Bright Eyes does John Prine for Christmas; The Wildwoods tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 8:28 am December 7, 2023

by Tim McMahan,

Yesterday Bright Eyes released their version of John Prine’s “Christmas in Prison,” a song Prine originally released on a 1993 Christmas EP. The waltz features Conor singing with a middle interlude where Prine talks about his Christmas’s past. 

Says Oberst: “It is strange to get a chance to share a track with a hero of mine who has passed on. Normally not something I would do. I don’t like holograms. But I have so much love and affection for John as a person and his music.”

All proceeds generated from the release will go toward four major beneficiaries of John Prine’s charity, The Hello In There Foundation.

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Not much happening show-wise this month, though there has been a slew of spring tour announcements – from Slowdive, Echo and the Bunnymen and Adam Ant  – none involving Omaha. Cool indie bands continue to route around us despite all these fancy new concert facilities.

Hey, at least we got Neva Dinova Dec. 14, and Icky Blossoms Dec. 26…

And tonight, you have Lincoln folk trio The Wildwoods at Reverb Lounge. Their most recent album is Foxfield Saint John, self-released this past February. Opening is Minneapolis duo Good Morning Bedlam. $15, 8 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Conor Oberst speaks on cusp of Aussie Bright Eyes tour; Josh Audiss music tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:49 am October 25, 2023
Conor Oberst slouches next to Craig Ferguson from the Late Late Show circa 2005.

by Tim McMahan,

As a preview to their upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand, Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst did a couple lengthy inteviews.  It’s a time for reminiscing for ol’ Conor, now 43, who goes back into the mind vault and talks about his early days. 

The article in The Music, “Australia’s most respected source for music news,” is the better of the two. Written as a feature story, the writer lays down some ancient history. 

Here are the best quotes from that article (which you can read in its entirety right here): 

  • — “It’s a running joke – or kinda a half-joke – that we’ll be at an airport with a bunch of guitars, and someone asks us, ‘What kind of music do you play?’ and a number of years ago, I took to saying, ‘Yeah, it’s called confusion rock’, have you heard of that?’ It doesn’t make any sense, and all our records sound different, so if you love one, you’ll probably hate the next one!’ That’s our own genre.”
  • — On the recent reissues and Companion series: “It basically happened because we moved our whole catalogue from Saddle Creek – which is the label we started as kids, which ran its course – and we moved over to Dead Oceans and the Secretly Group, and they’ve been amazing.” – Last I looked, Saddle Creek still was very much a functioning label. 
  • — “When I listen to or think about an album like [2000 third album] Fever And Mirrors, yeah, there’s a lot of embarrassing things on there – things I wrote and the way I sang and the over-the-top adolescence of it – but then every year somebody goes to high school and somebody’s older sister hands them a copy of it, and this has been happening for 20 years.”
  • — “I definitely think the output has decreased over the years. When I was a teenager or in my early 20s, I was writing constantly, and it was the only thing I thought about, or cared about really, at all. Probably to my detriment, in a lot of ways, because I think I’ve probably ruined some relationships and made some bad decisions… I don’t know, all of the stuff that you do when you’re a kid.”
  • — “I always joke that I’ve never worked a day in my life, which is not true, but you know what I’m saying, it’s fine. My buddy’s a part-time musician, and if I’m ever complaining about something on tour or about something that happened, he always goes [adopts deadpan voice], ‘Hey, beats pushing a broom’. Ain’t that the truth.”

The Mixdown appears to be another Australian-based publication (there’s not a lot of info about them on their own website). Their interview with Oberst is a straight up Q&A by someone who admits to be a long-time fan. 

The best quotes from the Mixdown interview (which you can read in its entirety here):

  • — “Commander Venus – such a bad name.” Come on now, Conor, nothing wrong with that band name. Certainly it’s as good as Bright Eyes.
  • — “People seem to like our records 5 years after they’re released. So it’s always felt like ‘let’s just make something and wait 5 years for someone to tell us it’s brilliant!’ But when it comes out it’s like ‘this is fucking shit!’ [Laughs]”
  • — On the next Bright Eyes record: “You know, we’ve been recording it… If all goes well maybe next fall. Knock on wood. Or early 2025. That feels so far away though. So I’m hoping for next fall.”

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Tonight at Ming Toy Gallery (that’s the gallery run by my better half) located at 6066 Maple in the heart of Benson, artist and musician Josh Audiss is playing a set of music. Audiss writes in a modern folk, singer/songwriter style. The free show starts at 7 p.m. and you’ll also get a chance to see (and buy) some of his art, which is on display at Ming Toy through the end of the month.

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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.


Goodbye, Kozik; new Bright Eyes reissues; Deeper, Bad Self Portraits, Pagan Athletes tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:31 am May 10, 2023

by Tim McMahan,

Frank Kozik, who it was announced yesterday passed away last Saturday at the age of 61, was the seminal concert poster artist who captured an era with his colorful style. I only know him through his work, which includes a poster that’s in a lot of Omaha practice spaces, music rooms and (in my case) home offices. 

Tim Moss of the band Ritual Device gave me the above Kozik-designed poster after I interviewed his band at his mid-town home located around 48th St. in Dundee in support of the show it promoted. Listed on the poster are many of the bands that defined that era in Nebraska music, which would be so influential in the coming years. What a show that was. What a poster.

Goodbye, Frank, and thanks for the fluorescent memories. 

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Yesterday Bright Eyes announced the third wave of releases as part of their ongoing “Companion” project. Cassadaga, The People’s Key and Noise Floor (Rarities 1998-2005) will be reissued by Dead Oceans on June 16. In conjunction with each rerelease will be the release of a Companion EP with new recordings. Each companion contains six or seven songs that include new versions of songs on the source album as well as covers, like the one below of Prince’s “When You Were Mine,” and artist contributions from Johanna and Klara Söderberg of First Aid Kit, Gillian Welch and Alynda Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff. Preorder here.

For me, Cassadaga, released in 2007 by Saddle Creek Records, was the last seminal Bright Eyes album and stands right up there among their best, while People’s Key, released in 2011, would end up being the last BE release on Saddle Creek. The band continues to tour supporting these rereleases and their last original LP, Down in the Weeds Where the World Once Was, (2020, Dead Ocean). 

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge Chicago band Deeper headlines. The band recently signed to Sub Pop, who released their debut single on the label, “Sub,” last month. Joining them tonight are two Omaha up-and-comers, Bad Self Portraits and Pagan Athletes. Not bad for a Wednesday night. $15, 8 p.m. 

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Rating the classics (Bright Eyes, Cursive); Damien Jurado, Chris Pureka tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:35 am April 26, 2023

by Tim McMahan,

First off, I thought The Hard Times only published Onion-like parody articles about the indie and punk lifestyle. Then last week these two article showed up, both well written, though their content (and opinions) were a bit sketchy. 

The first was “Every Bright Eyes Album Ranked.” At the bottom is A Collection of Songs Written… the collection of very early Bright Eyes tracks, many written and recorded when Conor was in middle school (or younger), and they sound that way. I can’t quibble with this opinion. The collection was for completists only.

At the top of the list: 2000’s Fevers and Mirrors. Says writer Corey Montgomery, “If anyone ever tells you this album isn’t the best one, politely tell them to eat shit and die. Just be sure to turn around before they see the single tear running down your cheek.” So yeah, maybe this article was a joke after all, though Corey certainly has listened to these records before. 

Of course his ranking is wrong, imho. He has Lifted… listed in the six hole, saying it “feels overcooked and desperate to please.” In fact, along with I’m Wide Away It’s Morning, ranked No. 2, will stand as Bright Eyes’ magnum opus(es).

A few days later, Mr. Montgomery ranked “every Cursive album” and while he got No. 9 correct (2012’s I Am Gemini is, uh, a difficult listen), he ranked 2007’s Happy Hollow No. 1, and with a straight face said “Not enough can be said about this record’s accidental timelessness.” While I can get behind this pick — Happy Hollow is a great record — everyone knows The Ugly Organ is the top classic, followed closely by Domestica, which most others would place in the first spot. 

If you’ve never heard Domestica performed live, btw, you’ll get a chance May 16 at The Waiting Room — that is if you have a ticket. The show sold out a long time ago. 

The Hard Times can be pretty freakin’ funny (Check out “Uh Oh! I Butt Dialed Conor Oberst and Now It’s the First Track on His New Album”), but I kind of dig this content, too. There’s room for both, Hard Times! Now where’s your ranking for 3very album by The Faint?

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One of my all time favorite albums is Damien Jurado’s 1999 album Rehearsals for Departure. I think I lucked into it via a random CD promo mailing sent by his label back in the day and for the longest time, the song “Ohio” made it onto my mix tapes. 

Jurado’s latest album, Sometimes You Hurt the Ones You Hate, is pretty good, too. I’m sure you’ll hear songs off this one as well as “Ohio” (which is typically his set-opener) tonight when he plays at Reverb. Opening is Portland singer/songwriter Chris Pureka. $20, 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bright Eyes special guests and Bridgers rumors; Mousetrap’s Patrick Buchanan; Hand Habits, Amber Carew leave Saddle Creek; who is Mary Ruth McLeay?…

Mary Ruth McLeay sideways.

by Tim McMahan,

A few random notes that are getting dusty in my in-box:

Yesterday Bright Eyes announced the “special guests” on the next leg of their tour will include Stranger Things’ star, singer/songwriter Maya Hawke, who also appears in the new Wes Anderson film Astroid City. But more notable is that Cursive and Neva Dinova will be the band’s special guests for the May 14 show at Tulsa’s Cain’s Ballroom and that Azure Ray will be a special guest at the May 18 gig at Houston’s White Oak Music Hall. 

Conor also is in the news because of the release of the new Boygenius album, which has member Phoebe Bridgers doing the media circuit. Yesterday, Nylon speculated that the record’s closing track, “Letter to an Old Poet,” was about Oberst, which would be a less-than-flattering portrait if true. 

Rolling Stone asked a similar question to Bridgers back in February about lyrics she added to a SZA song, where she calls some bloke an asshole. She declined to acknowledge the asshole was Conor and went on to say she didn’t know what the future holds for Better Oblivion Community Center, the project she had with Oberst.

Ah, the complicated lives of rock stars. 

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Patrick Buchanan, the frontman to ‘90s Omaha punk band Mousetrap, will do a one-off performance of his new project, House of Transgressor, May 11 at miniBar in Kansas City. Says Buchananon, “The live setup is actually NO stringed instruments at all. I will be singing & playing synth, there’s a 2nd guy who is playing dual synths, and a drummer who is playing a completely modular electronic drum kit AND synth. It’s a bit like a gothic Kraftwerk or an electronic Bauhaus.” Check out their recorded music here.

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Hand Habits announced that their next album, Sugar the Bruise, will be released on Fat Possum June 16, apparently ending their relationship with Saddle Creek Records, who release their last couple albums, including 2021’s Fun House, which was one of my favorites that year.

It also appears that the label’s Los Angeles A&R person, Amber Carew, left Saddle Creek sometime last year. Carew was involved in signing many of the band’s recent acts, including Palm, Indigo De Souza, PENDANT, Shalom, Tomberlin, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Ada Lea, Disq, Spirit of the Beehive, Stef Chura and Young Jesus. The only reason I found out was that Shalom mentioned Carew left the label in a recent interview. Carew’s LinkedIn indicates she left Saddle Creek last May, so this is pretty old news.

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And finally, Nebraska native Mary Ruth McLeay reached out in late February to let me know she released a new indie tune called “I Want Too Much.” McLeay, who’s a student at Berklee College of Music, produced the track and played on it with Dean Andreadas, who engineered and played guitars.

I’d never heard of McLeay before, though she said she’s played at Reverb and The Waiting Room, where she’s opened for acts and taken part in Femme Fest. I checked out her older music and it was anything but indie, more pop-flavored in the Swifty vein. Was the change intentional, and why?

“Definitely intentional and for so many reasons, many of them relating to simply growing up,” she said, adding her early stuff was recorded when she was 17 and influenced by acts like Lorde and Blackbear. She produced a couple pop rock songs at Berklee, which were examples “of me honing my pop writing chops but not necessarily carving my personal place as an artist.”

“The making of ‘I Want Too Much’ felt like my arrival to the place I’ve been trying to get for eight years. I went into my friend Dean’s home studio (I discovered that’s my favorite way to record over the years) with my only objective being I wanted to make something that sounded like my interior and my thought processing and reflected my presence. Therefore, the sound turned out like the exact path genre-wise I’d like to be on for a long time.”

Here you go. Looking forward to the next one:

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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.


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.