Lincoln Calling Day 4: UPC-hosted shows

The University Program Council of UNL hosted two separate days of shows as a part of Lincoln Calling for the first time in the festival’s ten year history. Here is an overview of day 2 (For Day 1 overview, go here:

Seeds does not take credit for the above photo.
Review by Corey Oldenhuis | Seeds Entertainment

When an assemblage of six musicians took stage early Friday evening, the crowd at Duffy’s Tavern didn’t quite know what to expect from a combination of guitar, trombone, keyboard, congas, kit, and bass–a noticeable change of pace from Lincoln Calling’s predominantly alt-rock setup.

Removing all doubts, local band A Ferocious Jungle Cat hit like a hurricane of feel-good grooves, riveting jazz-rock riffs, and charging rhythms.

Most of the audience beheld a skinny white keyboardist/lead singer sporting a backwards hat and naturally precluded the possibility of his pipes being anywhere close to John Legend caliber. But when the fervid Billy D. opened his mouth, he made fools of many and awestruck all patrons. His surprisingly soulful vocals captured the entire bar’s attention easily, for Billy D. halts heartbeats when he holds a note.

A Ferocious Jungle Cat showcased their musical adeptness by having members switch instruments throughout the act for various reasons. Ianardo Flemente’s trombone solos were astounding and tasteful, and the guitar comping of ‘Big Mike’ was equally well-rounded.

Songs shifted back and forth from laid back swing vibes, to fiery chord progressions designed for dance floors full of men in classy white suits and women in scandalous red dresses.

As if Ferocious Jungle Cat hadn’t done enough expectation-shattering, the drummer ‘Deep C’ featured in almost every tune as a rapper. Though again, not one whose physical appearance naturally points to ‘rhyme-buster,’ Deep C’s baritone verses were perfectly funky and catchy; had the rapping been executed with any lesser quality, the band would have lost some creditability, but Deep C killed it.

Overall, the band displayed a chic and flavorful sound that was debatably one of the best Lincoln Calling had to offer.

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A whole lotta maraca action and head bobbing is how Lawrence, Kansas’s Cowboy Indian Bear kicked off their show.

Their essential indie songs featured palliative down-tempo rhythm guitar blanketed on top of rumbling drums and piercing, reverberating vocals. It seemed the mantra of the band was group unity, whether that meant implementing lovely vocal harmonization or cooperative drumming; they were a few songs wherein the only member out of the 5 person group not playing any type of percussion was the bassist, and even he probably has a bumper-sticker on his car that reads “I’d rather be drumming.”

The effect created that all those drums was certainly memorable and entrancing. It wasn’t so much a pulsing, tribal ‘sacrifice the virgin to the Sun god’ style of drumming, but rather it accentuated the beats within their pieces to create a more heartfelt, moving sound.

Cowboy Indian Bear’s stage presence was chirpy, for every member came equipped with sharp witty comments and an altogether commendable sense of humor which the audience appreciated. For the climaxes of their songs, the guitarists got completely absorbed in their melodies and fed of each other as the intensity increased. With their warm keyboard action and occasional drum orgies, Cowboy Indian Bear made a strong note not to bore, and put on a solid show.

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A sort of Vampire Weekend-esque peppiness permeated the indie rock of the third act, Twinsmith.

Jordan Smith of Twinsmith
Photo by Annie Bohling | Seeds Entertainment

The Omaha natives managed a satisfying duality by brandishing a spirited rock that was also soft and echoey at times. Lead singer Jordan Smith made songs pop with irresistible catchiness whenever he added fun ‘woo woo’s and ‘ow ow’s in all the right places. His vocals were mainly eased-pace, which juxtaposed the band’s swifter instrumentals and proved to be a pleasing approach.

Three of four Twinsmith members.
Photo by Annie Bohling | Seeds Entertainment

The keyboard, manned by Matt Regner, was always light and jaunty, and the collective feel of their music conjured up scenes of everything from vivacious house parties to walking on a beach in slow-motion (in pensive Chris Martin fashion, of course). In addition to playing invigorating riffs, Smith also had brief but inspiring solos. Labeling Twinsmith as simply an indie band doesn’t suffice, for the self-proclaimed “classic rock shredders” like incorporate an array of sounds, all of which need to be heard.

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To cap off Friday’s UPC concerts, the curiously named Deerpeople brought their airy, wandering sound to Duffy’s. The band boasted a flute and a violin–instruments which hitherto had not been well-represented during the festival. The keyboard and the flute would either be angelically blended or musically argumentative with each other, but thankfully the later moments were only short-lived.

The band wrote some interesting note choices and chord structures but these artistic choices, while different, were always audibly acceptable and never unpleasing. Vocalist Brennan Barnes erupted with desperate, bone-rattling yelps in an attempt to powerfully convey a particular emotion to the crowd.

His efforts were apparently successful; people at Duffy’s were jamming out to Deerpeople’s resounding, cavernous noises. The audience really ate it up when Barnes whipped out a bag of homemade confetti and began hurling it emphatically at them whilst screaming “God save the criminals”–a definitive rock misfit move.

Deerpeople vocalist and keyboardist Brennan Barnes scooping out one of many handfuls of homemade confetti which he flew in front of the stage.
Photo by Annie Bohling | Seeds Entertainment
Barnes of Deerpeople, rocking his rock star thing.
Photo by Annie Bohling | Seeds Entertainment

Barnes then began belting out his ardent screams off-stage, stumbling around the floor of Duffy’s as if he were in a physical battle with his emotions–or just drunk. After almost falling off a table, he decided to lurch back on-stage, and Deerpeople finished a well-received set. The Oklahoma City band made their trek up to Lincoln Calling well-worth it by putting on quite a performance.

For a complete look at Lincoln Calling, go here: