Maha 2019 undercard includes Snail Mail, Beach Bunny, Matt & Kim, and who plays which night; David Dondero tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:41 pm April 25, 2019
Dave Dondero at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

David Dondero at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10. He plays tonight at Reformed, Studio and Assembly Space.

by Tim McMahan,

This line from a Jan. 3 Chicago Tribune article about 2019 Maha Festival artist Beach Bunny caught my eye: “Beach Bunny’s songs are intimate and practical in a way that recalls Liz Phair — with whom Trifilio is unfamiliar.” First thought: How is that possible, especially for a female indie artist? But then I quickly realized that Exile in Guyville came out 26 years ago, about four years before Beach Bunny frontwoman Lili Trifilio was born.

The story’s next sentence was more curious than anything: “But like Phair, her audience is heavily comprised of young women.” Was Phair’s audience ever heavily comprised of young women? Anyway, Beach Bunny’s music in no way resembles Phair’s. It sounds more like Alvvays or Middle Kids or even fellow 2019 Maha Festival artist Snail Mail, a somewhat hot indie act whose 2018 debut, Lush, was released on Matador. Snail Mail’s played Omaha before.

These two artist seem like natural complements for a festival that includes other powerhouse women-led indie acts like Jenny Lewis and Courtney Barnett.

Duckwrth, an artist I’ve never heard of, appears to be playing the role of the representative male hip-hop artist. There’s not much about him online. He released his debut solo album I’m Uugly in 2016.

Matt Maeson is another mystery to me. He’s released three albums on Atlantic starting in 2017 and has some connection to Mumford and Sons’ Ben Lovett. His first solo tour was presented by Communion, Lovett’s organization. I’m not sure how you’d describe the music, though I’d agree with All Music who compares him to Mt. Joy.

Who am I missing from this year’s line-up? Oh yeah, Matt and Kim. They played Maha back in 2013, and if I remember correctly, the crowd loved them, which I assume is why they were asked back.

One other act of note that’s sort of playing the festival is Touch & Go artist Pinback. The San Diego band, who released the bulk of their albums in the ’00 era, is a favorite among indie rock enthusiasts, including myself. They’re playing at The Waiting Room the Thursday night before the music portion of the festival kicks off, for a flat $15 ticket price, which makes me wonder if they weren’t already booked at TWR before Maha started planning 2019’s lineup.

Maha continues to support local artists, though this year’s selections is a collection of bar bands who play the local scene and haven’t done extensive touring: Muscle Cousins, Bach Mai and Domestic Blend. I’d be curious how these acts were chosen. Also on the bill is DJ Shark Week and Esencia Latina Band. Quite a contrast to last year’s highlight local act, David Nance, who has recorded a couple nationally lauded albums and toured the U.S. and overseas.

And now, the Friday/Saturday breakdown (I’m surprised they already announced this! They made us wait last year):

Friday night, Aug. 17

Jenny Lewis
Courtney Barnett
Snail Mail
Esencia Latina Band

Saturday, Aug. 17

Matt and Kim
Oh Sees
Matt Maeson
Beach Bunny
Muscle Cousins
Domestic Blend

I’m surprised Barnett is playing Friday night instead of Saturday, but I assume it’s more about her schedule than theirs. There’s only two acts on Saturday that are pulling me in: Thee Oh Sees and Lizzo. Friday night is rocket fuel.

I’m running long, so we’ll talk about ticket prices next week.

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Singer/songwriter David Dondero is playing tonight at Reformed, Studio and Assembly Space, 3101 So. 20th St., just south of 20th and Vinton. I’m not familiar with this venue, but I think it’s a church. Dondero has played through Omaha for years and is a pal of Conor Oberst, who has cited him as an influence. Joining him is Tom Bartolomei and Mark Johnson. $10. 8 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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


What’s 15 Passenger (and what’s it mean for Saddle Creek)? New Kasher music; Dave Dondero, The Morbs, Red Cities tonight; Worried Mothers Saturday; Cold Cave CANCELLED…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:49 pm January 13, 2017

Tim Kasher presumably celebrating both a new album and a new label, 15 Passenger Records.

by Tim McMahan,

The internet exploded yesterday afternoon with news that Cursive has launched its own record label called 15 Passenger Records, which I assume is a romantic nod to the Ford Transit Wagon passenger van. Actually, that only hauls 12 passengers. The only 15-passenger vehicle I know if is a short bus.

Anyway, according to the website, 15 Passenger is “the new INgrooves-distributed label founded and run by the members of Cursive: Tim Kasher, bassist Matt Maginn, and guitarist/vocalist Ted Stevens. In addition to ‘No Resolution’ this winter, the label plans to reissue Cursive’s entire catalog beginning with their 1997 debut LP ‘Such Blinding Stars For Starving Eyes’ and their 1998 LP ‘The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song’ in fall of 2017.

Let’s start with INgrooves. It’s a multinational conglomerate that offers “a full suite of distribution, marketing and technology services to help independent labels and content owners manage their music with delivery to more than 600 destinations in over 200 territories worldwide.” It’s also “artist and label services” and “rights management.” INgrooves releases include the latest from Jimmy Buffett, Joe Bonamassa, Home Sandoval, Esme Patterson, Violet Sands, and more.

No Resolution is the name of Tim Kasher’s third solo album, slated for release March 3 on 15 Passenger, which you can pre-order right now from the 15 Passenger Bandcamp store in splatter blue vinyl and CD format. The first track off the album, “An Answer for Everything,” is below:

With this news, a few questions come to mind: Will 15 Passenger also be releasing The Good Life’s back catalog as well as recordings from past Ted Stevens’ projects? How about new music from other bands, just like a regular label? Do Saddle Creek Records bands control the rights to their back catalog for these kinds of releases or did Cursive purchase those rights from Saddle Creek? And what happens to those Cursive back catalog listings on the Saddle Creek Records website?

And the biggest question of all: What does this mean for Saddle Creek Records in general? One assumes a label like Saddle Creek floats its boat on revenue generated from back catalogue sales. Cursive has to be one of the label’s biggest sellers. Given Saddle Creek’s history of one-record deals, does this mean the next Cursive record will be coming out on 15 Passenger? Stay tuned…

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It’s another relatively big weekend of mainly local shows.

One of the bigger offerings is happening tonight at Almost Music in the Blackstone District. Sunbrain frontman Dave Dondero headlines a show that includes Simon Joyner and David Nance. $7, 8 p.m. I suggest buying a growler of beer over at Scriptown and bring it over, then drink it hillbilly-style. Brad won’t mind.

Just a stone’s throw away, The Brothers Lounge is hosting Lincoln band The Morbs tonight. Opening is new Omaha riot grrrl act Boner Killerz (the winner of the “best new band name” award) and Those Far Out Arrows. $5, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, Lincoln garage rock band Red Cities headlines tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Also on the bill are The Broke Loose and Half Wit. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), Worried Mothers returns to O’Leaver’s with Total Voltage and Chalant. $5, 9:30 p.m.

CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHERAnd then Sunday night, LA dark wave band Cold Cave plays at The Waiting Room with Drab Majesty and Lincoln leather geek dance sensation Plack Blague. $12 Adv/$15 DOS. Starts at 9.

That’s all I got. If I forgot your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend, and don’t get caught in the ice.

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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.


It’s unofficially Dave Dondero Day, w/Simon Joyner tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:00 pm June 13, 2012

By Tim McMahan,

Slow Burn ProductionsDave Dondero is making the rounds in Omaha today and tonight. He’s playing a free instore at the Saddle Creek Shop today at 2 p.m. with Kelly King & the Radio Sweethearts and Bobby Rubalcava. Then tonight, Dondero will be playing at The Sydney with Simon Joyner and Mechanical River. That show is $10 and starts at 9.  The shows are brought to you by Slow Burn Productions, a new (or at least new to me) production company that is bringing indie and punk shows to a number of venues in town, including The Sandbox, The Brothers, The Sydney and Sokol Underground. Judging by their Facebook page, they have a connection with Black Heart Booking..

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Concert for Equality (Pt. 1), Conduits…

by Tim McMahan,

The official review of Concert for Equality goes online Wednesday as this week’s column. For now, here are pictures and some general impressions of the show, some of which you already saw if you followed me on Twitter.

The first hint that there might be trouble was eight blue porta-potties standing in a row along Military Ave. That, I thought, would never be enough for 2,000 serious beer drinkers. Would the lawns of Greater Benson glow with a sickly-sweet odor on Sunday morning? Then there was the crazy-long line just to get into the metal-fenced compound. And then there was the burning sun and heat. But in the end, it all worked out, almost perfectly. The only fuck-up was the 45-minute wait forced upon those who had purchased “Deluxe Tickets” to see the hootenanny afterparty, and its “special guests.”

The crowd looking back from near the Concert for Equality outside stage.

The crowd looking back from near the Concert for Equality outside stage.

Military Ave., it turns out, is the perfect place to hold this kind of concert — the street is wide and the buildings create a natural barrier. Booze tents were set up in a couple places, and there was even a temporary taco/burrito restaurant thrown together in one of the building’s garages (that would make a great permanent addition to Benson). People crowded the ACLU information booth where they were giving away t-shirts when they signed up for their literature. So did the kids learn more about the issues? Who knows? Maybe, probably.

From a performance standpoint, the biggest surprise (for me) was Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. I’d never heard them live before or own any of their records, and was blown away by their music — really incredible stuff. We got a double-dip of the duo when they showed up for the hootenanny later that night.

Bright Eyes at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

Bright Eyes at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

As for the rest: The Envy Corp played a set of generic indie rock to an already sizable crowd at 6:30 consisting mostly of people jockeying for position for Bright Eyes. The outdoor stage had the same problem that hampered the MAHA Festival’s second stage — the setting sun was painful, and probably at its worst during Bright Eyes’ set, as you can see  from the above photo. Depending on where you stood, you couldn’t see a thing on stage without shielding your eyes, but the sound couldn’t be any better. BE’s setlist was a best-of selection:

Trees Get Wheeled Away

Bowl Of Oranges

We Are Nowhere And It’s Now

Four Winds

Old Soul Song (For The New World Order)

Lover I Don’t Have To Love

Coyote Song

Road To Joy

He played “Eagle on a Pole” and “Lua,” (with Welch/Rawlings) at the Waiting Room after party. The set list looks longer than the actual performance felt. I guess Oberst was saving it for the Desaparecidos set later that night. While Oberst did spout some issue-based rhetoric from stage, he wasn’t preachy — after all, he would have been almost literally preaching to the choir.

Cursive at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

Cursive at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

We left the compound right after the BE set to get something to eat. I stepped outside of Benson Grind to be assaulted by the opening chords of Cursive’s “The Martyr” — like a bomb going off. It was earplug loud, and if there were any complaints about this concert this morning from the locals, it’ll be about the noise level. Cursive was over-the-top loud, especially when you consider the concert was essentially being conducted in a residential neighborhood. That said, for us concert-goers, it was pure bliss. They rolled out some of their most brutal material, and the shear anger level couldn’t have been higher.

The Casualty

The Martyr

Some Red Handed Sleight of Hand

Art is Hard

The Recluse

Butcher the Song

Driftwood: A Fairy Tale

A Gentleman Caller


Big Bang

Staying Alive

I’m told at one point Kasher jumped into the swarming crowd. I couldn’t see it from my vantage point behind the soundboard tent. But even from that distance I could see that he was locked inside some sort of manic adrenaline-fueled zone.

Dave Dondero at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

Dave Dondero at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

Meanwhile, inside the Waiting Room, David Dondero, in a sporty Tommy Bahama shirt, was playing a solo acoustic set backed by Craig D on a snare drum in front of maybe 100 people who were taking a respite from the noise and heat. Dondero would be back again later that night with what would end up being the concert’s signature song.

The dueling stage concept — while a good idea on the surface — didn’t work out, for me anyway.  The sets overlapped too often. I wanted to see So-So Sailors, for example, but didn’t want to miss Bright Eyes. Going back and forth wasn’t a problem from a security standpoint — your bracelet got you right back into the compound. The problem was that I had a full Bud Light tallboy that I didn’t want to toss away and couldn’t bring with me (and couldn’t slam — those days are over).

Desaparecidos at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

Desaparecidos at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

Desaparecidos was the last “outside band” of the evening, and who were what most people I spoke to came to see. Back in the day, Desa played every few weeks and each show was train wreck of sloppiness. I never saw a good Desa show (and who remembers their debut at that echo chamber of a high school auditorium?). Years later, on a serious pro stage, we got the Desa set that we’d been waiting for — easily the best they’ve ever sounded, performed in front of their largest crowd. If this is their swan song, it was at a peak. Maybe it’s because everyone in the band is older and wiser, but other than a few glitches (a couple songs sounded like half the band was in the wrong key), it was powerful stuff. The setlist:

Greater Omaha

Man And Wife, The Former (Financial Planning)


Man And Wife, The Latter (Damaged Goods)

Mall Of America

Happiest Place On Earth

Survival Of The Fittest


Hole In One

As I say in Wednesday’s write-up, it was good to see Landon Hedges and Denver Dalley and the rest of them on stage again, and it’s a shame that this is probably a one-off because Desa is the perfect place for Oberst to spit out his pent-up venom. Instead, he’ll probably head back to the more passive, FM-friendly confines of Monsters of Folk after the next Bright Eyes album is released sometime in the future.

Lullaby for the Working Class at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

Lullaby for the Working Class at The Concert for Equality, 7/31/10.

We’d been told that we were going to get our money’s worth buying the $50 deluxe ticket instead of the $20 general admission. For fans of Lullaby for the Working Class, the statement may be true. Ted Stevens and company (including Mike and AJ Mogis) played a flawless set in front of a few hundred inside The Waiting Room. I never saw this band in its heyday, and now I’m sorry I missed them back then. It was gorgeous stuff, backed by some of the area’s finest musicians.

As for the hootenanny, well, there were no special guests that we hadn’t already seen earlier in the day. Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings came out for a few quiet songs. Then Conor joined them before being joined by the rest of Desaparecidos. And then came the finale with David Dondero singing a song written especially for the occasion, apparently called “They’re Building a New Berlin Wall,” whose chorus follows the same melody of Oberst’s “Land Locked Blues.” Oberst led the audience singing the chorus before saying goodnight at 2 a.m.

So ended the Concert for Equality. A success? Depends on how you define it. They certainly raised a lot of money. Did people walk away energized about the issue of immigrant rights in Nebraska? Probably not. Did they see what will be considered an historical show from a Nebraska-music standpoint. Without a doubt.

More Wednesday…

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Conduits at Slowdown Jr., July 30, 2010.

Conduits at Slowdown Jr., July 30, 2010.

I don’t want to forget another show that happened this past weekend — the debut of Conduits at Slowdown Jr. Friday night. The band, fronted by vocalist Jenna Morrison and featuring Roger Lewis and members of Eagle Seagull are equal parts punch and drone, a chiming, building sonic adventure like nothing else around here. Morrison, who was anonymous as a member of Son Ambulance, owns this frontwoman position with grace and power that I frankly didn’t think she had. She’s got an amazing voice that is only going to get stronger the more this band performs. She had the strength to keep her voice above the waves as the slow-build ambient rock hit tidal-wave crescendos. They don’t play pop songs, more like cinematic set pieces that would work well played in succession with no breaks — a sonic experience. You’ll be hearing more from this band.

We also said goodbye Friday night to Our Fox. Frontman Ryan Fox is headed to Portland, and though they won’t say they’re breaking up, their future is obviously uncertain. All dressed in sailor whites, they did themselves proud. I’ll miss these guys.

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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.