T’was the week before Christmas; Matthew Sweet, Big Thief news…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 8:41 am December 18, 2023

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It looks to be a very quiet week in terms of rock shows.  I’ll be posting the Lazy-i Year in Review later this week and the predictions for 2024 the following week, so look for them. In year’s past, they would have been published in The Reader, but, alas, The Reader is no more. A small group of former Reader writers/editors got together last Saturday night at The Admiral to send it off in style. What, if anything, will take its place in terms of arts and entertainment coverage for the Omaha area? 

From the in-box…

  • – Omahan Matthew Sweet (or at least I think he still lives here, he’s actually a Lincoln native who spent years in the East Coast but somehow ended up back in Omaha a few years ago), announced his first live concert dates in four years with a mini tour of the Midwest in February 2024, that includes Feb. 17 at The Waiting Room. The dates seem to support the release of a live album recorded at a 1993 concert at Chicago’s Grant’s Park. Strangely, the press release doesn’t say when that album will be released.  Tickets on sale now.
  • – Former Saddle Creek Records act Big Thief announced last week that they’re rereleasing their 2016 debut Masterpiece on 4AD Records in a remastered format. The album was a ground-breaker for the band and a real feather in Saddle Creek’s cap when it came out, but it appears the album’s rights have reverted back to the band and they’ve chosen to rerelease it at their new home. In fact, if you go to the Saddle Creek website you’ll notice the album is no longer available, but the follow-up – 2017’s Capacity — still is, along with a couple Big Thief singles and T-shirts. 

That’s it for now. 

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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: Neither rain nor blistering heat could stop Maha 2023…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 7:25 am July 31, 2023

The crowd on the second day of the 2023 Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Was the last Maha Festival to be held at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village the best one ever? No, but last weekend’s festival definitely was in the top-3, and as far as operations goes, went off with only a couple hiccups…

Look, you can’t do anything about the weather, right? Friday’s blistering heat and wilting humidity was only topped by the rainstorm that divided the evening’s festivities. Actually, the rain wasn’t the problem; it was the massively long line to get back onto the festival grounds that was a major bummer. The 4-person-wide line stretched for blocks, from the park entrance to the Residence Inn and then around the corner. But whaddaya gonna do? Security is security, I suppose. And though it seemed like it would never end, it only took about a half-hour to get back inside after the gates reopened, but by then Icky Blossoms already had begun their set. But I’m getting ahead of myself….

BIB on Day of of the 2023 Maha Festival.

I was pleasantly surprised at the crowd size when BIB took the stage at 4:30 – despite a heat index well past 100. The humidity was brutal and yet there was at least a couple hundred people gathered around the second stage – one of the larger audiences I’ve seen for a Maha-opening band. 

And BIB delivered. The Omaha-based hardcore act played a honed set of bonebreak punk that even had a couple dudes aimlessly trying to start a pit by the stage. This was the first time I’ve seen them live, and they were intense despite the small crowd and crazy heat. One photographer asked why they weren’t playing later in the day.

I’ve said this all before — it’s nice to include local bands in the festival, but I’m not sure how much they’re being helped exposurewise when playing to a mostly empty field. I’ve been told by organizers in the past that my solution of having one of the touring acts open the festival to draw a large initial crowd is impracticable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that no touring band would voluntarily take the time slot. That said, I promise you if Guided by Voices opened the festival you’d have a big-ass crowd on hand – a crowd that would hang around the rest of the day Just sayin’…


HAKIM plays as the storm begins to form in the background.

BIB was followed by another local act, rapper HAKIM, which I learned is always ALL UPPERCASE. If you want to find HAKIM on Spotify, use that caps lock key. This was another introduction to the band and their impressive sound, production and flow. Very groovy stuff that deserves more research. 

Throughout HAKIM’s set, the edge of the frontal boundary crept closer, eventually blocking out the sun and cooling things down. Just over HAKIM’s shoulder majestic thunderheads loomed like a scene from Oppenheimer. The end was nigh.

Sure enough, just as Icky Blossoms finished their soundcheck the festival was “officially closed” temporarily because of the imminent storm. We were told to shelter in nearby parking garages until the coast was clear. I high-tailed it to a well-air-conditioned Pauli’s and watched the wind and rain sweep through. As quickly as it started, the storm was over. Figured I could just walk right back in where I went out, but no – I was directed to the main gaits where the aforementioned line of humanity was in the streets. 

The line to reenter the festival after the storm passed went on for blocks.

In addition to security screening, everyone had to rescan their tickets – sure hope everyone held on to their stubs. As the line inched closer to the gates the rumble of Icky Blossoms echoed off the buildings. For many including myself, seeing the band’s reunion was a festival highlight not to be missed. But missing it we were.

Icky Blossoms takes the Maha Union Pacific stage.

In the end, I only missed about half their set. By the time I was back to the stage, the Ickies were just finishing “Babes” and about to crank into “Sex to the Devil,” and they were killing it. The triumvirate of Derek Pressnall, Nik Fackler and Sarah Bohling was joined by Sara Bertuldo on bass. The band never sounded harder, faster or louder, and was absolutely on point. “Why aren’t they together anymore?” asked a dude to my right. Because life has a way of going on, I said. No doubt if they wanted to, they could make a go of it again. 

They ended their triumphant set with their traditionally set-closer, 2011’s “Perfect Vision.” It was like a rainbow after a storm. 

Ekkstacy on the second stage at Maha 2023.

The rest of the evening went off without a hitch. Ekkstacy played next on the small stage. The band is somewhat known for their single, “I Walk This Earth All By Myself,” a synth-driven quick-beat thumper that sounds like something right out of ’80s college radio. Live, however, the band was all guitars and reminded me Standing On the Beach-era Cure — riveting, chiming tones and straight-on drums capped by Ekkstacy’s crisp vocals. Something tells me we’ll be talking about this set in years to come…

Alvvays at Maha 2023.

That was it for the small stage. Alvvays took the big stage next and played a flawless set, if not somewhat uneventful. There wasn’t much to see. I did notice was how many great songs Alvvays have in their song book, one after another, I caught myself saying, “Shit, I forgot they play that one, too.” Frontwoman Molly Rankin has a pure, flawless voice; it was like listening to a recording. 

Maha had announced after the storm that all the bands would still play full sets despite losing an hour of festival time. That meant Turnstile wasn’t going to go on until well past 10 p.m.  An incredibly long stage switch out pushed that start time past 10:30, and by then the crowd had ballooned in size. I don’t know the attendance numbers yet, but Friday night’s crowds seemed larger than Saturday night’s. 

Turnstile closes out Day 1 of Maha 2023.

Turnstile finally hit the stage with the same energy captured in their YouTube performances. Their music — an intense, riff-driven rock that borders on ‘90s Nu-Metal crossed with modern emo (but with better vocals and better melodies) — forces listeners to bounce, and so they did. 

And while the sound throughout the entire day earned an A+, Turnstile’s set was hampered by technical problems, including something wrong with the lead guitar, which kept cutting out. Frontman Branden Yates, whose vocals are booming on their recordings, oftentimes was lost in the mix. Despite this, the band sounded somewhat awesome… for the five songs I saw them perform before heading to the gates. 

Ebba Rose kicked of the second day of the 2023 Maha Music Festival.

Saturday’s line-up was less interesting than Friday’s. I made an effort to be there at 2:30 to see Ebba Rose. About 100 folks were on hand to catch the performance by singer/songwriter Erin Mitchell and her band. She’s surrounded herself with first-class musicians, including a great drummer and lead guitarist. Her music is more pop than indie, more Jewel/Sheryl Crow/Taylor Swift, and nothing like the current female-led indie movement heard on college radio. It’s a matter of musical style, and that doesn’t take away from the fact she’s got a voice clear as a bell and can belt out modern rock as well as anyone on American Idol. 

Terry Presume at the 2023 Maha Music Festival.

I left the park after Ebba Rose’s set and didn’t return until after 6 when Terry Presume was on stage finishing his performance of by-the-numbers hip-hop that had the crowd moving. I’m not familiar with his music, but it sounded good, though nothing I hadn’t heard before. 

It was just before The Beths took the small stage that I noticed how small the crowd seemed — smaller than the crowd Friday night at the same time. But halfway through The Beths’ set, the crowd seemed to double in size. 

The Beths closed out the small stage on Day 2 of the Maha Music Festival.

Of all the bands that played Maha, I heard more compliments about The Beths than any other. Folks just loved their songs. Very much like Alvvays, they’re first and foremost masters of infectious indie pop songs driven by great hooks and great vocal lines. Indie rock candy. 

That was the first time (other than a headliner) where a band came back and played an encore. 

Peach Pit at Day 2 of the Maha Music Festival.

Then on came Peach Pit, a peaceful easy-feeling band that bordered on jam territory. At one point during a song the guitar lines morphed into the harmony guitar solo from The Eagles’ “Hotel California.” Not my thing, but there’s no question a lot of folks were at Maha to see them because after their set it looked like a mini exodus to the gates as lines of folks picked up and left. 

That said, the crowd on hand for Big Thief was enormous, and what a lucky crowd it was. While I dig this band— from their early Saddle Creek Records releases right up to their recent double-album — I questioned their status as a festival closer. Well, I was wrong.

Big Thief closed out Day 2 of the Maha Music Festival.

With a stripped down mostly empty stage that held the four members and their instruments, the band came out and crushed their set, opening with a couple new songs that were just gorgeous before tearing into “Certainty,” the single from their last album and one of my favorites. 

Frontwoman Adrianne Lenker has a star-quality voice that stands right up there with Tammy and Loretta and Kitty — just a pure voice rich in soul, sounding even better on stage than on her records. The entire band – Buck Meek on guitar and backing vocals, Max Oleartchik on stand-up bass and James Krivchenia on drums, were somewhat amazing. 

It was about halfway through “Certainty” that the band stopped so medics could go into the crowd and help someone out, then the band picked up right where they left off. I’m told the same thing happened later in their set as well. While it was warm out, it was nothing like the day (and night) before. 

Usually when acts just come out and play — just stand there — it bores me to tears, but there was something about Big Thief and Lenker’s voice that is mesmerizing. So, in the 15 years that I’ve seen Maha, that was one of my favorite headliner sets. 

As I made my way back to the parking garage I thought about how much I’m going to miss Stinson Park as the venue for Maha. It’s just so damn… comfortable. Everything about it, from the access to set up, from the staging to the peripheral areas, was going to be difficult to beat when the Maha Festival moves downtown next year for what is bound to be an even bigger concert experience. Let’s hope it doesn’t lose any of its charm. 

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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.


Maha Festival Saturday schedule topped by Big Thief…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:26 pm July 27, 2023
M34n Str33t at Maha 2014. They return to Maha again this Saturday..

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The unique thing about this year’s Saturday Maha Music Festival line-up is that I might actually stick around for the headliner. 

A quick look at the Saturday schedule:

  • 2 p.m. – Gates Open
  • 2:30 p.m. – Ebba Rose
  • 3 p.m. Nebraska Writers Collective Youth Poets
  • 3:15 p.m. – Garst
  • 3:45 p.m. – Omaha Girls Rock
  • 4 p.m. – M34n Str33t
  • 4:30 p.m. – Say She She
  • 5:15 p.m. – Black Belt Eagle Scout
  • 6 p.m. – Terry Presume
  • 7 p.m. – The Beths
  • 8 p.m. – Peach Pit
  • 9:30 p.m. – Big Thief

Ebba Rose and Garst, two local up-and-coming acts, have the dreaded opening spots, likely even more dreadful this year if the heatwave continues. I’ve not seen Ebba Rose perform and heard only bits of her recently released album. Garst is more of a straight ahead rock band than an indie act.

The real fireworks begin at 4 p.m. with M34n Str33t. This is a return engagement for the hip-hop ensemble fronted by Connie Franko and produced by Haunted Gauntlet, who played Maha back in 2014. Always entertaining, they’re one of the most under appreciated Nebraska acts that light up the stage whenever they perform.

Disco funk trio Say She She was an unknown when announced for this year’s Maha line-up. They’re still very much under the radar. Who knows if that’ll change. They’re playing 7th St. Entry tonight in Minneapolis in support of their new album, Astral Plane (Karma Chief  / Colemine Records). Disco dancing at 4:30 in the afternoon? Why not. 

Black Belt Eagle Scout, another emerging artist, happens to be on our hometown label, Saddle Creek Records. They released her most recent LP, The Land, the Water, the Sky, back in February to critical huzzahs. Fronted by Portland singer/songwriter Katherine Paul, her style has been compared to Mazzy Star, and I can see that at times, though she has a more somber, spiritual approach versus Mazzy’s laid-back sexiness. BBES played a rather subdued set to a small crowd at Reverb back in September 2018. 

Nashville rapper Terry Presume has been recording since he was 13 growing up in Naples. FL. His latest single is “Loner,” released last year on Big Ass Kids Records. I know virtually nothing about Presume so this will be a music discovery moment for yours truly.

The festival’s main line-up begins at 7 with The Beths. The New Zealand quartet is on the upper tier of touring indie acts thanks to the popularity of last year’s LP, Experts in a Dying Field (Carpark Records), and their breakout album, 2018’s Future Me Hates Me, whose title track got played endlessly on XMU. Their sound epitomizes female-fronted college rock with influences dating back to acts like Blake Babies / Juliana Hatfield, which they very much remind me of. I caught their packed performance at Slowdown Jr. in July 2019 and loved it. 

Vancouver band Peach Pit, fronted by guitarist/vocalist Neil Smith, is more of a major label rock act (they’re on Columbia) that had a peak moment back in 2018 with LP Being So Normal. Judging by their Spotify numbers, they’re as popular as the headliner, but I rarely hear their music. They have a kind of laidback style, which will hopefully compliment the festival’s laidback headliner. 

Finally, there’s Big Thief. They just headlined Pitchforkfest last weekend – it doesn’t get any more indie than that. Maha typically has a something either over-the-top or a pop-level act as a headliner. Last year it was Beach House, the year before, Khruangbin, then Covid and before that, Lizzo. I generally watch a couple songs from the headliner then hit the road. Depending on what they roll out on the main stage, however, I may stick around for the full set Saturday night. 

Big Thief’s latest, the double-LP, Dragon New Warm Mountian I Believe in You (2022, 4AD), is chock full o’ good songs in a variety of styles. It all comes down to how they present it. And while they may be a big deal in the indie world, I’m not sure many people at Stinson Park will know who they are. 

Anyway, tickets at mahafestival.com

And a reminder – there will be no foodtrucks on the festival grounds this year, so be prepared to dine at one of Aksarben’s many fine restraurants before or during the festival. Maha is promising an easy in-and-out process to facilitate your dining needs. And while there’s no food at Maha (except for VIPs), there will be plenty of booze available. 

This is the last year for Stinson before Maha heads downtown to the riverfront. Here’s hoping it goes off with a bang. 

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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.


Big Thief, Turnstile headline 2023 Maha Festival, July 28-29…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:54 pm February 22, 2023
Big Thief will headline day 2 of the 2023 Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If you’re anywhere near social media you already know that the 2023 Maha Music Festival Lineup was announced at today at noon. The 15th annual festival takes place July 28 and 29 at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village, which (rumor has it) may be the last time at that location.

Big Thief is the festival’s Saturday headliner. Arguably one of the most popular and critically acclaimed bands in indie, Big Thief started their careers releasing albums on our city’s very own Saddle Creek Records before heading off to 4AD Records a few years ago. Last year’s double album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, was on many critics’ “best of” lists (including mine). This isn’t their first trip to Omaha. Big Thief played the late, great Lookout Lounge (opening for Yuck) way back in 2016, and returned a year later to play at O’Leaver’s.

Festival headline gigs are usually high-energy affairs. Can Big Thief bring the party? While I love their music, it’s pretty low-key folk rock, and you have to wonder how many people around these parts even know who Big Thief is. Then again, how many people had heard of Khruangbin when they headlined in 2021 or, for that matter, Beach House last year?

Vancouver indie pop band Peach Pit should provide a peaceful, easy lead-in to Big Thief Saturday. Their low-key songs tell stories about love and relationship, etc. Indie in name only, they record on Columbia Records, and played a sold-out Slowdown Jr. back in October 2018.  

Pop New Zealanders The Beths also are on the Saturday list. They played Slowdown Jr. in July 2019 and released the fetching Experts in a Dying Field last year on Carpark Records. Another familiar band, Saddle Creek Records stars Black Belt Eagle Scout, also play Saturday. They just released The Land, the Water, The Sky on The Creek a few weeks ago. BBES played Reverb back in September 2018. Then along comes a couple bands I’m not familiar with. Naples by way of Nashville hip-hop/R&B artist Terry Presume has a Saturday afternoon slot along with disco-pop trio Say She She (Karma Chief Records). And then there’s the locals. Omaha hip-hop legends M34N STR33T, local rockers Garst and singer/songwriter Ebba Rose.

If Saturday’s Maha bill sounds like a pleasant afternoon in the park, Friday night’s line-up really is the party. Headline Friday night is Turnstile. Their 2021 album Glow On (Roadrunner Records) is over-the-top power emo at its finest. Expect an overly caffeinated, energized, jumping crowd, pounding the Stinson Park turf with either pogos and/or moshing. 

Second-billed Friday night are critical darlings Alvvays, who played Maha back in 2015. Their 2022 album Blue Rev (Polyvinyl) also topped a number of critics’ best of list last year (including mine). The only thing I know about electronic dance maven Ekkstacy is his single, “I Walk This Earth All By Myself,” which has received solid airplay on Sirius XMU. Maybe the biggest surprise fo the entire Maha 2023 line-up is the return of Icky Blossoms. I think the last time I saw them play was back at Slowdown in July 2015. They’ve been on a hiatus for a few years, though their music recently showed up on a runway show in Paris! No idea what their appearance at Maha means for their future. Local hip-hop act Hakim also is on the Friday bill. Kicking things off is the incendiary, brutal hardcore rock of BIB — something tells me their set will be the one that people talk about weeks after the festival.

This is a very indie-heavy line-up and something of a surprise considering how 1% and The Slowdown have really pulled back on their indie bookings over the past year. In many ways, it’s a catch-up festival for bands that skipped Omaha over the past couple years.

Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. CT at MahaFestival.com. VIP tickets are $130 for Friday, $160 for Saturday, and $240 for two-day, and include air-conditioned restrooms, an exclusive viewing area near the main stage, complimentary food from Omaha restaurant Via Farina, and more. NOTE: If you intend to go, I suggest buying VIPs. You’ll thank me later. General Admission tickets are $50 for Friday, $60 for Saturday, and $100 for two-day; GA prices will increase once the limited quantity of Tier 1 tickets sell out — not entirely sure what that means.

Maha says they expect more than 13,000 total over the two days. That seems to assume they expect light draw for Friday, but I think Friday could draw as many or more than Saturday because Turnstile has never been here before (that I know of) and their live shows have a rep for being somewhat epic, much like concerts by The Faint. 

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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.


New Nathan Ma, Protomartyr, Land of Talk, Big Thief; Stathi live stream tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:50 pm April 30, 2020

Singer/songwriter Stathi is performing a live stream tonight in Instagram.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Thought I’d share some new music that crossed my path over the last few days…

Local singer/songwriter Nathan Ma dropped a new song via YouTube called “Blue Bird.” The track, produced by David Nance and recorded and mixed by Jim Schroeder, features Colin Duckworth on pedal steel, Tanner Rogerson on drums, Jonathan Cobb on bass and Nathan on guitar and vocals.

Detriot’s Protomartyr dropped the second track from its forthcoming album, Ultimate Success Today, out July 17 on Domino. The track, “Worm in Heaven,” is downright laid back compared to previous Protomartyr burners.

Saddle Creek Records is releasing a new LP by Land of Talk July 31 called Indistinct Conversations. The first single is called “Compelled.” Got to hand it to the Creek for sticking with these folks.

And then there’s the one that got away… Big Thief yesterday dropped a stand-alone track called “Love in Mine,” that’s an outtake from 2019’s Two Hands’ sessions. The band recently released Demos Vol. 1 – Topanga Canyon, CA – Feb 2018, which benefits their road crew. Check it out here.

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Tonight at 7 p.m. local singer/songwriter Stathi is doing a live stream from Instagram Live at @thestathi. He’ll be playing six songs from his debut EP Life of Compromise, released in March 2019. That recording included a lot of local folks we’re all familiar with, including Mike Mogis on pedal steel/mandolin, Pat Oakes on drums, Megan Siebe on cello/viola and MiWi La Lupa on assorted instruments.

Listen tonight, but wait until tomorrow to buy the album, as Bandcamp is waiving fees again tomorrow to help artists during COVID.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Big Thief leaves Saddle Creek for 4AD; Brothers closed until March 8…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:38 pm February 27, 2019

Big Thief’s next album, U.F.O.F., will be released May 3 on 4AD.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Received a bit of a shock yesterday when I looked at my email. There it was in the subject line: Big Thief Sign to 4AD, Announce New Album.

The press release copy: “U.F.O.F., F standing for ‘Friend,’ is the name of the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief, set to be released by 4AD on May 3.” The release goes on to describe the record, the recording process, the lyrics, as well as upcoming tour dates without once mentioning Saddle Creek Records, the label that released the band’s last two albums.

Via Twitter, Saddle Creek acknowledged the news. When @loosechange tweeted “BIG THIEF AREN’T ON SADDLE CREEK ANYMORE?” @saddlecreek responded with: “No, but it’s ok! We still love each other! Proud and excited to watch as they (gently and compassionately) take over the world. Everyone should hear their new song. It’s so good.

Gracious words indeed, but the fact remains that it had to hurt to lose Big Thief from the label’s roster. Just looking at their Spotify numbers, no other act signed to Saddle Creek over the past three years is nearly as popular, with Hop Along coming in a distant second.

I asked label chief Robb Nansel if Saddle Creek turned down Big Thief’s latest album or if 4AD out-spent them. His one-word response: “Neither.”

So what was the reason? Did Big Thief look at 4AD as a necessary step up from Saddle Creek or was it something else? I’m sure we’ll find out as the band begins to take interviews in support of the new record.

Meanwhile, Saddle Creek is busy promoting the new album by Hand Habits, Placeholder, which comes out this Friday.

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No rock shows tonight worth mentioning.

BTW, The Brothers is closed until March 8 according to Facebook! Wasn’t winter cold enough already?

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker gets Saddle Creek solo; new Tomberlin video…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm August 7, 2018

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Saddle Creek Records announced this morning that it’s releasing the solo debut by Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker, titled abysskiss.

Songs can be slippery and following a 2+ years on the road with Big Thief, Lenker felt a growing need to document this particular time in her life in an intimate, immediate way. The result is her new album, abysskiss, out October 5,” sayeth the press release.

The album was co-produced with Luke Temple (Here We Go Magic) and recorded by Gabe Wax (Soccer Mommy, Ought, Palehound). This looks like another big score for Saddle Creek. Pre-order it here.

Speaking of Saddle Creek releases, the next one out of the gate is the Tomberlin’s LP At Weddings, which comes out Friday. Sarah Beth released a new video, “Any Other Way” this morning.

No shows tonight!

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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.


The return of Stephen Sheehan (ex-Digital Sex); Big Thief, Thick Paint tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:42 pm July 13, 2017

Stephen Sheehan (ex-Digital Sex) returns to the stage Aug. 18 at Reverb.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

One band that is part of Omaha’s music folklore is Digital Sex. The band, who at its core was Stephen Sheehan, Dereck Higgins and John Tingle, released material in the late ’80s and last reunited in ’94. You can read about their history and that ’94 reunion right here.

Digital Sex split up shortly after that reunion and hasn’t played since, despite almost constant calls for another reunion. Well now, fans of Digital Sex will finally get to hear some of those songs again when when Stephen Sheehan performs at Reverb Lounge Aug. 18, the night before the Maha Music Festival.

Called “Stephen Sheehan: A Reunion of Songs 1982-2017,” the show will feature Sheehan performing songs from his bands Digital Sex, The World and Between the Leaves backed by a band that includes Donovan Johnson on keyboards, Randy Cotton on bass, Ben Sieff on guitar (all from Bennie and the Gents) and Dan Crowell on drums, who played in the final version of Digital Sex in 1994.

Sheehan says it was his work with Bennie and the Gents as part of a David Bowie tribute concert in January 2016 that sparked the idea of returning to the stage to perform his own material.

“This has been a thought of mine for several years, to do a retrospective show with musicians who could test the elasticity in the songs,” Sheehan said. “I’ve always been interested in hearing artists revisit their songs and ‘develop’ them years after they were written, even if it means only a slight flourish. I’ve never really done that with my material. It’s always been about performing them as close to the recording as possible.”

Sheehan said he approached the guys in Bennie and the Gents specifically for this project as they are “master interpreters.”

“With many of the songs, we are straddling the line between note-for-note reproduction and 2017 interpretation,” he said. “I don’t want to be bored doing these songs as I always have and I don’t want the band to feel they are a human jukebox.”

In addition to the greatest hits selection, Sheehan and company also will perform a new song. That said, he says the Aug. 18 performance is a one-and-done sort of thing… as of now.

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As of this writing, that Big Thief show tonight at O’Leaver’s is still not sold out. Surprised? I know I am. I still anticipate a crushed room tonight at the club. Thick Paint opens. $10, 9 p.m.

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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.


Thick Paint added to Big Thief show; NOmaha alerts (but Beck plays CB); Esme Patterson tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm July 12, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Thick Paint has been named as the opener to tomorrow night’s Big Thief show at fabulous O’Leaver’s. If you remember, Big Thief was slated to open for Conor Oberst outdoors in Benson (on Military Ave.) but the show got nixed by the City who said no more outdoor shows during the week.

Conor cancelled but Big Thief was rescheduled at The Club. I understand there was some competition for this opening slot. Congrats to Thick Paint for nabbing it. I’m also told that this show will sell out, so you may want to get your tickets today.

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This week in NOmaha Alerts; tours have been announced by Gillian Welch, Protomartyr and Matt Pond PA. None are headed to Omaha.

Gillian Welch has some local connections and no doubt would do well here. On the other hand Protomartyr and Matt Pond PA both played here recently. Still, I’d love to see both again. Protomartyr, who got their start on Hardly Art Records, just signed with Domino for their next album, A Private Understanding, which comes out Sept 29.

BTW, this morning Oh Sees shared a new track off their upcoming Castle Face release, Orc. Still no Omaha date on the tour list. Come on, promoters!

Outweighing that dreary news is the fact that Beck has been scheduled to play Stir Cove Sept. 9. Beck is sort of a bucket-list band for me, and it looks like I might finally have a reason to check out Stir Cove, which I’ve managed to avoid all these years. Pre-sale for Beck started today with the promo code DREAMS; it continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. with code WOW2017; general ticket sales start 10 a.m. Friday. Pre-sale GA tickets are priced at $60 and some change, including fees, via Ticketmaster.

It should be interesting to see how well this one does. Sell out? BTW, Beck is opening for U2 on their fall stadium tour.

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Tonight Esme Patterson returns to The Waiting Room. She was just there in March with Lucero.  The Hottman Sisters open tonight’s show, which starts at 9 and costs $14.

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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.


New Big Thief (on Saddle Creek); Dolores Diaz returns; 80/35 (ho-hum); Beach Slang, Minus the Bear, Doyle of the Misfits tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:32 pm April 5, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This morning Saddle Creek announced it’ll be releasing the sophomore effort by Big Thief, Capacity, on June 9. Big Thief is one the more successful recent signings by the label, both critically and otherwise. I don’t know the sales numbers for the debut album, Masterpiece, but can tell you that the single “Paul” has more than 2 million spins on Spotify.

More good news: Big Thief will be returning to Omaha for a gig July 13, opening for Conor Oberst when he performs outside The Waiting Room on Military Ave., where Jake’s block parties are usually held. The last Big Thief show was at Lookout Lounge, opening for Yuck a year ago.

Check out the first video from the upcoming Big Thief album:

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Speaking of Oberst, his C&W cover band, Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club, is playing this Sunday night at The Slowdown. It’s a benefit for Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska and The Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Joining them is Icky Blossoms, High Up and a number of local speakers. The 7 p.m. show is $15, plus there will be a raffle for some sweet prizes. More info here.

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Des Moines’ 80/35 Festival posted its line-up yesterday and for me it was a bit of a blah. Headliners are Shins and MGMT. Have these acts risen to festival headliner status? I can’t imagine either selling out Sokol Auditorium.

There are a couple interesting support acts, however — A Giant Dog, Diarrhea Planet and ’70s-era Minneapolis new wave band The Suburbs, but other than that, a lot of head scratchers.

Meanwhile, the Maha Music Festival people have posted that tickets sales are stronger than years’ past, with VIP tix in short supply.

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There’s a big show tonight at The Slowdown. Omaha favorites Minus the Bear returns and they’re bringing Beach Slang with them along with Bayonne. $25, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Doyle from The Misfits is playing at Lookout Lounge. Also on the bill are Element a440, The Beat Seekers, Before I Burn & DeadEchoes. $14, 7 p.m.

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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.