Conor ‘jams’ at B-Bar; Lincoln’s DEMOS (ex-Strawberry Burns, The Sleepover) releases Hell’s Angles…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 7:36 am January 24, 2023

by Tim McMahan,

Hmmm…. another quiet weekend for me, though stuff happened, including a sort of Bright Eyes “secret show” at B-Bar Saturday night. “Bright Eyes” only in that two members of the core members – Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis — were in the band that also included MiWi La Lupa on drums, Zach Schmieder on bass, Cubby Phillips on guitar and Shawn Foree on synths. I did not attend this affair, but heard from various reports that the performance was “improvisational” and involved Mr. Conor singing articles from magazines. No Bright Eyes songs were performed. One person who was there said it was like going to a Bright Eyes show where you were allowed to talk during the performance. Another said it was like watching a band practice. 

It’s nice to see Oberst is still hanging around Omaha. He could live virtually anywhere he wants, and chooses to camp out in his hometown, which make him unique among the many Saddle Creek Records acts who defined Omaha’s indie sound in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s.  

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DEMOS, Hell’s Angles (2023, self-release)

You remember Lincoln’s Cory Kibler from Crush the Clown and Strawberry Burns fame? Sure you do. Cory’s got a new project called DEMOS that just dropped a new album today called Hell’s Angles

The 10-song LP has origins that date back to 2011, though most of it was recorded in Lincoln over the past few years. It was “mixed and produced by Jim ‘Kimo’ West, Grammy Award-winning solo artist and longtime guitarist for Weird Al. It was mastered by Golden Mastering in Ventura, CA.,” says Mr. Kibler.

The album has a real Built to Spill essence to it, thanks to the guitar work and Kibler’s Doug Martsch-esque vocals. The rest of the band consists of Greg Joyce, drums, guitar and vocals; Jarek Olivetti, guitars, vocals and drums on “Shut Each Other Up” and “Morning Will Come,” and James Tucci, bass, various synths and noises. It’s available on CD and digital download (buy it from the Bandcamp page), and maybe vinyl in the future. Kibler says don’t expect an album release show anytime soon as Olivetti lives in Seattle. 

There was a bit there when I wasn’t sure if we’d ever get these songs on tape,” Kibler said. “Definitely very different from the young band experience, when you’d use what little show money you had to record and mix an entire record in like six days! We have a horse-ton of other demoed songs as well, so look for our follow-up in 2033!”  

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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 Review: Bright Eyes and the new The Admiral Theater…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:46 am July 3, 2022
Bright Eyes at The Admiral Theater, July 2, 2022

by Tim McMahan,

As much as some things change, some things never change. Like finding parking around The Admiral f.k.a. Sokol Auditorium.

I didn’t get down there Saturday night for the Bright Eyes concert until well after 9 p.m. and was thrown into a time warp circa the early 2000s, driving the same back streets I did back then, looking for a parking space. I remembered my ol’ standby about three blocks southwest of the auditorium. Wasn’t there a church there before? And where did this high-rise condo/apartment building come from?

Neighbors were out on their stoops, getting ready to watch street fireworks. “You going to the show?” a young lady said while her husband chatted up a neighbor across the street, a baby in his arms.

“Sure am.” I said.

Well, have a good time!

Ah, that South Omaha charm, it never fades.

The building’s exterior hadn’t changed at all. Security was out front on the sidewalk checking IDs for drinkers, and someone asked to see my Vax card (few if any wore masks in the audience). Once inside, I emptied my pockets and lifted my seed cap to a guy holding a scanning wand, wondering how long the line must have been an hour earlier.

Once past the stairway and into the actual hall and you’re met with what feels like a new facility. The biggest updates on first glance were the fresh coat of paint (gilded gold along the balcony and the stage crown) and the gorgeous, new enormous bar in the north end of the building where the gym used to be (Note: no Rolling Rock. I settled for an $8 Stella tallboy).

Bright Eyes at The Admiral Theater, July 2, 2022

Bright Eyes already was on stage when I entered. So the big question: How did the room sound? I’m no audiophile, but it sounded more balanced and less boomy than I remembered. The PA speakers are now flown from the ceiling, and there’s an enormous new soundboard. It sounded as good as any large performance venue in Omaha, heard through my earplugs because the high volume.

The first thing I noticed missing from stage — Mike Mogis. Turns out he got COVID and missed the show — a real bummer.

Frontman Conor Oberst was his usual shambolic self, doing his new, weird solo dance during “Dance and Sing,” that looked forced and unnatural. You know what they say, dance like no one is looking. And that’s exactly what he did.

Showing high energy to the point of being jittery, Oberst’s voice was a bit frayed, especially on the more energetic numbers. He was backed by a small orchestra and a band that included MiWi La Lupa on multiple instruments, amazing drummer Jon Theodore (Queens of the Stone Age, ex-The Mars Volta), and Nate Walcott, who played the Paul Shaffer role as the pseudo bandleader giving cues from across the stage.

The 2022 version of Bright Eyes includes Oberst performing a number of songs with only microphone in hand — not behind a piano or a guitar. That freed him to do his wonky dancing and odd hand gestures, running to and fro across the stage. Oberst was at his best seated at a piano or playing guitar, more relaxed and more natural. In fact, as big and bombastic as this version of Bright Eyes is, I’d prefer to see the band stripped back down to Mike, Nate, Conor, MiWi and that drummer, just like the good ol’ days.

You can see the full set list below, which for the most part followed what he’s been playing on tour (with a couple order changes). The highlight was a modernized version of “Neely O’Hara” pushed forward by a very cool electric guitar counter melody. It was followed by a stripped-down version of “First Day of My Life” that had the crowd singing along.

I’ve been going to Bright Eyes concerts for 25 years, and this was one of the more downcast set lists I can remember — lots of slower, darker songs. On stage Oberst acknowledged his ongoing pessimism/sarcasm, and punctuated it with his usual between-song political rants, which we’ve all heard before and all agree with.

He strayed from politics only a few times. Once reminiscing about living in the apartment house on 40th and Farnam nicknamed the Jerk Store back in ’98 and ’99 (and where I first interviewed him while Joe Knapp practiced music somewhere upstairs). The other was toward the end of the set where he acknowledged the new Admiral. “I’ve played here a thousand times,” he said. “I wouldn’t call what I’m feeling ‘deja vu’ as much as ‘The Twilight Zone.’”

The band stuck to their usual three-song encore and then the lights went up and I could see the Admiral a bit better.

The Admiral Theater looking from the balcony toward the new bar area, July 2, 2022.

The floor was the same as I remembered, as was the chandelier. With everyone filing out the security guard let me see the balcony — maybe the biggest improvement of the entire remodel. It’s completely different, with a new built-out bar that runs along the building’s east wall and windows, and is amazing. It’s like a small club separated yet open to the balcony. The actual balcony wings were the same, though now you can see into the backstage area (maybe you always could?).

Gorgeous new Admiral balcony bar. Notice the windows in back, which are the building’s front windows. July 2, 2022.

Balcony tickets were $75 vs. the $45 general admission. Definitely worth the splurge for the right band. I’m not sure Bright Eyes fits the bill. That said, I’ve never been a fan of watching performances from the balcony. It’s too isolated, too separated from what’s going on down on the floor.

Which brings up one more big improvement at The Admiral. Friday’s show was crowded — probably a sell out. In years’ past, shows like that at Sokol Auditorium would have been a test to endure the heat and humidity. The Admiral’s HVAC did yeoman’s duty, keeping the place relatively cool and air well-circulated — which is even more important considering how COVID is beginning to spike again in Douglas County.

Jim Johnson and Marc Leibowitz — the masterminds behind the renovation — looked like a couple proud papas. They should be proud. They’ve created a jewel of a live performance space and saved a piece of Omaha history in the process. And they did it the old-fashioned way — as part of a team of investors who put their own money on the table along with their sweat and blood. That takes enormous courage after what this city — and this country — has been through. I have no doubt the gamble will pay off.

Check out their shiny new website. Looking at their calendar, I see more Admiral in my future. On my radar: Sunny Day Real Estate Sept. 14, Kurt Vile and the Violators Oct. 20 and Godspeed You! Black Emperor Nov. 4., which, by then, will mean trudging through snow drifts to get back to our car.

Here’s the setlist from the July 2 Bright Eyes show at The Admiral:

Dance and Sing
Lover I Don’t Have to Love
Bowl of Oranges
Mariana Trench
Old Soul Song (for the New World Order)
One and Done
Falling Out of Love at This Volume
No One Would Riot for Less
Haile Selassie
Persona non grata
Stairwell Song
Neely O’Hara
First Day of My Life
The Calendar Hung Itself
Comet Song

Ladder Song
I Believe in Symmetry
One for You, One for Me

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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.


Digital Leather, Liily tonight; Bright Eyes weekend (at The Admiral); O’Leaver’s “secret” show, Mike Schlesinger Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:42 pm July 1, 2022
Bright Eyes at Westfair Amphitheater, June 4, 2011. The band plays at The Admiral Saturday and Sunday nights.

by Tim McMahan,

The long wait is over this Saturday as The Admiral — f.k.a. Sokol Auditorium — finally opens its doors, and for Bright Eyes no less. This, after months of “construction delays” have forced at least a dozen shows to be rescheduled or moved to other venues. I have to believe the 1% guys (and the Mammoth folks and other investors) are relieved to finally be open for business.

So, strange story about Saturday night’s Bright Eyes show — earlier this week I announced that it was sold out, because it was marked “sold out” on the 1% website and on the etix site. Then suddenly a day or so ago, it’s no longer sold out. No idea what the deal was.

I also noticed that both Saturday and Sunday nights are “Masks required unless eating or drinking” shows, as well as No Vax No Entry. Maybe it was on there before and I didn’t notice it. So if you’re going this weekend, be vaxed or get tested and be able to prove it, and bring your mask (though for the life of me, I have no idea how they’ll enforce the mask mandate — just wear one anyway). Tickets are $45 or $75 for “Premiere Balcony” seats. I’m told the balcony is completely renovated, and the original plans were to have a separate bar in the balcony. Hurray for the Riff Raff kicks things off at 8 p.m.

OK, so what about tonight (Friday)?

Digital Leather is playing tonight at The Sydney as part of Drag Night at The Sydney. There’s two listings for this show — one says it’s an amateur drag night (Hit ‘em w/yr catwalk), and the other is DL’s listing (+ drag night), which says they go on at 11. $5. Grab your wig and heels and come on down.

Also tonight, the Slowdown is back at it after harvesting (millions?) of CWS dollars the past couple weekends. Well, the tents are gone and the bands are back. Tonight it’s LA alt-rock band Liily with Catcher and our very own Infinite Video. $18, 8 p.m.

Over at The Berkley, 1901 Leavenworth St., new local four-piece Indian Caves (Dan Krueger, Joe Ranne, Kyle Moeller and Leslie Wells) headlines tonight with Saltwater Sanctuary and ol’ favorites Midwest Dilemma (acoustic). $5. 8 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) there’s a sort of “secret show” at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The listing says Secret Serenade w/Cookie Mug. No idea who these bands really are, but the show is free so the only thing you’re risking is your time. Plus, it’s nearly impossible to have anything but a good time at O’Leaver’s. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Finally, Pageturners Lounge is hosing a folk-poet quartet called The Snarlin Yarns Saturday night. Opening is one of Omaha’s best kept music secrets, Mike Schlesinger. This is a free show and it starts at 8 p.m.

And that’s all I got for this long July 4 weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a bang-up time.

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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.


Live Review: Megan Siebe at O’Leaver’s; new Neva Dinova (sort of); Bright Eyes Saturday sold out…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:52 pm June 27, 2022
Megan Siebe at O’Leaver’s, June 25, 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

You couldn’t have asked for a nicer evening for an outdoor show than Saturday night in O’Leaver’s beer garden where Megan Siebe performed with Nate Bergman. A small PA was set up along the west side of the garden, where Megan was joined by a sign-language interpreter for the one-person acoustic show where she played a number of songs off her most recent album, as well as one or two new ones. The crowd of only around 20, which included a couple local musician luminaries (considering the venue, you can guess who they were), loved every minute of it.

Nate Bergman at O’Leaver’s, June 25, 2022.

Bergman came up right after and performed an acoustic set. He’s got a big voice that reminded me of Van Morrison, and I wondered how the set would have sounded with a full band. No doubt, a rock explosion.

A couple more things… I had a cheeseburger and fries from the O’Leaver’s grill while waiting for music to start, and they were superb. I also had a churro at The Churro Spot that recently opened next to O’Leaver’s, and it was heavenly. Now I need to try their burritos! Maybe I will this weekend, when O’Leaver’s hosts a sort of mystery show inside the club.

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Saddle Creek Records announced last week that it’s releasing Neva Dinova’s all-new Demos and C-Sides LP Aug. 19, along with reissues of the band’s 2008 album You May Already Be Dreaming, the 2001 self-titled LP and 2005’s The Hate Yourself Change.

The first track from the rarities collection, “Too Much Gone,” also dropped last week. Get your orders in for these limited vinyl releases here.

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All things are pointing to those Bright Eyes gigs actually happening at the new Admiral Theater (former Sokol Auditorium) this weekend. The venue itself sounds like it’ll be ready. And so does the band. Bright Eyes apparently pulled off a killer set at the Greek Theater in LA last Thursday. And BE had an appearance on the James Corden show while in town, where the band performed a new version of “Falling Out of Love at This Volume.”

Saturday night’s Bright Eyes show is sold out, by the way…

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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.


New Dead Letters, PROBLEMS, Bright Eyes; Specter Poetics tonight; Belle & Sebastian, Steady Wells, The Antlers, John Klemmensen memorial Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 10:48 am May 27, 2022
Belle & Sebastian at the 2017 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 19, 2017. The band plays Saturday night at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan,

Before we get to the weekend, a handful of notable new releases came out today or this past week. If you’re buying, you may want to wait until next Friday for your purchase as it’ll be Bandcamp Friday (June 3)…

Dead Letters, the new project by Koly Walter, Brian Byrd (Well Aimed Arrows) and Mark Johnson, dropped the first song from their upcoming debut LP, Songs from Center, which is slated for a vinyl release Aug. 15. Check out the track below and preorder the vinyl here.

PROBLEMS, the new project from Darren Keen (The Show Is the Rainbow), has a new full-length album out today called This Is Working Out, released on the world-famous Orange Milk Records label. Darren takes the infectious style of electronic music to new levels. Mesmerizing. Buy the cassette here.

And Bright Eyes today released the first wave of their reissues series on Dead Oceans, A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997, Letting Off the Happiness and Fevers and Mirrors. Each comes with a “companion” recording of five reworked songs, of note is a cover of Simon Joyner’s “Double Joe,” and Lullaby for the Working Class’ “Hypnotist (Song for Daniel. H).”

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Let’s get to the weekend…

Tonight at The Sydney in Benson Specter Poetics (an electronic project by Jack McLaughlin) is playing along with a mystery band called Sack Religious (I asked Zach who they were and all he could tell me was he thinks they’re from Canada — I think he’s holding back because it’s his birthday). This is listed as starting at 11:30, and no price info, so you’re on your own.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is the big Belle & Sebastian show at The Slowdown (originally slated for the new Admiral, but had to be moved because they’re still working on construction). The set list from last night’s show at the Riviera in Chicago indicates this will be the usual mix of old faves along with songs from their new album, A Bit of Previous (Matador). As of this writing, tickets were still available for $35. Our very own Steady Wells opens the show at 8 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Brooklyn band The Antlers is headlining at The Waiting Room. Their latest full-length is Green to Gold, released last year on Anti-. John Ross of Wild Pink opens the show at 8 p.m. $20.

And finally, over at The Reverb Lounge it’s a Songwriting Death Battle in memory of John Klemmensen, Omaha’s bigger than life troubadour who passed late last month. Each act will perform a song or two. Tickets are $8 and all proceeds with go to John’s family. Starts at 8 p.m.

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


Construction woes hamper Admiral; Bright Eyes on Colbert, new Kasher; Mogwai, Nina Nastasia, Hayes Carll, Mom Rock tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:29 pm April 14, 2022
Mogwai at The Slowdown May 11, 2009.
Mogwai at The Slowdown May 11, 2009. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

Yesterday The Admiral Theater — formerly known as Sokol Auditorium — posted on Facebook a video of flood waters in the building’s basement (which they say had since been cleaned up) along with an apology for having to move shows due to falling behind on construction targets. They blamed supply chain issues and constructions hurdles.

Among the shows that have been moved from the Admiral to other venues or rescheduled are Mat Kearney, Tech N9n3, Dance Gavin Dance, Alec Benjamin, Ashley McBryde, and Rainbow Kitten Surprise. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll finish construction before the May 28 Belle & Sebastian show, which is slated to be my reintroduction to the remodeled venue…

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Speaking of upcoming shows at the Admiral, did you catch Bright Eyes last night on Stephen Colbert? Can we expect Conor to lay down these funky dance moves when he comes to the Admiral July 2 and 3?

Cursive’s Tim Kasher yesterday dropped another video single from his upcoming new album, Middling Age, out tomorrow on 15 Passenger Records. Here’s “What Are We Doing”…

Three shows tonight.

Mogwai brings its tour to The Waiting Room in support of their latest, As the Love Continues (Temporary Residence, 2021). The Scottish band is known for their mind-bending (and ear-bleeding) feedback-drenched instrumentals. According to previous setlists from this tour, expect to hear half the songs from the new album along with a few chestnuts (like “Like Herod” from their debut album during the encore). Opening for Mogwai is LA chamber folk artist and label mate Nina Nastasia, whose latest, Riderless Horse, was produced by Steve Albini and is slated for release in July. $28, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, country singer/songwriter Hayes Carll headlines at The Slowdown. Caleb Caudle opens at 8 p.m. $25.

Meanwhile, over at Reverb, LA by way of Boston pop-punk/emo act Mom Rock headlines. Honey Creek opens at 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The Post-Pandemic Nebraska Indie Band List of 2022; Yves Tumor tonight; new Little Brazil, Bright Eyes…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm March 23, 2022
Yves Tumor plays tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan,

Year in and year out, Lazy-i and The Reader had developed a “Top 20” list of the area’s best bands. It was the product of a lot of back-and-forth among the various music beat writers at The Reader, hosted over drinks at a local bar. I was one of the indie music voices. That tradition slowly faded over the years really because The Reader’s music staff became smaller and smaller.

Yesterday on Facebook, a couple readers posted comments that suggested I wasn’t keeping up with the young bands coming up in the local indie scene, which got me digging around online for the last “Top 20” list. Neither The Reader nor Lazy-i had published one since before the pandemic (the 2019 list). With that in mind, here’s my current list of the top local indie bands. Note: I said “Indie” bands, not country acts, not pop bands, not metal, R&B or traditional rock bands, not cover bands, etc. There is a difference. And as I’ve pointed out time and again, Lazy-i covers the local and national indie music scene.

These are the survivors, these are the ones who made it through the other side of COVID. These are bands I know for one reason or another still exist post-pandemic. There are bands not listed here that I’m unsure are still performing. There are also bands not listed I haven’t heard before. Regardless, if we had one of those Top-20 list discussions, this is the list I’d bring to the table. I’m sure I’m missing someone, so let me know.

No Thanks
James Schroeder
Megan Siebe
McCarthy Trenching
Sean Pratt
Scott Scholtz
David Nance Group
And How
The Brigadiers
Steady Wells
Those Far Out Arrows
Las Cruxes
See Through Dresses
Jack McLaughlin
Relax, It’s Science
The Sunks
Nathan Ma
Solid Goldberg
Uh Oh
Lightning Stills
Anna McClellan
Ethan Jones
Matt Whipkey
Dereck Higgins
Bokr Tov
Wagon Blasters
The Lupines
Mere Shadows
Simon Joyner
Jeff Runnings
Clarence Tilton
Cat Piss
Matthew Sweet
Bug Heaven
Universe Contest
Josh Hoyer
Glow in the Dark
Digital Leather
Benny Leather
Pagan Athletes
Bad Bad Men
Stephen Sheehan
Ben Eisenberger
Big Nope
Dirt House
Eric in Outerspace
Mike Schlesinger
Mitch Gettman
Little Brazil
Conor Oberst
Flight School

This is also a list I’ll reference when asked by out-of-towners (as I sometimes am) what bands are worth checking out in the area and/or adding to their gig when they come to town…

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One of the most anticipated shows of the year is tonight at The Slowdown. Yves Tumor headlines with dance maven Doss. I believe this show has been rescheduled a number of times since before the pandemic and now it’s happening. 8 p.m. start time, $30.

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Little Brazil just dropped another track from their forthcoming LP Just Leave (out June 3) called “Station.” Check it below, and pre-order the album from Max Trax Records.

Bright Eyes continues to release songs from their companion series that accompanies their most recent set of reissues. This time it’s a cover of Elliott Smith’s “St. Ides Heaven,” that sounds nothing like the original and includes vocals from Conor’s pal Phoebe Bridgers. The track comes from Letting Off the Happiness: A Companion EP, out May 27 on Dead Oceans.

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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.


Maha announces two-day festival July 29-30; Bright Eyes at The Admiral, new reissue/EP project; Wild Rivers tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 8:29 am February 1, 2022
The crowd at Maha 2021. The Festival is back again this year July 29 and 30.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s hard to think about it with Douglas County boasting a COVID-19 positive-test rate of 36%, but summer is coming and this ever-lasting pandemic will eventually be behind us. The folks who put on the Maha Music Festival believe that, enough so that yesterday they announced their 14th annual festival will take place July 29 and July 30 at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village.

It’s a return to two days — or one night and one day, as the Friday night fest will run from 5 to 11 p.m. The Saturday show will go from 2 p.m. to midnight. It’s still too early to say if this will be a limited engagement as it was last year. That depends on the COVID numbers (I would assume). I thought last year’s limited 6,400 sell out with Japanese Breakfast, Thundercat and Khruangbin was a sweet spot capacity for that location.

No word on bands/acts — that’ll come in March. Also, this will be a music-only event. Maha took over Big Omaha a few years ago and hasn’t hosted another Big Omaha event since COVID arrived. More info to come, like ticket prices and such.

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The other big announcement this morning is that Bright Eyes has booked two nights at The Admiral (the newly refurbished Sokol Auditorium) July 2 and 3. The concerts aren’t so much in support of their last album, 2020’s Down in the Weeds. Where the World Once Was, as much as the reissue of nine Bright Eyes albums, in chronological order, in groups of three, beginning this spring. But that’s not all.

There will also be nine companion EPs released. From the event Facebook post: “Or as Oberst puts it, ‘the supplemental reading’ for the primary reissues: One six-track EP per reissued album, each featuring five reworked songs from that album. ‘My thing was they had to sound different from the originals, we had to mess with them in a substantial way.’ Plus one cover that felt ‘of the era’ in which that particular albums was made – a song that meant something to the band at the time. To help the EPs come alive in the fullest way, Bright Eyes called in lots of old friends, like Phoebe Bridgers, M. Ward, and Welch and Rawlings, as well as new ones like Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee. It was the band’s way of reframing, rediscovering, and renewing the past. It was also a hilarious amount of work. ‘I thought it was a cool concept,’ Oberst says. ‘Then I realized its nine records, six songs a piece, so that’s like 54 different songs you have to record!’

The project is not listed on the Dead Oceans website (Dead Ocean released Bright Eyes’ last album), but there’s a Dead Oceans logo at the end of the rerelease promo running on the Bright Eyes Twitter page, so…

As for the Bright Eyes concerts, no openers listed, tickets range from $40 to $75 though they’re not available yet.

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In other concert news, The Slowdown announced today they’ve booked Guided By Voices for July 9.

Speaking of The Slowdown, Toronto indie trio Wild Rivers headlines in the big room there tonight. The band has a new album coming out Friday called Sidelines on Nettwerk, produced by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol, Sharon van Etten). Stylistically, this fits right in with acts like Oh Pep, Waxahatchee and the Haim sisters — very well-produced summer-night indie pop. LA singer/songwriter Corey Harper opens at 8 p.m. $23.

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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.


Bright Eyes hits the road again; Pitchfork 50 is out…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:46 pm December 8, 2021
Nate, Conor and Mike look thrilled to be returning to the road.

by Tim McMahan,

Bright Eyes yesterday announced it was returning to the road with a U.S. tour that kicks off March 23 in St. Paul. That’s about the closest this tour comes to Omaha. The band will announce additional dates in January, including rescheduled gigs on the West Coast and Atlanta. Will the band make its way here? They still haven’t had a local show in support of Down in the Weeds

Yesterday, Pitchfork (once the bible of indie music tastemakers) released its 2021 list of 50 best albums. No. 1 was Jazmine Sullivan, Heaux Tales, an album that I’ve, well, not heard.

Of note for indie fans, Low’s HEY WHAT came in at No. 5; followed by Turnstile’s Glow On (a game changer or a throwback?), The Weather Station’s Ignorance, and Mdou Moctar’s Afrique Victime with Dry Cleaning’s New Long Leg closing out the top 10.

Saddle Creek Records had one if its best year’s ever. Indigo De Souza’s Any Shape You Take came in at No. 25; Spirit of the Beehive’s Entertainment, Death was No. 28, and Hand Habits’ Fun House was No. 43. An impressive outing for our little local label.

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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.


Barley Street reopens; new releases from No Thanks, Benny Leather, Matthew Sweet, Bright Eyes, Steady Wells, STATHI…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:22 pm November 2, 2020

So who’s nervous on this Election Day eve? Despite all the threats and sturm and drang, for some reason I’m less anxious than I was in 2016. We’ll either have a new president or Marshall Law by the end of the week… Look, if you have voted already, make sure you go to the polls tomorrow. Has there ever been an election where an individual vote was more valuable?

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A quick music update: Things have been quiet lately and are bound to get even quieter with winter and COVID-19 spiking in Douglas County. That tiny taste of live music at the end of summer/early fall is probably going to be it until next spring. I just finished a column that’ll be in the next issue of The Reader wherein I say we take live music for granted. Something tells me we won’t come next May…

One place where we might see live music again is The Barley Street Tavern, which reopened last Friday. The venue is now operated by the folks who operate Brokedown Palace on 88th and Maple. According to a Facebook post that went online Friday, the new owners have no plans to change the Barley’s operations / vibe, but let’s face it, they need to make it what they want it to be. Just keep some of ol’ Barley spirit (or ghosts) around for good times’ sake….


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Lots of new local music was released last week. Here’s a few of those releases that are on my radar:

Omaha goth/indie punk band No Thanks released their latest LP, Submerger, on Halloween via Kansas City’s Black Site Records. Produced by No Thanks, the album was recorded, engineered, and mixed by Mathew Carroll (See Through Dresses) at Little Machine in Omaha, and was mastered by Mike Nolte at Portland OR’s Eureka Mastering with vinyl mastering by Chris Muth at Taloowa Corp. out of Yonkers, NY. That’s right, vinyl, limited to 75 (at least for the first pressing). Order it here (sure to be a collector’s item).

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Omaha blank wave/electro-punk band Benny Leather dropped its full-length, Temporary Insanity, yesterday via FDH Records. Who is Benny Leather? Nobody knows (but actually, everyone knows but they’re not saying). Let’s just say I’d love to see this band play at O’Leaver’s (or the new Barley Street). This one also is available on limited-edition vinyl. Order yours here.

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Omaha rocker Matthew Sweet announced last week he’s releasing his 15th album, Catspaw, Jan. 15 on Omnivore Records. Says the press release: “…aside from excellent drumming by longtime collaborator Ric Menck (Velvet Crush), this is Matthew Sweet’s first entirely solo effort. Sweet handles all of it: recording, mixing, Höfner bass, electric guitars, and Pet Sounds-like background vocals.” The first single, “At a Loss,” was released last week.

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Bright Eyes released a song in support of Planned Parenthood called “Miracle of Life,” with proceeds generated from its sale benefiting he organization. Said Conor Oberst: “It is a protest song, I guess. Or maybe just a little story about what was, what still is in many parts of the world and what could be again here in this country if the GOP is successful in reshaping the Supreme Court and rolling back all of the hard fought progress made for reproductive rights in the last fifty years.” On the track Bright Eyes is joined by Phoebe Bridgers, Jon Theodore and Flea. Buy it here.

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Jordan Smith of Twinsmith has another band called Steady Wells and it released a new single last week called “Good Again.” I believe this is the second single by Smith under this moniker.

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And finally,

Omaha singer/songwriter Stathi Spiros Patseas has released new song from his band STATHI. “This is my first release since my debut EP Life of Compromise, which I released in March of last year,” he said. “This single is part of an upcoming EP called Post-truth, which has not yet been announced, but will likely be released sometime next month. The EP was recorded at ARC in September of 2019 and produced by Miwi La Lupa.

Kevin Donahue, Drew Tvrdy and Miwi join Stathi on the track. Dig it:

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.