Live Review: Bull Nettles at Dr. Jack’s, and a return to live shows…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:11 am May 31, 2021
Bull Nettles at Dr. Jack’s Drinkery, May 29, 2021.

It’s so weird going inside anywhere without wearing a mask let alone a club, but that was the sitch Saturday night at Dr. Jack’s Drinkery, the bar formerly known as The Brass Knocker.

I had a mask in my jacket pocket not knowing the bar’s masking protocol. I could have left it at home. No signs on the door and no one inside wore a mask and there was no evidence we’d ever been in a pandemic. In fact, had I put on my mask I would have have been the subject of much pointing and maybe even a confrontation. No doubt people who still feel like wearing a mask inside clubs will feel intimidated to not wear one – no one wants to be the center of attention.

I’ve been long vaccinated, though that doesn’t guarantee I’ll never get COVID, only that I might not die from it. Which leads one to wonder how many people in the room Saturday night have had their shots…

Enough about the pandemic. I haven’t been in this club in well over 20 years, back when it was the Brass Knocker. My recollection of the layout is rather foggy, but I seem to remember there was a staging area for karaoke, which is now gone. Instead, on the other side of the bar is a small “stage” set-up with old-fashioned PAs stacked on either side. Though Dr. Jack’s hosts shows, you can tell the place wasn’t designed for live music (but then again, neither was O’Leaver’s).

As The Mudpuddles ripped through their set, I wandered outside through an open overhead door where a bunch of people were hanging out drinking. The patio is actually nicer than the club’s interior, which was a bit ramshackle.

Bull Nettles, the trio trio that features Travis Linn (a.k.a. Travis Sing) on lead vocals and guitar and Doug Kabourek on drums (and “Steve” on bass), kicked into gear at around 10:30 for a set that featured mainly songs from their new EP, The Last Days of Empire, whose release they were celebrating Saturday. They call their sound “cow punk” but it’s really alt country, and live reminded me more of Centro-Matic than Frontier Trust, because Travis actually sings (vs. Gary Dean Davis’ barrel holler).

It’s a quibble, but the mix was not good unless you really wanted to enjoy a band’s rhythm section. Travis and his guitar at times got lost, which was a shame because both are among my favorite things on the EP. Also lost with this crowd was Sing’s clever, biting political lyrics, which make seeking out the Bandcamp page and following along with the lyrics a smart go. It’s hard to write political stuff without sounding preachy, but Sing pulls it off better than most these days.

Among the highlights was a rousing version of stand-out track “No Higher Ground,” and album opener “Howl & Whine,” along with nice version of Creedance’s “Don’t Look Now,” and an old At Land song by Doug Kabourek.

If you missed the show you’re out of luck with these guys, as they posted on their Facebook page afterward that this would be their last gig for the foreseeable future. “We never really intended to be a live band, plus there are radical changes afoot for one of the bandmates.” A pity.

Not a bad way to come out of a pandemic, but I’m still waiting for the city’s real clubs to book some decent live shows. And it could be awhile.

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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.


Those Far Out Arrows, Jack McLaughlin tonight; Bull Nettles (album release show) Saturday; live shows are back!

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 9:44 am May 28, 2021
Those Far Out Arrows at Slowdown Jr., Aug. 8, 2017. The band plays tonight at The Sydney.

Oh my gawd, live shows are back!

They’ve actually been back for awhile — most venues reopened weeks ago — but this weekend is the first time there are shows I actually want to write about.

As we all know, the city dropped its mask mandate earlier this week; and while people no longer are required to wear masks in businesses, each establishment will have its own masking policy. I spoke to one local venue owner who said he’s taking the mask signs down at all his clubs, if only because most restaurants and other establishments are. That said, each club will be different, and I’ll have one with me when I go out this weekend.

And I have no doubt people still will wear masks in the clubs. I went to HyVee the other day to pick up a six-pack and about half the shoppers wore masks. It’ll be a hard habit to break for some.

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Tonight at The Sydney it’s the long-talked-about return of Those Far Out Arrows. The band released an album last year called Fill Yer Cup that includes the weird, funky single “Snake in My Basement” that’s become something of an underground hit among a number of my friends.

Also on tonight’s bill at The Sydney is the soulful hip-hop of Marcey Yates. This gig has been sold out for a couple weeks, but I’m told by a little birdie that a few tickets will be available early at the door. $10, 10 p.m.

. ) ) ) .

Also tonight, singer/songwriter/rockstar Jack McLaughlin is headlining at The Slowdown (on the big stage!) with Bokr Tov and Magū. McLaughlin has a new track out called “Interpret It All,” that features Mitch Gettman on guitar, Nate Van Fleet on drums and Dan Artz on bass. Says McLaughlin, “I bought and renovated a house by O’Leavers during the shut down and built a recording studio in the basement….that’s where we are at in the video.” Like I said, this is a main room show (thanks to COVID). $10, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Township & Range plays at The Down Under with Eddie Spencer. It’s a free show that begins at 9 p.m. Here’s where you can point and laugh at me: I didn’t know that Travis Sing was the frontman in T&R.

In fact, Sing (whose performance name is Travis Linn) is also the frontman in Bull Nettles, a new “cow punk” trio in the vein of Frontier Trust with Doug Kabourek on drums and “Steve” on bass (I don’t know who Steve is, but he’s good). Travis Sing is great on lead vocals and guitar, and their new EP, The Last Days of Empire, blew me away. This is the rural punk-ish album with a political edge you’ve been waiting for.

I really wanted this record to come out in the late summer/early fall last year to coincide with the election, but obviously that didn’t happen for numerous reasons,” Sing said. “I lean left, but I think there’s plenty on the left to criticize, too. This record is likely to piss off people on both sides.”

Yeah, there’s a Frontier Trust flair to the EP, but this one also will appeal to fans of Filter Kings and Social Distortion. The band is celebrating the EP’s release tonight at Dr. Jack’s Drinkery, 3012 No. 102nd St. (102nd and Maple (the old Brass Knocker)). Also on the bill are The Mudpuddles and Danny Burns. $5, 8 p.m.

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That’s all I got. If you go out this weekend, be safe, and don’t be afraid to wear a mask if you want to. Staying alive is pretty cool.

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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.


Lazy-i Best of 2019 compilation CD track list; Bull Nettles, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:33 pm December 26, 2019

Lazy-i Best of 2019 compilation CD.

by Tim McMahan,

Here it is, the annual Lazy-i Best of… comp CD. It’s become a much sought-after collector’s item by those eager to gather this annual assembly of the best of the best stuff I’ve listened to and/or written about over the past year in Lazy-i and/or The Reader. I’ve been sending out these comps since ’94, first as cassettes, then switching over to Compact Discs in ’99. They’re time capsules of the year that was in indie music, both nationally and locally.

I count only six tracks this year with local connections — the fewest local tracks I’ve gathered for any previous collection. What’s it mean? Find out in when you read the 2019 Music Year in Review article in The Reader, which hits the stands in January (but will be online at and by the end of the year).

Anyway, here’s the 2019 Best of Lazy-i CD tracklist:

1. “Skin Game” – DIIV, from Deceiver (Captured Tracks)
2. “Summer Girl” – HAIM, single (Columbia)
3. “Seventeen” – Sharon Van Etten, from Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar)
4. “Can’t Calm Down” – Hand Habits, from Placeholder (Saddle Creek)
5. “Communication” – Disq, single (Saddle Creek)
6. “Bad Idea!” – Girl in Red, single (AWAL)
7. “Stick N Poke” – Palehound, from Black Friday (Polyvinly)
8. “Try Not to Hang on So Hard” – Young Guv, from GUV II (Run for Cover)
9. “Weird Ways” – Strand of Oaks, from Eraserland (Dead Oceans)
10. “Turn to Hate” – Orville Peck, from Pony (Sub Pop)
11. “Moments and Whatnot” – Lloyd Cole, from Guesswork (Edel)
12. “Little Trouble” – Better Oblivion Community Center, single (Dead Oceans)
13. “Yellow Jacket Blues” – Simon Joyner, from Pocket Moon (Grapefruit)
14. “Mr. President” – Prettiest Eyes, from Volume 3 (Castle Face)
15. “In Degrees (Purple Disco Machine Remix)” – Foals, single (Warner)
16. “All My Happiness is Gone” – Purple Mountains, from self-titled debut (Drag City)
17. “Hang On” – Uh Oh, from Stay Close (Ghost Light)
18. “You Got the Coast” – Left is West, from How to Be Happy Without Even Trying (self-release)

Want a copy of the CD? Enter to win one in the annual drawing! To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 6, at midnight.

If you just want to listen to the collection, the CD’s playlist is now available in Spotify. Simply click the link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find it along with a few from past years, too. Thanks as always to design genius Donovan Beery (, who’s been putting together the CD sleeves since 2000!

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There are a couple post-X-Mas shows happening tonight…

At Reverb Lounge it’s the debut of new Omaha Americana act Bull Nettles, a band featuring Doug Kabourek (Fizzle Like a Flood), Travis Linn (Black Squirrels) and Steve Vincik (Township and Range). Joining them is The Broke Loose. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship opens for Jump the Tiger at Slowdown Jr. (JtT will be playing an all-covers set). Sack of Lions opens at 8 p.m. $10.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.