Who could have predicted what we lived through over the past 12 months? Well, I guess I could. Before I give you a glimpse of what’s to come in ’22, let’s see how I did predicting ’21.
2021 Prediction: Vaccinating enough people so it feels safe to go to concerts again will take a lot longer than anyone expects. The Waiting Room, Reverb Lounge and The Slowdown will begin booking touring bands again beginning in July. O’Leaver’s will plug in the amps in early fall, alongside The Brothers Lounge.
Reality: That timeline was pretty straight-on, except for O’Leaver’s, which just started up again in December.
2021 Prediction: The Maha Music Festival will be back in late summer, though we’ll all still be wearing masks and social distancing (sort of). South By Southwest, which takes place in March, will remain a digital-only affair.
Reality: Pretty much a direct hit.
2021 Prediction: Save Our Stages legislation will pass, eventually.
Reality: The legislation did pass and many venues were helped, but for some, it was too little too late.
2021 Prediction: Despite federal SOS and CARES Act money finally flowing, venues will continue to go out of business, including a major Omaha player.
Reality: We lost The Brothers Lounge as well as Barley Street Tavern, though there’s no direct evidence that COVID did them in.
2021 Prediction: Under pressure from some very large artists, streaming services (and labels) will be forced to look at how they’re compensating talent.
Reality: Nothing’s changed, though Bandcamp now tosses a few extra bucks to performers by waiving fees on Bandcamp Fridays — the first Friday of every month.
2021 Prediction: After a year of ordering stuff online, shoppers will rush back to brick-and-mortars post pandemic, and record stores will be a big beneficiary.
Reality: There are now four record stores in the Old Market alone, more than before the advent of digital media.
2021 Prediction: Live-streamed rock shows will become a new revenue generator for bands and venues that learned how to properly produce and monetize the events.
Reality: A few bands have done it (Bob Mould, for example), but venues, not so much.
2021 Prediction: The floodgates will burst as artists rush to release recordings they’ve held until they could return to the road.
Reality: Is it me or were there more albums than ever released last year?
2021 Prediction: Bob Dylan won’t be missing that song catalog he just sold to Universal.
Reality: Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t.
2021 Prediction: Bands and performers we’ll be talking about this time next year: Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, The Faint, The Good Life, David Nance, Courtney Barnett, Little Brazil, Nick Cave, The National, Angel Olson, Modest Mouse, Phoebe Bridgers and U2.
Reality: Meh, though we did hear from Courtney, Nick and Angel; and Phoebe is as popular as ever.
2021 Prediction: I’ve given up on my annual “Conor Oberst on SNL” prediction, which almost guarantees this is the year it’ll happen.
Reality: Hey, maybe Conor doesn’t want to play SNL …?
Final count: I’m giving myself 8 out of 11. Best year ever? OK, moving on to 2022…
Prediction: COVID-19 will have its last ugly gasp this winter and then will quickly fade away (except from our memories). By late summer, music venues’ mask and vax mandates will be a thing of the past.
Prediction: With TikTok creating the next generation of pop stars (Tai Verdes ring a bell?), and The Mountain Goats “No Children” going viral, more indie acts will take advantage of the platform. God help us all.
Prediction: The Maha Music Festival will be back and at full capacity at Stinson Park. But it won’t be alone. Another Nebraska-based, indie-flavored, day-long music festival will be announced in ’22 that will be in direct competition.
Prediction: With two small music venues closing in ’21, watch as a new small live music venue opens to help fill the void.
Prediction: Helping fill those small-venue stages will be an army of next-generation indie bands created during the pandemic, many consisting of children of the aught-era indie bands that made Omaha famous.
Prediction: Unfortunately, when it comes to popular national indie acts, we’ll continue to be “NOmaha” for national tours.
Prediction: Look for another big-time indie music name to be taken down by a #metoo-style scandal.
Prediction: Coming off one of its most successful years (The Spirit of the Beehive, Indigo De Souza, Hand Habits) and after opening offices in Los Angeles and New York City, Saddle Creek Records will make a major announcement that will impact the label’s Omaha legacy.
Prediction: Bands and performers we’ll be talking about this time next year: David Nance, Little Brazil, Modest Mouse, Christian Lee Hutson, DIIV, Spoon, Desaparecidos, Yo La Tengo, Jenny Lewis and (once again) Phoebe Bridgers.
Prediction: No Filter 2021 will be the last Rolling Stones tour.
Prediction: A certain music journalist will finally seriously begin compiling information for an oral history of the Omaha/Nebraska music scene. When / if it ever gets published is anyone’s guess.
Prediction: After years of being shut out, a Saddle Creek Records act will finally perform on SNL. It’s about time.
Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.