What’s Up With The Omaha Music Scene?

Anyone who knows me knows that I make my share of trips to Omaha to see concerts.

This year’s excursions included Blitzen Trapper, Girl Talk, the Maha Music Festival, Cold Cave/Austra, Mogwai and more.

Well, I’ve been noticing a lot of bands I’d like to see announcing tours but not hitting Omaha of late. Is something going on that Omaha is no longer the draw for bands that it once was? I decided to go to my source on all matters concerning the Omaha music scene, Tim McMahan of the Lazy-i blog, to find out if my observation had any merit.

Sure, the Lemonheads, Craig Finn (of the Hold Steady), Cass McCombs and Cursive are playing shows in the upcoming months. But I noted that the Cults are going to Kansas, the Magnetic Fields are going to Iowa, Zola Jesus is going to Iowa and Kansas, and M83 is going to Kansas. Why not Omaha?

Tim responded to me via email last week, but on Wednesday he wrote a blog about my inquiry. I thought I’d share for anybody else who keeps track of the indie bands visiting our Nebraska neighbors.

When it comes to rock shows, these indeed are the holiday/winter doldrums, especially this year. No holiday reunion shows. No big national indie shows to speak of, and very few for the foreseeable future. The only national indie shows I’m looking forward to are Har Mar Superstar Dec. 30; Craig Finn Feb. 3, Tennis Feb. 22, and Cursive March 3. That’s it. Yeah, I know Lemonheads are coming, but I’ve always thought they sucked.

A Lazy-i reader recently e-mailed asking if I thought there was an unnatural downturn in national shows coming through Omaha.  He pointed out that Cults, Magnetic Fields, Zola Jesus, M83 and Neon Indian are all coming through the area but routing past Omaha. I told him I didn’t know, but that I doubted it. We always experience a lull in touring indie shows during the winter months. A glance at touring indie shows I went to last year at this time: Cursive played Domestica last January, followed by Interpol, Best Coast/Wavves, Pete Yorn and Smith Westerns all last February. Not much else.

We get spoiled in the warmer months with fantastic national touring shows almost every weekend. So spoiled, in fact, that some of the best ones go virtually unattended. I went to a number of shows this past fall that had terrible attendance despite the quality of bands (Future Islands and Milegras come  to mind). I’ll say what I said back then: If you want to continue getting cutting-edge indie bands at our clubs, you need to go to the shows, and when possible, buy tickets in advance. As things warm up, hopefully we’ll begin to see more bands coming through. In the meantime, continue to support our local heroes, who continue to work throughout the winter months…

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tim! The only question is, why are these bands still willing to go to Lawrence, Kan., or Iowa during the winter months and skipping Omaha? Do the Omaha promoters not want them, or are the bands just not wanting to visit Big Red territory?

3 thoughts on “What’s Up With The Omaha Music Scene?

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