Oberst drop day; Chemicals tonight; Ex-Cult, Mitch Gettmann Saturday; Ten Questions with Of Montreal (Waiting Room Sunday)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:47 pm October 14, 2016
Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013. The band plays at The Waiting Room Sunday night.

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013. The band plays at The Waiting Room Sunday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s drop day for Conor Oberst’s solo album, Ruminations. In the old days, drop day meant when you could go out and buy a copy of the record. These days drop day means you can now listen to the new album on Spotify and the other streaming services.

Reviews of Oberst’s new album also have been dropping all week. The one everyone cares about — Pitchfork — went online Wednesday. Saddle Creek beat critic Ian Cohen gave the record a respectable 7.5 rating, saying it is “stunning for how utterly alone he sounds.

Rolling Stone gave the album 3.5 stars. AV Club, B+. NME: 4 out of 5. All Music: 3 stars. Drowned in Sound: 9 out of 10. The Album of the Year composite score is 69. As a whole, the reviews have been positive, pointing out that it’s a stripped-down, personal record, which it is. I do like the record, but it’s not likely to be something I’ll be reaching for very often. These are very sing-songy efforts, which I guess means they sound like the chords came first and he merely sang lyrics over them in the most comfortable, obvious way. You will not be surprised by the musical direction of any song.

But that said, some of these songs will resonate more over time, especially combined with his overall songbook.  He now has the acoustic solo album out of his system. What will he do next?

* * *

Let’s look at the weekend. The only major show is Sunday. We’ll get to that.

Tonight Chemicals opens for CJ Mills at Reverb Lounge. If you haven’t caught a Chemicals set, you’re missing out. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Blue Bird headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with St. Paul band Communist Daughter and Satellite Junction. $7, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) California garage rock veterans Ex-Cult (Goner, In the Red, Lollipop Records) headlines at Milk Run. Joining them are No Thanks and one one other TBA superstar. $10, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, at O’Leaver’s, Lodgings headlines Saturday night with Sean Pratt and Brazen Throat. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night, singer/songwriter Mitch Gettmann headlines at the Down Under Lounge, 3530 Leavenworth. Mike Saklar’s Sunless Trio also is on the bill, along with Disquieting Muses. No price listed, 9 p.m.

And Satchel Grande celebrates its 10 year anniversary at The Slowdown Saturday night. Rothsteen opens. $8, 9 p.m.

Then comes Sunday and this show at The Waiting Room:

Of Montreal plays at The Waiting Room Oct. 16.

Of Montreal plays at The Waiting Room Oct. 16.

Of Montreal has made Omaha a regular tour stop for well over a decade. If you’ve kept track of the band you know their early-days home-made theatrics have evolved into grandiose, eye-popping extravaganzas that can compete with Flaming Lips for over-the-top stage dominance. We’re talking lights, costumes, props and numerous stage extras (actors?) living out the songs in weird, wonderful ways. It’s a spectacular spectacle that David Bowie surely would have approved of.

The band returns supporting its latest album, Innocence Reaches (2016, Polyvinyl), that finds Kevin Barnes and Co. mining EDM territory but with quaint electronics and beats reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys. The thread that runs through it and all Of Montreal records is Barnes’ quirky melodies and trademark vocal croon that sounds like an alien computer singing lullabies to its robot children.

We caught up with Barnes and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey.

1. What is your favorite album?

Kevin Barnes: Lamentations by Moses Sumney

2. What is your least favorite song?

The National Anthem

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

Being wild and free.

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


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


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

Santa Fe

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

Eureka, California, It was Cinco de Mayo many years ago at a sports bar, no one knew who we were and everyone seemed  intensely stupid and openly hostile. One person spent most of our show standing in front of our bass player and giving her the middle finger.

8. How do you pay your bills? 

With money

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

I’d like to become a sports writer and cover boxing matches for a newspaper. I’d hate to be the judge at any kind of food eating competition.

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

I’ve heard that it smells of manure and that it’s rich in precious jewels.

Of Montreal performs with Teen Sunday, Oct. 16, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Showtime is 9 p.m.; tickets are $20. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

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

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Of Montreal, La Luz; Cold War Kids, Crystal Antlers, Toro Y Moi tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 2:17 pm November 4, 2013
Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

While last Saturday night’s Of Montreal concert was the usual spectacle that one expects from these colorful Athenians, it was only a medium-sized spectacle, especially compared to the last time they came through town and played at The Slowdown.

Your first thought might be that they pulled back because The Waiting Room has a smaller stage than The Slowdown’s cavernous maw, but you’d be wrong because I’ve been told the two stages are about the same size, and that TWR might actually be a tad larger. No, the real reason could have had something to do with the style of the band’s latest album, which is less of a party and more of a psychedelic head trip.

To help build that trippy buzz, Of Montreal’s eye-blazing projector-powered graphics got an extra punch of wow — pure acid-flashback dazzle combined with strange 8 mm-style film effects.

Theatrics did abound. Three “extras” made stage appearances in a variety of costumes, most resembling blobs or giant wadded up pieces of paper. When they weren’t stumbling around in bulky costumes, the extras slipped into place in white body stockings, unfolding umbrellas that reflected targeted projected graphics (see the eye-popping skull above).

And then there was the music. Of Montreal played their mega-hit “Wrath Pinned to the Mist and Other Games,” (a.k.a., the Outlook Steakhouse commercial jingle from a few years ago) in the middle of the set, surrounding it with new glammy material from Lousy with Sylvianbriar, their latest Polyvinyl release. If someone ever decides to make a David Bowie biopic, Kevin Barnes would be the shoe-in to play the Thin White Duke — his voice (at times) was a photo-realistic replica of Bowie’s, complete with the obvious, recognizable inflections we’ve come to know and love.

Beyond the Bowie comparisons, Barnes has a mammoth voice that keeps going and going, and is the clear centerpiece of the entire performance. Good thing, too, because while Of Montreal’s music often has a thumpin’ beat, it lacks a strong central melody. The reason “Wrath Pinned…” was a hit is because it’s one of the few songs they’ve written that invites you to sing along. The rest of Of Montreal’s melodies are two-dimensional gymnastics — dense, complex and sparkly — but forgettable. It’s the reason Of Montreal never broke through the way Arcade Fire has, though the two bands do very similar things (and one might argue, Of Montreal does it better).

But who cares when you see Barnes coming out after a costume change dressed as a 12-foot tall singing psychedelic ghost?


La Luz at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

La Luz at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Opener La Luz was a fun exercise in genre rock, described to me by one listener as Middle Eastern-infused surf rock. To me they played traditional garage rock with a sinister undertone. Great stuff, in small doses.

* * *

The big shows keep rolling on tonight:

Cold War Kids play tonight at The Slowdown with Crystal Antlers, whose latest, Nothing Is Real, is brash and loud and worth getting to the club early for. $20 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, chillwave superstar Toro Y Moi headlines with Classixx, a DJ duo who have remixed everyone from Phoenix to Yacht to Holy Ghost to Ladyhawke. $17, 9 p.m.

Why does it have to be Monday?

* * *

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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.