Lincoln Calling Day 3: UPC-hosted shows

Desert Noises, not holding back. Photo by Patrick Wright.


These are the bands that UPC scored in hosting for the first time in Lincoln Calling’s ten-year history during day one of two:

Orion Walsh
The Kickback
Desert Noises

For the overview of day 2 of UPC-hosted shows, go here:

Orion Walsh is a singer-songwriter from Omaha that plays sweet, smooth, calming American folk. It’s sometimes on the bluegrass side, sometimes on the acoustic side,  sometimes a little bit dark, and always a lot bit intimate.

View a further review of his performance at the Zoo Bar the previous night here: I missed his set. He played alone rather than with The Rambling Hearts as he did at the Zoo.

Orion frequents venues including Lincoln’s fairly often and has a new album coming out soon.

Freakabout! was good. They’re great for being a Lincoln act and the singer Courtney is only 22 and has a very strong voice and stage presence for her age.

What impresses me about Freakabout is their sense of fun on stage and their sense of business off stage. Freakabout had very organized and very attractive merchandise available and the same can be said about their website.

Freakabout! is straight rock. Certain voices suit certain kinds of music and Courtney’s hearty voice definitely fits the rocker vibe they are going for.

The band has lots of support from fellow Lincolnites. They performed well and were a good predecessor to The Kickback. The band has talent but they weren’t all that interesting to be honest with you. Freakabout! was still a great addition to the bill, however, and the audience seemed to be into most of the performance.


The Kickback kicked back my face from my head. They were great! When they started, they started with a bang–no soft transition, no individual instrument. The four-man group kicked off simultaneously, strongly and loudly, as rock shows should be.

The group is definitely rock: drums, guitar, bass, more guitar and occasional keys.

The charm of the guys was probably the ‘extra-something’ that they bring to the stage. (It seems that today bands need to have some sort of ‘extra something’ in order to stay alive if they are serious about their music career.)

The Kickback kept the audience’s attention through their fluid, upbeat, good-time rock and roll and through the brief commentary between songs. The lead singer said things like, “This one’s about your parents getting divorced. I hope you enjoy.” or “This one is about the difficulty of dating a French-Canadian native. I hope you enjoy.” I’m not sure if he meant to be funny, but it was somehow hilarious in those moments.

The band seemed to have a great following. They brought in a significant amount of people up front, finally filling up the space in front of the stage.

Even for someone totally unfamiliar with the band, their music is accessible and enjoyable. The Kickback’s music is strong and powerful. It’s upbeat and danceable, if not undeniably head-bob-able and foot-tap-able. It’s fast rock that wants to party. It’s a good time on a Thursday night.

Be sure to look for this band’s debut album, coming in February. They’re from Chicago, so keep your eyes open for shows nearby–they’re worth a drive.


Desert Noises were great, too! (Nice job, UPC!) They, too, started off with an initial bang, playing smoothly and cohesively together. This band is also seriously worth a listen and a drive to go see.

There is a reason both Desert Noises and The Kickback were booked to play both at this show and later in the night at The Bourbon: They both have the full package to offer, quite seriously:

  1. Their recorded music is listenable and playable, like driving in a car playable.
  2. Their live music is excellent: the sound quality, the talent, the cohesiveness, and the entertainment and charm of the guys on stage.

Desert Noises is something special. Well first I gotta mention that I love the style of these guys. The drummer has an intense head of curly blond hair and wears straight up John Denver glasses. The lead singer has hair about has long as mine (that’s long). They’ve got this sort of cool, I-don’t-care-but-I-do rocker thing and it’s working for them.

But Desert Noises effortlessly stands out in the landscape they are drifting in–the landscape of young, modern rock. One could call this music indie rock or alternative rock, and it is to a high degree, but it’s also so much more than that.

Desert Noises is unique because so much of it has an old soul to it. Some songs are so reminiscent of 1960s/70s pop-rock. I think it’s something that I can’t put my finger on about the lead singer’s vocals and they way members harmonize together.

Beyond that, the band does some sweet time shifts that catch you off guard and keep you excited.

Go check out their new EP, I Won’t See You. I won’t see you disappointed.

For full information on Lincoln Calling, go here: