Happy SPD; The Killigans, Filter Kings Saturday; Grocer, Bad Self Portraits Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:07 am March 17, 2023
Grocer at Reverb Lounge August 18, 2021. The band returns to Reverb Sunday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First off, Happy St. Patrick’s Day. 

When Benson first began to emerge as one of city’s nightlife hubs in the late 2000s, my dream was that the district’s businesses would eventually pull together to create the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day experience, wherein those of Irish descent (and otherwise) could stumble down Maple Street throughout the day/afternoon/morning drinking Guinness and/or Irish whiskey, enjoying traditional Irish music (or otherwise) from one bar to the next. Now, 16 or so years later, the Benson District still doesn’t jointly celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — one of the best bar days of the year. Ah well…

Instead, a handful of bars throughout the city do their own thing, with The Dubliner still being the best place to celebrate this day dedicated to day drinking, Irish lore and March Madness. The only thing missing is The Turfmen. Wherever you end up (even if it’s at home) please enjoy responsibly, or whatever.

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Weekend-wise, live music resumes on Saturday where The Waiting Room gets into St. Patrick’s Day a day late with a rock show featuring Lincoln Celtic rockers The Killigans. They’re as close as you’re going to get to Flogging Molly in these parts (other than Flogging Molly, who played The Admiral a week ago). Adding to the Midwestern brogue is Des Moines’ The Vandon Arms. Joining them is the not-so-Celtic-sounding Filter Kings. Also on the bill is Aage Birch. 8 p.m., $18.

Sunday night, Philly indie band Grocer (who I wrote about here) returns to Reverb Lounge. Joining them are rising stars Bad Self Portraits, who have been playing out a ton lately – here’s your chance to see them again live in person. Estrogen Projection opens the show at 8 p.m. $10. 

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 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Outlandia line-up annoucement imminent; Amyl does Omaha; Philly’s Grocer Vs. Pitchfork (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , — @ 10:59 am March 14, 2023

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Outlandia yesterday officially announced that the two-day festival returns Aug. 11 and 12 to Falconwood Park in Bellevue, with a line-up announcement in late March.

This year’s fest will for the first time offer a limited number of RV and camping locations, which was part of the original Outlandia vision. As for the actual lineup: “In its second year, Outlandia is staying true to its vision of featuring established and emerging indie, alternative and alt‐country artists and celebrating the community’s love of music,” said Outlandia cofounder Marc Leibowitz of One Percent Productions.

Outlandia will be challenged to beat last year’s line-up, topped by Wilco and The National. My two “guesses” of who could do that are The Pixies and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I guess we’ll see soon enough.

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Another Outlandia guess would have been Amyl and the Sniffers, but instead we’re going to get them Oct. 18 at The Admiral. This will be a cool show. Pre-show tix go on sale Wednesday (sign up from the Amyl website), with general ticket sales happening Friday morning. 

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Philly band Grocer returns to Reverb Lounge Sunday night. In support of that show, I interviewed the band for my monthly column in The Reader. The topic – are brutally negative album reviews necessary in an era when all music is available all the time. It’s not like ye olden days, when you shelled out your hard-earned cash, took home the album and hoped that the singlers weren’t the only decent tracks on the record. You simply didn’t know until after you bought the record. My, how things have changed.

Grocer was particularly irritated about a Pitchfork review of Maneskin’s shitty new album (and Steve Albini’s Steely Dan takedown), and said so in Twitter. See what they had to say either by picking up a copy of the March issue of The Reader at any of your favorite pick-up locations (mine is La Casa on Grover Street) or read it online right here. … Actually, here’s the column in its entirety, posted for posterity (because The Reader’s articles have a way of disappearing in a few years, unlike Lazy-i’s content, which lives forever….). 

Haters Gonna Hate

Early last month, Pitchfork, an online indie music news and reviews website, published a blisteringly negative review of glam-rock album “Rush!” by the Italian band Måneskin. Negative reviews are nothing new for Pitchfork, but this one was particularly biting; its sentiment was neatly summed up in the article’s subhead, in which author Jeremy Larson described the record as “absolutely terrible at every conceivable level.”

You’d think such a record would rate a 0.0 on Pitchfork‘s 10-point scale, but somehow the album garnered a 2.0. A rating that low catches people’s attention, and sure enough, the review received “viral lift” on social media by music fans who celebrated Larson’s butchery of an album they likely never would have listened to otherwise. And isn’t that what rock criticism is all about?

Not to Nick Rahn, guitarist/vocalist of Philadelphia-based indie band Grocer, which is slated to play at Reverb Lounge on March 19. Rahn headed to Twitter, posting from the band’s account: “Hot take alert: We no longer have a need for negative music reviews when you can listen to anything you want for free and form your own opinion.”

Rahn’s rebuttal continued in the threaded tweet. “I get that it feels good to shit on things you don’t like but is it helpful? Does it have a place on a public forum? With so much music out there isn’t it more useful to single out music you like than to single out music you don’t like? Also can we stop saying that music is ‘good’ or ‘bad’? It’s ok to have an opinion. You don’t need to be an authority on the objective quality of something just because it doesn’t register as ‘cool’ for you.”

Rahn’s reaction came a day after a different critical brouhaha boiled over on Twitter, this time featuring legendary post-punk recording engineer Steve Albini lambasting (of all things) ’70s yacht rock supergroup Steely Dan.

Albini, whose contribution to music history includes recording classic albums from grunge icons The Pixies, Nirvana and PJ Harvey, tweeted a bunch of one-liners about the band responsible for such hits as “Peg” and “Deacon Blues,” including: “Christ the amount of human effort wasted to sound like an SNL band warm up,” and “Music made for the sole purpose of letting the wedding band stretch out a little.”

As both a longtime Steely Dan fan and long-time Albini fan, this produced a chuckle. Others were not so amused, as online publications including Pitchfork “amplified” Albini’s rant, resulting in much venting of spleen on social media. Grocer reacted to this on Twitter, too: “If we are going to get upset every time an old guy has an opinion on Steely Dan there is no hope for us to survive in this world.” Huzzah!

Grocer bandmates, drummer/vocalist Cody Nelson and bassist/vocalist Danielle Lovier, said people got pissed about Rahn’s Pitchfork tweets.”They reacted angrily,” Rahn said via a phone interview.

“A lot of people took the comments to say that we don’t want to be criticized,” Nelson said. “When a multimillion-dollar company owned by Conte Nast decides to heat up conversation for a day, it’s going to be lame. The review’s author should have said he hates (the album) on twitter. For Pitchfork, (the review) is being mean for no reason. There was a period of time when a Pitchfork review could stop careers from thriving. These days it doesn’t matter.”

“What is weird,” Lovier added, “is that people will hate-listen to that album now.”

Lovier is right. I listened to the Måneskin album only because of its viral negative review and 2.0 rating. I never would have if Pitchfork rated it between 5.0 and 8.0. And while Rahn is correct that people can find out for themselves if an album is good or bad now that music is so freely available, that availability doesn’t come with the one valuable thing we all need to listen to new music — time.

Instead of hate-listening to the latest Måneskin album, Grocer would prefer you listen to their new album, “Scatter Plot,” released March 3 on Philly label Grind Select. Having listened to both, I can attest your time will be better spent.

And you can bet that, despite the criticism of Pitchfork, Grocer would love the so-called “bible of Indie music” to review their album.

“We would love them to pan us,” Nelson said. “And let’s face it, it’s better for (Pitchfork) to attack a band no one’s heard of than, say, Greta Van Fleet.”

Grocer performs at Reverb Lounge on March 19 with Bad Self Portraits and Estrogen Projection. Showtime is 8 p.m., tickets are $10. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

Originally published in The Reader, March 14, 2023. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with Grocer (playing tonight at The Sydney)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 5:45 am March 21, 2022
Grocer at The Reverb Aug. 17, 2021. The band plays tonight at The Sydney in Benson.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The last time Philly indie rock band Grocer came through Omaha last August I tagged them for a quick interview about touring during COVID, with the Delta variant about to come down like a hammer.

Drummer Cody Nelson put some wisdom to the situation: “We’re in a new place every night. If we can make sure we’re surrounded by as few potential carriers as possible that increases the chances of us being healthy and being able to continue our tour. If the venue takes the lead, it’s more comfortable for us to show up and be safe.” You can read the full article at The Reader website, here.

Looks like they survived, as the band is returning to The Sydney in Benson tonight, for a tough-as-nails Monday gig. Their style very much is in the early Pixies tradition, angular and cool riding high on the bass line and backbeat drums, while guitarist Emily Daly shreds feedback-drenched leads filtered through a muffled effects pedal.

Since last time, the band recorded a 9-track LP, Numbers Game, that’s slated for release May 6, and just released the first track, “Pick A Way.”

We caught up with Grocer again, but this time subjected them to the Ten Questions treatment. Here’s what they had to say:

What is your favorite album?

Danielle Lovier: My most listened to album is Shadow of Your Smile by Astrud Gilberto.

Nick Rahn: Bitte Orca – Dirty Projectors

Cody Nelson: Commit This to Memory by Motion City Soundtrack

Emily Daly: Sister by Sonic Youth

What is your least favorite song?

Cody: Don’t know if I have one, but I really don’t like Du Hast

Emily: Baby Shark

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Cody: Pass…JK it’s the most meaningful form of social/creative connection I’ve personally ever found. 

Emily: The camaraderie of hanging out with fellow weirdos with the same impossible goals

D&N: Touring!

What do you hate about being in a band?

Danielle: Making a decision on where the four of us should eat a meal while on tour.

Nick: Self Promotion

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Cody: Legal: Coffee, Illegal: Don’t worry about it 😉

Danielle: LSD lol

In what city or town do you love to perform?

Danielle: I think Omaha actually is pretty high up on the list for us, as well as Atlanta & Charleston.

Emily: Chicago/El Paso

What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Nick: Phoenix, too many reasons

Cody: Definitely Philadelphia, haha

Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Nick: No, I also freelance as an audio engineer and a handyman.

Danielle: Not quite there yet. I make planters.

Cody: Certainly not (yet), I’m also a professional poker player.

Emily: Nope!

What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Emily: I would love to teach, which I’ve done before, but unfortunately doesn’t pay a living wage. I would be useless at anything involving math. 

Cody: I would like to try being a therapist/psychologist, would hard pass any other sort of medical/legal field.

What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Danielle: We heard that there’s a recording studio in Omaha, where the sound engineer actually wrote ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ and gave it to Boys II Men, from which Mariah Carey stole it and said sound engineer was never credited.

Nick: Just the one story about the corn husker who saw Conor Oberst at a Runza.

Grocer plays tonight with Bad Self Portraits and Bach Mai at The Sydney in Benson, 5918 Maple St. Show time is not listed, but it probably starts at 8 p.m. $12.

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Grocer at Reverb Lounge…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:27 pm August 18, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Philadelphia indie band Grocer at Reverb Lounge, Aug. 17, 2021.

I dropped in for last night’s set by Philly band Grocer at Reverb Lounge, where I also conducted a quick interview with the band about proof-of-vaccine mandates, comments from which will appear in the September issue of The Reader. Needless to say, they support them, but what reasonable band wouldn’t?

Anyway, the four-piece came on at around 8:45 to a good-sized crowd for a Tuesday night (around 40?). Many in the young audience wore masks while they bounced around to Grocer’s thick-beat post-punk. That beat was created by bassist Danielle Lovier, who shared the lead vocals with drummer Cody Nelson and guitarist Nick Ryan.

Their style very much was in the early Pixies tradition, angular and cool riding high on the bass line and backbeat drums, while guitarist Emily Daly shredded feedback-drenched leads run through a muffled effects pedal, which at times was drowned out by the rest of the band (i.e., I would have loved more of her in the mix).

I dig their new EP, Delete If Not Allowed, and we got a good helping of it last night, including a fiery version of lead track “Better Now.” Other highlights included songs from the band’s debut LP, including “The Party Song” and an acidic version of “Don’t Touch Me” (Who are you singing about, Danielle?).

Side note: Closing band Bad Self Portraits’ drummer handled the vocals last night as apparently frontwoman Ingrid Howell suffered an appendicitis prior to the gig. You know what they say: The show must go on…

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Soundman Dan Brennan to leave Slowdown; Grocer, Cat Piss tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm August 17, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Philly indie band Grocer plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

I woke up to shocking news that sound engineer Dan Brennan is leaving Slowdown for a production manager position with Omaha Performing Arts. Brennan has been a part of Slowdown since the club opened 14 years ago and has galvanized the venue’s reputation as one of the best sounding live rooms in Omaha.

Could this move have something to do with the construction of OPA’s new 3,000-capacity Steelhouse Omaha live music venue slated to open downtown in mid-2023? It’s rumored that Live Nation will be booking bands coming through Steelhouse, which could have a real impact on Slowdown and the new Admiral (formerly Sokol Auditorium). We shall see..

Dan will be leaving the Slowdown control board duties in the able hands of Charlie Ames, who’s work history includes Front of House sound at The Jewell, and who is also quite familiar with Slowdown’s sound system having worked there in the past.

We’re gonna miss you Dan. Charlie, you’re up!

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Philly indie band Grocer headlines tonight at Reverb Lounge. Their latest EP, Delete If Not Allowed, was released in May and recorded during the lock-down, and is quite a leap from their last full-length. The band has an edgy, throbbing punk sound reminiscent of early Pixies. Check it.

Also on the bill is local noise rock trio Cat Piss and the indie pop fun of Bad Self Portraits. $10, 8 p.m. start time.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.