Coachella: Best of day two including Pharrell, The Head and The Heart, Nas and more

Crowd surfing at Coachella (Photo by The Associated Press)

Crowd surfing at Coachella (Photo by The Associated Press)

Rock Candy correspondents Joel Henriksen and Keith Finn are in Indio this weekend for Coachella.

Every day, they’ll tell you about the best sets from the godfather of indie rock festivals.

The following were the top sets from Saturday.

* * *


The Head and The Heart

I have seen The Head and The Heart perform many times. They have always been able to captivate an audience in small clubs and theaters but I have always been skeptical how they could handle a crowd of thousands. To say the least, they handled it well, and ended up putting on my favorite  performance of festival so far. Listening to more than 10,000 people sing along with favorites like “Shake,” “Lost in my Mind” and “Rivers and Roads” really helped me define this as the best set of the festival and truly left me with goose bumps throughout. There is a reason they headline Red Rocks and join the lineup of Maha Music Festival this summer. This band is going somewhere.

Queens of the Stone Age

Saturday’s set was a homecoming for Queens of the Stone Age leader Josh Homme. He was born in the area and wasn’t going to give his hometown crowd a boring performance. The clock struck 9:30 p.m. and Queens of the Stone Age took the stage and proceeded to snarl through 12 songs including many off of their fantastic 2013 album, “Like Clockwork.” We had the opportunity to see them at The Metro in Chicago last summer, but on Saturday, QOTSA proved that they are truly one of America’s best rock bands and can harness a tired crowd into a festival set that is truly hard to compete with. The ball is in your court, Foo Fighters.

Pharrell Williams

The hit-master, Pharrell Williams, utilized his celebrity status for his evening set. A slew of celebrites came out to perform with Pharrell, including Jay Z, T.I., Busta Rhymes, Pusha T and Usher. Pharrell also sang  the hit Daft Punk songs “Get Lucky” and “Lose Yourself to Dance.” Believe it or not, Pharrell also played some of his solo songs. “Happy” and “Come Get It Bae” were included on the star-studded setlist. Pharrell’s performance was a bit random, but entertaining. The crowd could not help but enjoy themselves.


The hot midday was worth waiting in the sun to grab a spot at the set of electronic band Chvrches. Though their performance started late due to technical difficulties, band members powered through with drum machines and synthesizers at their sides. “Recover,” “The Mother We Share” and “We Sink” were a few notable tracks performed by the group. Chvrches is another Coachella band I hope makes it to the Omaha area very, very soon.


Nas put on a very special performance for those at the Outdoor stage. On the exact 20th anniversary of his debut album “Illmatic” (released April 19, 1994), he performed the album in its entirety. Up against Muse and Skrillex, Nasty Nas had no problem packing a large field for his headlining set. Nas had the crowd in his palm by performing songs like “One Love” and “New York State of Mind.” The album performance was great by itself, but at the end of his set he had one more trick up his sleeve. He introduced Ms. Lauryn Hill and together they performed “If I Ruled the World.” The unique aspects of Nas’ set was the perfect way to end Saturday at Coachella.


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Record Store Day draws long lines, record collectors, good tunes

Anna McClellan performs for those gathered for Record Store Day outside Almost Music and Solid Jackson Books. (Photo by Kevin Coffey/The World-Herald)

At Homer’s Music in the Old Market, the first person in line arrived at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

John Chartrand (follow his awesome Instagram) was the first guy there. He wouldn’t tell me what in particular he was after for Record Store Day, but he carried out a stack of vinyl at least six inches tall.

When store manager Eric Ziegler (after explaining the rules: “no fighting, no biting”) took to the sidewalk at 10 a.m. and shouted, “Are you ready?,” cheers erupted from about 300 people lined up down the block.

Before that, Matt Whipkey and Brad Hoshaw entertained the audience with their respective solo material that included tunes such as “Cliff Burton” and “Delta King.”

Matt Whipkey performs outside of Homer’s Music on Record Store Day. (Photo by Kevin Coffey/The World-Herald)

My spot in line was almost a block away from the shop, and while I was inside Homer’s within a few minutes, it took me almost 90 minutes to snake through the shop, pick up my vinyl and get checked out.

It wasn’t so bad. I ended up scoring almost everything I was after (including Bruce Springsteen, Frightened Rabbit, Death Cab, Conor Oberst, Haim, PUJOL, Joe Strummer & the Pogues and a Green Day cassette).

The only two things I really missed? The Muppet Movie soundtrack and the Ghostbusters 10″ picture disc. (Yeah, I’m weird. I know.)

Across the street at Drastic Plastic, quite a few folks lined up. By the time I made it over there, much of their Record Store Day product was gone, and employees said they’d been busy all morning.

Saddle Creek Records employees told me that the shop was full of customers from when its doors opened to when I arrived close to noon. The shop had the least expensive prices, so that’s no surprise.

Though it sported the least amount of Record Store Day exclusives, Almost Music in Benson was the place to party.

Almost Music kicked off with live music at 11:30 a.m., and almost a dozen bands were slated to play for Record Store Day. A pretty decent crowd that featured a good number of local musicians gathered outside to watch Anna McClellan while I was there. The Lupines took the sidewalk stage shortly thereafter.

Almost Music owner Brad Smith told me that his shop had been busy all day even though he didn’t get nearly any of the Record Store Day product that he ordered. Still, a lot of people flipped through the bins.

For all the stores in Omaha, it seemed to be a successful Record Store Day.

And for those of us that dropped a lot of cash on vinyl (and cassettes, too!), it was a successful day for adding to our collections.

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Coachella: Best of day one including The Replacements, Outkast

A couple hangs out at Coachella. Photo by The Associated Press

A couple relaxes during Coachella. (Photo by The Associated Press)

Rock Candy correspondents Joel Henriksen and Keith Finn are in Indio this weekend for Coachella.

Every day, they’ll tell you about the best sets from the godfather of indie rock festivals. 

The following were the top sets from Friday.

* * *

A$AP Ferg

Arousing, yet performing alone in front of an early main stage audience is no easy task. Ferg came out with his signature dog barks and a tunic to symbolize his “Trap Lord” status. From there, he performed many songs off his latest album, including “Dump Dump,” “Hood Pope,” and “Work.” The high energy of his performance and crowdwork kept the audience rowdy the entire set.


Three words came out of my mouth when Haim took the stage; “These sisters rule!” Este, Danielle and Alana Haim announced to the crowd that they had be frequent attendees to Coachella before their music careers took off. (They then apologized to Goldenvoice, the promoter, for sneaking in most of those years). They took off with their song “Falling” and never looked back. They played through the majority of their debut album including “The Wire” and had the crowd in the palm of their hands with their signature dancey, ethereal guitar rock. We forsee big time things from these ladies.

The Replacements

You never quite know what to expect in a set from Paul Westerberg and company. “We are the world’s greatest Replacements cover band; The Cements” Westerberg said. This “cover band” just so happened to include Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. Westerberg had suffered from a back injury earlier in the week; so he asked Armstrong to join him, help him with guitar and vocal parts while he laid across a large couch on stage. The band tore through their signature punk rock songs including “Left of the Dial,” “Bastards of Young” and “Alex Chilton.” It left us wanting more; maybe we will see them at Maha Music Festival 2015?

Ellie Goulding

One of the largest crowds of the day was that surrounding the main stage in anticipation for Ellie Goulding’s mid-evening main stage set. While in secretly in love with most of her albums, we had always been a bit skeptical about her live performances. That skepticism was turned into another secret (well not so secret anymore) for her festival set. It was easily one of the highest energy, intriguing and simply fun live performances we had seen in a long time. She packed in hits like “Lights,” “Starry-Eyed,” “Burn” and “Anything Can Happen into a full hour of festival fun. We now consider her British royalty.

Girl Talk

Gregg Gillis, better known as Girl Talk, brought the party to the Coachella main stage as he performed over an hour of his signature mash-ups and digital samples; a combination of a eclectic variety of music of anything from Aerosmith to Snoop Dogg. Fifty plus festivalgoers partied with Gillis on stage; dancing around his large stage set that looked to have a lay out of a giant basketball player. Toilet paper, balloons, confetti constantly shot off the stage; adding to the party and excitement of his set. A few surprise guest appearances occurred, including Waka Flocka Flame and Busta Rhymes performing alternate renditions of “Hard in Da Paint” and “Look At Me Now” respectively.


Earlier in the year, Andre 3000 and Big Boi announced they would headline a festival tour in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Outkast. This tour started Friday at Coachella. The duo came out with a bang, performing “Stankonia” standout song “B.O.B.” From then on, the set included a career spanning setlist, which included tracks from “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik” all the way to “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.” Outkast’s set was the perfect way to cap off an already fantastic day of music as well as start off Joel’s 21st birthday.

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Coachella: We’re covering it


Coachella descends on Indio, Calif., for the second time this weekend.

And during the next three days, Rock Candy correspondents Joel Henriksen and Keith Finn will be there.

Joel is on Maha Music Festival’s production team, and he’s vice president of Creighton’s student program board and is responsible for booking bands such as American Authors and Ben Kweller to play for Creighton students. Keith is a business major at UNL, but he’s a live music junkie and writes about music for the Daily Nebraskan.

Every day, they’ll have posts on Rock Candy detailing their favorite bands playing Coachella. Check back often!

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Maha Music Festival 2014 to feature Death Cab, The Head and The Heart, Local Natives in its best lineup yet


With Death Cab For Cutie, The Head and The Heart, Local Natives, The Both and lots of others, Maha Music Festival has its best lineup yet.

Death Cab will headline when Omaha’s indie rock festival returns to Stinson Park on Aug. 16, and it’s hard to beat the introspective indie rock of Ben Gibbard & Co., the harmony-heavy and pretty folk of The Head and The Heart and the indie blog favorites in Local Natives.

Paired with a stacked undercard of The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo performing together), Minneapolis underground hip-hop collective Doomtree, area alt rock heroes The Envy Corps and much-praised Missouri punk trio Radkey, and you have one helluva lineup for any festival lover.

Why go somewhere else this summer?

Kudos to the Maha Music Festival board and to 1% Productions for pulling this one together. I have to imagine that any one of these groups would do well on their own, and I know several have sold out shows at local clubs. Put them together and $50 is a very fair price to see them all at once.

Ticket prices are higher than in past years, I’m told, because Maha spent a lot more money on talent for this year’s festival. Still worth it.

By my estimation, you would spend about $145 to see all those bands separately. (Death Cab tickets alone were priced $30 to $45 last time the group came to town.) With tickets to Maha only $50, you’ll pay a mere $7 per band (and that’s without factoring in the locals).

The local stage is shaping up nicely. Twinsmith, a rock band with major potential, recently put out an album with Saddle Creek Records. Matt Whipkey’s latest album is excellent and earned him both a best album and artist of the year awards from the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards. Then there’s M34N STR33T, a local hip-hop collective featuring smart rapper Conchance.

Those are excellent choices, and any outside observer would find it difficult to tell these “locals” are in any way local at all.

This lineup is exactly the sort of thing that the festival’s founders envisioned when they sat at a kitchen table and hashed out their vision for an Omaha music festival.

Saying that this is the best lineup ever shouldn’t discount past years, which featured bands such as Spoon, Superchunk, The Flaming Lips, Desaparecidos, Guided By Voices, Garbage and Matt and Kim.

There were strong lineups, but each had weak spots. Top-to-tails, no previous year’s festival had such a good set of artists.

After boasting record attendance last year (5,100 for the daylong festival), Maha has only two things left to do: 1) Sell out. 2) Expand to a second day.

With Death Cab and friends this year, it might just accomplish the first. And then the second can’t be far off.

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List: The 15 best Record Store Day releases for 2014


On Saturday, more than 500 exclusive vinyl (and some CD and cassette) releases will hit the shelves at your favorite independent record stores for Record Store Day.

(For information on all of the Record Store Day happenings in Omaha, head to

We combed the list’s 10-plus printed pages to find the coolest, best, most interesting releases. We just ask that you leave some for us on Saturday.

Matt Whipkey and Brad Hoshaw, “I Miss You”/”Sorry” 7” split — You won’t get this anywhere outside of Omaha or Lincoln. The local songwriters are putting out an exclusive Record Store Day release featuring two gorgeous and sad songs.

311 — The Omaha-bred rock band will re-release its 1995 self-titled album and 2003’s “Evolver.”

Conor Oberst — Oberst will release two pieces: A 7” split with indie band Dawes and a 7” singles featuring two songs from his upcoming album, “Upside Down Mountain.”

PUJOL, “Circles” 7” — The Nashville garage rockers signed to Saddle Creek put out the single from upcoming album, “KLUDGE.”

Side by Side series — Rhino continues its series of 7” split singles where two bands play the same song. This year’s series features The Cure and Dinosaur Jr.; Devo and The Flaming Lips; Poison Idea and Pantera; and a mystery duo of artists that hasn’t been announced yet.

Death Cab For Cutie featuring the Magik*Magik Orchestra, “Live 2012” double vinyl — A live recording of the tour that came to Omaha in 2012. (It was a great one.)

Frightened Rabbit, “Live From Criminal records” — A live recording of the fantastic Scottish rock band.

Green Day, “Demolicious” — CD, vinyl and cassette(!) release of Green Day’s demos for “¡Uno!,” “¡Dos!” and “¡Tré!”

Nirvana, “Pennyroyal Tea”/”I Hate Myself and Want to Die” 7” split — There’s some history here. “I Hate Myself” was intended for “In Utero,” but it was eventually left off. This very split single was intended for release after Cobain’s death, but was withdrawn.

Skrillex, “Recess” cassette — Skrillex’s new album on an exclusive, retro format.

Soundgarden, “Superunknown: The Singles” box set — Five 10” singles come in this pretty-looking box set.

††† (Crosses) 10” vinyl — The indie band releases three super-limited pieces: “†” on red/pink vinyl, “††” on blue vinyl and “†††” on yellow vinyl.

Radkey, “9 Lives at the 100 Club” cassette — More than 10 songs recorded live on the punk band’s U.K. tour.

Ray Parker Jr, “Ghostbusters” — A 10” picture disc displaying the red and white “Ghostbusters” logo.

LCD Soundsystem, “The Long Goodbye” box set — Get it on Record Store Day before its wide release. A five-piece vinyl box set features the entirety of LCD Soundsystems farewell show at Madison Square Garden.

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80/35 announces Conor Oberst, Best Coast, Dr. Dog, Ziggy Marley and more


Conor Oberst will headline 80/35 music festival in Des Moines, and the Bright Eyes frontman will be joined by Ziggy Marley, Best Coast, Dawes, Dr. Dog, Xavier Rudd, Caroline Smith, the Envy Corps and lots more when the annual festival comes back July 4 and 5.

Only 21 of about 50 artists were announced today. The rest of the artists, including July 5′s headliner, will be announced at a later date. (The full lineup, as it stands now, is below.)

The seventh annual festival expects more than 30,000 people to watch bands on three stages in downtown Des Moines.

Two-day tickets, $49, and one-day tickets, $29, are available now at


July 4
Conor Oberst (headliner)
Ziggy Marley
Best Coast
Chicago Farmer
Max Jury
Bum Rap
Brother Trucker
Bonne Finken
Quick Piss

July 5
Dr. Dog
Xavier Rudd
The Envy Corps
Caroline Smith
Shy Boys
Holy White Hounds
Aquamarine Dream Machine
Kris Adams

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Maha Music Festival will announce lineup April 17

Maha Music Festival logo

Maha Music Festival will announce its lineup April 17.

The indie rock-focused festival will return to Stinson Park at Aksarben Village this year on Aug. 16.

Join the Maha Music Festival crew for a lineup announcement party and kickoff video that begins 7 p.m. on April 17 at O’Leaver’s Pub. You can RSVP to the event on Facebook.

If an announcement event isn’t your style, you can also check in right here at Rock Candy to get the lineup announcement.

This year’s event will be the sixth annual Maha Music Festival, which has hosted bands including Spoon, The Flaming Lips, Matt and Kim, Desaparecidos, Superchunk, Garbage and Matisyahu, among many others.

Who do you hope is on this year’s lineup?

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List: The 10 best road trip songs

SONY DSCIt’s about time to hit the road.

Spring is here, and summer is coming, and I’m once again itching to get out of town.

Whenever I travel, I rarely hop on a plane to get from here to there. I’m much happier to hit the open road with a pile of tunes and some good friends while we drum out the beat on the steering wheel, do some highway harmonies and let the music’s tempo dictate our pace.

As musicians are wont to roam the country to play their tunes, a plethora of road-focused tunes are waiting for you whether you’re planning a lazy Sunday drive through the hills or a cross-country road trip.

These are the very best. (Listen to a playlist below.)

“On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson
It’s the ultimate road trip tune. “On the Road Again,” its rolling rhythm and lyrics about driving with the best of friends can’t be beat.

“East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed
Put it on. Channel the Bandit. Hit the gas.

“Another Travelin’ Song” by Bright Eyes
Visiting cities at the break of dawn and visions of a billion highways criss-crossing the country are exactly what I think of when I throw my bags in the trunk.

“Passenger Side” by Wilco
Much like in this tune, I prefer being in the driver’s seat.

“Turn the Page” by Bob Seger
We’ve all been on a long and lonesome highway east of Omaha.

“Amarillo by Morning” by George Strait
The cowboy in this tune is committed to a life on the road, chasing his dream at the expense of pretty much everything else.

“Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)” by Garth Brooks
A lonely trip down the highway with a worn out tape of Chris LeDeoux? Conjures up some memories.

“Wagon Wheel” by Old Crow Medicine Show
Sometimes, the only way to get closer to your baby is to hitchhike. (And I prefer this raw, original version to the slick, Hootie-fied version that’s really popular.)

“Runnin’ Down a Dream” by Tom Petty
Who hasn’t stuck their hands out the window to glide in the wind and sung Del Shannon’s “Runaway?”

“The Load Out” by Jackson Browne
Browne’s album “Running on Empty” is full of songs written and recorded onstage, in hotels and on the tour bus. And this one, all about taking the band on the road, is the best on the record.

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Just Announced: Eric Church, Jackson Browne, ‘JC Superstar’ and more


Welcome to “Just Announced,” a weekly feature of all the notable concerts in the Omaha/Lincoln, Neb., area that were announced this week.

Without further ado, here they are:

♦ Portland rock and folk band Blitzen Trapper returns to the area on May 29 to play Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre. Tickets, $14, at or Homer’s Music.

♦ Wisconsin indie pop band PHOX will play The Waiting Room Lounge on June 24. Tickets, $10, on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at

♦ Bluegrass and jam bands come together when Railroad Earth and Yonder Mountain String Band co-headline a June 26 show at Sumtur Amphitheater, Papillion’s grassy outdoor venue. Tickets, $30, on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at

♦ Hear some of your favorite classic hits including “Running on Empty,” “The Pretender,” “Take it Easy” and “The Load Out” played acoustic when Jackson Browne brings his solo acoustic tour to the Orpheum Theater on July 2. Tickets, $39.25 to $69.25, on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at the Ticket Omaha box office, or by phone at 402-345-0606.

♦ Prog rock and jam band Umphrey’s McGee brings the party to Papillion’s Sumtur Amphitheater on July 3. Tickets, $25, on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at

♦ Sci-fi, surf rock and new wave are all a part of the Man or Astro-man? experience. The instrumental, experimental rock band comes to The Waiting Room Lounge on July 18. Tickets, $15, on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at

♦ Punk, pop, rock and R&B stars will come together for “Jesus Christ Superstar” this summer in Lincoln. Brandon Boyd of Incubus, JC Chasez of ‘N Sync, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child and John “Johnny Rotten” Lydon of the Sex Pistols star in a production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock musical, which lands in Lincoln on July 30. Ticket information is not yet available.

♦ Eric Church made the jump. After years of playing smaller venues, the country singer, known for songs such as “Springsteen” and “Drink in My Hand,” will headline an arena tour this summer, and he’ll play CenturyLink Center Omaha on Sept. 18. Ticket information has not yet been announced.

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