Maha Festival attendance rises; #BFF, Bug Heaven, Lodgings, Breakers tonight; GRRRL Camp Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 7:43 am August 4, 2023

Turnstile Friday night at the 2023 Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan,

The folks behind the Maha Music Festival released attendance numbers yesterday, showing a slight increase over last year’s numbers. Last weekend, “more than 12,000 people helped Maha Festival say goodbye to its longtime home” at Aksarben Village.

That’s a little over a 4% increase over 2023’s Maha Festival attendance. The increase was due to a sizable jump in Friday night attendance – 4,900 people were on hand last Friday night when Turnstile headlined vs. 4,100 on Friday night last year for Car Seat Headrest. Saturday attendance of 7,100 for headliner Big Thief was a drop from the 7,400 in attendance on Saturday last year for Beach House. 

These numbers include more than 800 volunteers. Maha also said a quarter of attendees traveled from out of state this year.  As info, Maha drew 6,400 in 2021 for their one-day, Covid-shorted festival. 

The festival is currently conducting an attendee survey, which you can take here as they begin to do it all over again for the two-day festival to be held down at the Riverfront next year, July 26 and 27, 2024.

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OK, so what about this weekend?

Tonight it’s all about Benson, where Benson First Friday (#BFF) will be in full effect. Maple Street will be alive with art as businesses throughout the district feature new openings by local artists. If you’re out and about, drop in at Ming Toy Gallery, 6066 Maple St. (right next to Au Courant) where artist Michael Trenhaile opens his show entitled “Hoodlums, Thieves and Dead People & Other Events.” He’s brought his guitar and amp, so expect a couple tunes as well. The show runs from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight. See you there.

Also tonight, The Sydney in Benson celebrates BFF with a red hot show headlined by Bug Heaven with Lodgings and Breakers. $10, 9 p.m. 

Saturday, get a sneak peak at Falconwood Park prior to Outlandia by attending GRRRL Camp, a one-day festival featuring 16 female-fronted alt rock and hip hop acts and performers including Boulder’s The Velveteers, Omaha acts Ione and Ebba Rose, and Lincoln’s Freakabout. All gender identifications are invited (that means dudes, too). This is kind of like FemmeFest from years gone by, only it’s held at a camp grounds. It starts at 1 p.m. and tickets are $45. More info here.

Also tomorrow night (Saturday), The Sydney in Benson has Moon 17 with Jeff in Leather and XID. $10, 9 p.m. 

And Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Las Cruxes is among the bands celebrating Silas Poppy’s birthday. Joining them are Tiananmen Squares and The Content. 9 p.m., no cover listed.

And finally, it’s Bandcamp Friday again. If you’ve been mulling over buying some new music (or some old music), Bandcamp is waiving their fees today so all proceeds will go to the artist. Among those celebrating is Simon Joyner, who is releasing a new vinyl-only LP, This Is Where the Ocean Begins, a collection of old singles reinterpreted by Fred Lonberg Holm, Michael Krassner and Joyner as a trio, limited to 230 copies, with money generated used to help cover travel costs for his fall tour. Check it out here.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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: Criteria, Little Brazil; Twinsmith, Bug Heaven tonight; Las Cruxes Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 11:33 am November 25, 2022
Criteria at The Waiting Room, Nov. 23, 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

Very much like every other year was last Wednesday’s holiday concert at The Waiting Room, the eighth such event (according to Criteria frontman Stephen Pedersen, who celebrated this winning streak from stage). Lots of old, familiar faces were on hand to wish glad tidings as well as they could through the 100+ dB din (even between bands, it was loud).

Uh Oh at The Waiting Room, Nov. 23, 2022.

Uh Oh kicked it off with a solid set and what appeared to be the evening’s largest crowd (a crowd that slowly, slightly waned throughout the night). The more I hear Joe Champion live the more I’m reminded of Tim Quirk of Too Much Joy, thought Uh Oh’s music is played straightforward lyrically vs. TMJ’s snarky humor, and that’s OK. While the entire band is solid, lead guitarist Mari Crisler is a standout on solos that leave the histrionics for the fretboard (which is a nice way of saying the band doth not emote much on stage, but few indie bands do).

Landon Hedges, left, and Danny Maxwell of Little Brazil at The Waiting Room Nov. 23, 2022.

Little Brazil followed with their best performance in recent history driven by frontman Landon Hedges. Always solid instrumentally, for me LB shows depend on how well Landon handles those high notes. Get him on a bad night and your best best is to lean back and enjoy guitarist Shawn Cox’s amazing fretwork. Get Landon on a good night (or in this case, a great night) and you’re flying above the crowd alongside him on that vocal tight rope.

LB has been kicking it for decades but their latest album, Just Leave, is a career highlight thanks to risk taking on song structures and the guitar interplay between Cox, Hedges and the rest of the band, held down firmly by a rhythm section of LB co-originator Danny Maxwell on bass and larger-than-life drummer Austin Elsberry. That said, Hedges’ unique, high vocals make LB a standout in a city full of standouts.

There were times Wednesday night when I cringed waiting to hear if Landon was going to make that note. He almost always did, though a couple times he seemed to forget the words at the beginning of songs. No matter. He always caught up in the end.

Finally there was Criteria. What to say that I haven’t already said the last seven times I’ve seen them play this holiday show or all the other times in between? The band continues to wield the ridiculous guitar-fueled power that made them an indie-music staple in the emo-powered aughts when Omaha was a global music brand. I am here to report that frontman Pedersen can still shred the high notes as well on songs that are nothing less than endurance tests for any vocalist over the age of 30 (which he most definitely is).

The band is sheer power at every position, tight as a tick and tour ready as they’ve ever been, though they’re unlikely to play again until next November. No doubt some of the reasons for that involve the three little boys who ran around stage prior to the set — Pedersen’s personal roadies (the youngest of which wore sound-dampening headphones and ran wild in the crowd during the set). In just a few years maybe they’ll be opening for dad’s band, at a show held sometime around Thanksgiving at The Waiting Room…

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The holidays cavalcade of local shows rolls on this weekend.

Tonight at Reverb Lounge, Saddle Creek Records band Twinsmith headlines with up and comer Bug Heaven who I’m told is a must see (though I somehow keep missing them). This one starts at 9 p.m. and is $12.

Also tonight, singer/songwriters Stathi and Mitch Gettman are playing sets at The B. Bar, 4330 Leavenworth (right next to Barrett’s Barleycorn). Mitch goes on at 8, Stathi at 9 and then headliner, Sweetstreak, who describe themselves as East Omaha garage Rock, at 10. No price listed for this one, so you’re on your own.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) our old friends Las Cruxes headlines a free show at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them are (kind of) new band The Rare Candies (Josh Medlock, Mitch Gettman, Ryan Menchaca and a fourth dude who’s probably pissed because he’s not listed anywhere on the band’s websites) and Kelroy. Just like the old days, this one doesn’t start until 9:30.

Also Saturday night, The Waiting Room is hosting a reunion of Omaha ska band Jimmy Skaffa. Joining them is Stick Figures and Plastic Presidents. $15, 8 p.m. Lotta people will be at this one (including on stage, if I remember this bands properly).

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Shows (or the lack thereof) this weekend; new Stathi, Bug Heaven…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 8:20 am January 21, 2022

by Tim McMahan,

Looks like we’ve hit the wall again. There are still shows booked at all the usual places, but no indie, no touring acts, etc. If it’s going to be a dead weekend, it might as well be this weekend, with Omnivore (sic) raging at peak levels throughout Douglas County. It’s probably a good idea to stick around the homestead until this spike subsides.

The skinny: The Waiting Room has a comedy tour, Reverb has a C&W act, Slowdown postponed tonight’s show and Saturday has a live broadcast screening of Thom Yorke’s new band, The Smile, which will cost you $20 — seems a bit steep for a streamed event by a debuting act. Jeremy Mercy and his band are playing at the Down Under Saturday night at 9. And that’s about it.

A couple releases while I have your attention…

Former Omaha guy now NYC guy Stathi Patseas has a new gorgeous demo compilation called Dogs Bark Omaha that just dropped on Bandcamp. Check it out.

Nate Van Fleet dropped me an IM to let me know about a recording by local project Bug Heaven. The crew represented on the tracks: Drew Shuck, vocals, guitars, drums; Alex Brown on guitars; Drew Augustine, bass, vocals; Nate on auxiliary percussion; Kelly Langin on vocals; Megan Siebe on synthesizer & keyboards and Ian Aeillo (Omaha’s version of Daniel Lanois) on additional instrumentation. Ian also produced and mixed it. Check it out:

That is all for now. Have a good, safe 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.