My Day at MAHA
First off, I want to thank all of the sponsors that made MAHA 2010 possible, and specifically Omaha.net for putting on the contest that got me free tickets! You guys rock. Almost as much as Spoon.
Like many other MAHA attendees, I had trouble sleeping the night before the show. I was just too excited! Then, in my late-night Internet browsing, I saw a Twitter post from Ben Kweller stating that his flight was canceled and he could not make it to MAHA. Hoping that somehow things would get worked out, I went to bed.
I woke up to the good news that although flights were canceled, all of the bands would be able to make it to the festival. Everything went according to plan, save for a small lineup change and a late start. The late start even allowed me to get to MAHA on time to see the first band!
I arrived at MAHA just in time to bask in the warm sun while Voodoo Method kicked off the festival. Their energetic, funky rock had me dancing. However, the highlight of the show was Pierre Minor’s improvisations and stage presence. His sometimes spastic and frenzied antics pumped up the already excited crowd.
One of my favorite local bands, It’s True, opened the main stage with a wonderful set. Although they are no longer together, It’s True stayed on form. Their songs ranged from indescribably beautiful to raucously emotional. It’s True closed their second-to-last performance with one of their best songs, “What Have I Done.” It was a bittersweet finale; the band had put on a magnificent show.
Regrettably, I missed most of the Betsy Wells set as I was wandering around the riverfront checking out the merch tents and sponsor booths. I picked up a poster and some much-needed sunscreen and enjoyed some shade.
I made my way back to the main stage, expecting to see Ben Kweller. However, due to the flight cancellation, Old 97’s took the stage. I had not listened to much of Old 97’s music prior to MAHA, but I definitely enjoyed their performance. Even though their set was during one of the hottest parts of the day, a cool breeze was blowing in off the river. I could not have asked for better weather on Saturday.
I was both relieved and excited to see the large cowboy hat and long curly hair of Ben Kweller as he set up on the main stage while Landing on the Moon rocked the local stage. He had made it after all! Despite his grueling twelve hour trip to Omaha, Kweller’s set was upbeat and fun. Highlights included “Falling” and “Sawdust Man,” and had fans singing along. Unfortunately, his set was rather short, no doubt due to the lineup changes.
I only recently started listening to Superchunk, and I was pretty excited to see them live. Superchunk did not disappoint. The crowd’s energy matched that of the rowdy rockers on stage. Possibly the best part of the set was that I could tell that Superchunk was really excited to be playing at MAHA. They rocked out, bounced around the stage, and put on a good show.
Omaha natives The Faint had one of the most anticipated sets of the day. The crowd was abuzz while The Faint set up otherworldly mannequins alongside their instruments. (An added bonus of the one hour delay was that The Faint took the stage just after sundown. I cannot imagine a Faint show during the daylight!) And sure enough, once the concert started, anyone near the main stage (and even some fans in the back) turned into a sweaty dancing machine.
The Faint set left me exhausted, and after about ten hours of standing on concrete, my feet hurt pretty bad. But none of that mattered when Spoon took the stage. They appeared as the antithesis to The Faint with minimal lighting and mostly acoustic instruments. However, by the time they got to “The Underdog,” the crowd was again dancing and singing along. Spoon sounded fantastic with and without their horn section and was a perfect way to end the night.
What a lineup! All of the bands were excellent. But my favorite aspect of MAHA 2010 was the atmosphere. The event was oriented toward the Omaha community and was sponsored by local businesses. In addition, everyone I met at MAHA, including volunteers and sponsors, were very friendly. MAHA attendees even acted like one big family—a few fights broke out, but generally everyone got along.
Even a day after the concert, my body still aches a bit, and I got the slightest of sunburns even after putting on all that sunscreen. But it was all worth it. I hope to see you at MAHA 2011!