by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
I hereby declare today, Feb. 15, 2011, as Bright Eyes Day, as the band’s new album, The People’s Key, officially “drops” at stores near you. No, there will be no parades, no fireworks, no turkeys thrown from helicopters, just lots of people buying lots of CDs (hopefully). If you live in the tri-state area and don’t want to be disappointed by arriving at the store only to find out that they’re out of stock, go to Homer’s Records, who is absolutely guaranteeing that they’ll have plenty of CDs and vinyl on hand at competitive prices.
And just so you know that today is extra special, it’s also Conor Oberst’s 31st birthday, so roll by his Fairacres compound and wish him all the best (even though he probably ain’t there as he’s playing a show in Stockholm tomorrow).
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It’s been two days and the smoke has cleared and now it’s time to contemplate this year’s Grammys and Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAAs).
First, the Grammy’s. I watched the whole thing unfold on my plasma Sunday night, one performance after another after another, remembering fondly when The Grammy’s was just an awards show. You have to admit, it was a stellar combination of musical talent that hasn’t been pulled together since the last Live Aid-style charity festival. On top of the legends sheet: Bob Dylan, Mick Jaggar, and, of course, Babs, followed by the next tier — Lady Gaga, Eminem and Arcade Fire.
So I’m thinking to myself — why is so much of the telecast being spent on performances this year? The only thing I could think of was that the artists and bands have closely examined the writing on the wall. The days of living high on the hog from CD sales are quickly coming to an end. These days the real money comes from ticket sales, and if you can get inside John Q. Slob’s living room and properly swing your moneymaker enough to convince him that it’s worth it to shell out the $75 to $100 per ticket when the caravan rolls into his local arena, you’ve done a helluva lot more than sell a few thousand CDs. Or maybe I’m wrong…
Anyway, the evening’s biggest Gee Whiz moment was Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year for The Suburbs, beating out a slew of major label bozos. Just how significant was the win? If it results in above-ground radio airplay and million-unit sales, it could spark interest in indie artists by majors in a way that hasn’t been seen since the Nirvana land-rush days. Or it could just be one giant head-scratcher by all those kids who bought or stole the latest Ke$ha/Katy Perry/Ga Ga record. Only time will tell.
As for the OEAAs, I followed the results as they were tweeted by hearnebraska.org. No surprises and most of my predictions were on the mark. It was a big night for It’s True, who won the Artist of the Year award. But as much as I like the band, they didn’t deserve it, especially when you consider they announced their breakup shortly before the MAHA Music Festival, and then spent the rest of the year doing…nothing, while other artists (specifically Saddle Creek artists) were busy touring, making new albums and bringing the attention of the country right back here to Omaha. Oh well, it’s all just for fun, right?
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Speaking of festivals, someone posted some information about the Middle of the Map festival on the ol’ webboard, and the event looks promising. To be held April 8 and 9 in venues throughout Kansas City, the festival will feature 25-30 local and national acts, including Cursive, Appleseed Cast, Daniel Johnston, Dosh and The Life and Times.
“The festival is brought to you by Ink Magazine and The Record Machine. Ink magazine and inkkc.com are Kansas City’s premier lifestyle and entertainment publication and website,” said MotM organizers. “Owned by The Kansas City Star, it is one of Kansas City’s largest publications and the only one produced by and for people in their 20s and 30s.” The only one? Really? Whatever happened to Pitch Weekly? Regardless of the politics, the festival sounds like a good time, with two-day passes selling for a mere $25. Find out more at middleofthemapfest.com.
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Finally, there’s an odd little show going on tonight at a venue off the beaten path. The Hideout at 320 So. 72nd St., a place known mostly for hosting local metal shows, is hosting Brooklyn-based funk trio The Pimps of Joytime. Check out their myspace page and get ready to get weird. Opening is DJ Brent Crampton and SpenceLove. $7, 9 p.m. More details at the Facebook event page.
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Tomorrow right here: Pete Yorn. Thursday: Tennis. It’s a busy week…
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — 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.