The Hold Steady for free tonight; Dundee Days (Digital Leather, Gus & Call, TSITR) V. Farnam Fest (Little Brazil, So-So Sailors, Blue Bird) Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:52 pm August 26, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

It’s been a long, flood-ravaged festival season here in river city, but it’s finally coming to a close this weekend with three big day shows that mark the sun-setting of summer.

The big show tonight is at The Slowdown parking lot — the annual Omaha Block Party. Now in its third year, the free outdoor show features a balanced line-up of old and new (and male and female) that MAHA would have loved. According to The Slowdown website, gates open at 6:30 but music doesn’t start until 8 p.m. with local heroes Conduits, who just returned from opening a few dates for their old pals Bright Eyes. They’ve been called a “shoegaze band;” I think of them as more of an ambient dreamscape ensemble fronted by a gorgeous statue of cool, chanteuse Jenna Morrison.

Next up is San Diego-based laid-back psych-rock band The Donkeys (Dead Oceans Records). Groovy, West Coast, sunset, you get the vibe. They’re followed by emerging indie supergroup Mister Heavenly, a trio that consists of Honus Honus of Man Man, Nick Thorburn of Islands and Joe Plummer of The Shins. Their debut LP, Out of Love, was released on Sub Pop a couple weeks ago. The tracks I’ve heard sounded like poppy Man Man cast offs.

Finally, headlining tonight’s show, the return of The Hold Steady, a band perfectly suited for outdoor festival-style events. This could be the biggest draw ever for a Slowdown block party, especially if the weather cooperates (and forecasts indicate that it will).

Again, the gig is free, but you need to go to the Toyota Antics website (the event sponsor) and print out an RSVP. It’s quick and easy. Of course you’ll be able to drink your face off tonight at the show, as well as buy dinner from three vendors — Dante’s Pizza, Chicago Dawg House and Blue Line. It all wraps up at midnight.

If you’re not into The Hold Steady, you can cut out early and high-tail it to The Waiting Room for Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, Moscow Mule and Landing on the Moon. 9 p.m., $7.

Also tonight, Lincoln’s Floating Opera is doing a 20 Year Retrospective concert at The Side Door Lounge. 9 p.m.

Which leads us to tomorrow’s festival cage match between Dundee Days and the Farman Festival.

At Dundee Days, located along Underwood Ave. near 50th St., the lineup is:

Noah Sterba and the Cocktails
Gus and Call
Digital Leather
The Show is the Rainbow

Garage heroes Yuppies are starting to attract attention on a national level. Gus & Call (whose style is best described as “bootgaze”) may be my favorite act on the Slumber Party Records roster, while Digital Leather is one of my favorite acts on any roster. And what crazy shit will The Show Is the Rainbow a.k.a. Darren Keen pull on this rather public, family-friendly stage? Find out tomorrow night. I’m told bands start at 3 p.m., and admission is usually around $5, but I can’t find anything online to verify that.

In addition, Dario’s also is hosting bands outside starting at 6 p.m. Bands include The Bishops, Rock Paper Dynamite and Pony Wars. No idea if there’s a cover for Dario’s  (but there usually is).

Meanwhile, Farnam Festival is going on across town at 40th and Farnam Sts. starting at 5 p.m. The lineup and sched:

5 p.m: Doors Open
5:20-6 p.m.: Kyle Harvey
6:20-7:10 p.m.: Blue Bird
7:35-8:20 p.m.: All Young Girls Are Machine Guns
8:45-9:45 p.m.: Little Brazil
10:15-11:15 p.m.: The So So Sailors

So-So Sailors was one of the highlights at Dundee’s Spring Fling earlier this year; Little Brazil will likely roll out some new, unreleased material; and you simply can’t go wrong with anything Kyle Harvey does. Admission is $5, and vendors will be on hand, including Prairie Fire Pizza.

It’s a shame that these two festivals will be going on at the same time.

The weekend closes Sunday night with Pogues-influenced celtic-booze rockers Blaggards at The Waiting Room with Witness Tree and Chasing Turtles. $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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.