Maha announces Aug. 7-8 music festival at Aksarben; will Leafblower be there (new video drops)?; The Anniversary tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:46 pm January 29, 2020

The Anniversary plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan,

This morning the folks at the Maha Festival announced its 2020 concert will be held Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7-8 at Aksarben Village — i.e, the same place they’ve been holding the festival for years. They used to say “Stinson Park” but the Maha footprint has continued to grow to the point where it practically encompasses the entire Aksbarben Village business district.

From the press release: “The 2020 festival will take place one week earlier than it has in past years. This eliminates any potential conflict with back-to-school dates, so that more attendees from near and far can experience this wide array of Omaha-centric programming.

Rachel Grace, who’s handling media for Maha, said while event times won’t be released for a bit, for what’s happening at Stinson Park expect times similar to last year, which would be Friday night only and Saturday afternoon/night.

Maha also will have programming on Wednesday, Aug. 5, in Little Bohemia and Thursday, Aug. 6, in the Blackstone District at “multiple venues.” What that entails we’ll have to wait and see, though I’m guessing they’re going to feature local acts on small stages on those days and (hopefully) will have at least one national indie act play somewhere Thursday night like they did last year with Pinback at The Waiting Room.

Moving the festival up a week will place it in the height of the summer festival season, which could make bookings more difficult. Will one week make a difference in terms of the heat index? Unlikely, though the first week of August can be a mother-f___er for humidity.

Maha has a big challenge in that last year’s sold-out Lizzo-fueled Saturday helped generate a record-breaking 14,500 attendance. How will they top it, or can they? Booking Lizzo was a stroke of luck. Can they capture lightening in a bottle two years in a row?

More importantly, will they move away from their indie-directed programming to something more pop-flavored (such as a likely out-of-reach Billie Eilish or any other Grammy performer) in an effort to sell more tickets? You can read my thoughts on that here.

So who’s on your Maha wish list? No doubt they’ve already signed their headliner (or are about to). My wish list includes DIIV, Sharon Van Etten, Orville Peck, Strand of Oaks, Big Thief, Caroline Rose, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and/or Pavement, Pet Shop Boys, LCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala, King Krule, Algiers, Pinegrove, Frances Quinlan, Haim, Jarvis Cocker and Phoebe Bridgers.

A few of those seem financially out of reach (Tame Impala, for example). With last week’s announcement, Bright Eyes also would seem like a shoe-in for Maha, though I’ve been told that isn’t in the cards. Would Bright Eyes be big enough to headline anyway?

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Here’s another one to add to the Maha list: Yesterday Omaha garage-rock vets Leafblower released a new video produced by the fine folks at Love Drunk. It’s a one-take live performance of the band’s single “Still Lazy After All These Beers.” Imagine DMax, Fort and the rest on the big Maha stage belting that one out dressed as their aged mascot, complete with fog-machine leafblower!

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Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of The Anniversary. The Lawrence, Kansas, indie band enjoyed a heyday in the early aughts, and includes singer Adrianne Verhoeven, a former member of Flowers Forever and Orenda Fink’s Art in Manila. Twinsmith kicks things off at 8:30. $25.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.