AJJ (Andrew Jackson Jihad), Kimya Dawson, Wrong Pets, BFF tonight; Big Al, No Means No fests, Natural States Saturday; Soccer Mommy Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:41 pm October 5, 2018

Andrew Jackson Jihad at The Waiting Room, July 15, 2014. They return as AJJ tonight at TWR.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Let’s start with the “antifolk” show at The Waiting Room tonight.What is antifolk? Well, according to antifolk.com it’s “a musical genre that promotes song-writing over technique and personality over polish. Some see it as the evolution of folk, others as a combination on punk and folk.” Couldn’t have said it better if I tried.

AJJ sort of falls under this definition. Once known as Andrew Jackson Jihad, AJJ is headlining this show tonight at TWR. Their name sounds punk-y but they’ve never sounded punky to me,  more like early Mountain Goats — clever lyrics, wonky vocals. Political? You bet (Check out the timely “Night of the Long Knives,” below).  They’re out supporting their latest, Ugly Spiral: Lost Works 2012-2016 (2018, SideOneDummy). Also on the bill: Kimya Dawson is better known for her work with Moldy Peaches, an antifolk style she’s continued as a solo performer. Laura Stevenson (Don Giovanni Records) and Shellshag (Don Giovanni) round it out. That’s a lot o’ entertaining for $18. Starts early — 7 p.m.

By the way, it’s Benson First Friday. The Sydney is celebrating with a four-band bill that includes Wrong Pets, Montee Men, Living Conditions and Tyrone Storm. $5, 10 p.m.

And if you’re in the Benson neighborhood, don’t forget to stop by The Little Gallery, located in the east bay of the Masonic Lodge Building (just across the street and a block east of The Sydney in East Benson). Tonight’s gala opening featured artist is Megan Thomas. Booze and treats provided, 6 to 9 p.m. Stop in and say howdy.

Two “festivals” are happening tomorrow night (Saturday). The No Means No Festival is going on at Petshop Gallery. Thirteen bands including No Thanks, Jocko and Bedrest start performing at 7 p.m. $7. More info here.

Also tomorrow night is the Big Al Free Music Festival at fabulous O’Leaver’s. It’s an all-solo affair that includes performances by Dereck Higgins, Sam Martin and Darren Keen (as well as Big Al himself). Comedians will perform between sets. It’s free but you have to bring food (cuz it’s a food drive, duh). Starts at 8 p.m. More info here.

Also Saturday night, The Brothers Lounge is hosting a rock show headlined by The Natural States (it’s their EP release show), with Houma and Silversphere (ex-Lepers). $5, 9 p.m.

Finally on Sunday Soccer Mommy headlines at Reverb Lounge. You read her Ten Questions survey here a couple days ago. Sasami a.k.a. Sasami Ashworth, formerly the keyboardist for the L.A. indie rockers Cherry Glazerr, opens. $12, 8 p.m.

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

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Clarence Tilton, BFF (Jason Steady) tonight; Big Al Music Fest Saturday; Numero Group Pop Up Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:23 pm October 6, 2017

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016. The band is playing the Big Al Free Music Festival at O’Leaver’s Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get to the weekend rundown, notice anything different about the Lazy-i homepage? Come on, LOOK.  I want to thank Digital Leather for holding that position on the homepage for six years. I’m sure at some point we’ll rotate a more recent photo of Shawn and the guys the next time I go to a DL show (which can’t be too soon).

Anyway, soggy weekend ahead, at least part of it. Don’t let the rain keep you inside. Here’s what’s happening…

Omaha’s premiere alt-country band, Clarence Tilton, is playing a set out at Growler USA, way out on 162nd and Maple. St. If you haven’t been out there, now’s your chance. It’s free and the place has something like 100 beers on tap. No opener. Starts at 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, tonight O’Leaver’s has a bill of unknown acts (unknown by me, anyway) that include House Vacations, Condor & Jaybird and Harakiri. Where is Craig D. finding these bands? Check out HV’s track below. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And, in case you forgot, it’s the first Friday of October, which means it’s Benson First Friday.

We’ve got a special art show tonight at The Little Gallery, located across the street from The Sydney in the east bay of the Masonic Lodge building. You may know him from Talking Mountain or Wolf Dealer or his latest musical project, Number One Hit Kids, or you also may know him as an exciting graphic artist on his way to blowing up the Omaha art scene. The renaissance man I speak of is none other than Jason Steady. And tonight, The Little Gallery presents: Jason Steady: Objects.

Swing by between 6 and 9 p.m. and enjoy some chips and salsa while you peruse the art, along with some strange coke+red wine concoction (and probably beer). See you there.

That brings us to Saturday night and the 10th Annual Big Al’s Free Music Festival at O’Leaver’s. Yes, it’s free, but you’re encouraged to bring a can of food for the food drive. This year, Al’s added a “comedy stage.” Local funnymen will do standup between music sets, which are listed below:

5:00 – 5:25 The Shineys
5:45 – 6:10 Jales Hupke
6:30 – 6:55 ARMY of 2600
7:15 – 7:40 Bathtub Maria
8:00 – 8:25 Sam Martin
8:45 – 9:10 Relax, It’s Science
9:30 – 9:55 Dereck Higgins Experience
10:15 – 10:40 Mike Saklar Trio
11:00 – 11:25 Wagon Blasters
11:45 – 12:10 Big AL band

Also Saturday night, Nebraska legend Charlie Burton continues his return tour, this time playing with his band, Or What, at The Barley Street Tavern. $5, 9 p.m.

Finally, Hi-Fi House is hosing an open-to-the-public event Sunday afternoon featuring record label Numero Group. According to Wiki, Numero Group is “an archival record label that creates compilations of previously released music, reissues original albums, and creates album reconstructions from a variety of musical genres.”

Hang out and hear stories from label co-founders Rob Sevier and Ken Shipley, and hear selections from the works from the one-of-a-kind Numero catalog. They’ll also be selling tons of Numero Group merch from their pop-up shop. Noon to 6 p.m. Hi-Fi House is located at, 3724 Farnam St.

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Dereck Higgins Experience, Wagon Blasters, Big Al Band; Ten Questions with Dawes; Bandcamp results…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:42 pm February 6, 2017

Dereck Higgins Experience at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 4, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Dereck Higgins, one of Omaha’s most prolific musicians, unveiled yet another new project Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s. This new four-piece combo, called The Dereck Higgins Experience (or DHX, as he referred to it from stage), continued in a similar jazz fusion direction heard on Higgins’ recent solo album, Flyover Country. In fact, the combo created a live version of  at least one song from the movie soundtrack.

On bass and synths and acting the role of Emcee, Higgins was joined by James Cuato Ballarin on synths/wind instruments, Aaron Gum on synths, and stellar guitarist Jacob Cubby Phillips. All but Gum also are in progressive jazz band Chemicals, a more experimental, free-form combo than DHX, whose set felt split between smoother fusion numbers a la Spyro Gyra, and funky, digital-fueled jazz concepts. Less intricate and less challenging than Chemicals, DHX’s music likely is more accessible to a larger audience.

I’m told this offshoot of Chemicals isn’t a replacement for that band, who according to Higgins has a scheduled gig at the Harney Street Tavern Friday night, while DHX will play the following evening at The Down Under.

Next up was Wagon Blasters who were in particularly fine form, maybe because it was Guitarist William Thornton’s birthday. Gary Dean Davis yelled through a rowdy set of trademark tractor-punk rock songs, doing his darndest to break through O’Leaver’s floor and onto the birthday/karaoke party going on in the basement.

As a lark, I tried streaming Wagon Blasters’ set via Facebook Live through the faux window sills off stage left. You can still view a recording of the performance in Facebook (or below). Scroll to the 23:38 mark in the video to see Gary’s epic punk-rock stage fall!

Finally, Big Al Band closed out the night with his flying V and Holly Pop on the drum kit. Favorite moment of the set — the final song wherein Al swapped out the V for a bass for a go at song called “Jolly Roger.” Nice.

As mentioned, O’Leaver’s now has a basement party room. I snuck (sneaked?) down there Saturday night and was pleasantly surprised at the set-up, which includes a full bar and karaoke stage, all of which is available for rental at a bargain price. Let’s see, sand volleyball, live music, tiki bar, two outdoor beer gardens and now a karaoke party room? What more can O’Leaver’s squeeze into their entertainment complex?

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As you see below, I’m continuing the Ten Questions series both here and in The Reader. I recently got some push back from a publicist, asking if I would be able to do an actual interview with the band he represents rather than the survey. Fact is, I simply don’t have time to interview and write band features for every interesting act coming through town (and considering the pay for these features ($0.00), can’t afford it.). The Ten Questions format allows me to hype a touring indie band’s upcoming show in a way that’s not too time taxing. Let me know what you think of these surveys…


Dawes, photo by Matt Jacoby.

LA folk-rock band Dawes epitomizes a style of music I grew up listening to — tequila sunrise ’70s soft rock. You know what I’m talking about — those laid-back groovy bands they used to play on the FM (and AM) stations and still do if you have a classic rock channel in your town (and who doesn’t?).

But somewhere/somehow over the past few years it’s become accepted for snotty, tone-deaf hipsters and hipster wannabes to denigrate (via Facebook) music infused with a peaceful, easy feeling. And that’s a shame, because the new folk rock that they often laud — from the likes of Wilco, Ben Kweller, Jenny Lewis and even our very own Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band — owe much of their sound to those FM giants.

Certainly Dawes does. That classic ’70s El-Lay studio sound is evident on their latest album, We’re All Gonna Die (2016, HUB Records), which, at times, reminds me of One of These Nights-era Eagles (there, I said it). On songs like the title track, the slow burnin’ “Roll with the Punches,” the wah-wah funk of “When the Tequila Runs Out,” heck, just about every track, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith unapologetically puts a modern spin on AOR gold, sounding like the second coming of Don Henley or Glenn Frey, complete with warm-cushion vocal harmonies. And that’s about as cool as it gets.

We caught up with Taylor Goldsmith and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Taylor Goldsmith: Always changing but I often go back to Warren Zevon self-titled.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Even though she’s one of my heroes and maybe the greatest songwriter that ever lived, there’s a song called “Not To Blame” by Joni Mitchell that I really hate.

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

The shows. The songs get to change shape every night and we get to pull out old ones we haven’t played in years sometimes.

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

Being gone from home so much of the year. While I love touring, it’s hard to keep a semblance of a normal life in order by being gone over half the year sometimes.

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

Coffee. I always want more coffee. About to make some.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

We love playing at home for our friends and family and also love playing places like Nashville or NYC for the amazing venues and sold out shows, but there is also something special about coming into cities we’ve never been to or rarely play and having those more intimate experiences. It’s fun to still be building audiences in cities. It feels like we’re going into the past and future of the band from night to night depending where we are.

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

An LA show in 2012. I had really lost my voice. I got a steroid shot and it made it a lot worse. By the time we got onstage I could barely whisper. But we couldn’t cancel because everyone was there already and I didn’t want to let the band down. It was rough.

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

Yeah, music pays the bills. We quit our jobs and moved out of our homes the day before our first tour for North Hills. It meant we couldn’t afford places for a while, but we’ve never had jobs since.

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

It’d be fun to be a novelist. I really idolize those guys. My brain just doesn’t work that way though. I’d hate to do just about anything that meant I couldn’t go outside during the day.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Well our good buddy Conor Oberst lives there so any stories we know are somehow indirectly connected to him and the community he’s introduced us to. After spending some serious time there (more time than we typically can in a city during tour) we’ve really fallen in love with Omaha and have been looking forward to this show for a while.

An Evening with Dawes is Tuesday, February 7, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $23 Adv./$25 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Bandcamp says it sold nearly a million dollars worth of music on Friday: “With several hours remaining, we estimate that fans will have bought just over $1,000,000 worth of music today, which is 550% more than a normal Friday (already our biggest sales day of the week). All of our share of that (12%) goes directly to the ACLU. The other 88% (less transaction fees) goes directly to the labels and artists…

A lot of those labels and artists also donated their share to ACLU or other charities. If you bought something, good for you. We’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of efforts over the next four years as the current administration continues to do all it can to dismantle the nation’s arts, take away women’s rights and bar immigrants from our borders. Do what you can; it makes a difference.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Hear Nebraska heads West; Matthew Sweet records demos, album delayed; Oquoa, Sam Martin, Big Al Fest tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:00 pm April 23, 2015
The Good Living Tour

The Good Living Tour

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Hear Nebraska yesterday announced its first (annual?) Good Living Tour, which brings Omaha and Lincoln bands to small-town Nebraska throughout the summer.

The concert series features “27 of Nebraska’s top, all-original bands playing free, all-ages concerts across nine Greater Nebraska communities. An associated storytelling project will include Hear Nebraska’s production of a total of over 27 music/arts-related feature stories and videos highlighting the elements that make the communities great to live, work and play, especially for young people,” according to the HN press release.

Here’s the sched (for your summer vacation planning needs):

July 17 – Imperial
July 18 – Ogallala
July 19 – Scottsbluff/Gering
July 20 – Valentine
July 21 – North Platte
July 22 – Kearney
July 23 – West Point
July 24 – Nebraska City
July 25 – Grand Island

Hear Nebraska isn’t releasing the names of the bands involved in the series yet, but as a Hear Nebraska Board Member (full disclosure!) I can tell you the line-up is indeed impressive. HN will start announcing the bands April 27.

I think the biggest challenge to pulling large audiences to these shows will be underscoring the quality of the bands, many (most) of which are completely unknown in places like North Platte and Ogallala, where no doubt national mega-pop/American Idol acts, C&W and Freedom Rock is their daily music diet (You could argue that’s the same basic diet to most Omaha and Lincoln residents, as well as the rest of ‘merica). So, it’s a challenge, but no one said it was going to be easy.

Good Living Tour strikes at the core mission of Hear Nebraska, which is to “cultivate Nebraska’s vibrant, fertile music and arts community by providing resources and a voice for bands, artists and members of Nebraska’s creative class and the people and businesses that support them.” Find out more about Hear Nebraska at hearnebraska.org.

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Omahan Matthew Sweet said he’s recorded “at least an album’s worth of demos” for his upcoming album (with the working title of Tomorrow Forever), which he said probably won’t be completed until this fall, according to a Kickstarter update he posted yesterday.

“At this point, anything new I write will go straight to recording stage, as obviously I am running late,” Sweet said. “I am expecting to record one more batch of fifteen songs, at which point I can start putting together an order and getting a feel for what the album is. Most likely we will do this final recording in late May or Early June. We will do a few dates in July but otherwise I now hope to finish singing and overdubbing by Sept realistically.”

Sweet original said in his Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $55,000, that the album would be completed in early spring 2015. “I know it is quite typical for Kickstarter projects to run late,” he said. “When you run a campaign, you have to pick a date to shoot for, and I’d really hoped to make it. But it has to be better that I make the best album I can and take a little longer than to rush something out.”

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Oquoa continues its month-long residency. Joining them are Thinking Machines and Sam Martin, whose latest album, A Notion in An Ocean (Make Believe Recordings) is one of my favorite local releases so far this year. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tonight also is the kick-off of the Big Al Free Music Festival at The Hideout Lounge, 320 So. 72nd St. In addition to performing, bands will have free recordings available for swapping. The fest (which runs through Saturday) is also a food drive. Bring a can of food with you — donations will go to the Food Bank for the Heartland.

Here’s tonight’s sched:

8:00 – 8:30 Adam Peterson
8:35 – 9:05 Pflames
9:15 – 9:45 ARMY of 2600
10:00 – 10:30 The Sun-Less Trio
10:40 – 11:10 Low Long Signal
11:20 Digga DJ +1 with Big AL

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And if you haven’t already, check out this week’s Lazy-i Podcast. The 20-minute program features music by Wagon Blasters, Soft Moon, Blue Bird, Ladyfinger and music and an interview with Super Ghost, along with my picks for the best shows this weekend. Check it out below:

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


M34N STR33T album release, Nanahara (ex-Sideshow, Sound of Rails) tonight; Joyner, Subtropics Saturday; Bunnybrains Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:58 pm April 25, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Onto the weekend…

Tonight at The Slowdown Omaha hip-hop posse M34N STR33T (pronounced Mean Street) celebrates the release of their debut full-length Mutants of Omaha.

As member Conny Franko says, “Please do NOT miss this event! This is our heart and souls, blood and sweat, tears and cans of Modelo Especial USA. The project is Midtown, it’s Sam’s Food and Liquor, it’s Cass Gas, it’s Brothers lounge, it’s Cali Bar, it’s for any street north and south of Dodge.”

Joining them will be BOTH, Borealis, and Sean Pratt & The Sweats. $10, 9 p.m. More info here.

Also tonight, brand new band Nanahara makes its stage debut at fabulous O’Leaver’s. According to their Facebook page, “Nanahara originates from Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. Consisting of members of The Sound of Rails and Sideshow, they joined together to form an instrumental band that reflect their favorite music from today and yesterday.” Members are Eric Ernst, Chris Palmquist and Rich Higgins. Also on the bill are Dirty Talker and Post Verse. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Simon Joyner and the Ghosts with The Subtropics. Both bands are headed out to the West Coast on tour and need your money to cover expenses. $5, 9:30 p.m. And check out Wednesday’s Lazy-i blog post to find out how you can help the tour and get some fine tunage in exchange.

Also Saturday night, Clear the Day hosts a CD release show at Slowdown Jr. The Omaha band’s debut album was recorded by Jeremy Garrett (Citizen Cope, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu) Opening are The Brigadiers and Morse Code. $7, 9 p.m.

Also, the Big Al Free Music festival is going on tonight and Saturday night at The Hideout. Details here.

Finally, The Sweatshop Gallery in Benson is hosting a rock show Sunday night featuring The Bunnybrains, Rake Kash, Video Ranger and The Lupines. $8, 8 p.m.

Have a good 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Kasher’s new video; Waxahatchee, Big Al Fest (Bloodcow, Hoshaw) kicks off tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:45 pm April 24, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tim Kasher yesterday debuted his new self-directed video for track “You Scare Me to Death” on German website Musik Express. Here’s what they had to say about it:

Cursive- und The-Good-Life-Sänger Tim Kasher hat ein neues Musikvideo veröffentlicht, und das erzählt von einer nur scheinbar heilen Welt: Im Clip zum Song “You Scare Me To Death” geht es titelgemäß um nicht weniger als um die Angst, einen geliebten Menschen zu verlieren.

I don’t know what that means, but I bet it’s really  nice.

Check out the video below:

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Couple o’ shows going on tonight:

At The Waiting Room it’s Brooklyn folk project Waxahatchee (Don Giovanni Records / Wichita Recordings) with Carbonleak & Manic Pixie Dream Girls. $12, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile the Big Al Free Music Festival 2014 kicks off at The Hideout, 320 So. 72nd St. Al’s been doing it for free for seven years. The three-night festival starts tonight with a line-up that includes some big hitters: Bloodcow and Brad Hoshaw, among others. Check out the whole lineup on their Facebook page. The show is free (duh) and starts at 8:45.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Desa plays a secret show; Big Al’s Free Fest starts today…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:38 pm April 24, 2012
Conor Oberst of Desaparecidos at Slowdown Jr. April. 23, 2012. Photo by Dan Thompson III.

Conor Oberst of Desaparecidos at Slowdown Jr. April. 23, 2012. Photo by Dan Thompson III.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Based on email/text logs, word started spreading at around 10 last night that Desaparecidos finally was getting around to that secret show that never happened last week, moving the venue from O’Leaver’s to Slowdown Jr. This one was, indeed, kept a secret almost up to the moment they hit the stage. Thankfully I was deep in the Land of Nod when all this was going down, saving me the guilt of not going due to a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call this morning.

That said, Kevin Coffey was in the house and filed this review for the Omaha World-Herald, as was Hearnebraska.org’s Steve Ashford (here’s his review). And so was local shooter Dan Thompson III, who shot the above image of Conor in full rage. The biggest news of the night: The band played two new songs, furthering speculation that this reunion is more than a series of one-off shows. I would not be surprised if a new album is in the works, along with a formal tour. Desa fever is definitely catching. Memo to the MAHA Music Festival guys: If the amount of internet buzz (and traffic to my site over the past two days) is any indication, they better start printing more tickets for this year’s festival.

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Tonight at The Hideout, 320 So. 72nd St., it’s the opening night of the annual Big Al Free Music Festival. Now in its fifth year, Al will be hosting shows all week long featuring four to five local bands per evening. The gigs are free, the merch is free (In fact, Al’s goal is to distribute 1,000 local CDs this week). Check out the full schedule here.

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.