Maha Festival attendance rises; #BFF, Bug Heaven, Lodgings, Breakers tonight; GRRRL Camp Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 7:43 am August 4, 2023

Turnstile Friday night at the 2023 Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan,

The folks behind the Maha Music Festival released attendance numbers yesterday, showing a slight increase over last year’s numbers. Last weekend, “more than 12,000 people helped Maha Festival say goodbye to its longtime home” at Aksarben Village.

That’s a little over a 4% increase over 2023’s Maha Festival attendance. The increase was due to a sizable jump in Friday night attendance – 4,900 people were on hand last Friday night when Turnstile headlined vs. 4,100 on Friday night last year for Car Seat Headrest. Saturday attendance of 7,100 for headliner Big Thief was a drop from the 7,400 in attendance on Saturday last year for Beach House. 

These numbers include more than 800 volunteers. Maha also said a quarter of attendees traveled from out of state this year.  As info, Maha drew 6,400 in 2021 for their one-day, Covid-shorted festival. 

The festival is currently conducting an attendee survey, which you can take here as they begin to do it all over again for the two-day festival to be held down at the Riverfront next year, July 26 and 27, 2024.

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OK, so what about this weekend?

Tonight it’s all about Benson, where Benson First Friday (#BFF) will be in full effect. Maple Street will be alive with art as businesses throughout the district feature new openings by local artists. If you’re out and about, drop in at Ming Toy Gallery, 6066 Maple St. (right next to Au Courant) where artist Michael Trenhaile opens his show entitled “Hoodlums, Thieves and Dead People & Other Events.” He’s brought his guitar and amp, so expect a couple tunes as well. The show runs from 6 to 9 p.m. tonight. See you there.

Also tonight, The Sydney in Benson celebrates BFF with a red hot show headlined by Bug Heaven with Lodgings and Breakers. $10, 9 p.m. 

Saturday, get a sneak peak at Falconwood Park prior to Outlandia by attending GRRRL Camp, a one-day festival featuring 16 female-fronted alt rock and hip hop acts and performers including Boulder’s The Velveteers, Omaha acts Ione and Ebba Rose, and Lincoln’s Freakabout. All gender identifications are invited (that means dudes, too). This is kind of like FemmeFest from years gone by, only it’s held at a camp grounds. It starts at 1 p.m. and tickets are $45. More info here.

Also tomorrow night (Saturday), The Sydney in Benson has Moon 17 with Jeff in Leather and XID. $10, 9 p.m. 

And Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Las Cruxes is among the bands celebrating Silas Poppy’s birthday. Joining them are Tiananmen Squares and The Content. 9 p.m., no cover listed.

And finally, it’s Bandcamp Friday again. If you’ve been mulling over buying some new music (or some old music), Bandcamp is waiving their fees today so all proceeds will go to the artist. Among those celebrating is Simon Joyner, who is releasing a new vinyl-only LP, This Is Where the Ocean Begins, a collection of old singles reinterpreted by Fred Lonberg Holm, Michael Krassner and Joyner as a trio, limited to 230 copies, with money generated used to help cover travel costs for his fall tour. Check it out here.

And 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Maha Festival weekend; Wagon Blasters, Solid Goldberg, Plack Blague tonight; Violenteer Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:38 am July 28, 2023
The crowd at the 2022 Maha Festival. The festival returns this weekend for one final show at Stinson Park in Aksarben Villiage.

by Tim McMahan,

Channel 7 is calling it “impact” weather and the National Weather Service has issued a heat warning – what can I say, it’s gonna be hot as hell tonight at the Maha Music Festival. The saving grace could be the expected overnight storms that will cool things off for Saturday (as long as those storms don’t knock down the stage equipment!).

Full run downs on both days including schedules, band descriptions and music samples, were posted earlier this week: Friday’s line-up; Saturday’s line-up

Maha knows they’ve got to deal with the weather and are setting up hydration wagons, misters and cooling stations, and the comedy tent is air conditioned if you want some post-set relief. 

That said, a hot, steamy night will only enhance Turnstile’s set… if folks show up for it. 

More info about the Maha Festival including tickets ($70 per day), are at See you there.

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OK, so you’re not going to Maha. What are your options for the weekend?

Tonight in the air conditioned confines of The Sydney in Benson, it’s Omaha’s tractor-punk heroes Wagon Blasters (now here’s a band that’s been sorely missing from the Maha Festival stage). Joining them tonight are bands In Tongues and Josiah and the Messiahs. I’m not familiar with either band, but found this Bandcamp listing for Josiah a.k.a. Josiah Hazel. $10, 9 p.m. 

Meanwhile tonight down the street in the air conditioned confines of The Waiting Room Lincoln electro-leather-dude Plack Blague headlines a show with Omaha living legend Solid Goldberg – the one-man project of Dave Goldberg. If you have not seen SG, do yourself a favor. Ex Lover opens the show at 9 p.m. $10.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) the action as in the air-conditioned confines of fabulous O’Leaver’s where Violenteer is headlining. The project by the Cotton brothers (both on bass) added a vocalist recently — Steve Tulipana, the KC guy you might remember from noise rock bands Season to Risk and Roman Numerals. The addition has changed everything (see review). Joining them are Aircraft Grade, an instrumental noise-rock duo from Omaha celebrating a record release, and noise project The Fatal E’s. This is a free show (yay!) and starts at 9 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a red hot 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Maha Festival Saturday schedule topped by Big Thief…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:26 pm July 27, 2023
M34n Str33t at Maha 2014. They return to Maha again this Saturday..

by Tim McMahan,

The unique thing about this year’s Saturday Maha Music Festival line-up is that I might actually stick around for the headliner. 

A quick look at the Saturday schedule:

  • 2 p.m. – Gates Open
  • 2:30 p.m. – Ebba Rose
  • 3 p.m. Nebraska Writers Collective Youth Poets
  • 3:15 p.m. – Garst
  • 3:45 p.m. – Omaha Girls Rock
  • 4 p.m. – M34n Str33t
  • 4:30 p.m. – Say She She
  • 5:15 p.m. – Black Belt Eagle Scout
  • 6 p.m. – Terry Presume
  • 7 p.m. – The Beths
  • 8 p.m. – Peach Pit
  • 9:30 p.m. – Big Thief

Ebba Rose and Garst, two local up-and-coming acts, have the dreaded opening spots, likely even more dreadful this year if the heatwave continues. I’ve not seen Ebba Rose perform and heard only bits of her recently released album. Garst is more of a straight ahead rock band than an indie act.

The real fireworks begin at 4 p.m. with M34n Str33t. This is a return engagement for the hip-hop ensemble fronted by Connie Franko and produced by Haunted Gauntlet, who played Maha back in 2014. Always entertaining, they’re one of the most under appreciated Nebraska acts that light up the stage whenever they perform.

Disco funk trio Say She She was an unknown when announced for this year’s Maha line-up. They’re still very much under the radar. Who knows if that’ll change. They’re playing 7th St. Entry tonight in Minneapolis in support of their new album, Astral Plane (Karma Chief  / Colemine Records). Disco dancing at 4:30 in the afternoon? Why not. 

Black Belt Eagle Scout, another emerging artist, happens to be on our hometown label, Saddle Creek Records. They released her most recent LP, The Land, the Water, the Sky, back in February to critical huzzahs. Fronted by Portland singer/songwriter Katherine Paul, her style has been compared to Mazzy Star, and I can see that at times, though she has a more somber, spiritual approach versus Mazzy’s laid-back sexiness. BBES played a rather subdued set to a small crowd at Reverb back in September 2018. 

Nashville rapper Terry Presume has been recording since he was 13 growing up in Naples. FL. His latest single is “Loner,” released last year on Big Ass Kids Records. I know virtually nothing about Presume so this will be a music discovery moment for yours truly.

The festival’s main line-up begins at 7 with The Beths. The New Zealand quartet is on the upper tier of touring indie acts thanks to the popularity of last year’s LP, Experts in a Dying Field (Carpark Records), and their breakout album, 2018’s Future Me Hates Me, whose title track got played endlessly on XMU. Their sound epitomizes female-fronted college rock with influences dating back to acts like Blake Babies / Juliana Hatfield, which they very much remind me of. I caught their packed performance at Slowdown Jr. in July 2019 and loved it. 

Vancouver band Peach Pit, fronted by guitarist/vocalist Neil Smith, is more of a major label rock act (they’re on Columbia) that had a peak moment back in 2018 with LP Being So Normal. Judging by their Spotify numbers, they’re as popular as the headliner, but I rarely hear their music. They have a kind of laidback style, which will hopefully compliment the festival’s laidback headliner. 

Finally, there’s Big Thief. They just headlined Pitchforkfest last weekend – it doesn’t get any more indie than that. Maha typically has a something either over-the-top or a pop-level act as a headliner. Last year it was Beach House, the year before, Khruangbin, then Covid and before that, Lizzo. I generally watch a couple songs from the headliner then hit the road. Depending on what they roll out on the main stage, however, I may stick around for the full set Saturday night. 

Big Thief’s latest, the double-LP, Dragon New Warm Mountian I Believe in You (2022, 4AD), is chock full o’ good songs in a variety of styles. It all comes down to how they present it. And while they may be a big deal in the indie world, I’m not sure many people at Stinson Park will know who they are. 

Anyway, tickets at

And a reminder – there will be no foodtrucks on the festival grounds this year, so be prepared to dine at one of Aksarben’s many fine restraurants before or during the festival. Maha is promising an easy in-and-out process to facilitate your dining needs. And while there’s no food at Maha (except for VIPs), there will be plenty of booze available. 

This is the last year for Stinson before Maha heads downtown to the riverfront. Here’s hoping it goes off with a bang. 

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Maha Festival kicks off Friday with Alvvays, Turnstile; Youth Lagoon, Nina Keith tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 7:23 am July 26, 2023
Alvvays on the Javlin (smaller) stage at Maha in 2015. The band plays again at Friday night at the 2023 Maha Festival.

by Tim McMahan,

They’ll be a time when the Maha Festival and related events will extend over an entire week. We’re not there yet, but after Maha moves downtown to the Riverfront next year, I wouldn’t be surprised if you begin seeing weeklong Maha-related events popping up in an effort to both expand the festival and provide some extra options for those traveling to Omaha. Speculation is all that is. 

This year’s Maha will be a great festival/concert, however, it’s going to be hot as hell. I’m reminded of this debacle from 20 years ago, and I’m sure Maha organizers are getting a bit nervous when the heat index is forecast to be above 100 on Friday.

Friday, btw, could end up being the biggest draw of the weekend, thanks to Turnstile and Alvvays. Here’s a look at Friday’s schedule:


  • 4 p.m. – Gates Open
  • 4:30 p.m. – BIB
  • 5:15 p.m. – Hakim
  • 6 p.m. – Icky Blossoms
  • 7 p.m. – Ekkstacy
  • 8 p.m. – Alvvays
  • 9:30 p.m. – Turnstile

The festival’s most incendiary band just happens to be the first up. BIB is an Omaha-based national touring hardcore act that will leave the Maha crowd (if there is a crowd there at 4 p.m.) scratching their heads wondering what the hell just happened. Their last full-length, Deluxe, was released on Maryland’s Pop Wig Records. Touring has made them a known quantity throughout the country. Had I been in charge of the festival’s programming, I would have put them on right before Turnstile instead of a time where they’ll likely be playing mostly to volunteers and vendors. 

Hakim is another local, this time from Lincoln. I know virtually nothing about Hakim and couldn’t find his music in Spotify, but did find it on good o’ Bandcamp, which has his 2020 album, The Magnificent Obsession, released on Corn Coast Co. Check it below. 

Then comes Icky Blossoms, perhaps the most surprising “get” for this year’s Maha. The band hasn’t released anything since 2015’s Mask (Saddle Creek Records), but captured some exposure last year (or was it the year before?) when one of their songs, “Sex to the Devil,” was the soundtrack for a runway show in Paris. 

The band’s origins go back to the aught years when frontman Derek Pressnall was in a little tap-dancing sensation called Tilly and the Wall that stormed the country (including late-night TV). Tilly was a cute ensemble, some might say a novelty, but there was more to it than that (a Tilly reunion would have been a real hoot!).

After Tilly, Pressnall would go on to form Flowers Forever, a more straightforward indie band that recorded on Team Love – Conor Oberst’s offshoot label that also had released the Tilly debut. Then in 2011 Pressnall formed Flowers Forever with Nik Fackler and Sarah Bohling, releasing their self-titled debut the following year on Saddle Creek Records. Of the three Pressnall projects, Icky is musically my favorite though it never seemed to grab the attention Tilly gained back in the day – a time when anything associated with Saddle Creek indie headline fodder. 

I haven’t heard much about this reunion except there’s a lot of excitement for it.

Ekkstacy is another surprise booking this year. It’s a one-man producer-type project whose song, “I Walk This Earth All By Myself,” became a hit a couple years ago and is still played on Sirius XMU – the all indie satellite radio station. His latest album, Misery, was released last November and is more of the same stuff inspired by The Cure, Flock of Seagulls, New Order and so on. 

Then comes the first of what really are duo headliners for the evening. 

Alvvays played Maha back in 2015, and since then the band has only gotten bigger thanks to their 2022 album, Blue Rev, which made it on a lot of critic’s year-end favorites’ list (including mine). 

But the big push Friday night will be for Turnstile, a band whose current momentum may drive ticket sales above the Saturday’s levels. Turnstile’s music is described as “melodic hardcore,” though it bleeds into alternative metal territory. Big grooves, power beats, hyperactive rhythms and a frontman who can actually sing instead of just grunt/scream. This is one of those bands that gets a crowd bouncing. Their 2021 album Glow On (Roadrunner) not only was a Pitchfork “best new music” honoree but was also nominated for three Grammys. 

It should be a hot, sweaty good time. Tickets still available at Tomorrow I’ll cover the Saturday line-up.

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Tonight at Slowdown is a band that would have been a nice fit for this year’s Maha Festival.  On his new album, Heavy Is a Junkyard (2023, Fat Possum) Youth Lagoon, a.k.a.Trevor Powers, turned his songwriting back on himself after suffering a vicious health scare. The record’s style is obviously more personal, and as a result, much more interesting than his earlier stuff. Up-and-coming singer/songwriter Nina Keith opens at 8 p.m. $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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The Astro plans late-summer launch; Maha ‘sells out’ Tier 1, raises prices…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 6:06 am April 18, 2023
Rendering of The Astro Theater in La Vista, currently under construction.

by Tim McMahan, yesterday published a story that reports The Astro Theater in La Vista plans to stage its first outdoor show in late summer. Beyond the headline and the lead paragraph, there’s little if any news about the actual theater in the article, which focuses on the overall development. We used to call that “bait and switch.” That said, this is the first new “news” about the project in months. Here’s some older information about the project, which broke ground back in September 2021.

In other news, Maha announced it “sold out” its “Tier I” tickets to its July 28-29 music festival, effectively raising prices for all general admission tickets by $10 per day. Did they actually sell out or is this just the scheduled end of “early bird” pricing? Who knows. I’ve heard very little about ticket demand. Their Friday night line-up is headlined by Turnstile, while Saturday’s headliner is Big Thief. More info at

It’s been another quiet period for news and shows as we’ve appeared to fallen into another dry spot for scheduled touring indie gigs. The next 1% indie show is Damien Jurado, April 26, while the next indie show at The Slowdown is Brooks Nielsen, formerly of The Growlers, April 28. Here’s hoping things pick up in the coming weeks as the weather warms…

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Translating Maha (in the column); Who is Water from Your Eyes (Saturday w/Snail Mail)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , — @ 7:41 am April 5, 2023
Water from Your Eyes at Reverb Dec. 4, 2022. The band opens for Snail Mail at The Slowdown Saturday.

by Tim McMahan,

The April issue of The Reader is out and it includes a tongue-in-cheek RIYL column about Maha. The copy editor at The Reader didn’t know RIYL meant Recommended If You Like and took it out of the headline, which I guess I get but isn’t the purpose of headlines to grab people’s attention? Anyway, in addition to being in print the column is online here. Fun!

Much in the same vein as that column, a friend of mine asked me about this Saturday’s Snail Mail concert at Slowdown, specifically, who is Water from Your Eyes? It sounds like the perfect name for an emo band, but they’re anything but emo. 

Recently signed to Matador Records, the Brooklyn duo consists of Rachel Brown and synther / guitarist Nate Amos (This is Lorelei) and is described as “experimental pop music that’s pretty and violent, raw and indelible” which makes one think of art-infected ninjas bearing Sharpees. 

They’re last album, Structure, was released on Wharf Cat in 2021, which apparently caught Matador’s attention, who will release Everyone’s Crushed May 26. 

I had the good fortune of being among the dozen people who caught Water from Your Eyes when they opened for Palm this past December at Reverb. 

From the review of that show

The duo of vocalist Rachel Brown and guitarist Nate Amos were joined by a third person on guitar and were backed by some thumping rhythm tracks. If you’d fallen across the duo’s past recordings, like 2019’s Somebody Else’s Song (Exploding in Sound Records) or even 2021’s artier Structure (Wharf Cat) you would have been ill-prepared for the sound barrage of last night’s set. 

At the heart of it was deep, blaring pre-recorded synths joined by Amos’ acidic, feedback-drenched guitar that interlaced with Brown’s untouched, unprocessed vocals that sounded like your little sister singing along to art-damaged post-punk. Harsh, throbbing sonic textures repeated trancelike with the second guitar providing counter riffs. 

The evening’s highlight was a brittle interpretation of “Adeleine,” a track from Somebody Else’s Song, reinterpreted with rough synths and guitar, barely recognizable compared to the original, but a better fit in what turned out to be one of my favorite sets I’ve seen this year. 

They were, indeed, somewhat awesome and are worth the price of Saturday night’s show by themselves.

Here’s their latest single. Get tix while you can…

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Outlandia Festival GA tickets cheaper than last year (sort of), camping, other pricing, Vs. Maha…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:34 am March 27, 2023

by Tim McMahan,

Outlandia Festival tickets went on sale last Friday and though the VIP prices have gone up, General Admission tickets are actually a little less compared to last year. The reason? They’ve included your parking fee right in the ticket price. 

This year, ticket prices are $89 for a single-day pass or $169 for a 2-day pass, but both come with general admission parking. Last year tickets were $79 single day / $149 2-day, but general admission parking was $25 (or $15 if you were willing to take a shuttle to your car). So… cheaper, right?

However, Outlandia VIP tickets this year are $249 for one-day passes and $449 for two-day passes – which is a price bump compared to 2022 when VIP tickets were $199 for one-day, $340 for 2-day passes with VIP parking included. That’s a substantial increase.

Not charging for parking is obviously a good idea – not only does it seem like a better value but it’s a lot less confusing than last year, where people didn’t understand the parking situation or felt ripped when they found out that they were being gouged for parking. Odd that Outlandia hasn’t ballyhooed the free parking. 

Comparably, the price for Maha Festival tickets are $50 for Friday night, $60 for Saturday, $100 two-day; VIPS are $130 for Friday, $160 for Saturday and $240 for 2-day VIPs. Parking has always been free and abundant at Maha. That’s a price increase for Friday and 2-day tix over last year’s pricing, which were $35 for Friday night, $65 for Saturday and $85 for both days. VIP tix in 2022 were $90 Friday, $165 Saturday and $230 for two day. So, strangely, Saturday prices are cheaper this year.

Maha has already posted a “low ticket” warning, that’s because the current price point for general admission will eventually go up by $10 per ticket, and then another $10 increase day of show. VIPs are static. They used to call these Tier I tickets “early bird” pricing. Remember when they used to offer the discount before they announced the lineup?

Like I’ve always said, if you’re really into the Maha line-up, and you’ve got the bread, VIPs are really the best way to go – food, your own bar, fantastic sight lines, private bathroom, shelter from the sun – it’s worth it.

Outlandia VIP tickets are a simlar value. Conversely, if you’re going to the entire Outlandia weekend, camping would be the way to go because, once you’re there, you’re there. No parking hassles, no weird traffic hangups (though it’s not clear if you can camp overnight and leave the day following the festival).

Weekend camping passes are $100; car camping passes (which come with two camping passes) are $250 and RV camping passes are $800 (and also include two camping passes). Priced DO NOT include festival tickets. Camping is only available to festival ticket holders, and only people with camping passes can access the campsite, where you must be 21 to enter. Lots of rules for this one – beverages must be purchased from Camp Outlandia, outside food is allowed but you can’t bring it with you to the festival grounds. No grills or campfires!

So waitaminit, I can’t bring my own cooler full of booze? Then again, something tells me these campers will be imbibing in something other than booze for their good times…

I’m not a camping-type person, but I asked a friend who and he thought the RV prices were steep unless they included hookups. This being their first year for camping, I’d have offered a discount, but hey, they have their reasons, right? 

I didn’t attend Outlandia last year, but was told getting in and out was relatively painless, and you know it’ll be even smoother the second year (especially with “free” parking). 

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Big Thief, Turnstile headline 2023 Maha Festival, July 28-29…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:54 pm February 22, 2023
Big Thief will headline day 2 of the 2023 Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan,

If you’re anywhere near social media you already know that the 2023 Maha Music Festival Lineup was announced at today at noon. The 15th annual festival takes place July 28 and 29 at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village, which (rumor has it) may be the last time at that location.

Big Thief is the festival’s Saturday headliner. Arguably one of the most popular and critically acclaimed bands in indie, Big Thief started their careers releasing albums on our city’s very own Saddle Creek Records before heading off to 4AD Records a few years ago. Last year’s double album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, was on many critics’ “best of” lists (including mine). This isn’t their first trip to Omaha. Big Thief played the late, great Lookout Lounge (opening for Yuck) way back in 2016, and returned a year later to play at O’Leaver’s.

Festival headline gigs are usually high-energy affairs. Can Big Thief bring the party? While I love their music, it’s pretty low-key folk rock, and you have to wonder how many people around these parts even know who Big Thief is. Then again, how many people had heard of Khruangbin when they headlined in 2021 or, for that matter, Beach House last year?

Vancouver indie pop band Peach Pit should provide a peaceful, easy lead-in to Big Thief Saturday. Their low-key songs tell stories about love and relationship, etc. Indie in name only, they record on Columbia Records, and played a sold-out Slowdown Jr. back in October 2018.  

Pop New Zealanders The Beths also are on the Saturday list. They played Slowdown Jr. in July 2019 and released the fetching Experts in a Dying Field last year on Carpark Records. Another familiar band, Saddle Creek Records stars Black Belt Eagle Scout, also play Saturday. They just released The Land, the Water, The Sky on The Creek a few weeks ago. BBES played Reverb back in September 2018. Then along comes a couple bands I’m not familiar with. Naples by way of Nashville hip-hop/R&B artist Terry Presume has a Saturday afternoon slot along with disco-pop trio Say She She (Karma Chief Records). And then there’s the locals. Omaha hip-hop legends M34N STR33T, local rockers Garst and singer/songwriter Ebba Rose.

If Saturday’s Maha bill sounds like a pleasant afternoon in the park, Friday night’s line-up really is the party. Headline Friday night is Turnstile. Their 2021 album Glow On (Roadrunner Records) is over-the-top power emo at its finest. Expect an overly caffeinated, energized, jumping crowd, pounding the Stinson Park turf with either pogos and/or moshing. 

Second-billed Friday night are critical darlings Alvvays, who played Maha back in 2015. Their 2022 album Blue Rev (Polyvinyl) also topped a number of critics’ best of list last year (including mine). The only thing I know about electronic dance maven Ekkstacy is his single, “I Walk This Earth All By Myself,” which has received solid airplay on Sirius XMU. Maybe the biggest surprise fo the entire Maha 2023 line-up is the return of Icky Blossoms. I think the last time I saw them play was back at Slowdown in July 2015. They’ve been on a hiatus for a few years, though their music recently showed up on a runway show in Paris! No idea what their appearance at Maha means for their future. Local hip-hop act Hakim also is on the Friday bill. Kicking things off is the incendiary, brutal hardcore rock of BIB — something tells me their set will be the one that people talk about weeks after the festival.

This is a very indie-heavy line-up and something of a surprise considering how 1% and The Slowdown have really pulled back on their indie bookings over the past year. In many ways, it’s a catch-up festival for bands that skipped Omaha over the past couple years.

Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. CT at VIP tickets are $130 for Friday, $160 for Saturday, and $240 for two-day, and include air-conditioned restrooms, an exclusive viewing area near the main stage, complimentary food from Omaha restaurant Via Farina, and more. NOTE: If you intend to go, I suggest buying VIPs. You’ll thank me later. General Admission tickets are $50 for Friday, $60 for Saturday, and $100 for two-day; GA prices will increase once the limited quantity of Tier 1 tickets sell out — not entirely sure what that means.

Maha says they expect more than 13,000 total over the two days. That seems to assume they expect light draw for Friday, but I think Friday could draw as many or more than Saturday because Turnstile has never been here before (that I know of) and their live shows have a rep for being somewhat epic, much like concerts by The Faint. 

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.