Live Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club; Closeness, InDreama, Leafblower tonight; Velveteers, Ocean Black, U2 Saturday; Wye Oak Sunday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — @ 12:23 pm May 18, 2018

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at The Slowdown, May 17, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

I’m told they did not roll in on motorcycles, but they looked like they could have. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took the stage in Slowdown’s main room last night to a large, older, darkly clad crowd come to see these ’90s alt rock giants.

Starting out as a trio, they ripped through new stuff and old, including a tasty version of “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” that had the crowd doing some overhead clapping. Listening to the band what came to mind was how many other acts (including a lot of grungy outlaw-country bands) have stolen their twangy blues-rock style. I could see how people initially compared them to early Led Zeppelin (in their blues-rock song structure) but also heard a Skynyrd and swamp-rock influence.

Guitarist Peter Hayes (who also played a small drum set) and bassist Robert Levon Been (who also played acoustic guitar) shared the mumbled vocals from song to song. A keyboardist joined them about 20 minutes into the set, filling out the sound especially on newer songs. Drummer Leah Shapiro kept the throaty, mid-tempo beat going all night. Fun set, and what little variety came from Hayes and Been switching off instruments or Hayes’ strange vocal microphone used for a few numbers I guess to give him an even grittier growl.

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Lots o’ shows happening this weekend…

Tonight Closeness — Todd and Orenda Fink’s dreamy electronic rock project — headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s for what could be a spectacle as the Tbd. Dance Collective will perform in the center slot. What that entails within the basement-like confines of The Club is anyone’s guess. Opening is Nik Fackler’s prog-psych-rock project InDreama, who hasn’t gigged in many a moon. $7, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Brothers Lounge, Max Trax Recording artist Leafblower headlines. Universe Contest opens at 10 p.m. This one’s $5.

Tomorrow night it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Velveteers — Demi and John Demitro out of Boulder playing a style that would have fit right in opening for BRMC. This is a loaded bill with the local stoner-rockers Ocean Black and Bad Bad Men (Hug, Wolf, Siebkin, say no more) . $8, 9 p.m.

What else… oh yeah, there’s a little band called U2 playing at CenturyLink Center tomorrow night (Saturday). I’m seeing tickets as low as $9 for this (behind the stage in nosebleed-land). Still, it’s U2. 8 p.m. start time.

Finally, Wye Oak plays at The Waiting Room Sunday night. Their new album, The Faster I Call, the Faster It Runs (2018, Merge) is a departure from their past stuff in that it actually kind of rocks in an electronic sort of way. Their best record yet? You be the judge. Palm (Carpark Records) opens a 8 p.m. $15.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bazile Mills tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:35 pm May 17, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

No time for much today other than to say…

Tonight Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) plays at The Slowdown with Pete International Airport (Peter Holmström of The Dandy Warhols, among other). You read my BRMC 10 Q right here. Main Room, 8 p.m., $28.

Also tonight the Summer Happy Hour Music Series kicks off at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Bazile Mills in the beer garden. $5, 6 p.m.

While over at the Down Under Lounge tonight it’s Guts and Bones, DHX (Dereck Higgins) and Big Slur. Starts at 9:30, no price listed.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (at Slowdown May 17); Helmet tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:39 pm May 15, 2018

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club plays Thursday night at The Slowdown. Photo by Tessa Angus.

by Tim McMahan,

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — a.k.a. BRMC — have been a force in the West Coast psych rock scene since the band formed in the late ’90s. The core has always been guitarist Peter Hayes and bassist Robert Levon Been, who have shared the vocals throughout the band’s eight studio albums.

Their style: a grimy gutter groove, a loud fuzz guitar and a gritty growl spitting out words about the wrong kind of love. Rock stomps like “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” off the 2010 album by the same name, and “Spread Your Love” off their 2001 debut B.R.M.C. are the perfect soundtrack for anyone who wants to feel like a bad-ass. The band keeps the grind going strong on their latest, Wrong Creatures, released this past January by Vagrant Records.

We caught up with BRMC’s Robert Levon Been and asked him Ten Questions:

What is your favorite album?

Robert Levon Been: Still waiting for it.

What is your least favorite song?

Nearly all of the them, except the very few that somehow give just enough hope to music to trick it into believing it might all carry on into infinity and beyond.

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

It’s the real dream: to find a place where you set aside all your differences with another person and create something new, beautiful, and unexpected with another person. It’s not far from child birth or any great work of art that’s a collaborative exploration into violent and unknown territory.

What do you hate about being in a band?

The sex, drugs, lies, egos and the distractions. But then again, what would rock ’n’ roll be without all those things?

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

MUSIC. I know it’s like the most pretentious answer of all time, but I don’t care. It really comes down to the song, atmosphere, weird sonic vibrations, and soul. Everything else is just is surface, sugar, icing on the cake, and always fleeting…

In what city or town do you love to perform?

Our dream is to play Iceland, which is the only place we’ve never played and we’ve always tried year after year after year… so please start a petition! To get BRMC TO ICELAND, please.

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

I think most towns we’ve bombed as many time as we’ve soared, so it kinda balances out. As far as why…I don’t know, I guess we all get nervous and choke just as much as the next guy or gal.

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

This is actually a good question, because when the band started we ALL AGREED for each member to only be paid a monthly salary (as if we had normal jobs). So if we got a huge licenses for $800,000 dollars we would still just take out a small allowance of that, and that kept us from blowing through our money super fast (with fur coats and lambos). What I’ve noticed though is that after each album we usually have about one year before the accountants start saying ‘Hey look, you’re gonna completely run out of your savings in about six months unless you deliver another new album.’ And that fucks with your head, because you’re just not always inspired every single year to write a new album, which is why I think ‘Wrong Creatures’ took longer than most because we didn’t want to release an album just for, like, tax purposes, which would be almost sacrilegious artistically. So we dragged our feet more than ever before and waited until the songs came more naturally, and it started to feel like an album that we needed in these times. And that’s the only thing that really matters at the end of the day.

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

A film director or an astronaut. I would hate to vacuum the floors at an airport at like 3 a.m. on the slow Zamboni they’ve got there. I’ve never seen anything more mind numbing than watching a human sitting on a vacuum cleaning going 5 miles per hour, and very understandably looking half asleep while doing a job that’s only purpose is to ease all creativity and soul from your body. But what do I know? Maybe there’s an upside that I’m missing.

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

Just the title all of our all time favorite Bruce Springsteen album, ‘Nebraska’. And that album alone got us through a lot of long van drives cross country in the early days of the band. It’s a spooky album to listen to on an open highway in the dead of night.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club plays with Pete International Airport Thursday, May 17, at The Slowdown, 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $25 Adv/$28 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to

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The ’90s are back loud and clear tonight at The Waiting Room — Helmet headlines a show alongside metal dudes Prong. $25, 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.