip brick buildings still feels like a tourist scene. 

Bad Bad Men at GoatFest, March 11, 2023.

What more to say about Bad Bad Men that I haven’t already said? They’re a super-fun hard rock band that verges on post-punk, fronted by Omaha legend John Wolf, whose rapid-fire guitar riffs scorch above a rhythm section powered by a Siebken/Hug powertrain. I don’t know what John was singing through that PA and it didn’t matter. Folks not used to this style of music had to wish they brought their ear plugs (as I always do). 

The music only got louder when Those Far Out Arrows took over shortly after 4. They stand side-by-side with David Nance Group as the best full-on psych-rock guitar band in this region. Both bands have a knack for finding a deep, guttural groove and playing it out for all its worth. The differentiator is how the Arrows stand closer to traditional, pure ‘60s garage rock, taking that sound and modernizing it in their own midwestern way. 

The goats of GoatFest.

Amost forgot to mention — what would a GoatFest be without real goats? Two were stabled out back in a small trailer parked near the patio area, no doubt wondering who all these drunks were stumbling out of the building, gawking at them. 

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Cat Piss, Bad Bad Men, Ming Toy Gallery tonight; #BFF; Nowhere, Hussies Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 7:25 am February 7, 2023
Cat Piss at Peftfest 2022. The band hosts its vinyl release part tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight’s Cat Piss show at Reverb Lounge – easily the biggest show of the weekend – is also a vinyl release show for the band’s latest album, Cat Piss Rides Again, which was actually released way back in June, a time that seems like forever ago, when we all wore T-shirts outside and complained about the humidity. You won’t be doing that tonight. 

That it takes more than six months to get vinyl pressed should be no surprise to anyone who’s followed the Great Post-Covid Vinyl Shortage. As I said back in June at the original album release show: “Cat Piss is releasing their debut album, Cat Piss Rides Again, on Boise, Idaho label Mishap Records, and the two singles I’ve heard are like an homage to the ‘90s Nebraska punk sound (i.e., bands like Mousetrap, Cellophane Ceiling and Sideshow come to mind). Cat Piss is Casey Plucinski on guitar/vocals, Nathan Wolf on drums/vocals and Sam Lipsett on bass/vocals. The new album was recorded by Ben Brodin and mastered by Carl Saff. Get ready for this one.”

And if you were going to buy it, there is no better way to do it than at tonight’s show, but if you can’t make it for some reason, today is also Bandcamp Friday, which means Bandcamp will wave its fees and send all the money from sales directly to the bands. 

Tonight’s opening act, Bad Bad Men, yesterday released a brand-spanking new song on Bandcamp. The bruising, gut-punch called “Wrist Action” is but a taste of what’s to come from the power-trio of Wolf/Siebken/Hug, but oh, what a taste it is. Recorded this past October at ARC Studio by Adam Robert, the track will have you slapping on the pink handcuffs and succumbing to a necessary rock interrogation. Buy it today at “The Right Price” of one crisp dollar.

This one starts at 9 and is $10. Be there or be square.

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And it’s also Benson First Friday! Tonight’s a special BFF because my wife’s new art gallery, Ming Toy Gallery, opens at 6066 Maple (right next door to my favorite restaurant, Au Courant). The gallery is named in honor of my grandparents’ restaurant, Ming Toy Cafe, which once resided at 45th and Military Ave. It’s a group show that features non-traditional artists, and in some ways, a soft opening, as the first solo art show (by Denise Levy) is next month. Still, stop by and check out the new place, have a beer and say hello. 

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Also tonight, right down the street at The Waiting Room, Satchel Grande headlines a show with Josh Hoyer and the Soul Colossal. $10, 8 p.m. 

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Finally, hardcore band Nowhere headlines a show Saturday night at The Sydney with Hussies and Local Ponzi Scheme. 9 p.m., $10.

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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bad Bad Men, Cat Piss tonight; Specter Poetics Saturday; Solid Goldberg Sunday; new Big Nope…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm April 8, 2022
Bad Bad Men at Reverb back in August 2021. The band returns tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Three shows this weekend, all featuring local acts. Don’t worry, there’s a boatload of tours coming through in the coming months.

Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s a 4-act bill headlined by Cat Piss, a noise rock trio featuring Nate Wolf (Pagan Athletes), Sam Lipsett and Casey Plucinski. I’ve yet to catch these “cats.” Maybe tonight. Opening is Nate’s dad, the legendary John Wolf, and his latest heavy rock project with Chris Seibken and Jerry Hug called Bad Bad Men. Also on the bill are Nowhere and DJ Beatlebitch. 9 p.m., $10. 

Tomorrow night (Saturday), Specter Poetics a.k.a. Jack McLaughlin, headlines at The Sydney in Benson with Rare Candies and Thee Bots. $5, 9 p.m. 

And finally on Sunday, the one-man party machine of Solid Goldberg (a.k.a. Dave Goldberg) opens for Ghanian hip-hop artist Ata Kak at Reverb Lougne. 8 p.m., $15. 

That’s it for shows. In the new music category, former Omahan now LA dude Nate Van Fleet (who you remember from See Through Dresses) released a new track today under his Big Nope moniker called “Golden.” The track’s sound was influenced by Big Star and early Matthew Sweet (as well as Teenage Fanclub). Check it out and 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Lazy-i Best of 2021 Compilation CD; Pagan Athletes, Bad Bad Men tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:27 am December 22, 2021
Lazy-i Best of 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

On reflection, it has been a strange year in music. Certainly that was the case from a local music perspective, especially if you compare the output of new local music in 2021 to what was released in 2020, during the heart of the pandemic.

Last year 10 of the 21 tracks included in Lazy-i Best Of 2020 comp were from Nebraska artists — a record of sorts. This year, only two artists on the annual Best Of compilation have Nebraska connections (three if you include Azure Ray). My theory is that most local artists released albums in 2020 and waited until ’21 to try to push them via live performances — why work on new material if you haven’t tried to sell the old stuff? Maybe that was the case, I certainly hope it was.

The artists included in the 2021 Best Of Lazy-i Compilation are an eclectic mix of old timers and brand new talent. Of the 21 artists, only 12 previously have played in Nebraska (and only three played here last year), while a couple are headed our way (Parquet Courts, Azure Ray). The comp is usually comprised of acts I’ve interviewed or reviewed over the past year, but because so few local bands released material last year and so few acts came through town, this is more of a collection of my favorite tracks from 2021.

Here’s the track list:

Hand Habits – “More Than Love” from the album Fun House (Saddle Creek)
Claud — “Soft Spot” from Super Monster (Saddest Factory)
Indigo De Souza — “Pretty Pictures” from Any Shape You Take (Saddle Creek)
Low — “Days Like Theses” from HEY WHAT (Sub Pop)
Sufjan Stevens, Angelo DeAugustine — “Back to Oz” from A Beginner’s Mind (Asthmatic Kitty)
Wet Leg — “Chaise Lounge” single (Domino)
Life in Sweatpants — “Good 2 Yourself” from Good 2 Yourself (Long Time Friend Discount)
Flyte — “Everyone’s a Winner” from This Is Really Going to Hurt (Island)
Cassandra Jenkins — “Michelangelo” from An Overview on Phenomenal Nature (Ba Da Bing)
The Coral — “Vacancy” from Coral Island (Run On)
Parquet Courts— “Walking at a Downtown Pace” from Sympathy for Life (Rough Trade)
Brad Hoshaw — “My Dying Day” from Living on a Sliver (self-release)
Mdou Moctar — “Ya Habibti” from Afrique Victime (Matador)
Courtney Barnett — “Sunfair Sundown” from Things Take Time, Take Time (Milk!)
Nation of Language — “Across That Fine Line” from A Way Forward (Play It Again Sam)
Spoon — “The Hardest Cut” single (Matador)
Turnstile — “BLACKOUT” from GLOW ON (Roadrunner)
PawPaw Rod — “Lemonhaze” from A PawPaw Rod EP (Godmode)
Matt Whipkey — “Mayday” from Hard (Unusual)
CHVRCHES, Robert Smith — “How Not to Drown” single (Glassnote Entertainment)
Azure Ray — “Bad Dream” from Remedy (Flower Moon)

Want a copy of the CD? Enter to win one in the annual drawing! To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 3, at midnight.

The playlist also is available in Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i Best of” in Spotify then select Playlists, and you’ll find it along with a few from past years, too.

BTW, that’s Greta on the cover, the newest member of the McMahan family.

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s Pagan Athletes (chaotic keyboards/drums from the Wolf Factory) with Bad Bad Men (classic line-up of Wolf/Siebken/Hug) and Nowhere (Thor’s (Retox) new band featuring Camille (No Thanks) and Gabe (Natural States)). $10, 9 p.m. What a way to bring in the holiday…

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Petfest (Magū, Those Far Out Arrows) and later that night (Bad Bad Men)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:53 pm August 16, 2021
Lawn chairs and rock ‘n’ roll at Petfest 2021.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If there was any concern about the Delta variant, it wasn’t apparent at Petfest last Saturday. There were maybe two people in the crowd of 40 or so wearing masks. And while that may shock some, it was no concern to me. I got the feeling the people surrounding me were not of the dumb-rube-Republican-conspiracy-tin-hat-wearing-numbskull variety (Tell us, Tim, what you really think of non-vaxxers…). And we were all outside, and for the most part, “distanced” from each other.

As someone who has been to a half-dozen South by Southwest festivals, I can tell you that Saturday’s Petfest was about as close as you’re going to get to what it’s like at a SXSW “day show” without taking a trip to Austin. Two differences: 1) No one was giving out free Lone Star beers and/or breakfast burritos, and 2) the sound quality at Petfest was far superior than the usual high-school-auditorium PA sound system used at SXSW (oh what those poor musicians put up with).

Ian Aeillo, a mad-genius audio engineer with bat-like ears that can hear frontwards, backwards and sideways, had the ol’ Barley Street white-rock parking lot sounding like LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, pushing sound from both stages simultaneously, it was like sitting in your parents’ 1970s basement listening to a Pink Floyd quadraphonic recording, but with indie bands.

As I said last Friday, this fest brought together the finest collection of local musical talent I’ve seen assembled at one concert in Omaha since, well, last year’s Petfest. Whoever the tastemaker was that booked this gig really knows his or her stuff.

Anna McClellan at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

I came in right when things kicked off at 2 p.m. with Anna McClellan and her band. McClellan is a unique artist both musically and lyrically — she’s warm and lonely and sardonic all at the same time. The slightly off-kilter wonkiness of her vocal delivery only gives her songs more authenticity (to me, anyway). Every one of her performances is memorable, and it was a great way to kick off the day.

Magū at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Following Anna in the smaller garage stage was the most surprising set of the day. I’ve written passingly about Magū before (a few years ago, regarding one of their releases), but I’ve never seen them live. What to make of a five-piece that prominently includes a tenor sax front-and-center? There’s not much info about the band online (like who’s in the band?). Stylistically they describe themselves as psych rock / shoe gaze, but I’d peg them as modern indie with touches of classic rock. I loved the sax player’s tone and style, which merely augmented the songs and didn’t get in the way.

And then there was the woman keyboard player who sang leads on one song and knocked everyone on their asses. They’re quite an ensemble, which has been sitting right under my nose for years. When are they playing next?

Lightning Stills at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Magū were followed by Omaha super group Lightning Stills and the Midtown Ramblers (the “Ramblers” part was new to me). Lightning Stills is the countrified alter ego of (former?) punker Craig Fort. He’s surrounded himself with some of the area’s finest ax men, including pedal-steel player Mike Friedman, lead guitarist Tom May, and bassist Danny Maxwell.

I’m told this was the band’s first live gig but you wouldn’t know it by how well they played on these alcohol-drenched tales of personal excess and woe. Hard liquor and twang are a recipe as old as country music itself, and even has its own local iteration in the form of Filter Kings (Hard to beat that band’s “Hundred Proof Man” for pure booze romanticism). The Ramblers do it well, especially when they get into a groove and the players are allowed stretch out on these four-chord-powered jams.

Vocally, you can tell this was Mr. Fort’s first rodeo. Unlike punk, which thrives entirely on angst and energy, you will not get a pass on the vox — ever notice even the slightest waver and/or off-kilter moment when you listen to Waylon or Merle or Jerry Jeff? That’s just part of the deal, and it’s something that Fort will nail down over time.

Mike Schlesinger at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Speaking of vocals, there are few better voices than Mike Schlesinger — around these parts or anywhere. Mike played a short set alone with his acoustic guitar that managed to hush a parking lot full of drinking revelers who leaned in on every note. Schlesinger closed with “Coolie Trade,” one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Gotta wonder what would happen if the right “industry people” ever discovered this mega talent.

Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

Next was the first of a two-set day for Those Far Out Arrows. I’ve written about these guys so many times you’re tired of hearing it — they are at the forefront of Omaha’s garage-rock scene, true disciples of that classic ‘60s psych-rock sound epitomized by bands like Them, The Animals and the Kinks.

Two moments summed up their set for me, both took place while playing their A-side single, “Snake in my Basement.” First, I noticed across the parking lot in an adjacent garage covered with No Trespassing signs this rough, older dude working on his car who looked like the dad from Orange County Choppers. He set down his wrench, leaned back in the shadow of the doorway, watched and listened, nodding his head. Second thing — a little boy no more than 5 years old sat cross-legged in the middle of the parking lot and sang along with chorus.

As a band, what more do you want?

I wanted to put earmuffs on the little dude and his sister when the band tore into “Hell Yeah (MF)” from their Part Time Lizards album, with the repeated chorus, “Hell yeah, mother f***er, hell yeah!

MiWi La Lupa (right) at Petfest, Aug. 14, 2021.

The last performer I caught at the fest was MiWi La Lupa accompanied by guitarist Cubby Phillips. The two played a solid set that underscored why MiWi is recognized as one of the area’s better singer/songwriters.

And that was the end of my Petfest experience, though there was a ton more left that afternoon and evening. The whole day felt like being at someone’s very cool block party. I foresee a day when Omaha hosts a SXSW-style festival in which it invites bands from all over the country to play in venues throughout Benson. And when that day comes, Petshop Gallery and BFF will host a day party, and it’ll be something like this.

I was back in Benson later that night for Bad Bad Men and Those Far Out Arrows at Reverb Lounge. I’ve only been to a couple of shows at the new, improved Reverb, and Saturday’s was the most populated. Again, only the bartenders wore masks despite the Delta variant growing in the community.

Bad Bad Men at Reverb Lounge Aug. 14, 2021.

The super-group power trio of Bad Bad Men is fronted by Omaha rock legend John Wolf, with drummer Chris Siebken and bass player Jerry Hug. When it comes to rock ‘n’ roll these dudes are indeed bad, bad men. Their music rides on Wolf’s heavy metal riffage and is powered by that dynamic rhythm section that recalls a filthy, grinding punk rock heard back in Omaha in the ’90s by acts like Ritual Device and Wolf’s own Cellophane Ceiling. It’s dark and fun, with Wolf growling out the lead vocals and stretching out on blistering guitar leads. Their best set yet.

Those Far Out Arrows at Reverb Lounge Aug. 14, 2021.

The night was closed out by another performance from Those Far Out Arrows. They only played something like four songs at Petfest (everyone at the festival played shortened sets). They added another four of so for this evening gig. My only additional note is a tip of the hat to the band’s bass player, Derek LeVasseur, who makes everything they do up there possible alongside drummer Brian Richardson. You can’t make these songs keep chugging along without those guys.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.