Cursive, Criteria, Cloud Nothings tonight at Winchester…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:19 pm January 15, 2020

A bronzer-infused Cursive in their official tour photo featuring tour drummer Pat Oakes (far right, Western shirt). Photo by Ariel Panowicz.

by Tim McMahan,

Cursive, Criteria and Cloud Nothings kick off a 2-week winter tour tonight with a massive concert at Winchester Bar and Grill, the sister club to O’Leaver’s that’s owned and operated by a team that includes Cursive’s Tim Kasher, Ted Stevens and Matt Maginn.

Despite Cursive and Criteria both playing ’round these parts in recent months (in Cursive’s case, this past September) the show should draw a sizable, raucous crowd. My first foray at attending a rock show at Winchester was a less than stellar experience thanks to surprising sight-line problems — i.e., you couldn’t see the band through the crowd. We’ll see tonight if they’ve remedied that problem by raising the stage.

The Boise Weekly has a new interview with Kasher that could act as a nice preview to tonight’s show. The funniest line of the article is the closer:

“I can assure you,” Kasher said, “that we will probably be going back into hiding for a little while after this.”

Ah, but there’s no place to hide when you own and operate a record label.

The wild card on this tour will be Criteria. Cloud Nothings has a similar if not more hyperactive style of angst-ular indie as Cursive, whose latest album, Get Fixed, is another angry downer of a collection of very densely packed, mathy indie rock songs, the highlight (for me anyway) being the chopped-riff-powered “Black Hole Town,” that begs everyone to sing along to the chorus “This town’s a black hole / This town’s an asshole!”  By contrast to those two bands, Criteria’s music is a sparkling flying rainbow unicorn of bright shiny indie rock — certainly a palette-cleanser between two rather acidic flavors, though I have a feeling Criteria will likely have the opening slot on this tour.

$20, 8 p.m. You may want to get there early and grab one of Winchester’s famous cheeseburger baskets. You’ll thank me later.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Cursive to return to Winchester Bar & Grill in January…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:55 pm December 10, 2019

Cursive at Winchester Bar & Grill, May 25, 2019. The band is returning to Winchester Jan. 15.

by Tim McMahan,

I can’t remember it being this quiet show-wise or music news-wise. I mean nothing is going on. No shows this week. Omaha is a ghost town.

Except for this one bit of news: Cursive just announced that they’re returning to Winchester Bar & Grill Jan. 15. This is a new show listing, I believe. Playing alongside Kasher and crew are tour mates Cloud Nothings and “TBA.” No mention of Criteria, who will be joining Cursive and Cloud Nothings the next night in Denver at the Bluebird Theater, unless, of course, Criteria is the “TBA.”

Cursive first played at Winchester, a bar owned by Cursive’s Tim Kasher, Ted Stevens and Matt Maginn (among others), back on May 25. In the write-up for that show, I espoused dreams that maybe the bar could become a new venue for indie rock shows, but that never materialized. Instead, Winchester remains a prime choice for all your karaoke and cover band needs (As well as a great place to get a cheeseburger).

Anyway, mark your calendar.

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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.


Live Review: Cloud Nothings, Nap Eyes, David Nance Group…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:49 pm November 14, 2018

Cloud Nothings at The Waiting Room, Nov. 13, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

Solid crowd for a Tuesday night at The Waiting Room last night.

Cloud Nothings won me over with a set that intensely focused on their new album, Last Building Burning. While the album is white-hot fractured punk rock bordering on emo, there’s not a lot of melody in the songwriting to tie yourself to. It’s more about bright buzzsaw riffs and frontman Dylan Baldi screaming/croaking out the vocals that sounded like a cross between Cobain and the old punk version of Rzeznik.

No, what mesmerized me about their performance was their drummer, Jayson Gerycz. With merely a snare, tom, kick drum and a couple cymbals Gerycz blew me away with what was nothing less than a virtuoso performance, a rapid-fire machine-gun that dominated every song. I could not stop watching every clever, intricate, amazing roll, fill and crash, song after song. Blazing, exhausting; like watching the film Whiplash atop a mountain of coke.

The set’s high point was a lengthy feedback interlude during epic song “Dissolution”; all guitarists had their backs to the audience, their guitars jammed into amps, bending the necks, torturing the frets, while Gerycz slowly walked a beat back in, pulling it forward then giving a clinic as to what a human can do with a drum set as the band crashed back in like a 50-foot wave. Mind blown.

David Nance Group at The Waiting Room, Nov. 13, 2018.

Almost as mind blowing was opener David Nance Group. I’ve seen Nance at least a half dozen times and this was another memorable set highlighted by a cover of Richard & Linda Thompson’s “Down Where the Drunkards Roll” completely Nance-ified by his and sideman Jim Schroeder’s feedback-fueled guitar work. The rest of the set focused on the best off the band’s latest album, Peaced and Slightly Pulverized, with raging versions of “In Her Kingdom,” “When I Saw You Last Night,” “Amethyst” and “Poison.”

In a change from the usual set style, Nance and his band seamlessly transitioned from one song to the next by Nance pulling off one feedback wave and blending in a riff that crossed over into whatever was next. Transcendent.

Someone recently asked me what Omaha bands are most likely to break into the next level of national notoriety. David Nance Group was my first response, followed by Thick Paint. Interestingly, bassist Sarah Bohling has now played in both projects.

Nap Eyes at The Waiting Room, Nov. 13, 2018.

Between bands Nova Scotia act Nap Eyes played a set that reminded me of a cross between Kurt Vile, The Feelies and Velvet Underground, with frontman Nigel Chapman giving us his best Lou Reed vocals. I halfway expected to hear a cover of “Sunday Morning,” one of VU’s sleepier numbers that would have fit right in with the rest of their set.

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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.


Live Review: Well Aimed Arrows; Cloud Nothings, Nap Eyes, David Nance tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:40 pm November 13, 2018

Well Aimed Arrows at O’Leaver’s Nov. 10, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

Catching up on this past weekend…

Saturday night I swung by O’Leaver’s to see the return of Well Aimed Arrows. The band hasn’t played on stage in a couple years, and life being what it is, experienced a line-up change — to a trio, consisting of frontman/drummer Koly Walters, guitarist Clayton Petersen and bassist Brian Byrd.

The new stripped down version didn’t sound a whole heckuva lot different than the old version, with Walters’ flat basso vox providing the perfect counter to the band’s simple, jangular post-rock arrangements. I’ve said before they remind me of ’80s-era indie bands like Pylon, Wire and early R.E.M., if not in sound than in spirit.

Rumor has it they’re working on their next record, we’ll (likely) be seeing more of these guys in the near future. If you get a chance, do yourself a favor…

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Tonight’s Cloud Nothings show at The Waiting Room is as stacked a line-up as you’re going to find on a Tuesday night.

You read about Cloud Nothings yesterday here. Based on this Daily Trojan review, expect tonight’s performance to be heavy and loud, focused on songs off the new album augmented by a few oldies.

You might remember that opening band Nap Eyes played with Fleet Foxes last year at an outdoor Benson show. Their latest, I’m Bad Now (2018, Jagjaguwar), reminded me of The Feelies, thanks in part to lead vocalist Nigel Chapman’s drab, nasal delivery that matches Feelies’ Glenn Mercer; though energy-wise Nap Eyes is much more laid-back.

Opening the show at 8 p.m. is our very own David Nance Group who is smack dab in the middle of a tour. You’ll want to get to The Waiting Room early to catch these guys. This show has a “nice price” of just $15. See you there.

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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 Cloud Nothings (@ The Waiting Room 11/13)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:39 pm November 12, 2018

Cloud Nothings plays at The Waiting Room Tuesday, Nov. 13.

by Tim McMahan,

Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings began as singer/songwriter/frontman Dylan Baldi’s secret basement project that caught fire in a big way, resulting in a record deal with rising indie label Carpark Records (Speedy Ortiz, TEEN, Dan Deacon). Through the course of their five-album career spanning back to their self-titled 2011 debut, the project has worked with some of the hottest producers in the business including Steve Albini, John Congleton and John Goodmanson.

For their latest, Last Building Burning (2018, Carpark), the band worked with metal producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Myrkur, Black Mountain). The result is a bracingly sharp turn from the melodic indie rock of 2017’s Life Without Sound; a move toward hard, fast, punk wherein Baldi’s croon had devolved into a sneering, angry, agitated bark that cuts through a wall of shrieking guitars. Intense.

I caught up with Dylan Baldi and gave him the Ten Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album?

Cloud Nothing’s Dylan Baldi: It feels reductive to choose a single favorite album of all time. Favorite album of 2018 so far is Rose Mercie’s self-titled. Wild Raincoats/Electrelane-sounding hybrid out of Paris, France…very cool band.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Honestly there are so many bad songs. Most songs are bad. How can a person pick just one?

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

I like the feeling of actually creating energy. Like when a song is at its peak there can be an actual, almost tangible energy created. Pursuing that energy is the whole reason I play music, it feels good to hit those highs.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

I hate waiting for our records to come out. I wish there was a way for vinyl to come into existence the second we finished recording. But unfortunately major labels are clogging the vinyl pressing plants with deluxe Rolling Stones reissues or something so we have to wait four months for our puny little records.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Lead. I love to just sit in an old basement full of lead and breathe it in. That’s also my other favorite part of being in a band. The free access to lead. I can smell it now…

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

I like playing anywhere that has good food. There are lots of places with good food. Even better is when the venue gives you dinner. That is the apex of luxury to me. Chicago seems to have an inordinate amount of venues that also feed you delicious food. I’ll say Chicago.

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

We played a show in Singapore a few years ago that stands out. Our drummer and I missed our flight from Cleveland because we were buying Naked Juices at the bagel store in the airport, so we ended up getting to Singapore like an hour before we were supposed to play. Then during the jetlagged fever dream of a show all the mics and drum hardware kept falling over, and the soundpeople just pointed and laughed and didn’t fix anything. Then we got a beer near the venue to pretend the show didn’t happen, and the beer turned out to cost $40. Singapore was hard for us.

8. 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?

Yeah we’ve been strictly musicians for about six years now. It’s the biggest luxury. Gives me lots of time to make sure I’m making the best music I can. It took us three years of touring and working together for basically zero dollars. But luckily it resulted in an album that people liked in 2012, so since then we’ve been doing okay.

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

I would like to be a librarian. I feel like the library science must have lots of layers that I wouldn’t understand unless I went through school to learn it all. And I like books. I would hate to do anything where I have to be alone for a long period of time. I like being around people.

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

We have lots of friends in Omaha, and my girlfriend made a record here with Mike Mogis. She loves it here. We’ve never been, I’m looking forward to it!

Cloud Nothings plays with Nap Eyes and David Nance Tuesday, Nov. 13, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $15, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to

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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.