Live Reviews: Brad Hoshaw & the 7 Deadlies, Dehd; Dinosaur Jr., The Cult, Quivers Sunday; Lincoln Calling weekend…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:18 pm September 23, 2022
Brad Hoshaw at Benson Theater Sept. 22, 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

One of the best songwriters to come out of Omaha, Brad Hoshaw, celebrated a homecoming and (sort of) album-release party last night at the brand-spanking new Benson Theatre. It was an appropriate stage for the occasion as Hoshaw once was one of Benson’s most visible artists, for years performing along Maple Street. These days, Hoshaw lives in a rural town in central California, but he’s still writing his classic brand of love-sick folk songs.

The first half of the set was just Hoshaw and his acoustic guitar, sitting center-stage playing a number of songs off his new album, Living on a Sliver, including personal favorites “My Dying Day” and broken-hearted lovesong “Lonesome Fool,” which he explained from stage really has a happy ending because after he wrote it, he first texted his now long-time girlfriend (Awwww.). 

The acoustic set showed off Benson Theatre’s acoustics — you could hear every fine wrinkle of Hoshaw’s vocals and guitar. What more to say about the theater except that you could see every dollar of the millions that went into its refurbishment — it’s gorgeous and surprisingly cozy for its size – which is a nice way of saying it’s smaller than I thought it would be. The room’s acoustics were so good that between songs I could clearly hear conversations at tables across the room. 

Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies at Benson Theatre, Sept. 22, 2022.

After about 45 minutes and a brief intermission, Hoshaw came back on stage with his band, The 7 Deadlies, for an hour-plus set of oldies, this time highlighted by killer versions of “It Falls Apart” (from 2014’s Funeral Guns) and show-stopper “Powdernose” from the 2009 debut, each featuring scorching guitar solos by lead guitarist Matt Whipkey. Rounding out the Deadlies were drummer Scott Gaeta and bass player Craig Balderston.

The band came out for a lengthy encore that included a solo-electric version of “Coma” and Hoshaw’s go-to cover, “Purple Rain” (No matter what I do, I can’t get him to cover “Please Come to Boston”). The crowd of around 80 gave Brad and the band a well-deserved standing ovation.

Dehd at The Slowdown, Sept. 22, 2022.

Afterward, I headed down to The Slowdown for Dehd.

Dehd opened with “Bad Love,” the hit single off the band’s most recent album, Blue Skies, and the youngish crowd of maybe 200 went nuts. Live the trio is even more minimal sounding than on record, with each player making the most out of his or her instrument. Frontwoman Emily Kempf sang and snarled her way through the set while holding down the bass line. Guitarist Jason Balla leapt and danced, warping his guitar’s sound in trademark fashion. There was a sort of underwater vibe to everything. Holding it all together was percussionist Eric McGrady standing between a couple large kettle drums and little else. As they moved through the set, songs did begin to blend into each other, creating one surfy, punky song, but what a fun song it was.  

Opener Exum was just Antone Exum singing and dancing alone with microphone over pre-recorded tracks. Initially, a bit of a let-down, especially considering the instrumentation heard on his albums. Still, he made the most of what he had, getting the crowd to dance and even sing along to his music. Exum’s music ranged from rap and R&B to industrial and punk. If he only had a band behind him.

Onto the weekend, and Lincoln Calling is the premiere event.

The full schedule is at If I had to pick one night to attend it would be tonight. The highlights include a reunion of classic ’90s Lincoln post-punk band Sideshow; ’80s NYC post-punk legends Live Skull, as well as Together Pangea, Uh Oh, BIB, Las Cruxes and Thirst Things First. Saturday’s line-up ain’t bad, either, with David Nance, Catpiss, The Machete Archive, Domestica and The Menzingers among the highlights. There is a variety of ticket options, including venue-specific access. Study the LC website and plan your strategy.

Beyond that, back here in Omaha all the shows are bunched together on Sunday night.

Top of the order is The Cult at The Admiral Theater (formerly known as Sokol Auditorium). Expect a big, loud production from these ’80s first wave dynamos. Goth-heavy Oakland band King Woman opens at 8 p.m. Tickets are $64.50 for GA, and $125 for balcony access.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, Dinosaur Jr. returns with Chicago singer-songwriter Ryley Walker. 8 p.m. $30.

Around the corner at Reverb Lounge Agent Orange heads a punk ticket that includes local heroes R.A.F. and The Scabby Ghouls. $22, 8 p.m.

And last but not least, Melbourne band Quivers is doing an in-store at Grapefruit Records, 1125 Jackson St., in the Old Market at 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Opener TBD. I’ll be posting a Ten Questions interview with Quivers tomorrow.

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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Good Living Tour announced, Lincoln Calling pre-sale; Kronch benefit, Miwi La Lupa, Ted Stevens, Lisa Prank tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:11 pm April 19, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Hear Nebraska this week announced it’s headed out west again this year for the Good Living Tour. The third-annual event is headed to Hebron, Auburn, Imperial, Red Cloud, McCook, Norfolk, Lyons and Hastings. Dates are throughout the summer (full schedule here). Bands have yet to be named, but typically each gig includes three Nebraska bands, many of them from the Omaha/Lincoln area. This music outreach program is among HN’s most successful ventures.

In other Hear Nebraska news, last week Lincoln Calling announced pre-sales for their Sept. 28-30 festival begin this Friday. The line-up announcement is slated for May 4. Expect even bigger and better things this year as Lincoln organization The Bay Skatepark joins Hear Nebraska as the festival organizers, with Allo as a sponsor. That kind of money means big-name acts. And if the names I’ve heard kicked around are true, Lincoln Calling will be giving Maha a run for its money.

It’s an impressive start to the year for Hear Nebraska. Now they just need to schedule similar programming in Omaha (where a lot of their donations comes from).

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Shows aplenty for a Wednesday…

Tonight Omaha remembers Mike “Kronch” Kronschnabel at The Waiting Room. The tribute night includes performances by Anonymous American, Brad Hoshaw, Janglepop, Wakanda One, Bill Arab and Michael Campbell. $8 suggested donation goes to a music scholarship in Mike’s name. Come and raise a toast glass to an Omaha original who contributed greatly to the local music scene.

Also tonight, Miwi La Lupa plays songs off his recent release Beginner’s Guide at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Opening is Omaha indie music legend Ted Stevens (Lullaby for the Working Class, Mayday, Cursive) and Annie Dilocker. $7, 9 p.m.

Finally at the new Milk Run located in the basement of Midtown Art Supply, it’s Seattle punk Lisa Prank with Dogbreath and Taylor Sankey. $7, 9 p.m.

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Random Notes: Hear Nebraska takes over Lincoln Calling; Femme Fest talent call; new Big Thief track; Lemonade, Dumb Beach tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:37 pm March 8, 2016

Hear Nebraska is now producing Lincoln Calling.

Hear Nebraska is now producing Lincoln Calling.

by Tim McMahan,

Catching up on some old news…

Hear Nebraska announced yesterday that it is taking over the annual Lincoln Calling music festival, which this year runs from Oct. 6-8 (They wisely cut the festival to just three days) in venues throughout downtown Lincoln.

Full disclosure, I’m on the board of Hear Nebraska. When HN Executive Director Andrew Norman brought up the idea, it made perfect sense. LC fits nicely in HN’s mission to develop and provide exposure for Nebraska’s music, arts and creative industry.

LC founder Jeremy Buckley will still be involved with the event, which will be celebrating its 13th anniversary this year. Says Norman, “Buckley will be in charge of identifying and booking bands, as well as coordinating with some venues and many other planning and logistical elements. HN’s involvement involves budget, relationships and systems (for ticketing and otherwise) building, promotion and lots of logistical/production responsibilities.

LC has proudly done what only a few local festivals do — it pays the bands that perform. That tradition will continue under Hear Nebraska’s direction.

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Another festival getting organized for 2016 is the second annual Femme Fest.

Organized by Rebecca Lowry of the band All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, and promoter Emily Cox, the festival, which highlights female talent in Nebraska, takes place Sept. 2 in venues throughout Benson (in conjunction with Benson First Friday).

There’s currently a call for participants under way. The requirement: The band/artist must have one woman actively participating in the submitted project. And like Lincoln Calling “You will be compensated again this year dependent on the response of the people, as you were last year” — i.e. bands will get paid, though they’ll have to negotiate that pay with organizers.

Submissions are being taken until April 2 via email at Find out more here.

Suck part about Femme Fest (for me, anyway) — it takes place the first weekend of September, which (if that continues) pretty much guarantees I’ll never attend because that date coincides with my annual anniversary trip to New York City. Boo!

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Saddle Creek Records’ latest roster addition, Big Thief, just dropped another track from their forthcoming Creek debut, Masterpiece. Listen below. Creek is taking pre-orders for the LP, which is scheduled to drop May 27.

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Tonight at Milk Run Minneapolis band Lemonade headlines with Dumb Beach, Sophie Hug & the Kisses and Jocko. $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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Lincoln Calling announces ‘initial’ 2012 line-up; Joyner’s ‘Ghosts’ drops today; Strung Out, Ron Wax, Gruff Rhys tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:51 pm August 14, 2012

by Tim McMahan,

Lincoln Calling 2012

Lincoln Calling 2012

Lincoln music mogul and all-around scenester Jeremy Buckley last week announced the “initial line-up” for his ninth annual Lincoln Calling Festival. “What started as a three-day 25-band fest has morphed into what this year will be a six-day extravaganza kicking off on Oct. 9 with an opening show and ending on Oct. 14 with the Homegrown Film Festival and a special local super group that will be performing its first public show,” Buckley said. No word yet on who is in this mysterious super group. Stay tuned.

Starting yesterday, a limited number of early bird full-ride tickets are available for purchase at Kinetic Brew inside of Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre, for $20 (age restrictions apply for some shows). “After the initial allotment is gone the price will go up to at least $30 depending on what bands I’m able to confirm between now and the fest,” Buckley said. As in past years, one-day tickets and individual show tickets will be available the week of the shows.

Bands confirmed so far for this year:

Academy of Rock (Lincoln)
Alex Walker (Lincoln)
All My Friends Are Dinosaurs (Lincoln)
AZP (Lincoln)
The Bears of Blue River (Chicago)
Betsy Wells (Omaha)
The Betties (Lincoln/Omaha)
The Big Deep (Omaha)
Carrot Carrot (Lincoln)
Christopher the Conquered (Des Moines)
Classes (Lincoln)
Cowboy Indian Bear (Lawrence)
Dark Satellites (Lincoln/Kansas City)
Dastardly (Chicago)
DEERPEOPLE (Stillwater)
Desert Noises (Provo, UT)
Drum and Disorderly (Lincoln)
Dude Won’t Die (Lincoln)
Everyday/Everynight (Kansas City)
Flashbulb Fires (Denver)
Gayle Skidmore (San Diego)
Ghost Hollow Road (Springfield, IL)
Good Show Great Show (Omaha)
Goran Ivanovic and Andreas Kapsalis Guitar Duo (Chicago)
Great American Desert (Omaha)
Hume (Baltimore)
Hunter Valentine (Toronto, Ontario)
Ideal Cleaners (Lincoln)
Intergalactic Fu (Lincoln)
Ivan & Alyosha (Seattle)
The Kickback (Chicago)
Kill County (Lincoln)
Laetitia Sadier (Paris, France)
Low Horse (Lincoln)
Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles (Minneapolis)
Masses (Lincoln)
The Mezcal Brothers (Lincoln)
Midland Trio (Lincoln)
Minor Birds (Twain Harte, CA)
Mob Action (Quincy, IL)
My Brother (Lincoln)
Orion Walsh (Lincoln)
Poison Control Center (Des Moines/Ames)
Queen Caveat (Los Angeles)
Saint Christopher (Lincoln)
Shipbuilding Co. (Lincoln)
The Spring Standards (New York)
SS Web (Milwaukee, WI)
Stonebelly (Lincoln)
Tenderness Wilderness (Omaha)
THEMES (Portland, OR)
Tijuana Gigolos (Lincoln)
Time Hammer (Lincoln)
Universe Contest (Lincoln)
UUVVWWZ (Lincoln)
Vibenhai (Lincoln)
Voodoo Method (Omaha)
Whadawookie (Lincoln)
Zed Tempo (Lincoln)

Venues so far confirmed:

Bourbon Theatre
Duffy’s Tavern
Zoo Bar
The Alley
Mix Barcade
Fat Toad
Black Market
Yia Yia’s

That’s a lot of bands over a lot of days, and Buckley ain’t through yet. “Please make sure to note that this list of bands is about 50-60% complete,” Buckley said. “Every year bands freak out because they aren’t on the list and I get bombarded. Hopefully they’ll grasp that the lineup isn’t finalized if it’s stated in the article.”

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Simon Joyner’s new album Ghosts is officially out today. Local peeps can find it at Saddle Creek Shop. I’m told The Antiquarium will have copies by Friday and Homer’s also will be getting it in sometime this week. You out-of-towners can order it from Quit whining about this being a double-vinyl only release. Every copy comes with a download code so you can listen to it on your precious iPods. Hey, why don’t you do yourself a favor and buy a friggin’ turntable, ya dirty hippies? In case you didn’t know already, analog is the new digital. GET WITH IT!

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Tonight at The Waiting Room Simi Valley post-hardcore band Strung Out (Fat Wreck Chords) headlines a show with Redondo Beach band The Darlings and Chicago Latino hardcore act La Armada. $18, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, it’s the return of Lincoln legends Ron Wax to The Brothers Lounge with Swamp Walk and Detroit band Frustrations. $5, 9 p.m.

And finally, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals, Neon Neon) plays at Slowdown Jr. tonight with McCarthy Trenching. $10, 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Recap: Lincoln Calling beats last year’s crowds; Brad Hoshaw returns…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:54 pm October 18, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

Looking at the numbers, last weekend’s Lincoln Calling festival was another success. Jeremy Buckley, who organized the event, which featured 100-plus bands and 16 DJs over five nights at 10 venues in downtown Lincoln, said overall attendance was about 4,850, slightly higher than last year’s numbers.

“Overall, I think the whole weekend went about as well as I could’ve  asked for,” Buckley said. “We had a few shows with only about 30 to 40 (in the crowd), but they were either at Zen’s Lounge, where only one band performed a night, or the Black Market, a vintage clothing store that hosted early free shows.”

But other than that, Buckley said at least 50 people attended every show, and 19 of the shows had more than 100 in attendence. “The biggest events were Friday (500) and Saturday (600) nights for DJs at the Fat Toad,” he said. “Those shows only had a $2 cover.”

As is the case every year, Buckley said participating bands took home some cash for their efforts. After he pays off the remaining bands and his advertisers, he said he’ll sit down with friends and begin brainstorming next year’s Lincoln Calling. “I’m actually looking forward to it already.”

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Brad Hoshaw, Spirit of the Lake (self-release, 2011)

Brad Hoshaw, Spirit of the Lake (self-release, 2011)

We were sitting around the table at last week’s Reader music writers’ meeting wondering whatever happened to Brad Hoshaw. None of us had heard from him in a long time — he hasn’t played live in ages and his last formal album came out a couple years ago.

Then the next day as if on cue, Hoshaw posted a link to a new album on his Facebook page. Spirit of the Lake is “a collection of songs written over the past four years at a cabin on Lake Michigan,” Hoshaw wrote. “Most are collaborations with other songwriters from all over the country. I am releasing these home recordings because I’m hoping to raise the money to go into the studio and re-record these same songs with full instrumentation.”

We’re talking homemade bedroom recording heres — just Hoshaw and his guitar and his crazy knack for writing catchy hooks. You can check out all the songs for free on his Bandcamp page, where you can also purchase and download the album for a mere $5. Check it out.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Column 344: Lincoln Calling downsizes and upgrades; a few words about Steve Jobs; Dick Dale tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:38 pm October 6, 2011

Column 344: Does Size Matter? Lincoln Calling Pt. 8

by Tim McMahan,

Lincoln Calling logo

We live in a culture where “bigger” is always perceived as being “better.” Some might argue that this concept is The American Way.

Well, Jeremy Buckley, the impresario behind the annual Lincoln Calling Music Festival, isn’t concerned about getting “bigger.” On the surface, one might look at this year’s festival — the 8th Annual, an achievement in and of itself — and say that it’s a step backward. There are no significant national touring acts on the 100-plus-band 16-DJ (so far) roster whose schedule is spread over five nights at 10 venues in downtown Lincoln. Financial support was cut in half for ’11, thanks to a tsunami that not only devastated Japan, but also washed away sponsorship dollars from Toyota. But a glance at the schedule shows (which you can view at, this year’s event may be the best ever.

Buckley, as you can imagine, agrees.

“Each year is a different beast,” he said between football games last Sunday afternoon. “Last year the sky was the limit. We had an assload of money from sponsors and a perfect storm of national touring bands that just happened to be coming through at the right time. This year it was doing what we could with what we had, and I think we put together something great.”

Though the festival’s organization falls exclusively on Buckley’s shoulders — and that’s the way he wants it — this year he loosened the reins oh so slightly and got input from folks who asked to be part of the fun. The result is a more varied lineup that spreads the festival’s genres beyond its usual indie-only focus.

“I guess I tried to put an emphasis on making other people do my work,” Buckley said. “Quite a few aspects of this year’s festival came from people asking to help out.”

For example, Buckley received a Facebook message from Corey Birkmann asking why so few punk and metal bands were involved in the program. Buckley’s reply: “I don’t know much about punk or metal, so I don’t know the difference between the good and bad bands.” Birkmann offered to help by booking a show a day at The Spigot that was metal and/or punk-oriented.

“So I said, ‘Roll with it.'” Buckley quipped.

As a result, 12 Lincoln punk and/or metal acts are booked Thursday through Saturday at The Spigot, including Dust Bled Down, Ten Dead and Beaver Damage. “So this year, metal and punk are getting some love,” Buckley said.

KZUM talent Hilary Stohs-Krause, host of radio show “X-Rated Women in Music,” asked Buckley if she could curate a showcase that featured women musicians in an MTV Unplugged-style setting. “I told her to roll with it,” Buckley said. The two-hour Friday afternoon program will take place in the art gallery above Duffy’s. Called The Parrish Project, it will feature student artists from the LPS Arts and Humanities Focus Program under the tutelage of Mezcal Brothers’ Gerardo Meza.

Then there’s music website (which Buckley helped develop), that will host a Saturday afternoon program that includes musicians merch booths at The Bourbon Theater. And DJ Spencer Munson a.k.a. $penselove, who pulled together a posse of DJs who will perform at clubs throughout the festival, including the all new Mix Barcade, a venue in the old Bricktop space that will debut as part of Lincoln Calling.

While all that help is “making things a lot less stressful” for Buckley, the festival’s primary attraction continues to be its overall line-up. No, Lincoln Calling didn’t attract any Saddle Creek bands this year, but it did draw the cream of the crop of the non-Creek acts, including Ideal Cleaners, Conduits, Digital Leather, Eli Mardock, Gus & Call, Icky Blossoms, McCarthy Trenching and Pharmacy Spirits, The Show Is the Rainbow, So-So Sailors, UUVVWWZ, Machete Archive, Talking Mountain, Son of 76, The Whipkey Three, Matt Cox, and even some out-of-towners. They include the always amazing The Photo Atlas, poorly named Gauntlet Hair and Nebraska adoptees Cowboy Indian Bear.

Glancing at the line-up, there were a lot of acts that I flat-out didn’t recognize. Buckley even has an answer for that in the form of a massive 47-song digital download available for free from the Lincoln Calling website.

Like like every real festival, all bands are receiving some sort of compensation, whether it’s a guarantee, a cut of the door or an all-access pass to all five days of the event. Helping defray costs were donations from the Downtown Lincoln Association, Guitar Center and Lincoln’s Young Professional Group.

The particulars: The festival kicks off Tuesday, Oct. 11, with the Homegrown Film Festival at The Bourbon Theater at 8 p.m., a listening party at Duffy’s at 10 p.m. and an acoustic open mic night at The Zoo bar at 9 p.m. The real stuff gets rolling Wednesday, Oct. 12, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 15. All access passes for the full festival are $30, one-day passes run $10 to $12, or you can pay the door at each venue, which runs from free to $8.

So no, Lincoln Calling isn’t as big as it was in 2010, “and I’m OK with that,” Buckley said. “I know there are 5,000 people who will go to this and have a good time, and the bands will have better crowds than on any given Friday night.”

That said, Buckley’s already thinking about the 10th Annual Lincoln Calling in 2013, and for that one, size will definitely matter.

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If Steve Jobs is remembered for anything, it will be that he was a great judge of talent and had a terrific eye for design. Even more than that, Jobs inspired greatness in others.

No, Jobs didn’t design the iMac, iPod, iPad, iPhone or any other modern-day Apple product. Jon Ive and his design team did. Jobs didn’t write the code that makes those devices operate – in fact he didn’t know how to code. That was the work of his programmers. And Jobs didn’t come up with the phrase “Think Different” or write the words spoken by Richard Dreyfuss in that amazing commercial. Ken Segall and his team at TBWA\Chiat\Day did that.

Last night when I heard about Jobs’ death, I clicked around on the ‘net and eventually wound up at, a website that compiles stories about the making of the first Macintosh by those who were actually involved. Their stories cover everything from the computer’s initial design to programming, construction, marketing, you name it. Through it all, Jobs was an insufferable task master. He put a boot up everyone’s ass that worked at Apple, and if that boot didn’t fit, he fired them. He made insane demands and never accepted “no” for an answer.  He added his two cents to every decision, and expected perfection from everyone.

So no, Jobs didn’t do a lot of what he’s being credited as doing in the endless stream of requiems. Instead he did something that was just as important — he made decisions, he inspired innovation, he recognized good ideas and demanded their implementation. And yes, in the end, he represented all those products and ideas as a bigger-than-life icon as indelible as the Apple logo itself.

Jobs was a perfectionist and had impeccable taste. It seems unlikely that his successor, Tim Cook, has those qualities at the same levels Jobs did  (or if anyone does, for that matter). Cook’s ability to inspire greatness remains in question, along with the future of Apple as an innovator.

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Another aside: Ironically, Jobs will be remembered by some as the guy who helped bring down the music industry as we knew it, when in fact iTunes came along two years after Napster and was designed to help protect the industry in the face of widespread music-file piracy.

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Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Dick Dale. I interviewed the “King of Surf Guitar” way back in 1998 (which you can read here) and was happy that he was still alive and rocking. Now at age 74, Dale is still alive and still rocking. With Speed! Nebraska band The Mezcal Brothers. $20, 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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Poster Child Productions; Lincoln Calling’s open invitation; Omaha Invasion this weekend; Red Sky Festival website launches…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:55 pm April 12, 2011

by Tim McMahan.

Poster Child Productions (a name that will always remind me of the classic Champaign Illinois band The Poster Children) is the name of Jeremy Buckley’s new music promotion company. We all know Jeremy as the guy who puts together the Lincoln Calling and the Omaha Invasion festivals every year.

Anyway, according to their website: “Poster Child Productions is a promotions company based out of Lincoln, Nebraska, with a focus on providing quality live music events at venues across the state. While the company name is new, its staff brings more than a decade of booking experience at more than 20 venues across Lincoln and Omaha. Our goal is to bring quality national talent to Nebraska and pair those bands with the amazing local roster of musicians performing live music across the state.”

Sounds impressive. And to think it all started way back in 2004 with Lincoln Calling. For this year’s Lincoln Calling festival, which is Oct. 11-15, Buckley is trying something completely different — he’s inviting any and all bands to apply to be part of the festival.

“I’m hoping to eliminate a lot of that back and forth by asking bands to fill out a quick application if they want to be considered for this year’s fest,” he said. “As always, bands will receive some sort of pay, which will be negotiated separately for each band and showcase. Of course applying doesn’t equal automatic acceptance, but it will help me keep track of interested bands while compiling contact info, bios, press pics, etc. for once it’s time to promote the event.”

The application is located online here:

Meanwhile, this coming weekend is the second annual Omaha Invasion Festival, an idea that Jeremy admits was born out of a suggestion made on this here website.  This year, Duffy’s and the Bourbon Theater will host the event. Tickets are $6 per night or $10 for a two-day pass that gets you into both clubs. Here’s the schedule:

Thursday – April 14th – Duffy’s Tavern

08:40 – 09:20PM – Kyle Harvey

09:40 – 10:20PM – Lonely Estates

10:40 – 11:20PM – Down With The Ship

11:40 – 12:20AM – All Young Girls Are Machine Guns

12:40 – 01:20AM – Midwest Dilemma

Thursday – April 14th – Bourbon Theatre (Rye Room)

08:20 – 09:00PM – Underwater Dream Machine (Bret Vovk)

09:20 – 10:00PM – Vago

10:20 – 11:00PM – Dim Light

11:20 – 12:00AM – Conchance

12:20 – 01:00AM – Matt Cox

Friday – April 15th – Duffy’s Tavern

08:40 – 09:20PM – Hello From Ghost Valley

09:40 – 10:20PM – The End In Red

10:40 – 11:20PM – Flight Metaphor

11:40 – 12:20AM – Lepers

12:40 – 01:20AM – Blue Bird

Friday – April 15th – Bourbon Theatre (Rye Room)

08:20 – 09:00PM – Cordial Spew

09:20 – 10:00PM – Witness Tree

10:20 – 11:00PM – Mitch Gettman Band

11:20 – 12:00AM – Honey & Darling

12:20 – 01:00AM – Answer Team

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Red Sky Festival logo

Finally, it appears that our friends at MECA have finally plugged in, Red Sky’s official website. There’s nothing there that we didn’t already know, but it clearly won’t be long now until they make their big announcement (maybe this weekend?). Wonder how many of the predictions/rumors in my Red Sky Festival column, posted in March, will come true?

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Tomorrow: The New Pornographers

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Local Natives (the new Arcade Fire?); Lincoln Calling weekend, Photo Atlas tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 7:19 pm October 1, 2010

Local Natives at The Waiting Room, Sept. 30, 2010.

Local Natives at The Waiting Room, Sept. 30, 2010.

by Tim McMahan,

Sorry about the lateness of this post, but it’s been one o’ them days… Onward.

Walking up to The Waiting Room at just before 10 last night I could see a long line stretching along the sidewalk on either side of the door. I ran into one of the club’s legendary beer slingers on the street, apparently on his night off, and we both wondered what as going on. “Must be a late start,” he said, adding that it might have something to do with a sound check because the show’s advance sales had been weak, certainly not a sell out. The beer slinger went into Jake’s to catch the end of the Okie State game and I waited in line for about five minutes as people slowly began to file in with a band making noise on stage. It turned out that it was, in fact, a sold-out show, and the first band had already finished its set. That line was merely late arrivals, like myself, just waiting to get in.

Once inside, The Love Language was getting started, and the place was absolutely packed. More packed than a usual sell out, which leads me to believe that TWR does better business on nights like these then when a show sells out well in advance. You couldn’t get anywhere near the stage, and the closest I got was the soundboard.

The Love Language was a perfect opener for Local Natives — their sound is similar, though less trippy and more pop, upbeat and catchy, but while their music was well played, nothing left a mark with me.

With a guitarist/singer who looked like a cross between John Oates and Freddy Mercury (thanks to a big, bushy black mustache and a thick head of jet back hair), the band rolled into the songs off their debut album fueled by an enthusiastic crowd that knew the words. They played an old Talking Heads song (or so they said, I didn’t recognize it) then did one that sounded like an old Arcade Fire number. And then came the hits: “Airplanes” and album opener “Wide Eyes.” The crowd (as they say) went wild.

Freddy said this was a better show than the last time they came through a year and a half ago. I would think if they keep on this trajectory, the next time through they’ll be selling out Slowdown’s big room. But are they the next Arcade Fire? I heard that more than a few times last night. The answer is probably no.

I remember when Interpol came through and played Sokol Underground on a blizzardy night Jan. 15, 2003. Turn On the Bright Lights had been released the previous August and everyone knew that it was a game-changer. Their Omaha show was a coup on a number of levels, and if you were at the show, you knew you were seeing a band that was about to explode.

The same goes for The Arcade Fire when they played at Sokol Underground back on Sept. 29, 2004. The story goes that the booking had taken place well in advance of their meteoric rise, back when they were still playing bars/clubs, before they had been discovered by the New York Times and David Bowie. Despite being hugely in demand, the band faithfully played out their dates in smaller venues, including ours in South Omaha. Everyone there that night knew they were seeing something special, something that they’d never see again in such a small space.

I never got that feeling last night watching Local Natives. Yes, it was an enthusiastic, sold out crowd; yes they played a terrific set, but I never thought that I was seeing something that would have a lasting impact on the music scene like I did with the Arcade Fire or  Interpol. But then again, they probably said the same thing about Radiohead when Pablo Honey came out (an album that I bought). You just never know…

* * *

Tonight is probably the best night of the entire Lincoln Calling festival.

As discussed in the column, highlights include Deerpeople and a reunion of Pablo’s Triangle (Head of Femur, Broken Bells) at Duffy’s; Conduits, Cowboy Indian Bear, Masses and Poison Control Center at The Bourbon Theater; Noah’s Ark, The Power and Little Brazil at The Zoo; Thunder Power and Talking Mountain at 12th St. Pub. The Lincoln Calling website boasts day passes for sale, but doesn’t say how much or where to find them (Come on, Jeremy!). Other pricing and schedules are on the site. Lincoln Calling concludes tomorrow night, and among the highlights is the Speed! Nebraska showcase at The Zoo Bar. Check it out.

* * *

Other than LC, ain’t much going on this weekend. Tonight The Photo Atlas returns to Slowdown Jr. with Bazooka Shootout and Baby. 9 p.m., $7. And that’s all, folks.

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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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Local Natives, El Ten Eleven, Lincoln Calling tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:53 pm September 30, 2010

by Tim McMahan,

I did not go to Retribution Gospel Choir last night at The Waiting Room. And judging by a post on David Leibowitz’s Facebook wall (Dave’s the guy behind New Day Rising — the only must-hear indie-rock music show on local broadcast radio (89.7 FM every friggin’ Sunday night at 9 p.m. DO NOT MISS IT)) no one else was, either. Dave said there was only six people there. Drag. If you have to blame something, I point to the band’s name. In all honesty, I didn’t know RGC was Alan Sparhawk from Low until I looked up the band over my lunch hour yesterday while putting together the daily blog post. Had they promoted themselves as Low or Low’s Alan Sparhawk or The Alan Sparhawk Project they might have drawn considerably more than six people. But when people see Retribution Gospel Choir, well, they just assume that it’s a local gospel choir playing a weird benefit gig at TWR, and who wants to see that?


There will be a much larger crowd at The Waiting Room tonight for Local Natives. The LA band’s debut, Gorilla Manor, was released on Frenchkiss Records way back in February and received an 8.4 by Pitchfork and 80 out of 100 at (where I’ve been finding composite ratings lately). The band and the album have that whole Vampire Weekend/Tokyo Police Club indie pop-rock sound that the kids love these days — you know what I’m talking about. I think it’s interesting that they compare themselves to CSNY and Zombies — two bands they have nothing in common with. I have heard them compared to Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear, which I also think is a stretch considering the overal lethargic quality of those bands’ music. Find out for yourself tonight. Opening is Merge Records artist The Love Language and Union Line. $13, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, experimental instrumental duo El Ten Eleven (Kristian Dunn and Tim Fogarty) are playing at Slowdown Jr. with Dosh and Baths. $8, 9 p.m.

And Lincoln Calling is going strong. See the full line-up at The highlights from my lofty perch 50 miles north of “O” Street are all at 12th St. Pub, where it’s Once a Pawn, Honeybee, Bear Country and Pharmacy Spirits are playing, while The Photo Atlas is playing at Duffy’s at 11 and Ted Stevens and the Filter Kings are at The Zoo Bar at 10 and Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies are at The Bourbon at 9. Better get yourself a wristband so you can move around.

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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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Column 290: Lincoln Calling Returns!; Retribution Gospel Choir (Low’s Alan Sparhawk), Paleo tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:48 pm September 29, 2010

by Tim McMahan,

Column 290: Lincoln Calling, Pt. 7

Nebraska’s biggest music festival returns.

For this week’s column, I simply could have listed the bands that are playing at this year’s Lincoln Calling Festival — along with their time slots — and been done with it. What else do you need to get your asses to Lincoln this weekend?

Instead, I’m telling you to use that magic box on your desk and go to — a website that lists all the particulars in a well-organized, well-designed online experience that will do a better job than I ever could (especially with my 900-word limit).

I could have just left it there, but you know me. I had to get in touch with the festival’s Svengali mastermind, Jeremy Buckley, who’s been pulling this musical rabbit out of his hat since the first annual event in 2004.  Back then, LC was 25 bands and a handful of bars. Today it comprises 100+ acts in 11 venues over five days. It’s mammoth.

I interrupted Buckley’s usual Sunday afternoon multi-screen pro football orgy to ask a few questions about the fest. Chief among them: What’s different this year? He said it came down to three things: 1) DJs, 2) Sponsors, 3) More (and better) out-of-town bands.

Points one and two came courtesy of Spencer Munson — a.k.a. DJ Spence, who readers may know from Gunk nights at The Waiting Room. Buckley said Spence helped pull together the nearly 30 DJs who will be playing at four clubs throughout the festival.

“(DJ’s) are an additional aspect that I didn’t focus on before,” Buckley said, confessing that when it comes to clubbing, he’s one of those guys who would rather watch than do. “I don’t go to too many dance clubs, but I have a lot of friends who do and like dancing. I sometimes go with them and sit at the table, drink my High Life and watch the coats, backpacks and purses.”

Despite his lack of love for the dance floor, Buckley said he recognizes that Lincoln has a strong culture for electronic music. That’s why he enlisted Spence to find the top talent from the region.

But that’s not all Spence did. “When he and I began putting this together last spring, I told him my long-term wish was to find someone reliable enough to be our marketing guru and help find sponsors. I don’t have the personality to sell product.” Buckley said. “Spence said, ‘Let me give it a shot.'”

Spence found Scion (which is part of Toyota Corporation), who plunked down $3,700 as a primary sponsor, along with the Downtown Lincoln Association and The Young Professionals Group – Lincoln, both of which threw in $1,000. Add a handful of food and hotel sponsors, and the total came to around $6,000 in sponsorships.

“With that money we built a decent website (, and paid a film crew to shoot a video of the event that we can send to agents and bands next year to get them to sign on,” Buckley said.

The dough also helped cover guarantees for larger out-of-town bands, such as The Hood Internet, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, The Love Language, Those Darlins and Sea Wolf. “I couldn’t have paid guarantees back when I was taking the risks all by myself,” Buckley said. “Now we can pay (those bands) what they need. The sponsors make a huge difference.”

The trade-off for all that cash is putting the sponsors’ logos on the website, posters, T-shirts and other promotional materials. “Since Scion is the main sponsor, we’ll have industry swag at each venue,” Buckley said, adding that he hasn’t had anyone call him a sell-out for taking corporate cash. “It was a step that was necessary for bringing in national talent that’s played on Sirius and MTV2.”

In addition to the larger bands, Buckley said he’s excited about the out-of-state acts that he specifically wooed to take part in the event, such as Lawrence’s Cowboy Indian Bear, Denver’s The Photo Atlas, and Deerpeople — a Stillwater, Oklahoma band that Buckley says “plays fun pop with disturbing lyrics.”

Deerpeople are playing at Duffy’s Friday night along with a reunion of classic Lincoln band Pablo’s Triangle, whose members included Matt Focht and Ben Armstrong of Head of Femur, and Jonathan Hischke, who’s been on tour with Broken Bells. “The Pablo’s Triangle reunion is a huge coup that brings together old-school Lincoln folks and kids who know about Broken Bells,” Buckley said.

That show, which also includes bands Shipbuilding Co. and Down with the Ship, is only $5. In fact, each show is individually priced for those who don’t want to wander around “O” Street all night long.

And just like in years’ past, every band that takes part in Lincoln Calling will go home with some cash in their pockets — something that makes this multi-day festival unique. Buckley said bands get their split after paying the sound guy, covering the promo costs and paying he and his partners their 15 percent cut.

This year, advertising costs topped $2,000 — it’s all part of trying to keep the festival growing. But with 100+ bands and 11 venues, does Lincoln Calling really have room to grow?

After seven years of putting it together, Buckley says he still doesn’t know. “We haven’t reached its limit, but we’ll never get 80,000 people in Lincoln over the course of a weekend, other than for football.”

Famous last words.

* * *

Retribution Gospel Choir, who’s  performing tonight at The Waiting Room, doesn’t play gospel music and isn’t a choir. Who it is, however, may surprise you. The trio is fronted by Alan Sparhawk, who you’ll remember as the frontman of indie-rock monsters Low — yes, that Low. RGC released their latest album, 2, on Sub Pop this past January, and it roars. If you, like me, have missed seeing Low, here’s your fix. Opening is DJ M Bowen. $10, 9 p.m.

Also tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Paleo a.k.a. singer/songwriter David Andrew Strackany. Joining him is Zach LaGrou and Simon Joyner & The Parachutes. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Fortnight returns to Fabulous O’Leaver’s opening a show with headliners Bad Country and Nashville band Milktooth. $5, 9:30 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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.