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.

* * *

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.