Sam Parker moves to Nashville; Good Living Tour-stops announced; new Sam Evian, Belly…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm March 29, 2018

Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016 — the show was booked by Sam Parker’s Perpetual Nerves Productions.

by Tim McMahan,

Despite having a population of nearly a million people, Omaha is a very small town when it comes to music. So when the city loses someone who brought music the masses – especially very good music — it’s a tragedy.

Thus is the case with Sam Parker, who it can now be told has moved to Nashville for a gig as an agent assistant to Jonathan Levine, a senior executive agent at Paradigm Talent Agency. Paradigm has offices all over the country and in London and Toronto, and works with every form of media — film, TV, book publishing, music and more. Their client list is enormous and includes monsters like Coldplay and Dave Matthews down to small, important acts like Algiers.

I first got to know Sam as local booker working under the moniker Perpetual Nerves, who booked some of the best indie shows in small clubs and DIY venues over the past seven years. Sam co-founded Milk Run with Chris Aponick, and would go on to apply his exquisite taste in music to events such as Lincoln Calling and Farnam Fest.

Since he’s left the city, Sam confirmed he no longer will be booking shows in Omaha. “There’s plenty of amazing promoters in Omaha (1%, DIY promoters, Third String, Cat Meryl, etc.) that have that under control,” he said. “I did, however, have a hand in this year’s Lincoln Calling lineup and am the talent buyer for Skate Art Music Festival, very excited about what’s to come for those.

The Skate Art Music Festival, promoted as “a full day of the ultimate skate art music experience,” is an annual event held in Lincoln; last year it was at The Railyard in late August. Lincoln Calling, which used to be presented in conjunction with Hear Nebraska, is a multi-day multi-venue festival that happens in late summer. Parker was central to LC’s success the past couple years.

For Omaha fans of unique, under-the-radar indie rock, Parker’s loss to our scene will be profound. I have no doubt that he’ll quickly rise at Paradigm, and won’t forget where he came from, which could be good for Omaha in the long run.

* * *

Speaking of Hear Nebraska — or should I say Rabble Mill — yesterday RM announced this year’s tour stops for the 4th annual Good Living Tour:

The 2018 tour will travel to four locations: Imperial (6/23), Red Cloud (7/7), Norfolk (7/20) and first-time GLT community Broken Bow (6/9),” says the press release. “In addition to music, this year’s tour aims to reach young audiences through skateboarding — specifically, our educational skate-school and engaging technical demonstrations played out on our portable mini ramp.”

Participating bands have yet to be announced.

* * *

Saddle Creek Records this week announced it’s releasing the sophomore album by Sam Evian, You, Forever, on June 1.

Sam Evian, whose real names is Sam Owens, said he banned tuning pedals during the recording process.  From the press release:

‘Tuning pedals make it so easy to sound good together, so when you eliminate them it takes everything back to the ’60s, which is when all my favorite records were born,’ he says. ‘It makes everything more questionable, weird and unruly in a really simple way.’

You can pre-order the album at the Saddle Creek site.  Check out the first single from the new album below:

* * *

Belly dropped the second track from their upcoming album, DOVE, out May 4. Check it below,

In addition on Record Store Day, Belly will release a limited edition 10″ colored vinyl EP featuring two tracks from DOVE, one track exclusive to this release, and a cover of “Hushabye Mountain” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

* * *

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.


Live Review: Daughter; Zipline joins the Slowdown complex; Milk Run under new management…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 2:17 pm November 21, 2016
Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s the same ol’ question: How does a show headlined by a band like Daughter sell out Slowdown’s big room?

The band releases music on respected though somewhat small indie label 4AD. Needless to say, Daughter gets zero airplay locally. In fact, before I headed down to Slowdown Saturday night I double-checked to see if the show wasn’t slated for the small room. When I arrived at 9 p.m., a line stretched all the way past Film Streams. Where did all these people come from? Granted, Daughter is a remarkable indie band, but since when does that translate to sell-out crowds?

The North London 4-piece, fronted by Hepburn-esque lead singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, plays hypnotic, chiming shoe-gaze rock that recalls a broad range of post-punk acts from My Bloody Valentine to The xx. Tonra’s clear, ringing voice can turn ferocious on a dime, sort of like a modern-day Sinead, singing dark songs drenched in loss and loneliness. Take a song like 2012’s “Smother,” that starts with, “I’m wasted, losing Time / I’m a foolish, fragile spine,” and ends with “I sometimes wish I’d stayed inside my mother / Never to come out.” How much bleaker can they get?

That lyrical bleakness is tempered by a dark power and broad dynamics — some songs start off with just Tonra and a keyboard, and quickly rise to a Mogwai-esque rock symphony. Drummer Remi Aguilella was amazing, pounded the kit with mallets, while guitarist Igor Haefeli rattled the rafters. Their performance was powered by a first-rate light show — a combination of spots and strobes and dense colors — gorgeous stuff.

While I listened I thought about all the ’90s British shoegaze acts I never saw perform live, and wondered if this was what they were like, and thought about how how fortunate I was to be able to see this band at the height of their powers.

* * *

A couple quick notes…

Last week Zipline Brewing announced that it is opening a new location in the old Saddle Creek Shop space next to The Slowdown and Film Streams. It’s not just the Creek shop, it’s also the old Saddle Creek warehouse space, so it’s actually pretty huge.

Saddle Creek used to be officed in the same space, but recently moved their offices back upstairs to a co-working space shared by Hear Nebraska and the folks from Maha Music Festival. All their warehouse stuff was moved off site to a different warehouse.

So now you’ll be able to buy booze at Slowdown, Tap Room, and Zipline. It’s like No Do is trying to compete with Benson, but with newer buildings. We’re beginning to see the vision for that part of town become reality, albeit almost 10 years after the Slowdown complex was built. Better late than never.

* * *


Milk Run

Did anyone else get a barrage of notices in their Facebook inbox this past weekend notifying them of people “rating” Milk Run? The fact that the tiny club is under new management might have something to do with it.

Milk Run made the announcement via Facebook yesterday. There are three new managers, while See Through Dresses’ Sara Bertuldo will continue to help book it along with Myer Stevens. Milk Run co-creator, Sam Parker, “will be stepping back from direct operations to pursue exciting new projects in the coming year,” according to the post. Parker also works at Hi-Fi House, which has hosted a steady slew of shows and events the past few weeks.

Hear Nebraska has a little more about the management changes here. If you haven’t been to a show at Milk Run, do yourself the favor. They’ve got a big one coming up this Friday night when Sad13 (Sadie from Speedy Ortiz) headlines with Mannequin Pussy and Vagabon. I’m actually surprised the show hasn’t sold out yet, considering the club’s limited capacity.

* * *

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.


Sam Parker’s running Milk Run (with a little help from his friends); live review: Outer Spaces; Blitzen Trapper tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:48 pm June 27, 2016
Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016.

Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

First, let’s put a capstone on last week’s question about who’s running Milk Run. Sam Parker, who was at Friday night’s Milk Run show, made it clear he’s still very much involved with the venue. He’s enlisted members from a few local punk bands (No Thanks and See Through Dresses among them) to help run shows. And that Facebook post asking for people to help book the room was merely a way to give others an opportunity to try their hand at the show promotion game.

Parker will continue to book Milk Run, along with his promo company Perpetual Nerves. In fact, Parker mentioned a couple interesting upcoming shows at Milk Run that have yet to be announced, so stay tuned. Missing from the equation is Chris Aponick, who Parker said has stepped away from both Milk Run and Perpetual Nerves for personal reasons.

If that wasn’t enough, Parker, who also works at the mysterious Hi-Fi House, has been über busy working on yet another exciting live music project, which you will hear about shortly.

Friday night’s Milk Run show was held not in the micro-sized music room, but the adjacent, larger art gallery. They made the move because the AC in the small room was on the fritz. One reason shows haven’t been held in the gallery was fear of the acoustics — it’s a bigger room with a tin ceiling — but bouncing sound wasn’t a problem for this show. Even with their smallish PA, the room sounded pretty good.

So did Outer Spaces. The Baltimore four-piece (looks like they added a new bassist) played a short, sweet set of songs from their just released album, A Shedding Snake (2016, Don Giovanni). On that record, frontwoman/guitarist Cara Beth Satalino has a voice that at times is the spitting image of Edie Brickell’s, at other times she reminds me of Maria Taylor, whereas my wife think she sounds like Anna Waronker (That Dog). Performing live, Satalino has a simple, quiet quality all her own on songs that are classic ’90s-style indie. The live set was more laid-back than what you get on the record, which is one of my favorites from the first half of the year.

I told Parker he should use that gallery space for shows more often. In addition to sounding good, it was more comfortable, with plenty of room to move around. No doubt the room’s capacity is twice as much as the small room, and concerns that the gallery would feel empty during small shows was unfounded. Friday night’s show felt well-attended even though only 15 or 20 people were in the audience.

Find out for yourself tonight when Austin band Pale Dīan plays at Milk Run, a band whose music has been described as “dreamy swirling melodic sounds inspired by classic 4AD artists like Cocteau Twins and Lush.” Shrinks and Hiraeth open. Price ranges from $5 to $7 (you pick). Show starts at 9

The Pale Dian show has been cancelled.


Also tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Portland-based indie folk group Blitzen Trapper (Vagrant, Sub Pop). Opening is Frontier Ruckus. $18, 8 p.m.

* * *

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.


New concert venue Milk Run, first show Nov. 7; Here We Go Magic still on tonight at The Slowdown…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 2:19 pm November 2, 2015
Future home of new all-ages music venue and art gallery Milk Run, right next door to Shucks Fish House on 1907 Leavenworth St.

Future home of new all-ages music venue and art gallery Milk Run, right next door to Shucks Fish House on 1907 Leavenworth St.

by Tim McMahan,

The dynamic duo behind concert promotion company Perpetual Nerves — Chris Aponick and Sam Parker — are opening their own music venue and art gallery near downtown Omaha.

Milk Run is located at 1907 Leavenworth St., right next door to Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar in the same turn-of-the-last-century building. The concert room will be rather cozy, about the same size as The Sweatshop Gallery; while the art gallery space is much more open. The two rooms are connected via a fenced-in patio in the back of the buildings, which also will act as the venue’s main entrance located right off a parking lot shared with Shucks.

Here’s what the duo had to say about the new music venue:

Why are you opening an all-ages club?

Chris Aponick: We wanted a spot that we could run with consistent standard, a space that put music in the forefront of its mission and one that would be an ideal spot for smaller scale bands. We wanted a room that makes a crowd of 30 to 50 people feel like an event instead of a bummer. It’s an incubator for bands that are on the way up or bands that are looking to reconnect with the immediacy found in house shows or DIY spots. We want bands to have a good experience playing in Omaha, so that they make Omaha a regular stop as their fanbase grows. We want a place that is approachable for everyone that wants to see a band. We don’t want the term “all ages” to mean just for those under 30. We also want to provide a reliable venue for others bringing bands to town.

How did you settle on the location?

Aponick: Shuck’s crab legs led me to the spot. I hit up their Monday happy hour with my friend (and now our neighbor Greg Sechser of Howlin’ Hounds coffee shop) and I peeked in at the two bays. I inquired about them the next day and they were perfect for what Sam & I had discussed for an ideal all-ages space.

What kind of shows will you be booking?

Aponick: Our shows will continue to be more of what has already been booked under the Perpetual Nerves banner, though we’re hoping to dabble in a little bit more variety. The goal is to get bands we and others like into town. We want to bring stuff to Omaha that would not play in town without our involvement. We’re still hoping to do shows with venues like O’Leaver’s Pub, Lookout Lounge, Slowdown and the Waiting Room Lounge when those rooms are good fits. We also want others to use our space, too. It’s available for shows that others put together.

How will you curate and operate the art gallery?

Sam Parker: We intend to have a monthly rotation of various artists in the gallery. Particularly trying to focus on musicians who are also artists in the visual arts aspect as well. Ideally, they would display their artwork, make a playlist of songs that influences their work and that list would be played during the showings. Gives the viewer a more in-depth feel to the artist.

Who’s involved other than Chris and Sam?

Aponick: Sara Bertuldo and Matthew Carroll of See Through Dresses are responsible for sound. The equipment, the ongoing management & hopefully upgrading of the system and running live sound will all be spearheaded by these two. Sara Bertuldo will be the main sound engineer for shows. Mike Zimmerman (DWNR, Chalant) will also be helping with projects both aural and visual. We hope to include others in what we hope is a collaborative space for shows, performance, art and more.

When is your first show and who are the bands performing?

Aponick: American Cream, David Nance, Robust Worlds, and Church of Gravitron — it’s a show organized by Church of Gravitron’s Justin O’Connor. It’s November 7 and it’s only $5. Even Lazy-i readers have $5.

How do you guys line up your bands? Who do you work with?

Aponick: People email or (We) email some band or booking agents and pray for a positive reply. Some bands have been pointed in our direction by local friends, which is always appreciated. Booking Pile really jump-started things. Pile is everything.

How do you keep up with new bands that are awesome? You pretty much hit the nail on the head with all your PN shows.

Aponick: Mike Kronberger, who designed the PN logo, turned me on to Exploding In Sound Records. That’s been a big one. I love getting recommendations on things to check out. Others have just been from listening and making gut calls on stuff that ends up in the inbox. Some of it, like All Dogs, is just obvious on a first listen that they’re something special.

Is there a club that you’re trying to emulate or that will influence your club? i.e., “We’re trying to do what the Cog Factory did.” or “We really like how they do things at Jackpot down in KC”, etc.

Aponick: Mostly we just wanted to keep going with the positive momentum that was flowing at the Sweatshop Gallery between Craig Dee’s Eyeball Promotions shows and our shows there. We felt the best route was to give ourselves a home base that we curated and organized.

Why did you call it Milk Run? What’s the origin of that name?

Aponick: It’s called Milk Run, as a playful nod to the area’s gay history. A milk run was an innocuous excuse to get out of the house and go downtown in the ’80s and ’90s for gay men. We want people to be open and be themselves in our space. By embracing a part of the area that was once secretive, we’re saying that your identity is welcome here.

Are you concerned that the name could alienate some people and/or parents?

Aponick: If it’s alienating for any other reason than homophobia, I’d be surprised, but willing to discuss those feelings.

What’s your definition of success when it comes to the club? What are you trying to accomplish?

Aponick: Paying our rent and paying touring and local bands well. We want to make sure touring bands have the ability to leave Omaha with a good experience and a good payday. We want to make Omaha a spot worth stopping for more bands. And we want to add to the idea that Omaha is a vibrant, artistically progressive city.

Do you think you could fill a niche that all the other venues aren’t filling? What’s that niche?

Parker: Let’s leave that for the people to decide. Our goal is strong in bringing touring acts that people as well as ourselves, want to see. But, at the same time, highly focusing on the great local scene that’s constantly growing and forever evolving. Bigger show. Little show. Doesn’t matter, hit us up. Our venue is yours.

Keep track of the Milk Run concert and art show schedule at the venue’s Facebook page.

* *

Despite the tragic murder that took place Halloween night at Slowdown Jr., tonight’s Here We Go Magic show is still happening, according to Slowdown booker Joe Teplitsky.

For those who live out of town (or in a cave), details about the crime are reported here by the Omaha World-Herald. The shooters reportedly are still at large.

* * *

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.