Live Review: Clarence Tilton at a block party; Terror Pigeon, Iska Dhaaf tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm September 12, 2016
Clarence Tilton at the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 10, 2016.

Clarence Tilton at the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 10, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

From the porch of my house on Sunset Trail I could see the lights glowing from the stage through the trees. This was no ordinary block party, it was the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, an event that’s been held since 2014 along the said neighborhood street between Western and Underwood. It’s gotten bigger every year; this year’s featured performer was Clarence Tilton. Next year I expect Wilco to headline.

Despite the stage and professional sound (Hiddleston is first class), it really is just an annual block party. The street was blocked off on either end and long tables were set up leading to the stage, which was a riser surrounded by white Christmas lights strung from poles. It was like a small-town concert, with kids tooling around on push-scooters screaming and laughing, people in groups drinking beers and wine, a portable fire pit and kiosk loaded with flat-panels that showed night college football games for those who couldn’t bear missing a snap.

What I found interesting was how everyone knew everyone; whereas I didn’t know anyone on the street. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised — I don’t live on Parkwood Lane. But then I got to thinking about how many people I really know on my street; know by name. Or who know me. The number is maybe five or six? That’s what happens when you don’t have kids. If you have kids, well, you’re going to know everyone in a four-block radius…who has kids. That’s how it’s always been and should be.

Anyway, we sat on a hay bale and listened as the Clarence Tilton gang ripped though a set of alt-country songs that deserve attention from the rest of the world. At the core is the Weber Brothers on electric guitars and vocals, surrounded by some of the tightest-playing musicians in Omaha. Though alt-country in style, the music reminded me of bands like The Rave-Ups, The Reivers, The Windbreakers and Uncle Tupelo. It’s music that will appeal both to country fans and fans of good, upbeat, tuneful indie music. In fact, I don’t know why they haven’t been discovered by a label. Their debut album, which came out last year, is among the best things produced out of Nebraska.

Though I didn’t see anyone doing a two-step (which got me thinking, these guys really should try playing a few sets at Bushwackers in Ralston) the neighborhood looked like it was having a good time. And the sound was immaculate. We left after about an hour, and of course, was able to continue listening from our house, and didn’t mind at all…

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Tonight there’s a pretty cool electronic/dance show at Lookout Lounge. I haven’t been able to find a shit-ton of info about the headliner, Terror Pigeon, on the interwebs. The best info was from this 2014 Stereogum article:

…formed as Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, it’s a collective that was created in 2008 by then-SUNY Purchase student Neil Fridd. They signed to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label and put out one full-length in 2010, the charmingly-titled ‘I love you! I love you! I love you and I’m in love with you! Have an awesome day! Have the best day of your life!’ They were written up in The New York Times and played shows at SXSW, CMJ, and around DIY venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Their emoji-heavy website shows that they’ve been touring consistently for the past four years since the release of their debut. With “Girl!,” they’ve officially started the rollout for their sophomore album, called Live It Up Before You Die It Up!, which will be released through Nashville-based label Stay Magical.

Their music reminds me of Matt & Kim, sorta, though I like TP’s music a lot more.  Also on the bill is Real Dom, a lap-top dance dude. Locals Thick Paint (Graham Ulicny of Reptar) and Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes) open. $5, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Iska Dhaaf,  is playing a sneaky show at Milk Run. Sneaky because it came out of nowhere. They played at O’Leaver’s this past April (BTW, here’s Ten Questions with Iska Dhaaf written in support of that show.)Opening are Idle Fox and King Pegion.  $8, 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Author tonight; Closeness, BAMF (Wagon Blasters, Mike Saklar) Saturday; Iska Dhaaf Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:38 pm April 29, 2016

by Tim McMahan,

Here’s what we got for the weekend…

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Minneapolis band Author. Radio station The Current described the trio’s latest album, 2015’s Of Brighter Days, as “the sort of album John Lennon might have made in 1994 if he’d survived to collaborate with Jon Brion.” Haughty praise. Listen to the album below and decide for yourself if that’s accurate. Also on the bill are LA band Sea Cycles and Eklectica. $7, 9:30 p.m.

And that’s all I see for tonight.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is another story.

Easily one of the most talked about band debuts in recent memory goes down Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. CLOSENESS (all caps, not sure why) is a collaboration between Orenda Fink of Azure Ray fame and her husband, Todd Fink of The Faint and Digital Leather. They’re describing their music as “haunting and hypnotic electronic songs.” A lot of people are interested in this debut. Opening the bill is Thick Paint, a hot new project by Reptar’s Graham Patrick Ulicny, and spaced_bar. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Then there’s the annual Big Al’s Music Festival, happening all afternoon and evening Saturday at Lookout Lounge. This is the 9th year for BAMF, a free concert featuring a bunch of local bands, this year including the amazing Wagon Blasters (8:45 set), Mike Saklar playing old Ravine songs (9:30) and Relax, It’s Science (10:14), among others. In addition, Big Al Band will be closing out the show (11:45). See the full schedule here. This also is a food drive, so bring your canned stuff, all of which will go toward Food Bank for the Heartland.

Finally, Sunday it’s O’Leaver’s beer garden grand opening. It’s a shame that it’ll probably be cold and raining all day. The night’s festivities include Iska Dhaaf (which you read about here) opening for Annalibera. Also on the bill are Haunted Gauntlet and Mike Schlesinger & Sean Pratt. $5, 9 p.m.

And that is it. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a wet and wild 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with Iska Dhaaf (playing O’Leaver’s (with its new beer garden) Sunday)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:30 pm April 28, 2016

by Tim McMahan,

First, thanks to those who noticed that the site was down last night. Seems to have been some sort of data-limit issue. We’re back and better than ever.

There’s actually two reasons to see Iska Dhaaf this Sunday at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The first reason is highlighted below — great band. The second reason is that Sunday is the grand opening of O’Leaver’s massive, out-of-this-world beer garden. Yes, I know the new patio was open to the public last fall, but The Club is celebrating its “official” opening Sunday starting at 11.  You can read the whole story behind O’Leaver’s new beer garden in this rather large story that appeared in The Reader last October.

Onward to Iska Dhaaf…

Iska Dhaaf plays O'Leaver's Sunday, May 1.

Iska Dhaaf plays O’Leaver’s Sunday, May 1.

Ten Questions with Iska Dhaaf

New York City-based duo Iska Dhaaf’s beautiful, tonal, layered, electronic songs pulse with pop-click-bang rhythms that race like a jackrabbit’s heartbeat. On their new album, The Wanting Creature (2016, Brick Lane Records) Nathan Quiroga’s and Benjamin Verdoes’ voices intertwine in an elegant, ghostly ballet that perfectly complements their songs’ haunting stories of modern life with all its complications.

I asked Nate and Benjamin to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what they had to say (seemingly in unison):

1. What is your favorite album?

Iska Dhaaf: Kid A by Radiohead

2. What is your least favorite song?

The “Chicken Song” that they play at roller skating rinks. Also, that song by Edwin McCain, “I’ll Be,” or whatever it’s called, is a close second. I hate these songs with a deep unbridled passion. I resent the question, because now they’re stuck in my head.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Writing songs and traveling around the world with my best friend to perform them.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Business/promotion is probably the worst aspect.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Orange juice, or most variations of fruit.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Paris is really amazing.

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

In general, even in the worst venues and towns we find a way to enjoy ourselves and connect with people. There have been plenty of strange and sparsely attended shows, but they’re all valuable.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Strategically and usually with a sense of unease.

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

Writing novels, short stories, or films. I would hate to be a mortician.

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

I haven’t heard that many. Most of them are in songs that came from Saddle Creek bands. Nate saw his first Fire-Fly there, though. That’s a nice story.

Iska Dhaaf plays with Annalibera, Haunted Gauntlet and Mike Schlesinger & Sean Pratt Sunday, May 1, at O’Leaver’s, 1322 Saddle Creek Rd. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information, go to

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.