Arson City's 4th Annual Citizens Ball Review

Written by Gerald Glaza • October 2017

Review by: David Taylor

It’s October, so you know what that means: it’s the 4th annual Citizens Ball for Arson City and their fans, the “citizens”! This was finally my first Citizens Ball after all these years of knowing the band, so excited was an understatement. What an awesome bill and an cool event to attend. Highly recommend adding this show on your list of Halloween parties.

Graveyard Smash was the first band up. I’ve know Billy Peck from his other band, Before I Burn, so when I heard he started a horror punk band, I was intrigued. If you like horror punk reminiscent of the Misfits, then this is the band for you! Brandon Voorhees, guitarist, is probably the hardest downpicker in the scene, makes sense since he worships Doyle from the Misfits. Billy slayed on the catchy backing vocals. Dale Steinhoefel, in true punk rock fashion, played loud and fast to a catchy beat. Lawrence Deal made the vocals his own, not sounding like a Danzig rip off. Good start to the night!

Next up was When Towers Fall. I have seen this band for three times in the past four months and they never disappoint. I can’t say enough things about them. Derrek Sammons is one of the best vocalists in the scene, blending his clean and unclean vocals perfectly. Ryan Hubbard and Cavan W Short chugged and shredded their guitars. The rhythm section of Jay Stoa II, bass, and Ian Waters, drummer, was tight. The neon face paint really worked for the Halloween aesthetic of the Citizens Ball. And, of course, at the end of their latest single, “Promises, Promises”, they put on their farm animal masks on, ending their set on a comedic note. Another awesome set by one of my favorite local bands!

Next up was Hungary’s own Ektomorf. They reminded me of bands like Sepultura, Soulfly, and Machine Head, that groove-infused metal sound. I would consider them the outliers of the bill, might’ve been a little too heavy for the hard rock crowd, but nevertheless they still killed it live, even starting a mosh pit. Zoli Farkas’s vocals were brutal. The drumming of Jaksa Róbert was fast, heavy, and powerful, even bumping up the tempo on their songs. Tomi Schrottner killed it on the backing vocals, with his dreads flying in the air as he headbang. Szabi Murvai chugged away on the bass. Solid set from Ektomorf. It was a pleasure to have them come to Omaha, and I hope they come back soon.

The direct support for the night was Des Moines’s own Dead Horse Trauma. This was my first time seeing them live, as I’ve noticed that they have a good following in Omaha. I consider them as Des Moines’s version of Arson City, both have lead singers with dreadlocks and both play nu-metal influenced hard rock. It was cool seeing people singing along to their songs. They were very energetic in their playing. They released a new album earlier this year called, Life, that I recommend that you should check out if you like some good midwest hard rock. Awesome set by Dead Horse Trauma. I would definitely check them out the next time they’re in town.

Finally, it was the band everyone was waiting for, Arson City. This was my fifth time seeing them live, the third time this year alone, and they never put on a bad show. I was really impressed with Patrick Michael Wilson’s face makeup that he had on that night. He kinda reminded me of Billy from the movie, Hocus Pocus, with the pale white zombie undead look. The beginning of their set was new material that they will put on their upcoming album, which sounded really promising. But the highlight of the night for me was the debut of a new cover song, Journey’s “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)”. I must say I was impressed that they could cover Journey and make it their own, which I applaud them. They played all the fan favorites as well, with everyone singing along. There was even a three song encore, ending their set with “The Horror Show”. I love how Arson City likes to push the envelope, always trying new things, while still pleasing the fans. I hope their next album tops the last one and that they trajectory towards nation wide recognition increases as they are solid musicians and should totally deserve it.


Bagpipes & Beatdowns

Written by Gerald Glaza • October 2017

Bagpipes and Beatdowns - A Blockbuster Night of NXT Live Featuring Drew McIntyre

WWE NXT Live / Ralston Arena / October 28th

Written by: Christy Jobman 

The lights go down in the arena. The crowd goes silent. The sound of bagpipes, badass drums and electric guitar fills the air. Drew McIntyre makes his way to the ring. The crowd roars, everyone is on their feet.

Whether he is brought in by the NYPD Pipes & Drums band, like a recent action-packed NXT Live night in August, or by Gallantry, his official theme song, this 6’ 5” beast is ready to dominate anyone who gets in the ring with him.

The scene is set for an incredible Saturday night of wrestling, something McIntyre, 32, has been doing for a cool 17 years. He announced his signing with NXT in April of this year and earned his first championship title with the franchise, but it’s been a long way to the top, starting as far back as he can remember.

At 16, he and his friends pioneered what would become modern wrestling in the UK. Surrounded by supportive, but doubtful, friends and family, he became the first wrestler from Scotland to ever be signed in America.

“I was that obsessed. I didn’t care what anyone else said. I pushed and pushed and was fortunate to achieve that,” McIntyre said. “If you truly want something and you work hard at it, you can have it.”

A lot has contributed to McIntyre’s success. When he was was in charge of his own schedule, he was the busiest wrestler in the world for two years straight. Last year, he stepped it up another notch and kicked his drinking habit. In the UK, drinking is a major part of the culture. He attributes the changes in his stamina and the way he looks and feels to this decision.

He’s focusing only on the positives these days - owning his first home with his wife, eating better and most importantly, working hard to take over the world of wrestling. And he better hurry.

“Wrestlers age in dog years,” McIntyre said.

He’s done alright with those wrestling dog years so far. He has truly built a brand for himself from the ground up. Multiple national and international championship titles to show for his career and most importantly, always focusing on his fans first.

“The fans in Omaha are very knowledgable,” McIntyre said. “We cater to those very loyal fans.”

Saturday will be no different. If you’re attending the October 28 NXT Live event at Ralston Arena, be prepared to have a voice because at these epic NXT showdowns, you aren’t just another face in the crowd in a sea of people.

You should also be prepared to not have a voice by Sunday, these events get loud and rowdy.

Stick around after the show. Following his matches, McIntyre takes pictures and signs autographs for his fans.

“I want to meet everyone and talk to them.” McIntyre said, “I want to hear what everyone thinks because in the end, I’m just a wrestling fan who took it too far.”

Meet the man, the myth, the legend after Saturday nights show and see for yourself what a dedicated, passionate and determined Scottish wrestler looks like in the flesh. 

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Bands From the Crypt Review

Written by Gerald Glaza • October 2017

Lookout Lounge / Omaha, Nebraska / October 14, 2017

Written by: David Taylor / Photo by: Geraldography

October is the month of Halloween, so having a show called Bands from the Crypt and also having a costume contest during the show was a good idea. Aorta Music & Management brought an awesome line-up of local bands to the Lookout Lounge, including Desiato, Black Sky Burning, Here/After, and The Phoenix Principle.

First band up was the Phoenix Principle. This was my second time seeing them live after seeing them in July at the Waiting Room. Such a soulful rock n’ roll band. Jared Gottberg is such an underrated singer. So much soul in his voice, it’s ridiculous. I think it’s cool that their lyrics of their songs are about Middle Earth, very reminiscent of the the almighty Led Zeppelin. I also think that Brent Tuxhorn is such an underrated guitarist, as well. That man can shred for days. Great opening set by the Phoenix Principle. Looking forward to some recorded material in the future.

Next up was Here/After. They are pop punk/hard rock band led by singer Kayla Bulin. They were really catchy. Kayla’s vocals were superb, reminiscent to those of one Hayley Williams of Paramore. They even threw in a cool cover of the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’s “Face Down”. Great lead guitar playing by Ryan Condrey. They opened up with “1UP”, which is a song about Mario rescuing Princess Peach, which is pretty rad. Check them out of you haven’t. You will not be disappointed.

The direct support of the night came from Black Sky Burning. I will always rememberer them when they were called Dirtfedd as they were they first metal band I had seen because they opened up Knotfest in 2012, so they’ll always be in my heart. Seeing Derrek Sammons of When Towers Fall with another band was pretty cool, yet surprising to say the least. He always kills it live. They were super heavy and tight live. Everybody in the band killed it on their respective instruments. Can’t wait for their new EP!

Finally, it was Desiato turn to hit the stage. The hard rock power trio were solid through all their set. Blake Jones’s vocals were stunning. Tyler Sims is one of the best bass players in the scene. Loved the use of CO2 during the performance. Gives off a unique quality to them. The band was tight, rhythmically, thanks to Aaron Rowe’s drumming and Tyler Sims’s bass playing. I did enjoyed Blake’s use of the double-necked guitar. It’s not every show you see that. But, overall, great set by Desiato. I was glad to finally seen them live after having seen Blake Jones at shows. Check these guys out because they’re talented musicians and looking forward to future material.


Floozies with BoomBox Review

Written by Gerald Glaza • October 2017

Sokol Auditorium / Omaha, Nebraska / September 28, 2017

Written by: Pat Douglas / Photo by: Pollieography

Being unfamiliar with all the bands, we weren’t too sure of what to expect on this Thursday night at Sokol. We knew a little of BoomBox, so we knew the basic style of music to expect, but by and large we went in blind. That, however, turned out to be a good thing as it let us be surprised at what was in store for us. Sokol is an interesting venue in Omaha, as it has a lot of history, always has a wide variety of acts coming through to perform and, like this show itself, you never really know what the night has in store for you. The surprises started early and kept coming throughout the night.

Surprise one was the fact that we got there early (only about 5 minutes before doors open), but there was hardly any line. At Sokol, it usually doesn’t matter what bands are playing, there is almost always a decent sized line before the doors open. The lack of a line can’t be blamed on the weather either as it was beautiful out. So much so that Hollie & I rode the Harley to the show. There were only about 6 people in line when we got there and the doors opened up shortly after that. I guess tonight was a night when people planned things out perfectly, as the small crowd filled up very fast. The music started about 30 minutes after we got in and the crowd had grown from about 10 to about 200 by this time.

First up, according to all the information I had, was Late Night Radio out of Denver, CO. From the research I had done, they are a two piece band with a decidedly electronic funk vibe going on. I was fairly excited for this as it is along the lines of BoomBox and lines up nicely with my own musical background. However, what ended up happening was one guy with a laptop. I’m not sure if the full band will be there for other shows on this tour (this was the first night of this tour I think) or this is just how the tour is playing out and not be advertised as such. Many people around me were heard remarking what a great DJ this guy was. I will say, he did have a fantastic track selection and I really enjoyed the music he was playing, however I don’t think it was really DJ’ing. You can call me old school if you want, but I grew up on old school DJs. Guys and gals who would lug around bags and boxes of actual records, they’d put on a set of headphones and they would actually manually beat match records along with picking out the tracks to play. This guy didn’t even have headphones…it seemed he was just picking a track and pressing his spacebar – letting his software beat match and mix for him. I’m not trying to take away from the guy, as my research did tell me he is a popular DJ in the Colorado scene. I just didn’t really see any evidence of actual DJ’ing.

Next up was who we were both really looking forward to – BoomBox. They are a two piece band out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. BoomBox has a very unique a cultured sound that has been born of the popularity of the EDM scene and laced with loads of Grateful Dead influence – not to mention some decidedly hip-hop influences thrown in for good measure. Founding member Zion Godchaux, son of Keith and Donna Jean Godchaux (who both performed in the Grateful Dead) has had a very varied upbringing in the music scene and it really shows in his song writing. Writing catchy hooks on his guitar and layering it all with his catchy lyrics, the only thing that stands out more are the grooves laid down by DJ Harry. Using drum machines, sequencers, samplers and a full on DJ setup – the groove behind Zion’s magic is enough to keep a dance floor packed and sweaty. This duo has really put together something unique and catchy enough to hit the airwaves, the dancehall or just something to bounce to at the bar. From tunes like (my favorite) Mr. Boogie Man, Stereo and Midnight on the Run – the beats were fresh and it kept the now near capacity crowd captivated from start to finish.

Closers for the night were the Midwest’s own The Floozies. Hailing from Lawrence, Kansas – the Floozies really packed them in. With Sokol hall now packed to the gills, the lights went down and the show really began. These guys are true performers. Also a two piece, you’d never really know just from the sound of things. Comprised of brothers Mark & Matt Hill, the sound these guys produce if full, intricate and fully engaging. With Mark on the drum kit, that leaves most everything else up to Matt. His setup was mind blowing. He stands on stage surrounded by guitars, bass, samplers, drum machines, keyboards, microphones and even a talk box. All this, mixed with an amazing light show really put a nice cap on the evening. The Floozies are truly original and are a sight to behold. Close your eyes and take a listen or keep them peeled and take it all in - these guys really are not only talented musicians, but also talented performers. They bring it all on this tour and if you weren’t there for it…shame on you. You should have been.


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: