Conspire Music & Arts Festival aims to challenge artists; New band Leafblower debuts track “RX”; Photo coverage: Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club, Icky Blossoms at Slowdown

Conspire Music & Arts Festival aims to challenge artists

A new music and arts festival, born in the classroom, hopes to challenge artists through multi-medium collaboration.

Conspire Music Festival will unite musicians, dancers and visual artists, facilitating the creation of new art and performances. The showcase, founded by Omaha musicians Bach Mai and Olivia Malik happens Saturday, May 13 at new DIY venue OutrSpaces.

Olivia and Bach have envisioned a festival idea that’s totally new in the Omaha arts community,” says Jay Wise, Omaha Chamber Music Society General Manager. “Conspire will bring together local performing artists and their supporters in a unique collaborative environment. I expect the final performances to be exciting… and unpredictable.”

The format is relatively unique to most other area festivals. One week prior, each participant will meet their pre-selected collaborative groups for the first time. Together, they will create a brand new piece, be it visual or performance, which they will display the day of the festival.

Malik and Mai (who is a current Hear Nebraska intern) developed the idea for the festival from a project they worked on for a class at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The goal, Malik says, is to force artists outside their comfort zones “to usher in a new sense of understanding about their art form by working together to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. Find the full artist roster and more via the Conspire website here.

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New band Leafblower debuts track “RX”

Woven into the larger national discussion on health care are the individual stories of those battling its cost. The first track by Omaha band Leafblower specifically, scathingly targets drug companies.

The four-piece rock band has debuted “RX,” it’s first look at the cassette tape it will release this Saturday at Brothers Lounge. As guitarist/vocalist Danny Maxwell explains, his story — at once angering and defeating, told through raging rock riffs and a squealing lead guitar — is just one anecdote.

“[It’s] nothing political or class-related, just a passage of my personal struggle with certain companies that have made their medications unaffordable,” Maxwell says.

Leafblower first emerged in July, playing its first show at Pageturners. The band comprises a host of experienced Omaha musicians in Maxwell (Little Brazil, Wrong Pets, New Lunge), Craig Fort (New Lungs, The Fucking Party), Tab Tworek (New Lungs, La Casa Bombas) and John Svatos (Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship). Its new seven-song cassette was recorded and mixed by Mike Friedman and mastered by Mike Saklar.

Listen to “RX” below.

Saturday’s release show starts at 9 p.m. David Nance Band and a to-be-determined third will also play the show. RSVP here.

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Photo coverage: Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club, Icky Blossoms at Slowdown

HN contributor Harrison Martin stopped by Slowdown Sunday for the benefit concert for the Nebraska Cultural Endowment and Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska. Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club, Icky Blossoms and High Up played the show. See Martin’s photos below (and apologies to High Up; we’ll catch you next time!)

Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club

Icky Blossoms

Photos by Harrison Martin

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Our thanks again to Head of Femur for stopping by the KZUM studio for Hear Nebraska FM. Watch later in the week for a video and the entire session audio. Special thanks, as always, to KZUM, for letting us make a mess of its studio.

phone photo by Andrew Stellmon

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Concert Round-Up

Tonight, Brooklyn punk rock band MakeWar and Cleveland punk rock band Worship This come to Omaha to play Dr. Jack’s. MakeWar just released Developing A Theory of Integrity, its debut album on Chicago-based Red Scare Industries (The Falcon, The Sidekicks, Brendan Kelly), in October 2016. Worship This! Is nearly a year removed from its sophomore A-F Records release Mint. Omaha folk/punk act The Ramparts support. RSVP to the show here.

Find more shows on our statewide calendar here and add them yourself using the contribute feature here or by emailing Use that same email to tell us what you think we should be covering. Our news desk is all ears.