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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Maha Music Festival Carves Out Its Place In Music History

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The fourth annual Maha Music Festival took place this past Saturday in Omaha, NE and it was one for the ages.  The indie festival went mainstream this year with the addition of 90s seminol band Garbage!  

Our family is always looking for fun activities in the summer...I mean, you can only go swimming and camping so many times before you're looking for some alternative.  This year, we decided to take our tweens to the Maha Music Festival.  Normally, you may not think of a music festival as an ideal family hangout, but you'd be mistaken!  There were dozens of families there with blankets, lawn chairs..tons of kids, teens, young adults and parents.  The atmosphere was diverse, laid back and respectful.  There was no lude conduct and absolutely no threat of any danger.  We did keep the kids away from the first few rows during the concerts, since we don't want to get in the way of the jumping fans, but just a few rows back it was safe and fun.  

There were a lot of indie and local greats on the second stage, including the Dum Dum Girls, Conduits and the Mynabirds, but local Omaha act Icky Blossoms stood out to this music fan and my family as the breakout hit of the day.  Their act is an extremely high-energy mixture that I can only describe as Atari Teenage Riot meets Maria Taylor.  Its a phenominal blend that really left an imprint on us for the rest of the night.  The crowd was certainly into them, as well...complete with stage diving and crowd surfing.  Epic.  

It was just turning dark as Garbage took the main stage..the rain was coming down lightly, which was a blessing for a hot crowd, and from the very first moment that Shirley Manson, Butch Vig and the boys took their places the house came tumbling down.  Their guitar and drum beats were astounding and brutal and Shirley hasn't lost one beat over the years.  She is the consumate professional, even vamping with the crowd during some brief technical issues in such a charming way, with her ever-present Scotish brogue, that we didn't even notice the lull.  The band crammed out several hit singles and even their fantastic addition to the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack, "#1 Crush"!  Garbage is my daughter's favorite band, so she spent almost the entire time on her daddy's shoulders singing and cheering along.  She had an absolute blast and our family was able to make a fantastic and  unique memory dancing together and singing along to some great music.

The headliner of the night was, of course, the re-emergence of Connor "Bright Eyes" Obursts former band, "Desaparecidos".    Needless to say, the crowd went crazy.  This was the only time that the show really turned more aggressive, with a mosh pit forming and all, but this was after a day of drinking, so things are bound to get a little silly.  We simply hung back and watched from a little greater distance in the vast and open venue, and still had a wonderful experience.

What did we learn from Maha?  Well, Omaha has yet another notch in the belt for their music scene, especially on the indie and homegrown fronts.  If you live in the midwest...Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Illinois, etc....its well worth the commute to come into town for this fantastic annual festival.  Our family will see you there next year, to be sure!