Live review: And How at Slowdown outdoors; Ware House Studios to close its doors…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:22 pm October 5, 2020
And How performing outside at The Slowdown, Oct. 3, 2020.

The weekend weather took an autumn turn that required bundling up for Saturday’s outdoor show at The Slowdown, the last gig of the three-week outdoor festival co-sponsored by the Maha Festival organizers.

The event had a sort of festival feel, thanks to the enormous outdoor stage planted against the south end of the Slowdown parking lot. As advertised, concert-goers were allowed to pick one of many holding cells to social distance in, some of which were separated by metal fencing. When we arrived at around 6 p.m. a number of the sections were occupied but plenty remained open including the spray-painted two-person section where we flopped down our lawn chairs.

Everyone in the crowd of around 75 or so was wearing a mask at this ultra-safe event. Even with my hood up on my light jacket, a small north breeze blew right through me, making things a bit chilly. Certainly it must have been cold up there on stage, or so And How frontman Ryan Menchaca said at the start of their set.

Despite the massive stage and huge sound system, Saturday’s And How set sounded a bit disjointed compared to their set at Petfest a month or so ago. At that one, held on the crushed rock lot behind Pet Shop in Benson, the band huddled under a small tent (fully masked) with sound powered by a tiny PA. No doubt the close proximity and low-powered system helped make the band sound more cohesive than the spread-out stage and mammoth, booming system used Saturday that was augmented by the proximity of concrete buildings surrounding the stage.

Nonetheless, the band gave another good performance, which closed with a new song that was the best of their set. There’s talk of a new album coming out in the near future and possible touring, but I guess COVID will have something to say about that…

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Last week Tom Ware, one of Omaha’s most respected sound engineers and producers, announced via Facebook that after 30 years of running Ware House Productions recording studios he’ll be closing the doors and retiring. He pointed to ongoing heath issues combined with the impact of COVID-19 as some of the factors that drove his decision.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with so many talented people from all over the world. While I might miss the fun aspect of the studio, I am eager to relieve myself of the pressure of running my own companies,” he said in the post.

Ware’s production and engineering credits are impressive. A glance at his AllMusic credits includes work with such acts as Lady Gaga (Ware was nominated for a Grammy for his engineer work on 2011’s Born This Way) and a long list of local acts including Digital Sex, For Against, Mousetrap, Mulberry Lane, Tom May, Stephen Sheehan and Mimi Schneider.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


OEAs, Grammy’s and Chipotle; Simon Joyner on NPR; Cursive in Denver; Testament, Bloodcow tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:39 pm February 13, 2012

by Tim McMahan,

The final count on my Omaha Entertainment and Arts (OEA) awards predictions: 5 for 15. Not bad. Actually, that’s appalling, but it accurately reflects my knowledge of the Benson music scene. Last night’s big winner was Galvanized Tron, who took home the Artist of the Year and Best Hip-Hop awards. I’ve never heard GT’s music before. In fact, I haven’t heard seven of the 14 winners’ music. Pleasant surprises were Conduits (best indie) and Icky Blossoms (best DJ/EDM), two bands whose music I have heard (and enjoyed) and who recently signed big fat record deals with a couple national indie labels we’re all familiar with. Least surprising: That Bright Eyes’ The People’s Key took home Album of the Year. To the best of my knowledge, Conor skipped the ceremony. Here’s the rest of last night’s OEA Award winners:

Best New Artist: Snake Island
Best Artist: Galvanized Tron
Best Cover Band: Yesterday & Today
Best Ethnic: The Bishops
Best Progressive/Experimental/Funk: Satchel Grande
Best Jazz: Jazzocracy
Best Blues: Kris Lager Band
Best Hip Hop:  Galvanized Tron
Best Soul/R&B Gospel: Lucas Kellison
Best Country/Americana: Matt Cox
Best DJ/EDM: Icky Blossoms
Best Indie: Conduits
Best Hard Rock: Broken Crown
Best Adult Alternative/Songwriter: AYGAMG
Best Album: Bright Eyes, The People’s Key

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In other awards show news, legendary Omaha producer Tom Ware of Warehouse Studios went home empty handed from last night’s Grammy’s, as his work with Lady Gaga was overlooked by an academy that was “gaga” for Adele. It was fun watching Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon awkwardly accept the award for best new artist. Said Vernon at the podium: “It’s also hard to accept because when I started to make songs, I did it for the inherent reward of making songs, so I’m a little bit uncomfortable up here.” So were we, Vernon.

A still from the Chipotle commercial.

A still from the Chipotle commercial.

The rest was business as usual. I watched every second of last night’s Grammy’s broadcast and the most impressive moment was an animated Chipotle commercial about organic farming featuring Willie Nelson singing a cover of “The Scientist” by Coldplay. I “rewound” and watched the commercial three times.  You can check it out here.

The broadcast had an amusing ending when KMTV cut off the evening’s big finale featuring Paul McCartney and a stage filled with famous guitarists (Bruce Springsteen and David Grohl among them) so we could get an accuweather update. Apparently no one at the station pays attention to their own programming. Yet another shining example of KMTV’s rock solid commitment to becoming the worst network-affiliated TV station in Omaha. Keep it up, guys, you’ve got KPTM and the run!

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If you weren’t up at the crack of dawn Sunday morning you missed NPR’s feature on Simon Joyner that aired as part of Weekend Edition. The piece featured Simon talking about his music and his life in Omaha, and included comments from Conor Oberst and myself. So if you’ve ever wondered what my voice sounds like, here’s your chance to find out as the audio story is now online. Nice work, Clay, though there’s the issue about the spelling of my last name…

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Denver’s Westword has a review of Sunday night’s Cursive show at the Larimer Lounge online here. From the review:

“‘I don’t know why we don’t come here more often,’ Kasher chuckled and complimented the crowd. The rock elder statesman looked genuinely bashful as he paid his audience the largest possible compliment. ‘You guys are awesome. You should go to Omaha and teach those guys how to rock!‘” 

Really, Mr. Kasher? REALLY?

By the way, you can now hear Cursive’s latest, I Am Gemini, streamed in its entirety right here at

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Tonight is officially metal night at The Waiting Room as ’80s thrash metal band Testament takes the stage with Omaha’s own metal masters, Bloodcow. $25, 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.