Live Review: Sextile, Ratboys, Another Michael; O’Leaver’s weekend (Dance Me Pregnant); Samia Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 10:46 am October 20, 2023

Sextile at The Waiting Room, Oct. 19, 2023.

by Tim McMahan,

I’ll start with Sextile at The Waiting Room and go backward from there. 

The band had made it known they were going on at 10:15 last night, and I arrived shortly before that, catching only the last song by the opening act, someone who’s music I had determined I didn’t need to hear after listening to a number of his tracks prior to the show. Some folks expected Sextile to be a big draw, others were like me, skeptical but hopeful that Omaha would show up — and more Omaha showed up than I expected – a crowd of maybe 150, a fine mix of ages and genders drawn together by a goth sense of fashion and a shared love for this style of post-punk post-New Wave synth-powered dance music.

The trio bounded onto the velvet-black stage to the blump-blump-blump beat of “Contortion,” off their new album, Push. Or at least I think that was the name of the song. I would be lying if I told you I knew the words to any Sextile song or their names for that matter, other than the ones fans consider their “hits” – “Disco,” “New York,” “No Fun,” “Current Affair,” etc., all of which were played at some point last night to a crowd of sometimes-jumping sometimes-undulating fans, many of which looked ready for Halloween. 

In addition to having an infectiously driving beat, Sextile songs sport abrasive counter-melodies played mostly on synths but sometimes on electric guitar, and vocals that consist mostly of either frontman Brady Keehn or frontwoman Melissa Scaduto barking out words in a staccato yelp tightly in synch with the proceedings. At their best, even the most dead pile of human flesh can’t help but move to their coal-black rhythms.

So much of the music was preprogrammed that it was hard to say if and when any of Sextile were actually playing anything, other than punching the track number from a play list, though it sure looked like guitarist Cameron Michel was actually shredding that guitar, as did Scaduto. More often, the performance consisted of a bleach-blond-sunglassed Keehn bounding about the stage, spitting out lyrics while showing off his contorted dance moves, glowing/blasting on-off-on in the blinding strobes. T’was a shame the place wasn’t packed, as (like that Model/Actriz show a week ago) I can only imagine how this performance would feel at, say, a sold-out Terminal 5 in Brooklyn. 

Another Michael at Reverb Lounge, Oct. 19, 2023.

Going backwards earlier the evening… There was a wholly different kind of audience at Reverb Lounge last night for Ratboys, a well-attended (but not sold out) show. These folks clearly were not ready for Halloween. Opening band Another Michael is a Philly four-piece that plays Americana-inflected indie rock, though that’s not really a fair description. It’s clearly a singer/songwriter act powered by frontman Michael Doherty backed by a rock-solid band anchored with precision and grace by a drummer who’s name I don’t know and can’t find and in this day-and-age don’t want to make any assumptions. 

Doherty’s songwriting style would be as successful in the ‘70s as it is here in the ’20s (and upon reading that sentence, I feel very old indeed). The only band I would compare them to is early ‘90s-era The Silos. Doherty has a high, sweet voice and style similar to Walter Salas-Humara, though instead of singing about the Southwest, Another Michael’s songs are rooted in the frozen Northeast. Really gorgeous stuff and a good opener for Ratboys.

Ratboys at Reverb Lounge, Oct. 19, 2023.

A hot ticket thanks to the success of their latest album, the Chris Walla produced The Window, and for touring with bands like Wilco and Guster (who they opened for here in Omaha a year ago), the band has a poise and style that points to much bigger stages than Reverb’s. Singer/guitarist Julia Steiner is like watching Broadcast News-era Holly Hunter lead a modern indie band that has a lot in common with acts like Hop Along (the closest comparison vocally to Steiner). Her voice can be at times sound earnest and personal while at other times almost overtly cute, just as their songs can waver between straightforward indie rock and Wilco-esque Americana. 

Steiner also has good between-song-tuning-my-guitar snappy patter, telling stories about “the wooden man” they saw at a Luv’s somewhere in Iowa (Hate for Iowa was a theme throughout the night by both bands who wrongly think Nebraskans hates Iowa for some reason, which couldn’t be further from the truth, but who am I to correct their regional prejudices?).  There is no doubt this band is going to be huge, and the fact that this show didn’t sell out tiny Reverb only adds to the continued mystery as to why touring indie shows are drawing so disappointingly in our market. 

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Onto the weekend, and an O’Leaver’s weekend at that, though there is one big touring indie show worth mentioning.

First though, like a blast from the past, there are back-to-back nights of live music this weekend at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Tonight, elusive local indie band BB Sledge opens for two bands I’ve never heard of — Saltwater Sanctuary and The Bedrock. Will I finally see BB Sledge after countless efforts to see them in the past were for naught? Maybe. This show is $10 and starts at 9:30.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) at O’Leaver’s see the return of Dance Me Pregnant, who we haven’t heard from since, what, 2012? It’s the classic Dance Me Pregnant line-up with Chris Machmuller, Johnny Vredenburg, Corey Broman and Jeff Ankenbauer. Some of these folks I literally haven’t seen in a decade. If that weren’t enough to get you to O’Leaver’s, the night’s bill also includes The Flamboyant Gods (I’m Drinking This Records) and In Tongues (Robert Little, Jason Ludwick and Boz Hicks). And it’s free. Expect a crush mob. Good thing it’s nice out so you can step out onto their gorgeous patio between sets. Starts at 9 p.m., just like old times.

The other big show Saturday night is indie darling Samia at The Waiting Room. The band is riding a wave of popularity thanks to the sing-along song “Honey” off the album of the same name released earlier this year on Grand Jury Records. Was a time you couldn’t turn on Sirius XMU without hearing the track (how does that happen, by the way?). Also on the bill is the cute Nashville indie duo Venus & the Flytraps.  8 p.m., $25.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Sextile at The Waiting Room; Ratboys at Reverb tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:13 am October 19, 2023
Sextile plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan,

For work reasons I didn’t attend last night’s Amyl and the Sniffers show, which, by all accounts, was a banger. I intend to make up for it tonight.

Los Angeles post-punk band Sextile came out of nowhere in 2015 playing a style of high-energy electronics-driven No Wave rock reminiscent of the early days of The Faint. Their sound is driving, relentless, synth-fueled dance punk, shiny vinyl and strobe lights, with a nod to early post-punk acts ranging from Gary Numan and Flock of Seagulls to The Cramps and Christian Death. 

In 2017 the band played a set at Meatball in the Blackstone District to close out that year’s Farnam Fest. It was a glorious shambles. Two years later, Sextile’s guitarist, Eddie Wuebben, died and sent the band into hiatus. They emerged on the other side of the pandemic to carry on with the single “New York” in 2022. The full-length, Push, was released this past September on Sacred Bones and is their best album so far. 

Tonight’s Sextile show boasts three openers, all laptop performers. N8NOFACE is an LA-based dark-synth punk artist apparently obsessed with killing, judging by his 2022 release Homicide. Lincoln synth-leather-fetish-dance-dude Plack Blague also is on the bill. Runway thumper Jeff in Leather kicks things off at 8 p.m. $20.

I’m told Sextile could go on as early as 9:45 10:15. I bring this up because right around the corner at Reverb, Ratboys is headlining. The Chicago four-piece has been described as “soft-hearted Midwestern indie rock with an ever-so-subtle Americana twist” — about as far away from Sextile as you can get. Their latest, The Window, was released this past August by Topshelf Records. Produced by Death Cab’s Chris Walla, Pitchfork bestowed the record with a massive 8.0 rating while Stereogum described it as “one of the absolute best albums of the year.”

Opening for Ratboys at Reverb is Philly duo Another Michael, who’s new album, Wishes to Fulfill, has a soothing ‘70s FM sound you will immediately recognize if you grew up riding around town in the back of a stationwagon. 8 p.m., $18.

It’s my intent to try to go between the two clubs throughout the evening. We’ll see how that goes…

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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.


Ratboys, Uh Oh, Clarence Tilton tonight; Double Grave, Cult of Lip Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:39 pm June 14, 2019

Minneapolis band Double Grave plays O’Leaver’s Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan,

Unless you’re submerged in an isolation tank you already know that the College World Series kicks off this weekend. As a result, downtown has become a dead zone for the next two weeks. The Slowdown will be hosting cover/party bands for the duration, playing (I assume) either on stage or under a big white tent in the parking lot. Meanwhile, a number of conference rooms in the Slowdown Compound have been secured and converted into high-tech “counting rooms” used to sort the overstuffed trashbags filled with money that will drop like manna from the heavens for all businesses surrounding TD Ameritrade park… at least for these two weeks. 

For the rest of us, there’s always fabulous O’Leaver’s… which is hosting a couple hot shows tonight and tomorrow. 

Tonight’s show at The Club is headlined by Ratboys, which you read about Wednesday (right here). Omaha rock band (indie band?) Uh Oh and Bedrest kick it off at 10 p.m. $10.

Also tonight, Omaha’s favorite alt-country band Clarence Tilton opens for Grammy Award winning C&W artist Marty Stuart at the Scottish Rite Hall downtown at 202 So. 20th St. 8 p.m., $45. Watch out for scooters.

Meanwhile, The Sydney in Benson tonight is hosting “Queer Night” with Cult Play, Pittsburgh’s Hot Pink Satan and Richmond VA band Gothic Lizard. $5, 10 p.m. 

It’s a Minneapolis invasion Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. tion 

Double Grave is a Minneapolis trio that calls their sound “prairie grunge.” They just released a 6-song EP on Forged Artifacts called Ego Death Forever that concludes with an 8-minute track called “Sunlight” that’s reminds me of early Luna. You can find it on their Bandcamp page (below).  The Cult of Lip is another Minneapolis band, this one with a serious My Bloody Valentine vibe, at least based on their 2018 release Sleep Receiver (Records DK). There are moments on the EP that sound like they were recorded under water (literally). This four-band bill kicks off at 9 p.m. with Jacob James Wilton (ex Super Ghost) and is headlined by Hussies. That’s a lot of bands for just $5.

Also Saturday night, Lawrence act JC and the Nuns plays at Brothers Lounge. The band just released a 5-song EP called God Did Weed. And as you can imagine, it’s pretty trippy. Cat Beret headlines; Tame Suns opens at 10 p.m. $5. 

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.


Tobin Sprout, Elf Power, Lovejoy tonight; Typesetter, Ratboys Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:55 pm July 21, 2017

Plack Blague at The Slowdown, Dec. 30, 2016. The Blague plays The Waiting Room Sunday.

by Tim McMahan,

Another horribly hot weekend. Ah, but you’ll be looking back on it with envy come late January. We all will. Anyway, here’s what’s shaking indie music-wise starting…

Tonight ex-Guided By Voices dude Tobin Sprout and his band play at Reverb Lounge. You read his 10Q on Wednesday (and if you didn’t, read it now). His new album, The Universe and Me, out on Burger Records, is pretty sweet. Iconic ’90s-era Elephant Six band Elf Power opens. Their latest, Twitching in Time, came out this past May on Orange Twin. Both bands for just $15. With all the GBV fans around here, I’m shocked this hasn’t sold out…yet. Starts at 8.

Also tonight, Stir Cove’s sweat-a-thon continues tonight with Goo Goo Dolls. Remember when those guys were a “punk” band?

Low Long Signal plays tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Leaves Brown and Lectrofy. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And Milk Run has Lincoln band Oketo with The Grand Poobahs and Chicago soul-psych-rock band Lovejoy. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night Reverb hosts Chicago emo rockers Typesetter. with Camp Cope and Worriers. $7, 9 p.m.

Milk Run hosts another Chicago band Saturday: Ratboys. The band released their second studio album, GN, last month on Top Shelf Records. Jacob James Wilton and No Getter open. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, those fabulous teachers at Omaha Girls Rock! are having their annual teachers’ showcase at O’Leaver’s Saturday night. This follows an OGR! student showcase earlier in the evening at The Waiting Room at 5 p.m. The kids’ show at TWR is $8 donation. The O’Leaver’s show, which starts at 10 p.m., is $5.

Finally, end the weekend with a bang as everyone’s favorite leather-fetish electro-dance geek explosion Plack Blague opens for LA-based industrial band 3TEETH at The Waiting Room. Noise ensemble FiFi NoNo opens. 8:30. $15.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Stay cool!

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.