Live Review: Wagon Blasters, Half Trust, Gerald Lee, Jr.; Vinyl Williams, Dendrons, Cat Piss tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 8:24 am February 27, 2023
Wagon Blasters at Grapefruit Records, Feb. 24, 2023.

by Tim McMahan,

Prior to Friday night’s in-store CD release show by the Wagon Blasters for the release of the In Frontier We Trust singles compilation CD I asked the originator of both bands, Gary Dean Davis, why he was having the show at a record store. I attended a Simon Joyner performance at Grapefruit last year (Simon runs the place) and found it quaint, cozy and more than a little cramped.

I suppose punk rock has always been about doing things in unconventional ways and places,” Gary said. “Over the years many of my favorite shows were in unconventional places. Many of which were at record stores: Firehose at Homer’s during a blizzard in ’87, Brimstone Howl also at Homer’s, Man or Astroman at Drastic Plastic, the Almost Music shows (a long defunct record store in Benson/Blackstone), along with a multitude of basement and even apartment shows I’ve played at or seen. I supposed the best reason is that people are there to listen to music.”

And thus was the case Friday night at Grapefruit. A small PA was set up in the corner of the store and the crowd of around 40 or 50 listened either standing or sitting among the bins of vinyl records. Yes, it was cozy and cramped, but it was also a lot of fun. 

Gerald Lee, Jr., at Grapefruit Records, Feb. 24, 2023.

Gerald Lee, Jr., a.k.a. Lee Meyerpeter, the frontman of a score of bands from the ‘90s through today (including Cactus Nerve Thing, Bad Luck Charm and Filter Kings) played a solo set with electric guitar that included tunes from all these bands (yes, including Cactus). Lee drops a slight country twang into everything he sings, whether it’s a punk song or a whiskey-fueled ballad. He closed his set with Filter Kings’ classic “100 Proof Man,” a song that was always destined to be covered by The Highwaymen but never was.

Bill Thornton and Gary Dean Davis – Half Trust – at Grapefruit Records, Feb. 24, 2023.

That was followed by a short set by Gary Dean Davis and Bill Thornton on acoustic guitar – playing as “Half Trust,” – tunes from Frontier Trust. Both seated, Gary explained that the CD was made so his kids could listen to their dad’s Frontier Trust songs in their cars, which is exactly what I did after the show. Mastered by Doug Van Sloun, the songs on In Frontier We Trust never sounded better. I think I own all of the 45s in which the CD was derived and can attest that the mix is brighter and more urgent than the vinyl. Gary, I’m sure, will be disappointed to hear that as he believes vinyl is the perfect medium, and maybe he was right… 20 years ago. 

You can order a copy of the CD directly from the Wagon Blasters’ Bandcamp page for a mere $10.

Finally, the rest of the Wagon Blasters took the stage, plugged in and played a rousing set of fan favorites with Gary providing his trademark stage jumps and between-song “Thanks!” Oh, what a night. 

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The rock continues tonight as psych-pop band Vinyl Williams headlines at Slowdown Jr. The band’s last album, Cosmopolis, was released last year on Requiem Pour Un Twister.  Chicago indie band Dendrons co-headlines the bill, which also includes Omaha’s own Cat Piss and The Dirts. That’s a lot of music for $15. Show starts at 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New David Nance Group (on Third Man); Mike Schlesinger, All Boy/All Girl at The Sydney; Dendrons, Pagan Athletes at Reverb…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:40 pm June 26, 2019

David Nance Group, “Meanwhile” b/w “Credit Line” (2019, Third Man Records

by Tim McMahan,

Been pretty quiet the last couple days.

Only bit of news is that last week David Nance Group announced it has a new 7-inch out on Jack White’s Third Man Records. Says the press release: “‘Meanwhile’ is 4 minutes of post-everything rock n roll death race to the bottom of the sea of tape hiss and Wiper-ian broken space riffage. Backed with the honky tonk punk stance of ‘Credit Line”s 2019 debt wite-out anthem, this is an essential 2-sider for everyone who ever stared in their dad’s closet at his faded denim jacket and DREAMED.

Check it below and order your copy from

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Every time Mike Schlesinger books a gig it reminds me of his sweet Live at O’Leaver’s set from 2015. The shining moments from that recording are Schlesinger’s heart-breaker “Coolie Trade” and his cover of Gillian Welch’s “Look at Miss Ohio.” I don’t know anything about Schlesinger other than this recording. He always plays first on a bill, which means I always miss him. He’s playing first again tonight at The Sydney for a show that includes Philly ambient duo All Boy/All Girl and Omaha’s own Hussies. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Chicago post-punk band Dendrons headlines at Reverb Lounge. This is the first night on a national tour that runs through August. There’s not a helluva lot online from these guys, but with such a large tour I have to believe they’ve worked up an album’s worth of material. Joining them is the keyboard/drum madness of Pagan Athletes, and two bands new on my radar: Roman Constantino and Baby Sledge. $7, 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.