What: Maha Music Festival featuring 13 bands (see below)
When: Begins at noon Saturday, August 17
Where: Stinson Park, Aksarben Village, 64th and Center streets
Human-sized hamster ball. That's Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips inside one in the photo above. And I'm still holding out hope that it's part of the band's set on Saturday (August 17) at Omaha's beloved Maha Music Festival.
The Oklahoma-rooted band – which headlines the daylong, 13-band event at Aksarben Village's Stinson Park – has changed their live show a bit in recent months. There's still an amazing light show and confetti cannons, too. But the giant plastic bubble is reportedly gone. Still, it is a festival, after all. Maybe, just maybe ... .
And you know what? It doesn't really matter. I, along with thousands of other concert-goers, are going to have a ball no matter what, because this – the fifth installment of Maha – is going to be the most awe-inspiring one yet.
In addition to the ever-so-quirky psychedelic pop-rock of the Flaming Lips, there will be 12 other bands that will rock their indie hearts out beginning at noon. Below is a brief look at the lineup. The Maha Music Festival, at Aksarben Village's Stinson Park, 64th and Center streets, on Saturday (August 17) begins at 12:05 p.m. with local hip-hop group Purveyors of the Conscious Sound, which won a battle of the bands contest to secure the opening slot. Omaha rock trio Millions of Boys, with a bit of an edge in the vein of Sleater-Kenney, will follow at 12:40 p.m. HERS will share the stage with members of this summer's Omaha Girls Rock! camp at 1:20 p.m., followed by a set of folk-rock courtesy of Sons of Fathers at 1:55 p.m. An hour later, at 2:45 p.m., popular Omaha buzz band Rock Paper Dynamite, who put on one hella show, will take the stage and blast the crowd with bluesy, funky pop-rock with a nod to the likes of Kings of Leon. At 3:20 p.m., San Francisco's Thao & the Get Down Stay Down bring their indie rock stylings – with a nice crisp folk slant – to the Maha stage. Next at 4:25 p.m. is the final (probably) show ever by famed Lincoln rockers the Millions, who rose to alternative rock fame in the early '90s on the wave of grunge, although mostly removed from that Seattle-rooted scene. Speaking of the west coast, Portland band the Thermals takes the mic next at 5 p.m. with what no doubt will be a scratchy set – they're a trio – of lo-fi, no frills rock that is sure to get those in attendance pumped up for the meat-and-potatoes portion of the festival. At 6:05 p.m., another popular Omaha band, Criteria, will perform. Formed by ex-Cursive founding member and Duke University School of Law graduate Steve Pedersen, Criteria is an engaging band to listen to – lots of levels and movements up and down within a single song. It's an infectious sound. Bob Mould, one of the pioneers of alt-rock in the '80 and '90s, will take over at 6:45 p.m. with his current band. You might remember Mould from his previous bands Hüsker Dü ('80s) and Sugar ('90s). He's a songwriter of epic proportions. Digital Leather, with a punky-go-New Wavey, sometimes synth-spiked sound, performs at 7:55 p.m. If you're a fan of Bright Eyes, the Faint (Todd Fink is now on keyboards) and the Saddle Creek vibe then you'll want to be front-and-center for this performance. Matt & Kim, a New York indie pop duo overflowing with melodic, free-spirited songs, will get the spotlight next at 8:55 p.m. Finally, the Flaming Lips round out the daylong festival at 10:15 p.m. with what will surely be another amazing set from this formative band. Melodic, lush, multi-layered, psychedelic – the Flaming Lips' arrangements are often described as space rock because, well, it fits. Expect the unexpected with this set. The Flaming Lips' live shows are known for often being elaborate with wild costumes, balloons, video, complex stage lighting, giant hands, confetti cannons, and front man Wayne Coyne's signature man-sized plastic bubble, in which he "walks" among the audience. Will they do any of that on Saturday for Maha? We sure hope so!