Postcard from Brooklyn’s Union Pool; Diners, Tunic, Healer tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:09 pm September 6, 2023

The view from my picnic table at Union Pool in Williamsburg…

by Tim McMahan,

Rarely is there anything going on music-wise over the Labor Day weekend in New York City. The usual Lower East Side venues were no exception this year, but after checking a local gig website, I discovered a show at Union Pool, a  venue located in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. With an afternoon to kill, we took the L train over the East River and found a very different landscape than the towering canyons that had surrounded us the past few days. 

Located across from an elevated freeway overpass, Union Pool sits on the corner down the street from a series of low-rise buildings with old-school retail businesses like barber shops, natural food stores and the ubiquitous pot shops that have popped up throughout NYC (and especially Manhattan). Just like how barber shops all have punny names (A Cut Above, Head Office, Heirloom, etc.) these pot dispensaries are destined to be plagued with a similar nomenclature (Magic Puff, Higher Empire, Day Dream, etc.). 

Pot is legal in NYC and the smell of ditch weed is everywhere, much more prominent than cigarette smoke ever seemed to be. People light up walking down the street, in parks, anywhere outdoors and certainly at Union Pool — a former pool supply store (no actual pool or pool tables). The interior had a nice bar and a closed-off (this day) stage area, while their patio reminded me of O’Leaver’s — about the same size but with a permanent taco truck parked on blocks inside its fence. We hung out and drank beers across from the pseudo outdoor stage where band gear sat untouched for the next hour while DJ Rottweiler did his set.

I generally don’t pay much attention to DJ sets but was unable to ignore this one as it consisted of punk and post-punk songs I’ve never heard before by a variety of acts both American and European — all pretty awesome. I Shazam-ed most of the set, though for every two songs Shazam found one remained elusive. Among the ones it could identify:

  • – The Scabs, Leave Me Alone
  • – Fuzzbox, Love is a Slug
  • – Glueams, 365
  • – M.A.Z.E., Spread the Germicide
  • – U Skripcu, Nove Godine
  • – The Bombettes, Amsterdam
  • – Joachim Witt, Goldener Reiter
  • – Chin-Chin, Stop! You’re Crying
  • – Alkalino, Hungry Eyes
  • – Ian Dury, Wake Up and Make Love With Me
  • – Tee Vee Repairman, Bad Taste
  • – Via Talas, Sama
  • – Kollaa Kestaa, Kirjoituksia Kellarista
  • – Jawoll, Rendezvous
  • – Novecento, The Only One

Whether its O’Leaver’s or Union Pool, hipsters are pretty much the same, although while all the dudes wore the usual band-T-shirt-and-jeans combo, a number of women were dressed as if they stepped right out of CBGB’s circa 1977. Very hip indeed. As the afternoon wore on and the place got crowded, the scene became more varied and there was even a few folks older then us eating tacos by the outdoor bar. If I lived in Williamsburg, Union Pool would definitely be a regular haunt. 

Success performing in the patio at Union Pool, Sept. 3, 2023.

We stuck around to catch the the first five or six songs from opening act, Success. I was expecting them to sound like their debut EP, First Edition, from 2021, but instead they played a straight-up hardcore set, which is always fun for about 10 minutes.

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Anyways, we’re back. And the music just keeps on coming…

Tonight at Reverb Lounge, LA act Diners, a.k.a. Blue Broderick, headlines. She’s on the road in support of her 10-song LP Domino, released last month via BarNone Records. The album was recorded by power-pop producer Mo Troper and it indeed sports that classic ’70s style. Also on the bill is Compressed and our very own BB Sledge. $15, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Winnipeg noise rock trio Tunic headlines at The Slowdown. They call their sound “atonal punk. feedback laden filth.” To me they sound like a proggy version of Protomartyr with lots of yelling, weird chords and time changes. Joining them tonight is The Radical Sabbatical and our very own Healer. $15, 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.


Coming attractions, new music: Sextile, Diners, Speedy Ortiz, Hiss Golden Messenger, Wilco…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:42 am August 2, 2023
Sextile at Blackstone Meatball, Sept. 18, 2017. The band plays The Waiting Room Oct. 19.

by Tim McMahan,

New releases and singles were announced over the past few days by a handful of touring indie bands who have included Omaha on their upcoming tours. Let us celebrate each.

On top of the list is Sextile, the LA-based electro / No Wave trio will be playing at The Waiting Room Oct. 19. The last time I saw these folks they were playing a set at Blackstone Meatball during a Farnam Fest back in 2017. Their new album, Push, is out Sept. 15 on Sacred Bones Records, and is, as the kids say, fire. 

Phoenix act Diners a.k.a. Blue Broderick, is playing Reverb Lounge Sept. 6. Their new album, Domino, comes out Aug. 18 on Bar/None Records. Here’s the first single:

Speedy Ortiz is back and always seems to remember poor little Omaha when she’s putting together her tour stops, and this time ‘round is no exception. Frontwoman Sadie Dupuis and her posse will be playing The Slowdown with Spacemoth Nov. 17. Yesterday they dropped the first single from their next album, Rabbit Rabbit, which comes out Sept. 1 on Wax Nine Records. Check it:

Durham, NC’s Hiss Golden Messenger is the project of M.C. Taylor. The singer/songwriter’s style leans on Americana and Country. Their new album, Jump for Joy, comes out on Merge Aug. 25, and the band is slated to play The Waiting Room Dec. 1. 

Finally, it’s old news for sure but Wilco is returning to Omaha, playing at the new Astro Theater Oct. 23. The band announced their new album, Cousin, will drop Sept. 29 on dBpm Records. Check out the first single, “Evicted,” that dropped yesterday.

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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.


Live Review: Eric in Outerspace, Triathalon; Dowsing, Diners at Milk Run…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 11:10 am September 1, 2016

Eric in Outerspace at O'Leaver's, Aug. 31, 2016.

Eric in Outerspace at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 31, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

How is it, you ask, that I’m able to go out to a rock show during the busy work week? Well, instead of my annual trip to NYC, this year I’m enjoying a “stay-cation” right here in beautiful Omaha. So naturally I don’t have to get up at 5 a.m., which allows for late-night rock ‘n’ roll fun. Like last night’s show at O’Leaver’s.

Triathalon was on deck when I rolled in at around 10:30 to a very sparsely attended show. I’m talking fewer than 20 people were sitting around watching the Savannah four-piece play laid-back R&B-infused rock masquerading as baby-making music for nerdy indie types, all (or mostly sung) in a Beckian falsetto.

Triathalon at O'Leaver's Aug. 31, 2016.

Triathalon at O’Leaver’s Aug. 31, 2016.

For the last tune, frontman Adam Intrator put down the guitar and provided some gnarly shoulder-rollin’ dance moves that got everyone smiling. Also smile-inducing was how he ended every song in the set with a spoken “Thank you.” Nothing wrong with good manners.

Local heroes Eric in Outerspace closed out the show after a lengthy set up as no one could figure out what was wrong with the stage monitors. After a lot of fiddling around, I don’t think it got figured. It didn’t matter to the audience, however, because we could hear the band loud and clear.

Despite apparently being under the weather (you couldn’t tell) frontman Sean Paul and company crushed a set of indie rock songs that stylistically recalled Pavement, Nirvana and assorted ’90s-era indie bands like Vitreous Humor and (I’m not sure why) a slowed down version of New Sweet Breath. There were times when Paul’s voice sounded a bit gravelly but that only added a weathered world-weary nuance.

Favorite songs included one about how much he hates summer and another that featured a grand-build all-hands-on-deck guitar-attack ending. I’m listening to the band’s Soundcloud tracks now and there ain’t a one that I don’t like (especially this one playing right now called “Trailing Away,” which I think was that grand-build song I just mentioned). Check them out when they play O’Leaversfest Sept 23 with Bien Fang and Flowers Forever (reunion?).

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Milk Run has another of its 4-band specials tonight. The headliner is Chicago act Dowsing (Asian Man Records). They call their sound “Chicago emo.” Yeek. Joining them is Diners, which calls their sound “Arizona desert bedroom pop,” and which seems to be an apt description. Laid-back groovy. Opening are locals Timecat and Bed Rest. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Brothers Lounge is hosting a deathmetal show with Horrendous, Flak and Manslaughterer. $5, 9 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.