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Photo by Maha Music Festival

Will Patterson
A&E EDITOR

The ninth annual Maha Music Festival will once again be taking place in Aksarben Village on Aug. 19. The grassy bowl of Stinson Park will serve as the amphitheater for the festival, while local nonprofits will have stands providing alternative entertainment and activities.

General admission tickets are $55 if purchased in advance. Tickets on the day of the festival will have an increased price of$65 which will give access to the entirety of the festival’s performance and Community Village activities. The $185 VIP package was sold out at the time of publishing.

This year’s lineup for Maha Music Festival will be giving the audience a healthy mix of local emerging artists and nationally known acts.

The headlining performance will be Run the Jewels, the rap duo composed of Killer Mike and El-P. Their show will be featuring new music from their latest release,“Run the Jewels 3,” which is available for free download on their website.

Another notable act and local favorite that will be returning to their home city is The Faint. Maha will be a stop on their tour for their latest album, “Capsule: 1996-2016,”which will be looking into The Faint’s Omaha origins in addition to their future plans.

The full list of groups that will be performing can be found at the Maha Music Festival website.

A unique aspect of the festival is its non-profit nature. The event is made possible by a long list of local sponsors, one of which is the University of Nebraska at Omaha.Many of the sponsors are nonprofits that are active in the community and help bring awareness to a variety of causes. Group swill include Planned Parenthood, KANEKO, Sienna/Francis House and many others.

Given the community theme of Maha Music Festival, volunteers are a big part of what makes it all possible. Volunteers receive a general admission ticket in addition to a T-shirt to commemorate the festival.Those who are interested in volunteering can sign up on the festival’s website.

Maha Music Festival’s Community Village gives a platform to the festival sponsors.The village will have stands for local non-profits spreading awareness for various issues while also providing fun activities.

theme that will be prevalent at this year’s Maha Music Festival is suicide awareness and prevention.

More information about Maha Music Festival’s efforts to bring awareness to mental health can be found on their website and blog. Going beyond the Saturday festival,Maha keeps active in the community year-round with updates on their social media aimed at keeping the conversation going.

Those who are interested in biking to Maha Music Festival are encouraged to do so. The festival is taking place along Keystone Trail for easy access to cyclists. A valet service with bike racks will be available at the festival.

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Photo Courtesy of pigeonsandplanes.com

Will Patterson
A&E EDITOR

The performer lineup for the 2017 Maha Music Festival was announced on Thursday, promising an impressive array of established and blossoming performers.

Run the Jewels
This year’s headlining performance is Run the Jewels. The group is made up of the rap duo Killer Mike and El-P, who have been by publications such as Rolling Stone and Pitchfork. Maha will be just one of their many performances supporting their latest album “Run the Jewels 3,” which is available for free on their website.

Belle & Sebastian
Up next is Belle & Sebastian. This indie pop band hails from Glasgow, Scotland, and Maha will mark their first performance in Omaha. Belle & Sebastian have nine albums to their name and are expected to release another before the end of this year.

The Faint
A local favorite on this year’s Maha lineup is The Faint. The rock group traces its origins back to Omaha, one of their stops while touring in support of their latest release, Capsule:1999-2016. The album will be featuring a glimpse into The Faint’s past and a look into the future of the Omaha band.

The New Pornographers
This indie rock group formed in Vancouver, Canada in 1999. Since then the New Pornographers have released seven albums and toured North America tirelessly—including sold out shows at the Waiting Room Lounge and Slowdown venues in Omaha.

Sleigh Bells
Sleigh Bells is a pop due from Brooklyn, New York consisting of Alexis Krauss and Derek Edward Miller. Their music features Krauss’ pop vocals paired with Miller’s hard rock style. Their talent has been recognized in publications such as Rolling Stone and Spin Magazine. Sleigh Bell’s latest album, Jessica Rabbit, was self-released last year.

Built to Spill
Formed in 1992, this indie rock group comes from Boise, Idaho. Since forming they have released eight albums, featuring a variety of band members throughout the years. To this day only Doug Martsch, the band’s founder, remains the only original member in Built to Spill.

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Jeff Turner
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

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.

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Kelly Langin
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Aksarben Village, near University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Pacific Campus, will get a lot of attention this August as the site of two music festivals. Maha and New Generation music festivals announced lineups last week, and New Generation is adding more acts to the lineup every day.

In its 8th year, the regionally-successful Maha Music Festival has nabbed popular indie pop acts Passion Pit and Grimes as the headliners for the festival. Other acts include hip hop artist Vince Staples, indie rock band The Joy Formidable and newcomer indie buzz-band Car Seat Headrest.

Massachusetts’s Passion Pit received critical acclaim in indie music with their “Chunk of Change” EP and the following “Manners” album in 2009. Passion Pit’s release of “Gossamer” in 2012 garnered mainstream attention largely with its single “Take a Walk.” The band released its latest effort, “Kindred,” in 2015.

Grimes is the pop-electronic project of Canadian vocalist and producer Claire Boucher. 2015’s “Art Angels” was commercially successful due to her addition of more melodic pop in her artful production. After releasing her third studio album “Visions” in 2012, she received national attention and even signed to Jay Z’s label Roc Nation in 2013.

Garage punk bands Diarrhea Planet and Diet Cig add a little grunge to the pop-heavy lineup.

Diarrhea Planet hasn’t released any new music since 2013’s “I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams,” but they tour the country consistently and have been featured acts in festivals like SXSW. Diet Cig released a slew of singles and an EP in 2015 and music journalism sites like Stereogum have named them a “Band to Watch” in 2016.

Even with the buzz of popular and rising national acts, Maha also impresses with its well-rounded crop of local bands.

Matthew Sweet is a Nebraska native currently making rock music and touring nationally out of Los Angeles. Omaha’s See Through Dresses impresses as a new group on the alternative/emo label Tiny
Engines, which boasts bands such as The Hotelier and Beach Slang. Lincoln’s Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal and Omaha’s CJ Mills round out the rest of the local lineup.

The lineup announcement party at Reverb Lounge on April 21 featured a video by New BLK Production who has produced advertising materials for UNO. General admission tickets are available for $55 for the August 20 all-day festival.

New Generation Music Festival, also at Stinson Park, has taken to sporadic Facebook posts for lineup announcements for its inaugural event, starting by introducing hard rock/metal band Screaming for Silence as the headliner on Wednesday and announcing four more slots on Friday.

The music festival’s event page boasts a lineup with both local and regional acts, though only local acts have been announced so far. Omaha’s Jocelyn, Marcey Yates as Op2mus, XOBOi, Dilla Kids, Chemicals and J. Crum with ALTR were reported Friday as playing the August festival.

Pop singer-songwriter Jocelyn recently gained viral attention on Facebook with a video of her singing. 5 Quad, a rising teen pop band, posted the video on social media Wednesday with the caption “She deserves to be heard.” At press time, the video had reached over 1 million views and over 12 thousand shares on Facebook.

Hip hop artists Marcey Yates as Op2mus and XOBOi are taking up a single slot with Dilla Kids.

Yates, who is Op2mus and a member of Dilla Kids, is behind Raleigh Science Project, the production company putting on New Generation Music Festival. Yates and XOBOi have previously worked together under the name STDNT BDY.

Chemicals is a new band fronted by Omaha music veteran Dereck Higgins, whose involvement in local music since the ‘70s includes such bands as InDreama, Paddy O’Furniture and his solo project. His Bandcamp pages includes 33 albums of his own work or compilations that his music has been featured on.

J. Crum is a hip hop artist accompanied by his backing band ALTR. He released his latest album, “Black Sheep,” in February, which is available on all major streaming and music purchasing sites.

New Generation will be releasing lineup information with 10 more acts on Monday and Tuesday, and “even more” on Wednesday, according to the music festival’s Facebook page. Tickets are available for at an “early bird” price of $20 for the August 5 event.

Editor reminisces about summer music festival

Phillip Brown

This past summer, I had the opportunity to represent the newspaper at Pitchfork Music Festival, a three-day celebration of all things indie music. Taking place in Chicago, the Festival is probably the biggest event of its kind in our little corner of the world, Midwestern America. While the weather was extreme and unpredictable, the experience itself was a memorable one, if not always the most comfortable.

It was my first big music festival. I’ve never been to Coachella or Bonnaroo. I don’t even go to that many gigs, although I’ve written about some very special ones for this section in the past, let alone an event of the magnitude of Pitchfork. I didn’t really know what to expect, and was a bit trepidatious after looking at the weather forecasts and going over the considerably long list of things that could go wrong in my head. But while the weather was not great, and a few things were checked off the list, I can say that the Festival was a great experience. As the first memory of its kind, it’ll probably be the measuring point for many musical experiences to come.

I arrived Thursday night in Chicago, caught a bit of sleep before the first day, and took it easy at my friend’s apartment in Logan square Friday morning. There weren’t really any acts I wanted to see in the early hours of the festival, so I lounged around until about 4:30, where we caught a bit of iLoveMakonnen’s set while waiting for Mac DeMarco. iLoveMakonnen, while derided by the friends I was with, wasn’t bad, although he teased his only memorable song, “Tuesday”, a bit too much.

DeMarco’s set was pure entertainment. The indie darling and “BBQ rock” impresario, seemingly constantly on the edge of super-stardom, played a chilled-out set to a comfortable crowd, his feel-good tunes and silly stage persona, backed up by some serious instrumentation, a perfect fit for the summer weather. Ever the indie rock populist, Mac surfed the crowd for a bit to the accompaniment of his backing band to top things off, and left us with a trademark twinkle in his eye.

Up next on the stage was CHVRCHES, and as we huddled as near the front as we could, we heard Panda Bear’s set drift over from the other side of the park. I had seen CHVRCHES last year in downtown Omaha, so I knew more or less what to expect. Still, I was disappointed to become violently sick and have to leave my prime location mere feet away from the Scottish trio, ending my first night early.

The memorable second day started off a little earlier, as we trekked to the park in time to hear Future Brown’s DJ set as we waited for Ex Hex at the Red stage. I had also seen Ex Hex last year at a gig in the city, and so when it began to suddenly rain torrentially, driving the girl group off stage and the audience stampeding to the train station, I wasn’t as disappointed as I could’ve been. The scenes of the park below as we reached the station were dramatic. A sodden mass of people, chaotically swirling about with the rain, shoving each other to get onto an already full bus, disrupting traffic, seemingly devoid for the soggy moment of all sense.

But twenty minutes later, we received the notification that the festival was going ahead, and, surveying our dripping clothing with a sense of quiet disillusionment, we headed back to the festival. And after an extremely short set from Ariel Pink, and a very predictable one from A$AP Ferg, I found myself queueing up for Future Islands, a band who I’ve been kicking myself for missing when they came through Omaha last year ever since discovering them. Their set was transcendent from the first notes. Frontman Sam Herring electrified the crowd, beating his chest and dancing like a madman, and singing, screaming his heart out to every song. Nothing could compete with this performance, but Sleater-Kinney were the next act, and they were duly impressive, closing out my night with remarkable presence and authority.

The one goal for my weekend was to catch Jamie XX’s set from as close as possible, so with that in mind, we camped out at Pitchfork’s Red stage for pretty much the entire afternoon on Sunday, catching about half of Viet Cong to start with, who were competent if not really my cup of tea. Freddie Gibbs came up next, and while I’d never been exposed to him before, his “real gangster” persona, charismatic stage presence, and blistering delivery quickly caught my attention. He was backed up by the legendary producer Madlib, and I spotted Future Islands’ Sam Herring backstage, head bobbing with the rest of us.

I forgot about Perfume Genius’ set, and while that’s a bit sad, it at least gave me an incredible spot for Jamie XX. While the wait for Jamie seemed interminable, at long last he came on stage, and began a beautiful set, that while more of a DJ set and less of a performance than I expected, was still a profoundly moving experience in a weekend full of them. Treating the audience to extended bits of the samples from the album tracks, Jamie kept the mood flowing, and the crowd responded enthusiastically. His sample of The Persuasions in I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times) reminded us all of what we were experiencing, and when the set was over, I felt the festival itself was done for me.

But there were a few more acts to go before the Good Times ended for good. Run the Jewels, another hip-hop group I hadn’t really listened to much, pounded through a set that included the likes of Zach De La Rocha and Gangsta Boo, drawing one of the biggest crowds of the weekend and making a big impression with the conscious rap lyrics coupled with heavy production and punctuated with riotous punchlines. Local hero Chance the Rapper ended the festival, and while his performance was good, it couldn’t really support the weight of hype and level of pageantry on his stage. Without a single studio album’s worth of songs to draw from, the set felt a bit thinly stretched when compared to previous acts. Still, the local crowd responded enthusiastically, and it was a fitting closer in many ways for the festival.

Pitchfork 2015 was a truly great experience, and one that’ll probably leave a deep impression on me. It was wonderful to see the Midwest put on this kind of show, and while Chicago is a bit different from Omaha, there are enough similarities to give me hope about Omaha’s chances of becoming a similar venue in the near future. The Maha Festival, which we covered earlier, is great proof of that. Until then, Pitchfork remains the fest to beat in the Midwest, and for this writer, will be tough to beat.

Trent Ostrom
Contributor

This year Maha Music Festival was back bigger and better than ever with a well-rounded lineup and it’s first ever sold-out crowd.

Indie rock band Modest Mouse headlined the festival and performed in front of an audience of 9,000. While many came to see Modest Mouse, there were plenty of supporting acts to attract a large audience.

Recently formed supporting acts like Purity Ring, Wavves, Alvvays, Speedy Ortiz and Ex Hex intrigued the crowd with new music, while established groups like Atmosphere and the Jayhawks delighted the crowd with fan favorites.

Maha was conscious of also keeping the festival local and had local groups such as All Young Girls are Machine Guns and The Good Life. Maha also showcased slam poetry performances from “Louder than a Bomb,” students between acts throughout the day.

While Maha may seem like just another music festival to some, it’s a lot more than that to those who go and to those who perform. Performers saw the difference between what Maha does and other festivals they play at.

“We play festivals where 103 bands are there and three are female identified,” said Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz. “So half of the bands being identified as female groups makes Maha pretty cool.”

Maha’s diverse lineup of genres, genders and generations makes the festival unique, but it’s format of back to back sets also sets it apart from other festivals. The audience had the opportunity to see each of the bands listed on the bill and performers got to see bands they’ve been wanting to see.

“We’ve been chasing around Ex Hex all summer and it was great we finally had the chance to see them,” said Molly Rankin of Alvvays.

In the end, Maha delighted those who came and those who performed. The energy was infectious and the atmosphere felt like one big family.

While quite a few may have come just to see Modest Mouse, it seemed the energy was well delivered elsewhere as well. Frontman of Modest Mouse Isaac Brock said it best, “I have an ‘I like you’ list and you’re on it.”

 

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