Live Review: Vera Devorah, Breakers; Garst, Problems tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:52 am December 27, 2022
Vera Devorah at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 26, 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

One reason I ventured out to Reverb Lounge in the crippling cold last night — on a school night no less! — was to see Vera Devorah, the eponymously named Lincoln trio. Because if there’s one thing missing in our music scene (and let’s face it, there are lottttts of things missing these days), it’s female-fronted indie bands.

While the rest of the indie music world has been dominated by female-led bands for the past 10 years or so, Omaha has very few. Ones that come to mind include See Through Dresses (who haven’t played out recently and haven’t released any new material in five years), Megan Siebe (who also rarely plays live, though her 2021 album Steady Swaying is gorgeous), Anna McClellan (who I’m not sure lives here anymore), and the legendary Domestica (no new music since 2015)…

Then there’s Vera Devorah, who according to her online bio, has performed as a solo violinist, but this night played as a full-on rock trio, backed by bass and drums. Her electric guitar work, strong in basic riffage, is merely functional compared to her voice, which is as pure and perfect as any national indie vocalist, singing lines written from the heart, capturing whatever life challenge, moment, revelation or sadness that has come her way.

Set highlights included one about a dumpster fire, another written while lying in the middle of a George Floyd protest staring up at the sky, and her earnest cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” — one of her favorite songs, which she said she played on repeat throughout 6th grade. Terrific set.

I’m beginning to wonder if Lincoln’s indie music scene is on the verge of eclipsing Omaha’s (or already has). I keep discovering amazing new Lincoln bands (some who have been around for years). And as marvelous as Petfest was last year as a showcase of local talent, Lincoln Calling dwarfed it. With only 50 miles separating us, more research is necessary… when it gets warmer.

Breakers at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 26, 2022.

Ol’ Reverb was beginning to fill up nicely when Breakers got cranking. The band is a trio of scene veterans, two of whom I already knew well. I’ve been watching bassist Robert Little play in bands for decades, all the way back to The Mariannes in the early 2000s. Same with drummer Matt Focht, who I remember from Head of Femur shows at Sokol Underground (and playing drums with Bright Eyes). But frontman Chris Yambor was new to me, and I take it from stage comments (and the fact the band hasn’t any recorded music (that I could find)), that this might be a fun side project, though they just played a show in September at O’Leaver’s.

Their music was fun and upbeat, and Yambor (unapologetically wearing an Eagles T-shirt) belted out the lines like a lounge singer fronting a jazzy version of Pavement or GBV. The lounge really came out when he was seated behind a keyboard for a couple numbers. I had forgotten about Little’s virtuoso bass skills, and Focht is a trip-wire rock drummer of the highest order. Alas, with an early morning call, I left the ever-crowding Reverb before the close of their set…

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Tonight at The Slowdown local rockers Garst top a three-band bill, with Problems — a.k.a. Darren Keen — a one-man dance party who alone is worth the price of admission, and Cable Network. $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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The Lazy-i Best of 2018 compilation CD; Garst CD release show tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:44 pm December 26, 2018

Lazy-i Best of 2018. Winnie and Gilda say Happy New Year!

by Tim McMahan,

One of the questions I try to answer in the liner notes of this year’s “best of” compilation CD: Why do I bother putting this together and sending it out? After all, no one has a CD player anymore, right?

I still do it for a number of reasons. The first: This annual collection of the best of the best stuff I’ve listened to and/or written about over the past year in Lazy-i and/or The Reader acts as sort of a holiday card for my friends, family and music compadres, most of whom have received one since I first began recording these comps on cassette tapes back in 1994.

But another, more personal reason is that these collections are soundtracks to the year gone by. I listen to, say, the 2002 disc and I can instantly remember what was going on in the Omaha music scene at the time, the shows I went to, the artists I interviewed, and how good the music was. And the artwork reminds me of friends still with us and those who have gone.

So here you go, here’s the 2018 Best of Lazy-i CD. This year half the songs are by artists who have some sort of connection to Omaha. See if you can figure out which ones.

  1. “Poison” – David Nance Group, from Peaced and Slightly Pulverized (Trouble In Mind)
  2. “See You at the Movies” – J Mascis, from Elastic Days (Sub Pop)
  3. “Symbol” – Adrianne Lenker, from abysskiss (Saddle Creek)
  4. “Need a Little Time” – Courtney Barnett, from Tell Me How You Really Feel (Matador)
  5. “Mr. Tillman” – Father John Misty, from God’s Favorite Customer (Sub Pop)
  6. “Disco” – Sextile, from the EP 3 (Felte)
  7. “Always Elsewhere” – Ron Gallo, from Stardust Birthday Party (New West)
  8. “Wide Awake” – Parquet Courts, from Wide Awake! (Rough Trade
  9. “Bikini” – Caroline Rose, from Loner (New Wet)
  10. “Short Court Style” – Natalie Prass, from The Future and the Past (ATO)
  11. “Remorse” – Cursive, from Vitriola (15 Passenger)
  12. “Souvenir” – Campdogzz, from In Rounds (15 Passenger)
  13. “Colors Change” – Those Far Out Arrows, from Part Time Lizards (High Dive)
  14. “Me & My Dog” – Boygenius, from the EP boygenius (Matador)
  15. “Motorbike” – Little Brazil, from Send the Wolves (Max Trax)
  16. “Child Asleep” – The Faint, from Egowerk (Saddle Creek)
  17. “Debbie (Absofacto Remix)” – Your Smith, single (Neon Gold)
  18. “Middle America” – Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, from Sparkle Hard (Matador)
  19. “What a Mess” – Nik Freitas, from Day & Dark (Poppy Peak)
  20. “Last Summer in Omaha” – Azure Ray from the EP Waves (Flower Moon)

You want a copy of the CD? Enter to win one in the annual drawing! To enter, either: 1) Send an email with your mailing address to, or 2) Let me know you want one via Facebook comments, or 3) Retweet a Lazy-i tweet (If you use social media and win, I’ll reach out later for your mailing address). Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 7 at midnight.

If you just want to listen to the collection, the CD’s playlist is now available in Spotify. Simply click the link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find it along with a few from past years, too. Thanks as always to design genius Donovan Beery (, who’s been putting together these CD sleeves since 2000.

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Look for the annual Music Year in Review article in the January issue of The Reader. The article will be online on New Year’s Eve and likely will be published right here as well. The annual Predictions for the Coming Year article will be online on New Year’s Day if all goes well (and published here, too). It’ll give you something to read before and after your alcohol-soaked celebrations.

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge local rockers Garst celebrate the release of their debut CD Temet Nosce. Lincoln singer/songwriter Bailey Tamerius opens at 8 p.m. $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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Coat Drive Dec. 23 to feature David Nance Group, Clarence Tilton, Stephen Sheehan, Garst…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:39 pm December 19, 2018

The Coat Drive for Heart Ministry Center is Dec. 23.

by Tim McMahan,

With not a whole helluva lot going on today (or this week, for that matter) I thought I’d give you a little head’s up about a rock show happening this Sunday at The Waiting Room.

It’s the Coat Drive for the Heart Ministry Center. The non-profit, located at 2222 Binney St., has been around for 40 years providing food, clothing and health care to people affected by poverty. They help around 7,000 a month. You can read more about the center here.

Dave Nance Group at The Waiting Room, Nov. 13, 2018.

The line-up for this coat drive is pretty stellar. At the top of the bill is David Nance Group. The band has been on tour supporting their latest album, Peaced and Slightly Pulverized (2018, Trouble in Mind), which made my list of 10 favorite releases of 2018 (which you’ll be reading about in short order). Nance always puts on a great show. If you ever thought “Man, I wish I would have seen Neil Young in his Rust Never Sleeps prime,” here’s your chance to see the next best thing. Don’t blow it.

Clarence Tilton performs at the 2018 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2018.

Clarence Tilton is simply the best alt-country band in this area, though their music transcends that genre in an indie sort of way. I’ve compared them to The Rave-Ups, The Reivers, The Windbreakers and, of course, Uncle Tupelo. Their latest release is a 6-song EP called World Rolled In, but they also released a split 12-inch with Monday Mourners earlier this year.

Stephen Sheehan and his band at Reverb Lounge, Aug. 18, 2017.

Then there’s Stephen Sheehan. The former frontman of ’80s-’90s post-ambient rock bands Digital Sex and The World re-emerged a year ago performing songs from both those bands with a new ensemble that includes Dan Crowell, Mike Saklar, Randy Cotton and Donovan Johnson. These guys rip. Plans call for the band to enter the studio next year to record new material. Stay tuned.

Finally, opening act Garst is not a band I’m familiar with but they’ve been playing around a lot this past year. The four-piece is celebrating the release of its debut CD four days after this show (Dec. 27) at Reverb Lounge.

You get all four bands for one low price of $10 or a new or lightly used coat. Note the above poster says $8. I suggest you split the difference and give $18. All proceeds go to Heart Ministry Center. Show starts at 7 p.m.

Look, most of us have the next day off seeing as it’s the eve or Christmas Eve. Consider this the first of the annual onslaught of holiday rock shows, with See Through Dresses on Dec. 28 and Criterial on Dec. 29.

Get in the spirit, why don’t ya.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.