[title size=”1 to 6″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]LINCOLN EXPOSED DAY 1[/title]
1. A walk through the night in whole at Duffy’s on the first night of Lincoln Exposed.
Bands: The Allendales, Dear Herman, Thirst Things First, Jazzocracy, Bogusman.
2. What went down at Zoo Bar, day 2 of Lincoln Exposed.
Bands covered: St. Christopher, Orion Walsh, North of Neptune.
Seeds did not cover the shows at Bourbon this night.
[title size=”1 to 6″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]1. Lincoln Exposed Day 1: DUFFY’S[/title]
Story by Corey Oldenhuis | Photos by Matt Knapp | Seeds Entertainment
[title size=”2″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]The Allendales[/title]
Early Wednesday evening at Duffy’s Tavern the three-venue showcase of Lincoln’s eclectic music scene kicked off with The Allendales, a refreshingly talented country-rock n’ roll group that smoothly blends in bits of blues-rock flair and pinches of pop-punk undertone.
While these rustic rockers certainly had what one would expect from a band that claims inspiration from classical country (i.e. lyrics involving “my baby,” sung with that palpable twain in the vocals), their peculiar stock in other genres helped keep them congruent in an otherwise divergent Lincoln Exposed line-up. What is more, the Allendales alternated between two lead singers, each with their own style (one being decidedly less twangy than the other), which definitely ensured a sense of tonal variety in their set. The Allendales’ first song, in fact, seemed almost to lean towards a spirited, Springsteen-esque sound. Regardless of whether their riffs were based in hearty blues-rock, faster dominant chord grooves, or just plain jovial jams, The Allendales generated an inescapable air of Americana; it was the type of music intended to evoke flashbacks of youthful wanderings around train tracks, magical summers spent by the lake, etc. The cohesive musicality of The Allendales, though unexpected, established an early precedent at the home of the feted fish bowl.
[title size=”2″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Dear Herman[/title]
Continuing the standard was the charming group titled Dear Herman, who, in addition to having drums, bass, and guitar, also boasted a mandolin, accordion, trumpet, and two cellos.
At the helm of this cozy folk band with slight alternative country influences was the delightful duo of Crystal Davy and Melissa Taylor. Together, the stage sisters produced undeniably demure vocal harmonies.
For the first half of Dear Herman’s set, unfortunately, the bass was far too resonant and drowned out the much anticipated sound of double cellos. Besides this qualm, no other criticism could come to a band whose many individual instruments coalesced so beautifully. The album they played through, “Sincerely, Dorothy,” was the compilation of fictional letters written by a mother looking for reconciliation in her child’s life; in this way, the slow, major key tonal pieces of Dear Herman sounded kind of like a less comical “How I Met Your Mother” episode, which was quite entertaining to follow.
What enticed the swelling number of patrons most was a tune that sustained a south-of-the-border feel, complete with the signature mariachi trumpet and a Spanish chorus. Collectively, Dear Herman provided a pleasant and convivial atmosphere.
[title size=”2″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Jazzocracy[/title]
The third band to perform for the patrons of Duffy’s may have called themselves Jazzocracy, but hardly anyone in the then diminished audience was exercising their jazzocratic right to jam out. It wasn’t because the swing was subpar, or the bebop bad—hell, these guys were practical jazz wizards. The lull in energy sensed during their set can really only be accredited to the fact that jazz itself often requires an abstract and ambitious ear. Compared to the rest of the bands, Jazzocracy stuck out like sore, unappreciated thumb.
Their first tune was Hancock’s classic “Cantaloupe Island,” but sadly it felt as though the five man squad were on their own island, disconnected from the audience and jamming with little concern for their surroundings. What was most impressive about the group was the blazing solos guaranteed in every song by the trombone, sax, and guitar; each musician filled their respective solo to the brim with individuality and creative phrasing. For a brief time, Jazzocracy gave Duffy’s a swanky hot club feel, but too much continuous jazz desensitizes the ear and gives birth to boredom. The overarching vibe after watching Jazzocracy play was this: righteous band, wrong venue.
[title size=”2″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]The In-Betweens[/title]
As if to purposely juxtapose the scattered note frenzy of Jazzocracy, a pair of sisters armed with two ukuleles and an accordion brought concert-goers back to the comfort of common catchiness.
Accompanied by their daughter/niece who expertly played a saw—yes, an actual saw used to cut things—with a bow, and Pat Nichols (from the Pat Nichols Trio, which later that same night played a show down at the Zoo Bar) on bass, the group named The In-Betweens performed music that lent itself keenly to slow-dancing with an indie chick.
Calling it peppiness wouldn’t be justified, but the band did also proudly strut a particular bubbliness in their songs, thanks in no small part to the use of a toy piano and the whistling wind effect of that saw. The melodies of The In-Betweens weren’t exactly the most creative, but overall, were kind to the average ear. That being said, as the show progressed, their instruments meandered noticeably into the woods where the wild, slightly off-tune things are. Another downside of The In-Betweens’ set was that after three or so songs, it became clear that their style was disappointingly redundant. Above all, the group was simple and enjoyable, but probably would have been better suited as an opener.
[title size=”2″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Thirst Things First[/title]
Many punk rock bands, even the usually lighthearted pop-punk ones, saturate their sound with political statements or societal criticisms that either make them sound like bitchy adults not wanting to adapt to life, or prophetic rebels seeking meaningful change. After the band known as Thirst Things First finally got their patented video setup functioning on Duffy’s TVs, the high-octane orchestrators of punchy punk sparked some confusion: Okay, so what the heck is their message? On the surface, the odd video sequences which introduced each song and featured the lead singer dressed as a dictator with a chipmunk voice seemed to concentrate on oil. But it didn’t take long to realize their obsession with oil is more of an enigma (or perhaps an inside joke) than it is a serious message—that is, unless a message does indeed exist, but is simply buried beneath heaps of offbeat humor. These bizarre clips, which had cameo appearances by a pizza-eating cat, some jugs of milk, and a random friend of the band’s, induced both smiles and head-scratches alike.
But Thirst Things First owned their weirdness, blasting forth with well-executed rhythm and vocals. The witty and spastic front man, with his intentionally shaky, exaggerated singing, was easily comparable to The Car’s Ric Ocasek, or Talking Head’s David Byrne. He wasn’t limited to this approach, however, for during a song dedicated to college kids, he mimicked the “I’m just a punk kid” vocal style that bands such as Sum 41 and Blink-182 pioneered. With jams ranging from what one might expect a teen skater in the early 00’s to be listening to, to the surprisingly mainstream rock hit “Sexaphone,” Thirst Things First dished out plenty of adrenaline. And beef sticks. No, really–one of their quirky antics included handing out beef jerky. Obsessed with oil and fond of cryptic humor? Yes. Skilled musicians and showmen? Oh hell yes.
[title size=”2″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Bogusman[/title]
Drenched in angst and exploding with energy, closing act Bogusman reminded a late-night crowd what pure punk sounds like: a whirling sharknado of grungy tones and discombobulated screams charging into ear canals at invigorating speeds. The lead singer was polite and appreciative of the crowd’s support, but once a song started, he dropped all traces of civility and his perfectly hipster hair thrashed around to a music laced with garage-rock influence (though far more fierce and far less repetitive than The Ramones, who championed such sound). The band’s bassist certainly shared the enthusiasm, for in the middle of their gutsy jamming, his eyes—which were housed behind retro plastic-frame glasses–would roll back into his head as if he were possessed by all the punk rockers of days past. Bogusman carried the torch into the close of Lincoln Exposed’s first night at Duffy’s Tavern, so thankfully things wrapped up with a kickass banging of heads.
In sum, the big winners were accordions, cats, and in your-face punk, while the night’s losers were jazz bands, cellos, and unimaginative indie.
[title size=”1 to 6″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]LINCOLN EXPOSED Day 1: ZOO BAR[/title]
By Annie Bohling
[title size=”2″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]
- St. Christopher, consisting only of Christopher himself, a drummer and occasionally, a fiddler.
St. Christopher might be the best act of Lincoln Exposed…but there are still three more days of music yet, so it’s a little early to jump to such a conclusion.
But he was easily the most interesting act at Zoo Bar on the first day of Lincoln Exposed. By far.
Even the sound check before this duo was unexpectedly interesting. Standard rock instruments were being tested–then a banjo, then a fiddle. Joining folky string instruments with classic rock sounds is nothing new, but fusing that with punk soul and St. Christopher’s solidly badass attitude is nothing short of a treat.
The music on stage was so loud and so full from just two people. It was rock/rock-and-roll/punk/and Devil-Goes-Down-to-Georgia blues. It was dark, bad (slang) and completely lovable. Lincoln doesn’t have anything like St. Christopher.
The set was fluid in its sound and its movement. It charged forward steadily and loudly. Christopher injected between songs a few times, also loudly. “Revolution, motherfuckers!” His loose, comfortable and casual demeanor transferred to the crowd obviously and explicitly but also through the music.
[title size=”2″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Orion Walsh[/title]
The transition from St. Christopher’s loud, badass, weird and wild set into the simple, straight-forward, acoustic one-man set that is Orion Walsh was a somewhat comical transition.
Orion Walsh has, for some time, been an assumed act included in local festivals like Lincoln Calling and Lincoln Exposed. In the past, Walsh has been accompanied by a band but the artist claims himself as a solo act. On Wednesday, he was a man with his guitar. And his banjo. And his harmonica. And his kazoo. And pedals and tambourine.
A solo act is dull without being able to feature multi-instrumental talent like Walsh is able to do. Orion Walsh’s sets are always pleasant but also usually the same from one performance to another. That doesn’t matter as much as how diverse each set itself is. Only so much diversity can come from one man and a handful of instruments. Because of his multi-instrumental offerings and despite it, Walsh’s set was a bit slow and slightly dull for that time of the night after the audience was riled up from the music and energy of St. Christopher but what he had to offer was just enough to keep audience members awake and listening.
Nevertheless, Walsh never broke composure nor stride in his sound or confidence. He is an intimate act; his presence is like a friend playing at a some small gathering. He consistently hit the notes on the guitar, the tamborine at his foot and of his vocals on cue all at once. Walsh’s vocals are smooth, too, as he opens his heart and sings of things like rejection and being a touring artist.
Unlike some acoustic man-and-guitar acts, his music is not too emotionally transparent to the point of inspiring gagging. Orion’s sound and material on stage are mature and the product is harmless and comfortable for the listener. Walsh aims for his songs to be down-home, front-porch, warm anthems but they don’t quite reach that caliber. Criticism aside, Walsh carried out his set as he seemed to have intended to do, hitting every note on point and boasted vocals that never croaked or cracked.
The Lincoln musician praised Lincoln Exposed and all of the supporters of the four day music festival. He wished he could stay for it but was getting on a plane the next day to go on tour.
[title size=”4″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]North of Neptune[/title]
North of Neptune, of a group of four young Nebraskan musicians, started the set of smartly when they flipped on the switch of their music out of no where.
The group keeps it simple by including the classic instruments that any rock four-piece would have. The opening song grabbed the crowd with the electric guitar’s trailing, echoey, hoppy sounds from the electric guitar. These sounds made for some reggae type vibes that only sometimes shined through and were often masked by the lead singer’s plain voice. North of Neptune’s music is straight-forward, quick and mild rock, comparable the singer’s voice.
The sometimes strung-out guitar playing entranced the audience for a few songs and was at the core of holding the interest of this band together. Unfortunately, the set did not get much more interesting or climatic. North of Neptune opened with maybe their best song which can be a risky or smart move. Whichever the case is for North of Neptune, they performed very well with smooth delivery and sharp sound and offered a much more exciting turn to the night than the previous set which may or may not be saying a lot.
[Pat Nichols capped off the night and Seeds did not cover it.]
Lincoln Exposed lasts from Wednesday, February 5, to Saturday, February 8. View the full schedule of the music festival here: http://seedsent.com/lincoln-exposed-2014-schedule/