2019 Music Year in Review: 4 big trends, favorite albums and live shows for the year gone by…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:04 pm December 30, 2019

Lazy-i 2019 Music Year in Review

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s not only the end of the year; it’s the end of a decade. But I’m not going to get into a review of the last 10 years because I only have about 1,000 words to write about 2019, and what a doozy of a year it was in music, especially local music.

Before I get to that, I would be remiss not to mention the quantum shift in how people consume music over the past 10 years. In 2009, we were just beginning to grasp how the move from CDs to MP3s was going to impact the music business. Those shiny new iPods were changing everything.

Ten years later and a different shift is near completion — from MP3s as the music format of choice to streaming. At least with MP3s, artists had something to sell, sort of. With streaming, paying artists has become an enormous shell game where no matter which shell they pick, nothing is found underneath, even for some established artists. As a result, for the first time in my memory, it is not uncommon to hear established artists say, “Why should I record new music? Fans don’t buy records anymore. All they want to hear when we’re on tour is the hits, anyway.”

As I’ve said in past columns, never has there been a worse time to be a start-up band. The new music business model: Record an album, upload it to Bandcamp, post a link to social media and get plenty of compliments, but no sales. I heard that story too many times last year from too many artists. Eventually, those artists may post their recordings to Spotify or YouTube, only to earn (if they’re lucky) a few bucks in streaming revenue. Touring for them has become a nonsensical money-losing endeavor if they don’t have merch to sell.

Even established indie artists are beginning to struggle to make money on tours. That, in a nutshell, is the music industry at the end of the teens decade. Where will it go in the next 10 years?

But back to Omaha.

There are four trends that deserve some reflection as we head into the roaring ‘20s:

The Great Exodus

I can’t remember any year as devastating as the last in terms of musicians moving away from Omaha. The list includes:

— Brad Hoshaw, singer/songwriter extraordinaire and leader of Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies;

— The dynamic duo of Todd and Orenda Fink, whose artistic output in addition to their own project, Closeness, includes Todd’s band The Faint and Orenda’s solo work and output as part of Azure Ray (her Azure Ray partner, Maria Taylor, left Omaha years ago);

— DJ and drummer Roger Lewis, one of the local legends this scene was built upon, whose projects include The Good Life and Oquoa;

— Singer/songwriter Jason Steady, once of the band Talking Mountain and more recently the guy behind Wolf Dealer; and

— Sarah Bohling and Graham Patrick Ulicny of rising act Thick Paint. Sarah’s also in Icky Blossoms, while Graham’s the newest member of The Faint.

And those are just the ones I know. Lord knows how many others have high-tailed it this year. Once upon a time, around the turn of the century, Omaha was a magnet for talented indie musicians who flocked here to be a part of “the next Seattle.” Well, those days are long, long gone. Most who left last year are now Californians. A few headed to other music cities, such as Nashville and Portland. What it says about the direction of Omaha’s music scene is obvious. How we change the course, less so.

Building for the Future

Flying in the face of that mass migration is the number of music venues that dot the Omaha landscape: The Waiting Room, Reverb Lounge, Slowdown, The Jewell; arenas like CHI Health Center, Baxter and Ralston arenas; quality dive stages like O’Leaver’s, The Brothers, The Sydney, and just-opened boutique rooms like Bemis’ Low End. Have there ever been more stages for live music?

Apparently not, and more are on the way. Shovels turned dirt for the new multimillion-dollar La Vista indoor club and amphitheater being brought to you by the fine folks at One Percent Productions, announced in 2018 but only just now getting all the paperwork in order to begin construction. We’re talking a venue with a capacity of 2,000 inside and 4,500 outside, all at a cost of millions.

And speaking of millions, how about the proposed $109 million music hall that Omaha Performing Arts wants to build downtown, designed to accommodate up to 3,000 standing patrons (because there are no fixed seats)?

Add to that at least two more smaller stages getting ready to raise curtains, with more on the way. All this money to build venues while the local talent needed to perform on them either moves away or quits because they can’t make a living playing music. Maybe it’s time someone figures out a way to funnel at least a portion of the millions spent on venues to local artists making the music.

Courtney Barnett at the Maha Music Festival, Aug. 16, 2019.

Maha Mania

It wasn’t all bleakness in 2019. The Maha Music Festival enjoyed its biggest year ever, thanks in part to booking superstar act Lizzo just before she blew up nationally. The two-day festival sold out its second day (Lizzo Day) rather quickly. Now the question for 2020 is whether Maha will continue along its original mission of bringing the best indie music to Omaha, or if last year’s Saturday crowd has organizers thinking of bigger, more pop-oriented fare. My advice: Bigger is almost never better.

Omaha Girls Rock

While women continue to dominate the national indie (and pop) music charts and best-of lists (off the top of my head, Lana Del Rey, FKA Twigs, Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Solange, Billie Eilish and Sharon Van Etten), Omaha women have never been more under-represented in our own music scene. This was no more apparent than when The Reader compiled its annual Top 20 bands lists — lists dominated by male-fronted bands. Of my own contribution to that list, only a few acts even had a female member — See Through Dresses, Domestica, Wagon Blasters, Thick Paint and Cursive.

Ironically, the roster of new acts for Omaha’s flagship indie music label — Saddle Creek Records — has consisted almost entirely of women-fronted projects: Ada Lea, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Stef Chura, Hand Habits, Hop Along, Tomberlin and Adrianne Lenker (and Big Thief, a band the label lost last year to 4AD). And, as a result, Saddle Creek is earning accolades along with plenty of airtime on Sirius XMU (and, hopefully, some revenue).

Never has an organization like Omaha Girls Rock been more needed. The nonprofit’s mission is to empower youth to find their unique voice through music education, performance and creativity. It does this through a strong team of local musicians who work one-on-one with girls and young women, teaching them all kinds of things, but especially how to rock. And Lord knows, Omaha needs more of that.

In fact, my top-10 list of favorite albums has the least Omaha representation in recent memory. Here they are in no particular order:

DIIV, Deceiver (Captured Tracks)

Orville Peck, Pony (Sub Pop)

Simon Joyner, Pocket Moon (Grapefruit)

Hand Habits, Placeholder (Saddle Creek)

Lodgings, Water Works (self-release)

Sharon Van Etten, Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar)

Purple Mountains, self-titled (Drag City)

Lloyd Cole, Guesswork (Edel)

Better Oblivion Community Center, self-titled (Dead Oceans)

Strand of Oaks, Eraserland, (Dead Oceans)

I attended fewer rock shows last year than any year previous. I blame my day job, but I can’t ignore the fact that fewer indie shows are being booked at our main clubs — The Waiting Room, Reverb, Slowdown and O’Leaver’s. It’s a sign of the times and that we need more concert promoters in Omaha, because, like I said, we’ve got more than enough venues.

Still, it was a great year in live music. Here are the best shows I attended:

Better Oblivion Community Center at The Slowdown, March 21, 2019.

Better Oblivion Community Center at Slowdown, March 21 — Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers’ side project was a main event throughout most of 2019.

Hand Habits w/ Tomberlin at Slowdown Jr., April 1 — A mini-Saddle Creek showcase, Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy showed why she’s one of the most sought-after guitarists in the indie world.

Disq at Slowdown Jr., June 2, 2019.

Sasami at Reverb Lounge, April 19 — Her soaring guitar riffs and soft, low voice reminded me of Exile-era Liz Phair powered by an amazing rhythm section.

The Faint at The Waiting Room, May 24 — It came down to that moment everyone waits for — “Glass Danse” — when the whole crowd erupts, and that night was no exception. The floor became a trampoline, just like in the good ol’ days.

Minne Lussa at Farnam House backlot, June 6, 2019.

Disq at Slowdown Jr., June 2 — They sounded like a modern-day mix of all your ‘90s favorites — from Teenage Fanclub to Weezer to Pavement to No Knife — played by youngsters too young to have heard of any of them.

Minne Lussa / Wagon Blasters at Farnam House backlot, July 6 — From rousing to haunting in a makeshift space behind a brew pub.

The Beths at Slowdown Jr., July 15 — They played like a family unit, maybe because they’re all New Zealanders stranded in this very strange land.

Little Brazil at Benson Days, July 27, 2019.

Little Brazil at Benson Days, July 27 — The new tunes pointed toward the same short, sweet rock direction heard on their last record, as if the band is trying to put together a string of singles.

No Thanks at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 5 — Shirtless in tight black pants and black lipstick, Castro Turf’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 and spending the second half immersed in the humanity that crowded the stage.

The Oh Sees at the Maha Music Festival Aug. 17, 2019.

Maha Music Festival, Stinson Park, Aug. 16-17 — Everyone was talking about Lizzo, but for me it was all about Courtney Barnett on Friday night and that killer Oh Sees set Saturday afternoon.

Digital Leather at The Sydney, Sept. 6 — Shawn Foree shifted to bass fronting on a set of recent and new songs (“Compass”) that gave me hope for the next album.

Cursive at O’Leaver’s, Sept. 23 — Always dark, Cursive’s new music was pointedly political, representing a shift from anxiety to fear — a reflection of our times when a monster is running amok before our very eyes and there’s nothing anyone can (or will) do about it.

Las Cruxes at The Brothers Lounge, Sept. 27 — A cross between The Pixies and every three-chord punk band you’ve ever heard, propelled full-throttle by a double-barrel drum attack and sung in Spanish for good measure.

Deerhoof at Low End, Oct. 25, 2019.

Deerhoof at Low End, Oct. 25 — The venue — a new Omaha stage dedicated to experimental music — was as interesting (or more so) than the headliner.

Lupines/Unexplained Death at O’Leaver’s, Nov. 9 — Lupines rolled out a new piano-driven folk-rock sound; Matt Whipkey rolled out a new poli-punk rock sound; and O’Leaver’s got everyone drunk.

Solid Goldberg at O’Leaver’s, Nov. 26 — Nothing says Thanksgiving like O’Leaver’s and an Omaha legend with a new punk/blues attack. I’ll take another drumstick, please.

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Look for the 2020 Predictions column on New Year’s Day here and on thereader.com, or pick up a copy of the January issue of  The Reader on newsstands now.

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Lazy-i Best of 2019

Relive the year gone by with the  Lazy-i Best of 2019 Comp CD!

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: DIIV, Hand Habits, Uh Oh, Sharon Van Etten, Orville Peck, Simon Joyner, Prettiest Eyes, Purple Mountains and lots more.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 6, at midnight.

Or listen on Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find the 2019 playlist along with a few from past years, too!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.


This is your life, Jeff Runnings; Cherry Death, Eklectica tonight; Graham Ulicny, Omaha Girls Rock Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:52 pm July 22, 2016

Jeff Runnings’ career and future career are celebrated tonight at Hi-Fi House.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The super secret/mysterious Hi-Fi House is putting on a special program tonight at 7 p.m. called “This is, Jeff Runnings.” This celebration of Running’s career “so far” will include a sit-down Q&A discussing his musical endeavors as well as a spin of his latest album, Primitive & Smalls (2016, Saint Marie), which I’m listening to now on my home hi-fi system (worth dramatically less than the one at Hi-Fi House).

Runnings, as you may or may not know, was a member of seminal Lincoln ambient-rock band For Against, which I wrote about waaay back in 2007 when the band reunited. The write-up includes a brief history of the band, whose members also included guitarist/keyboardist Harry Dingman III and drummer Gregory Hill. Runnings was the singer and chief songwriter. Read that story here.

In their day, no one around these parts were writing and performing the kind of music For Against was making. Spotify users can dive into the catalog, though I’m told there may be a vinyl alternative available again soon.

Runnings new album takes the most accessible elements of For Against and modernizes it in beautiful ways. Jeff’s breathy voice lies warmly atop layers and layers of synths and beats that shimmer like a dream. Gorgeous stuff.

I’m not sure what the rules are for Hi Fi House, and there is no information on the Facebook event listing. If you’re interested, I suggest showing up just before the 7 p.m. start time. The house is located at 3724 Farnam St. Capacity is limited to 100. See you there.

What else is happening tonight and this weekend?

Tonight at the infamous Brothers Lounge Oklahoma City indie band Cherry Death headlines. Check out their latest EP here. Opening is Stomach, Carl Miller & The Thrillers and Nathan Ma & The Rosettes. Whoa, that’s a huge bill. This 9 p.m. show will run you $5.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Waterloo, Iowa band SIRES plays with Eklectica and Lineman’s Rodeo. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night the kids from Omaha Girls Rock! play a summer showcase at The Waiting Room. The free event starts at 5:30 p.m. Then later that night at O’Leaver’s, the Omaha Girls Rock instructors are putting on a show of their own. Who will grace the stage? Find out. $5, 9;30 p.m.

There’s a special program at Kaneko Saturday night — the tbd. dance collective will be performing to live original music by Graham Ulicny of Reptar. In addition, Nik Fackler will be premiering a short film called “One Day, One Month, One Year.” The 6:45 p.m. show is free for Kaneko members and $10 for the rest of you. Kaneko is at 1111 Jones St.

Also Saturday night, Scott Severin performs at The Barley Street Tavern with Two Shakes and Bazille Mills. $5, 9 p.m.

That is all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a red, hot American weekend…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.



BFFFF (Laura Burhenn, Anna McClellen), Bloodcow tonight; Son, Ambulance, Well Aimed Arrows, Omaha Girls Rock! Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm July 15, 2016
Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015. She plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Quite a few shows this weekend, though no national touring indie bands (What else is new?). Let’s get on with it.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s is pretty gnarly fundraiser for the Benson First Friday Femme Fest (BFFFF). Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds will be playing a set along with Anna McClellan, Mesonjixx and Badland Girls. Your $10 admission goes to a good cause. According to the invitation: “BFFFF is completely DIY with no budget, and everything made the day of (after pay-to-play costs of the venues/PA rentals/etc.) goes to the bands.” Starts at the usual 9:30.

Also tonight, Bloodcow returns to devastate the Barley Street Tavern with their other-worldly metal mayhem. Joining them are tough guys Hand Painted Police Car and Leaving Vaudeville. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night everyone’s going to The Brothers Lounge for a sharp bill that includes Well Aimed Arrows, Those Far Out Arrows and Son, Ambulance. $5, 9 p.m.

Before you head out for the evening, there’s a super fun early evening event at The Slowdown. It’s the Omaha Girls Rock! showcase. This performance is a culmination of the girls’ hard work in one week to learn an instrument, form a band, and write a song. Always a good time, and a chance to see the stars of tomorrow. Show starts at 5:30 and suggested donation is $5. Find out more about this very cool program at omahagirlsrock.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.


Lazy-i Podcast: Foxygen, Alex Cameron, Oquoa, Outlaw Con Bandana, Simon Joyner; Omaha Girls Rock benefit tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 9:31 am April 9, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Because of the past weekend’s holidays and my travel schedule, I posted an abbreviated Lazy-i Podcast yesterday. Listen to it below. It includes live clips from Foxygen, Alex Cameron, Oquoa, Simon Joyner and Outlaw Con Bandana, as well as a recommendations for this coming weekend’s shows (and there ain’t that many). So, only 14 minutes. Check it:

BTW, The Lazy-i Podcast is now available in iTunes right here. Subscribe and don’t miss a single episode.

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Slowdown Jr. is hosting a benefit for Omaha Girls Rock! tonight featuring Lot Walks, Pancho the Contraband and Bach Mai. All proceeds of the $8 ticket goes to OGR, which is a pretty awesome non-profit that teaches girls how to be in a rock band, as well as other necessities of life. Find out about OGR here and make a donation. Show starts at 8.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.


Pleasure Adapter, Pro-Magnum, So-So Sailors tonight; Eros & Eschaton, S. Joyner tomorrow; Omaha Girls Rock! CD release show Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:41 pm November 15, 2013

ogrcompby Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s a busy weekend at Slowdown; a busy weekend all over…

Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Pleasure Adapter (featuring new bass player Matt Maginn of Cursive fame). It’s been awhile. Opening is The Brigadiers (featuring Clint Schnase, formerly of Cursive fame) and proto-punk noise masters Pro-Magnum. $5, 9 p.m.

Check out some Pro-Magnum below:

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, it’s the return of So-So Sailors with McCarthy Trenching. $5, 9:30 p.m.

What to do, what to do…

Also tonight, Lincoln yee-haw rockers 4020 play at The Waiting Room with their pals The Filter Kings and The Willards. $8, 9 p.m. Don’t forget your cowboy hat.

It’s back to Slowdown Jr. Saturday night for the return of Eros & Eschaton (ex-It’s True, as if you didn’t know), who is opening for Simon Joyner, who is about to head out on a national “living room tour” in a couple weeks. Also on the bill, Minneapolis duo Fort Wilson Riot. $8, 9 p.m.

Last but not least, Sunday at Slowdown Jr. its the Omaha Girls Rock! Compilation release show.

The 11-track comp features tracks by Little Red Rocket, The Mynabirds, Tilly and the Wall, Howard, Domestica, UUVVWWZ, Hers, Tin Kite, Manic Pixie Dream Girls, La Real Misses Sneaks, and the mighty Urban Scrunchies. Get a sneak preview and purchase it right here on Bandcamp.

Sunday’s show will feature live performances by Howard, Urban Scrunchies, Manic Pixie Dream Girls and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. $7 admission gets you a download card for the comp, brought to you by HearNebraska.org and Phenomblue. Show starts at 6 p.m.

Did I forget something? Put it in the comments section. Have a grand weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Omaha Girls Rock! rock a near sold-out Slowdown…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:47 pm August 5, 2013
The big finale at the Omaha Girls Rock! 2013 summer camp showcase.

The big finale at the Omaha Girls Rock! 2013 summer camp showcase.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The last time I attended an Omaha Girls Rock! summer-camp showcase was the organization’s inaugural year in 2011. That concert, also held in The Slowdown’s big room, was a warm, fun family affair that attracted maybe 100 people, mostly parents of the girls on stage. The crowd clapped politely as if attending a school recital.

This Saturday’s show was totally different. You’d have thought you were at a sold-out Bright Eyes concert. In fact, this year’s Omaha Girls Rock showcase nearly sold out. There was barely enough room to stand on the floor without being jostled by either a roving band of boys playing whiplash or by those boys’ parents walking blind through the crowd because their eyes were focused on their cameras, which were squarely focused on their daughters on stage.

There were 10 bands playing this year, most were 5-piece ensembles and almost all featured five vocalists. The play order went from the youngest to the oldest and/or most experienced. Kudos to the wise OGR organizer who figured out that if you have a steady beat going on stage, you can keep nearly anything together. The drumming for all 10 bands was pretty darn good (and the last few were nearly “real” band quality!). No matter what anyone was playing on bass or keyboards or guitar, that boom-chuck drum kept it going.

I’m not one to go on about ultra-cute kids’ stuff. I don’t have any kids and have never been one to really give a shit about other peoples’ kids. You know, good for them. Whatever. But I have to tell you this program is a ton of fun if only for the mere fact that you know these girls were scared out of their skulls. As mentioned by the organizers, most hadn’t held an instrument prior to going to camp. And here they were, just a week later, having written a song with a group of new friends, performing it in front of a near sold-out Slowdown crowd. Every note played, every word sung was a little triumph of will over fear. There’s something to be learned there, even by the most jaded of music critics.

Best band of the evening honors goes to the one with the most stage mileage. This was the third time Urban Scrunchies have played at an OGR concert, and their experience showed from the singing to the instrumentation to the professionalism. Their tune was weird and proggy, like an indie campfire song. I guess you can thank the volunteers for the overall indie-influence. Most of the bands, right down to the pippest of pip-squeaks, had funky Velvet Underground overtones.

Omaha Girls Rock has to be one of the most successful grass-roots non-profit efforts in the Omaha arts community. Everyone involved should be proud.

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The good news: The head cold that hung on through the weekend has finally let me out of its grip. The bad news: It kept me from a lot of good shows this weekend. Looks like I got some catching up to do…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Underwater Dream Machine CD release, Adtrita debut, Well Aimed Arrows tonight; Omaha Girls Rock!, The Hussy/DL, Mardock Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:02 pm August 2, 2013
Art for Underwater Dream Machine's new CD, Can You See Behind the Moon

Art for Underwater Dream Machine’s new CD, Can You See Behind the Moon

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s going to be a busy next few nights.

Tonight at The Barley Street Tavern Underwater Dream Machine celebrates the release of their new CD Can You See Behind the Moon. The album builds on what Bret Vovk started with A Very Lonely Dream About Space a year or so ago, but this one seems more focused. Vovk is one of Omaha music’s best kept secrets, much to the dismay of those of us who believe he needs to be heard on a bigger stage. Opening is the always entertaining Touch People (Darren Keen of TSITR fame) and Cooper Lakota Moon (Dim Light). $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, the new project by former The Stay Awake frontman Steve Micek called Adtrita debuts at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Also on the bill is Well Aimed Arrows and Eric in Outerspace. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, pop-punkers The Beat Seekers have a record release show with a number of bands including Bullet Proof Hearts. $7, 9 p.m.

And in case you’ve forgotten, it’s Benson First Friday. I suggest riding your bike to Benson instead of driving.

Tomorrow evening it’s the annual Omaha Girls Rock! showcase at The Slowdown. The star-studded lineup for this go-round:

Contagious Flamingos
Feisty Females
Fire Fusion Five (F3)
Justice Warrior 5
La Real Mrs. Sneakz
Neon Thunder
Tie-Dyed Harp Seals
Trouble Clef
Umm, I don’t know?
Urban Scrunchies

Always a good time, with proceeds going to support the Omaha Girls Rock! project (find out more). One of the funnest shows of the year and a chance to see tomorrow’s stars today! Show starts at 6:30, $5 (but you can add more if you want).

Later Saturday night, at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Digital Leather headlines a show featuring Madison, Wisconsin band The Hussy along with locals Coaxed and No I’m the Pilot. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Check out some Paris Hussy below:

Over in Benson at The Barley Street Tavern, Eli Mardock plays with headliner The Brian Wheat band Saturday night. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally O’Leaver’s is hosting a rare Sunday night show featuring The Seen, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks (a New Jersey-based folky project, led by Real Estate bassist Alex Bleeker), and Lars and Mal. $5, 8 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Omaha Girls Rock! goes camping and gets IRS-legit; Maria Taylor goes momma; Jenny Lewis goes solo and NE Pop Fest follows through…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm July 24, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Following up on a column from earlier this year, Omaha Girls Rock! announced yesterday that its second annual Rock Camp for Girls will take place the week of July 30. “OGR will provide 50 girls ages 8-18 with a chance to unleash their inner rock stars and to learn songwriting, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and vocals,” sayeth the OGR press release.

The week-long day camp, hosted by the College of St. Mary, includes five days of instrument instruction, band practice, guest performances, and “enrichment workshops.”

The girls are supported by trained, on-site female volunteers, including local and national teachers, social workers, professionals, and musicians. Campers learn instruments, form bands, and write their own original songs. The week culminates in a performance at the Slowdown, Omaha’s premier rock club, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4. After camp, girls will receive a CD including a recording of their original songs mixed and mastered by a professional sound engineer.

In other OGR news, the organization recently was designated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organizations by the IRS. That means your donations to OGR can be deducted from your taxes. So what are you waiting for? To donate, go to omahagirlsrock.com.

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While I’m catching up on my in-box , here’s a heart-warming little story from Alabama’s ai.com where Maria Taylor talks about what it’s like being a mom after having her first baby in May. So how is she going to tour that upcoming Azure Ray album with a baby in tow? “Luckily, my mom has offered to be tour nanny,” Taylor said in the article. “We’ll have a separate car for me, my mom and the baby, and we’ll see how he is touring. We’ll just take it as it comes, and figure it out.”

We already knew about the new Azure Ray album coming out on Saddle Creek Sept. 4, but Taylor also talked about a new duo she’s formed with producer Andy LeMaster of Now It’s Overhead. “I think the record is going to be pretty eclectic in its sound, with a pop sensibility and guy-girl harmonies,” Taylor said in the article. “We have about nine songs, and the hardest part is finishing the lyrics. We’re used to writing by ourselves.”

No word on who’s releasing the debut of this unnamed Taylor/LeMaster project, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Saddle Creek had been mentioned in the discussion…

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In “where are they now” news, SPIN reports that Jenny Lewis is working on a B-side collection of Rilo Kiley tracks as well as a follow-up to her Acid Tongue solo album. She’s also been composing the score and serving as music supervisor for a new movie called Very Good Girls.

I’ve gotten my heart broken, and fallen in love, and moved out my shitty rent-controlled apartment, and lost my father, and tried to rebuild my relationship with my mother,” she said in the article. “All of these things have definitely popped up in my songs and I want to write something that’s real that people can feel.”

Check out the fan-made video for new song “Head Under Water,” performed with he old partners in crime, The Watson Twins.

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Finally, the Nebraska Pop Festival, which took place in Benson a couple weeks ago, presented a check July 17 for $1,630 to Arts For All Executive Director Judy Mallory, according to a press release. Last year NE Pop Fest raised $711 for the AFA. Kudos to festival promoter Chris Beiermann for following through.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Gus & Call, Howard, Omaha Girls Rock tonight; Sleigh Bells (SOLD OUT) Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 12:43 pm April 13, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

So, the weekend…

Omaha Girls RockTonight’s big show is a benefit at Slowdown for Omaha Girls Rock. You can read about the program and tonight’s show in my column this week in The Reader, or online here at thereader.com. I won’t belabor the point that this not only is a worthy cause, it’s a great night of entertainment AND it’s the conclusion of a contest involving all the bands — Gus & Call, Howard, The Betties and Sun Settings. At the conclusion of each set, the band will perform a new original song written this week centered around the theme “Superstition.” The crowd will vote for its favorite, and the winning band will send one Omaha Girls Rocker to camp. All money raised from your $10 ticket will go to the program. The show starts at 9 p.m., I’m not sure if this is on the big stage or in Slowdown Jr. (the website doesn’t say, which usually indicates that it’s in the big room). See you there.

Also tonight at The Waiting Room, a show that could have been called Omaha Boys Rock, headlined by The Eightyseven and featuring Filter Kings, Noah Sterba & The Cocktails and The Whipkey Three. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, John Klemmensen and the Party headline a show at The Barley Street Tavern with Mike Saklar’s Comme Reel, Dirty Fluorescents and the ingenious Nick Carl. $5, 9 p.m.

Saturday night it’s Sleigh Bells, Javelin and Elite Gymnastics at The Slowdown. This one has been SOLD OUT for quite a while. Note early 8 p.m. start time.

Also Saturday night, Snake Island is the featured artist for the Guitar Center 1-Year Anniversary show at The Waiting Room. Also on the bill are The Seen, The Curtain Calls and Cordial Spew. The hook: At least one member of each band is a Guitar Center employee. $5, 9 p.m.

One last thing: House of Loom’s Friday Afternoon Club continues this afternoon with “Non-DJ DJ” Megan Hunt a.k.a. Princess Lasertron a.k.a. fashion maven and entrepreneur behind Camp. PL will be spinning her favorite goth tracks from 5 to 8 at Loom. Drop by before you head to Slowdown for the ORG event. It’s free and fun.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Lollapalooza goes very old school; Omaha Girls Rock bene is Friday; DCFC/Low tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:56 pm April 11, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com


And the announcements keep right on coming. Lollapalooza unveiled its lineup for the Aug. 3-5 festival in Chi-town, and wow, is it retro. Red Hot Chili Peppers? Black Sabbath? What’s a matter people, couldn’t you get Foghat or Blue Oyster Cult? I’ve got to admit, I like Sabbath as much as the next guy, and I’m sure it’ll be a hit at Lolla, at least from an irony standpoint. This isn’t your grandpa’s Lollapalooza…. or maybe it is.

On the other hand, I’ve always loathed RHCP. Anthony Kiedis is the most overrated, untalented vocalist in the history of rock. Of course that hasn’t stopped him from becoming an icon of the ’90s alternative nation. But the underscored word here is “90s.” Lolla is taking a step back in time with this lineup, but let’s be honest, the festival hasn’t exactly been cutting edge since the ’90s.

Other “big name” Lolla acts: The Black Keys and Jack White. *zzzzz*… It doesn’t start getting interesting until the next tier. At the Drive In? OK. Justice could be fun. And the kids love Passion Pit. Then you get to the small type and things really get hopping: M83, Afghan Whigs, Dum Dum Girls, Chairlift and First Aid Kit (believe the hype). Those are the highlights, and they’re outweighed by the fluff.

The more I see these national fest line-ups, the more I respect SXSW, where you can see bleeding edge bands in a much better setting. Ah, but what am I bitching about? There’s no way in hell I’d go to a clusterfuck like Lolla, where the only people having a good time are the VIPs being driven around on golf carts.

You have to wonder if the bro’s going to see Sabbath give two shits about bands like Polica or Tame Impala. Seems like Ozzfest always was a second-tier festival for the trailer-park crowd who are only a couple evolutionary steps above the Faygo-drinking Juggalo fraternity. Looks like they’ve graduated to the “big time.” BTW, discounted souvenir and early bird three-day passes priced at $75 and $200 have sold out. Regular priced $230 passes are available.

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Today’s column in The Reader is an interview with a future rock star named Isa Luzarraga, who you might remember as the frontwoman of 2011 breakout artist The Jellybeans. Isa and her mom, Julie, along with Val Nelson and Jenn Bernard give the skinny on Friday night’s Omaha Girls Rock Benefit at Slowdown, and the 2012 OGR program. Read all about it in this week’s Reader, or right here at The Reader website.

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Tonight at The Music Hall, it’s Death Cab for Cutie with The Magik*Magik*Orchestra & very special guests, Low. Tickets are still available for $30 to $45. The gig starts at 8. Get there early for Low, who will be tons more entertaining than DCFC.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.