Live Review: Violenteer, The Sun-Less Trio; Jon Spencer and the HITmakers CANCELLED…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:56 pm April 18, 2022
Violenteer at O’Leaver’s, April 15, 2022.

by TIm McMahan,

Has it really been more than two years since I went to a show at O’Leaver’s?

The Club first closed due to COVID-19 in March 2020. I think the last show I saw there prior to that was Lincoln band Perfect Form, who played O’Leaver’s in February 2020.

Stepping back through the doors Friday night, it felt like nothing changed. They added booths up near the “stage” and moved the piano over to along the wall where I like to lean on stage left. Maybe that was the reason the room felt a little smaller, tighter than I remembered. Everything else was the same, though, even the smell. And there were plenty of familiar faces in the crowd who I haven’t seen at a rock show since before the plague came to town. It was good to be back.

Violenteer is a band that consists of former members of classic Omaha Golden Age band Ritual Device. Randy Cotton and his brother, Barry, are up front providing a double-bass attack while drummer Eric Ebers keeps the flow going with gusto. I expected the trio to sound like the next iteration of Rondy’s follow-up to Ritual Device, a pseudo metal-punk band called Ravine. But Violenteer surprised me by its variety of styles that ranged from punk, math and best of all, a psychedelic throb reminiscent of early Pink Floyd.

The highlight of the evening was the second song of their set, an instrumental (as most songs were) that built in intensity and gravity, recalling the heavier moments of Floyd’s Meddle. Barry and Randy created balanced counter melodies that gave the music a surprising dimension. Almost as interesting were a couple prog/mathy instrumentals, and less so the punk stuff where one or both Cottons provided some yell vocals, but hey, you have to mix it up, right?

The Sun-Less Trio at O’Leaver’s, April 15, 2022.

Opening was Mike Saklar’s The Sun-Less Trio. Mike also is a former member of Ritual Device and Ravine, though this trio’s bread and butter is psych rock with classic rock leanings, powered by Saklar’s guitar prowess, which is somewhat legendary.

Like I said, it was good to be back to O’Leaver’s. And if you missed it, there’s another show next month with Wagon Blasters. That said, I’m skeptical O’Leaver’s will ever be what it once was — the go-to place for small touring punk bands and indie acts to land between tour stops, where any night of the week you could be surprised at who you might be seeing and hearing. That these shows are free makes me think they’re merely a nod to their past, a sort of musical philanthropy that the owners realize we all need after two years of pandemic.

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Speaking of pandemics, tonight’s Jon Spencer and the HITmakers show slated for The Waiting Room has been cancelled. Last night’s show at 7th Avenue in Minneapolis also was cancelled due to someone in Spencer’s band coming down with COVID. When is this pandemic going to end?

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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.


Relax, It’s Science, Sun-Less Trio, Mere Shadows tonight; Dirt House, McCarthy Trenching Sunday; RSD 2021 Day 2 tomorrow…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:23 am July 16, 2021
Sun-Less Trio at The Sydney, June 10, 2017. The band returns tonight.

As the Delta variant swirls around the country and LA introduces new indoor mask mandates even for those who have been vaccinated, it’s obvious that we’re nowhere near the end of COVID-19.

That goes for what’s happening music-wise. We’ve yet to see a full-on press of quality touring shows coming through Omaha, though the volume of press releases for tours not coming through town (i.e., NOmaha) have risen sharply over the past few weeks. NOmaha tours include Protomartyr, Phoebe Bridgers, The Oh Sees, Courtney Barnett, even our own hometown act Bright Eyes.

BTW, Bright Eyes recently rescheduled its Ireland and UK dates to August 2022 due to COVID-19, though their U.S. dates starting at the end of July are still on. Odd that there’s no Bright Eyes Omaha tour dates… I think the last time Oberst played in Omaha was that Better Oblivion Community Center show at Slowdown in March 2019…

Interestingly, the next rock show featuring national indie bands is… the Maha Festival July 31, where Japanese Breakfast, Thundercat and Drive-By Truckers are among the acts.

Thankfully, we still have some local shows happening. Tonight at The Sydney in Benson Relax, It’s Science returns for a sort of an album-release show for their latest, Now It’s Your Problem, now available on CD. Mike Saklar’s Sun-Less Trio also is on the bill along with Mere Shadows. $10, 9 p.m.

Dirt House (who’s on this year’s Maha Festival bill) plays at Pageturners Lounge Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. with McCarthy Trenching. It’s a free show.

Hey, if we can get at least one good rock show a week do we have anything to complain about?

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I missed mentioning Record Store Day Pt. 1 last month. RSD Day 2 is tomorrow. You can check out all the RSD goodies here. Most stores open at 10 a.m.

Another good news story: The Old Market now has as many record stores as it ever did back in the day. You’ve got good ol’ Homer’s (of course), Vinyl Cup Records, 1108 Jackson, the new Grapefruit Records at 12th and Jackson, and they just reopened the Drastic Plastic Vinyl Lounge at 1217 Howard St.

I’ve slowed down on my vinyl acquisitions. It really has to be a record I intend to listen to on my turntable for me to buy it. I just don’t have the room! Anyway, I’ll be buying something…

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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Chris Cornell epitomized Seattle grunge; reviews: The Sun-Less Trio,Thigh Master…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm May 18, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Chris Cornell

The death of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell is definitely on my mind.

Moreso than Cobain or Vedder, Cornell to me epitomized the Seattle grunge movement. While you could argue Kurt’s and Eddie’s voices were just as distinctive, Cornell’s was iconic, a strange, beautiful trapeze act of a voice that seemed to be daring himself and the audience to take an extra step… higher. Nirvana and Pearl Jam may have grabbed more headlines and more airplay; but Soundgarden was that flannel in the closet that you haven’t worn in too long.

At age 52, he was too young to die, but I have a feeling I’ll be saying that a lot over the coming years…

Of note, I asked a couple people in my office who are in their 20s if they knew who Cornell was. They’d never heard of him — a testimony to my years… or their lack of years, I suppose. It’s odd to talk to interns and discover they’ve never heard of Tom Jones or bands like Boston or ELO — acts that you just assume have permeated every facet of modern culture. One intern had never heard of U2. How is that possible?

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I put together a 1Q 2017 CD reviews collection for this month’s issue of The Reader, but it got pre-empted by my feature/interview with Tim Kasher. The reviews still exist in one form or another, so I thought I’d sprinkle them in blog posts (and occasionally at

The Sun-Less Trio, Spirit Jar/Spirit Glass (ANT Records) — Released on cassette and Bandcamp and destined to be overlooked, which is a shame because mastermind Mike Saklar and his supporting team has never sounded better, especially on the 8+minute Zeppelin-esque burner “Spirit Glass,” at the centerpiece of which is Saklar’s blistering electric guitar work. While his voice too often still sounds tentative, his guitar never does.

Thigh Master, “BBW” b/w “Park Road Clinical” (12XU) — Brisbane, Australia, jangle-indie sounds like early Pavement sung by, well, Aussies — drunk (and or drugged) Aussies at that, judging by the line: “It was just the drugs, slipping right through me.” Can’t wait for the long-player…

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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.


Another Take Cover weekend; David Nance, Cult Play tonight; Sun-Less Trio, Lodgings, Lupines Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:37 pm January 27, 2017

The Sun-Less Trio at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2015. The band plays Saturday at The Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s another Take Cover weekend in Omaha and Lincoln. The annual event, a fund-raiser for everyone’s favorite music non-profit, Hear Nebraska, features local bands covering other local bands’ songs plus performing one or two of their own.

The Lincoln version is tonight at The Bourbon, while Omaha’s edition is tomorrow night at The Waiting Room. Among the 12 performers in Omaha are See Through Dresses, David Nance, Mint Wad Willy and Thick Paint. Covers will include songs by The Good Life, Neva Dinova, Elliot Smith and Bright Eyes.

The 8 p.m. show is free, but donations are greatly appreciated. This is the sixth year for Take Cover and each year it gets bigger and better. Do it.

What else this weekend?

David Nance kicks off a big weekend at The Brothers tonight. He’ll be headlining with Satanic Abortion and Suzie Q. $5, 9 p.m. (though Brothers shows are notoriously for starting late).

Also tonight self-proclaimed dark-techno band Cult Play headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Little Ripple and Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday night…

The Sun-Less Trio have a new CD they’ll be selling at The Brothers Lounge before and after their performance. The disc’s packaging contains a highly detailed explanation of how frontman/engineer/producer Mike Saklar recorded the album — very technical stuff involving analog equipment and other doo-dads. Tape-Op would be proud.

Performed by Saklar on guitar/vocals/keys, Cricket Kirk on bass and Marc Phillips on drums, the 8-song collection has been in the works for a number of years, and now is available for your listening pleasure.

Sun-Less Trio actually opens the Brothers show. Also on the bill are Relax, It’s Science and headliner Lodgings. And the fine folks from B&G Tasty Foods will be on hand slinging their famous loose-meat sandwiches. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, the mighty Lupines headlines at The Sydney in Benson. Sean Pratt and the Sweats and The Morbs open. $5, 9 p.m.

Slowdown Jr. Saturday night has Conny Franko (M34n Str33t), CJ Mills, Haunted Gauntlet and headliner The Regulation celebrating an album release. $5, 9 p.m.

That’s not all. Joining Edison & the Elephant and Satellite Junction at O’Leaver’s is Big Wheel, a rock band that features Jason Churchill and Kevin Hiddleston, two of the most notorious sound engineers in the city. Believe me, if you go to shows, you’ve seen these dudes twirling the knobs. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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.