Live Review: See Through Dresses, UN-T.I.L. at the Benson Theatre…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 7:50 am October 30, 2023

See Through Dresses at The Benson Theatre, Oct. 27, 2023.

by Tim McMahan,

The Benson Theatre, located right in the middle of our drunken little townlet, could really be a cool stage for rock shows. The room is, indeed, quite beautiful, well designed, with rows of seating and plenty of room in front of the stage to stand. It’s the best of both worlds, or could be. In my mind I could imagine all those Undertow artists’ shows, like the recent Mark Eitzel show that took place downtown in a brew pub drinking room, performed on the Benson Theatre stage, a room just the right size for tours from past stars who now find themselves nomadically playing people’s living rooms. 

Alas, one assumes the operating costs associated with this “non-profit” theater makes such concerts impossible, which is a shame because there’s woefully little programming taking place in the state-of-the-art facility in the heart of the city. 

But I digress…

Friday night the theater hosted a fundraiser for Omaha Girls Rock, another Omaha non-profit, this one designed to provide direction both musically and ethically to young women from our community. The sold-out crowd consisted mostly of parents of these young rock stars on hand to give moral support, sitting or standing in groups while young kids ran around in costumes or wiggled on the “dance floor” in front of the stage. 

Omaha is currently suffering from a lack of young, up-and-coming indie bands. And as few new or touring Omaha indie bands as there are, there are even fewer bands fronted by women, which is ironic because today’s national indie music scene is dominated by women artists. No need to list them, if you know than you know. Omaha Girls Rock, while not established to fix this problem, could certainly provide an effective remedy. 

In times past when I’ve seen OGR bands play at fundraisers I’ve approached it like just another supportive parent (though I’m not), understanding the girls were only just learning their instruments. Not so Friday night. The two bands I saw were actually pretty good.  Nothing Rhymes with Orange was cute and showed promise, but UN-T.I.L. actually could stand on its own as a functioning post-punk power trio. No idea who’s in the band, but they had some chops, especially on the last two numbers that had more intricate compositions. And if you doubt me, you can find out for yourself as UN-T.I.L. will be opening for Speedy Ortiz at The Slowdown Nov. 17.

They were followed by the return of See Through Dresses, who haven’t played out in a few years. Drummer Nate Van Fleet even made a special trip to Omaha from his new home in LA just for the show. The entire band dressed in matching skeleton costumes a la Phoebe Bridgers’ band, which made it a sort of double costume. 

While the band sounded as good as ever playing music that’s a combination of shoegaze and Dinosaur Jr., the vocals by Matthew Carroll and Sara Bertuldo sounded naked on stage, pulled right out front of everything instead of being properly mixed with the rest of the instruments. I’ve never heard these two so loud and clear, like auctioneers fronting DIIV. Still, despite the poor mix, it was great seeing them on stage again.

In an era in Omaha when we’ve got ginormous new music venues popping up everywhere, here’s a small, well-made smaller alternative venue going mostly unused. It would be a shame if more bands weren’t booked there.

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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.


Live Reviews: Brad Hoshaw & the 7 Deadlies, Dehd; Dinosaur Jr., The Cult, Quivers Sunday; Lincoln Calling weekend…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:18 pm September 23, 2022
Brad Hoshaw at Benson Theater Sept. 22, 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

One of the best songwriters to come out of Omaha, Brad Hoshaw, celebrated a homecoming and (sort of) album-release party last night at the brand-spanking new Benson Theatre. It was an appropriate stage for the occasion as Hoshaw once was one of Benson’s most visible artists, for years performing along Maple Street. These days, Hoshaw lives in a rural town in central California, but he’s still writing his classic brand of love-sick folk songs.

The first half of the set was just Hoshaw and his acoustic guitar, sitting center-stage playing a number of songs off his new album, Living on a Sliver, including personal favorites “My Dying Day” and broken-hearted lovesong “Lonesome Fool,” which he explained from stage really has a happy ending because after he wrote it, he first texted his now long-time girlfriend (Awwww.). 

The acoustic set showed off Benson Theatre’s acoustics — you could hear every fine wrinkle of Hoshaw’s vocals and guitar. What more to say about the theater except that you could see every dollar of the millions that went into its refurbishment — it’s gorgeous and surprisingly cozy for its size – which is a nice way of saying it’s smaller than I thought it would be. The room’s acoustics were so good that between songs I could clearly hear conversations at tables across the room. 

Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies at Benson Theatre, Sept. 22, 2022.

After about 45 minutes and a brief intermission, Hoshaw came back on stage with his band, The 7 Deadlies, for an hour-plus set of oldies, this time highlighted by killer versions of “It Falls Apart” (from 2014’s Funeral Guns) and show-stopper “Powdernose” from the 2009 debut, each featuring scorching guitar solos by lead guitarist Matt Whipkey. Rounding out the Deadlies were drummer Scott Gaeta and bass player Craig Balderston.

The band came out for a lengthy encore that included a solo-electric version of “Coma” and Hoshaw’s go-to cover, “Purple Rain” (No matter what I do, I can’t get him to cover “Please Come to Boston”). The crowd of around 80 gave Brad and the band a well-deserved standing ovation.

Dehd at The Slowdown, Sept. 22, 2022.

Afterward, I headed down to The Slowdown for Dehd.

Dehd opened with “Bad Love,” the hit single off the band’s most recent album, Blue Skies, and the youngish crowd of maybe 200 went nuts. Live the trio is even more minimal sounding than on record, with each player making the most out of his or her instrument. Frontwoman Emily Kempf sang and snarled her way through the set while holding down the bass line. Guitarist Jason Balla leapt and danced, warping his guitar’s sound in trademark fashion. There was a sort of underwater vibe to everything. Holding it all together was percussionist Eric McGrady standing between a couple large kettle drums and little else. As they moved through the set, songs did begin to blend into each other, creating one surfy, punky song, but what a fun song it was.  

Opener Exum was just Antone Exum singing and dancing alone with microphone over pre-recorded tracks. Initially, a bit of a let-down, especially considering the instrumentation heard on his albums. Still, he made the most of what he had, getting the crowd to dance and even sing along to his music. Exum’s music ranged from rap and R&B to industrial and punk. If he only had a band behind him.

Onto the weekend, and Lincoln Calling is the premiere event.

The full schedule is at If I had to pick one night to attend it would be tonight. The highlights include a reunion of classic ’90s Lincoln post-punk band Sideshow; ’80s NYC post-punk legends Live Skull, as well as Together Pangea, Uh Oh, BIB, Las Cruxes and Thirst Things First. Saturday’s line-up ain’t bad, either, with David Nance, Catpiss, The Machete Archive, Domestica and The Menzingers among the highlights. There is a variety of ticket options, including venue-specific access. Study the LC website and plan your strategy.

Beyond that, back here in Omaha all the shows are bunched together on Sunday night.

Top of the order is The Cult at The Admiral Theater (formerly known as Sokol Auditorium). Expect a big, loud production from these ’80s first wave dynamos. Goth-heavy Oakland band King Woman opens at 8 p.m. Tickets are $64.50 for GA, and $125 for balcony access.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, Dinosaur Jr. returns with Chicago singer-songwriter Ryley Walker. 8 p.m. $30.

Around the corner at Reverb Lounge Agent Orange heads a punk ticket that includes local heroes R.A.F. and The Scabby Ghouls. $22, 8 p.m.

And last but not least, Melbourne band Quivers is doing an in-store at Grapefruit Records, 1125 Jackson St., in the Old Market at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Opener TBD. I’ll be posting a Ten Questions interview with Quivers tomorrow.

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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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.


Another possible music performance option in Benson? Theatre celebrates ‘Grand Reveal’; Bellum Boca tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:36 pm November 18, 2015

Rendition of the Benson Theater, revealed last night.

Rendition of the Benson Theatre, revealed last night.

by Tim McMahan,

Based on the presentations made last night at PS Collective and a quick walk-through of the building, the Benson Theatre could become another impressive option for rock shows.

The organization behind the renovation of the theater, located next door to the Pizza Shop in Benson, reviewed blueprints of the facility, artist mock-ups of the floor plan and played a virtual-tour video that showed how the theater will look once it’s open.

Rendering of the interior of Benson Theater, shot inside Benson Theater last night.

Rendering of the interior of Benson Theatre, on display last night inside Benson Theatre.

With a capacity of around 225, tiered seating and booths as well as room on the floor in front of the stage, the theater reminded me of a smaller version of the Rococo in Lincoln. And despite plans for having a full performance calendar, the theater will have some capacity for other programming; one would assume that would include rock shows.

But any grand opening is likely years away. Organizers say that so far the non-profit has raised half of the $2.5 million budget that would cover all construction expenses plus six months of operating costs. Among the list of supporters were some big names, including Conor Oberst and Alexander Payne.

How long will it take them to raise the other half of the needed cash? Who knows. Organizers said construction wouldn’t begin until their goal amount is raised. Find out more about the Benson Theater project (and get involved) at

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Chicago band Bellum Boca headlines. The band recently played with Cursive. Bed Rest opens. $5, 9:30 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.