The last weekend of July and the first three weekends of August will find four festivals happening in Omaha. The Maha Music Festival will take place at Stinson Park (for the final time before it moves to The Riverfront) on July 29th and 30th. The following weekend, August 4th and 5th, is The Four Winds Festival at Reverb Lounge and The Waiting Room. On August 11th and 12th, music fans will find themselves at the Outlandia Festival at Falconwood Park, and closing everything out is Petfest at Petshop in Benson on August 19th.
There are a lot of bands and artists performing at these events. Some you may know very well, and some you may not know at all. Let’s take a look at four of them today.
Chew-Performing at Petfest on August 19th
I first saw Atlanta, Georgia’s Chew perform at Petfest in 2021. They were the highlight of the day for me personally. The trio performed a high energy set of instrumental post-rock and electronic music and played songs from their then-upcoming album Horses. That album is a favorite now, especially the song “Holy Fountain”, but I have spent the day listening to some of their earlier EPs and other material, and they really have a wide breadth of musical styles to pull from. They can do mathy, proggy experimental rock, futuristic psych, spacey sludge rock, funk, and even jazz. I expect them to be a highlight again this year and will be very curious to see if they perform a similar set or something new altogether, because they certainly have the material to go in many different directions.
Horsegirl-Performing at Outlandia on August 12th.
Last year, Horsegirl put out their debut album, Versions of Modern Performance, and it immediately became a favorite among music critics and indie rock fans. I had the album in my top twenty last year, loving the Chicago band’s classic indie rock sound that wasn’t just influenced by some of the greats of the past; they truly nailed it down and brought that sound into 2023. They even had Steve Shelly and Lee Renaldo from Sonic Youth play on the album. It’s not a simple album to listen to; you really have to immerse yourself in the experience, and it will be interesting to see how they come off on a large outdoor stage. There are songs, such as “Dirtbag Transformation (Still Dirty) and the grungy Anti-Glory,” that lend themselves to potential festival head bobbing and even some foot shuffling.
Say She She-Performing at Maha Music Festival on Saturday July 29th at 4:30PM
Who is going to have the most fun performance at Maha? I am not sure, but I can guarantee disco-pop band Say She She will be in the running. The group put out the ultra-fun throwback album Prisim in 2022 and just released a new song, “C’est Si Bon,” last month that reminds me of disco great Chic. The band’s name is also a nod to Chic. It’s not all fun and games, though. In response to the ruling on Roe v. Wade, they released the disco protest anthem “Norma” stating “we won’t go back”. The group is on Colemine Records, which is arguably the best soul and funk label out there right now. Check out the slinky “Forget Me Not” for a taste of Say She She, and get ready to dance in the late afternoon sun to some straight-up disco and soul music.
Jay Influential-Performing at Four Winds Festival
Area hip-hop artist Jay Inluential’s 2019 album Rage is one of the best hip-hop albums out of Omaha in recent memory. Check out his song “Gassed Up,” with its Roaring 20s vibe. He followed that up with 2021’ The Wolf We Feed and last year’s EP No Turning Back. His lyrics are personal and raw, and he is a confident live performer. Check out his track off of No Turning Back called “Free Falling” with Taebo Tha Truth to see that he is still striving for new heights and new things musically.