Live Review: La Luz, The Whiffs; American Aquarium, The New Trust tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:45 pm May 29, 2018

The Whiffs at O’Leaver’s, May 28, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

As much as I love O’Leaver’s, it does have its limits. Last night’s super-packed La Luz show is one example. When you have that many people crammed up by the band, with people literally sitting on top of the railing, anyone behind that mass of humanity isn’t going to see anything except people’s backs because O’Leaver’s doesn’t have a raised stage (or a stage of any kind).

I made the mistake of hanging outside in the beer garden too long between sets, so when I came back inside, my favorite “spot” (which is along the side, peeking through the “windows”) was already taken, leaving me to hang out by the sound board for most of the La Luz set. They sounded great, playing a modernized version of mid-tempo doo-wop/surf rock.

La Luz from in back of the room at O’Leaver’s, May 28, 2018.

What can I say? The show would have been a blast held outside or in a larger venue (like The Winchester, but I’m told live shows there is a year away). It was still fun. I ended up listening to the last half of the set outside on the old front patio, where I watched one of the band members crowd surf to the bar, take a shot and disappear back over the crowd to the stage — been a long time since I’ve seen crowd surfing at O’Leaver’s.

Luckily there were fewer people in the club when The Whiffs were on stage. The KC four-piece plays power-pop rock reminiscent of bands on the old Titan Records label of the ’70s — acts like The Boys and Gems — bands that would go on to influence national acts like The Knack. Check out the collection: Titan, It’s All Pop on Numero (and on Spotify).

The Whiffs have that same energy, though their sound is slightly harder, rougher but no less fun, rife with three-part harmonies and some killer guitar solos. Check out their album on Bandcamp for some summer fun.

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It’s a busy week for shows…

Tonight New West band American Aquarium plays at The Waiting Room. The North Carolina act’s sound is a twangy Americana which has been compared to Lucero, Jason Isbell and Jeff Tweedy. Cory Branan opens at 8 p.m. $20.

Meanwhile, back at O’Leaver’s it’s The New Trust (ex-The Velvet Teen) with The Long Awaited and Cuddlebone. No price listed, but probably $5. 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Simon Joyner & The Ghosts, Lupines, Little Brazil listening party tonight; Domestica, House Vacations Saturday; La Luz Monday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm May 25, 2018

Simon Joyner at O’Leaver’s, July 1, 2016. Joyner and his band, The Ghosts, kick off an East Coast tour tonight at Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

No national touring shows this weekend, except one:

Simon Joyner & The Ghosts kick off their East Coast tour tonight at Brothers Lounge. Simon will be out supporting his latest, Step Into the Earthquake (2017, Shrimper / Ba Da Bing!). It’s been forever since Joyner/Ghosts have played in Omaha and the first time they’ve ever played at Brothers. This one’s stacked, with Lupines and The Wagon Blasters opening. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Lash LaRue & Hired Guns play at The Barley Street with Ragged Company. $5, 9 p.m.

Scott Severin plays tonight at The Down Under Lounge with The Show Is the Rainbow and Wendy Jane Bantam. 9:30 p.m., no cover listed.

And tonight Little Brazil is hosting a listening party at Hi-Fi House for their new album Send the Wolves, which drops June 1. You can read all about the new record here. Wonder if they’ll have any extra copies of the vinyl for sale tonight? I’m told merch will definitely be on hand. The listening party is from 8 to 11 p.m. and is free.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Cami Cavanaugh Rawlings celebrates her 50th birthday at The Down Under with a rock show featuring Domestica, The Ronnys and her band, Bathtub Maria. This one’s free (though Cami’s asking for canned food for charity Completely Kids). Starts at 8 p.m. More info here.

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s Lincoln act Red Cities headlines with The Ramparts and Dead on Dust. $5, 10 p.m.

House Vacations are having an EP release party for their new one, Pictures of Friends, at Petshop Saturday night. Orca Welles, Mago and Threesome Egos open at 8 p.m. No idea what this will cost you to get in.

Strangely, there’s no shows slated for Sunday, which sucks because we all have Monday off for Memorial Day. Come on, people!

It being a 3-day weekend, I might as well mention what’s happening Monday night. LA surf/psych-rock band La Luz plays at O’Leaver’s. They’ve got a handful of albums out on labels like Hardly Art and Burger Records. Kansas City power pop band The Whiffs open along with Omaha’s Dirt House. This one starts early at 6 p.m. $8.

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 — 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.


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,

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.

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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?

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.