Live Review: Eric Bachmann at Ming Toy Gallery…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 11:38 am May 28, 2024
Eric Bachmann at Ming Toy Gallery, May 27, 2024.

by Tim McMahan,

The folks at Undertow (the living-room concert promotion company booked the show) said Eric Bachmann would arrive at our gallery at around 6:30 to begin his “load in,” but here we were at a quarter past 7 and still no Bachmann. About a half-dozen patrons had already arrived, three of them Undertow concert veterans who had brought small, fold-out chairs and a small foam-sided cooler, the stuff you see at the Memorial Park concerts. One of them asked where in the room Bachmann would be performing so he could set up his chair. 

I began to worry. Should I text my contact at Undertow? Ah, but my concern was unfounded, as there was Bachmann, his hulking, 6-foot-7 frame standing by the open back door looking like a fit over-the-road truck driver. He quickly specked out the narrow room and decided the best place to “set up” was in the middle along the wall. I helped hump in equipment and he chatted-up early arrivers while arranging his stuff.

A few guests looked mildly confused when they realized there were no chairs and had to either stand or sit on the oak floor, having not read the website’s instructions suggesting they bring a cushion to sit on. I felt sort of bad for the few who clearly looked uncomfortable — the audience’s mean age was probably around 35 — but what could I do? By 8 p.m. – the show’s official start time – everyone had arrived and everything was ready. 

A charming, funny southern gentleman (but without a twang), Bachmann proceeded to give a 90-minute performance that included songs from Crooked Fingers and Archers of Loaf catalogs as well as solo work and new material. If you had a favorite Bachmann song, he played it last night, taking requests from the crowd throughout the set. 

Without a PA, Bachmann’s rich, reedy voice was amazing, filling our small gallery while he switched from steel-stringed and nylon-stringed acoustic guitars and an electric keyboard. 

He filled in the blanks between tunes with stories about past performances, road life and what inspired certain songs, like the woman who pulled up alongside his white van in an SUV after a Vegas show who inspired new song “Spray Tan Speed Queen (in a German Car)” – a track no doubt destined to be on his next album. 

Afterward, many patrons thanked us for hosting, and Bachmann said he had a good time, loved the room, and thought it would be a great spot for other touring Undertow artists. So, this first attempt at hosting an Undertow show at Ming Toy Gallery was, for the most part, a success.

A few take-aways:

  • – The room is too small to host anything but acoustic shows.
  • – Comfortable crowd capacity for the gallery is 40.
  • – Some how, Undertow has to get the message to ticket buyers that we don’t provide seating and to bring a cushion or folding chair. But frankly, I don’t know how they could make the point more clear on their website

After this successful test run, we’ll continue to offer the gallery for future Undertow shows. While we don’t make a penny hosting them, they’re fun and they get new people into the gallery to see local art. And maybe most importantly, they provide an option for these touring musicians who no doubt are looking for ways to eek out a living doing what they love – a difficult task in this digital age…

Full House: Eric Bachmann at Ming Toy Gallery, May 27, 2024.

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


LOW TICKET WARNING: Eric Bachmann May 27 at Ming Toy; No Whining; Social Distortion tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 8:54 am May 22, 2024

by Tim McMahan,

The funny part is there weren’t a lot of tickets to begin with… 

Of the 40 tickets, only 8 remain available for next Monday’s (May 27 – Memorial Day) solo performance by Eric Bachmann (Crooked Fingers, Archers of Loaf, solo genius) at Ming Toy Gallery, 6066 Maple St., the art gallery owned and operated by my wife, Teresa, and me. 

I wrote about this show a couple weeks ago. Read about it here. Tickets are $25 and only available through the Undertow website – in other words, there will be no tickets at the door. You’re either on the list or you’re not. This is a general admission show with floor seating or standing, so bring a pillow or cushion or just stand around like I do. 

This show will be a first for us at Ming Toy and if it goes well, we’ll try to do more via Undertow. I would love to see you there!

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You’ll notice I’ve stopped whining about all the nationally touring indie bands and musicians who no longer come through Omaha. I wrote a long piece marking the one-year anniversary of Steelhouse Omaha and how I got Omaha Performing Arts’ non-profit mission all wrong. But didn’t post it. What would be the point? 

Instead, I’m looking for opportunities to help bring the bands I love here, to put Omaha back on indie touring maps. I’m not sure what that entails and am open to suggestions. This Ming Toy/Undertow concert is part of that effort.

I will, however, continue to point out when amazing bands are coming through nearby cities (Kansas City, the Twin Cities, Chicago, Denver) for those with the means to travel. I get dozens of tour announcements daily in my email. For example, PJ Harvey is playing at St. Paul’s Palace Theater Oct. 2.  

Life’s too short to complain about what we don’t have in Omaha. Embrace what we do, and seek out what we do not elsewhere, because it will never be 2001-2015 here again. 

. 0 0 0 . 

Speaking of shows, ‘90s LA punkers Social Distortion are playing at The Astro tonight. Their 1990 debut album was a staple in my youth (who remembers “Story of My Life” and “Ball and Chain”?). I lost track of them after the ’92 follow-up, Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell, but hey, they’re still kicking, releasing Mommy’s Little Monster last year on Concord Records. Joining them tonight is up-punk band The Love Bombs. This is an early show – 6:30 p.m. – and GA standing tickets are $40.

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers) May 27 at Ming Toy Gallery…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:40 am May 9, 2024
Eric Bachmann will perform at Ming Toy Gallery, May 27, 2024.

By Tim McMahan,

So that’s the concert announcement – Eric Bachmann will perform at Ming Toy Gallery, 6066 Maple St., on May 27, Memorial Day. Tickets are on sale here only (and will not be available at the door). 

There’s a story behind this show.

Bachmann is on an Undertow Tour. Undertow helps artists book nationwide tours performed in fans’ living rooms. They’ve been doing it since 2009 with artists including Will Johnson, Damian Jurado, Owen, Lady Lamb, even Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. 

It works like this: Fans offer their living rooms for the performance and Undertow handles ticket sales and promotion. Typically, except for a zip code the house’s location isn’t revealed until a ticket is purchased “to protect privacy.”

Anyway, last year an Undertow show was hosted in a local brewery’s “tasting room.” I didn’t know Undertow allowed shows in anything but living rooms, and thought “Well, gosh, we could host Undertow shows at our Benson art gallery.” 

I sent the gallery’s specifics to Undertow, and here we are. 

Bachmann is something of an indie legend. In the early ‘90s he fronted the seminal indie rock band Archers of Loaf, whose albums include 1993’s Icky Mettle and ’95’s Vee Vee, both released on Alias but later rereleased, along with the rest of the Archers of Loaf catalog, on Merge Records. 

In 2000, following Archers’ break up, Bachmann formed Crooked Fingers backed by a rotating cast of musicians. WARM Records released the first couple albums — the same label that released Azure Ray’s first couple albums, which, btw, also featured guest appearances by Bachmann. Merge has released most of Crooked Fingers’ catalog.

While all that was happening, Bachmann recorded solo records, including 2006’s To the Races, released on our very own Saddle Creek Records. (Interestingly, Saddle Creek Records used to house its offices in the gallery space where this concert is being held, years before the label moved to its current No-Do location.)

Most recently, Bachmann has toured with a reunited Archers of Loaf. The band released its first full-length in 25 years, Reason in Decline, in 2022. 

And now Bachmann is on another solo tour, which will bring him to Omaha and to our gallery.

We’re pretty excited about hosting this, our first show ever. If it works out, we’re hoping to host more Undertow shows. This is an intimate performance – only 40 tickets will be available (and it looks like 14 have already sold). Tickets are $25, and only available via online purchase here. Doors at 7:15, the show begins at 8 p.m. with no opening act. 

I’ll write more about this show and why we’re doing shows at the gallery as we get closer to the concert date. I’m also trying to swing an interview with Bachmann for a Lazy-i blog entry. In the meantime, buy a ticket before they’re gone!

The opening night of comic book artist Bob Hall’s art show at Ming Toy Gallery May 3.

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Indie legend John Vanderslice is playing somewhere in Dundee this Friday (4/5); LA LOM tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 9:18 am April 1, 2024

John Vanderslice performs April 5 at a Dundee house show.

by Tim McMahan,

The last time I saw John Vanderslice perform was back in October 2005 at Sokol Underground when he was touring with Matador Records experimental noise artist The Double. I don’t know whatever happened to The Double. Vanderslice, on the other hand, is playing an Undertow concert this Friday somewhere in Dundee.

Vanderslice came in hot back in 2001 with Mass Suicide Occult Figurines, released on then super-hot indie label, Barsuk Records. It would be followed by about an album a year, peaking with career highlights Cellar Door (2004, Barsuk) and Pixel Revolt (2005, Barsuk). 

In 2009, Vanderslice switched labels and began releasing albums on red-hot indie Dead Oceans, and these days he’s releasing albums on his own Tiny Telephones label, including last year’s CRYSTALS 3.0

In fact, Vanderslice might be more well-known as owner/operator of Tiny Telephone, a studio in the Mission District of San Francisco that recorded a plethora of indie giants including Death Cab for Cutie, Sleater-Kinney, Deerhoof, Moutain Goats and Spoon — artists whose albums many of which Vanderslice contributed to. That studio closed during in 2020, according to Wiki, though a second Tiny Telephone studio still operates in Oakland and is run by Vanderslice.

He’s one of those guys who has always had has finger on the pulse of indie music and is credited with bringing a number of today’s indie heroes on the road with him, including Sufjan Stevens and St. Vincent.  And now you have a chance to see him play in someone’s living room in what can only be described as “an intimate solo performance.”

The location of Undertow shows are kept secret except for their zip code, which is why I know this one is taking place in Dundee. You’ll get the actual address after you buy a ticket, which is $25 and available here at the Undertow website. Don’t worry, I can pretty much tell you the house where this is happening is amazing (though I’ve never been there); the owner has hosted many Undertow shows. 

Give it a shot. This guy really is an indie legend. 

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Tonight, instrumental trio Los Angeles League of Musicians (LA LOM) plays at Slowdown Jr. Their style is Cumbia Sonidera, ’60s soul ballads and classic romantic boleros. Pretty cool stuff. DJ C-Record opens the show at 8 p.m. $25.

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Mark Eitzel (American Music Club) is playing tonight in someone’s living room…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 6:30 am October 12, 2023

by Tim McMahan,

Somewhere in Omaha, but probably in midtown, Mark Eitzel will be playing a show tonight in someone’s living room. 

Eitzel, who may be best known as the frontman to seminal ‘90s indie rock band American Music Club, is on an Undertow tour wherein the artist plays in someone’s living room, usually solo acoustic but sometimes plugged in. The show’s location is a secret until you purchase a ticket. The only clue is the house is located in the 68102 zip code. 

Eitzel’s last proper studio album was Hey Mr. Ferryman (2017, Merge), a gorgeous, lush set of dreamy, gritty, personal music Eitzel has become known for. But in addition to that, Eitzel has self-released a number of collections on Bandcamp, the latest being a solo acoustic collection, Lover’s Leap USA, released in May 2021. 

The third and last time I saw Eitzel perform was back in May 2008 when American Music Club played a 30-minute set at The Waiting Room with The Third Men and Brad Hoshaw. The first time was back in 2002 when he played solo at Sokol Underground with Tim Easton and Matt Whipkey. “The idea of smart people writing songs for the masses is over,” Eitzel said in an interview in support of that 2002 show. “The masses don’t really want to hear them.” Does he still hold that opinion? Find out tonight. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online here. The show starts at 8 p.m. somewhere in Omaha. 

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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.


Ten Questions with Scott McCaughey (sold out living room show w/Peter Buck 7/11)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:37 pm July 9, 2019

Scott McCaughey plays a living room show in Omaha July 11.

by Tim McMahan,

There’s little doubt that Scott McCaughey would have sold out his July 11 living room show even if his ol’ pal Peter Buck of R.E.M. wasn’t joining him on the tour. McCaughey has played with some of indie music’s greatest acts, including Minus 5 and Young Fresh Fellows, as well as a variety of Peter Buck side projects including The Baseball Project, Filthy Friends and Tired Pony.

Like all Undertow Living Room Shows, this one takes place at someone’s home, whose address is only made known after a ticket has been purchased at the Undertow website. The only clue to the location is the zip code: 68132. So somewhere in Omaha July 11 a group of around 40 people will be listening to songs performed by a couple rock legends.

We caught up with McCaughey and gave him the 10 Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album?

Scott McCaughey: THE BEATLES. a/k/a “The White Album”.  I declared it the The Greatest Album In The World back when I was a teenager, and I’m sticking with it.  Strangely, it might not even be the best Beatles album.  But there’s so much of it!  Others: Neil Young – Tonight’s The Night; Big Star – 3rd; The Sonics – Here Are The Sonics, etc.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“I’ve Never Been To Me” – Charlene.  It haunts me to this day.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Hanging out with my friends.  Discovering new ways to make each song brilliant on a night to night basis.  Making rules for van behavior, then breaking them.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

It’s like being married, but without the sex.  In most cases.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

A frothy smooth pint of Guinness, maybe at The Long Hall or Mulligan’s in Dublin.  I haven’t had one in years though!

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Chicago rules.  Madrid, Spain, is however THE BEST.  The Laurelthirst Public House in Portland, Oregon, has magic.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Oh, my.  Seattle (another one of my top cities to play).  It was at the end of three months of a grueling U.S. Young Fresh Fellows tour and we were in tatters and I took cold medicine and copious alcohols and took it out on my bandmates and audience — in hindsight, anyway.

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, somehow.  I quit “regular” work (record store, natch) in 1987 and have been muddling about since then.  There have been some quite lucrative years and many leaner ones.  The secret is don’t expect too much, and be thankful for what you get!

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Is musician a profession?  I guess so!  Hard to imagine doing anything else at this point.  It’s my life.  But I’m not going to denigrate anybody else’s job – that’s a luxury to think that way.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I haven’t spent any time there, which is weird.  I mean, I KNOW Conor Oberst! (He’s amazing.) I once met a son of Robert Altman and he sent me a VHS of his documentary called Omaha — that was beautiful and funny and interesting.  But I kind of forgot most of it now.  No working VHS player.

Scott McCaughey plays a sold out living room show July 11. For more information, go to

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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.