Paria reunites, celebrates 10-year experimental career; Mikey Elfers memorializes Knickerbockers ahead of final show; Photos of Twinsmith, Head of Femur, Christopher The Conquered

Paria reunites, celebrates 10-year experimental career

Surviving a decade of lineup changes is no small feat for any band. For reuniting Omaha band Paria, it made their career.

Over the course of the band’s experimental 10-year run, it leaped across genres, from nu-metal to grindcore to mathcore. Though the its progression was a product of personnel shuffles, its members say they had the tools to not only endure such volatility, but to advance their sound.

I generally welcomed the changes to the sound and lineup as a way of reinventing our sound and perception,” says guitarist John Claus. “I always loved knowing that we were in complete control, regardless of any status-quo.”

Paria plays its first show in almost two years (it was 2010 before that) this Saturday at The Waiting Room with an also-reuniting Back When and TIMECAT (RSVP here). We caught up with Claus and bassist Dustin Treinen via email to get their thoughts on the band’s decade-long run and its constant thirst for evolution.

HN: What made now the right time for a reunion show?

Dustin Treinen: It’s a few things really. We were really unsure how a reunion type show would go when we performed in spring of 2014. Would people care much? Would they have fun? Would we still be able to play these technically complex songs? To our surprise, everything was better than expected. We had a great turnout and very engaged crowd that was amped to see us again. It was an incredibly warm reception overall. I come back to Omaha for the holiday this time of year anyway and once there was talk of Back When reuniting as well, that sealed the deal. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share the stage with them.

John Claus: I was sitting with Jim Johnson (owner of 1% productions) at “the Reverb” early in the summer when he proposed the idea.  An eventual Paria follow up show was already brewing in my mind. The idea became fully realized when he mentioned doing it with Back When, It seemed like a strong bill and a great idea.

HN: Paria survived a handful of lineup changes over the course of its ten year run, doing so by morphing your music to suit your personnel. How was the band able to endure those ups and downs?

Treinen: The majority of our songs are driven by bass and guitar riffs, so fortunately for us, John (guitar) and I have been members of the band since 2001. That at least kept our writing process consistent and our ever-evolving direction on track. Having to change members around was definitely a struggle and a test of patience, but we were determined to endure the hardships because we believed we had written some really unique music. It just needed to be heard by more people. Particularly with our second full length album, we made a significant effort to set ourselves apart from other heavy bands.

Claus: I always struggled with Paria’s “identity” as a band. I could never fully identify with the “metal” or “hardcore” people that made up the majority of the scene. I generally welcomed the changes to the sound and lineup as a way of reinventing our sound and perception. It set us apart. Some of the decisions were popular, some were not. But I always loved knowing that we were in complete control, regardless of any status-quo.

HN: When you think about those songs five years later, what sticks out the most? What makes them fresh?

Treinen: I realize how much attention to detail we had. I haven’t played in a band with as many riffs per song ever in my life. I remember sometimes spending several practices perfecting one part that would last maybe 10 seconds or less. At the time it felt so imperative to perfect it. Now it’s difficult to imagine dedicating so much time to being so meticulous.

Claus: I can really appreciate our due diligence. I’m really not sure why we thought we needed to pack so many fast, difficult, and awkwardly timed parts into single phrases of music.  Sometimes i listen back to this stuff and think “How the hell did we write like that? WHY? and what the fuck am I even playing right there”?!  

HN: In preparation for this show, you’ve obviously practiced and whatnot; what are some memories that have emerged or that come to mind as you’ve been hanging with the band?

Treinen: For me it brought back a familiar and great feeling, when something you helped create just locks in. Like a mix of excitement and accomplishment. We spent so many of our formative years in this band together so we influenced one another’s development musically. I feel like there’s a unique bond between us because we understand one another’s style of playing to such a strong degree.

Claus: I’m reminded of why i wanted to be in this band in the first place.  And (forgivably) reminds me of why this isn’t a band that could ever be a lifestyle for me  again.  Nobody has really changed to any degree, even minimally. It’s the same kind of jokes and banter at practice. People brought back the exact same habits and tendencies (good and bad). It just feels good to “lock in” and make some huge sounds. Paria was known for that and we’ve still got it.

HN: Anything else you can think of to add?

Claus: I speak vaguely about Paria as a band with a “future,” or as a band that is “creatively comatose” who only does a reunion gig now and again to prove something to themselves. Paria has always been a big machine. Maybe it’ll turn back on someday. I honestly have no idea.

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Mikey Elfers memorializes Knickerbockers ahead of final show

When the last notes ring out from the Knickerbockers stage this Saturday, it’ll close the book on almost 23 years of live music. Mikey Elfers has played in numerous bands over the last decade and a half, most of which call the 9th and O venue home.

The current Thirst Things First frontman will reunite with pop punk outfit JV Allstars to play Knickerbockers’ final show. They will be joined by The Last Slice, Fatty and the Twins, The Heat Machine, Straight Outta Jr High and Westside Proletariat. As expected, Saturday night’s show is sold out.

In advance of the show, Elfers wrote in with his memories of the historic venue:

“I had to cancel my first show at Knickerbockers in 2002. The bass player in my high school band drove separately from Wayne and rolled his car due to some icy roads. I remember — quite selfishly — being almost angry at him for not making it to Lincoln because I thought that playing at Kbs was such a huge deal. (Sorry Frank.) Over a decade later Frank would wed Nick and Karissa Tarlowski, who would have the raddest ever wedding reception at Kbs. He also married my wife Tien and I who shared our first kiss outside of the club over eight years ago. We celebrated marriage, growing older, band reunions and reuniting with our loved ones after wonderful (and horrible) tours on 9th and O Street. We watched bands play their last notes ever and fucking grieved the deaths of our good friends on that stage. I had the privilege of sharing a stage with Home Grown, Less Than Jake, Peelander-Z, Big D and the Kids Table, countless others I am forgetting, and of course helping one of the Aquabats’ daughters crowd surf on an inflatable raft across a sold out (but very gentile) audience as they played “Pool Party.”

I am humbled and a bit taken back that I will be one of three people to set their guitars down as the house lights turn on for the last time ever on Saturday night. Over the years I’ve had friends that have been forced to pay money to play decent venues across the country, or haggle their friends and family to buy presale tickets like some pyramid scheme. I can’t help but smile to myself that even in ’02, my drummer and I (reluctantly) accepted our share of the door, (Knickerbockers policy was to split 100% of the door evenly between the locals after the sound guy got his cut,) for a show that, I may remind you, we didn’t even get to play. Seventeen year old me and thirty two year old me say thank you Chris and Shawn. Your venue was a staple to our music community in Lincoln, and it will be missed. #GoodbyeKnickerbockers.”

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Photos of Twinsmith, Head of Femur, Fake Plants

HN multimedia intern Lindsey Yoneda caught photos last night of Twinsmith, Head of Femur and Fake Plants at The Waiting Room. The show capped a big 2015 for Twinsmith, a year that included the band’s signing to Saddle Creek, a subsequent album release and multiple touring trips. It was also Head of Femur’s first show since a pair of October reunion shows.

Check out Yoneda’s photos below:


Twinsmith | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15Twinsmith | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15
Twinsmith | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15Twinsmith | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15

Head of Femur

Head of Femur | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15Head of Femur | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15
Head of Femur | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15

Fake Plants

Fake Plants | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15
Fake Plants | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15Head of Femur | The Waiting Room | 12.23.15

photos by Lindsey Yoneda

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Photos of Christopher the Conquered, Jake Bellows, Both

HN contributor Will Stott was also in Omaha, catching night four of Christopher the Conquered’s residency at Slowdown with Both and Jake Bellows. Both performed with its usual energy and playfulness, fighting through INFNTLP’s technical problems with jokes and banter.

Christopher Ford delivered on his promise to gift, with one caveat. Anyone who played the set of sleigh bells on stage would get two of his LPs — one for themselves and one to giveaway. To qualify, they had to bend to Ford’s will, playing them with whatever limb he stipulated.

“This is my take on a Christmas themed show, but ya know, I have to do it in my own way,” Ford said.

Christopher the Conquered at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015Christopher the Conquered at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015

Bellows closed the show down to a lingering crowd of 50-plus. With no setlist, he played whatever came to mind and from the crowd, as well as a rendition of “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”

“I’m just going to play whatever I feel like,” Bellows said. “It’s my gift, my Christmas gift to you. I don’t have much to give besides music.”

As the Iowa singer/songwriter gears up for January tours of Italy and Germany, see him perform once more next week with Omaha’s Jocelyn and CJ Mills.

See Stott’s photos below:


BOTH at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015BOTH at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015
BOTH at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015BOTH at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015

Christopher the Conquered

Christopher the Conquered at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015Christopher the Conquered at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015
Christopher the Conquered at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015Christopher the Conquered at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015

Jake Bellows

Jake Bellows at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015Jake Bellows at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015
Jake Bellows at the Slowdown on 12-23-2015

photos & concert notes by Will Stott

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Concert Round-Up: Holiday Edition

We’ll break from news tomorrow for the holiday, so here’s a rundown of the weekend in shows.

Christmas Day

A Very Shithook Christmas – Shithook celebrates Christmas, as well as 21 years as Lincoln’s premier live karaoke band, Christmas night in regular festive fashion. Karaoke starts at 9 p.m. with no cover. RSVP here.


Brad Hoshaw Tribute Night at Barley Street Tavern – A cast of Omaha musicians assemble to celebrate Brad Hoshaw’s fifth anniversary of booking at the Benson venue. Over that time, Hoshaw has booked more than 1,200 performers at events all over Omaha (see the incredible list here). They will have a backline in place, and any who still want to perform can sign up by emailing Wayne Brekke at The event starts at 8 p.m. RSVP here.

Boximus Maximus at Zoo Bar – In honor of defunct Haymarket venue Box Awesome, the Lincoln blues bar is throwing a mini-fest worthy of its namesake. An eclectic billing of Emily Bass Band, CJ Mills, The Melon Company, Marty McMoon and Hakim will perform at 8 p.m. Boximus Maximus is a little more subdued this year; last December, it spread over three venues and was extremely loud. It’ll still be accessible, as Zoo Bar opens its doors to 18+. RSVP here.

Satchel Grande, Sam Ayer & the Love Affair at Slowdown – Get out of the house the day after Christmas and get down with your bad self with two of Omaha’s biggest soul sounds. RSVP to the 9 p.m. show here.

Sean Pratt & the Sweats, Mike Schlesinger, Anna McClellan at Petshop – Anna McClellan is back after touring on the strength of standout album Fire Flames. She joins Sean Pratt & the Sweats and Mike Schlesinger on their de-facto home turf for a post-Christmas gathering. RSVP to the 9 p.m. show here.


Oquoa, Jake Bellows, Carl Miller and the Thrillers and Field Division at O’Leaver’s – Close down your holiday weekend at the Saddle Creek club with an eclectic lineup. Entry is $5, show at 9 p.m. RSVP here.

For a fuller listing of shows, head to our statewide calendar here. If you do not see your show or one you plan to attend, email us at, or add it yourself using the Contribute button at the top of the homepage. And as always, keep those story ideas and news tips coming. Happy holidays!