Live Review: Sasami, Jigsaw Youth; Pillow Queens tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:38 pm April 4, 2022
Sasami at Reverb Lounge, April 3, 2022.

by Tim McMahan,

The Sasami of 2022 barely resembles the Sasami of 2019. The pre-pandemic Sasami Ashworth’s music fell into the ol’ singer/songwriter/indie category, youthful and having fun. She still was having plenty of fun last night at Reverb Lounge.

Since last time here, she got rid of her adorable band and replaced it with three hair-metal dudes who absolutely shred on their instruments, including a guitarist she introduced as “Ram” who was straight out of Wayne’s World.

Sasami 2022 sounds like a modern reinvention of grunge. Live, it’s more riff-oriented and straight-forward heavy-metal than what’s heard on Squeeze, her recent album on Domino that is more acidic, with layered sounds and an industrial hue. Sasami opened with one of the more approachable tracks off the album, “The Greatest,” which straddles the line between the two worlds reflected on that new album — metal and songwriter — but with amps all turned to 10. The best songs of the night were those open-chord rockers fueled by an overflow of fuzz guitar, kind of a Live Rust thing.

The minor-key metal, on the other hand, was post-grunge, powered by a rapid-fire double-kick rhythm section and those buzz-saw leads. I don’t know if it was because she was losing her voice (as she said, introducing the last song of the 40-minute set) or if she just doesn’t have the oomph to be heard above the rattle and hum, but her vocals often dipped just below the waves. Understandable, as it was one of the loudest shows I’ve seen at Reverb. Even the between-set music was loud. (BTW, the interim music was the 1970 Stark Reality album, Discovers Hoagy Carmicheal’s Music Shop, an improvised jazz fusion collection that irritates as much as entertains).

Jigsaw Youth at Reverb Lounge, April 3, 2022.

Opening band, New York trio Jigsaw Youth, brought back memories of Fat Jacks, where I used to go in my late teens to catch traveling hair-metal bands in the mid-1980s. Their style was pure riff rock with grunge overtones (Is grunge coming back or something?), carried by vocalist Maria Alvarez’s full-throated growls. The best song of their set was an “unreleased track” with guitarist Nastacha Beck’s killer riff (but an uninspired vocal melody). The band also tried their hand at straight-four hardcore punk on another new song (driven by drummer Alex Dmytrow) that morphed to heavy metal halfway through — they should have kept with the hardcore. They closed out with a Nirvana cover that Alvarez killed in pure Cobain fashion.

Decent crowd for a Sunday night, maybe 70, with at least two dozen up front – mostly young girls — bouncing to every Sasami song, and loving it.

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A sneaky-good show tonight at Slowdown Jr. Pillow Queens are a Dublin-based indie band whose new album, Leave a Light On, just came out last week on Royal Mountain, a label whose roster includes Alvvays, METZ and Nap Eyes, among others. Their sound is reminiscent of Oh Pep!, with delicious melodies and harmonies.

Opening is Toronto’s Deanna Petcoff, and SafeSpace, a sort of indie project by Ione who opened for Squirrel Flower a couple weeks ago as well as for Bon Jovi last weekend (but as a different persona). $18, 8 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bug Heaven tonight; Petfest line-up; Jim Schroeder, Megan Siebe, We Were Promised Jetpacks Saturday; Sasami Sunday; Bandcamp Friday, new Joyner, Gettman, Kasher…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:05 pm April 1, 2022
Sasami at Reverb Lounge, April 19, 2019. The band returns to Reverb Sunday night.

by Tim McMahan,

There’s a shit-ton to get to, so let’s get to it…

Tonight Bug Heaven headlines a Bug Symposium production at The Sydney in Benson, where it’s also Benson First Friday (that means art shows throughout our little city in the city). Crabrangucci also is on the bill. $10, 9 p.m.

Both acts are on the line-up for the 2022 Petfest, happening Aug. 13 behind Petshop Gallery in Benson. This year’s headliners are Chicago electronic/industrial duo HIDE (Dais Records) and Amulets. The full line-up:

Cat Piss
Universe Contest
Ghost Foot
Bug Heaven
Better Friends
Thirst Things First
Mike Schlesinger
Aly Peeler
No Thanks
Dave Nance Band
Ruby Block
Jenny Haniver
Marcey Yates

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: It’s the best local-band lineup of any Nebraska festival. Tickets are $30 advance/$35 DOS, and are available right now.

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Speaking of strong local line-ups, tomorrow night is one of the best: Jim Schroeder will celebrate the release of the vinyl version of his new album, Mesa Buoy, at a concert at Holy Family Community Center, 1714 Izard St. Joining him and his band are Megan Siebe, who’s also celebrating the release of her new album, and Dan McCarthy. It’s a free show and starts at 7 p.m.

Also Saturday night, We Were Promised Jetpacks returns to Omaha, this time to The Waiting Room, with Weakened Friends. 8 p.m., $16.

And then Sunday night is the big Sasami show at Reverb. This is a return engagement, as she kicked ass at Reverb back in April 2019. Since then, she’s really changed up her sound and style. Her new album, Squeeze (2022, Domino) goes from one extreme to another. Jigsaw Youth opens at 8 p.m. $15.

And lest we forget, it’s Bandcamp Friday, wherein the fine folks at Bandcamp waive their fees for all sales made through their website, and some record labels also are following suit. Bandcamp Fridays are becoming an important release date for indie bands, who use it to drop new singles or pre-sale album notices.

Among them are Simon Joyner, who this morning announced his new album, Songs from a Stolen Guitar, comes out May 20 on Grapefruit Records (a label he owns and operates). The all-star support includes Megan Siebe, viola, backing vocals; David Nance, lead guitars, backing vocals; Michael Krassner, guitar, piano; Max Knouse, guitar; Sunshine Joyner, guitar, vocal; Ryan Jewell, drums, percussion; Wil Hendricks, bass guitar, and Ben Brodin, Wurlitzer, B3, vibraphone. Check out a couple of the songs and preorder here.

Singer/songwriter/rocker Mitch Gettman’s new single, “Goldie” is over 11 minutes long and keeps you grooving the whole time. It’s the first track off a yet-to-be-announced new album and features Paul Jensen on bass, Nate Van Fleet on drums (he also co-engineered the track with Jeremy Gerrett, who mixed/mastered), and mind-blowing sax solo by Skye Junginger. Check it out below.

Little Brazil has released yet another new track off their forthcoming album, Just Leave, out June 3 but available for preorder from Max Trax Records website.

Tim Kasher dropped a new song (and video) fro his new album, Middling Age, which comes out April 15 on 15 Passenger (pre-order here). “Forever of the Living Dead” features Laura Jane Grace and Jeff Rosenstock. Check it.

And Dereck Higgins (of Digital Sex and Chemicals) has a new EP out today called Personal Power. Buy the download here, and check out a track below.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show (or your album release) 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Maha 2019 initial reaction; Live Review: Sasami, Ellis; Thick Paint Sunday…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 9:27 am April 19, 2019

Sasami at Reverb Lounge, April 19, 2019.

by Tim McMahan,

My initial reaction to Maha 2019: It’s the best line-up they’ve ever had: Lizzo, Courtney Barnett, Jenny Lewis, Snail Mail, and best of all, Thee Oh Sees — a band that has been avoiding Omaha for as long as I can remember. Now you’ll get to see them in all their glory.

There’s about a half-dozen more acts. You can see the full line-up here. Two-day GA festival tickets are $80 (Plus an $11 fee!). Like I said, best line-up ever, but quality rarely equates to quantity audience wise… If they wanted to outdo last year’s attendance, they’d need another Weezer, which they don’t got (thankfully).

More thoughts on the line-up next Monday.

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Sasami at Reverb last night was a hoot. Rarely have I seen such a well-balanced trio, with every musician playing a crucial roll, and amazingly so. The drummer was mesmerizing, and the bass at times carried the melody, but at the center was Sasami Ashworth, who you could tell was having a great time playing for a room half-filled with young women, all of whom crowded the stage (while the old dudes stood in back).

I’m paraphrasing here, but she said something like, “I love this crowd. This is a million times better than last night’s crowd. Fuck Denver!” Then went on to say she has nothing against old white guys. “My Jewish manager is here and I love him, but fuck ya! Girls to the front!” Indeed.

There were more white-guy comments later in the set, and I suppose someone could have been offended but who cares? I was easily old enough to be the grandfather to most of the women dancing up by the stage, and you could argue I didn’t belong there, except for the fact that I’ve never thought twice about my age when it comes to music. Especially music as good as Sasami’s, which, with her soaring guitar riffs and soft, low voice (that at times struggled to be heard above the amp center stage) reminded me of Exile-era Liz Phair but powered by an amazing rhythm section.

Show highlights were scorching versions of “Free” and “At Hollywood” (where she substituted “Omaha” for “Hollywood” the first time through), both off her self-titled debut. While that record is great, it doesn’t come close to capturing her live energy (but few studio albums do).

Opening act Ellis was a good match as a tour mate, with a similar songwriting style and a voice that also was hard to hear over the band. She ended her set with a song called “The Fuzz” that started with just her and her electric guitar, and you could hear every word: “The sky was big and it was dark / A picnic table in the yard / I still remember how it felt / When the sky came crashing down.” And then the band came in and that was the end of that. I made a note to find the song after I got home to find out what happened next.

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I’m happy I went out last night because there ain’t dick going on this weekend. Since when did Passover/Easter become such a dead holiday show-wise?

There is one gig you won’t want to miss and it’s Sunday night.

Local heroes Thick Paint celebrate the release of their debut full-length Sunday night at Reverb Lounge. This one’s a long time coming, and I guess it’s a self-release, though I know there were labels sniffing around last summer. Who needs labels in the digital age, right?

Opening the show is Portland band Ancient Pools. 8 p.m. and $7. Expect a crowd.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put in the comments section. Have a mighty fine holiday.

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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.


Ten Questions with Lady Lamb (at Reverb April 22); Sasami, The Crystal Method, Glow in the Dark tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:00 pm April 18, 2019

Lady Lamb plays at Reverb Lounge Monday, April 22.

by Tim McMahan,

Lady Lamb is singer/songwriter Aly Spaltro, who you may remember as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, a moniker she dropped shortly after her 2013 debut, Ripely Pine. She’s actually been releasing EPs and LPs since 2009, bouncing between indie labels Ba Da Bing Records and Mom + Pop Records. Her most recent, Even in the Tremor, brings her back to Ba Da Bing for an intimate collection of folk rock songs. Spaltro paints intricate personal portraits of daily life with all the messy emotions that come with it.

We caught up with Aly and asked her to take the Ten Questions survey. Here’s what she said:

1. What is your favorite album?

Aly Spaltro: Widow City by The Fiery Furnaces

2. What is your least favorite song?

Maybe ‘Thrift Shop’ by Macklemore?

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Having friends with which to contemplate snack options at gas stations.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Late load-outs with tons of gear after shows!

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Black diner coffee

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

New Orleans

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

In Brussels, Belgium, our van was robbed and they stole my pedalboard and discarded our merch all over the street. That was a rough show to say the least!

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes I am very fortunate to have been supporting myself with my music since 2010 when I left home in Maine and moved to NYC.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I’d like to attempt film editing. I would absolutely hate to be a helicopter pilot.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Romantic Saddle Creek stories of some of my favorite musicians like Conor Oberst, Jenny Lewis and Tim Kasher all hanging out and making music together!

Lady Lamb plays with Renata Zeiguer and Alex Schaaf Monday, April 22, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Showtime is 8 p.m., tickets are $15 Adv./$17 DOS. For more information, go to

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Two red-hot shows tonight:

At Reverb Lounge, indie darling Sasami, a.k.a. Sasami Ashworth, headlines. Her self-titled debut was released on Domino Records last month. Canadian singer/songwriter Ellis opens at 8 p.m. $12.

Meanwhile, around the corner at The Waiting Room, the electronica duo The Crystal Method headlines. Their sixth studio album, The Trip Home, was released on Tine e Records last September. Opening is our own electro-rock kingpin Glow in the Dark, who’s getting ready to drop a new record called Teenline. Aaron Gum and Co. just dropped a new video for a song from that album, called “Gemini Looks.” Check it. Tickets are $25, showtime is 8 p.m.

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Who’s excited about the Maha Festival line-up announcement tonight at The Slowdown? Let’s hope it’s bigger than the Mueller Report…

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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.