The Maha Music Festival: Burning Man at home


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Jeff Turner

I’ve only been to Maha once in 2013, The Flaming Lips were headlining. It was a pretty cool setup, there were two different stages in Stinson Park, you could get right up front there, and get that nice view, or you could kick back in a lawn chair with a drink and just relax. You did either, and you’d hear just fine. It’s a cool festival, and it doesn’t feel small or inconsequential. Maha will be coming up this year, and if you have some money to burn you might be interested in some of who’s playing:

Passion Pit – Passion Pit is an indielectronica band formed in Cambridge, Mass. in 2007. The music from their most recent album, “Kindred”, has a propulsive energy to it, like something that you’d put into your stereo in the summer. They’re fun and they’re bouncy, and a sure-fire crowd-pleaser.

Grimes – Claire Elise Boucher is a solo act who started in 2010 under the name Grimes. Her genre of choice is classified as “art pop”, her variation of which mixes her haunting voice with a more dance music kind of sound. For her most recent album, “Art Angels”, she was described as a “female pop auteur.” A worthy addition to the Maha canon.

Vince Staples – Vince Staples is a Long Beach rapper who is one-third of the group Cutthroat Boyz. He left gangbanging to become a rapper, and has worked with Cutthroat Boyz alongside several members of Odd Future, not least of all Earl Sweatshirt. His most recent album, “Summertime ’06” has seen him praised as an excellent communicator with a lot on his mind.

The Joy Formidable – The Joy Formidable are an English alternative rock formed in Wales in 2007.Their sound is predominately a throwback to the alt. rock of the mid 90’s. They’re often compared to Billy Corgan and the sound of The Smashing Pumpkins, so if that’s your bag, they’ll be there too.

Matthew Sweet – Matthew Sweet is a rock singer who started out in the music scene in Athens, GA in the 80’s. He found commercial success in the 90’s, and even had a few hits such as “Sick of Myself” in ’95, and “Girlfriend” in ’91. His sound is similar to say, Elliot Smith. Very easy sounding rock ballads, often about lost loves. He was actually born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska! He drops off the radar after 2000, so maybe he came out to play for his people. Come out and support one of your own!

Jay Farrar Trio – Jay Farrar founded Son Volt after Uncle Tupelo (which he started with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy) broke up, offering a distinct alt-country sound. Their big hit was Trace, which Farrar says was about getting to a more simplistic sound for the record. He is operating as a single act these days. He is a pioneer of alt-country and a worthy act to have on your bill.

Diarrhea Planet – Diarrhea Planet are an American punk band from Nashville, Tennessee, formed in 2009. They have a very hard sound, and are not easy to track down on the internet. They are very similar to OFF! If you have listened to them.

The Maha Music Festival is a terrific experience that you will treasure for years. It is yet another element of Omaha that is utterly outstanding yet is largely glossed over.