Bright Eyes Covers Chesnutt, 1% says ‘we’re back’; new Spirit of the Beehive (Saddle Creek)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm February 25, 2021
Vic Chesnutt in his practice space in 2005. Photo by Tristan Loper.

I woke up this morning with a dozen hits on the ol’ Conor Oberst Google Alert, thanks to Bright Eyes releasing a cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Flirted with You All My Life,” on YouTube. The track was first released as the B-side of last year’s “Persona Non Grata” 7-inch. 

Vic’s version was originally part of his 2009 album At the Cut, one of his last, released the year of his death at the age of 45. It is, indeed, a dark piece of work, with a chorus that goes, “Oh, death / Clearly I’m not ready.” 

In the press materials, Oberst talks about seeing Chesnutt perform many times from a young age. I, too, remember seeing him play around town back in the ‘90s, most notably at a show at the old Capitol Bar & Grill with sideman Omahan Alex McManus seated next to his wheelchair. Chesnutt was indeed an original, and it’s good to see his songs live on for another generation to enjoy. 

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Which gets me thinking, I never wrote a postscript on the Phoebe Bridgers’ SNL appearance, which I thought would end Oberst’s drought on the late-nite sketch show. I’ve been predicting Conor’d perform on SNL for years, but he wasn’t part of Bridgers’ band that night, so the wait continues. I figure if Bright Eyes didn’t get a slot on SNL last year, it probably will never happen. As for Bridgers and her guitar-smashing histrionics, you have to wonder what she’ll do next. There are no boundaries for her except the limitations of her own songwriting. 

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Yesterday One Percent Productions sent out its email newsletter proclaiming “We’re Back.” 

After shutting down completely in March of 2020, we were able to produce some events from late June through early December. And after stopping again over the last few months, we are back at it again! So we just needed to thank all the artists for still performing and the customers for still attending the shows. We look forward to continue producing safe events while patiently waiting for the party to return!!!

Those events include closing out a run of a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch this month, and Yutan band The Long Awaited playing tomorrow night at Reverb with Gallivant. The first bigger national show is Crash Test Dummies March 20 at The Waiting Room.

A big test will be the April 3 Bennie and the Gents show at The Waiting Room. Always a good draw, this should be a good indicator as to whether people are willing to go to an “inside show.”

Now would be a good time for venues to consider how they’ll host shows outdoors while we wait for the vaccine to get into people’s arms.

I got in touch with about a dozen local artists last weekend for an article that will appear in next month’s issue of The Reader, asking when they’ll return to the stage. Look for that one in the racks next week, as well as online. 

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Saddle Creek’s latest signing, Spirit of the Beehive, yesterday released its second single off the upcoming Creek debut, Entertainment, Death, out April 9. Check out “The Server is Immersed,”  below. 

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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.


Have we taken live music for granted (in the column); it’s time to write your representative (again)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:14 pm November 16, 2020
Skeleton Crew: Conor Oberst joined Phoebe Bridgers on stage at The Troubadour in West Hollywood during the live-streamed Save Our Stages Festival Oct. 21, 2020.

The National Independent Venues Association (NIVA) is making another push for you and me to write our representatives in Washington to get the Save Our Stages Act included in the next COVID-19 relief package, which is apparently being negotiated now.

All you have to do is go to this web page and fill out the form. You can use their sample letter or write one of your own. Once you hit the submit button, it’ll go to the right offices of your Congressional representatives. It really does only take 30 seconds and it could make all the difference.

Click this, go there, and do it now.

Along those lines, the November issue of The Reader is out now with my column that focuses on the Save Our Stages efforts while asking if we’ve taken live music for granted. It’s online at The Reader website, here and I’ve also included it below. Please to enjoy:

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Have We Taken Live Music for Granted?

#SaveOurStages is a lifeline for the live music industry

As I type this I’m watching the Save Our Stages Fest (#SOSFest) on Oct. 21, a few weeks before the election. Indie phenom Phoebe Bridgers and her band are dressed in skeleton costumes played alone in the West Hollywood bar where Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Linda Ronstadt paid their dues.

Singer/songwriter pals Conor Oberst and Christian Lee Hutson joined in the streamed event. A little over halfway through the set between songs about death and loneliness Phoebe turned to the camera and said, “Click the donate button because….” After a long pause Conor chimed in: “Because we need a place to play.

That was the reason for SOS Fest. The three-day virtual festival featured 35 artists performing at 25 venues beamed directly to your computer or phone screen, with proceeds benefiting independent music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you read this, the election is (hopefully) over. No matter who won, there’s still a shit-ton of problems to solve thanks to COVID-19. Somewhere on that long list after “figure out a way to keep people from dying (or at the very least from catching the disease)” is “figure out a way to reopen the rest of the country for business.”

While 90 percent of U.S. businesses have reopened, the first businesses to shut down — the bars and music venues — are still closed. And many could stay that way for a very long time.

Beginning in April, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) — a group of more than 2,900 independent music venues and promoters — has lobbied Congress to pass legislation that provides recovery funds and tax credits to help venues survive during the pandemic. First it was the Save Our Stages Act, which passed in the House; and now the HEROES Small Business Lifeline Act is being considered in the Senate as part of the CARES Act.

NIVA asked music fans to write their lawmakers urging them to support the bills, and they have to the tune of nearly 2 million emails. (And more letters are needed. You can write your representative from this handy page on the NIVA website. It only takes 30 seconds!).

But here we are on Oct. 21 and Congress has yet to pass anything, while the future of the live music industry grows bleaker and bleaker. According to a survey of NIVA members, 90 percent of independent venues will close permanently without federal aid in the coming months.

We’re already seeing it here. The Lookout Lounge on 72nd Street closed permanently earlier this summer, and The Barley Street Tavern in Benson gave up the ghost in September. What role COVID-19 played in those closings is uncertain, though it no doubt helped rush some decisions. Now I’m told a third well known club is on the verge of shutting down.

And while two of the best stages in Omaha — The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge — have reopened, they’re only booking comedy acts and cover bands at very limited capacity shows. Downtown showcase The Slowdown held an outdoor festival in its parking lot featuring local acts just to remind people it was still there, though its doors remain locked.

With stages dark, musicians also toil in darkness. According to Business Insider, with the decline in album sales, live events provide 75 percent of all artists’ income. Strangely, thankfully, a ton of new music has been released during the lock down (including albums by Bright Eyes and Phoebe Bridgers) despite the fact that no one is touring.

Three things:

One: Legislation will pass. It has to. It may not be ’til after a new Congress is in place (or heck, it may happen before this column sees print), but it will happen. Too many people have been without for too long. The assistance needed for bars and venues to survive that’s outlined in SOS and HEROES acts will be among the law’s provisions. But it won’t be near enough.

Two: We will climb this mountain of a pandemic and come out on the other side. But it’ll take more than a vaccine. It’ll take a concerted effort by everyone, regardless of political leaning, to do what scientists say we need to do.

And three: Venues will reopen at full capacity, and bands will begin playing and touring again. But, god help us, it may not be until this time next year, or even later. And when the smoke clears, the venue landscape will look very different.

Once people feel safe again, fans will flock to clubs like they never have before thanks to a hunger for live entertainment. But you’ll be surprised how quickly people forget what they’ve been through.

The sad fact is we’ve always taken live music for granted. While ticket prices for arena shows have gone up around 30 percent over the past five years, according to Fast Company those increases haven’t kept up with prices for other forms of entertainment.

It’s the same story for small touring bands that, prior to the pandemic, were lucky to get home from tours with anything in their pockets. Ticket prices for touring indie shows have risen only gradually over the past five years, always being outpaced by the costs required to tour.

And then there are local shows.

I’ve covered live music for more than 30 years. When I started, the cover charge to see live, original bands was $5. Thirty years later, the cover at small clubs is still $5 for local shows, while some larger venues have pumped it up to a whopping $7 or $8. Try splitting that between three bands and a sound guy.

Why are we willing to spend up to $15 to see a movie, but won’t spend $15 to see a live local band, to hear music performed in front of our eyes by living, breathing musicians who put themselves out there for our amusement and/or enlightenment? At the end of a typical night at a rock club, too many local bands go home with nothing except an empty wallet and a hangover.

And yet, I’ve never talked to a band that didn’t want to keep doing it. For them, it’s all about the music. It’s certainly not about the money. Why can’t they have both?

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at

Originally published in The Reader, November 2020. Copyright © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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.


Live Review: Glow in the Dark; Fizzle/Laces rereleased; Update: Conor drops out of Carhenge show…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:46 pm November 13, 2020
Conor Oberst plays a concert tomorrow at Carhenge in Alliance, NE.

After watching about a dozen live streams early in the pandemic I pretty much quit tuning into them other than a couple well-crafted special-feature concerts produced at The Slowdown. The reason: Most are just godawful boring acoustic performances that do a poor job both at showcasing the performers and their songs. And I’m alone in this opinion. The number of live streams has dropped like a rock after the first few months of the pandemic as artists became frustrated with the limitations of the productions and the low number of people watching them.

Now after saying that, let me point you to last night’s Virtual @ Low End concert featuring Glow in the Dark. This was one of the most entertaining live streams I’ve seen on both a local and a national level. Reason being Aaron Gum and Lawrence Deal — the duo behind Glow in the Dark — know how to put on a great virtual show, along with the fine folks at The Bemis. The program was a collage of quick-cut performance footage along with interlaced video (most of it vintage) and very good stage lighting and sound. So much was going on, you never had a chance to get bored. The only thing missing was a runway and a troupe of high-heeled models in futuristic day-glow cone bras.

Topping it off was Glow in the Dark’s synth-powered music whose style and sound owe a lot to ‘80s and ‘90s acts like Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails and Ultravox as well as local synth-masters like Digital Leather and The Faint. Gum guides the sound behind a panels of keyboards while a Deal growls out the melodies like a mountain man version of Trent Reznor. It’s so well produced you’ll wonder how much was live and how much was Memorex, especially considering how tight they performed.

Glow in the Dark performing at Low End at the Bemis Nov. 12, 2020.

This is the first time I’ve seen these guys play a full set, so I’m unsure how much was old music or songs off their forthcoming LP, due out next April. Here’s the link to the replay. Play this tonight. Turn out the lights, turn up the sound and enjoy.

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One of the most overlooked local singer/songwriters of the late ‘90s/early ‘00s is Doug Kabourek whose landmark album Golden Sand and the Grandstand, released under the name Fizzle Like a Flood, is one of the great lost treasure bedroom-pop recordings of all time. Doug had a different project before Fizzle named The Laces that encapsulated the same bedroom-pop singer/songwriter approach that would have been perfect released by a label like K Records.

Instead, The Laces recordings were released by under-the-radar label Mighty Feeble Records, who just just rereleased the entire Laces discography on their Bandcamp page. Now you can relive the CDR-etched dream that was Forever for Now, released way back in 1999 (reviewed here), as well as other Laces nuggets. Or if you’re in a hurry, check out Wooden Change, a professionally mastered (by Doug Van Sloun) “best of” collection available here for the first time ever.

Doug Kabourek action figures…

If that wasn’t enough, anyone who buys the entire Laces discography will get a handmade Doug Kabourek action figure (I’m not kidding). As an added bonus, all proceeds will be donated to the Tony Hawk’s Skatepark Project to help under-served communities create safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth. Check it all out at the Mighty Feeble Laces Bandcamp page.

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Finally, there is an indie rock show happening this weekend, but it’s happening way out in the Nebraska panhandle.

Atlas Obscura and Nissan present Rogue Routes: Auto Mode, a concert tomorrow evening at Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska. Headlining the event is Conor Oberst, who will be joined by Chicano Batman and street artist Swoon.

UPDATE: Via @AtlasObscura: Due to an unexpected shift in our line-up Conor Oberst will be unable to join us for tomorrow’s Rogue Routes performance.

This is a drive-in style event — event audio will be done via FM transmission to your car stereo (There will be no amplification). Your $55 $20 ticket gets your vehicle into the performance along with four human beings. As of this writing, only 15 tickets were still available. The program runs from 4:30 p.m. MST until 7:30 p.m. at Carhenge, 2151 Co. Rd. 59, Alliance. More information including tickets here.

Don’t feel like driving to Alliance? Well you can watch the performance live for free via at

That’s all I got. Have a great weekend!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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.


Phoebe/Conor perform for NIVA; Mal Blum gets the Saddle Creek Document treatment; new Beauty Pill…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:49 pm October 20, 2020
Mal Blum gets the Saddle Creek Document treatment…

Did you tune in last week for SOSFest? I didn’t, either. But most of the performances are now online if you still want to watch. Among them is Phoebe Bridgers at the Troubadour in Hollywood, with special guests Conor Oberst and Christian Lee Hutson. It’s pretty good, but dang, her music is some serious bummage. See below.

Make sure you make a donation toward NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund, which benefits “independent venues in peril.”

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Mal Blum was among the acts scheduled to play at The Reverb Lounge before COVID-19 blew everything up. It was through researching that show that I discovered Pity Boy, the band’s 2019 Don Giovanni release, which I fell in love with. It’s punk but it’s poppy enough to sing along to, clever, smart with great guitars. It would have been on my 2019 list if I’d known about it in 2019.

Today Saddle Creek Records announced that Mal Blum will be featured as the 14th installment of their Document Series. The 7-inch “Nobody Waits” b/w “San Cristóbal,” will be released Nov. 20 and you can preorder it (and hear the A-side) today.

The tracks were the last thing the band recorded before the COVID-19 lock down. Check it below and keep your fingers crossed that One Percent reschedules Mal Blum at Reverb when the pandemic is finally under control…

BTW, Mal Blum is doing a Crowdcast tonight at 7 p.m. CT. Register here.

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D.C. punk band Beauty Pill dropped a video for new song “Instant Night” today, a song “released out of urgency to inspire people to vote in the November election.”

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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.


The return of Bright Eyes: Conor Oberst on the new album, COVID-19 and the good ol’ days (in the column)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:30 pm September 10, 2020
Bright Eyes circa 2020 from left are Nate Walcott, Conor oberst and Mike Mogis.

In this month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader, an interview/feature on Bright Eyes wherein the fearless frontman Conor Oberst talks about the band’s new album, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was (2020, Dead Oceans), how he’s coping with the pandemic and his love of the folks he played with during the good ol’ days when Omaha was the shining star of the indie music world.

You can read it in the current print edition of The Reader, on news stands now (I picked up my copy at Hy-Vee, but you can find them all over town). You also can read it online right here at The Reader‘s website.

Some background on the interview: It was conducted Aug. 19 over the phone with Oberst calling from his home here in Omaha. We spent most of the 30-some minutes talking about the COVID-19 pandemic and what he’s been doing since it started. It’s all well-covered in the article. Discussing the new album actually came as an afterthought toward the end of the interview.

Among the content that didn’t make it into the story were his thoughts on the actual making of the album. I asked what was the toughest part of putting it together. He said it was effortless for the three of them — Conor, Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis — to jump back in after nine years away from the project.

“As you know, all Bright Eyes records are kind of different,” he said. “There’s different players, and so it was exciting to get to work with, like, Jon Theodore (of Queens of the Stone Age), Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers), and people that we had never worked with before. So I can’t really pinpoint something that was like really hard. As with all the records, you don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s a little bit of mystery and there’s a little bit of excitement, but that was stuff I love. I never thought that it’d be, like, Flea doing a slap-bass thing on a Bright Eyes record in my life, but it sounds cool when he does it.”

Check out the article here. I’ll also post it on this website in a few days…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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.


Conor talks COVID-19’s impact on the live music biz; Omaha venues go to #RedAlertRESTART tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm September 1, 2020
Bright Eyes at Westfair Amphitheater, June 4, 2011.

Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst knows how COVID-19 is killing the live music industry.

In an outtake from an interview last month, which will appear in the September issue of The Reader (on newsstands any day now), Oberst talked about how the pandemic is impacting independent agencies like Ground Control Touring, who has been his booking agent for more than 20 years.

He said Eric Dimenstein at Ground Control Touring asked him to get involved with efforts like the National Independent Talent Organization‘s (NITO’s) push to get legislation passed that will help venues and the entire independent live music ecosystem survive. Oberst said it’s vital that they get federal support with the Save Our Stages and RESTART acts to insure there is a live music ecosystem on the other side.

The problem is very real, and with Congress sitting on its hands last month getting nothing passed, you’re going to start seeing real impacts in the form of venues closing (Lookout Lounge, for example), and support industries like booking agencies trying to figure out how to survive until the pandemic gets stomped down.

That’s one of the reasons why there’s a Red Alert tonight (Sept. 1), where #WeMakeEvents, a coalition of trade bodies, businesses, unions and live events workers, will light up their venues, homes and cities red in more than 1,500 locations across the country to raise public awareness and media awareness in support of the live events sector.

Among the Omaha organizations participating tonight are:

Bob Kerrey Bridge
Event Staging Systems
Audio Visions
FadeUp Design Group
IATSE Local 42
Theater Arts Guild Omaha
Anastasis Theatre
Baxter Arena
Benson B Side
Film Streams
Omaha Community Playhouse
Omaha Performing Arts
Radio Theatre Omaha
Reverb Lounge
The Backline
The Rose
The Slowdown
The Trap Room
The Waiting Room
University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Theatre Department

You can participate, too. Again, you need to contact your representatives using the form on this web page:

You can also show support by posting a red-tinted photo of your favorite live event to your social media with the following caption:

RedAlertRESTART: the live events we love may never recover from the pandemic, we need to take action! Take 2 minutes to contact your representatives here, and post a red photo of you at your favorite event, too: #WeMakeEvents #ExtendPUA

You can turn your photo red here:

Let me leave you with some stats from the WeMakeEvents website to gnaw on:

  • Live events employ over 12 million people.
  • Live events contributes over $1 trillion annually to the US economy.
  • 95% of live events have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
  • 96% of companies have cut staff and/or wages.
  • 77% of people in the live events industry have lost 100% of their income, including 97% of 1099 workers.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bright Eyes on Colbert; new album drops Aug. 21…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:17 pm June 23, 2020
A screen cap from last night’s Bright Eyes performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

It was a busy day for Bright Eyes yesterday. The outfit led by Conor Oberst announced a new single, “Mariana Trench” and the name and tracklist for their new album, Down in the Weeds Where the World Once Was, out Aug. 21 on Dead Oceans.

And the band performed sort of live on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which you can watch below. See Conor sporting what looks like strangler gloves, Mike Mogis in a seed cap and Nate Walcott splitting time between keyboards and trumpet. It’s the band’s first performance in 10 years. Like I told you, they never broke up.

From the press release: “As a title, as a thesis, Down In The Weeds Where the World Once Was functions on a global, apocalyptic level of anxiety that looms throughout the record. But on a personal level, it speaks to rooting around in the dirt of one’s memories, trying to find the preciousness that’s overgrown and unrecognizable.”

After hearing the first four tracks, it sounds like this is going to be another doomsday album from Bright Eyes, which will make a nice bookend with the new one by Conor’s partner in crime, Phoebe Bridgers, which came out last Thursday: Punisher, also on Dead Oceans (poor Saddle Creek).

This new Bright Eyes track is the best one so far, certainly the most upbeat, and along with “Forced Convalescence” sounds like a natural progression post-Cassadaga had the band not gone wandering for a decade, certainly more so than the wooden, folky stuff Conor released on Ruminations/Salutations

No word on a tour yet. Imagine a Bright Eyes / Phoebe Bridgers / Better Oblivion Community Center joint tour. I think my head just exploded…

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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.


Bright Eyes drops another one; more depressing COVID music news…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:21 pm April 22, 2020

by Tim McMahan,

Yesterday Bright Eyes dropped the second song from their upcoming album on Dead Oceans. The track, “Forced Convalescence,” features a bevvy of guest players including Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jon Theodore from Queens of the Stone Age.

From the press release:

“’Forced Convalescence’ finds Conor Oberst at his world-weary best, picking apart the human condition and struggling to reconcile the past with whatever the future holds. All from the comfort of his bed. The slick, near-joyous sounding fever dream grows into a rich and languid swirl with help from a gospel choir. This may be as close to a Rat Pack-era lounge singer as Oberst has ever come. Albeit one with a head full of prose and existential angst.”

Check it out below:

No word on the album’s release date. I can’t imagine they’re in any hurry with touring on hold everywhere.

I’ve been mulling over how bars and venues are going to reopen and allow shows when things begin to ease up COVID-wise. There’s no doubt some states will be opening much sooner than others.

If you believe what it says at this COVID website, social easing wouldn’t begin in Nebraska (and Iowa) until July, whereas Missouri could start as early as June 7 and Minnesota would start May 30, all based on projected peaks, etc. Hot spots like California could begin in mid-May.

With such a random pattern — each state doing its own thing — how are bands supposed to book tours? I guess when you can’t even fathom how a venue will be able to even host a show, tour booking is probably not front of mind.

This NME article describes a show in Sweden where “a room that can hold 350, capacity is restricted to 40 punters – plus a sound engineer, two members of staff and the band, bringing the number up to the guidelines of 50 people in total.

Think about applying similar limitations at our clubs. How many could you allow in for a typical show at The Waiting Room and “be safe”? Fifty? Slowdown’s big room, maybe 75? How about tiny Reverb or fabulous O’Leaver’s?

That being the case, it seems more likely that we’ll see small local live shows before we see any big name touring acts. Or, imagine if you booked a band that would naturally sell out The Slowdown. Could you up the price for tickets knowing they would be limited to fewer than 100? It would be like an intimate performance, with people standing 6 to 8 feet apart… Still, very unlikely when you’re going to have a hard time just getting people to overcome their fear.

Arena shows and festivals now sound like they’ll be on hold until late 2021 or longer, if you read this Los Angeles Times article that pretty much guesses that you’re not going to see pre-COVID-style rock shows until about 70 percent of the population is vaccinated.

The margins in this business are going to be the 20% of fans who won’t go back to shows until there’s a vaccine. We’re at a point where fans can really lose a lot of confidence, and it’ll take more than a vaccine to re-engage them.”

Coachella apparently is still scheduled for sometime in October, but as the article states: Even if California does what it needs to prevent new infections locally, a 125,000-capacity music festival with fans traveling from all over would be an ideal scenario for new transmissions. Every expert interviewed said large concerts and festivals would be a terrible idea for the foreseeable future.


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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.


New Bright Eyes song premieres; treat your live streams like live shows…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:12 pm March 24, 2020

Bright Eyes today premiered “Persona Non Grata,” the first new song by the band in nine years.

by Tim McMahan,

Just under 2,000 people listened in live to the world premiere of the new Bright Eyes song, “Persona Non Grata,” on YouTube this morning.

To me, what sets Bright Eyes songs apart from other Oberst-related music is the dense, fog-lit production by way of master craftsman Mike Mogis — keyboards, drums, bag pipes and Oberst at his quivering-voice best singing about heartbreak of one kind or another to a waltz-time beat. And is that Phoebe Bridgers I hear adding harmonies? Maybe, maybe…

The band said in a letter via the press release that they will be releasing a new album “this year no matter what,” though they are now reassessing touring plans. COVID-19 strikes again, eh?

All in all, it was a pretty successful song premiere. But they did have a captive audience, as we’re all trapped at home with nothing better to do. Dead Oceans (or whoever was behind the premiere) did it right by pre-announcing the exact time and sending out links via social media. There’s a lesson to be learned there.

A lot of artists are now live-streaming performances via Facebook, Twitch, YouTube, etc., but in a lot of cases (for me, anyway), people trip over them after the fact. It’s not a big deal if you’re someone like Bright Eyes, who has a fan base looking for the song, but for the rest of you, well, a little head’s up would be kind of nice.

And it’s as simple as treating your live streams like any other live show performance — i.e., create a Facebook event invitation. It’s how a lot of us keep track of upcoming performances, just like we used to for live shows (Anyone remember live shows?).

For example, the fine folks at The Sydney created a Facebook event invitation for this Friday night’s live stream featuring Mike Schlesinger and Rebecca Lowry. Now the gig will show up on my Facebook events list, just like any other live event. Take a look.

While it’s nice that folks are creating lists of live performances, like this one from NPR, who remembers to go back and look at those?

Yes, I know we’re all home anyway (as someone told me who was arguing against the idea), but the fact is even at home we’re bombarded with a million things to do. Make your live stream performances “appointment watching.”

AND, if I catch wind of your live stream – and you create a Facebook Event listing for it – it’s very likely I’ll also list it in the daily Lazy-i update. Just sayin’…

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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.


New Land of Talk LP to drop on Saddle Creek; Conor’s acting chops; Trevor Sensor tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:40 pm February 27, 2020

Land of Talk at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 23, 2010.

Land of Talk at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 23, 2010. Saddle Creek Records will be releasing their next album in May.

by Tim McMahan,

Hometown label Saddle Creek Records yesterday announced it’s releasing the new album by Montreal band Land of Talk, Indistinct Conversations, on May 15. This is the fourth Creek release by the band, which is led by singer/songwriter Elizabeth Powell. Check out the first single and order online via Bandcamp below.

By now you’ve seen Conor Oberst’s and Phoebe Bridger’s acting debut as production assistants on the Meet the Conan Staff. If you haven’t, the clip’s below. A lot of people are wondering if that’s Conor’s real hair or a wig. I think it’s real, based on the Bright Eyes marketing footage Dead Oceans has been posting for the new BE album.

Meet the Conan Staff is the first scripted original series from Team Coco. The episodes launch weekly on YouTube; it premiered on Feb. 18.

Also yesterday, Bridgers released a dope-fueled video for her first single in three years, “Garden Song.”

Tonight at Reverb Lounge, Jagjaguwar artist Trevor Sensor headlines. According to Paste Magazine, Sensor was discovered by Killers’ guitarist Dave Keuning while playing a gig in Pella, Iowa. His last album, Andy Warhol’s Dream, was produced by Jonathon Rado of Foxygen and the late, great Richard Swift, and includes contributions from members of Whitney. Halfloves open 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.