Live Review: Cowboy Indian Bear; Built to Spill, Clawfoot/Ember Schrag goodbye tonight, She & Him tomorrow…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:46 pm August 27, 2010

by Tim McMahan,

I knew when I arrived at The Barley Street Tavern last night at around 10:30 that I wasn’t going to be able to hang in there long enough for Little Black Stereo’s last hurrah. The first opener, Kyle Harvey, had only just completed his set and Cowboy Indian Bear was still setting up with Landing on the Moon still to come, and some of us had to work the next morning…

Hailing from Lawrence, Kansas, Cowboy Indian Bear have played in Omaha regularly over the past couple of years, usually down at Slowdown, though they’ve done the full circuit (TWR, O’Leaver’s, etc.). You say you like four-part harmony? How about solid bass lines? What about brawny, thick-beat drums augmented by electronic beats? CIB has it all, along with gorgeous melodies that lean toward the sweeter side of indie pop — think Spoon or upbeat DCFC or Broken Social Scene. Their strength really lies in their vocals — all four members can sing well, including a new female band member whose voice falls somewhere in the Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays) wheelhouse. Their sound is cleanly, crisply captured on their new album, Each Other All the Time, which came out earlier this year and is worth seeking out if you’re looking for a cool, laid-back summer album.

After CIB came Landing on the Moon, but not until around 11:30. I made it through four songs, including what’s become their set highlight, “California,” before I gave up the ghost for the evening. Alas, I missed LBS one last time, though you can catch them tonight for what really is their final show, at The Zoo Bar in Lincoln with Cowboy Indian Bear and High Art (Darren Keen and Co.).

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Reminder: You’ve only got a couple days left if you want to help finance the Seafarer film project via Kickstarter. The locally produced project will feature music from local bands (most likely including Honeybee and Capgun Coup). The project goal is $3,500, and pledges currently stand at $3,065. A pledge of $15 or more will get you some nice goodies along with the knowledge that you helped make the project a reality. Check it out.

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It’s fitting that as summer winds down there are two marquee outdoor shows happening this weekend. The highlight is tonight at Slowdown’s parking lot, the site of what’s being called the “Omaha Block Party,” featuring Built To Spill, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and The Mynabirds. If it’s anything like last year’s outdoor bash at Slowdown (that featured Azure Ray and Cursive, among others) it will have a sort of festival vibe. The best part, of course, is that it’s free, but you’ve got to go to this website and print out an RSVP ticket. Door opens at 7, and the show starts at 8:30. No idea where you’re supposed to park other than on the streets around Slowdown.

Then tomorrow night, She & Him are playing at The Anchor Inn with The Chapin Sisters. I have no idea if the Inn is still suffering from flooding. Regardless, there will be a stage set up somewhere on the grounds. If you haven’t been out there for a show, you’re in for a treat. $20, 9 p.m.

That’s not all that’s happening this weekend.

Tonight is the last show of the summer at Lincoln’s Clawfoot House.  Ember Schrag, who runs Clawfoot with Brian Day, said they are turning over the venue to a young artist/musician couple who will be moving in and taking over as of Sept. 1, with a grand reopening Sept. 30 with Pillars and Tongues from Chicago and FATHR^.

“I had a blast starting Clawfoot House,” Schrag said. “We hosted 89 events at our apartment in a year and a half. And tons of artists from all over came through and performed in our living room and kitchen and porch. But Bryan and I are both ready to have more time to devote to our own projects.”

Those projects include a two-and-a-half month U.S. tour that starts next week, but that really kicks off at tonight’s show, which is a “casual fundraiser to help with a few tour expenses.” It’s at Clawfoot House, 1042 F St., and includes a spaghetti dinner, indoor garage sale, tarot card readings, four bands and a video/sound performance. It’s a $6 cover, $3 for the dinner. The event starts at 6 and music starts at 9 with Ron Wax (featuring Ron Albertson of Mercy Rule), Ed Gray (Iowa City), Ember Schrag and her band, and Tiny Tiny Tongues.

Meanwhile, tonight back here in Omaha, The Ground Tyrants are headlining a show at the Barley Street Tavern with All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. $5, 9 p.m.

Saturday has Lincoln band Wastoid playing at The Brothers Lounge with opener Ron Wax (featuring Ron Albertson of Mercy Rule) and The Lepers. $5, 10 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Ketchup and Mustard Gas are at O’Leaver’s with Birthday Suits. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And Simon Joyner is playing a house show at 4208 Mayberry Street with Ed Gray, The Prairies and Ember Schrag. Show starts at 9 and suggested donation is $5 to $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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Filter Kings tonight; Nick Carl tomorrow; Clawfoot’s summer season…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:00 pm June 4, 2010

It’s been awhile since I did a live review, mainly because I haven’t been to a show in awhile. Things have been quiet when it comes to big national touring acts, though there’s been plenty of local stuff going on. Such is the case this weekend — no big national shows come to mind, but a couple local gigs are worth checking out.

Tonight at The Waiting Room, The Filter Kings headline a show with Loyd McCarter, The Willards Band and 24-Hour Cardlock. Cowboy hats/seed caps are optional. $7, 9 p.m.

Saturday night, singer/songwriter Nick Carl and his band, The Meadowlarks, are headlining a show at The Barley St. Tavern with Harlot and Portland guy Nick Jaina. $5, 9 p.m. While just up the street, Ames/Des Moines band The Envy Corps is playing at The Waiting Room with Broken Spindles and 1/Fourth DJs. They’re calling it the “Carnival Dance Dement” — a dance party with masks and lights and stuff, which may be just enough to keep me from going. $8, 9 p.m.

If you’re in Lincoln, check out Damien Jurado Saturday night at The Bourbon Theater with Manny Coon, Ember Schrag and a few others. $10 today/$12 tomorrow. 9 p.m.

And Sunday night at Lincoln’s Clawfoot House, 1042 F St., Nick Jaina and Bear Country are playing with Ember Schrag and her new band.  Clawfoot is in the heart of its summer season. Schrag said that the house will end its show season in late July or early August and take a few months off. In addition to her new band, Schrag has her hands full with a new job booking shows at Lincoln’s Cultiva Cafe, a just-opened coffee house at 11th & G streets that will feature live free performances nightly from 8 to 10 p.m., with an open mic on Thursdays.