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"10 Things"

One thing you’ve been hearing a lot less these days in Omaha: There’s not enough music here to keep us entertained. Sure, we miss some shows. Many of the big dogs still skip town on their way to and from Chicago or Denver. But, with the exception of these next couple months — where virtually no bands tour and it takes an Act of Congress to get people out of their cozy homes and brave the cold, dark winter nights to hear some tunes — Omaha has enough music to keep us more than busy. On any given weekend night there are usually too many shows to take in. This is a good thing. But while the fan base here has grown, there are still a lot of little things out there that many have yet to try. Here’s a list of 10 suggestions that a fan of music in Omaha should attempt:

1. Go to a show at a new venue or see a band you’ve never seen.
This one seems simple: “Go to a concert at a venue or of a band I’ve never seen before? I do that all the time.” No, you don’t. The music scene in Omaha remains very homogenous. That is, the indie people go to the indie shows, the hip-hop people go to the hip-hop shows and the metal people go to the metal shows, etc. What would be neat is if we started to see some metal kids at a hip-hop show, or some rappers at an indie show. Set a Friday night aside where you’re going to stop by the new Ozone Club at Anthony’s Steakhouse for some laid-back cover bands, or a punk show at The Rock in Papillion, or a metal show at Slammer’s in Sammy Sortino’s. Or if you’ve yet to check out a One Percent show at Sokol, go to one. Don’t be afraid of music or venues you’ve never experienced, because without your courage, these bands and venues do not succeed.

2. Catch Sunday nights w/ the JazzWholes at the Goofy Foot.
This show has become one of the most popular revolving shows in Omaha over the past few years. The combination of the Goofy Foot’s swank atmosphere with the eclectic, jazz-based music the Jazzwholes play gives this event more of an enjoyable ambiance than, say, seeing a show at the less-than-comfortable digs of Sokol Underground. This is also one of the few shows that appeals to just about every age group (except those under 21 — it’s still a bar.)

3. Listen to these local hip-hop albums.
Get your hands on these local hip-hop albums: Surreal the MC (Surreal’s and Wolfman’s split release), Hate’n Life and Love’n It by Buck Bowen, Breathless’ Hip-Hop Monster and Folks Music by Mars Black. As far as hip-hop goes, they’re the best Omaha has to offer. Look for upcoming albums from Articulate, Bobby Danjerfield/DJ CMB and Jamaaz.
4. Go to a hip-hop concert.
This one seems obvious. You’d think the hip-hop scene in Omaha, with as many shows at it has a week (2-3 usually), would be relatively well attended. Most of the shows are, but the scene remains quite segregated. Rarely do you see window gazers at a local hip-hop show; it’s usually the same people in the community going to these shows. This needs to change. There doesn’t appear to be a big cross-over crowd with the Omaha hip-hop scene, leading one to believe many don’t know it exists or they just don’t give a damn. Either way people not already associated with it need to give it a chance. When you’re done listening to the albums of the aforementioned artists, check The Reader’s music listings to see when they play. You may not end up liking them live, but at least you gave them a chance. They’re usually pretty intense shows (just as long as Articulate doesn’t accuse you of spitting in his beer — then things get a little too intense.)

5. Read a Chuck Klosterman book.
In a market full of overly cynical, esoteric rock critics, Spin and Esquire contributer Chuck Klosterman is in many ways the anti-critic rock critic. This is why he’s so refreshing. His books aren’t loaded with obscure references to bands the average person has no clue about. He writes about music from the perspective of a guy who grew up on a farm in rural North Dakota, which is why I think people from Omaha would really identify with his work. If you’re somebody who’s fallen off the music scene lately or who rarely goes to shows or buys CDs, you can pick up a Klosterman book and find it extremely accessible. I believe if everybody in town read his second book, Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs, this scene would be more intellegent, less pretentious and funnier than it currently is.

6. Check out Kanesville Kollectibles.
This is one of the best-kept secrets in the Omaha metro area, if not the entire Midwest. There’s no other vinyl collection within a thousand miles as big as owner Tim Behrens’. There are close to 500,000 records in this shanty of a record store in the run-down south downtown side of Council Bluffs. For a mere $10 you can walk out of the joint with an armful of vinyl as diverse to rare as The Ramones, Johnny Cash and Billie Holiday.

7. Stop by an Acorn Feed hootenanny in Council Bluffs.
If you’re down at Kanseville during a Saturday afternoon, che - The Reader

""Blues Views""

The self titled release by area band, The Jazzwholes, is a testament to changes within the recording industry. With the advent of affordable digital technology bands are coming out of the garage and into the iPod. For decades major record labels, acting as a trade oligopoly, were able to control marketing and distribution pipelines; no longer. The process of recording and even the delivery format of recorded music is wide open: compact discs could be construed as a mechanism by which labels had control, with the advent of digital files, that restraint is gone too. The downside of this revolution is that every yob with means can contributes to the clutter of the listener’s scope. The upside is that bands like the Jazzwholes are able to live where they want, create the music they want, and enter the global competition for listeners ears. As the model for the Pre-recorded music industry evolves some bands are going to find success but most will not.

For my ears, the debut release by the Jazzwholes is the finest local rock release since Chad Sexton brought 311’s Unity into Homer’s Old Market store in the early ‘90’s. While 311 chose to reflect a hybrid between rap, rock and dancehall, The Jazzwholes are focused around the incredible guitar playing and capable vocals of Andrew Bailie. James Cuato tasty saxophone impact the album in much the same way that Clarence Clemons playing defined Springsteen’s, Born to Run album; prevalent, tasty, and adding texture and brilliance. One hundred percent of the time the difference between a good band and a great band is the drummer: Matt Arbeiter’s interplay with bassist Seth Ondracek iforms a tight base. While Bailie is quick to defer, the complicated arrangements harken to King Crimson with the faux-jazz stylings of 70’s era fusion bands, brief glimpses of Steely Dan’s pop sense (especially the sax break in the track, “Newton, Iowa.”), and an occasionally Sting like musical movement during instrumental interludes. This is a
musician’s album and very well done.

The songs are crisp, well defined, with pop melody lines that are imbedded in flowing
musical textures. These complex arrangements allow The Jazzwholes to delve into
Allman Brothers like meandering. Easy to appreciate, albeit with unusual time signatures and chordal structures, the songs prevails. Like any really good album, repeated listenings allows you to peel away layer after layer. The seventh song on the album, “Open for Debate” is an excellent window into this album.
- Rick Galusha - Homer's Music

""Manifesting Destiny""

While the name may conjure images of a traditional jazz combo, and the band indeed features saxophone prominently in its repertoire, it leans more toward experimental rock ’n’ roll than anything.

The band earned its reputation as a tasty live act in part through weekly Sunday night shows at The Goofy Foot Lodge, a tasteful, eclectic bar just south of The Old Market on 10th. The Sunday shows were a sure thing: a consistently reliable entertainment option to end the weekend. While the bar was usually pretty full, there somehow always appeared to be enough dancing room for those so inclined. That legacy has come to an end. The band is taking its show to west Omaha’s Shag.

“We just wanted to go somewhere bigger,” bassist Seth Ondracek said of the move. “You can’t grow if you stay in the same spot. It’s unfortunate there’s not another place downtown, but it’s going to be a good move for us.”

“It is a little sad,” he continued, adding that the band is friends with the Goofy Foot owner. “We’re leaving elementary school and going to junior high.”

The band has set its sights on moving beyond the Omaha/Lincoln area and plans to tour regionally this summer. A recent victory at a battle of the bands pitting The Jazzwholes against the likes of The Balance and Polydpsia earned the boys a spot at Minnesota’s 10,000 Lakes Festival in July. Next year the band plans to hit the road with a vengeance, hoping to tour at least six months out of the year. With the addition of keyboardist Nick Semrad, who has played in the past with Electric Soul Method, the band has recently expanded to a five-piece.

“We’re all about the songs, not about the musicians,” Ondracek offered. “If we hire someone to come play with us we want it to be about the group, not the individual musician.”
- Jesse D. Stanek - The Reader (Omaha)


"jazzwholes" selftitled Sept 2005

The single "Pathways" as well as other tracks from the album play on 89.7 The River, Z-92, KVNO and other local stations.



The Jazzwholes came into being in July of 2003. This seasoned four-piece creates a musical, melting pot. Playing styles “from Mingus to Tupac” as quoted by the Omaha Reader. The group consists of drumming phenom Matthew Arbeiter, guitar prodigy Andrew Bailie (also on vocals), groove-master Seth Ondracek on bass and keyboardist extraordinaire Nick Semrad . From the south side of Omaha, this youthful band, has taken the Omaha music scene by storm. Their self-titled, debut album has been hailed as “the finest local rock release since Chad Sexton brought 311’s ‘Unity’ into Homer’s Old Market store in the early ‘90’s.” Dubbed Omaha’s hardest working band, Jazzwholes have kept their Sunday night slot at the local Goofy Foot Lodge and, most recently, Shag (a vodka bar) fresh for over two and a half years.
Having a firm base in a variety of styles has been the main staple of the group. Influences from Mingus to Zeppelin have saturated the band’s core. While capturing their own sound, the Jazzwholes also felt it important to play a variety of cover tunes and jazz standards. This strengthened their songwriting and improvisational abilities, both as individuals and as a whole. The Jazzwholes boast a lineup of jazz, blues, funk, rock, and fusion.
The album, recorded in September of 2005, holds true to the Jazzwholes’ style by presenting a variety of genres crossing the spectrum of music. From the futuristic sounds of “Newton, IA” to the earthy, bluesy “Red Wine” and the intense rock of “Pathways”, the album is a completely locally produced work which also includes many performances by other Omaha musicians. It has received outstanding reviews through many websites and various publications.
Establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with, the Jazzwholes have won multiple major battle of the bands, been accepted to numerous festivals and showcases, and just recently won 2 Omaha Entertainment Awards (best Funk/R&B Band, best Jazz Band). They have put on large scale productions using dancers, drum lines, high performance light systems, and even huge, mobile props such as the 8 x 8 foot UFO in Whole-a-ween 2005. Opening for national acts passing through Omaha has become part of their routine. Their music has reached across the country and even to Guam, USA where they performed for troops on a naval base. Back at home the weekly shows continue to pack in a diverse and ever growing fan base as the Jazzwholes continue to refine and redefine their ideas and talents to produce innovative, eclectic music.