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.


Coming attractions, new music: Sextile, Diners, Speedy Ortiz, Hiss Golden Messenger, Wilco…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:42 am August 2, 2023
Sextile at Blackstone Meatball, Sept. 18, 2017. The band plays The Waiting Room Oct. 19.

by Tim McMahan,

New releases and singles were announced over the past few days by a handful of touring indie bands who have included Omaha on their upcoming tours. Let us celebrate each.

On top of the list is Sextile, the LA-based electro / No Wave trio will be playing at The Waiting Room Oct. 19. The last time I saw these folks they were playing a set at Blackstone Meatball during a Farnam Fest back in 2017. Their new album, Push, is out Sept. 15 on Sacred Bones Records, and is, as the kids say, fire. 

Phoenix act Diners a.k.a. Blue Broderick, is playing Reverb Lounge Sept. 6. Their new album, Domino, comes out Aug. 18 on Bar/None Records. Here’s the first single:

Speedy Ortiz is back and always seems to remember poor little Omaha when she’s putting together her tour stops, and this time ‘round is no exception. Frontwoman Sadie Dupuis and her posse will be playing The Slowdown with Spacemoth Nov. 17. Yesterday they dropped the first single from their next album, Rabbit Rabbit, which comes out Sept. 1 on Wax Nine Records. Check it:

Durham, NC’s Hiss Golden Messenger is the project of M.C. Taylor. The singer/songwriter’s style leans on Americana and Country. Their new album, Jump for Joy, comes out on Merge Aug. 25, and the band is slated to play The Waiting Room Dec. 1. 

Finally, it’s old news for sure but Wilco is returning to Omaha, playing at the new Astro Theater Oct. 23. The band announced their new album, Cousin, will drop Sept. 29 on dBpm Records. Check out the first single, “Evicted,” that dropped yesterday.

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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.


Live Review: Farnam Fest, Sextile; BIB, Man Hands, Rusty Lord tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:33 pm September 18, 2017

Sextile at Blackstone Meatball, Sept. 18, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

Despite the weather, Farnam Fest went on as planned, with some slight modifications. It was spitting when I arrived around 6-ish, just in time to hear Icky Blossoms play a long, scorching set that featured Graham Ulicny of The Faint, Reptar, Thick Paint on bass.

Farnam Fest was set up in the parking area behind businesses along Farnam St., specifically behind Mula, Scriptown, etc. Food vendors/trucks are parked along 40th St. It’s a good set-up, with lots of beer tents, which were useful when the rain got worse.

I left after Icky Blossoms, but was told by organizer Sam Parker that only Shannan & the Clams’ set was cut short by 10 minutes due to lightning. Headliner Tennis’ set was moved to Blackstone Meatball.

Icky Blossoms at Farnam Fest, Sept. 16, 2017.

I returned to Meatball just in time to catch the tail end of Sextile’s set — a raging electronic No Wave sound barrage, chaotic and fierce. They reminded me of the very early days of The Faint.

The band was set up along the back wall, so when I entered via the back door I almost walked right into their performance. It felt and looked like an in-store.

Meatball is by no means a formal music venue, nor was it designed to be. Still, I’d rather see a band at Meatball (or a regular music venue) than at the old Milk Run concrete basement/dungeon (or its original cracker-box location on Leavenworth). That said, what formal venue is willing to take a chance booking a band like Sextile (or recently, Adult Mom, who also played at Milk Run)? Lately, the answer has been none, which is why we still need these DIY spaces, else we’re going to miss out on a lot of emerging talent that the larger venues are unwilling to take a chance on.

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The Brothers lounge is hosting another big punk show tonight, headlined by local mover/shaker BIB. Phoenix band Man Hands also is on the bill. The band lists as influences Devo, Chrome, The Intelligence, Nirvana, Jay Reatard, Lenguas Largas, Digital Leather, Wire, Gary Numan and Blondie, among others. Their “about” statement in Facebook: “We like the pole and the hole.” Take it for what it’s worth. Opening is Omaha metal dudes Rusty Lord. This also will be an anniversary of a sorts for Trey and Lallaya… $5, 9 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Mountain Goats, Clarence Tilton tonight; Farnam Fest, Sextile Saturday; Closeness (tacos) Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:58 pm September 15, 2017

The blurring red heads of White Mystery at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 31, 2015. The band plays Saturday as part of Farnam Fest.

by Tim McMahan,

Rain, rain go away… at least go away on Saturday afternoon…

We’ll get to that in a minute. First, the weekend:

It kicks off tonight with Clarence Tilton at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining Omaha’s favorite alt-country band is Bach Mai, while Matt Whipkey takes the opening slot. $5, 10 p.m.

Also tonight, The Mountain Goats return to Omaha, this time to The Waiting Room. Seems like Darnielle and the boys were just here (because they were). Their latest album, Goths (Merge Records) came out in May. Opening is Athens band Mothers (Grand Jury, Wichita). $28, 9 p.m.

And finally, Nebraska legend Charlie Burton and his band (Or What!) play tonight at Down Under Lounge. Prairie Gators open at 9 p.m. $5.

Then Saturday it’s Farnam Fest. The midtown block party will be held at 40th & Farnam in the Blackstone District. It’s free and all ages. Food, booze, stuff to buy, and, of course, music.

Booked by Sam Parker (the dude behind booking this year’s Lincoln Calling Festival), Farnam Fest really stepped up its game with a strong mix of local and touring acts including Shannon and the Clams, White Mystery and headliner indie band Tennis. Here’s the full line-up:

3:00 — Both
3:45 — Miwi La Lupa
4:30 — High Up
5:20 — Yes You Are
6:25 — White Mystery
7:30 — Icky Blossoms
8:50 — Shannon and the Clams
10:10 — Tennis

Looks like there’s only one problem with the festival — the weather forecast. Let’s hope the weather dudes are wrong.

There are actually two after-parties for Farnam Fest:

Over at Blackstone Meatball garage New Wave band Sextile is playing, with Ojai opening. This one was originally slated for Milk Run before the venue’s unfortunate demise. It’s free and starts at 11.

Also happening after the fest — Alex White of White Mystery will be spinning 45s at Brothers Lounge. That one’s also free.

Finally Sunday O’Leaver’s is hosting another in its series of Sunday Socials — early shows that start at 5 p.m. and involve food (this week: taco bar!). Headlining this Sunday’s Social is Closeness (Orenda and Todd, you know ’em, you love ’em), along with opener Effluvium and touring band Detroit’s You. (Avant! Records). 5 p.m. start, $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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.