Hear Nebraska Lives: 2018 Good Living Tour, Hear Grand Island and Beer Nebraska all announced…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm May 10, 2018

The 2018 Good Living Tour, brought to you by Hear Nebraska.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Even though it’s been explained a dozen ways, I continue to run into people who think Hear Nebraska folded when the organization merged with The Bay earlier this year to form Rabble Mill. No matter how many times I tell them that ain’t the case, they don’t listen, probably because the small army of Hear Nebraska photographers no longer are hanging around local shows.

Fact is Hear Nebraska is very much alive and kicking. This morning HN announced the 2018 Good Living Tour. The fourth-annual statewide event combines Nebraska music with skateboarding, and it’s probably the highest profile program HN has put on since the org formed in 2011.

This year’s tour locations are Broken Bow June 9 (featuring See Through Dresses and Matt Cox, among others); Imperial June 23 (with Conny Franko); Red Cloud July 7 and Norfolk July 20 (with Bokr Tov).

Showtimes weren’t given, but these typically are evening shows in public-square-style locations and they’re always free. More info here.

Hear Grand Island 2018

What was a by-product of Hear Nebraska but is no longer affiliated with the org is Hear Grand Island, which announced its 2018 schedule this week. All the shows are on Friday nights from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Railside Plaza in downtown Grand Island. The sched:

June 1: Twinsmith, Taking the Hourglass and Unforsaken Allies
June 8: Universe Contest, Cruz control and Misfire
June 15: Domestic Blend, Field Club and Isaiah Dominguez
June 22: The Fey, Rascal Martinez and UPSET
June 29: Tim Zach & Whiskey Bent, The Belles and Bernardus
July 6: High Up, Sebastian Lane Band and Losing My Charm
July 13: Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Evan Bartels & The Stoney Lonesomes and The Lupines
July 20: David Nance, Salt Creek and Alli and I
July 27: FREAKABOUT, The Way Out and From The Arc
Aug. 3: The Midnight Devils, The Wildwoods and High Plains Remedy

Beer Nebraska

Finally, there’s Beer Nebraska, a fundraiser for Rabble Mill — the umbrella org that houses Hear Nebraska. This one pairs local music and local beer and is being held at The Slowdown Aug. 4. And those bands are Satchel Grande, Icky Blossoms, Conny Franko, FREAKABOUT and Mesonjixx.

This one ain’t free:

Beers outside 5pm-9pm, Music in the Main Room 7pm-midnight
$25 Advance/$30 Day of Show with Beer Tasting
$15 Advance/$20 Day of Show without

So, yeah, Hear Nebraska is definitely kicking ass and taking names…

* * *

Pet Shop is hosting a show tonight with Uh, Death Cow, The Natural States and headliner Minneapolis band Dirty Junk. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.


Keeping up with SXSW 2018; Nebraska Exposed, Saddle Creek in Austin; new Belly video…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:45 pm March 13, 2018
The Wedding Present at Red Eyed Fly, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Wedding Present at Red Eyed Fly, SXSW, way back on March 14, 2012.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

As you’ve probably already figured out, I didn’t go to the South by Southwest Festival in Austin this year. With The Reader no longer being a sponsoring publication, it’s unlikely I’ll ever get a SXSW media badge again. That doesn’t mean I’ll never return to SXSW, but it makes it a whole lot more expensive (if I want a badge, anyway).

So no, I’m not there, and neither is Kevin Coffey from the Omaha World-Herald (Why he’s not there, I don’t know, but with the recent slew of lay-offs at the paper, I can guess).

And with Hear Nebraska now rolled into Rabble Mill, there’s no one from HN reporting from SXSW, either. The latest Hear Nebraska news is that applications are being taken for the 2018 Good Living Tour. The deadline to be considered for the fourth annual event is March 26.

This begs the question: How can any of us lost Omaha souls keep up with what arguably is the most important music festival in the country?

Well, there’s still a fairly large contingent of Nebraskans attending SXSW. In fact, 11 Nebraska bands are participating in Nebraska Exposed, a free showcase being held on the rooftop of Cheers Shot Bar on E 6th St. Wednesday night.

The 11 bands: Better Friend, HAKIM, Laughing Falcon, The Dilla Kids, State Disco, Orion Walsh, SAS, Lloyd McCarter and The Honky Tonk Revival, A Different Breed and KHARI The Duo, No doubt the majority are from Lincoln, which makes sense since the showcase is presented by Lincoln public radio station KZUM and Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development.

If you happen to be Facebook friends with anyone in these bands, you might be able to glean some SXSW updates throughout the week. For me, the best reporter on the scene is Jeremy Buckley. J has been a SXSW regular for years, and he’s already streamed a number of SXSW performances on Facebook Live. If you’re lucky, Jeremy might let you be his friend, too.

In year’s past, Saddle Creek Records hosted a SXSW showcase, but not this year. In fact, the only Creek band that appears to be playing the festival is Hop Along, who’s busy promoting their upcoming release, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, slated for release April 6. You can see Hop Along’s SXSW schedule at saddle-creek.com/sxsw

That said, it’s odd that the other Creek acts with releases upcoming — Stef Chura, Young Jesus, Rural Alberta Advantage — aren’t playing in Austin this week…

* * *

No shows tonight, but there are tons on the horizon. In the meantime, here’s the new video by Belly, who has self-released album coming out May 4 called Dove. And a tour, but alas, it’s a NOmaha affair…

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.


Good Living Tour announced, Lincoln Calling pre-sale; Kronch benefit, Miwi La Lupa, Ted Stevens, Lisa Prank tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:11 pm April 19, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Hear Nebraska this week announced it’s headed out west again this year for the Good Living Tour. The third-annual event is headed to Hebron, Auburn, Imperial, Red Cloud, McCook, Norfolk, Lyons and Hastings. Dates are throughout the summer (full schedule here). Bands have yet to be named, but typically each gig includes three Nebraska bands, many of them from the Omaha/Lincoln area. This music outreach program is among HN’s most successful ventures.

In other Hear Nebraska news, last week Lincoln Calling announced pre-sales for their Sept. 28-30 festival begin this Friday. The line-up announcement is slated for May 4. Expect even bigger and better things this year as Lincoln organization The Bay Skatepark joins Hear Nebraska as the festival organizers, with Allo as a sponsor. That kind of money means big-name acts. And if the names I’ve heard kicked around are true, Lincoln Calling will be giving Maha a run for its money.

It’s an impressive start to the year for Hear Nebraska. Now they just need to schedule similar programming in Omaha (where a lot of their donations comes from).

* * *

Shows aplenty for a Wednesday…

Tonight Omaha remembers Mike “Kronch” Kronschnabel at The Waiting Room. The tribute night includes performances by Anonymous American, Brad Hoshaw, Janglepop, Wakanda One, Bill Arab and Michael Campbell. $8 suggested donation goes to a music scholarship in Mike’s name. Come and raise a toast glass to an Omaha original who contributed greatly to the local music scene.

Also tonight, Miwi La Lupa plays songs off his recent release Beginner’s Guide at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Opening is Omaha indie music legend Ted Stevens (Lullaby for the Working Class, Mayday, Cursive) and Annie Dilocker. $7, 9 p.m.

Finally at the new Milk Run located in the basement of Midtown Art Supply, it’s Seattle punk Lisa Prank with Dogbreath and Taylor Sankey. $7, 9 p.m.

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Lydia Loveless, Kait Berreckman; New Lungs, Pro-Magnum tonight; Sucettes, Dick Dale Saturday…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:53 pm July 24, 2015
Lydia Loveless at Reverb Lounge, July 23, 2015.

Lydia Loveless at Reverb Lounge, July 23, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lydia Loveless looks like she could kick your ass. A fireplug of a woman, she stood in the digital light with her electric guitar hanging from her shoulders and belted out one song after another last night at Reverb like someone who’s been on the road for 10 years straight. She said prior to her set that last night’s show was the final night of filming for a documentary, presumably about her and/or her tour, though the only cameraman was one guy with a DSLR shooting from a corner of the stage as the the band ripped though its set.

Loveless had the C&W/alt-country tag hung on her early in her career, probably because of her slight twang that can easily slide into pseudo yodel and, in fact, does recall Loretta Lynn. And though she’s been compared to Lynn, Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith, she reminded me more of John Haitt, Tom Petty and Lucinda Williams backed by a second electric guitar, a guy who switched between pedal steel and electric 12-string, a drummer and a giant of a bass player who looked like a monster standing next to her.

Playing a number of songs off her most recent LP, Somewhere Else (Bloodshot, 2014) , this was my first real foray into Loveless. On indie label Bloodshot, there is a distinct commercial edge to her music, which I could imagine playing in the background of your favorite TV show. Listen most closely and you’ll catch elegant lyrics about love and longing that felt defiant on the upbeat rock numbers and humbling and regretful on the slower pieces. There is something about her music that makes me sad no matter how fast it’s played, sort of how I feel when I listen to Neko Case’s music. Like a soldier who’s just come home from battle, Loveless looked and sounded like a survivor telling war stories, and more often than not, it broke my heart.

I got to Reverb just in time to catch the tail end of Kait Berreckman’s solo electric/acoustic set. Her songs are sweet and sensitive and mostly upbeat despite lyrics that lay bare some of her more private moments in a heart-on-the-sleeve sort of way that reminded me of John Klemmensen (though not nearly as angsty). All the songs I heard were uptempo and played at the same speed, which made me yearn for some pace variety (I’d love to hear her play her closing song at half the speed and turn it into a durge-like anthem). Maybe the pacing was due to the solo approach — she says she’s better when she’s playing with her band (her words, spoken on stage). I’ll have to find out for myself.

* * *

Onward to the weekend.

There’s a good chance that I’ll finally check out the new Lookout Lounge at 320 So. 72nd (the old Hideout) tonight, as it’s hosting a free Maha Music Festival showcase. On the bill are Lineman’s Rodeo, New Lungs, Eric in Outespace, The Seen and Conchance. 9 p.m.

Also tonight psych-garage Shreveport band Ghost Foot headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Pro-Magnum, A Great Disturbance and Those Far Out Arrows. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Sucettes return to Reverb Lounge. Opening is Navy Gangs and High Up (featuring the Fink sisters). $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile over at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Dick Dale (he’s becoming a regular feature ’round here). The Sub-Vectors open. $28 today, $30 tomorrow. Starts at 9.

And finally, Hear Nebraska’s Good Living Tour wraps up tonight and tomorrow. Tonight the tour is in Nebraska City at Memorial Way with The So-So Sailors, Kill County and A Summer Better Than Yours. Starts at 8. Tomorrow evening the tour concludes in Grand Island with Icky Blossoms, Simon Joyner & The Ghosts and AZP. No idea on the venue, but the address is 111 E South Front St. This one’s listed with a 5 p.m. start. Both shows are free.

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Jeremy Messersmith house show; Sufjan Stevens, Low headed our way; Wilco giveaway; Author, Good Living North Platte tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:43 pm July 21, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I typically don’t write about upcoming shows, but there are a few that have just been announced that are under the radar.

First among them is a house show featuring Jeremy Messersmith Tuesday, Aug. 4, at a “midtown” location (You’ll find out where presumably when you buy your ticket). Messersmith is calling this his “Supper Club Tour.” Says Messersmith: “I want you to bring the food. But not just any food! I want to try your best, most mouthwatering dishes; the kind passed down through battered cookbooks, the kind that you’ve sworn to keep secret. I want to provide a soundtrack while you sample a feast the likes of which will never be seen again.” Mmmm. You can purchase your $20 tickets right here. I gotta believe space is limited…

Also announced today:

Sufjan Stevens is returning to Omaha, this time to the Orpheum Oct. 28. The last time he came through town with his band was way back in September 2005. From the review of that show:

Sufjan Stevens at Sokol Underground, Sept. 20, 2005.

Sufjan Stevens at Sokol Underground, Sept. 20, 2005.

Packed it was last night at Sokol Underground. It was sold out, and we’ll leave it at that. Packed from stage to the merch table, wall to wall, a mass of humanity come to see Sufjan Stevens and his 8-person band of cheerleader musicians dressed in their Big “I” T-shirts, some holding pompoms, all playing a myriad of instruments, most singing. The pompoms weren’t mere props. Stevens and crew began four or five songs with well-choreographed cheers, complete with arm signals and spirit fingers. It was that kind of set, a goodhearted rah-rah for ol’ Illinois, all in celebration of his second “state LP,” this one dedicated to The Prairie State.

Seriously, at times it was like listening to a choir led by a little guy in a Cubs hat with a voice that was a morph of Art Garfunkel and Ben Gibbard singing lullabies to Jacksonville, Decatur and Chicago. I didn’t know what to expect from the arrangements, I knew Stevens would be hard-pressed to recreate the lushness heard on the CD. But by God, he captured the majesty thanks to the glockenspiels and brass (especially his trumpet player) and keyboards and battery of percussion and those four female cheerleaders whose angel-voices made the whole thing float. Listening to Come on Feel The Illinoise as I write this after the show, I think everything was a tad funkier live, especially “Decatur,” which sported a nice bass riff and finger snaps and probably some sort of synchronized cheer-dance. After playing high school pep-rally standard “Varsity,” the band came back and did a one-song encore that nicely rounded off the hour-long set.

It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Considering the overall glumness of his new record, Carrie & Lowell, I don’t expect the Orpheum show to be as light-hearted. Still, this is must-see stuff. Presale tickets available here beginning tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Another must-see show announced today, Low plays Reverb Lounge Nov. 12.

* * *

If you haven’t seen it, the Wall Street Journal chimed in on Wilco giving away digital downloads of their latest album, Star Wars. You can download the album for free from here. Says the WSJ: “The popularity of the surprise album release—and Wilco’s decision to offer theirs for free—shows how much less album releases matter to many major artists relative to touring and other revenue streams.” and “… for acts such as Wilco, whose albums sell well but aren’t massive industry blockbusters, touring is the bigger part of the equation.”

This brought up a discussion last night at a dinner, where it was suggested that bands giving away digital versions of their music would become “the norm,” and that bands would rely on a combination of performance income, publishing rights sales (i.e. TV / commercial / movie use) and vinyl sales (and other merch) for the majority of their income. This may be work for established bands like Wilco, but it would likely mean hard times for up-and-coming acts…

* * *

One show of note tonight: Minneapolis four-piece Author plays at Reverb Lounge. Their most recent release, Of Brighter Days, came out this past January (listen to it below). Kind of Washed Out meets Owl City, sort of.  Opening is KC’s The Author and The Illustrator and EKLECTICA. $8, 8 p.m.

Also, the Good Living Tour rolls into North Platte tonight for a show downtown on “The Bricks,” (whatever that is). On the bill: A Ferocious Jungle Cat, Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies and M34N STR33T. Oh my, what those railroaders are in for… The free show starts at 8 and is all ages.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Appleseed Cast, Melt Banana, Uh Oh tonight; Sweatfest, Bloodcow release shows Saturday; Good Living Tour begins…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm July 17, 2015
Bloodcow at Reverb Lounge, March 7, 2015. The band celebrates the release of Crystals & Lasers at three separate shows Saturday night.

Bloodcow at Reverb Lounge, March 7, 2015. The band celebrates the release of Crystals & Lasers at three separate shows Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A busy music weekend ahead. Let’s get right to it.

Tonight The Appleseed Cast plays in the intimate confines of Reverb Lounge. Opening are Adjy, Annabel and Coaster. $12, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the 1% Entertainment Complex (i.e., at The Waiting Room) Melt Banana returns with Torche and Hot Nerds. $15, 9 p.m.

Local dudes Oh Uh are celebrating the release of their new EP, In the Glow, tonight at The New BLK (1213 Jones St.) with The Derby Birds and Eric In Outerspace. 9 p.m. start time and no cover listed, but you can check out the new album for free below:

And fabulous O’Leaver’s has Dan Tedesco tonight with 24 Hour Cardlock and The Willards. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday Sweatfest is happening all afternoon and evening at the Sweatshop Gallery. For a mere $10 you get performances by Conchance/Black Jonny Quest, Universe Contest, Dumb Beach, Stomach, Dave Nance, Gordon, See Through Dresses, Solid Attitude, Sam Martin, Nathan Ma & the Rosettes. Shy Boys, Dirt, Ebony Tusks, Sean Pratt, Calm Fur, Navy Gangs, Little Ripple, No Thanks, Ian Aeillo, Dead Flowers Preservation Club Band. Lineman’s Rodeo, No Getter and Captain Crud. Not to mention spaghetti wrestling.

Don’t ask me what the schedule is ‘cuz I don’t know, but maybe they’ll post it here.

Also Saturday night, the long-awaited CD release shows for Bloodcow’s new album, Crystals and Lasers, are finally happening, all three of them.

Show 1 is at The Barley Street Tavern at 7 p.m. No cover listed.
Show 2 is at O’Leaver’s at 8 p.m. with Members of the Press and Westside Proletariat. $5.
Show 3 is the grand-daddy of them all in Council Bluffs at T’z Sports Pub, 128 West Broadway. Joining them are Wet Radio and Coupe De Villain. $5, 9 p.m.

Go to one, better yet, GO TO THEM ALL!

Also Saturday night Say Anything headlines at The Waiting Room with Modern Baseball, Cymbals Eat Guitars and Hard Girls. $20 now / $23 tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.

And the second summer camp showcase for Omaha Girls Rock! is happening Saturday at The Slowdown. This start early at 5:30 and a $5 donation is suggested. See tomorrow’s stars today.

Last but not least, The Good Living Tour, sponsored by Hear Nebraska, kicks off this weekend. All shows are free and all ages and begin at 8 p.m.

Show No. 1 is tonight in Imperial (home to Hear Nebraska Exec Director Andrew Norman) at The Imperial Country Club and features The Talbott Brothers, See Through Dresses and The Bottle Tops.

Show No. 2 is Saturday night in Ogallala at Rendezvous Square and features Twinsmith, Freakabout and Lloyd McCarter.

Show No. 3 is Sunday night way out in Scottsbuff / Gering at Five Rocks Amphitheater and features McCarthy Trenching, Both and blet.

For more info about the tour, check out my write-up in the current issue of The Reader, and go to hearnebraska.org.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a red hot weekend.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


What’s so important about The Good Living Tour? (in The Reader); Endor the movie; Sam Martin tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:52 pm July 8, 2015

goodlivingtourby Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Somewhere on newsstands is the July issue of The Reader, and within its pages is a feature story about Hear Nebraska’s Good Living Tour . Waitaminit! Looks like you can also read the story online here.

The story gives you the usual who, what, when, where and how of the tour, and most importantly, the “why,” plus some technicolor from a Scottsbluff resident on how hard it is to see new bands when you live in the far reaches of western Nebraska. A full tour schedule is also provided to help you plan your summer vacation.

I won’t recast the story here, other than to say the tour is ambitious, it’s one-of-a-kind, and it could be an important moment in the history of local music. Its success depends on getting people to the shows, people who very likely have never heard of any of the bands involved. No doubt the Hear Nebraska forces have been hard at work doing their part to get the word out. But will it be enough? We’ll find out in a couple weeks.

Anyway, check out the story and pass it along to folks you know who live in these communities. Sharing is caring. Hear Nebraska thanks you.

* * *

Local boy wonder Aaron Gum (who you remember from InDreama (which, btw, I wish would get back on stage)) is co-directing a feature-length horror film with screenwriter Faustus McGreeves called Endor. Or at least he’s trying to. The crew is looking for money, and that’s where you come in.

According to Mr. Gum, filming is scheduled to begin this summer. Eli Mardock (of Eagle*Seagull) is composing an original motion picture soundtrack, and the final film will be color corrected by Jaimie O’Bradovich (Who remembers Shinyville?). Country musician Jeremy Starkel will be seen on screen as himself performing a new song written and being recorded for the movie, and rapper/actor Keives Mcgaugh will act in the film. On top of that, the campaign/teaser video features guest appearances by Orenda & Todd Fink and Nebraska state senator Colby Coash.

You can view that teaser here. and while you’re there…

The production is hoping to raise $7,000 via an IndieGoGo campaign that expires in 14 days. They’ve already raised $4,290. Among the premiums are tix to the premiere showings, posters, signed stuff, cameos, even props. Check out the campaign here and throw some money into the hat.

* * *

Pageturners’ Summer Concert Series continues tonight with singer/songwriter Sam Martin (Capgun Coup) along with Nathan Ma. The free concert gets rolling at 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


HN announces full Good Living Tour lineups; Once songwriting contest (and I’m on the panel); Matt Pond PA tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:01 pm May 7, 2015
Matt Pond PA

Matt Pond PA at Slowdown Jr., May 11, 2010

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First, if you haven’t already, check out this week’s podcast. Reviews of albums from Courtney Barnett, Waxahatchee, John Klemmensen and the Party and Simon Joyner, with special guest Chris Aponick, plus a HUGE concert announcement (that we made online here yesterday and that you’re going to get sick of hearing about). Check it out.

* * *

Over the course of what seems like a month (But was only a week or so) Hear Nebraska has  announced the line-ups of its Good Living Tour — a series of concerts the org is putting together in towns west of Omaha and Lincoln. It’s kind of like musical missionary work.

Actually, that’s a very pretentious way of putting it. It’s not as if the people in small towns don’t have access to the internet, where music lives these days. You can’t point to their lack of a terrestrial radio station that plays local music on rotation because, well, Omaha doesn’t have one of those, either.

That said, it’s safe to say that someone in West Point or Valentine is out of touch with indie rock bands in Omaha and Lincoln because the vast majority of people in Omaha and Lincoln also are out of touch with these same bands. Brad Hoshaw and John Klemmensen may draw a few hundred people to their album release shows; but that leaves about 800,000 people in Omaha who still don’t know who they are.

And as I’ve said before (broken record) the next time you’re in line at Hy-Vee tap the shoulder of the person in front of you and ask if they know who Cursive or Conor Oberst is, or for that matter, what Hear Nebraska is. Let’s not kid ourselves. The organization still has a lot of work to do to get the word out in its own back yard, let alone in rural Nebraska.

Still, this is a cool project that sits at the heart of what Hear Nebraska is all about. It’s rare for the folks in these towns to see these bands perform. Check out these dates and line-ups, gas up and take a road trip:

July 17 — Imperial
The Talbott Brothers
See Through Dresses
The Bottle Tops

July 18 — Ogallala
Lloyd McCarter

July 19 — Gering/Scottsbluff
McCarthy Trenching

July 20 — Valentine
Kris Lager Band
All Young Girls Are Machine Guns

July 21 — North Platte
M34n Str33t
Brad Hoshaw
A Ferocious Jungle Cat

July 22 — Kearney
Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers
The Seen
Mike Adams and Friends

July 23 — West Point
Rock Paper Dynamite
John Klemmensen and the Party
Dustin Prinz

July 24 — Nebraska City
A Summer Better Than Yours
Kill County
The So-So Sailors

July 25 — Grand Island
Simon Joyner & The Ghosts
Icky Blossoms

More info, including times and venue locations, are available right here at hearnebraska.com.

* * *

When I agreed to be the moderator of next Monday’s “pro panel” discussion sponsored by Omaha Performing Arts that’s being held at The Waiting Room (Mike Mogis, CJ Olson, Orenda Fink, Matt Whipkey, 6 p.m, free!) I didn’t know I also was volunteering to be a judge in a songwriting contest. I, uh, don’t usually like music contests, of any kind. Songwriters competing against each other, what’s the point? Is one song really better than another? In this case, yes.

The contestants were told to use the Broadway musical Once as an inspiration (the touring company version is currently performing the musical at the Orpheum). I listened to 50 entries, all posted on YouTube, along with a panel of judges. The obvious choices floated to the surface, and the top 20 songwriters who entered will be performing on stage after the panel discussion. The top two won something coveted by a lot of musicians (local and otherwise): Recording time with Mike Mogis at ARC Studio. Impressive.

So the winners were: Luke Heffron, 17, of Omaha won for “Forget Myself” in the 13-18 Age Division, and Drew Nenemen, 29, of Omaha won for “Another Love Song” in the 19-29 Age Division.

My general observations after going though this process: There are a lot of Jack Johnson / Dave Matthews / Taylor Swift fans out there (especially Jack Johnson fans). I was more impressed with the 13-18 age category entries as well as those who performed with a full band rather than sitting in their bathroom with a guitar on their lap. There’s a lot o’ young talent in this town, and you’ll get to see some of the best on Monday. It should be fun night.

* * *

Tonight, it’s the return of Matt Pond PA. Seems like ol’ Mr. Pond has been coming through Omaha every few years for the past couple decades. This time the show is part of the band’s 10 Year Anniversary tour in support of one of their most beloved albums, Several Arrows Later. Each night, not only will Pond and crew play the album in full, but also a sampling of songs from their upcoming album The State of Gold, which will be released later this year. Opening is Young Buffalo and our very own See Through Dresses. $12, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, listen to Matt Whipkey’s Underwater album on a $250,000 sound system that includes a $100,000 turntable. The free event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Sound Environment, 11021 Elm St. Whipkey says beer and wine will be provided. Bring your checkbook; you’ll want to go home with one of those turntables…

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Hear Nebraska heads West; Matthew Sweet records demos, album delayed; Oquoa, Sam Martin, Big Al Fest tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:00 pm April 23, 2015
The Good Living Tour

The Good Living Tour

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Hear Nebraska yesterday announced its first (annual?) Good Living Tour, which brings Omaha and Lincoln bands to small-town Nebraska throughout the summer.

The concert series features “27 of Nebraska’s top, all-original bands playing free, all-ages concerts across nine Greater Nebraska communities. An associated storytelling project will include Hear Nebraska’s production of a total of over 27 music/arts-related feature stories and videos highlighting the elements that make the communities great to live, work and play, especially for young people,” according to the HN press release.

Here’s the sched (for your summer vacation planning needs):

July 17 – Imperial
July 18 – Ogallala
July 19 – Scottsbluff/Gering
July 20 – Valentine
July 21 – North Platte
July 22 – Kearney
July 23 – West Point
July 24 – Nebraska City
July 25 – Grand Island

Hear Nebraska isn’t releasing the names of the bands involved in the series yet, but as a Hear Nebraska Board Member (full disclosure!) I can tell you the line-up is indeed impressive. HN will start announcing the bands April 27.

I think the biggest challenge to pulling large audiences to these shows will be underscoring the quality of the bands, many (most) of which are completely unknown in places like North Platte and Ogallala, where no doubt national mega-pop/American Idol acts, C&W and Freedom Rock is their daily music diet (You could argue that’s the same basic diet to most Omaha and Lincoln residents, as well as the rest of ‘merica). So, it’s a challenge, but no one said it was going to be easy.

Good Living Tour strikes at the core mission of Hear Nebraska, which is to “cultivate Nebraska’s vibrant, fertile music and arts community by providing resources and a voice for bands, artists and members of Nebraska’s creative class and the people and businesses that support them.” Find out more about Hear Nebraska at hearnebraska.org.

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Omahan Matthew Sweet said he’s recorded “at least an album’s worth of demos” for his upcoming album (with the working title of Tomorrow Forever), which he said probably won’t be completed until this fall, according to a Kickstarter update he posted yesterday.

“At this point, anything new I write will go straight to recording stage, as obviously I am running late,” Sweet said. “I am expecting to record one more batch of fifteen songs, at which point I can start putting together an order and getting a feel for what the album is. Most likely we will do this final recording in late May or Early June. We will do a few dates in July but otherwise I now hope to finish singing and overdubbing by Sept realistically.”

Sweet original said in his Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $55,000, that the album would be completed in early spring 2015. “I know it is quite typical for Kickstarter projects to run late,” he said. “When you run a campaign, you have to pick a date to shoot for, and I’d really hoped to make it. But it has to be better that I make the best album I can and take a little longer than to rush something out.”

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Oquoa continues its month-long residency. Joining them are Thinking Machines and Sam Martin, whose latest album, A Notion in An Ocean (Make Believe Recordings) is one of my favorite local releases so far this year. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tonight also is the kick-off of the Big Al Free Music Festival at The Hideout Lounge, 320 So. 72nd St. In addition to performing, bands will have free recordings available for swapping. The fest (which runs through Saturday) is also a food drive. Bring a can of food with you — donations will go to the Food Bank for the Heartland.

Here’s tonight’s sched:

8:00 – 8:30 Adam Peterson
8:35 – 9:05 Pflames
9:15 – 9:45 ARMY of 2600
10:00 – 10:30 The Sun-Less Trio
10:40 – 11:10 Low Long Signal
11:20 Digga DJ +1 with Big AL

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And if you haven’t already, check out this week’s Lazy-i Podcast. The 20-minute program features music by Wagon Blasters, Soft Moon, Blue Bird, Ladyfinger and music and an interview with Super Ghost, along with my picks for the best shows this weekend. Check it out below:

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.