Matchbox Twenty Presented by Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • October 2017

Written by Cydney Phelps


Here we are, the end of Stir Cove’s lucky season 14. What an incredible year it’s been. It’s hard to believe it’s over. And with a finale like Matchbox Twenty, it’s really only gotten me pumped for what season 15 will offer.


Friday night we had a change of venue due to the weather. And given the lightening storm we had, I’m so grateful that decision was made. So we packed the MAC! The Mid-America Center, that is. It was a little different, but Stir and staff made it happen! The attendees were a mixed bag of teenagers to middle-agers. And though there were plenty of seats all around, all I saw were people standing. It was a little more difficult to gauge the crowd in a venue like the MAC, but from what I saw, there was not a disappointed patron in the house. The amount of dancing and singing was a joy to witness. Just a free spirited party that was so incredibly refreshing.


Matt Nathanson opened the show with a short, but very sweet set. A veteran to the scene, Nathanson has been making music since the early 90’s. He’s been a very good compliment to this tour.


Being the second to last show of this tour, Matchbox Twenty was full of a magnetic energy. This was my second time seeing them, the last time was about 15-ish years ago. Let me tell you, they haven’t changed one bit! They sound exactly the same in the best way possible. One of my favorite shows Stir has put on, if I’m being honest! I will mention once again how grateful I am that the show was moved indoors. The light show that came with the music was a spectacle in itself. At one point, Mother Nature’s light show outside caused a power surge with some technical difficulties. Rob Thomas suggested it was a good time to use the facilities, how thoughtful! We were then treated to a beautiful acoustic cover of Cyndi Lauper’s Time after Time. Rob warned that his earpiece wasn’t working yet, so he couldn’t hear anything and invited us all to sing with him. There aren’t words to describe that moment. One I will remember for a very long time. The band’s first (yep, first) encore was kicked off with a tribute to the late, great Tom Petty. Matt Nathanson joined in for I Won’t Back Down. It was therapeutic, really. We all felt it and we all meant it. Just as we all turned around to leave like a herd of turtles after the encore, we were pleasantly surprised to hear Matchbox come back on stage! One more glorious song, Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me. Those “La La La’s” went on and on and I’m still singing them! What a blast! In between all the covers, they offered up the best of their best. I seriously can’t say enough about this show. I’ll be talking about it for days to come!


Matchbox Twenty has been blessing us with their talents for over twenty years now. Hailing from Orlando, Florida, the band is still going strong with all but one of the original members. After a couple of hiatuses, we’re so glad the band is finally back together and doing what they do best. They promised to keep on going as long as we keep on listening. I know I will!


I want to thank Stir Cove from the bottom of my heart for continuing to provide us all with the opportunities to see such amazing artists. From the legends to the newbies and the inbetweeners. We are so very lucky. Again to staff and security, we literally could not do it without you! I am already itching to hear the lineup in the spring time for Season 15. I’ll see you all at the Cove!!  

Click the link to see images from the show:


The Avett Brothers at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • October 2017

Written By Cydney Phelps


Thursday at Stir was our last night at the Cove for the season. And what a night it was. The weather certainly wasn’t ideal, but to me, it was pleasant. It wasn’t freezing and it wasn’t pouring. It was beautiful. The rain may have had some people shying away from the concert, but for those of us that were there, it had us moving in closer together, almost to a huddle. It felt so intimate. The evening’s concert goers were mostly of the younger kind. The vibe was interesting, somewhat electric, really. It was full of love and that theme radiated throughout.


We did not have an opening act on Thursday, so we were able to just get right down to business at 8:00, practically right on the dot. This was my first time seeing The Avett Brothers. Though they are nearly a Stir staple, my mom is usually the lucky one to cover their shows. She’s a huge fan. And now I know exactly why. I had heard them before on Pandora, but now I’m over here trying to figure out how to get their entire catalog on my cellular device. I guess people don’t really buy CDs that true? Anyway, amazing is an understatement. I felt like seeing them was exactly what we all needed after just the weirdest week. They lit up that stage like they owned it. I had actual goosebumps. Their lyrics were meaningful and their instrumentals were flawless. What a privilege it was to be with them and everyone else that night.


The Avett Brothers have been together as a band since 2000. But brothers Scott and Seth have been making music together since childhood. A group full of self starters, together with their conviction and eclectic sounds, they have settled into this wonderful pocket of Folk Rock. The kind of music you can sing and dance to. The kind of music that everyone likes. The kind of music that will defy time and reach people of any age.


Thank you, Stir for allowing us all to come to the Cove one more time this year. What a way to leave it! Thank you to the security and staff for being everything we need them to be. Stay tuned for the season finale of Stir Concert Series 2017 with Matchbox 20!

See photos here:


A Fall Evening W/ Strung Out

Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017

A Fall Evening With Strung Out

Review and Photo by Josh Bellows

This review comes to you from the heart of a long time fan of the band STRUNG OUT.

Last Sunday evening, September 24th, 2017, the Slowdown in Omaha, NE played host to a small bill of some veteran ska/punk rock bands. Four friends and I were there for one reason though, STRUNG OUT.

If you’re not familiar with Strung Out, here’s the breakdown. They formed in 1989 in Southern California making Strung Out one of the longest lasting, ever-progressing bands on the punk dynasty record label, Fat Wreck Chords.

Chaotic & melodic, Strung Out is a genre twisting, methodically produced punk rock band with limitless range. Singer/songwriter, Jason Cruz, practically wrote the soundtrack to my confusing teenage years and did it graciously. With a huge vocal range and backed by an uber-talented group of musicians, Jordan Burns, Jake Kiley, Chris Aiken & Rob Ramos, Jason’s thought provoking, well-sculpted lyrics relay messages of hope & love, as well as, urban decay & civil unrest.

As a teenager, every line, of every bar, of every song brought tears of heartache, fists of rage and promise of hope as I blasted down the backroads of my hometown in search of the meaning of life. In true teenage angst fashion, I found solace in music. More so, I believe, than any other kid to wear a pair of headphones and sing out loud, the words that no one else understood.

Many moons later, as an (adult), I still feel that literal hair-raising effect from their music. It may take a little longer to find the feeling but it always emerges and, for a brief moment, I am 16 again. I will never lose that. Music has gifted this to me.

Omaha, NE has always had a booming music scene and continues to produce great, internationally known acts. For bands like Strung Out, who have toured for over 25 years solely on the devotion of their fans, Omaha can be a hit or miss stop while on the road. Usually smaller, more intimate shows, consisting of “die hard” Strung Out fans as well as a newer, younger fan base with ears for talent.

Their 8 song set at Slowdown was short, yes, but as always, a beast of sensory stimulating melodies and precise song placement that was as good and, undeniably polished, as the first time I saw them in 1996. The crowd was thin but in tune with the band and, in my opinion, this makes for a great personal experience. Strung Out, to me, seems like scientists of their craft. While some other Fat Wreck Chords acts have seemed to reach a plateau, as far as progression goes, the Strung Out I’ve witnessed over the years is forever thriving and shows no signs of slowing. They stand taller, in my eyes, than their peers and continue to push the pigeon-holed envelope of what punk rock is (supposed) to be. Their music is forever in my heart and forever worn, with pride, tattooed on my back.


I Prevail: Rage on the Stage Review

Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017

I Prevail: Rage on the Stage Review by David Taylor

I Prevail has been coming to Omaha ever since they played River Riot in the summer of 2015. This was their fifth show since. Every show they have played in Omaha always has a good turnout, with the music, a perfect blend of heavy and melodic, that makes the people still come. This was their second time playing Sokol Auditorium, after playing there in May. This time, they brought out three bands with that metalcore sound to them, but have been in the scene for awhile: We Came As Romans, The Word Alive, and Escape The Fate. This was their best tour package they could come up with, since it was their biggest tour, yet.

Escape The Fate, from Las Vegas, kicked off the show. They haven’t been back in the area since 2014, so it was nice to finally have them back. This was the only band on the bill I hadn’t seen before, but I was looking forward to finally seeing them. They opened up with “Just a Memory”, off their last album, Hate Me. I was very impressed by Kevin Thrasher’s guitar playing. He shredded up and down the neck of his guitar, very virtuosic. Craig Mabbitt, singer, sounded amazing, just like the records. Robert Ortiz, drummer, killed it on the drums. They even took the time to debut a new song, “Four Letter Word”, off their upcoming album. Overall, good set to open up the show.

Next band up was The Word Alive from Phoenix, AZ. I have seen this band before twice, but this was their first time playing the Auditorium since their tour with Killswitch Engage in 2013, which was a phenomenal show. Telle Smith, singer, is one of the best frontmen out there, always energetic and giving a performance like it’s his last. He also has an incredible voice. Though, they have been through a couple of member changes, they still persevered and gave an incredible performance. They, too, debuted a new song, “Red Clouds”, off their upcoming album. It was super heavy and fast, always a good thing to hear from them. I think Zack Hansen is one of the most underrated guitarists out there in the scene. His playing is one of kind. It was another great performance from The Word Alive. Highly recommend to check them out.

The direct support of the night was We Came As Romans. I saw them last year around this same time at Sokol, direct supporting Parkway Drive on their tour. They opened up their set with the lead single and title song off their upcoming album that is coming out on SharpTone Records on October 20, “Cold Like War”, a fast and heavy song with a catchy chorus. I thought it was interesting to see Kyle Pavone, singer, behind a programming setup, reminiscent to Linkin Park. It seemed like it was his comfort zone there. Dave Stephens, unclean vocalist, always kills it live, very energetic, as well. The new songs blended well with the older material. Andy Glass, bassist, is also fun to watch live, always giving 110%, with his interesting facial expressions. They are always fun to watch. I am looking forward to their new album next month.

Finally, it was, also from Detroit, I Prevail’s turn to play. So, the tour is called Rage on the Stage for a reason. In the back of the stage was a wrestling ring, which was used as a drum riser. Before every song they played, they talked about what they love about professional wrestling, whether it is the entrance music, the villains, the theatrics, etc. They always give an impressive live show, this time going all out with the CO2. It was also nice seeing Steve Menoian, guitarist, again, since he wasn’t at the last show in order to get ready for his wedding. Eric Vanlerberghe, unclean vocals, is such a monster vocalist. He also likes his Lil Jon references, even covering a very mellow cover of “Get Low”. They performed a snippet of their cover of Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space”, a song that got them their big break. It kinda surprised me that they didn’t performed that song in full, but I totally understand they do not want to be the band known for the Taylor Swift song. There were so many crowd surfers, as this is a band that appeals to many young and energetic fans. I Prevail is always fun to watch live and I can see why Omaha loves them, as they have many devoted fans.

Picture above by Audrey Wright Photography

Click the following link to see more images from the show:


Spotlight Q&A: More Than Blood

Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017

Omaha locals More than Blood recently took the time to answer our questions as part of our Spotlight Omaha Q & A series.

What is the name of your band? More than Blood

Who are the members of More Than Blood?

Martin Hastie - Lead Vocals/Guitar David Anderson - Rhythm Guitar/Vocals Jon "Frost" Echtinaw - Lead Guitar Jack "Phoenix" Larson - Drums Tristan Nolan - Bass/Vocals

How did you come up with the name? Martin: Jon originally suggested more than kin and I liked it, but wanted to take the same meaning and make it sound heavier – so I suggested More than Blood.

Has the name of the band ever changed? No.

When did the band officially form? Martin: Around July of 2015.

What inspired the band to make music together? Martin: Tristan and myself had played a lot I'd shows together with our other bands and one day decided we wanted to collaborate together and see what we could do.

How long have you all known each other? Martin: I’ve known Dave for around 9 years, and Tristan for at least 4. Jon and Jack maybe closer to 3.

How did you all meet? Martin: Met Tristan and Jack through playing shows together in our other bands (Splitline , Nevermind the riot). I believe we all met Jon from his time playing guitar for The Impulsive .

What genre of music do you consider you work to be? Martin: I consider us Metalcore.

Who writes your songs? Martin: The songs generally come from parts of songs Jon or myself already have in the works. It seems that most the time, if I write a song, I write it all and same for Jon Until recently we have been working a bit more of group writing rather than independent.

What are the main themes/topics for most of your songs? Martin: Several songs main themes and topics for me stem from casualties suffered through the rotten hell life can be at times. But a few are quite the opposite for example "Here Tonight" was more on the opposite side of the spectrum, showing how at times what seemed to be the end could really just be a bump in the road when focused on and worked on.

Who are your major influences? Martin: My biggest influences are Tool and Alice In chains. Also worth noting, killswitch engage, A perfect circle, trivium, slipknot, all that remains, a day to remember, the used, sevendust, bullet for my Valentine, and Coheed and Cambria.

Where has your band all performed? More than Blood has performed in a ton of venues around the Midwest so far, and we’re looking to add more in the near future!

What is your favorite venue/s? Jon: My favorite venue (that is still around) would have to be The Waiting Room Lounge here in Omaha, NE. I’ve played there a lot and it just feels like home. That, and the sound quality is pretty tough to beat.

Do you have any upcoming shows? Jon: - We do have an upcoming show that we’re putting together called Monsters & Masks. It’s a Halloween event inspired by a song I wrote by the same name.

When and where are those shows at? Jon: The show runs from October 27th – October 28th at Wired Pub & Gril (formerly Shamrocks Pub & Grill). Tons of local and regional bands will be playing!

What is your favorite and least favorite part of performing/touring? Jon: My favorite part of performing is honestly just moving around. Rocking out on stage and interacting with people, getting them to get as hype or even more than I am? It's the best feeling in the world. My least favorite is performing on small stages or being backlined on a big stage and performing in a small space anyway. There's no room to mosh!

What is it about performing live that really does it for the band? Jon: I can't say I for sure know what "it" is when you say "what does it" for the band but I imagine you mean what makes it special? Or enjoyable? Being close knit with the people you share that experience with is what makes it all worthwhile. Melting faces with your brothers at your side, making music and putting out your message together; that's what does "it."

What are a few goals you have as a band? Jon: Goals as a band? Where do I begin? Touring, more endorsements and signing away our souls to the dark lord for one hell of a record deal, haha. Or something like that. We just wanna take this life by the reigns and this seems like the most enjoyable way to do just that. The idea of money, fame and success is nice and definitely a desire but, all good things come in due time.

What would you be doing if you weren’t playing music? Jon: If I wasn't playing music? I'd probably be pummeling someone's face in while in an Octagon or something. I was an MMA Fighter for 2 years with a promising future in the business so to speak and Bondeye knows I miss combat.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band? Dave: Coordinating schedules seems to be a recurring problem in any band I've been in.

Have you been able to overcome that challenge? If so, how? Dave: Eventually you find a way and do what it takes to get it scheduled if it's really something that is priority to you. Whether that means you wake up extra early before work or you play late and piss off the neighbors.

What do you think about the music scene in general with the Omaha area? Dave: The scene in Omaha somewhat seems like a popularity contest but ultimately if you have what it takes to really turn heads, you can break through that and gain respect as a musician.

What do you think about the Omaha area crowds/fans? Dave: The metalheads (term of endearment) in Omaha are some of the coolest and most respectful people, however sifting through the non-metalheads to find them and get to them can be challenging at times. One big thing that bugs me about the Omaha scene is that it seems once it's a certain time at night, everybody jumps ship early, leaving the headliner with half the crowd and scratching their heads and asking why.

What advice do you have for people who want to form their own bands? Jack: Make sure you find people you don't mind bring around, listen to one another and good communication.

What Band/song is getting the heaviest rotation for you on your off time? Tristan: Right now, Threat Signal – Trust In None. Martin showed me this band when we first started MTB, and now they’re coming out with a new album. I love their stuff!

What is your ultimate direction for you band? Tristan: Ultimately, we want to be able to play music for a living. It’s our passion, so I think we’d all agree that being able to support our families off of that would be pretty cool.

Are you seeking fame and fortune? Or is this more of a hobby? Tristan: More toward fame and fortune. Not to sound greedy, but we’d love for this to be our full-time job. It gets complicated with all of us having day jobs and families to take care of, but we work hard and play harder (when we’re able).

What are your rehearsals generally like? Tristan: Our rehearsals are pretty standard I think. We run through our set, work on covers and new songs, and have a good time. It gets a little crazy sometimes, but we love it.

Do you have a set time each week in which you practice or are rehearsals more spontaneous? Tristan: This is a loaded question. Most of the guys work second shift or strange hours, and we’ve got rotating days off as well. Right now, we do Fridays at midnight, but if you asked me in a couple weeks, I might be saying Tuesdays at 3PM. We try to get one in every week so that we can nail down new material.

What was your inspiration when you were writing the song Artificial Memory? Martin: I wrote the song when I had been trying to restore my hope in something that I told myself was great. Artificial Memory came to mind one day when I felt a lot of doubt on the topic. Started asking myself was it even great? Was it really how I remember It? Or did I just tell myself that. I felt maybe I had fabricated a memory to convince myself it was worth fighting for.

What is your favorite color? Jack: My favorite color is Orange.

What would you choose to be your last meal? Jack: Probably a large stuffed crust double pepperoni pizza.

What’s your favorite movie? Jack: Too many great movies out there to choose from.


Get The Led Out at Ralston Arena

Written by Karen Freeman • September 2017

I’ve seen my share of tribute and cover bands, but I had never seen anything quite like Get The Led Out (GTLO).  Dubbed “The American Led Zeppelin”, this six-piece band performed Friday night at Ralston Arena to a nice sized crowd – many of whom remember the original sounds of Led Zeppelin.  These guys did not disappoint, and if you closed your eyes at times, it was hard to believe this wasn’t the real deal.

As lead singer of GTLO, Paul Sinclair has a big job.  He must carry the show, lead the way, engage the crowd and share his passion for those of us who loved Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, John Paul Jones and John Bonham.  I am thrilled to let you know, that he performs that duty in excellent fashion.  It certainly helps that he surrounds himself with very talented musicians, who played and sang with equal fervor.  The sound was tight, strong, and somewhat amazing.

There is nothing 'fake' about this band.  They seem to encapsulate the pure essence of Zeppelin, and they do it with intensity and sincerity.  In 2 1/2 hours, these boys from Philly give the concert-goer more than they could ask for and yet left them wanting even more.  How beautiful that the discography of the original Led is so deep, that you know this band can go night after night and still not hit every tune in one performance.  So - that means you need GTLO another shot the next time they come around.  I assure you, it is well worth the time and money.