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.


Live Review: Disq, Diane Coffee, Fizzle Like a Flood, Frederick Julius; Thick Paint tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:38 pm June 3, 2019

Disq at Slowdown Jr., June 2, 2019.

by Tim McMahan,

Weekend recap:

Friday night Doug Kabourek, a.k.a. Fizzle Like a Flood, re-emerged from a long performance hiatus to play a six-song solo-acoustic set at B-Side in Benson opening for Frederick Julius, a.k.a., Matt Geiler, who was celebrating the release of a new album. 

Fizzle Like a Flood at Benson B-Side May May 31, 2019.

Kabourek’s six songs spanned his career, from new to old, capping it with “Believe in Being Barefooot” off his masterpiece, Golden Sand and the Grandstand. I bet Doug see from stage all the people in the audience who were singing along. 

He’s one of those people (and I know lots of them in Omaha) who doesn’t realize how talented he his. It’s almost like a sickness around here — running into musicians and artists who create works of art and then move on to something else, leaving us wondering why they’re not doing it anymore (I assume the need to pay bills has something to do with it). Kabourek’s voice sounded the same as the first time I heard him perform nearly 20 years ago. So if he just wants to play opening slots, I’m all for it, as long as he keeps playing. 

Frederick Julius at Benson B-Side May 31, 2019.

Geiler has put together a cracker-jack band that embodied the vision he’s created on his new album, Fixers and Elixers. The music is pure ’60s Beach Boys fun-in-the-sun pop, and what gave it wings was the harmony vocals provided by a couple guys (one being his brother?) who augmented Geiler’s embraceable voice with authenticity, and by that I mean they sounded like Beach Boys harmonies.

The songs ranged from those beachy numbers to more indie-fied pop melodies, many augmented by a doo-wap counter. Fun stuff and Geiler clearly was having a blast on stage — a natural performer whose quick wit was as abundant as his melodies, interspersing small bits and stories between every song. Often funny, there were times when I wish he’d just play a few songs in a row before doing the next schtick. That said, the crowd ate it up. 

This was the first rock show I’ve seen at B-side, and the sound was very bright — lots of high end bouncing around the room, powered by a light-duty PA that left out the bottom of the mix. It’s a good stage that could be even better with a little investment in the sound system. 

I felt lucky to be among the 20 or so people at Slowdown Jr. last night for the Omaha debut of Madison band Disq, one of the best live indie acts I’ve seen in a long time. The 5-piece powered by Isaac deBroux-Slone and Raina Bock released their first 7-inch as part of the Saddle Creek Document series and has since become one of indie’s “buzziest” bands, for good reason. 

With three guitars, bass and drums, and everyone but the drummer providing vocals, they sounded like a modern-day combination of all your favorites from the ’90s — from Teenage Fanclub to Weezer to Pavement to No Knife. But one glance at this motley crew, most of whom look like they’re too young to be in a bar, and you realize they likely have never heard of any of those acts. 

The highlight was a burning version of “Communication,” the A-side of that Saddle Creek single, though the B-side sounded just as good live. After looking on Spotify, I see their debut was released in 2016. They’ve come a long way in three short years. 

Disq is putting finishing touches on a new full-length. After the show I asked one of the guitarists what label is putting it out, but he wouldn’t say. Whoever it is, they better be ready for the onslaught. At a time when electronic music seems to be powering everything, Disq could be rock ‘n’ roll’s last great hope. 

Diane Coffee at Slowdown Jr. June 2, 2019.

You could see how headliner Diane Coffee got his reputation for being an over-the-top performer. He came on stage in a green bodysuit costume surrounded by a costumed band, all wearing white masks (which they quickly threw to the side), and ripped into the title track off his latest album, Internet Arms (Polyvinyl, 2019). 

That album is more synth-driven then guitar-driven, but on stage last night the guitars had the upper hand, turning it into a rock show rather than dance show (which it could never be, anyway, with most of the patrons sitting down). The person next to me said, “He sounds like Steve Perry,” and afterward I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind. Not Journey, mind you, Steve Perry solo, especially on the more straight-forward pop numbers.

There were moments when Coffee strayed into manic, quick-verse territory that matched his million-mile-an-hour between-song stage patter. I have to hand it to him, despite the small, rather dead audience, he put it all out there. And his band was absolutely killer in all positions (incredible rhythm section, soaring lead guitars, and keyboards that would make Elton proud). There was even a drum solo… and a keytar solo. 

The whole time I was thinking this guy belongs on Broadway. He’s got the glam Hedwig stance down to a science. Imagine how he’d come off in a packed room, which is what he deserves.

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Thick Paint returns with Olympia band Oh, Rose and Oakland’s Painting with Statue. $5, 8 p.m.

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And thanks, everyone, for the birthday wishes!

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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.


Fizzle Like a Flood, Matt Geiler, Sleep, Big Business tonight; Jollys, No Thanks Saturday; Diane Coffee, Disq Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:44 pm May 31, 2019

Fizzle Like a Flood at The Barley Street Tavern, 10/8/11.

Fizzle Like a Flood at The Barley Street Tavern, 10/8/11. The band plays tonight at B-Side in Benson.

by Tim McMahan,

Looks like we might get some great weather this weekend, so go out and see some music.

Starting tonight at the B-Side in Benson (right next to Virtuoso Pizza). Omaha funnyman Matt Geiler (he’s the dancing pumpkin man we’ve all seen on various Halloween-related memes) is having a CD release party for his band Frederick Julius, whose new album Fixers & Elixirs, drops today. His sound has been compared to Beach Boys and Gin Blossoms, which is pretty straight on.

Opening the show at 7 p.m. is the return of Fizzle Like a Flood. Frontman Doug Kabourek, whose 2000 album Golden Sand and the Grand Stand is among the finest albums released by an Omaha artist during the previous decade, is pulling himself out of a self-imposed stage exile for one night only, apparently to return a favor for Geiler, who opened for Kabourek at one of his CD release shows. Tickets are $10 and as mentioned this is an early show with a 7 p.m. start time.

On the complete opposite end of the sonic spectrum, San Jose doom metal act Sleep headlines at The Slowdown tonight. I’m more excited about the opener, Big Business, whose latest, The Beast You Are (2019, Joyful Noise) rips. $30, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s off to fabulous O’Leaver’s for Chicago punkers Jollys with our very own No Thanks and The Regulation. $5, 10 p.m.

Then comes Sunday and Diane Coffee at Slowdown Jr. You read the Ten Questions interview yesterday (right here). Opening is Disq, a couple Wisconsin folks, Isaac deBroux-Slone and Raina Bock, who count Todd Rundgren, Weezer, Big Star and The Beatles among the musicians whose records helped inform their own creative process. Their last single, “Communication” b/w “Parallel,” was released this past January as part of Saddle Creek Records’ Document Series. Can the Creek get this red-hot outfit signed for a full-length? Disq kicks things off at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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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.


Fizzle Like a Flood, Saudi Arabia tonight; Head and the Heart Sunday (SOLD OUT)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:08 pm October 7, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

Fizzle Like a Flood, Choice Kills Response (Nectar & Venom, 2011)

Fizzle Like a Flood, Choice Kills Response (Nectar & Venom, 2011)

It appears that my column has been a week early for the past two weeks. This week focused on Lincoln Calling, which ain’t until next weekend. Last week’s focused on Fizzle Like a Flood’s CD release show, which is tonight. Blame it on The Reader, who dictated those deadlines. So if you missed it, here’s my column/interview from two weeks ago with Doug Kabourek a.k.a. Fizzle Like a Flood, and if that’s not enough for you, Kabourek is the special guest on the latest episode of the Worlds of Wayne podcast, which you can listen to here. And if you’re still wondering what Fizzle’s new music sounds like, check “Cutters,” my favorite track from Choice Kills Response, embedded below:

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Too bad it won’t sound like that tonight at The Barley Street (if he even plays it at all), because Kabourek will be performing solo without a band or backing tracks, despite my incessant pleading that he do otherwise. Oh well. Opening for Fizzle is The Whipkey Three,  At Land (Kabourek’s other band), and Underwater Dream Machine. All four acts for a mere $5. Show starts at 9.

Also tonight, Saudia Arabia (the band formerly known as The Dinks) is playing at O’Leaver’s with Kansas City’s Dead Ringers and Swamp Walk. Come on down and get stinkin’ drunk. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Down at Slowdown Jr. Gerald Lee Jr. (The Filter Kings) opens for Michael Lee Firkins. $8, 9 p.m.

It’s another Husker football Saturday night, which means slim pickin’s show-wise. Slowdown Jr. has local indie slackers Family Picnic with Cymbal Rush and Dads. Show starts after the game and will run you $7. Meanwhile, at the Barley Street Tavern, Big Al Band is headlining a 5-band bill that starts at 9 (no idea on the cover).

Finally, Sunday night Sub Pop band Head and the Heart plays a sold-out show at The Waiting Room with San Francisco’s Thao with the Get Down Stay Down (Kill Rock Stars) and  SLC’s The Devil Whale. 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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Column 343: The Return of Fizzle Like a Flood; Conduits, Steve Bartolomei tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:53 pm September 29, 2011

Doug Kabourek, circa now.

Doug Kabourek, a.k.a Fizzle Like a Flood, circa now.

Column 343: The Return of Fizzle Like a Flood

by Tim McMahan,

Doug Kabourek didn’t look much different than when I first saw him slumped like a homeless college student in the back of Sokol Underground during a Her Space Holiday show, circa 1999.

I had just begun going to rock shows alone — a big step for me, but one I knew I’d have to take if I wanted to continue seeing the indie bands I loved. I realized after finding Kabourek rolled up like a bum on the floor that others were in the same boat as myself, though he had an excuse for being alone — he’d just moved to Bellevue from somewhere in Iowa, and didn’t know anybody. I wouldn’t discover until months later, when I interviewed him about Golden Sand and the Grandstand that he was the local musician who went by the odd, awkward name Fizzle Like a Flood.

Now here we were, 12 years later, talking about music over a basket of tortilla chips on the outdoor patio of Agave in Dundee. Pop hits of the ’80s (Huey Lewis & the News, The Outfield, Phil Collins) blared from hidden speakers as Kabourek slowly built a crystal wall of empty margarita glasses on the table. The reason for the reunion was the pending release of Choice Kills Response (Nectar and Venom Records), the first new Fizzle Like a Flood CD since 2005’s Love LP, which kind of/sort of marked the departure of Kabourek as Fizzle.

Now available for download via his former record label, Ernest Jenning (home of O’Death, The Black Hollies and Chris Mills, among others) Love should have been Fizzle’s next step. “It was my most impressive record, and it took the most amount of time to make,” Kabourek said. “It was supposed to come out on Valentines Day 2006. But I was paying for everything; the label was only providing distribution. I couldn’t afford the $7,000 needed to actually release it.”

But more than financials pushed Fizzle Like a Flood into an unplanned hiatus. “I never quit,” Kabourek explained. “It’s just that no one ever reacted to anything I did. I wanted it to ‘just happen,’ and it doesn’t ‘just happen’ in Omaha. You have to really try to make it happen, and even then it doesn’t happen.”

Oh, there were a few write-ups, including an All Music Guide review that called Golden Sand “consistently aurally engaging.” The smattering of press caught the eye of Ernest Jenning, who rereleased that album in ’05 with new artwork by Frank Holmes, who did the art for Beach Boys’ Smile. But for the most part, the winsome, multi-layered one-man head trip — an homage to the demolished Aksarben horse track — went unnoticed. But no more so than its followup, Flash Paper Queen (The 4-Track Demos), with its parenthetical joke title that no one (including Pitchfork) got.

After recording the Love LP Kabourek moved on to other things, including The Dull Cares, a project whose music was modeled after “Earth Angel”-style ’60s pop, and At Land, a power trio featuring longtime friends Travis Sing (Black Squirrels) and James Carrig (Sarah Benck and the Robbers).

“At Land recorded at Baseline, but never released anything,” Kabourek said. “I was drunk at every session. It was going to be sloppy, old-man rock, even though we knew we weren’t old yet.”

While those projects kept him busy (and anonymous), Kabourek kept writing Fizzle Like a Flood music. “I finally got an itch to make this record this past winter,” he said. “Some of the songs go back to 2005.”

Fizzle Like a Flood, Choice Kills Response (Nectar & Venom, 2011)

Fizzle Like a Flood, Choice Kills Response (Nectar & Venom, 2011)

Choice Kills Response is a return to form for Kabourek, and another example of his home-studio recording — and songwriting — prowess. The killer tracks are the ones that depart from his typical heart-on-his-sweater-sleeve approach, like the roaring, hollow-hearted rocker “Cutters.” It is equal parts Pixies and early Weezer, along with an excuse for Kabourek to use the word “masturbation” in his lyrics.

“‘Cutters’ was written for At Land, which to me is a ’90s tribute band but with our own songs,” Kabourek said. “(The song) is about the frustration of not having sex for a long time, which is the perfect theme for every ’90s song. Every big hit from 1994 had ‘masturbation’ in the lyrics.” Other tracks, like opener “Balcony” and “Great,” are Fizzle fixtures with crunching guitars and Kabourek’s trademark bells, while the unpronounceable “Ö[Æ]à[=]É” is a modern surf rocker, complete with horror-movie organ. Kabourek skimps on nothing on this recording, but since he now refuses to use backing tracks on stage, we’ll never hear it performed this way live.

Not bad for a guy who at 38 says he’s fallen out of the music scene. “I’ve gotten to the age where this is my music — the ’90s — I love that stuff,” he said. “If someone plays me something new, that’s fine, but I have enough old music to keep me happy.”

He says he hasn’t been to since 2006. “I watched the Grammy’s two years ago,” he said. “What was the band with a thousand members and none of them play anything remotely catchy? Arcade Fire? I don’t get it. It’s OK, but I don’t like their stuff. And Radiohead on SNL last night? What I heard sucks.”

In fact, you’re not going to find Kabourek hiding in the back of rock clubs these days. “We like to go sing karaoke,” he said. “It’s more fun than going to a show.”

Except for his show, of course.

Fizzle Like a Flood’s CD release party is Oct. 7 at The Barley Street Tavern with The Whipkey Three, At Land and Underwater Dream Machine. The show starts at 9 p.m. Cover is $5.

* * *

Tonight’s red hot ticket is Conduits at The Waiting Room with Outlaw Con Bandana, Thunder Power and Wayward Little Satan Daughters (Rachel Tomlinson Dick of Honeybee & Hers). The burning question on everyone’s mind is when (or if) Conduits is going to release their debut album, which has been in the can since early this year. One assumes they’re still looking for a label with decent distro. It’s easy to say a label ain’t necessary in this era of electronic distro, but let’s be honest, you’re almost always better off if you can get on a recognized label rather than just putting the CD out yourself, selling copies to your local fans and hoping someone out there (someone with influence) notices. Unless your band is on a known label or is newsworthy or happens to catch the ear of an influential national blogger or celebrity, it will remain unnoticed and unheard, no matter how good it is. It’s a harsh reality that hasn’t changed despite the rise of the Internet era.

Anyway… Show starts at 9, cover is $7.

Also tonight, Steve Bartolomei of Mal Madrigal is playing at The Barley Street Tavern with Mike Saklar and Ben Brodin. $5, 9 p.m. Good times.

And finally, Cloven Path is playing a last-minute show at O’Leaver’s tonight. 9:30, $5.

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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.