#BFF, Bob Hall, Chemicals; Lincoln Calling weekend kicks off tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm May 3, 2024
Chemicals performing at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016. The band plays tonight at The Sydney as part of #BFF.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The big deal going on this weekend is, of course, Lincoln Calling. I’ll get to that in a sec. First, the reason why I won’t be at LC this weekend….

Tonight is the first Friday of May, which means it’s Benson First Friday (#BFF). That’s the day of the month when venues and art galleries up and down Maple Street open their doors to local artists and their wares.

And that includes Ming Toy Gallery, where tonight we have an opening for Marvel comics artist and Lincoln native Bob Hall. Throughout his career, Hall drew some of the most iconic superheroes of the ’70s, ‘80s and ’90s, including The Avengers, Spider-man, The Champions, Dr. Doom, as well DC hero Batman and many more. We’re featuring Hall’s comic art – including many original, full-page comic book panels. The opening tonight runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at Ming Toy Gallery, 6066 Maple St. Come by, say hi, see some heroes and have a beer.  

BTW, you can read all about Bob in my first-ever story for Flatwater Free Press, published this past Wednesday. Click here and give it a read.  T

And in case you didn’t know, Saturday is Free Comic Book Day. Joining in the celebration is Legend Comics and Coffee, located right next door to Ming Toy, where Bob Hall will be on hand doing drawings and signing stuff. Ming Toy will be open all day tomorrow, too, in support of Free Comic Book Day. 

Back to the music…

As part of BFF, The Sydney in Benson is hosting a show that features the return of progressive jazz ensemble Chemicals, whose members include bassist Dereck Higgins. Joining them tonight is Agronómo and Heavier Than Air. $10, 9 p.m. 

Now, onto Lincoln Calling. You can read my recap about this year’s LC line-up here. The festival’s full schedule, as well as ticket info, is available at Lincolncalling.com. So if I did go to LC tonight, I’d be checking out Cherry Glazerr, The Dirts, David Nance and Mowed Sound and PROBLEMS. Lincoln Calling’s Saturday highlights (to me, anyway) are Friko, Water from Your Eyes, Dip Tet, Bad Bad Men and Ritual Device.

By the way, if you missed it, here’s my review of last night’s Ritual Device show at Reverb. If you can’t make it down to Lincoln this weekend, you’ll have another chance to see Ritual Device tonight at Reverb Lounge with Bad Bad Men and Gerald Lee Jr. 

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

* * *

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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ritual Device original line-up reunites for Lincoln Calling, Reverb shows…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 9:54 am April 29, 2024
Ritual Device circa 1994. Photo by Mike Malone.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

One of the biggest surprises of this coming weekend’s Lincoln Calling Festival line-up is that legendary Nebraska punk band Ritual Device is reuniting for a one-off concert featuring the band’s original line-up. 

A four-piece consisting of guitarist Mike Saklar, drummer Eric Ebers, bass player Jerry Hug and frontman/madman Tim Moss, Ritual Device was one of the key bands during Nebraska’s first golden age of indie music. Along with acts like Mousetrap, Frontier Trust, Simon Joyner and Lincoln’s Mercy Rule, Ritual Device recorded and released music and toured throughout the country at a time when very few Nebraska bands did. 

For those who missed it, here’s my original description of this band, written 30 or so years ago: Ritual Device is a tortured, monolithic punk rock band whose sound had been aptly described as “gutter groove.” They make perfect background music for your typical serial killing or high-speed chase through a bombed-out Beirut neighborhood. The closest comparison? Maybe the Jesus Lizard meets Ministry with a little Nine Inch Nails thrown in (without the synths, of course). It is violent music, scary.

On stage, Ritual Device also was violent – shows were riots of noise and panic, with Moss egging on the crowd with a microphone chord wrapped around his wrist and elbow, his long hippy hair sweat-matted to his face, throwing raw pig ears into the thrashing mob. Through that haze of mayhem, the band’s bass/drum/guitar groove piston-pumped like an overheated Mopar engine – angry, infectious, and, yes, groovy.

Ritual Device at The Waiting Room, Dec. 26, 2014.

And now you, too, can experience Ritual Device in all its glory, not only Saturday night at Duffy’s as part of Lincoln Calling, but at two nights of shows – Thursday and Friday – at Reverb Lounge. When the band last reunited almost 10 years ago at a crowded Waiting Room Lounge, Moss had said it would be their last waltz. But when Lincoln Calling organizers reached out, he and the band couldn’t say no.

“I didn’t think we’d play again, either,” Moss said Sunday night after the band’s first rehearsal for this spate of shows. “I had to sit on it a few days before I talked to the other guys. It seemed like, ‘Why not?’ We were all in a good spot to do it.”

Moss, who lives in San Francisco, is the artist manager for bands Faith No More and Sleep and the road manager for Mastodon, who currently isn’t touring. The remaining members are active in other local projects. Mike Saklar fronts The Sun-Less Trio and Jerry Hug plays bass in Bad, Bad Men (who will be playing right before Ritual Device Saturday night at Lincoln Calling and Friday night at Reverb). Last year Ebers played drums with the Cotton brother’s band, Violenteer.

So how was that first practice? “It was a little rough,” Moss said, but quickly added that they’ll be ready by this weekend. The set list no doubt will include songs from Henge, the band’s 1993 debut on Redemption Records. Produced by the band and recorded and produced by The Jesus Lizard’s David Wm. Sims, it’s something of a lost treasure of punk rock, having never been rereleased and unavailable on streaming services Spotify and Apple Music… but not for long.

Ritual Device, Henge (1993, Redemption)

The band will reintroduce Henge to the world with a remastered digital-only version. The plan was to have the new version available before these shows but “it’s taking a little longer for us to be happy with it,” Moss said. Working on the project is Chicago’s Carl Saff, whose credits include mastering albums by Sleep, Mudhoney, Bardo Pond, Sonic Youth and more. In addition to the full album, the release will include tracks from the band’s “Pork Fist” single. 

In a post on social media, Moss summed up his feelings about Ritual Device and the role it’s played in his life: “After the band broke up, my path now clear to me, I moved to California and never looked back traveling further into this life of Music, but it was this band, this little noise-rock punk combo, that introduced the World to me, and I will always be grateful for that and to my three band mates who shared it with me.”

The schedule for this week’s Ritual Device reunion shows are as follows. Choose wisely:

  • — Thursday, May 3 at Reverb Lounge, Ritual Device with Pagan Athletes and Nowhere. 8 p.m., $20.
  • — Friday, May 4 at Reverb Lounge, Ritual Device with Bad, Bad Men and Gerald Lee Jr. 8 p.m., $20. 
  • — Saturday, May 5, at the Lincoln Calling Music Festival – Duffy’s Tavern, 11 p.m. Full weekend passes are $60; one-day passes are $40 and available from Lincolncalling.com

* * *

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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Lincoln Calling 2024 lineup: Cherry Glazerr, Water From Your Eyes, Friko and… Ritual Device; Dan McCarthy, Jim Schroeder tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 9:28 am March 5, 2024
Lincoln Calling is May 3 and 4.

by Tim McMahan,  Lazy-i.com

Welp, after a day-long delay, Lincoln Calling finally released their lineup . The announcement was supposed to go out yesterday, but five minutes before the “information embargo” expired organizers sent an email pleading for media to hold the presses.

Of all the local festivals (and there’s one fewer this year), Lincoln Calling has the most eclectic lineups. No one genre dominates; instead they throw everything into the mix and this year is no exception. 

Slated for May 3 and 4 in venues throughout downtown Lincoln, the 20th anniversary edition boasts 55+ national and local acts. The headliner is pop-rapper Tkay Maidza, whose last album was released on 4AD, a label that used to be renowned for its ambient/indie/post-punk acts. Something tells me the label is making mo’ money from this pop/dance fare.

While LC2024 has a plethora of R&B/DJ/jazz/pop acts, it’s the indie stuff I’m interested in, and the list of touring indie artists is impressive. Among them:

  • – LA trio Cherry Glazerr (Secretly Canadian)
  • – New York duo Water From Your Eyes (Matador Records)
  • – Louisville’s Wombo (Fire Talk Records)
  • – Nashville punkers Snõõper (Third Man) and 
  • – Chicago’s Friko (ATO Records). 

But maybe the most notable act announced is a reunion of influential ’90s Nebraska post-punk legends Ritual Device. I think the last time these guys performed was a holiday show in 2014 with Cellophane Ceiling. Frontman Tim Moss once told me that show was the end. Looks like we’re in for another ride. 

The rest of the so-called “regional acts” is just as impressive. Among them are David Nance and Mowed Sound (which, now that they’re on Third Man Records, should have relegated them higher in the LC2024 press release), Universe Contest, Clarence Tilton, The Dirts, PROBLEMS, Bad Bad Men, Pagan Athletes, Plack Blague, Face and, as they say, lots, lots more.

Venues include two outdoor stages along with 1867 Bar, Duffy’s Tavern and The Zoo Bar. Tickets are on sale at lincolncalling.com, with early bird weekend passes priced at $50 – that’s an insanely low price for a festival like this. 

Hey, what about a VIP option? Well, as a matter of fact, there is one: The Callers Club. There are four club levels and for $250 you’ll be in the “Immerse Level,” which includes VIP seating, a local meal and drinks. At the $1,000 level you can meet the artists, because let’s face it, everyone needs to meet Tim Moss at least once in their life…

Now all we need is a schedule…

. 0 0 0 .

In the meantime… 

Birdie Edge is Alabama instrumentalist Richard Edge. According to an article in The St. Lous Music Report (Why don’t we have an Omaha Music Report?), Mr. Edge was involved in the St. Louis hardcore scene, including in bands Freon and Hippyfuckers. “Surprisingly however, a good chunk of their work has been dedicated to an earthy, rural acoustic solo self-titled project centered around the resonant nature of their steel string acoustic guitar and complex Americana finger-picked patterns,” said the Report.

I have no idea if this information still applies to Birdie Edge, as the article was published two years ago and there’s nothing else online (including at the Pageturrners website). According to Bandcamp, Jinx, the recording linked below, was tape dubbed by David Nance. And tonight’s opener for this show, Jim Schroeder, has played alongside Nance for years

It all adds up to saying that tonight Birdie Edge Dan McCarthy plays at Pageturners, with Jim Schroeder opening at 8 p.m. No cover but drop some cash in the hat for the bands, please. 

Note: Birdie Edge is unable to play tonight at Pageturners. Dan McCarthy is taking his place, and Jim is still on the bill. 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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.