While away: Milk Run gets shut down (again); Charles Bradley cancels LC appearance (again); Wagon Blasters, Charlie Burton tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm September 7, 2017

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016. They’re playing tonight at Barley Street Tavern.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m back after spending nearly a week in Manhattan, watching tennis and Yankees and people strutting around in kinky boots. It’s been a couple years since I’d last visited NYC, and can report the town has gotten dirtier but never more fun.

Anyway, it looks like a few things happened while I was gone.

Of note was the shut-down of Milk Run… again. Based on this fine Hear Nebraska report,  Johnny Law showed up during the Nebraska Hardcore Showcase Saturday night at the cavernous DIY show space located in the basement of Midtown Art Supply at 2578 Harney. Apparently someone called the police and said there was a drug-fueled rave going on with minors and booze.

Of course it was all bullshit, but still, the show was cancelled because the building’s owner apparently wasn’t aware that shows were being held in his building’s basement, despite the fact that Milk Run has been operating from the dungeon space since March. Where was the landlord before? Of course there’s more to this story; no doubt arrangements had been made without formal leases or contracts, which is the nature of DIY (most of the time).

Lookout Lounge stepped up and the showcase was moved, but Milk Run remains an idea without a home. They have shows booked through October, including an Oct. 9 date with Worriers (a hot punk band whose last album was produced by Laura Jane Grace of Against Me, and who just signed with Side One Dummy). They’re hustling to find other venues, but the question remains where they’ll land permanently.

In some ways it’s not surprising that it’s so hard to find a space for an all-ages DIY music club. What landlord wants to take on that potential liability? On the other hand, based on their last two venues, the Milk Run folks aren’t looking for much more than a room with electricity and a bathroom. Milk Run I, located on lower Leavenworth, was the size of a large closet. Milk Run II was a concrete bunker.  If that’s all they’re looking for, there has to be an open bay somewhere in South Omaha willing to take it on. Or maybe not.

Throughout its short history, Milk Run has booked some gold-star touring indie bands, some so good that I wished the shows had been booked at nicer venues. I assume the DIY and all-ages factors are what helped them land the gigs.

There may be a possible solution to Milk Run’s dilemma — a talked-about new non-profit all-ages stage that could host some of their shows. But it’s a long way away (if it happens at all), and it’s definitely nothing like Milk Run. Omaha needs a dedicated, all-ages space willing to take a risk booking national bands that are too financially risky or under-the-radar for the usual mainstream venues to book…

* * *

Speaking of non-profits, Hear Nebraska was dealt a slight body blow yesterday when one of the headliners for its upcoming Lincoln Calling Festival — Charles Bradley — announced he is cancelling all upcoming tour dates due to illness.

According to the press release: “The beloved soul singer was diagnosed with stomach cancer last fall and, after undergoing treatment and beating it, he returned to the road this past spring. He began to feel run down during recent tour dates and learned that his cancer spread to his liver, though hasn’t returned to his stomach. He will be taking time off to focus on treatment and recovery.”

Bradley was slated to headline the Duffy’s Outdoor stage Friday, Sept. 29 (vs. Angel Olsen at The Bourbon). Same thing happened last year to LC, when Bradley’s initial stomach cancer was diagnosed. The festival was still a big success, as I’m sure it will be again this year.

BTW, it recently was brought to my attention that Lincoln Calling is getting stiff competition in Omaha that same weekend, with Fleet Foxes Sept. 29 and Future Islands/Explosions in the Sky Sept. 30, both held at Waiting Room Outdoors (located on Military Ave. next to Jake’s). Coincidence?

* * *

A couple red hot shows are happening tonight…

At the Barley Street Tavern, The Broke Loose begins a residency (Hey, who wouldn’t want to live at The Barley Street?), and opening is none other than The Wagon Blasters. It’s been awhile since Gary Dean Davis and Co. have bounced on an Omaha stage. 9 p.m., no price listed, but probably around $5.

Also tonight Nebraska legend Charlie Burton continues his recent revival, this time at fabulous O’Leaver’s. His full band — Charlie Burton and Or What? — is playing what is billed as a “special happy hour beer garden gig” — which I assume means he’s playing outside? This one is early, start time is 6 p.m., and costs the usual $5.

Also… Omaha and Encounter magazine are celebrating their latest issues with a party at The Slowdown tonight featuring the maestro himself Brent Crampton along with DJs Kethro and  Stephen Bils. $5, 8 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.