Barley Street reopens; new releases from No Thanks, Benny Leather, Matthew Sweet, Bright Eyes, Steady Wells, STATHI…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:22 pm November 2, 2020

So who’s nervous on this Election Day eve? Despite all the threats and sturm and drang, for some reason I’m less anxious than I was in 2016. We’ll either have a new president or Marshall Law by the end of the week… Look, if you have voted already, make sure you go to the polls tomorrow. Has there ever been an election where an individual vote was more valuable?

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A quick music update: Things have been quiet lately and are bound to get even quieter with winter and COVID-19 spiking in Douglas County. That tiny taste of live music at the end of summer/early fall is probably going to be it until next spring. I just finished a column that’ll be in the next issue of The Reader wherein I say we take live music for granted. Something tells me we won’t come next May…

One place where we might see live music again is The Barley Street Tavern, which reopened last Friday. The venue is now operated by the folks who operate Brokedown Palace on 88th and Maple. According to a Facebook post that went online Friday, the new owners have no plans to change the Barley’s operations / vibe, but let’s face it, they need to make it what they want it to be. Just keep some of ol’ Barley spirit (or ghosts) around for good times’ sake….


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Lots of new local music was released last week. Here’s a few of those releases that are on my radar:

Omaha goth/indie punk band No Thanks released their latest LP, Submerger, on Halloween via Kansas City’s Black Site Records. Produced by No Thanks, the album was recorded, engineered, and mixed by Mathew Carroll (See Through Dresses) at Little Machine in Omaha, and was mastered by Mike Nolte at Portland OR’s Eureka Mastering with vinyl mastering by Chris Muth at Taloowa Corp. out of Yonkers, NY. That’s right, vinyl, limited to 75 (at least for the first pressing). Order it here (sure to be a collector’s item).

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Omaha blank wave/electro-punk band Benny Leather dropped its full-length, Temporary Insanity, yesterday via FDH Records. Who is Benny Leather? Nobody knows (but actually, everyone knows but they’re not saying). Let’s just say I’d love to see this band play at O’Leaver’s (or the new Barley Street). This one also is available on limited-edition vinyl. Order yours here.

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Omaha rocker Matthew Sweet announced last week he’s releasing his 15th album, Catspaw, Jan. 15 on Omnivore Records. Says the press release: “…aside from excellent drumming by longtime collaborator Ric Menck (Velvet Crush), this is Matthew Sweet’s first entirely solo effort. Sweet handles all of it: recording, mixing, Höfner bass, electric guitars, and Pet Sounds-like background vocals.” The first single, “At a Loss,” was released last week.

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Bright Eyes released a song in support of Planned Parenthood called “Miracle of Life,” with proceeds generated from its sale benefiting he organization. Said Conor Oberst: “It is a protest song, I guess. Or maybe just a little story about what was, what still is in many parts of the world and what could be again here in this country if the GOP is successful in reshaping the Supreme Court and rolling back all of the hard fought progress made for reproductive rights in the last fifty years.” On the track Bright Eyes is joined by Phoebe Bridgers, Jon Theodore and Flea. Buy it here.

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Jordan Smith of Twinsmith has another band called Steady Wells and it released a new single last week called “Good Again.” I believe this is the second single by Smith under this moniker.

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And finally,

Omaha singer/songwriter Stathi Spiros Patseas has released new song from his band STATHI. “This is my first release since my debut EP Life of Compromise, which I released in March of last year,” he said. “This single is part of an upcoming EP called Post-truth, which has not yet been announced, but will likely be released sometime next month. The EP was recorded at ARC in September of 2019 and produced by Miwi La Lupa.

Kevin Donahue, Drew Tvrdy and Miwi join Stathi on the track. Dig it:

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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.


KC’s Black Site Records to release new No Thanks album; more new Digital Leather…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:01 pm September 3, 2020
No Thanks’s new album, Submerger, comes out on Halloween on Black Site Records.

Self-proclaimed Omaha “goth punk” band No Thanks yesterday announced the Oct. 31 release of their sophomore album, Submerger, on Kansas City label Black Site Records.

The album was recorded by See Through Dresses’ Matt Carrol in his Little Machine Studios. From the press release: “The band’s first release on vinyl is a ten-song blast of stripped down, honest rock and roll that combines proletarian ethics with blood, bats and ripped black mesh to create a fearsome sound with a looming menace that aptly captures the stark reality of our hellscape era.

Fierce! The band consists of bassist Cam Stout, drummer Gabe Cohen, guitarist Michael Huber and one of the most entertaining — if not flamboyant — frontmen in Omaha, Castro Turf. The band throws around the “goth” term a lot these days no doubt in part because of Mr. Turf’s stage craft, which looks influenced by Cramps’ legend The Cramps’ Lux Interior. This is one of my favorite local bands to see live, preferably smashed into a crowd at O’Leaver’s or The Brothers Lounge.

So who is Black Site? According to the release, it’s “a record label cooperative created by Kansas City musicians interested in supporting regional punk and rock bands (releasing) their recordings on a physical medium.” The label’s roster includes Red Kate, Stiff Middle Fingers, Truck Stop Love (who remembers the ’90s?) and Libations, among others.

Check out the the track below and pre-order here via Bandcamp.


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Also yesterday, Digital Leather released the third track from the project’s upcoming full-length release, New Wave Gold, out Sept. 15 on No Coast Recordings. Frontman / project mastermind Shawn Foree said the track, “Sinking Ship,” is “about how fucked the world is, and how we are all going to die in the worst way possible soon. There is nothing we can do. It’s far too late. Plus, it’s got a beat and you can dance to it.” 

Very nice. You can order the record from bandcamp, here:

For those of you who missed the article/interview with Mr. Foree in the August issue of The Reader, here’s the story in its entirety. I like to post these on Lazy-i just so’s I have a digital copy if/when The Reader goes belly up…

Digital Leather in the Days of COVID
The Omaha electro-punk act celebrates 20 years with its 24th album.

Prior to the interview for this column, the last time I spoke with Shawn Foree, the mastermind behind the musical project Digital Leather, was a couple years ago. It was late in the evening standing outside the patio door at mid-town punk club O’Leaver’s, no doubt killing time between live sets from a couple local garage bands we both knew.

Foree, who looked like an unholy cross between Jim Morrison and Deliverance-era Burt Reynolds, told me he was about to hang it up as far as Digital Leather was concerned. He’d just turned 40 and was tired of banging his head against the music industry wall, trying to get someone to notice what he was doing. And it sure didn’t look like things would ever change.
The conversation bummed me out, because Foree / Digital Leather was and is my favorite Omaha-based music project. The only person more frustrated by his music never receiving the attention it deserved was me. Digital Leather music is the perfect amalgamation of modern songwriting, instrumentation and vintage digital sounds. The product is highly addictive, darkly worded 21st Century synth-punk that can stand alongside music by acts like Gary Numan, Psychic TV and The Faint.

As it turned out, Foree was just in a bad mood that night at O’Leaver’s. “Don’t believe me when I say I’ve given up,” he said over the phone July 21. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again.”

In fact, only a few months after that announced retirement, Digital Leather recorded and released a new album, followed by another and another.

And now comes New Wave Gold, out Sept. 15 on Madison, Wisconsin, label No Coast Records (Thee Oh Sees, Red Mass, The Hussy). The 16-track collection is the 24th full-length album (in addition to 13 EPs and singles) released by Digital Leather over the 20 years Foree has made music under that moniker.

Digital Leather fans will be happy to know New Wave Gold is the most cohesive, pop-fueled collection Foree has released since 2009’s Warm Brother (Fat Possum Records). He recorded and mixed the album in his apartment studio with contributions by drummer Jeff Lambelet and mastering by sound engineer Ian Aeillo.

The album opens with the first COVID-19 quarantine-inspired song I’ve heard, “Dark Ages,” which closes with the lines: “Don’t you go and worry about me, baby / You got better things to think about, I’m sure / Honey, don’t you know these are the Dark Ages / Disease is in the air, and it’s pure.”

Foree is the only person I’ve talked to who’s tested positive for COVID-19. “I tested positive a month and a half ago,” he said. “I was asymptomatic. It was a little freaky. I wasn’t sure if I was going to become sick, but fortunately, I was OK, maybe a little tired. I tested again a couple weeks after, and it came back negative.”

His day job doing environmental testing, which he’s kept throughout the pandemic, takes him all over the country. “I was floating around South Dakota, Missouri, all around red states, so it could have come from anywhere,” he said. “It was a positive test, but none of my friends had it, just me. So I don’t know if I really had it.”

With COVID-19 shutting down music venues and making touring impossible, it’s a strange time to release a new album. Foree, who has released more than an album a year on average, didn’t want to wait around for the world to reopen. “The record was done,” he said. “I showed it to Bobby (Hussy), who runs the record label, and we just said fuck it and put it out so I can move on to new material.”

To help market the release, Foree is working with national publicist Grandstand Media, whose massive client roster includes acts like Tame Impala, Waxahatchee, Soccer Mommy, Bright Eyes and Kim Gordon, to name a few. “It’s totally new ground for me, selling records without playing live,” Foree said. “If we can make our money back, that would be fine. Making a profit is not on my or the label’s to do list.”

Foree also is the first musician I’ve interviewed since COVID-19 began. The pandemic has had a huge impact on his music world. “All my friends want to play shows and are depressed, because it’s not only their livelihood, it’s part of their sanity. It’s part of who they are,” he said. “I have friends who were about to release records, go on tour, go to Europe, and now it’s all TBD. I think everyone is pretty fucking depressed about it.”

Even after the pandemic is under control, he said things won’t be the same. “There will be all kinds of new regulations; it’ll be weird,” Foree said. “A lot of people won’t want to go out to shows. Venues might close. How are they going to support themselves if they can’t do business? The same goes for musicians who live off their music.”

Foree isn’t one of those, not anymore. He’s managed to find a balance between making a living and making music, and has accepted the fact that, despite having toured the country and releasing albums on a dozen different record labels, he may never make it to “the next level.”

“Part of me is frustrated that I don’t have a larger audience, but I’m also kind of glad things are the way they are,” he said. “I see the silver lining. I have freedom to do what I want. You’re supposed to give it up at 30 and get a real job once you realize there’s no money in it. Well, I have a real job and can still do it, so fuck them all.”

First published in The Reader, September 2020. Copyright © 2011 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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Nebraska to reopen venues; Live Review: No Thanks; Mercy Rule / Sideshow panel tonight; Little Brazil, Noah’s Ark Saturday; RIP Kyle Tonniges…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:33 pm May 22, 2020
No Thanks streamed live from the Slowdown main stage May 21, 2020.

Well, what did I tell you yesterday? As if on cue a few hours after I posted, Ricketts announced bars and lounges can reopen June 1 with the same rules now applied to restaurants. That is: 25 people allowed in the venue, or 50 percent of the venue’s rated occupancy. Patrons have to be seated at tables that are located six feet apart with no more than six people per table. And there must be six feet between entertainers and patrons.

I got this backwards. See CLARIFICATION posted right here.

If it sounds confusing it’s because it is, but I’m sure it’ll all be spelled out before June 1. For example, does the 25-person cap include employees and bands? Do you include employee/band numbers in the 50 percent occupancy restriction? And so on…

So if I’m hearing this correctly, a venue like The Waiting Room or Slowdown could only host shows with a maximum of 25 people in the audience (if employees/bands are excluded from the overall venue count). and even though they’re much smaller, The Brothers and O’Leaver’s also could host the same body count since their capacity exceeds 100.

Any way you slice it, it’s going to be a giant pain in the ass for venue owners who will be responsible for monitoring all those numbers. Some of them might decide to just stay closed until restrictions are loosened even further, and I can’t blame them.

Would I go to a rock show at any of those venues the first week of June? Yeah, I would, but judging from what I’ve seen in social media, I’m in the minority.

For example, I would have loved to have been among the 25 allowed in to watch last night’s No Thanks / Marcey Yates show streamed live from The Slowdown.

It probably would have been like this: I’d have been seated at a table (probably by myself) and I’d would have worn a mask though I haven’t heard any stipulation saying that’s required. That said, I have no problem wearing a mask as long as I could pull down my gator to drink my Rolling Rock(s).

Last night’s show was outstanding. Technically it was next-level as far as streamed concerts are concerned — terrific sound (by Dan Brennan), and video (from Love Drunk’s Django Greenblatt-Seay and his crew) utilizing at least five cameras.

And the performances were terrific. But the one thing missing was an audience — something even more apparent during No Thanks’ set, which had silent pauses between songs where the crowd usually fills in the spaces. Toward the end of the stream, the crew threw in a few whoops and hollers, which was better than nothing.

Yates was accompanied by a DJ and keyboard player as well as a couple additional vocalists — all of them on point and smooth. You can see why he’s on top of Omaha’s hip-hop ladder.

No Thanks did their usual sweaty set, using the occasion to roll out a couple new red hot numbers from an upcoming album (which, yes, they might as well release right now instead of waiting).

Next up on the Slowdown streaming concert series (of which there are two gigs) is tomorrow night (Saturday), when Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship plays with Little Brazil. Any other time, this concert would be a sloppy, drunken good time. Can these bands deliver in an empty auditorium? Find out. Tickets are $5 (plus whatever tip you want to add). The show is scheduled to start at 8:15, though last night’s started at 8:30 (You really notice the extra time when you’re staring at a computer screen). Get your tickets here.

Also happening this weekend — tonight to be exact — is a virtual round table with members of Domestica, Mercy Rule and Sideshow. It’s called Nebraska Music History: Episode 1, presented by Nebraska Performing Arts Hall of Fame. I’m sure we’ll be hearing all about the golden age of Nebraska indie rock born in the early ‘90s from two of the bands that were there. Mercy Rule and Sideshow not only recorded and toured around the country, they often toured together. Expect to hear some gnarly war stories. The program starts at 7 p.m. and is being streamed via Facebook from here.

Finally, yesterday we lost a good one. Kyle Tonniges was a friend of mine who I met working at The Reader. He was one of the funniest, most acerbic, smartest people I ever met, and one hell of a great writer. His music criticism was always spot-on — I know he introduced a lot of readers to new sounds. He went on to write reviews for Publishers Weekly (focusing on cookbooks), where he also did a lot of interviews. He battled cancer like the hero he was, but it got him in the end, and we’re all the lesser for it. He will be missed.

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.


When will Omaha bars reopen? New music: Eddy Mink; Pagan Athletes; No Thanks, Marcey Yates tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:40 pm May 21, 2020

No Thanks at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 2, 2019. The band plays a live streamed showcase tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan,

We’re all still sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting to hear when bars are going to be allowed to reopen, especially after Iowa announced a 50 percent capacity reopening starting next Thursday (May 28).

If you’re like me and you’re watching the various and sundry COVID-19 reports/charts/graphs, the numbers seem to be flattening or headed downwards in Nebraska. Meanwhile, flip through Facebook and you’ll quickly find numbers that say Douglas County is still red hot — cases continue to rise, but so do tests. And yet, I’ve still (luckily) yet to know anyone who has tested positive (or know anyone who knows anyone who has).

With the Nebraska DHM (Directed Heath Measures) proclamation expiring June 1, I foresee we’ll be getting an announcement regarding bars reopening sometime in the next week. If they follow Iowa’s lead and allow for a 50 percent capacity reopening, will you be willing to return that first week of June?

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New music continues to be released even during the shutdown.

The long-awaited new album by Eddy Mink (a.k.a. Kerry Eddy), Open Container Heart Surgery, dropped last week on Spotify and other streaming services.

Recorded at ARC with Ben Brodin in March 2018 with Ben Armstrong on drums/keys, Patrick Hargon on guitar, baritone guitar and pedal steel and Eddy on guitar and vocals, it’s one of my favorite local releases so far for 2020. Eddy has a bright, aggressive voice that’s like hearing one of the Wilson sisters (Heart) fronting a modern indie rock band. The songs gallop on a rhythm section whose bass lines lead the way (see standout tracks “Eaten Alive,” opener “Alarms”).

I’m including a Spotify link below because the band doesn’t have a Bandcamp page (though you can find the entire album here on YouTube).

The Wolf Brothers of Griffin and Nathan are sons of local rock royalty — John Wolf — but that’s not why you should check out their new four-song EP Live at the DN. The drums/synth combo’s recordings are jittery sonic acid trips of rhythm and noise. Call it electro-punk annihilation, or the soundtrack to your personal COVID nightmare.

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The doors are closed tonight at The Slowdown but there’s still a rock show happening on the big stage, and you’re invited to tune in via the internet.

Punk rock show-stoppers No Thanks and hip-hop master Marcey Yates (a.k.a. Op2mus) are the first to be featured in a new live stream experiment at Slowdown. With house sound guy Dan Brennan and renowned videographer Django Greenblatt-Seay behind the controls, this is sure to be a next-level streaming experience.

And it ain’t free. Tickets are $5 (though you can donate more) with the cash going to the talent involved. Ticket holders will receive a link to the event both 48 hours and 10 minutes prior to the event. Performances begin at 8:15 sharp. More info and tickets available here.

It’s the next best thing to going to a rock show. See you there…

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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.


The Slowdown gets in the livestream concert game; Ramon Speed tonight, Matt Cox Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 11:45 am May 8, 2020

Ramon Speed at Junkstock #20 at Sweatshop Gallery, Nov. 8, 2014. The band has a livestream tonight at 6 p.m.

by Tim McMahan,

The Slowdown announced two upcoming concerts featuring full bands. No, you can’t attend. Both are livestream events.

The first is Omaha punk newcomer No Thanks and hip-hop royalty Marcey Yates (a.k.a. Op2mus), Thursday, May 21 at 8 p.m. (RSVP/tickets here).

The second features two of Omaha’s most beloved punk/indie bands — Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and Little Brazil Saturday, May 23 at 8 p.m. (RSVP tickets/here).

These are not free streams. Tickets are $5, and ticket holders will receive a link to the event 48 hours and 10 minutes prior to start time. The shows begin at 8:15 p.m.

No doubt you’ll get your money’s worth. Expect the highest quality stream experience possible, with sound by house engineer Dan Brennan and video production by Love Drunk’s Django Greenblatt-Seay – it doesn’t get any better.

All acts will be performing on the big stage, making them safe from a social-distancing perspective.

I intend to tune in for both, and have to wonder if this livestream approach is successful if it isn’t something Slowdown will continue even after COVID has gone its merry way. Because some nights you just want to stay in, but you don’t want to miss the rock…

Speaking of livestreams… there’s a red hot one going on tonight.

Tonight at 6 p.m. via their Facebook page ( ) tune in for a performance by Ramon Speed (Unread Records).

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Matt Cox is live from Mars House starting at 7 p.m. Go to Facebook to watch the stream.

While we’re talking streams, Low End, the new performance space that used to be Bemis Underground, is hosting a livestream Thursday, May 14 , featuring FXTHR^, the sound collage art of Dustin Bushon. More info here.

I’m sure there’s more live streams going on this weekend I don’t know about. If I missed yours, 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


SUSTO, Molly Parden at Slowdown; Ceremony, Jocko, No Thanks at Reverb tonight …

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:36 pm February 24, 2020

Ceremony at The Sweatshop Gallery, July 11, 2015. The band plays at Reverb Lounge tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

You’ve got a decision to make this evening between two very good shows.

Down at Slowdown Jr., Charleston, S.C. singer/songwriter SUSTO performs. The band, fronted by Justin Osborne who sings like the second coming of Jackson Browne, cancelled when last scheduled to play at Slowdown Jr. back in February 2017. Back then he was supporting his killer full-length & I’m Fine Today. His new album, Ever Since I Lost My Mind (2019, Rounder), is just as sweet. Check out the tracks below. Opening at 8 p.m. is singer/songwriter Molly Parden. $18.

Meanwhile, over at Reverb Lounge it’s the return of Ceremony. The band’s 2015 performance at Sweatshop Gallery is one of my all-time favorites. It was probably 100 degrees outside on that July evening and 120 degrees inside the packed garage performance space where Ross Farrar and company turned it up another 20 degrees with their dark, heavy post punk.

No doubt it’ll be much more chill (temperature and otherwise) inside Reverb Lounge for tonight’s Ceremony show, but likely no less entertaining. The under card is a humdinger: punk bands Jocko and No Thanks. This is a veritable rock festival! for a mere $15. Starts at 8 p.m.

You can’t go wrong with either show. Having seen Ceremony and No Thanks twice already, I’ll see you down at Slowdown…

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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.


Live Review: The Lupines, Unexplained Death at O’Leaver’s; Pile, Stuck, No Thanks tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:36 pm November 12, 2019

The Lupines at O’Leaver’s Nov. 9, 2019.

by Tim McMahan,

The Lupines rolled out a new direction to their sound last Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. In fact, they literally rolled it out — a giant upright piano, that is. If you’ve been there before you’ve likely leaned/sat on the behemoth, which usually sits next to the exit to the beer garden. The band grunted it across the floor to the stage area for their set, and then spent a good 10 minutes (or more?) trying to get it properly miked up. Who knew that old-fashioned upright pianos could create so much feedback?

Lupines frontman John Ziegler set down his guitar to twinkle the ivories on a new set of songs that sported a honky-tonk country flair, a bit of blues and folk and rock. The first couple tunes were eight or nine minutes long but seemed to roll on forever thanks to endlessly repeating verses. Ziegler pounded the keys like a modern-day Leon Russell, ending each line with a bluesy flourish, while guitarist Mike Friedman pulled back his usual jittery, frenetic Lupines’ style to something more relaxed and refined, a la David Lindley.

It all came together on the final two songs of the set — one short one, the other, an epic closer wherein Ziegler maneuvered from the piano bench, through the tangle of microphone stands and cords to pick up his Gibson and battle Friedman with guitar riffs.

I’d heard a few weeks ago that Ziegler was going to play piano for this set, so I prepared myself to finally hear one of my all-time favorite Lupines songs — “Hasn’t Failed Me Yet” — a tune I’d been told had never been played live because of its piano-based arrangement. Now there were no excuses. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as the band only played brand new material. My quest to hear that epic song continues…

Unexplained Death at O’Leaver’s Nov. 9, 2019.

Matt Whipkey and his crew in the form of poli-punk band Unexplained Death didn’t make it to the O’Leaver’s “stage” until well after midnight, ripping through songs off their just-released self-titled cassette.

Always prolific, Whipkey used the occasion to debut a couple more new songs, one of them an angry, fast number built on a golden guitar riff that I’d love to hear again. If this project’s goal was to pull Whipkey away from the Americana format that he’s known for, it’s succeeding. As I’ve said before, Unexplained Death isn’t so much a punk bands as a punk-influenced rock band with a political message ripe for our time. But it won’t be deemed a true success until someone wearing a MAGA hat attacks Whipkey on stage during a performance, ending in arrests by all involved, and the headline MAGA DUDE CHARGED FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER AT UNEXPLAINED DEATH SCENE!!!

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The last time Boston indie rock act Pile played in Omaha it was aboard the River City Star in the summer of 2017. They’ll be on firmer ground when they headline Slowdown Jr. tonight, on tour in support of Green and Gray (2019, Exploding in Sound), album that scored a mighty 7.9 on the Pitchfork scale.

The touring opener is mathy Chicago rockers Stuck. While Omaha’s very own No Thanks kicks things off at 8 p.m. This is a good one, and it’s only $12.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Deerhoof (sold out), Unexplained Death (debut), Those Far Out Arrows, No Thanks tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:48 pm October 25, 2019

Deerhoof at The Waiting Room, June 25, 2010.

Deerhoof at The Waiting Room, June 25, 2010. The band plays a sold out show tonight at the grand opening of Low End at the Bemis.

by Tim McMahan,

Tonight is the debut of Low End, the new venue that is opening in the space that used to be Bemis Underground.

And the band chosen to kick things off is none other than Deerhoof. The concert is a joint production between Bemis and the Maha organization and has been sold out for quite some time, so unless you have tickets you’ll have to wait until one of the Low End’s future free concerts to check out the new digs. The concert starts at 9:30.

Also tonight, the long-awaited debut of Unexplained Death, the poli-punk rock project by Matt Whipkey. I’ve been told that Matt will be spending the afternoon ironing his mohawk for this special occasion. Or should I say “occasions” as Matt will first be hosting a listening party for the new Unexplained Death cassette release at Hi Fi House at 5:30, with music beginning at 6:30. That one’s free.

Then later, Whipkey will be giving his band the ultimate acid test by debuting at what is arguably Omaha’s punkiest punk bar, The Brothers Lounge.  The Broke Loose opens at 10 p.m. $5.

Also tonight, Omaha garage-rock originals Those Far Out Arrows are headlining at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them are Anthony Worden & the Illiterati, and Sean Pratt. $5, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, cross town at the infamous Midtown Art Supply space at 2578 Harney St. there’s a four-band show featuring maybe the hottest Omaha punk band currently running, No Thanks, along with Jocko, Death Cow and Histrionic. $5, 8 p.m.

One other show worth mentioning happening tonight is The Travelling Mercies playing at The Down Under Lounge. Joining them are Project Constellation and Michael Trenhaile. This one’s free and starts at 9:30.

Than we get to Saturday. The Husker game is at 2:30, so there’s no excuse for the lack of shows. The only thing I’m aware of is the Big Al free music fest at O’Leaver’s starting at 9 (a canned-food contribution is recommended for entry).

Am I missing something? 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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: No Thanks at O’Leaver’s…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:40 pm August 5, 2019

No Thanks at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 2, 2019.

by Tim McMahan,

No Thanks is a four-piece punk band with a tight rhythm section, an ingenious guitarist and a frontman who knows how to keep a crowd’s attention. Their Facebook bio lists them as Castro Turf, yelling/antics; Ruby Roux, bassist; The Lost Boy, drummist, and Kick Banán, guitarist. The only clue I have to their real identities is that someone told me Mr. Turf is actually a direct relative to former Omaha Mayor Gene Leahy.

Shirtless in tight black pants and black lipstick, Turf/Leahy’s spaz-rock preening conjured comparisons to The Cramps’ Lux Interior, nervously/feverishly pacing back and forth in front of the band for the first half of the set; spending the second half immersed in the humanity that crowded the stage. His voice, a classic post-punk bark – there’s nary a note to be sung, and only a few words were audibly legible.

If you want to know the words, well, go to their Bandcamp page where the band’s 2018 LP, The Trial, can be downloaded/listened to. It’s good, but it in no way resembles the live performance Friday night, which was gritty and hot as you’d expect from any late, well-attended O’Leaver’s show.

I dug around and found the Omaha Magazine story about the band, which came with an identity key: Guitarist Kick Banán is Mike Huber, Turf/Leahy is Brendan Leahy; Ruby Roux is Camille Stout and The Lost Boy is Gabe Cohen. While Leahy is this band’s center of attention, it’s Huber’s guitar that makes it rock with a dark, angular majesty, drilled forward by Stout’s very physical bass skills.

One patron compared their sound to Dischord bands, which I kind of get, though the bands from Dischord that immediately come to mind (Jawbox, Faraquet) have frontmen who actually sing. I was reminded more of acts like Uranium Club, Nots, Diät, Marbled Eye, acts with throbbing, eclectic post-punk sounds that are as much about rhythm as melody. And while musically the band provides the bedrock, it’s Leahy’s intense performance that is mesmerizing.

I was told these guys were pissed because they didn’t make it into my Reader Top 20 list. I find it hard to believe. I can’t imagine they’d give two shits that some old guy left them off a list that has zero relevance with anyone. The fact is, I hadn’t heard the band at the time the list was written (as I said in The Reader, those were the favorites of the bands I’d heard). They would make my list now. They stand out among the handful of new Nebraska acts making a mark on a scene that seems to be fading before our very eyes.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Dross, Foxburrows, #BFF, No Thanks, Hussies, Scaphe tonight; Jason Isbell Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:45 pm August 2, 2019

No Thanks plays at O’Leaver’s tonight…

by Tim McMahan,

Welcome to the weekend. Busy Friday, not so busy Saturday…

Dross headlines a show tonight at The Sydney with Oklahoma City indie band Foxburrows (check ’em out below) and my favorite DJ Tyrone Storm. $5, 10 p.m.

BTW, it’s #BFF — Benson First Friday. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop by The Little Gallery at 5901 Maple (the east bay of the Masonic Lodge Building) and check out the opening for Shawnequa Linder. Her show is called “Remixing: An Experimental Portrait Series,” and it’s a head trip… literally. We’re there from 6 to 9 p.m. Come by, say hi.

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Omaha punk rockers No Thanks headlines. The four-piece is heading out on tour and will not be taking any prisoners. Hussies open at 10 p.m. $5.

Also tonight, The Brothers is hosting a post-hardcore show headlined by Minneapolis act Scaphe. Also on the bill are Houma, Adult Whisperer and the incomparable Solid Goldberg. $5, 9 p.m.

It’s looking mighty thin on Saturday…

O’Leaver’s has a hardcore show with Come Out Fighting, Red Kate, Bitch Dust and Scab Ghouls. $7, 9 p.m.

Sunday Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit are playing on Military Ave. in Benson as part of the Waiting Room Outdoors series. John Moreland opens at 7 p.m. $40.

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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.