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,

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 — 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,

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 — 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,

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 — 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,

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 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 — 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,

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 — 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.


Petfest is Saturday (Anna McClellan, Those Far Out Arrows, And How, more); Salsa Chest, Thick Paint Friday; Bad Bad Men Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:15 am August 13, 2021

by Tim McMahan,

And How at Petfest 2020. The band performs again at Petfest 2021 Saturday.

Petfest is, hands down, the best collection of Nebraska bands to perform on one bill this year. And it takes place this Saturday at Petshop in Benson.

The event is a fundraiser for Benson First Friday (BFF), and features art as well as music (and beer). If you’re worried about the Delta variant, Petfest is hosted outdoors and has a mask requirement.

I went last year during the height of the the COVID-19 pandemic and saw their safety protocols firsthand, so I have no concerns about attending again this year. That said, you do what you do. The only thing that would make this gig safer is if they required proof of vaccination for entry (come on, Omaha venues, let’s make it happen).

The event takes place in the parking lot behind the Petfest building at 2725 No. 62nd St. Last year bands performed both outside and on the edge of the indoor space (the garage), essentially playing outside as well. Tickets are $20 today, $25 tomorrow.

The schedule:

Outside Stage:
2:00-2:20 – Anna McClellan
2:50-3:10 – Lightning Stills
3:40-4:00 – Those Far Out Arrows
4:30-4:50 – McCarthy Trenching
5:20-5:40 – Thick Paint
6:10-6:30 – Her Flyaway Manner
7:00-7:25 – Oqoua
8:05-8:35 – And How
9:15-9:45 – All Young Girls Are Machine Guns

Inside Stage:
2:25-2:45 – Magu
3:15-3:35 – Mike Schlesinger
4:05-4:25 – Miwi La Lupa
4:55-5:15 – Teetah
5:45-6:05 – CHEW
6:35-6:55 – Moon Pussy
7:30-8:00 – Benny Leather
8:40-9:10 – Ghost Foot
9:50-10:20 – Leafblower
10:45-11:15 – Universe Contest
11:30-Whenever – Crab Vs Kobra

More info at the event’s Facebook page.

Petshop actually gets things rolling tonight with a super-hot bill to be held partially outside (in the same space as Petfest). Atlanta experimental artist Salsa Chest (Joyful Noise/Gray Area Cassettes), whose latest was produced by Thick Paint’s Graham Ulicny, is on the bill with Thick Paint, Double Consciousness and headliner Mesonjixx. 8:30, $7.


If you miss Those Far Out Arrows at Petfest during the day Saturday, you can also catch them at Reverb Lounge Saturday night, where they’re playing with The Darma Rose and Bad Bad Men — the supergroup featuring legendary punker John Wolf fronting a power trio rounded out by drummer Chris Siebken and bass player Jerry Hug. $8. 9 p.m.

One last show of note this weekend – Lincoln singer/songwriter Andrea von Kampen (Fantasy Records) has an album release show Saturday night at The Slowdown with Molly Parden. 8 p.m. $20.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. See you at Petfest.

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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.


Domestica, Bad Bad Men tonight; Whitney, Lala Lala Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:05 pm October 18, 2019

Bad Bad Men at The Brothers Lounge, Feb. 17, 2018. They play tonight at The Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

One of the better shows of the month is tomorrow night and I’m going to miss it because I’m headed out of town. Gaddummit.

But let’s start with tonight.

There’s a great double-bill at The Brothers Lounge. On top is Lincoln punk-rock legends Domestica — the power-trio of Heidi, Jon and Pawl return to Omaha’s favorite punk bar. Joining them are opener Bad, Bad Men — the trio of Wolf, Hug and Siebken, some of the most versatile and durable hard rock vets on the planet. $5, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, down the street at fabulous O’Leaver’s Lincoln indie band Antlerhead headlines with LaMars, Iowa, folk-rock band Winter Wayfarer and Omaha’s The Notebooks. 10 p.m., $5.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) singer/songwriters Julien Ehrlich and Max Kakacek, better known as Whitney, play down at The Slowdown. Their latest, Forever Turned Around (2019, Secretly Canadian), has been on heavy iPhone rotation since its release (in fact, one of my favorite Pandora channels is the Whitney Channel). Chicago singer/songwriter Lillie West — a.k.a. Lala Lala — opens the evening in the big room at 9 p.m. $25.

Also Saturday night, O’Leaver’s is hosting a punk rock show with Omaha legends R.A.F. and Cordial Spew. Mere Shadows also is on the bill. $5, 9 p.m.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Dressy Bessy, Karen Meat, Those Far Out Arrows, Marcey Yates tonight; Lupines, Bad Bad Men, Washer, Clem Snide Saturday….

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:00 pm July 12, 2019

Karen Meat and the Computer at O’Leaver’s Jan. 30, 2016. Karen returns to O’Leaver’s tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

I’m out of town so I’m going to miss all this goodness happening this weekend. Starting tonight…

There’s a strong triple-bill at fabulous O’Leaver’s: Dressy Bessy, Karen Meat and Jason Steady. Des Moines’ Karen Meat plays indie pop and is a favorite among the folks in Cursive, who have toured with her in recent years. Her last album You’re An Ugly Person, came out in 2018.

Denver’s Dressy Bessy has been kicking it around since ’96. Her latest is 2016’s Kingsized on Yep Rock.

And of course we all know the genius that is Jason Steady. $10, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Brothers Lounge tonight, Kansas City “drug rock” band Drugs & Attics has the center slot, with our boys Those Far Out Arrows kicking things off and hip-hop master Marcey Yates at the top slot. $5, 9 p.m.

And over at The Waiting Room tonight Matt Whipkey opens for former major label act Red Wanting Blue. $15, 8 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), the legendary combo of Wolf, Siebken and Hug — i.e., Bad, Bad Men — unfurl their full force at The Brothers Lounge with one of my all-time favorite Omaha bands, The Lupines. $5, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, NY duo Washer headlines at O’Leaver’s. Hussies and The Natural States also are on the bill $7, 10 p.m.

Finally, there’s a Clem Snide solo show in a living room located in the zip code 68106 Saturday night. Buy a ticket, receive the location, rock with 40 of your closest friends. For more information, go to

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


What’s next for Maha? Festival tix on sale tomorrow; Bad Bad Men, In the Whale, Masked Intruder tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:30 pm April 4, 2019


Bad Bad Men at The Brothers Lounge, Feb. 17, 2018. They play tonight at O’Leaver’s.

y Tim McMahan,

For your typical indie music fan here in Omaha, last year’s Maha Music Festival was about as good as it gets. We’re talking some of the best indie acts available anywhere — among them, Father John Misty, Tune-Yards, TV on the Radio and Hop Along — topped off with a non-indie ’90s-era alternative band in Weezer.

The sheer fact that Maha has survived for a decade is a tribute to organizers who poured their blood, sweat and dollars into a dream many thought wouldn’t survive its debut year.

Last year’s 10-year anniversary show pushed the festival to two days, or at least one-and-a-half, with the addition of an evening program the day before the Saturday event. Plans call for repeating that format again for Year 11, slated for Aug. 16-17, as discount pre-sale tickets go on sale Friday for those willing to gamble that the acts announced Thursday, April 18, are worth it.

I should be clear here — according to their Facebook page, early-bird 4-day passes go on sale Friday — i.e., these include admittance to the Big Omaha conference Aug. 14 and 15, which has been awkwardly welded onto Maha after the organization took ownership of Big Omaha last year. Maha has even rebranded itself this year as Maha Festival, which could confuse people outside of the area who stumble upon it for the first time (Hey, look, a 4-day music festival in Omaha. Waitaminit, the first two days are entrepreneur-focused TED-type talks not related to music? Uh, forget it.).

Taking on Big Omaha must have seemed like a natural progression for Maha in their quest to expand the festival beyond music. But to some (i.e., me) it’s an odd fit that doesn’t really have anything to do with their original music-focused mission. But, oh well, right?

It’s anyone’s guess who the festival has lined up for a headliner this year. Weezer may may have seemed outside of Maha’s original indie focus, but is in line with a change that began three years ago with Passion Pit followed by Run the Jewels, acts that aren’t exactly indie. Let’s face it, most music-goers don’t know what “indie” is, anyway.

Maha clearly was trying to broaden its audience, and who can blame them? Indie is a microscopically small genre that appeals to a very narrow audience. That said, indie acts like Wilco, Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala and Courtney Barnett — all of which would draw huge crowds — always seem out of their reach.

My guesses for possible headliners and/or bill fillers?
– Vampire Weekend, who have come through here before and have a new album.
– Jenny Lewis, a local favorite, though she already has a gig booked in St. Louis Aug. 17.
– Wilco, which would be their dream “get”
– Deerhunter, hot new record, not sure they’re a headliner, tho…

Possible line-up fodder:
– Metric, also through here a lot.
– Idles, red hot these days
– Mitski, a great get
– Sharon Van Etten, another hot act.
– Strand of Oaks, one of my personal faves, has a new album.
– Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, not sure she’s touring.

And no doubt we’ll see at least a couple vintage indie bands in the line-up this year. Maybe Stephen Malkmus of Pavement, perhaps return appearances by Bob Mould or Guided By Voices or Dinosaur Jr.?

We’ll have to wait until April 18 to find out…

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Acts I do know are playing in Omaha… tonight:

Bad Bad Men — a band consisting of uber-talented punk legends John Wolf, Jerry Hug and Chris Siebken — plays tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s, opening for In the Whale and Natural States. 9 p.m. sharp, probably $5.

Also tonight, mysterious pop-punkers Masked Intruder plays at Lookout Lounge with Four Arm Shiver and The Shidiots. $15, 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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Caroline Rose, Cardioid; Jason Steady, Bad Bad Men Friday; Nik Freitas, Okkervil River Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:47 pm June 8, 2018

Caroline Rose at Reverb Lounge, June 7, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

The whole time I was watching Caroline Rose last night at Reverb Lounge I’m thinking, “Man, she looks just like Buddy from the ‘70s TV show Family.” I mentioned this to someone after the show who had no idea who I was talking about, hadn’t heard of Buddy or the show. When I said the star’s name was Kristy McNichol, the guy asked, “Wasn’t she one of Charlie’s Angels?” Right decade, wrong show.

It doesn’t matter I guess as long as you catch the ‘70s reference, because Caroline Rose’s music sounds like something from that era. Not “Rock 100 FM ‘70s Classic Rock,” but sort of bubble-gum rock with some punk/new wave overhang sung in a voice that’s as cute as it is fetching in a Courtney Barnett sort of way.

The set was dominated by songs off her current album, Loner (2018, New West) that are fun, sarcastic and witty with dark overtones peeping through the edges. It’s an infectious album, and she performed the tunes with the goofy energy that they deserve, backed by keyboardist/guitarist and a tight rhythm section who looked like they were having as much fun as the audience.

Rose’s between-song patter was almost as entertaining as her music, cracking wise and telling stories and introducing each number by saying, “This is my favorite song. No, this really is my favorite song.” I guess they all were. And to tell the truth, each song was its own little high point (though I especially loved hearing “Bikini” and “Money” and “Jeannie Becomes a Mom”).

Cardioid at Reverb Lounge, June 7, 2018.

Opener, Portland band Cardioid, was a surprise. They started out sounding like your typical indie band in an Angel Olson sort of way, with a lead singer whose voice I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was thinking Rosanne Cash, but another person pointed to Roy Orbison, which was much more on target. As the set progressed their style became almost proggy with unique, unorthodox arrangements, chord changes and great harmonies, you never knew where they were going next. Sublime.

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Let’s get to the weekend…

O’Leaver’s is hosting its a two-day Mid by Midwest mini festival that combines comedy and music. Tonight’s music, which starts at 10 p.m., features a rare performance by Jason Steady (Talking Mountain, Wolf Dealer). Joining him is Dorsia. Your $10 ticket gets you in for the two hours of comedy leading up to music, starting at 8 p.m.

On day 2 of Mid by Midwest (Saturday) Nik Freitas headlines the music with Miwi La Lupa kicking off the jams at 10 p.m. As I mentioned yesterday, Freitas’ new album, Day & Dark, is stunningly good. Like the prior night, your $10 cover gets you into the two-hour comedy show that leads up to the music. More info here.

Let’s back up… Also happening Friday night is a rock show at Brothers Lounge featuring The Ramparts, Narco States and Bad Bad Men (Wolf/Siebken/Hug). $5, 9 p.m.

And Scott Severin (who’s celebrating a birthday today) opens for Jack Hotel tonight at The Harney Street Tavern. 9  p.m. and free.

And lest I forget, City Councilman Pete Festersen and a band that includes guitarists Vic Padios and Mark Weber plays a show tonight at the Benson B-Side (next to the Benson Theater). The show is $5 and starts at 8. Come see how a politician plays the drums.

Saturday night Okkervil River returns to Omaha, this time to The Waiting Room. Here’s a band that’s played just about every performance space in the city, from The Junction to O’Leaver’s to Slowdown. This was the last time I interviewed Will Sheff way back in 2005 when Black Sheep Boy was released, wherein he had this golden quote: “The fact is, it’s hard to spend seven months a year on the road making less money than a 7-11 clerk and still have a satisfying life.” That doesn’t seem to have stopped him.

The band has a new record out called In the Rainbow Rain (2018, ATO). Sheff’s voice still has that same pretty, sad lilt heard on all their music. Star Rover opens at 8 p.m. $18 DOS.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.