The Dad, Pro-Magnum, So-So Sailors tonight; Skypiper Saturday; Sharon Jones CANCELLED…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:50 pm May 24, 2013

by Tim McMahan,

Three-day weekend. Too bad it’s supposed to rain. And that the highlight of the weekend — Sharon Jones + The Dap Kings at River’s Edge Park — has been cancelled.


First, tonight at the Sweatshop Gallery in Benson, it’s the 7-inch release show for The Dad (formerly Dads). Also on the bill: Fletch (Mike Schlesinger of Gus & Call, a band which no longer exists for reasons that have not been made clear to me but which I find unfortunate); Pro-Magnum (Paul Hanson (Perry H. Matthews, Fucking Party), Pat Oakes (Ladyfinger), Johnny Vredenburg (Digital Leather); and Sister-Kisser. $5 cover gets you in and beer (for a limited time), an additional $5 gets you a copy of The Dad 7-inch. Show starts at 9.

Also tonight, So-So Sailors returns to Fabulous O’Leaver’s for a gig that includes the production of the play “Wu World Woo,” which will be accompanied by Electric Chamber Music (more ex-Gus & Call members James Maakestad along with Aaron Markley, Daniel Ocannto and Dan McCarthy). Should be weird fun. Everything at O’Leaver’s is weird fun. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Lest we forget, Cheap Trick is playing at Stir Cove tonight. Tickets are a whopping $50 for a band that played for free in Memorial Park two years ago. 8 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s the Skypiper EP release show at The Waiting Room with Twinsmith (new Betsy Wells w/Oliver Morgan (ex-Little Brazil) on drums) and Lawrence faves Cowboy Indian Bear. $7, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Max Fischer has his EP release show w/ Downtown James Brown at The Sydney. Gig includes pals Touch People (Darren Keen), M34n Str33t and possibly a plethora of others. 9 p.m.

Also Saturday, Killer Blow returns to The Brothers Lounge with Pleasure Adapter and Howard. This one’s a knock-out. $5, 9 p.m.

Also finally on Saturday, Snake Island headlines at O’Leaver’s with LA’s Vinyl Williams and Monarchs of Speed. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday, what would have been a perfect night for shows (since most of us don’t have to get up to go to work the next day), has nothing happening. Drag.

Then it’s Memorial Day and what was supposed to be the big free Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings show at River’s Edge Park. Unfortunately, the band cancelled Monday’s show along with their gig at the Santa Cruz Blues Festival due to “an urgent family matter,” according to their Facebook page. The rest of what has been marketed as the re-introduction of the Playing With Fire concert series will go on as planned Monday, along with the “Food Truck Festival,” but the loss of Jones/Dap Kings was a real knee-capper to my weekend.

Anyway, if you’re headed over there, the festivities are all part of what’s being marketed as “Loessfest,” It starts Saturday with the ultra-lame Mike Love version of The Beach Boys featuring creepy John Stamos. The Playing with Fire portion Monday kicks off at 4 p.m. with a handful of blues bands, Satchel Grande, and then something called Vintage Trouble. More details, including parking information, are available at

Also Monday, O’Leaver’s is hosting a Memorial Day show with Arless Nance, Brian Detweller and ManCavesAreForCaveMen. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Have a good holiday. Stay dry.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Sharon Jones + Dap-Kings kick off new Playing With Fire series; Silkworm documentary online…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:54 pm February 19, 2013

“River’s Edge Park” Council Bluffs

by Tim McMahan,

Believe it or not, it’s been a couple years since Playing With Fire’s “grand finale” at Stinson Park featuring Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings. That was one helluva night. So it seems only fitting that Sharon Jones and her band kick off the new Playing With Fire series as it moves from one side of the river to another.

Via a press release that went out this morning:

The City of Council Bluffs along with Con Agra Foods Foundation and the Iowa West Foundation are proud to announce the acclaimed Playing With Fire concert series will bring world-class jazz, blues, soul and funk music to celebrate the Grand Opening of River’s Edge Park at the foot of the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge in Council Bluffs by offering a free Memorial Day concert on Monday, May 27, 2013.

The headliner will be Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings…To complement the headliners, Omaha’s own premier local funk and party band Satchel Grande, and popular veteran of the local blues scene, Mojo Bag, will open the show. Gates at 3:30 p.m. and Mojo Bag kicks off the festivities at 4 p.m.

So where exactly is “River’s Edge Park” (apparently named after the 1986 American drama film starring Crispin Glover, Keanu Reeves, Ione Skye, Daniel Roebuck, and Dennis Hopper as “Feck”)? Well, according to the park’s website, it will be right on the other side of the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge, with the stage backing right up to the river. Could be a very cool place to see a show…

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Among my favorite bands of the ’90s was a little Seattle act called Silkworm.

They were on a number of labels, but did some of their best work while on Matador, specifically 1996’s Firewater (though ’98’s Blueblood on Touch and Go is still my favorite). When their drummer, Mike Dahlquist, was killed in a car accident in 2005, the band called it quits, and a few years later, a couple members went on to form Bottomless Pit.

Anyway, today Matador major domo Gerald Cosloy posted in his blog “Can’t Stop the Bleeding” (a must read for any sports fan (even if you — like me — love the Yankees and Knicks)) that documentary Couldn’t You Wait? The Story of Silkworm is now available online for a mere $5. In addition to footage of the band, the film features interviews with Steve Albini, Stephen Malkmus, Jeff Tweedy and others.  Check out the clip below and then download the film.

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



(Initial) Live Reviews: Omaha Girls Rock, PWF Sharon Jones; Red Sky (endurance test) begins today…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:42 pm July 18, 2011
Omaha Girls Rock! the Slowdown July 16, 2011.

Omaha Girls Rock! the Slowdown July 16, 2011.

by Tim McMahan,

I’ll be writing in more detail about both Omaha Girls Rock and the Playing With Fire / Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings concerts in this week’s column (out on Thursday), but suffice to say both events were hugely successful.

I would guestimate that more than 200 people were on hand for OGR, a crowd that included not only proud, nervous parents, but also all the usual suspects that make up the Omaha indie music scene. All left the show with huge smiles on their faces (and for the organizers, a few tears). How can anyone not love this program? This was merely its inaugural year. You can find out more about OGR and make donations at the Omaha Girls Rock website. Get involved.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings perform at Playing With Fire, July 16, 2011.

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings perform at Playing With Fire, July 16, 2011.

I guess you could say Stinson Park passed its Trial by Fire hosting the Playing With Fire concert Saturday night. I rode my bike to festivities at around 8:30 p.m and it was still muggy, hot, miserable. That could be why the numbers were what they were. If asked to guess, I’d say there was a little over 2,000 people in the park; but I’m hearing numbers as high as 7,000, which seems, well, unlikely. We’ll have to wait and see what the “official” numbers were. Regardless, there was plenty of room in Stinson to handle the crowd. The staging, the vendors, the security, all worked incredibly well.

As for sound and lighting, PWF organizers did a great job for what appeared to be a venue with some limitations (and time constraints). The sound was kind of… weird. It seemed like the further back from the stage I went, the louder it was (especially the high-end/snares, etc.). The best sound was right under the stage, where you’d expect it to be its loudest — but it wasn’t. Well, what do I know about sound engineering? Regardless, it was plenty loud, in fact, loud enough for the folks at nearby Pinhook Apartments to enjoy the show from their balconies with clarity.

My only comment about Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings — I felt lucky to be there, to be able to say I saw and heard this incredible band live and in person. If you don’t know what they’re about, check out there music (right now). Jones, age 55, performed with more energy than most R&B divas 1/3 her age — singing, dancing, grooving, pulling guys on stage to act as foils for her “you-better-do-me-right” rockers. I’ve never heard a band half as a good playing this style of R&B. Beyond that, you just had to be there.

There was talk from stage that this may not be the last Playing With Fire concert. Here’s hoping that’s the case.

More about both concerts Thursday…

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Speaking of concerts and festivals, the Red Sky Music Festival kicked off at noon today down at the TD Ameritrade ballpark and surrounding parking lots, whose surface temperature will likely exceed 130 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s already close to 100 right now. Tonight’s “headliner” is a Steve Perry-less version of Journey. You can see today’s schedule here. Good luck to those venturing out in this painful, miserable, intolerable heat.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Sharon Jones & Dap Kings, Omaha Girls Rock! Showcase Saturday, and the rest of the weekend…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm July 15, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

Playing With Fire

Last night on my way home from work, I drove by Stinson Park at Aksarben Village and noticed that Mercy Street had already been closed. Semi-truck trailers were parked all along the west end of the street near the park, conceivably filled with staging equipment. The handful of workmen on site weren’t scurrying around the park’s fixed stage, but rather they were climbing around the roof and grounds around the bathroom outbuilding next to the stage, I assume finally getting it finished before tomorrow’s big event, the Playing With Fire Concert featuring Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.

Maybe a better name for the series would be Trial by Fire, because with an estimated crowd of more than 7,000, we’ll see if Stinson Park and the surrounding village can handle such massive numbers. I’m a tad skeptical, having seen how a few hundred looked during last Saturday night’s jazz concert in the park (and that was without all the additional staging and lights that are being hauled in for this massive free (but donations accepted) concert). Needless to say, somewhere in and around the grounds will be the folks who are organizing the MAHA Music Festival, which also moved its day-long Aug. 13 show from the Lewis & Clark Landing to Stinson.

I guess maybe we should just stick with the Playing with Fire moniker as temperatures could be in the 90s at showtime. The details:

Gates open at 4 p.m. Free parking will be available at the parking garage at 64th & Center. You can bring lawn chairs, blankets and sunscreen, but leave your pets, coolers and outside drinks at home. Opening bands include Crimson Dawn, Brad Cordle Band, and Malford Milligan. So if I’m doing my math correctly, Sharon Jones & Dap Kings probably won’t hit the stage until around 8 p.m. The concert is scheduled to end at 11, according to the Playing with Fire website.

So that’s one of the big concerts this weekend. The other is the Omaha Girls Rock! Showcase at The Slowdown, also on Saturday night. The showcase will feature one original song from each of the six bands at this year’s rock camp, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The bands’ fantastic names are: Cherrybombs, The Jellybeans, I Just Don’t Like Trees, Mischief Managed, Urban Scrunchies and Pandas Of Peace. Also on the bill are Honeybee & Hers, Jessica Errett, Arrica Rose and Tara Vaughan. Of course your entire $5 ticket price will go to the 2012 Omaha Girls Rock Camp. I have this image that the show will somehow resemble the battle of the bands scene from Jack Black’s School of Rock. It should be a blast.

What about the rest of the weekend?

Tonight’s marquee show also is at The Slowdown. San Francisco’s The Fresh and Onlys (In the Red Records) plays with so-called sunshinecore/no coast act Bad Weather California, and the always amazing $olid Goldberg. $10, 9 p.m.

O’Leaver’s has Saturn Moth tonight with Mother Of All and The Beatseekers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And over at The Barley Street Tavern it’s Thunder Power with The Benningtons and Talking Mountain. $5, 9 p.m.

Saturday night has the recently lauded-in-Lazy-i band Well Aimed Arrows playing at The Sandbox, 2406 Leavenworth, with The Fungi Girls (HoZac Records) and Eric in Outer Space. Find out more here. $5, 8 p.m.

And Omaha legacy band Such Sweet Thunder has another reunion show Saturday night at Venue 162, 162 West Broadway in Council Bluffs. 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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Playing with Fire moves to Stinson (Aksarben Village); MAHA confirms it’s moving, too…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:43 pm June 20, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

And the river continues to rise…

Playing with Fire organizer Jeff Davis contacted me yesterday to tell me that this year’s Playing With Fire featuring the impeccable Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings has moved from the backup location west of Lewis & Clark Landing all the way to Stinson Park at Aksarben Village.

“What’s happening is that ultimately we think Riverfront Drive will close completely,” Davis said. “We understand they’re going to dig a 50-foot canal to Riverfront Drive that will fill up with water and raw sewage.”

So despite being able to save a bundle on port-a-johns, Davis decided it would be a better idea to move the event. “We’d like to present our city in a better fashion,” he said. “We think there will be a lot of people coming from out of town for this show.”

Davis said he’s been working with Lisa Bachmann, who manages the park’s facility, and is trying to get Mercy Road closed for the event. The park apparently has a covered concrete stage but is limiting what Davis will be allowed to hang from it. “We’ll have to build a stage extension and put light towers on the side,” he said. “It’s a major deal.”

But the bottom line: There was no place left to go. The PWF team looked at a number of locations, none of which made sense for the event, especially if they wanted to control the vending and alcohol sales.

To me, PWF is a major boon for Stinson and Aksarben, a major attraction that will introduce a number of people to the area and what it has to offer.

Now with PWF figured out, the question remains: What about the MAHA Music Festival. Organizer Tre Brashear confirmed that the show is moving. “City hasn’t specifically told us we need to move, but there are just too many unknowns with the riverfront right now and it would be too hard to move MAHA on short notice,” Brashear said.

“That said, we don’t have a new spot selected yet, but are working daily to try and figure it out.  (We) had our production people out to two sites to work up cost estimates.  (We) hope to have some news to announce on the issue within the next two weeks.”

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.