It’s a gorgeous Saturday in Omaha, Nebraska, early August and not scorching hot, so what do you do? One option was to join up with 4300 other music fans for the third annual Maha Music Festival.
The festival, which started in 2009, is put on by a non-profit organization that relies on volunteers and sponsors to make the show possible. In fact, on Saturday, over 300 volunteers helped make the event run smoothly, even when Mother Nature decided not to cooperate later in the evening.
This year was a first for the festival in plenty of different ways, not just a larger attendance, more community booths, but the festival featured five female fronted bands playing in this year’s line-up.
The Delta Spirit’s California
The twelve hour festival is comprised of two stages, and opened up with mostly local and regional acts in the earlier hours, and as the day progressed a few of the up and coming acts from the Saddlecreek Record label, like The Mynabirds and the Icky Blossoms played their sets, and of course the a few of the national bands took the stage, before co-headliners, Desaparecidos and Garbage rounded out the night.
One of the many stand out acts to perform over the course of the day was the Los Angeles, California based all female band, the Dum Dum Girls. Fronted by Dee Dee on vocals, the band brings back the feel of the 60’s girl groups and blends it with the punk feeling of a modern day Ramones. The band kept the crowd pleased playing tracks from their forthcoming EP “End of Daze”, due out at the end of September, as well as tracks from their previous releases, like “Bedroom Eyes” and “Coming Down”
Up next, another California band took to the stage, this time the San Diego based, Delta Spirit. Delta Spirit’s music is a harmonic blend of Americana and soul with a little blues and funky groove thrown in for good measure, the crowd responded well to songs, like “Bushwack Blues” and “California”.
The clouds rolled in during the Delta Spirit set, but that didn’t dampen the mood any. Taking to the second stage immediately after the mellow Delta Spirit set was the Omaha based dance rock band the Icky Blossoms. And the reception for them was overwhelming. Lead singer Derrick Preshell said it best when he addressed the crowd by saying, “Alright y’all, let’s get weird.” And they did. Launching into a high energy set that got the crowd pumped up before headliners, Garbage took the stage.
For a band that has come off a seven year hiatus, their set didn’t show it at all. Opening their set with, “Automatic Systematic Habit”, the lead track off of the bands newest album, “Not Your Kind of People”, before launching into a high energy set that kept the crowd on its feet the entire time, even as the rain started to fall a little harder. The band’s set consisted of a few tracks from the new album mixed in with classics that spanned the band’s career. “Stupid Girl”, “I Think I’m Paranoid” and “#1 Crush” made their way into the set list, while lead singer Shirley Manson chatted up the crowd and even pointed out their Nebraska connection, guitarist Duke Erikson was born and raised in Lyons, NE, and mentioning they had family in the audience and thanked them for being there, as well as all of the fans who have been there over the years.
Garbage’s I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Garbage closed their set with “I’m Only Happy When it Rains”, but this time it was a bit different. As the rain picked up, just before launching into the song, Manson commented that with the rain, “This is truly a first, thank you so much for this precious moment. It’s so great to see you come out and support us and this amazing festival”.
As Garbage left the stage, so did the majority of the crowd. It was clear to see who the majority of the people had come to see. As concert goers streamed out of the venue, the diehard fans who had waited all day to see the recently reunited Desaparecidos headed toward the front of the crowd.
The Omaha based punk band, Desaparecidos, lead by Conor Oberst took to the stage with their high energy style and launched straight into “Greater Omaha”. The band finished up the night with a mix of old tracks like, “Man and Wife, The Former” and new tracks, “Backsell”, “MariKKKopa” and the as yet unreleased, “Left is Right”, which Oberst and crew debuted at a surprise show in Omaha back in April. The highlight of the set was an aggressive and slightly sped up version of The Clash’s “Spanish Bombs”. But in general, Despa’s set was a bit off, not sure if it was technical issues or the sting of watching the majority of the crowd leave, but there was a bit of angst that could be felt from the set.
The festival was a huge success for Maha, the largest crowd ever for the festival and plans are already in the works for next years’ show and ways to make it bigger and better.
Written by Christina Lawler
OurVinyl | Contributor