by Andrew Norman
In this column each week, I try to tell a story ― something fluid, with a beginning, middle and end. I attempt to grab the reader by the short and curlies early on and not let go until I'm good and ready, despite him or her saying, convincingly, “ouch, that sort of stings.”
Not today. Hear Nebraska has so much great stuff going on that I must save time by feeding you truncated pellets of awesome. Here goes:
• Nebraska music (and Hear Nebraska) were featured on Al Jazeera English on June 11. The broadcasting network, headquartered in Doha, Qatar, reaches about 100 million households worldwide. This marks a major accomplishment for HN, whose mission reads, in part, “to make Nebraska an internationally known cultural destination.” And in fewer than five months, we made a significant baby step toward that goal, gaining viewers that day (according to our metrics) in 20 different countries, including Thailand, Pakistan, Finland and Peru.
The producers used the familiar narrative, “Surprise! There's culture among Nebraska's cornfields!” But while that likely strikes those of us involved in Nebraska culture as patronizing, cliché and unimaginative, I'd argue that it's still an effective way to set up this story among people who really do think Nebraska doesn't have much besides corn and Cornhuskers. One of our jobs is to change that. It remains to be seen how much of an impression the two-minute clip had on non-Nebraskans. But it's a step in the right direction. And we'll continue to work hard to accomplish our mission. Watch the video below, and tell me what you think about it in the comments.
• The first of three Hear Nebraska/MAHA Music Festival showcases went great on Wednesday. Noah's Ark Was a Spaceship curated the show at the Waiting Room Lounge, choosing Ketchup and Mustard Gas and New Lungs to open. I hadn't seen either of the opening bands before, and was really impressed. I couldn't stop comparing New Lungs to Ideal Cleaners ― one of my favorite local bands. But frontman Danny Maxwell has a vocal style that reminds me more of a cross between his Little Brazil bandmate, Landon Hedges, and Tim Kasher. Great stuff. MAHA co-founder Mike App was right-on when he said Ketchup and Mustard Gas invoked Fugazi. I saw it. The band is more mustard gas than catsup ― explosive, high-energy rock. Noah's Ark played in front of a screen showing the 1973 art-house flick Holy Mountain. It was an engaging, wholely raunchy backdrop to NAWAS, which I'd never heard sound better. The song, “Opener,” is now officially one of my favorite songs of the year.
These showcases are free, and feature killer, up-and-coming bands (as well as free MAHA ticket giveaways), so make it a point to come out. Machete Archive curates the next one, Thursday, June 30 at Duffy's Tavern. The first MAHA showcase in Lincoln, it features Powerful Science (which is supporting a new album), Irkutsk and Her Flyaway Manner. On July 28, The So-So Sailors curate a Slowdown showcase featuring Digital Leather, Fortnight and Millions of Boys. For the record, Hear Nebraska is a media sponsor for the festival, which we support because it's promoting exactly the kind of high-quality original music for which we believe this state should be known. But we're not just interested in covering indie rock — we're open to partnering with any well-run music festival in this state.
• Hear Nebraska is very close to being able to purchase a Canon T2i camera, with which we plan to produce video interviews, concert footage and features like “Fishin' with Musicians.” If you want to help us purchase this much-needed tool, you can donate online or by mail now. Or, you can come to a kick-ass event this Saturday at Daniel Muller's photography studio in Benson. You'll see videos from the 2011 Love Drunk tour, and watch four awesome bands: Brad Hoshaw, Arirang (Ian Aeillo), Rachel Tomlinson Dick (Honeybee & Hers) and Chicago's The Kickback, which is shooting a Love Drunk video that day. See their first one below. The donations-only show starts promptly at 8 p.m. I hope to see you there. RSVP here.
• Kill County just added to the lineup for our Friday, July 8 show at Mad Ave. The all-ages show features the alt-folkers along with Lincoln punks Piss Poor and Providence, R.I.'s Prayers for Atheists, which plays a sort of politi-punk-rock-indie-hip-hop. Next week, we'll release an Ingrained video we helped shoot of the band while on the Love Drunk tour in May. For now, check out their most-recent music video, and the Kill County Love Drunk session.
* Noah's Ark Was a Spaceship photo by Daniel Muller
Andrew Norman edits Hear Nebraska. He promises to write a full-on column next week, if you promise to download and listen to this Frontier Trust album from TheBandBrokeUp.com. Leave comments below or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.