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Omaha, music Mecca

Letter to the Editor | Sunday, February 8, 2009

In my excitement for the upcoming Tilly and the Wall concert, I eagerly turned to The Observer Scene section to see how the musical love of my life would be described. On Feb. 5, I opened to the Weekend Events Calendar to find that the person who compiled the best bets for the weekend mistakenly chose what I am sure is an extremely educational and interesting movie at Browning Cinema over Tilly and the Wall for the Saturday’s best pick. For this transgression, I was willing to forgive the Scene staff of The Observer.

Until I read Patrick Griffin’s Feb. 6 article about Tilly (“Tilly and the Wall, this week at Legends”). I actually had to read the phrase “the small-scale music scene of Omaha, Neb.” twice – three times – before assuring myself that it was not a misprint. Saddle Creek. Cursive. Bright Eyes. The Faint. The Good Life. Son, Ambulance. Tilly. Omaha’s music scene is anything but “small-scale.” Rilo Kiley lyrics reference going to Omaha to “work and exploit the booming music scene” as early as 2002. Just two years ago, The L.A. Times published an article entitled “If It’s Hip, It’s Gotta Be Omaha.” Rolling Stone magazine hailed Omaha’s music scene as the biggest thing since Seattle’s Grunge movement. Compared to the traditional music Meccas, full of transplants hoping to make it big, Omaha’s music scene is organic, coming from the city itself. After I got past the misleading first sentence, Griffin did an adequate at describing the band’s journey, despite focusing too much on tap dancing-as-percussion and not enough on the sense of wildness and freedom that inspires the band’s music and lyrics and is the real key to their growing success.

Amanda Johnson


Pasquerilla West Hall

Feb. 8