Live Review: Scout Gillett; Maria Elena Silva (Chicago) tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 7:15 am April 3, 2023
Scout Gillett at O’Leaver’s, March 31, 2023.

by Tim McMahan,

A friend of mine met me at O’Leaver’s last Friday night for the Scout Gillett set. The show was scheduled to start at 10 p.m. with Anna McClellan, but by the time I arrived a little after 10, McClellan had already wrapped up her set, so they must have moved her start time.

There was my friend with his beer. While I hadn’t been to O’Leaver’s in at least six months or more, he hadn’t been there in a number of years. 

“Were those booths there before?” he asked, pointing at two sets of black leather booths installed along the south wall, directly in front of “stage right.” No, those are new, at least new post-Covid, when O’Leaver’s changed their business plan to become more of a burger joint and less of a rock club. 

“What’s with the projector screen behind the band?” he asked. I told him once upon a time, O’Leaver’s installed a big screen TV that was behind bands, and then created some sort of cover-up for it and then took it down. Now it appears they’re using a projection TV and no longer lift the screen, giving the staging area an office party vibe. Not sure why they’d leave the screen down unless they were watching the women’s Final Four game before the set and forgot to close it. 

The wall of electronic candles also was new, as were a couple beer signs I didn’t recognize, and every so often someone would emerge from where the Tiki Bar used to be with baskets of French Fries, but all in all, O’Leaver’s hadn’t changed much. I told my friend how despite its tiny size and lack of a real stage The Club used to be one of the most important — and fun — places to see a band, and some pretty remarkable bands at that. 

You can still relive some of those crazy O’Leaver’s nights at, where high-quality soundcloud files of sets are still stored and playable online, including by bands like Johnathan Rice, Xetas, Head of Femur, Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club (Conor Oberst project), Speedy Ortiz, Cursive, Bob Log III, Orenda Fink, Mike Schlesinger, Simon Joyner, Matthew Sweet, Iska Dhaaf, Digital Leather and tons more. 

Anyway… Scout Gillett and her band kicked off their set at around 10:30. Playing as a four-piece, the Brooklyn crew sounded more straightforward and less hazy and moody than what’s heard on their delectable No Roof No Floor (Captured Tracks) album, more like a bar band than shoe-gazers, surrounded by around 30 people in the half-filled club as the Iowa women’s team celebrated their Final Four victory on the overhead TVs. 

The highlight was Gillett’s lead guitarist, whose name I didn’t catch and who isn’t listed on her Bandcamp page. He played some soaring fills and solos over a band that you could tell has the fire power to fill a big stage when/if the situation calls for it, unlike Friday night when a more subdued rhythm section was the state of play. At one point late in the set Gillett walked through the main floor area playing her guitar, the only thing missing was a basket of Fries. 

O’Leaver’s has yet another show coming up May 6 with David Nance & Mowed Sound and French rockers En Attendant Ana. Oui Oui!

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Pageturners has another of their sneaky Monday night shows tonight with Chicago singer/songwriter Maria Elena Silva. “Sweet, spacious songs sung in English and en español that evoke endless prairie,” says the Viking Choice Guide to Bandcamp 2021.  Omaha ambient artist Phill Smith opens at 8 p.m. $10 suggested donation.

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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.


Cursive wows NYC; Live Nation gets Steelhouse bookings; another O’Leaver’s weekend…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 8:29 am January 28, 2022
A group of 18 to 45 year olds presumably milling around the new Steelhouse music venue in 2023.

by Tim McMahan,

Not a whole helluva lot going on this weekend, which (again) is OK considering Douglas County’s test-positive rate for COVID-19 is around 40% according to CovidActNow. I’m among the few who still hasn’t gotten it (as far as I know) and I really don’t want to. That said, I’ll be returning to the bars next week for Cursive…

Speaking of which, BrooklynVegan, the East Coast’s indie music website, did a nice review of the Cursive show at Irving Plaza in NYC earlier this week. From the review:

Up next were Cursive, the only band whose lineup was unaffected by COVID, and you could tell that Tim especially was so grateful to be there. He talked about believing in humanity and being thankful for everyone being as responsible as possible during these weird times, and he and the rest of the band just seemed ready to put on one of the best shows of their lives. Cursive always bring it, but Wednesday night’s show felt like one for the record books. Tim was as animated and expressive as ever, the band’s string and horn-fueled post-hardcore was as weird and manic and intense as ever, and they were locked in from start to finish, teasing fan faves like ‘A Gentleman Caller’ and ‘Big Bang’ throughout the set before finally playing them near the end, and touching on a great variety of highlights from all throughout their career. In a month where people can’t stop talking about “emo nostalgia,” Cursive reminded everyone that they’re lifers.”

They are indeed. Mr. Kasher reportedly joined a COVID-crippled Appleseed Cast on drums for their last song that night. So talented. You’ll get a chance to see for yourself how talented Cursive is next Friday when they play at The Waiting Room with Lawrence legends Vitreous Humor and our very own Eric in Outerspace. I’ll be the one wearing the N95 mask.

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In other news, Omaha Performing Arts announced the worst kept secret ever yesterday morning that Live Nation will be the exclusive promoter at their new Steelhouse Omaha, the $104 million, 3,000-capacity live music venue slated to open in mid-2023 downtown by the Holland Center. Live Nation books radio-friendly pop and alt-rock acts as well as C&W, just a whole variety of musical styles except indie, which is what I happen to cover (though they do count Lucy Dacus among their fold).

The Steelhouse folks don’t mince words — their target age demo is 18-45, which is outside my range. I’m not sure why they’d publish that, considering Live Nation books plenty of acts that appeal to the 45+ age group, like Sammy Hagar and Reba McEntire. I still hold out hope that they’ll book at least a couple indie bands per year that are too big for our usual haunts.

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So, this weekend…

Top of the list has to be Light Speed Highway at fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night. I don’t know anything about this band, but based on this track (below) they’re an alt-rock band that borders on anthem-flavored power punk, which is a sound that would be right at home at The Club. This free show starts at 8 p.m. and includes “guests” which I assume means an opening act.

Other than that, Kris Lager Band is playing at Reverb Lounge Saturday night 8 p.m., $12.

The Slowdown is doing a screening of The Smile – Live Broadcast (which I thought was last week). This is Thom Yorke’s new band with Jonny Greenwood and Tom Skinner. 7 p.m. $20.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. If you go out, mask-up. 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.


Live music is returning to O’Leaver’s (finally)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 7:49 am December 1, 2021
O'Leaver's is under new management, and they're a bunch of martyrs.
O’Leaver’s announced its first two shows since the Before Times.

by Tim McMahan,

I’ve always said, we’ll know we’re on the back side of this pandemic when O’Leaver’s starts hosting shows again. Well, guess what…

O’Leaver’s first show back will be Dec. 11 featuring an Omaha supergroup comprised of Jerry Hug (Ritual Device, Porn Music), Dan McCarthy (McCarthy Trenching) and three members of Ladyfinger — Chris Machmuller, Jamie Massey and Pat Oakes. For this one-off show, they’ll be playing (get this) covers of Bob Seger songs. The free show will start at 10 p.m.

The next show at O’Leaver’s will be New Year’s Eve and features Smutthole Burpers, a Butthole Surfers cover band with Dave Schildman (Natural States), Colby Jenkins (Bokr Tov), and Anna Schmidt (Boner Killerz). This one also is free, starts at 9 p.m. and also has karaoke thrown in.

Craig Dee, a part-owner who books shows at O’Leaver’s, said the reason the club waited so long to reopen was due to the August 7 flooding that submerged the venue’s basement as well as damaged the main floor. The entire basement had to be torn out and rebuilt. While it wasn’t the first time O’Leaver’s has been flooded (It’s located on flood-prone Saddle Creek) Craig said, “That was the worst we’ve seen.”

But that wasn’t the only reason they waited. “The other music venues in town rely on bands more than we do,” Craig said. “Reverb, Sydney, Slowdown, etc., need those live bands.”

The last show I saw at O’Leaver’s was Perfect Form on Jan. 31, 2020. O’Leaver’s closed due to COVID in March 2020, along with most other small live-music venues. The next time I stepped foot in the club was to get a cheeseburger from their newly opened kitchen. It’s also when I noticed they’d installed booths where the stage had been. Well, the booths have been removed and the stage is back, but the kitchen is still there and open til midnight on weekends and 11 p.m. weeknights.

Time will tell if O’Leaver’s returns to regular booking. “We most likely won’t be as band heavy as before,” Craig said. “Doesn’t seem like as many touring bands coming through.” Time will tell, but regardless, it’s great to see them hosting shows again.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Contemplating other 2020 year-end lists (while listening to Gordon)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:05 am December 21, 2020
2020 critics’ picks…

It has been excessively quiet in Lazy-i land over the past week. I’ve spent this down time writing the annual Year in Review and 2021 Predictions articles for The Reader, which will be out in January. Seems like a long time to wait, considering every other publication already has posted/printed their year-end “best of” lists.

Pitchfork, the self-inflicted arbiter of hipster taste dipsticks, published its top-50 list last week. Pitchfork is more of an electronic/hip-hop review website these days based on these numbers, and no doubt that’s a reflection of indie’s ever-changing shift in direction. And yet, there’s still plenty of indie and pop to go around on this list — Taylor Swift at no. 29; Soccer Mommy at No. 26. And so on.

Who am I kidding. Pitchfork sneaks a few obscure albums on their list every year to appear to be hip, but in the end, it’s the same ol’ story. Topping the Pitchfork list was Fiona Apple, who is topping a lot of lists this year, followed by by Waxahatchee and gospel-tinged art rocker Moses Sumney on Jagjaguwar. Phoebe Bridgers, our pandemic It Girl, came in at No. 4.

Stereogum published its top-50 list three weeks ago. Fiona Apple, was again at the top, followed by Waxahatchee and Run the Jewels, with HAIM at No. 4 followed by Taylor Swift. Poor Phoebe was pushed all the way back to No. 28!

Consequence of Sound has become more rabid about its reviews these days. They try to be edgy, but they’re just as predictable. No. 1, Fiona Apple; No. 2 Run the Jewels; No. 3 Phoebe Bridgers. Waxahatchee drops to No. 6 on their list, right about the new Deftones album. Maybe they’re not that edgy after all. In fact, flipping through their list, it’s easily the most pop-centric of the bunch.

It’s here that we look at the aggregate site Album of the Year, which combines reviews from all the websites, assigns points for where an album falls on a list and then adds them up to come up with its rankings.

With that in mind, it should be no surprise that Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters was No. 1, with 444 points; Phoebe Bridges was a distant No. 2 with 364 points; followed by Run the Jewels RTJ4 at No. 3 with 304 points; Taylor Swift at No. 4 with 246 points and Duo Lipa at No. 5 with 223 points (I don’t get Duo Lipa having watched her on SNL and discarding her as a Katy Perry wannabe).

Missing from all these lists is the new Bright Eyes album, Down in the Weeks Where the World Once Was. It certainly got a lot of attention when it came out, but not nearly the push that Phoebe Bridgers got for her release on the same label.

According to Album to the Year, BE’s album did have some year-end lists appearances: No. 5 on The Sunday Times list, No. 9 on NBHAP, No. 10 on DIY; No. 12 on The Forty-Five; No. 21 on Double J; No. 40 on Slant Magazine and No. 45 on Uncut. Its year-end Album of the Year aggregate ranking was No. 267. Well.

BTW, the Gordon album I’m listening to is the three-song live set recorded at O’Leaver’s way back in 2014. I don’t know whatever happened to Gordon, but I can give you this holiday tip if you’re looking for something to listen to while wrapping gifts: Check out Live at O’Leaver’s. Within a few minutes of perusing the site you’ll be falling down the rabbit hole back to a simpler time when we all listened to live music surrounded by convicted felons and other assorted drunken miscreants. I miss O’Leaver’s. I might have to swing by at lunchtime and get a cheeseburger…

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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.


Some bars and venues prepare to reopen (O’Leaver’s, The Waiting Room); it’s Bandcamp Day (again)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:26 pm June 5, 2020
O’Leaver’s is back open for business, but no shows yet…

Oh, what a week it’s been. And the last thing that’s probably been on your minds is music and the lack thereof. But here we are with the weekend upon us and still no live music in which to partake.

Though to be honest, even if shows were booked they’d likely be cancelled due to curfews tonight and tomorrow night that will see the city of Omaha close its doors at 10 p.m. I like to think they’re being done in support of Black Lives Matter events rather than out of fear of them.

That said, things are loosening up with regard to bars and venues reopening. Bars, as you know, got the go-ahead to reopen on Monday, June 1.

The first venue to reopen: Fabulous O’Leaver’s. I got word about the reopening Tuesday from Craig Dee, who said both O’Leaver’s and Winchester are now open. They’re obviously following Douglas County Health Department guidelines, which means they have tables set up six feet apart, four to a table. And yes, the outside patio is open.

O’Leaver’s is open today from 3:30 to 9 and tomorrow from 12 to 9. Expect an announcement very soon about the launch of their new grill.

While there’s no drink minimums or charges to enter O’Leaver’s, there’s also no live music. The first show listed on their schedule isn’t until July 18 (but that could always change).

On the other hand, The Waiting Room’s first show is slated for June 19 — Shoot to Thrill, an AC/DC tribute act. Tickets are $15, but you have to buy a minimum of four tickets — which will get you a table. If you want to go alone, you can, but you still have to buy a table. The reason being, regulations require people to be seated at tables, not standing around. Hey, you’ve got three friends to share the freight, right?

Marc Leibowitz, who owns/operates The Waiting Room with Jim Johnson, said if tickets are still available at the door the day of the show (meaning it’s not sold out in advance), then they’ll sell some singles/doubles if possible.

He said the new rules brings The Waiting Room’s capacity down to just 84 people — that’s 21 tables of four.

Reverb Lounge, btw, has no shows scheduled until August, and no plans to reopen this month.

As for The Slowdown, Jason Kulbel could only tell me that the venue will not be reopening this month. And still no word from The Brothers (it’s closed, too).

Today until midnight Bandcamp is once again waiving its share of sales to support artists impacted by COVID-19. Most labels (including Saddle Creek Records) also are sharing 100% of digital revenue with artists.

But artists also are donating to BLM causes.

— SAVAK (Mike Jaworski’s joint) is donating proceeds from sales of a new 7-inch to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund.

— Simon Joyner is splitting profits among four national and local organizations (including the Union for Contemporary Art and Culxr House).

See the full list here.

That’s all I got for now. Have a great weekend…

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.


O’Leaver’s launches beer garden series, buys Winchester Bar & Grill…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:48 pm May 16, 2018

The fabulous Winchester Bar & Grill is now owned by the same folks who own fabulous O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

There’s no better place to enjoy great weather than your own back yard… or a beer garden. The folks at fabulous O’Leaver’s know this, so a couple years ago they built a giant beer garden behind their building. This hidden Narnia is one of the Omaha music scene’s best kept secrets (that’s not really secret).

Anyway, O’Leaver’s just announced a new “Summer Happy Hour Live Music Series” that takes place out in the beer garden one Thursday per month. The schedule:

May 17 — Bazile Mills
June 21 — Clarence Tilton
July 19 — Electroliners
Aug. 16 — RAF
Sept. 20 — Clarence Tilton
Oct. 11 — Shithook

These 6 p.m. gigs are $5, and what’s interesting is they haven’t limited the bands to quiet acoustic combos. RAF is a violent, raucous punk band. What will the neighbors say? Well, it’s so early in the evening I can’t imagine they’ll say anything.

Noise issues are the only reason I can fathom why more Omaha beer gardens don’t host outdoor gigs. Benson’s 1912, for example, has a massive beer garden on its roof perfect for a weekly local gig. The just opened Bärchen, also in Benson, has a great beer garden behind its building.

Speaking of O’Leaver’s, the club’s ownership group has expanded its holdings with the purchase of Winchester Bar & Grill at 7002 Q St., right across the street from Fun Plex. In addition to their attempt at cornering the market on volleyball (Winchester has five nets), there’s also pool, darts and karaoke.

Winchester’s motto: “A Legend of Good Times and Food Since 1975,” which is probably the last time I was there. Actually, I remember Winchester’s as part of the ’80s club scene that stretched along 72nd street (Who remembers Jodhpurs, Brandywines, The Crazy Horse and The Ranch Bowl — meat market bars that featured cover bands? Toss Arthur’s in there for good measure since it was right up the street).

I’m told the new owners haven’t had a chance to make any changes but “anything is possible there” including live rock shows, maybe in line with what we’ve seen at O’Leaver’s. Maybe they’ll play off the name and focus on a C&W theme, or Americana? Time will tell. I intend to drop by this weekend before or after the races at Horseman’s Park.

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Monday’s item about Maha charging volunteers a $35 deposit caught the attention of the Maha folks.

They said the grizzled Maha veteran volunteer who complained to me literally didn’t get the memo, as veteran volunteers were offered an early-bird opportunity in April to volunteer and waive the $35 fee. Any other veteran volunteers who didn’t get the memo should get in touch with Maha at

Maha also reiterated that volunteers are what keep the festival a well-oiled machine, which is something anyone who’s gone to a Maha Festival already knows.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Take Cover 5’s line-up has some interesting combinations (High Up takes on Digital Leather?)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:59 pm January 28, 2016

The 5th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska is Saturday at O'Leaver's.

The 5th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska is Saturday at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Gotta wonder how fabulous O’Leaver’s is going to handle the crowds Saturday night for Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover Pt. 5. I mean, if all the bands performing were to show up at once the club would be at capacity. Where are the fans gonna sit?

The premise every year for Take Cover is the same: A local band covers another local band and also plays a song of their own. This year’s line-up, which was announced Tuesday, has a number of interesting match-ups:

— High Up is covering Digital Leather’s “Studs in Love.” The song has been covered by others (most notably The Hussy on last year’s DL/Hussy split), but High Up will undoubtedly bring something unique to their rendition.

— CJ Mills is covering High Up’s “Two Weeks,” my personal favorite High Up song and one that will demand an insane level of energy for Mills to pull off.

— Well Aimed Arrows is covering Millions of Boys’ “Girl’s Name.” Like a sonic Reese’s peanut butter cup, two of my favorites together in one tasty treat. How will WAA strip this one down to its bare essentials?

— Mint Wad Willy is covering Digital Leather’s “Young Doctors in Love.” Can a band who has more in common with Wilco pull off this post-punk-style gem from a few years back? Digital Leather appears to be the favorite for covers this year, and deservedly so. It’s a shame they’re not covering someone themselves…

— Eric in Outerspace is covering Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship’s “Wrecking Ball Girl.” This one seems like an obvious combination stylistically, though EiO could make the tune sound even grittier.

There’s more, lot’s more. Check out the lineup at Hear Nebraska. Again, the show is Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. Admission is a $10 donation at the door. The fun starts at 9 p.m. 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Who Is Chick Pee (not a typo)? O’Leaver’s hot upcoming shows (Mothers, Dirty Dishes); Love Cop tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 1:56 pm January 19, 2016

by Tim McMahan,

I was going back and forth yesterday with booker Craig Dee about who exactly is in new O’Leaver’s supergroup Chick Pee (yet another in a series of cleverly drafted award-winning band names from the folks who brought you Peace of Shit and Dumb Beach.)  (By the way, members of Chick Pee are Johnny Vredenburg and Jeff Lambelet of Digital Leather and  Austin Ulmer of Dumb Beach, all three are former members of legendary blood-punk band The Shanks).

…when Craig asked who I was looking forward to seeing on the just-released O’Leaver’s gig calendar other than Chick Pee (who play March 21, opening for Memphis band Manatees). I turned it around and asked Craig the same question.

Among the high fliers he pointed out that are set to play on the vaunted O’Leaver’s stage:

— Athens band Mothers, who plays O’Leaver’s Feb. 16. Started as a solo project by frontwoman Kristine Leschper, the four-piece’s debut album was produced by Drew Vandenberg (who’s mixed/engineered Deerhunter and Of Montreal albums). In fact, Mothers toured with Of Montreal last fall. Their single “It Hurts Until It Doesn’t” has just shy of 600,000 spins in Spotify. They are red hot. NYC label Grand Jury will release Mothers’ debut this year.

— LA duo Dirty Dishes plays at The Club Feb. 20. Their debut, Guilty, was released on Exploding in Sound records last year and includes the single “Red Roulette,” which has around 150k Spotify spins.

— Seattle garage-glam band Wild Powwers, who plays O’Leaver’s March 4, have a new album coming out called Hugs And Kisses And Other Things.

Other March O’Leaver’s gigs include Mamiffer (Isis frontman and Hydra Head Records founder Aaron Turner) March 28, Brooklyn band TEEN (Carpark Records) on March 31, as well as two more yet-to-be-announced O’Leaver’s shows by Naytronix (member of Tuneyards) and Athens band New Madrid.

Add to O’Leaver’s list God Speed! You Black Emperor Feb 10 at The Slowdown, Eleanor Friedberger Feb. 27 at Reverb, and Titus Andronicus / Craig Finn March 11 at Lookout Lounge and the calendar starts to look impressive.

We just need to get through January first.

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There’s actually a pretty interesting show tonight at Milk Run. Burger Records Portland duo Love Cop (read about them here at Hear Nebraska) headlines a bill that includes Thick Paint, Little Ripple and The Way Out. $6, 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.


The Reader’s 2015 Top Music Venues / Top Bands stories (in link form)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:37 pm October 13, 2015

The interior of The Slowdown, photo taken waaay back in 2007 when the club opened.

The interior of The Slowdown, photo taken waaay back in 2007 when the club opened.

by Tim McMahan,

Let’s assume you haven’t picked up a copy of the printed version of The Reader, which is (obviously) the most convenient way to read all the content included in the Reader‘s 2015 Music Issue.

Trying to read all the Music Issue information online can be a bit frustrating. It would have been nice for The Reader to place all the info into one “package” that flows from one piece to the next.

Fear not, that package is right here.

This morning my feature on The Waiting Room and The Slowdown went online at The Reader‘s website. It joins Wayne Brekke’s piece on the Harney Street Tavern and BJ Huchtemann’s picks of favorite venues including the 21st Saloon, and my feature on O’Leaver’s, which went online last week. Here’s the index:

The Reader‘s Music Issue — The Venues:

While were at it, here are the Reader‘s Best Bands lists:

Of course, you can always just grab your copy of The Reader at your local bar, coffee house or bookstore.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Live Review: Robert Thornton benefit; O’Leaver’s explained, more Reader top bands; Severin, AYGAMG tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:53 pm October 8, 2015

The Lupines at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The Lupines at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

“If you’re a praying person, send your prayers to the Thornton family.” Solemn words from Lupines frontman John Ziegler, and a reminder why the bands were playing last night at The Waiting Room.

As outlined yesterday, Robert (Bob) Thornton is going through serious medical issues that have kept him from working and created mountains of medical bills. Find out more about the situation at his GoFundMe page and lend a hand.

Last night’s show was a benefit for Bob, and despite the tragic circumstances surrounding the evening, the bands brought their A games, performing rousing sets performed in front of about 100 fans. Ziegler’s message came smack-dab in the middle of the Lupine’s usual break-neck/ball-buster set we’ve come to expect from the Omaha garage-rock giants.

Wagon Blasters at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

Wagon Blasters at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

Lupines followed a set by tractor-punk heroes Wagon Blasters, a band that features Robert’s brother Bill Thornton on guitar. Gary Dean Davis and the crew were in rare form, with the Waiting Room’s stage finally giving GDD the space he needs for maximum bounce height/trajection.

The Sun-less Trio at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The Sun-less Trio at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015.

The evening was rounded out by a gorgeous set from The Sun-less Trio, a band that features Mike Saklar on guitar and vocals, galvanized by the rhythm section of drummer Marc Phillips and bass player Cricket Kirk.  The music’s style was earthy, laid-back and (dare I say it?) soulful, powered by Saklar’s masterful guitar work. The band has a new record coming out Oct. 18. Their set was the perfect way to end a night of music dedicated to a good cause.

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Word to the Totally indeed.

Word to the Totally indeed.

The hits keep on coming from The Reader. As part of The Reader‘s annual Music Issue, this morning my big-ass feature on O’Leaver’s went online. Matt Maginn, Ted Stevens, Craig Dee and Ian Aeillo give the skinny on what’s happening these days at The Club as it enters its next renaissance. The story covers everything from the new sound system to Live at O’Leaver’s to the booking policy to the new, massive beer garden. The story is on newsstands now and online right here.

This O’Leaver’s feature story is the central part of the issue’s look at Omaha music venues. I also wrote about The Waiting Room and Slowdown, and Wayne Brekke and BJ Huchtemann  wrote about their favorite clubs, including the styles of music, booking etc. Those stories will be online soon but why wait? Grab your copy of the paper right now.

Included (and now online) is BJ Huchtemann’s list of Top Bands, that joins my list and Wayne’s list in the issue. BJ kicks off her list by saying how much she hates lists, and points to John Heaston for coming up with the whole “lists” idea. But, in fact, the blame is all mine. Sorry Beej. Check out BJ’s list right here.

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What’s happening tonight?

Lincoln singer/songwriter Scott Severin is playing down at the Harney Street Tavern with Jack Hotel. That free show starts at 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns returns with LA’s Nicky Davey and Mesonjixx. $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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.