Happy Anniversary 1% Productions; Live Review: Lung, Crybaby; Deer Tick tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:48 pm October 25, 2017

Marc Leibowitz, left, and Jim Johnson outside Sokol Underground circa 2003.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First, happy anniversary to 1% Productions. Yesterday the production company headed by Marc Leibowitz and Jim Johnson acknowledged its 20th anniversary on Facebook. The date came in under the radar and surprised some folks (I believe Guided By Voices was originally going to mark the occasion, but that show got cancelled).

Want to read about the origins of 1% Productions? Here’s a rather longish cover story about Marc & Jim and the company’s origins way back in July 2003. The photo on top of today’s post came from the article. They haven’t aged a day (heh-heh).

A lot has happened at 1% in 20 years, and some of it it was covered in a story about The Waiting Room’s 10-year anniversary that ran in The Reader this past summer. You can read that one here. As I said in that article’s lede:

Working under the moniker One Percent Productions, Marc Leibowitz and Jim Johnson have booked the best indie shows in Omaha for more than 20 years. Remember that amazing Arcade Fire show in November 2004? It was a One Percent Production. Or that time when Sufjan Stevens played at Sokol Underground with his cheerleader orchestra during his Illinois Tour in September 2005? A One Percent Production. How about when Interpol played at Sokol Underground during a blizzard in January 2005? Again, a One Percent Production.

Those and thousands more shows earned Johnson and Leibowitz the reputation as the best indie rock bookers in the area, playing a pivotal role in exposing an entire generation of future Omaha musicians to the music that would influence their careers.

Happy anniversary, dudes.

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Lung at O’Leaver’s Oct. 20, 2017.

Last Friday night I meandered to fabulous O’Leaver’s for a set by Lung, the cello-and-drum duo of Kate Wakefield and Daisy Caplan. I’m always amazed by how rock music sounds performed on electric cello — it has the same drama, the same intensity as electric guitar, and certainly that was the case when these two performed.

They reminded me of another cello-fueled show at O’Leaver’s about 14 years ago. The band was Matson Jones, a string combo with a couple cellos who played a similar style of indie rock, though Matson Jones’ vocals were raw and distorted, a sharp contrast to Wakefield’s bright alto that cut through the cello’s dense thrumming and Caplan’s bombast.

Crybaby at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 20, 2017.

Opening was a newcomer (to me, anyway) Crybaby, a.k.a. Amanda, the drummer from sludgecore band Bonghammer. She had a gorgeous voice singing on Liz Phair-style indie tunes played with an electric guitar connected to a repeater pedal. The compositions were simple, her lyrics were honest and matter-of-fact — sweet, broken-hearted confessions, lovely and downcast, and she knew it, jokingly apologizing throughout her short set for her sad songs.

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Tonight is that Deer Tick show I wrote about on Monday (read the 10 Qs with John McCauley). Opening at 8 p.m. is musician/comedian Chris Crofton. $23.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with Deer Tick (at The Slowdown 10/25)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:46 pm October 23, 2017

Deer Tick plays The Slowdown Oct. 25.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Some might describe Deer Tick as an alt country band, and certainly when they got their start in the early 2000s there was more of a twang in their giddy-up. But these days Deer Tick’s music more closely resembles an indie-fueled folk-rock act with a big heart.

Their latest releases — Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2 — an acoustic album and a separate electric set,  both recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee — are a diverse combination of music styles with solid songwriting snarled to life by frontman John McCauley.

We caught up with McCauley and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey:

1. What is your favorite album?

John McCauley: I don’t know if I could pick one. Mystery Girl by Roy Orbison was the first album I had as a kid and I still really love that record. I’ve been playing the recently reissued A Man Called Destruction by Alex Chilton a lot. Probably wouldn’t count it as a “favorite” but I sure do like that record a lot.

2. What is your least favorite song?

I really don’t like “Rosanna” by Toto. Something in the way the music swings really pisses me off.

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

Traveling, enjoying food in places far from home.

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

Sharing a hotel room sucks. Pretty fun otherwise.

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

LSD. I wish I had the time to do it more often. I think it’s a really beautiful drug. It’s been a couple years since my last dose, I think I’m due for one.

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

Dublin, Ireland. Nice place to buy hats and sweaters, too!

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

It all depends on how you look at the situation. Sometimes we don’t sell a lot of tickets somewhere and the show is uneventful and that sucks. A stretch of shows like that can be really hard on you. But if you want Deer Tick behaving badly stories, they’re quite numerous. One gig in San Francisco we didn’t get paid for because I took my clothes off and got the crowd to started a chant, cursing the sponsor. I was pretty deep in my cups that night and determined to make mischief. Some people thought it was really funny. I think it seemed to some people that I was having a meltdown. I dunno, maybe I was! The guy who did the lights that night said it was the best show he’d ever seen, but other spectators thought the show was a total disaster, worst they’d ever seen! I played a really bad show in Lawrence, Kansas, once. I was in a bad way, mixing pills and alcohol, and played poorly and forgot a lot of lyrics. I think I sang the same verse two or three times in one of our songs. That is one show, maybe the only show, I truly regret.

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. I’ve been doing nothing but music since 2007 or so. Deer Tick started in 2004.

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

I used to be a projectionist and I liked that job a lot. I’d love to run an old cinema, maybe someday I’ll have the chance to get involved with one. I waited tables for a few weeks once and absolutely hated it. Wouldn’t want to do that again. Because of that experience I always tip well. To get less than a 20 percent tip from me you’d have to do something like spit in my food right in front of me.

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

I heard that the band Deer Tick went to Fun-Plex once.

Deer Tick plays with Chris Crofton Wednesday, Oct. 25, at The Slowdown,  729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $20 Adv./$23 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

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Yes, I did attend a show this weekend — Lung/Crybaby at O’Leaver’s Friday night. Look for a review and pictures from that show tomorrow.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Deer Tick, Pro-Magnum, Routine Escorts tonight; Of Montreal, La Luz tomorrow…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 10:33 am November 1, 2013
A screen capture from Of Montreal's video for "Fugitive Air," the first single off their latest album.

A screen capture from Of Montreal’s video for “Fugitive Air,” the first single off their latest album.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Welcome to November.

And that’s all I have to say about that, other than get ready for a solid weekend of shows.

It starts tonight with Deer Tick at The Slowdown. I kind of lost track of Deer Tick after I interviewed them in 2009. The band has released three albums since then, including their latest, Negativity (2013, Partisan), which pulls them further from the folk rock category to whatever genre Wilco is known for. Opening is Nashville’s Robert Ellis (New West Records). $17, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Omaha’s monsters of punk Pro-Magnum play at The Sydney with red hot electro-dance newcomers Routine Escorts and the always entertaining Touch People. $5, 9 p.m.

BTW, it’s Benson First Friday again, so you may want to try Larkin’s Parkin’ right across from Jake’s if you can’t find a spot. It’s valet — fancy!

Saturday’s marquee event is Of Montreal at The Waiting Room.

You could say Of Montreal’s latest album, Lousy with Sylvianbriar, is more organic than what we’re used to. Frontman Kevin Barnes downshifted his songwriting to something less ornate (and confusing) and more sonically straightforward. In addition, he threw out the technology and recorded the whole thing on a 24-track tape machine, in fact most of it was recorded live with the band in a single room. The result sounds like a ‘70s glam album welded to an indie rock underframe. Barnes has always reached for Bowie stylistically, but usurped it with his trademark layered harmonies (reminiscent of ELO). Yeah, this is a ‘70s record, and I mean that in a good way.

But forget about the record, Saturday night’s show is about staging. The last time I saw Of Montreal a couple years ago at Slowdown it was, indeed, a spectacle, with iridescent metallic body suits, a simulated wrestling match, a giant blob, a pig person, a 12-foot-tall shimmering thing with four arms, all done with campy flair. I ‘spect we’ll get more of the same, though the new record — which seems more serious and backs away from dance beats — is better suited for a hippie pageant than a space odyssey. Regardless, an Of Montreal show is always worth the price of admission.

Opening is the strutting, sexy, spy-guitar-fueled garage stylings of Seattle’s La Luz (Burger, Hardly Art, Suicide Squeeze). $18 Adv/$20 DOS. Starts at 9.

Finally, country folk twangster Robbie Fulks is playing at The Waiting Room Sunday for an early 5 p.m. show. $17 Adv/$20 DOS.

If I forgot something, put it in the comments section.

Have a good weekend!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.