Maha brings music and more to the metro



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Photos by Hailey Stolze 

With summer winding down and school starting again, Maha comes at the perfect time for those anxious to get in one last summer show.

The Maha Music Festival brought a record 5,100 people to Stinson Park last Saturday to see indie groups such as Bob Mould, Matt & Kim and The Flaming Lips. With 13 acts in the lineup, the festival provided a varied musical experience that was well worth the $45 (Or $55, for those who paid at the door) admission price.

Although alternative/indie rock dominated the show, hip hop group Purveyors of the Conscious Sound, Texan folk-rockers Sons of Fathers and the garage rock quartet Rock Paper Dynamite added some stylistic variety to Maha. Both local and national bands were selected to perform, which gave Maha a strong blend of more known and unknown acts. Though the entire show was worthy of seeing, Stinson Park truly began filling up for peppy duo Matt & Kim.

I’m not the biggest Matt & Kim fan, but their live performance at Maha was spectacular. The couple dared the audience to cheer louder, rock harder and above all, have a great time. Drummer Kim Schifino would stand on top of her drum kit dancing and clapping, and she even walked out into the crowd, suspended on the hands of cheering fans. While Matt & Kim were rooted in their fun loving ways, headlining Maha was The Flaming Lips, a group which seemed about as otherworldly as the UFO they claimed hovered above the crowd.

With their psychedelic tracks and an out-of-this-world stage, The Flaming Lips concluded Maha with an enigmatic performance. Singer Wayne Coyne delivered his space age lyrics from a raised pedestal consisting of large, silver balls and light up ropes. The strobe lights, confetti and crazy costumes delivered the best visual experience of the night, but the bulky on-stage apparatus hindered any on-stage interaction between the artists. As interesting as it was, the Lips failed to compete with Matt & Kim’s energetic performance.

Aside from the music, Maha included several other art forms. Comedy and poetry acts were hosted in a small, “air-conditioned” tent. Several wall-sized canvases, provided by the Kent Bellows Studio and Center for Visual Arts, were covered with marker doodles and spray paint murals. A large sculpture crafted with triangular pieces of cardboard and zip ties was even decorated and assembled during the twelve hour event. Maha truly brought music and more to the Metro.

Fortunately, all this wonderful art could be enjoyed a little bit more thanks to Maha’s well-run logistics. Waiting lines, whether for food vendors or Port-a-Potties, were never unbearable, and freely available water kept concert-goers hydrated during the hotter parts of the day. Several performances even ran ahead of schedule, all thanks to the small army of Maha volunteers.

Several sponsors contributed to make Maha a well rounded show. Schnackel Engineers provided free water bottles, the Durham Museum and Bellevue University provided fun activities for younger audiences (something that helped to round out the all ages show), while non-profits such as Inclusive Communities brought ideas for positive change in the Omaha area.

From the hard rocking college students to the young children wandering the grounds, Maha Music Festival was a place where anyone in the Metro area could find something to enjoy.

Grant Harrison
Commentary Editor