And now, the conclusion of my annual music predictions columns, where I gaze into the glossy black finish of a Fender Squier and see visions of what will occur in the coming days / months / years. Hang onto your hats, because it’s time for the Lightning Round!
-- With all this new technology that (presumably) puts every bit of music ever released at our fingertips, a new appreciation for curated radio will emerge. And by that, I don't mean radio programmed by a closetful of brain-dead suits somewhere in balmy El Lay, but rather a low-watt or web-based alternative station whose content is developed by a guy or gal who could be standing next to you in line at Baker’s. Look for not one, but two stabs at creating a low-power FM community radio station in Omaha next year, the result of S.592, a.k.a. the Local Community Radio Act. And remember, it's only as good as you make it.
– Benson’s rebirth as Omaha’s music/tattoo/booze/vice hub hasn’t gone unnoticed outside of our little burg. A Hollywood film crew will set up shop in ’12 to document the creation of our little street of dreams as a weekly “reality” TV show featuring a gaggle of lovable characters. The Real Housewives of Benson? Benson Venue Wars? Benson Park Hillbilly Hand Fishing? Make sure the camera gets your good side.
-- Speaking of film making, the fine work of one of our many local videographers will catch the attention of a large-ish national record label who will either fly one of their rock stars to Omaha or fly an Omaha video crew to the rock star to create a music video that will air on MTV and/or go “viral” on the interwebs.
-- Last year saw Homer’s worldwide chain of stores get whittled down to just one measly location in the Old Market. This year will mark a rebirth of sorts for Omaha’s favorite independent music retailer when it alters direction to broaden its customer base. Translated: Homer’s will become much more than just a music store.
– As we mourn the death of The Anchor Inn interest in outdoor concerts continues to grow (even as club attendance at rock shows continues to dwindle). Local promoters will reach out to a few new park-like compounds to host large concerts like MAHA and Playing with Fire in places you’d never imagine. And yes, Memorial Park and a certain Sarpy County ballpark will be in the mix.
-- Speaking of outdoor festivals, did that burning sea of empty pavement that greeted Red Sky’s unattended day programming and a half-empty (or more) Ameritrade Ballpark teach MECA anything? This year at least one big name indie-style rock act – someone you’ll actually be excited to see -- will get booked for Red Sky and make you rethink the whole debacle… until you see the rest of the festival’s line-up. Another poor year of ticket sales will force MECA to rethink Red Sky's future (just like the organizers of Kanrocksas are doing right now).
– Early planning by the fine folks at the MAHA Music Festival, on the other hand, will pay off big time this year as they land one of their all-time dream bands (But will they be able to sell enough tickets and find enough sponsors to pay the enormous guarantee? Yes). This will be MAHA’s the last year at Stinson Park, as the concert turns into a real-life “festival” in 2013.
-- Artists we’ll be talking about this time next year: MGMT, M.I.A., Conduits, The xx, Lana Del Rey, Bloc Party, Black Sabbath, Frightened Rabbit, Sleigh Bells, Garbage, Modest Mouse, The Shins, Paul Westerberg, The Mynabirds, Van Halen, The Arcade Fire, Husker Du, Digital Leather, Tilly and the Wall, Best Coast, Ritual Device and Beck.
-- Artists we won’t be talking about this time next year: Katy Perry, Cee Lo Green, Metallica, Bright Eyes, Kanye, Black Keys, Black Lips, Ryan Adams, Bon Iver, M83, Vampire Weekend, RHCP, Madonna, The Bieber and The Gaga.
-- This year all of Eddie Van Halen’s problems will be resolved once and for all.
-- Despite the many music- and culture-focused websites that have popped up over the past couple years, a new locally produced, slick print publication will emerge in 2012 with a special emphasis on music, art and fashion. And don’t bother looking for it online.
-- As an experiment, Matador, Sub Pop or our very own Saddle Creek will release an entire formal full-length album by one of their top acts as a free download (You’ll still have to pay for the vinyl, and there will be no CD). Its success will breath new life into an already-established (though waning) act who will see its biggest crowds ever on tour, generating merch and back-catalog sales for the label and causing the music industry to rethink (again) how it does business.
-- The next local act to break through on a national level won’t come from the indie ranks, but from Omaha’s under-appreciated hip-hop scene. As a result, look for a new hip-hop / urban-focused club to launch somewhere in midtown or downtown in 2012.
-- Bright Eyes never made it onto SNL, but nothing will stop Cursive from stepping onto that famous 30 Rock stage.
And finally, one of the city’s longest-running local music columns will call it a day in 2012, but only in print (it will continue to live on (forever?) on the Internet). Now who could I possibly be talking about?
Lazy-i is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on the Omaha music scene. Check out Tim's daily music news updates at his website, lazy-i.com, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.