Lincoln Exposed Preview

The following is a guest post by Andrew Stellmon. Andrew is a Team Member at Vinnie Krikac State Farm, and a frequent contributor to HearNebraska.org. Originally from Lee's Summit, MO, a suburb of Kansas City, he has lived in Lincoln since Fall 2007, when he began attending UNL. Andrew graduated in May 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in both History and Sociology. Andrew has contributed to HearNebraska.org since April 2014, and what began as an outlet for his passion for music turned into a position as an editorial intern for the Fall 2014 semester, covering local and national music in concert and album reviews and artist-focused interviews. Andrew also loves movies, coffee, craft-beer, tries to find time to read, and is a rabid Kansas City sports fan.

Lincoln Exposed Preview

Whether you’re a diehard fan of local music, or you’re interested in becoming one, its no exaggeration to say that the upcoming weekend is one of the most exciting of the year.

Beginning tonight, and running through Saturday, more than 60 local bands and hundreds of fans will converge on downtown Lincoln for Lincoln Exposed. The tenth annual local music showcase will feature everything from Lincoln music veterans to bands breaking into the scene and looking to make their mark. 

The four night event stands apart from its autumnal counterpart, Lincoln Calling, in a lot of ways. This past October, as it has in previous years, Lincoln Calling mixed bands from across the state with touring acts on eight stages around downtown. A few of those bands were Lincoln regulars like The Kickback and Sidewalk Chalk, both from Chicago.

With Lincoln Exposed, the festival is confined to three venues in close proximity - The Zoo Bar, Duffy’s Tavern, and The Bourbon Theatre - and will feature only bands which have Lincoln origins or close ties. The lineups are diverse in term of genre; if a festival-goer chose to remain at just one venue each night, they might hear a jug band, electronic rock, and progressive rock all on the same stage. However, the schedule is staggered, with a band starting every 20 minutes. With enough planning and hustle, the same patron could see every single act of the weekend.

The festival is important locally on a number of levels. Not only does genre diversity echo the wide variety of talent that resides in Lincoln and the rest of the state, its a celebration of the city's vibrant music scene. The fact that it happens to coincide with First Friday is an excellent reason to catch both art exhibit and rock show, but also speaks to the strength of the arts and culture in Lincoln. Simply put, it's an opportunity to enjoy the wealth of musical talent Lincoln has to offer.

In overwhelming anticipation, I have poured through the schedule (which you can find here) an unreasonable amount of times. I have noted some of the bands and scheduling quirks that peaked my interest, plus I have included some links to help us brush up:

  • Wednesday, the Bourbon is hosting a different event, so the action is confined to The Zoo Bar and Duffy’s. Fast rising indie rock six-piece Oketo will close the night at Duffy’s. They released an EP in October 2014 and are gearing up for a midwest/west coast tour that will stretch from February through May.
  • Orion Walsh has often played as a solo act over the last few years. After returning home from cross-country touring and travels, he has lately performed with a full band, the Rambling Hearts. He will do so at the Zoo Bar Wednesday, adding a little kick to his Americana.
  • I mentioned the jug band/electronic/progressive rock billing? That would be Thursday night at the Zoo Bar, with Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band, Omni Arms, Powers, Red Cities, and Universe Contest. Aside from its identity crisis, there’s a lot to love about this lineup. Root Marm is undeniably quirky and fun roots music. Universe Contest is a scene favorite and, with a newly shuffled lineup, look to unveil new songs and shed the spacey electronic layer of their prog rock sound for a more punky edge. Watch for flying beer cans (from crowd to stage, a staple at UC shows), and any combination of costumes, glitter, and balloons.
  • A musician of note: Powers and Universe Contest share drummer Jordan Elfers, and he should be one of the most exciting to watch all weekend. In fact, you can also catch him late Saturday night playing for pop punk band Thirst Things First.
  • Friday night at the Bourbon features Tie These Hands and Once A Pawn, both of which have long been active in Lincoln. Sputnik Kaputnik, which released a double album in November, will play in between them. As will Bud Heavy & the High Lifes, who I saw for the first time in October for Lincoln Calling (their set is reviewed as part of this coverage from Hear Nebraska). Bud Heavy plays punk infused folk rock at breakneck speeds, and will also engage in plenty of crowd interaction.
  • The Zoo Bar again looks to be the most diverse on Friday, traversing California garage rock, folk rock, and hard rock. Halfwit, which typically draws a large crowd, will close the night at the Zoo. The energy, dexterity, and myriad facial expressions of bassist Saber Blazek are alone worth hanging for the midnight start time. Hear Nebraska also reports that it will be the band’s last show for awhile, as they break to write and record (and as their Facebook page notes, enjoy “chillin’, frisbee, [and] band lunches.”)
  • That Hear Nebraska link above also features photos of sludge punk band Bogusman, which will perform at Duffy’s Friday as part of an extremely loud couple of hours. They have been playing around Lincoln and Omaha quite often as of late, and are starting to hit their stride (read a review of their November performance at Urban Outfitters here).
  • Saturday is jam packed; if I already didn’t wish I had a Time-Turner for the entire weekend, it would be great to have that night. If I had to highlight a few can’t-miss options: Gerardo Meza (for his beautiful songwriting and charismatic stage presence); The Crayons (for their primary-colored outfits and trumpeter David Tysdal hopping about the stage); The Renfields (for their sunny early 2000’s indie sound); A Ferocious Jungle Cat (for dance-inducing grooves); and the aforementioned Thirst Things First (for their energetic pop punk and accompanying video transmissions).
  • Lastly, note on the schedule that Wednesday and Thursday are ages 18+, and Friday and Saturday are 21+. All access passes are $20, but you can also pay by the night. Wednesday tickets are $5, Thursday tickets are $6, and both Friday and Saturday tickets are $8.

If it seems like I’m trying to sell you on this, you’re right! But it promises to be an entertaining weekend for any music lover. If it would be your first Lincoln Exposed, I am highly recommending it. If it’s your first ever foray into local music, I’m practically begging you to go (but only because you’d be doing yourself a favor, and because the idea of introducing more people to Lincoln music thoroughly excites me). Regardless, I look forward to seeing you there!