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.