Live Review: Maha Music Festival 2022 (Sudan Archives, Car Seat Headrest, Indigo De Souza, Beach House)…

Beach House at Maha Music Festival 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

In the minds of a few folks involved in the Omaha music scene, there are two festivals this year going head-to-head — the Maha Music Festival, which happened last weekend, and Outlandia Music Festival in less than two weeks.

There is scuttlebutt, rumor and legend that Maha begat Outlandia. I’ve heard Outlandia described as a “revenge festival.” And when August comes to a close, it is inevitable that some will compare and contrast the two and declare a winner.

I won’t be one of those people. Because despite local music industry politics, I still see Maha and Outlandia as two very different animals, with two very different audiences. That doesn’t mean, however, that Outlandia didn’t impact Maha’s ticket sales.

I don’t have the numbers (yet), but my eyes tell me the crowds last weekend were among the smallest at any Maha including last year’s COVID-limited success. And in the music business as in life, size always seems to matter no matter what anyone says. Maha’s line-up, more than any in the past, was laser-targeted toward a very young demographic — not Gen X or Gen Y but squarely on the Z. And the audience reflected it – the youngest music-going audience I’ve seen at a Maha Festival. If that was their intent, congratulations.

But it was smaller. Friday night looked as if fewer than 3,000 paid ticket-goers were in attendance, though Stinson Park and the grounds surrounding it still had a festival feel, thanks to a set-up that boasted a great arcade-like area and a fun Community Village populated with energized non-profiters taking advantage of the unseasonably cool weather. Yeah, weather might be a decider between which festival was more fun to attend.

Maha’s biggest change this year was physically moving the main stage closer to the smaller second stage, and shifting the VIP area north of the main stage so VIP tents were actually visually obscured (though VIPers could still walk right down near the edge of stage left). I didn’t visit the VIP area this year because I wasn’t sure my Media Pass would let me in. (Edit: I’m now told they didn’t move the stage. It just seemed like they did because they moved the VIP area).

Realigning the private suites on the east end made the park feel smaller, tighter, which was fine considering the smaller crowd. That stage location meant concert goers were blinded as the sun fell behind either stage.

Which brings up one more positive addition — this year Maha finally added a big screen projection system, with the screen placed left of the main stage. These screens have been a staple at festivals around the country for years, and are a long time coming for Maha, obviously enhancing the experience for those seated along the walkways and in the suites. Maybe next year they can afford a second screen for the other side of the stage.

One last technical thing before we get to the music — Maha continues to be Omaha’s most well-run outdoor event thanks in huge part to their army of volunteers who help in every conceivable way, right down to helping you decide how to throw away your trash. Their volunteers have always been Maha’s greatest asset.

Las Cruxes at Maha Music Festival 2022.

OK, onto the show. I caught the entire Friday night line-up, which kicked off right at 5:30 with punk band Las Cruxes, now boasting a ridiculous nine members. It certainly didn’t sound like nine people on the big stage, and, having seen these folks a half dozen times in the past, they could have pulled off the same performance Friday as a five-piece (though they gotta keep those two drummers).

Las Cruxes punk feels like a psych-rock concert at a blunt-instrument crime scene in a vacant apartment located somewhere just south of the boarder, say Nueva Laredo. It’s a bit unfocused, with sweeping, almost violent melodies sung in a static haze, and of course, entirely in Spanish. I have no idea what they are singing, and I’d be lying if I said the lack of translation didn’t take away from the songs. I like lyrics. If you’re uni-lingual, you’re left with only the psych-punk vibe, which by itself was potent. Punk bands typically aren’t designed for outdoor festivals, but Las Cruxes pulled it off, and I can’t wait to see them again in a club. PS: the sound mix was impeccable, Ian.

Bad Self Portraits, another local band, was next up on the small stage, which by contrast, didn’t sound much smaller. The band played their just-released EP, Fear of Missing Out, which leans more toward singer-songwriter than indie, the lead singer at times reminding me of Aimee Mann. This was the first time I’ve seen them, and probably not the best place to be introduced. It’s tough enough to get people to listen to your new album, even tougher in front of mostly empty festival grounds.

Sweeping Promises at Maha Music Festival 2022.

Next came the first of three touring indie acts. I hadn’t heard of Cambridge band Sweeping Promises until Maha, and wasn’t terribly inspired to check them out until: 1) local legend Jeff Runnings (of For Against fame) pointed me toward their 2020 album, Hunger for a Way Out, and 2) added that the band just got signed to Sub Pop. The aforementioned album is, indeed, awesome. Some of the innovation heard on that record was lost on stage, however. A power trio, front woman/bass player Lori Mondal’s vocals were too exposed and left hanging in the very narrow arrangements. Their performance could have benefited from a dirtier mix.

Indigo De Souza at Maha Music Festival 2022.

I was still waiting for the crowd to show up by 8:15 when Indigo De Souza and her band took the stage. The Saddle Creek Records act is one of the most successful new indie bands in the past couple years on the strength of two amazing albums. A small cadre of fans pressed toward the small stage, and got what they came for — a terrific set. De Souza’s between-song comments were a bit… disturbing. She said she felt cursed whenever she comes to Omaha, adding “Good luck to you.” After singing her next song she continued on about what a strange day she’d had here, and not in a good way.

But you wouldn’t have known it by her performance, which was spot on, while the small stage crowd sang along to highlight “Kill Me.” Wish more people had been there to see it.

Car Seat Headrest at Maha Music Festival 2022.

Finally at 9:30 on came Car Seat Headrest. I was at Stinson earlier that day to help set up the Union Pacific suite and caught their soundcheck, where they ended up playing most of their set. Even at the soundcheck, frontman Will Toledo wore his now trademark gas mask-with-the-glowing eyes (and floppy ears).

But whereas he wore a T-shirt and skinny jeans during soundcheck, for the actual performance he came out in his full, weird orange costume that sort of looked like a hazmat jumpsuit. He wore the mask throughout his set, a microphone tucked away either in the mask or somehow next to it (his voice sounded fine).

I’ve heard people complain that Car Seat’s performances are boring without the costume, and I disagree, but maybe it’s because I think Teens of Denial and Twin Fantasy are two of the best albums of the late 20-teens. His songwriting and arrangements are confessional and provocative, and always interesting, so I don’t need the theatrics. That said, it was was more than appropriate for headlining a festival.

Undercutting the costume, Toledo chatted with his audience and his band between songs, seemingly disconnected from the fact that he was wearing a creepy mask. The New York Times wrote about the costume, saying it was a reflection of his deep admiration for David Bowie and how he always reinvented himself. With that in mind, it’s time for Toledo to dump the costume and take on his own Thin White Duke persona.

Of the two nights, I preferred Friday. There’s talk about pumping up Maha’s Friday night line-ups, but I would keep it indie-focused and leave the big pop-fueled bands for Saturday night.

So here’s my thoughts about the Saturday events — there’s no reason to start the festival at 1:30 if you’re only going to book local bands to perform up until 5 p.m. It’s great that these bands are getting an opportunity to play on big stages, but it’s disingenuous when you consider they’re playing mainly for Maha vendors and staff. After watching a couple minutes of DJ Short-T, I split and didn’t return to the park until Geese’s set.

Maybe the biggest winner of the local bands involved was The Real Zebos. More people told me about the band than any other local on the bill (other than Las Cruxes’ colorful backstage hi-jinx). They’ve got an album release show Sept. 23 at The Slowdown.

Geese at Maha Music Festival 2022.

When I got back to Stinson at around 5, Geese were already on the big stage, but… without a drummer. After a few texts, I found out their drummer and guitarist were both MIA (the drummer apparently had a hand injury).

Geese was considered a huge “get” when it was announced. “Low Era,” the single off their Projector album, is on heavy rotation on Sirius XMU and has a cool vibe reminiscent of early Tame Impala. Of course we got none of that Saturday as the band ended up doing a free-form set that sounded more like noodling than anything else (I was reminded of the Jazz Odyssey scene in Spinal Tap). They were apologetic throughout, and it was a good effort to make the most of a bad situation, but I was just waiting for them to wrap it up. We still haven’t seen Geese.

Things went from bad to worse, as Sudan Archives were tortured with technical problems on that small stage. I was standing just right of the stage as frontwoman Brittney Parks struggled to get her violin pick-up to work, talking back and forth with the stage sound dude. She would plug things in, unplug and replug and the stage sound guy would say “Nothing” or “I have one channel now.” This went on and on and the schedule looked to be blown.

And then, out of the blue, two other performers went on the small stage, unscheduled, and played a couple songs that I will only describe as… challenging. I was beginning to think we weren’t going to get Sudan Archives at all.

Sudan Archives at Maha Music Festival 2022.

As 6 p.m. rolled around (15 minutes late), they finally introduced Sudan Archives, who played as a duo, with a guy manning a laptop/synth/beatbox. The first song went fine, but then 30 seconds into the next song, the amps erupted in static, and the sound was cut. I thought for sure the set was over, when Parks picked up her violin, said “I’m just going to plug this in direct” and began playing a stripped down version of one of her songs, using a pedal repeater, the beat box and her vocals. It was amazing.

By the time that song finished, the tech problem was worked out, but time had run out. Maha wisely let them go on, and we got stunning versions of “NBPQ (Topless)” whose chorus is “I just want to have my titties out, titties out, titties out,” and breakout single “Selfish Soul.” What could have been a disaster ended up one of the best sets of the festival. Sudan Archives will be that act who, in a couple years when she’s playing huge audiences, we’ll say, “I remember when she played Maha.”

Things went pretty smoothly after that.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever at Maha Festival 2022.

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever came on maybe five minutes late, so things were getting back on schedule. A huge Australian act, they could headline most any other mid-size festival, and were a great late pick-up for Maha. They played with absolute precision their hits, including the ubiquitous “Talking Straight.” I’m not a big fan of this band — the music is a bit too mainstream for me. In a few years, this will be prime Dad Rock material (Outlandia, take note), but I know a lot of people love them, and they got exactly what they came for.

Every year, Maha has one earlier-in-the-day act that ignites the crowd. A few years back, for example, it was Atmosphere. This year it was PUP.

PUP at Maha Music Festival 2022.

The emo-punk band said the festival was the last gig on their world tour, and you could tell. They’re the kind of band with rabid fans who sing along to every song. A fairly large mosh pit formed in front of the stage as kids bounced around into each other more like pogo moshing than slam dancing. PUP’s music isn’t dark, gritty or hardcore; it’s more like pop punk with emo at its center, extremely well played, and the kids loved it.

Princes Nokia at Maha Music Festival 2022.

They were a huge contrast to Princess Nokia, a red-hot New York-born Puerto Rican MC, singer and performer. She had literally just flown in for the performance (or so she said), and it took her awhile to get comfortable on stage, using her opening song as her sound check. Backed by her DJ, she ran through her a set along with a few a cappella raps and a ton of between-song messaging about social issues, equality, and not taking shit from anyone. At one point she invited the people of color to come up front. I thought her arrangements and DJ were solid; her rhyme and flow, not so much.

By the end of her set, the crowd size looked somewhat impressive, but nowhere near as big as past years’ closing nights. We’ll see what the numbers say, but I think the data will prove this to be an off year for Maha. Part is due to the headliner choice. Beach House is far from a household name unlike past Maha headliners like Weezer, Lizzo, Garbage, Run the Jewels, etc. If you think Maha should continue to cater to indie (as I do), then you’re OK with that.

Beach House is a top-drawer indie band, but they’re not a huge draw, like festival headliners that Maha may never attract because of cost or scheduling, such as The Smile (ex-Radiohead), Tame Impala, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Lana Del Rey, IDLES, Fontaines D.C., Wet Leg, and yeah, apparently Phoebe Bridgers (but that’s another story).

Beach House at Maha Music Festival 2022.

Beach House used a solid backdrop to facilitate a huge projection system throughout their performance, effectively setting a tone that complimented their spacey, droning indie music. Like last year’s Khruangbin headliner, it made for a laid-back closing act, but as I’ve said before, I never go to Maha for the headliner and never stay til the end.

So, another successful Maha Festival in the books, certainly in terms of execution and artistry. Maha continues to have the most diverse line-up of any local festival. And their hospitality is flawless, especially with those volunteers. Still, there’s always room for improvement, like getting a second big screen and it’s high time they hire an event DJ to keep the vibe flowing between sets.

Maybe the best thing about Maha is that it’s so damn easy. I rode my motorcycle to the park and walked right into the festival — zero hassle. The location and convenience are unmatched (and that’s something that may be lost if/when Maha makes its eventual move to downtown Omaha).

And while Outlandia may have bigger names in their line-up — ultimately drawing a larger audience — the jury is out as to how they’ll funnel a ginormous audience into Falconwood Park, with its access via a two-lane road and $25 on-site parking. I’m confident they have all that figured out, right? We’ll find out in less than couple weeks…

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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.


Car Seat Headrest, Naked Giants, Miwi La Lupa tonight; happy 7-4…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:30 pm July 3, 2019

Car Seat Headrest at the 2016 Maha Music Festival. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

Car Seat Headrest, one of my favorite bands with one of the worst names ever, plays tonight at The Waiting Room. I’m sure there’s a great story behind that name, I just don’t know what it is. The band was a highlight at the Maha Music Festival a few years ago, and has a new live album, Commit Yourself Completely, just out on Matador that’s sort of a “greatest hits” collection, played live.

Opener Naked Giants is a Seattle trio that’s toured with Car Seat Headrest in the past. Their most recent release, a 4-song EP, Green Fuzz (2019, New West), includes the long, bluesy title track (9+ minutes) that’s kind of cool. But for the most part, Naked Giants plays slop-dash garage punk, noisy and often tangled in ideas. The EP is a step forward from last year’s LP, SLUFF, which was a real mish-mash. I wasn’t surprised to see they’re pals with Ron Gallo, as a few songs off the full-length remind me of his last album. Definitely worth getting at the club at 8 p.m. $25.

Also tonight, MiWi La Lupa is playing two sets down at the new Jewell, 1030 Capital Ave. He’ll be backed by a full band. Sets are at 6:30 and 8:30, and tickets are $10.

I don’t see anything happening music-wise tomorrow night, which is no surprise. I’m not even sure what’ll be open tomorrow night. Maybe it’s time to take a day off anyway? I’ll be busy prying my terrified dogs off the ceiling due to the fireworks. Please, go light them off somewhere else… Happy 7-4 Day…

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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.


Marie/Lepanto living room show tomorrow; Lincoln Calling 2018; Album Review: Car Seat Headrest; The Show Is the Rainbow tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm April 5, 2018

Marie/Lepanto (yes that’s Will Johnson on the right) is playing a house show tomorrow night…

by Tim McMahan,

I just found out today about this living room show with Marie/Lepanto tomorrow night, and I mention it here because it probably has had zero promotion.

Whereas I like the idea of these traveling troubadours doing living room shows across the country (I think Eric Bachmann might have one coming up?) they’re not booked through a promoter or a club so it’s hard to find out about them. I’d hate for this duo — Will Johnson (of Centro-Matic fame) and Justin Peter Kinkel-Schuster — to play to an empty room, so here’s the link to the show info. I have no idea who’s hosting, but it’s probably someone cool.

It’s gonna be tough sledding because it’s already is a pretty crowded weekend for shows.

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I mentioned the Maha Festival yesterday, I feel I should mention Lincoln Calling 2018 today. The 15th annual concert series is slated for Sept. 17-22, and this year is being presented by Allo and Evol Empire Creative. Last year it was a Hear Nebraska joint, but that org has stepped away.

The big question: Who is booking the festival this year? Last year’s stellar line-up was the result of hard work from Sam Parker, who as reported last week, don’t live here no more.

Anyway, the initial LC line-up will be announced April 16, with a second line-up announcement July 16.

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Q1 2018 CD reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

Car Seat Headrest, Twin Fantasy (2018, Matador)

Car Seat Headrest, Twin Fantasy (Matador) — The first time I listened to their last album, Teens of Denial, I had the lyrics sheet resting on my lap and followed along word-for-word. It made for a satisfying hour of headphone bliss, like reading a series of depressing short stories written by a precocious, bashful teen outsider who doesn’t have enough to complain about. I don’t have the lyrics sheet for Twin Fantasy, which actually is a re-recording of an earlier CSH album. As a result, it’s hard to stay focused for the hour-plus collection of dense lyrics and power chords. Will Toledo could be this generation’s Elvis Costello, but a much more unsatisfied one.

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge The Show Is the Rainbow headlines. Cult Play and John Friedel open. $8, 9 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.


New Digital Leather music (sort of); Car Seat Headrest, Mystery Lights tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:54 pm November 2, 2016

Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

File this under “Get it while you can”… Ian Aeillo (under the moniker Flight School) just posted his interpretation of seven classic Digital Leather songs, of course without the band’s permission. We’re talking soothing, Autumnal renditions of brutal synth-punk songs like “Studs in Love,” “Styrofoam” and my all-time favorite Digital Leather song, “Modern Castles.” Aeillo played all the instruments (mostly synths). Check it out while you can, below…

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Maha 2016 performer Car Seat Headrest returns to Omaha tonight, this time at The Waiting Room. Based on the set list from Monday night’s show in Boulder (online here) expect to hear a lot of songs off their latest, Teens of Denial (2016, Matador), an album that is on my short list of favorites this year. Opening is Seattle trio Naked Giants (Miscreant Records). $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, New York City band The Mystery Lights (Wick/Daptone) headlines at Reverb Lounge with Sean Pratt & The Sweats & David Nance. $8, 9 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Faint video; Car Seat Headrest returns in November; Kevin Seconds (7 Seconds), Kait Berreckman tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm August 24, 2016

At Brad's Corner during last week's Benson First Friday festivities, from left, are Matt Whipkey, Kait Berreckman and Brad Hoshaw. Berreckman celebrates the release of her debut album tonight at O'Leaver's.

Kait Berreckman, center, during a recent First Friday performance at Brad’s Corner in Benson. Berreckman celebrates the release of her debut album tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Let me be the last to the party to tell you about the new Faint video for “Skylab 1979.” I’m just now watching it for the first time over my lunch hour. Pretty cool. Directed by band members Todd Fink and Graham Ulicny. The song, taken from the upcoming CAPSULE: 1999-2016 collection (via Saddle Creek) sounds like classic Faint, which means it’ll blend right into the compilation. Check it out below:

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Wouldn’t you know it, on the Monday after Maha One Percent Productions announces that festival standout Car Seat Headrest will be playing The Waiting Room Nov. 2. For $15, I’ll be there. Wonder what other Maha festival performers will be coming through town again soon…

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Kinda busy night tonight show-wise…

Tonight at The Brothers lounge Kevin Seconds of the hardcore band 7 Seconds headlines with Steve Soto of The Adolescents and The Broke Loose. $10, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room Ace Frehley (formerly of KISS, though does anyone ever really leave that band?) headlines with SIMO. $40, 8 p.m.

And down at fabulous O’Leaver’s (where I’m sure there was a river just outside their door last night) Kait Berreckman celebrates the release of her debut album Battle Scenes. Joining her are Soul Tree and Tara Vaughan. $5, 9 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Maha Music Festival weekend (and Car Seat Headrest preview); Wagonblasters, Chemicals, Your Friend tonight; Diet Cig after Maha…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:29 pm August 19, 2016

by Tim McMahan,

The crowd gets into Atmosphere at The Maha Music Festival, 8/15/15. This year's festival happens tomorrow.

The crowd gets into Atmosphere at The Maha Music Festival, 8/15/15. This year’s festival happens tomorrow.

In my Reader write-up I mentioned Car Seat Headrest as the band I’m most excited to see play at this year’s Maha Music Festival, which (of course) is tomorrow at Aksarben Village. The band’s new album, Teens of Denial (2016, Matador), is far and away my favorite record so far this year. A double-album, every one of the 12 tracks is a keeper, which makes it a throw-back  to an era when albums (not just songs) mattered, and so did the words.

Considering the over-riding theme — a young man’s struggle with depression, paranoia, anger, lonesomeness, and a world filled with ennui — I guess you could call it a concept album. Car Seat Headrest (one of the worst band names anyone could dream up) is mostly singer/songwriter Will Toledo, a 24-year-old dude from Leesburg, Virginia, now residing in Seattle. Chris Lombardi at Matador Records signed him in 2015 conceivably after hearing the best bits of the 12 albums he released on Bandcamp. It’s a story that kind of reminds me of how Matador signed Liz Phair after hearing her Girly Songs demos.

Car Seat Headrest, Teens of Denial (2016, Matador)

Car Seat Headrest, Teens of Denial (2016, Matador)

The band’s debut, Teens of Style, came out in 2015; but its Teens of Denial that represents the first solid, cohesive release by Toledo. Sonically, the album is an amalgamation of 90’s-era indie, but most beholden to Pavement and Stephen Malkmus. A song like, say, “Destroyed By Hippie Powers,” sounds like a tuneful out-take from Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain sung by a doped up Ray Davies of The Kinks. If you’re a fan of any of those classic ’90s releases on Matador or Homestead or Grass you’ll be right at home here.

Thematically, Toledo paints a grey portrait of a nerdy white dude trying to fit into a hipster world filled with drugs and assholes where he doesn’t (think he) belong(s). It’s personal confessions taken from a movie John Hughes would have directed had he survived until the 2010s, with lyrical clarity matched only by Westerberg (or our very own Conor Oberst). Each song has at least one deviously clever line (and more). Some of my faves:

“Fill in the Blank” — You have no right to be depressed / You haven’t tried hard enough to like it.

“Vincent” — If I’m being honest with myself / I haven’t been honest with myself.

“Destroyed by Hippies” — It’s more than you bargained for / But it’s less than what you paid for.

“(Joe Gets Kicked Out of School for Using) Drugs with Friends (But Says This Isn’t a Problem” — Drugs are better, drugs are better with / Friends are better, friends are better with drugs.

“Not What I Needed” — I’ve been waiting all my life for some real good porn / Something with meaning, something fulfilling / I’d like to make my shame count for something.

“Drunk Drivers / Killer Whales” — We are not a proud race / It’s not a race at all / We’re just trying, I’m just trying to get home.

“1937 State Park” — I didn’t want you to hear / That shame in my voice / My pain is my own.

“Cosmic Hero” — And of course I’m alright with death / But do why you talk about it so goddamn much?

“The Ballad of the Costa Concordia” — How was I supposed to remember to grab my backpack after I set it down to play basketball?

“Connect the Dots (The Saga of Frank Sinatra)” — Little boy says I’ll touch the heart of the nation / Little boy says I’ll punch the heart of everyone.

“Joe Goes to School” — I’m a tourist attraction / Biking down Dog Street.

There’s more lines and better ones and they all sound better in context and surrounded by power chords and blister-fast drums (at least during the upbeat ones). If you listen to the album with the lyric sheet, as I did, you’ll walk away a bit befuddled, a bit depressed and sorry for young Toledo who (probably) doesn’t have anything in his life that deserves your pity. There is a semblance of hope that underlines the overall experience, a realization that this character, this kid is smart enough to figure it all out on his own.

It’s a great album with a message about depression that fits well with Maha’s overarching mental health theme this year. Who knows if it’ll translate live on the Maha stage. I’ve seen a lot of bands who know how to write great songs and record terrific albums that wind up being dead-boring live.  We’ll see tomorrow.

Those going to tomorrow’s festival, everything you’d want to know about Maha is available right here at the Hear Nebraska website. You can, of course, also go to the Maha website for details. GA tickets are $55 today. I think they go up DOS. And Maha still has VIP tickets available for $185, which is a steal if you like most of the bands.

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Diet Cig at The Slowdown, May 3, 2016. The band plays the Maha afterparty at Reverb tomorrow night.

Diet Cig at The Slowdown, May 3, 2016. The band plays the Maha Festival afterparty at Reverb Lounge tomorrow night.

Maha isn’t the only thing going on this weekend.

Tonight at Reverb Lounge Relax, It’s Science headlines a show that includes Wagonblasters (Gary Dean Davis’ latest and greatest) and Pyrate. $5, 9 p.m.

Around the corner at The Waiting Room, Chemicals (amazing prog-jazz-rock band featuring some of Omaha’s best talent) opens for Funk Trek. Chemicals on this big stage could be something else. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Your Friend headlines a big show also featuring Chicago’s The Dan Ryan, Briner and Sam Adam Martin. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night is usually dedicated to Maha after parties, but this year there’s only one, at Reverb with See Through Dresses, Bien Fang, Anna McClellan and (just announced this morning) “special guest” Diet Cig. There had been rumors or rumblings that Car Seat Headrest was the special guest, but apparently not. The free afterparty show starts at 10 p.m. Last year’s O’Leaver’s afterparty featured a set by Speedy Ortiz that eclipsed their set at Maha (and which you can hear right here).

That’s all I got. See you at Aksarben tomorrow, and 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Gramps, Millions of Boys tonight; Channel Pressure Saturday, toy drive weekend; Car Seat Headrest Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 11:02 am December 11, 2015

Gramps at Barley Street Tavern, July 11, 2015. The band celebrates its EP release tonight at O'Leaver's.

Gramps at Barley Street Tavern, July 11, 2015. The band celebrates its EP release tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Here’s the weekend rundown…

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Gramps celebrates the release of its debut EP. You can check out the entire 4-song collection on Soundcloud below. Crunchy, sassy, slacker indie rock from the guy behind Love Drunk Studio. Opening is Millions of Boys and Uh Oh. $5, 9:30 p.m. Get there early.

Also tonight new all-ages venue Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth, has a night of emo headlined by Omaha’s Super Ghost with Lincoln’s blét, KC band Pamona and Justin Ready & the Echo Prairie. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to O’Leaver’s for a night of electronic music featuring Channel Pressure, a project featuring Todd Fink (The Faint, Digital Leather) and Graham Ulicny (Reptar). Also on the bill are Rogue Moon and Monotrench. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also happening all weekend is the annual Toy Drive for Pine Ridge. The toy drive started in 2003 with Larry Dunn — an Omaha musician also known as Lash LaRue — a friend and a small pick-up truck. Dunn became aware of the extreme need of the residents of Pine Ridge after spending time on the South Dakota reservation.

Performing the benefit Friday night at Reverb Lounge is Lash LaRue and the Hired Guns along with Matt Cox and The Prairie Gators. Saturday night Satchel Grande headlines the toy drive at The Waiting Room with Vago and Bazile Mills. Get into either show with $10 or a new unwrapped toy. Both shows start at 9 p.m.

Finally Sunday night Matador Records artist Car Seat Headrest headlines at Lookout Lounge, 320 So. 72nd Street. The band’s recent album, Teens of Style (2015, Matador) received a whopping 8.1 rating from Pitchfork. This is what you call a buzz band. Opening the show is Vegetable Deluxe and Relax, It’s Science. $8, 8 p.m.

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.