Rock Candy: Local bands get ready to take the stage

Digital Leather is among the Omaha bands at South by Southwest.

Maha Music Festival is a pretty great day of music, featuring some of the biggest names in rock and indie music.

It's also a showcase of local talent. Local bands are selected for the festival as a way to recognize the bands' achievements and place in the local music scene. There's no better award for a local band than to be selected to play Maha.

This year, seven area groups will play the festival. Most of them were selected for the local stage, but punk band Millions of Boys will open up the main stage.

Millions of Boys

The trio's 2012 album, “Competing For Your Love,” has the kind of songs you'd hear The Ramones singing around 1976. “Sparky + Mittens” is about a cat and dog running away together — and it is excellent.

Digital Leather

These fuzzed-out and mighty fast guys might be the loudest band to take the local stage on Saturday. Digital Leather has recently added more of the synth found on its albums to its rather noisy punk rock performances with the addition of Todd Fink of The Faint on keyboards.


Steve Pedersen and his rock band haven't put out any new music since 2005's “When We Break,” which was released on Saddle Creek Records. Maybe it has something to do with the lyrics in “Prevent the World” about making a living from music. Anyway, Criteria is still one of the best local bands around.

The Millions

It's their last show. Probably ever. Signed to a major label in 1991 before later breaking up, the band reformed last year to release an album of rarities and play a few shows. After a couple of years of occasional shows, the band will end its run after the performance at Maha.

Rock Paper Dynamite

These guys don't ever take much of a break. They always seem to be playing a show and releasing new music, including the band's 2013 EP “RPD.” Power-pop and hard rock with a Southern edge is what you'll encounter on new songs such as “Drinkin' Boots” and “Waiting.”


One of the best sets I'm expecting is from HERS, which will perform with some of the young ladies who recently attended the Omaha Girls Rock! camp. I don't know exactly what they'll play yet, but that should be fun.

Purveyors of the Conscious Sound

Hip-hop will see its only representation at Maha from Purveyors of the Conscious Sound, which won its spot at the festival through a battle of the bands. Expect EDM-influenced instruments, hip-hop lyrics from dueling MCs and serene vocals from singer Liz Graham. Want to try it out? Download the album from

Community Campus

They're not a local band but a bunch of local organizations worth mentioning. Returning to Maha this year is a group of nonprofit organizations with booths including Durham Museum, Film Streams, Goodwill Omaha and Nebraska AIDS Project, among several others.







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