By Karynn Brown, Angel Mai and Hailey Krueger
Photos by Kyle Gibson, Hailey Krueger, and Stephanie Paul
Oct. 2, 2017
Night two of Lincoln Calling on Friday included many local favorites — both veterans of the scene and performers that are just getting started — alongside the touring acts. Love for these locals drew big crowds and lots of energy.
Cakes Da Killa
Brooklyn rapper Cakes Da Killa was The Bay’s third set of the night, performing directly in front of his audience. He was very casual and open with the crowd, sharing that he’s been performing for five years. His vibrant raps backed with a booming bass and catchy accompaniment enabled the audience to interact easily through dancing and nodding to the beat. Most of the songs that he performed were from his debut album, released in October 2016, Hedonism.
As he performed, working up a sweat. Asking for water between songs, he noted that he didn’t need a gym membership because he was already having a hard work-out from his performance. After he received a bottle of water, he asked the crowd to come closer and circle around him for his last song. He shared that the lyrics of that song are his mantra that he tells himself every day in the morning. During the instrumental segment, he threw the water up in the air, sprinkling everyone that was around him.
“We dance together, we sweat together and we work together. This is the community,” said Cakes, in reference to the connections he had with the crowd, the connections that music allows him to have in general.
Omaha’s Ria Gold started Friday’s line up at The Bay with her performance filled with R&B, rap and hip hop music. She performed her songs “Vibe High,” “Game Boy,” “Grown Behavior,” and “Really Wanna,” before ending with “Patience,” which featured an accompaniment from one of her close friends. Ria Gold’s album, All for Gold, was released in 2015..
Finishing off the night at The Bay was Bronx native, Kemba, another hip hop and rap artist. Formerly known as YC the Cynic, he needed a new name to support his new album, Negus, which was released in June 2016. Kemba started his performance by asking the audience to come closer and saying, “We all gonna be family, don’t be shy.”
He used video clips to introduce the subjects of each song, ranging from topics of black identity in America to family. He shared a bit of vulnerability in a newer, never before performed rap about the struggles in his family.
Omaha-based indie band Bazile Mills played outside in the Night Market on day two of Lincoln Calling Friday night. They released a new four-song EP titled Where We Are, which is available on Spotify and iTunes. As the Night Market is free to the public, several passersby stopped to watch their performance and inquire about the music festival.
On day two of Lincoln Calling, Duffy’s opened up its indoor stage to several comedians, one of which being Audrey Farnham. Born and raised in Lincoln, Farnham is part of the up-and-coming comic scene in town. She had the room howling within minutes as she told stories of hilarious sexcapades and embracing her millennial ways. “I like self-care!” she joked with the audience. Support local comedians and check out upcoming shows at places like Duffy’s, Brewsky’s, and Cottonwood.
One of the openers for the highly anticipated Angel Olsen show was solo artist Julie Byrne. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y.,, Byrne is on tour promoting her new album, Not Even Happiness. Her style is haunting and enchanting, with echoed acoustic guitar picking and nature-centered lyrics. As Lincolnites finished busy work weeks, listening to her set was relaxing and welcomed.
The Bourbon welcomed indie-rock artist Angel Olsen as the headliner for day two of Lincoln Calling. Olsen and her band are on tour promoting her new album, Phases, a collection of B-sides and demos for fans, which comes out Nov. 10. The venue was packed, and as the band began to play the audience roared. They performed a sultry and energetic 90-minute set.
Angel Olsen performs at The Bourbon Theatre on Sept. 29, 2017. Photo by Hailey Krueger, KZUM.
Performing at Duffy’s outdoor stage was Brooklyn-based indie-rock band Beach Fossils. Although they were thrilled to be a part of Lincoln Calling, they were sad to be filling in for Charles Bradley, who tragically passed away Sept. 23 following a battle with cancer. The band dedicated their lively set to him, beginning their show with a toast in honor of the legend. They played to one of the most energetic crowds of the night, mirroring the crowd’s excitement.
The headliner for Duffy’s outdoor stage was electronic duo Closeness. Husband and wife Orenda and Todd Fink made their microphones face each other for the whole set, like a new wave gothic version of Johnny and June. The two are well-established musicians based out of Omaha and leave next for a European/Canadian tour. Having them close the night with their powerful hypnotic style was a smart and fitting way to end another successful day of Lincoln Calling.
Lincoln’s newest grunge rock group started things off at the Night Market stage, drawing a crowd of supporters whose heads were nodding all along. Histrionic play loud and fast, mixing influences of soulful crooning lyrics with classic grunge and rock rhythms. Lead vocalist and bassistt Aramara dominates the stage with her erratic energy. The band played a set familiar to those who have seen them before and added in a newer song, “Laguna.” As the set came to a close, Histrionic took a second to decide which song to cut. Aramara stopped short and told the crowd, “Let’s do all three because I have no limits, here we go!”
Histrionic performs at the Lincoln Calling Night Market on Sept. 29, 2017. Photo by Kyle Gibson, KZUM
Omaha natives Oquoa brought a great start to Duffy’s beer garden Friday night. Even in front of a slightly smaller crowd, the band performed with strength and excitement. Its members came together from various solo projects to form Oquoa and release an EP, In Oneir, in July 2016, which built the base of their set. Their sound is one of gentle but serious slow jams emphasized with light reverb and distortion to match the impassioned depth of lead vocalist Max Holmquist’s voice.
Jacob James Wilton:
A favorite for both Lincoln and Omaha, Jacob James Wilton is a of collection of local artists. JJW falls among the indie rock leagues of Pinegrove and Cloud Nothings with a firm sound. Built of two guitarists, a drummer and vocalist-synth player, it is clear these musicians are comfortable together and love to experiment. This set included favorites such as “Dirty”, “Astral” and “Dead Give.” A Bandcamp album called Distance, about all kinds of love and understanding, is set to release Jan. 18.
Stefanie Drootin and Chris Senseney form the indie duo “UMM” that followed The Way Out onto the Bourbon’s stage Friday. With Drootin rocking a hot pink bass and Senseney on guitar, the couple performed with pure sounds. Their latest album, Double Worshipper, was released in July. Having played Hear Nebraska events several times, the couple was happy to see the stage at Lincoln Calling, and drew a younger crowd that danced their way through the performance.
Once A Pawn:
Local punks through and through, Once A Pawn is a longtime Lincoln trio making catchy, energetic and political rock. The group brought it all to Bodega’s Allley on Friday as lead vocalist and drummer C Balta is hard to miss for his skilled breakdowns, professional-sounding voice, and outspokenness during the set. The set included a healthy dose of politics in introducing each song, many of which were some of the band’s newer pieces. “Scared of Americans” and “Enough” signaled to the state of the country and Nebraska in particular, calling for listeners to stick up for targeted communities. Balta called for the audience to recognize that change is on our shoulders as citizens and community members. The crowd was supportive and full of friends, cheering on group from start to finish.
Stiff Middle Fingers:
Stiff Middle Fingers, out of Lawrence, Kan., showed up to impress for their first show in Lincoln. A band built of equal parts sweat, rock and roll and irony, they were fun and outrageous to watch. The set included a few songs about “people I used to know, but now they’re about Trump”, including one called “Fake,” with a chorus of “fuck your wig, fuck your soul,” and another entitled “Persona Au Gratin (Person with Cheese).” There was no telling what the lead vocalist would do next during the performance after he stripped to his underwear, marched through the crowd singing face-to-face with audience members, and even taking the microphone right out onto ‘O’ Street. The latest release from March 2017 was a 7” album called Red Kate.
I Forgot to Love My Father
Another up-and-coming Lincoln favorite, the members of IFTLMF more than delivered on their reputation as outstanding performers. This unique band of eclectic sounds and instruments never fails to impress the crowd. To a packed house at Bodega’s Alley, the band screamed and fell and sang their way through the night. Front man JP Davis called to the crowd multiple times, “Are you there Lincoln?” and stepped into the audience to perform and dance with a shout of, “do you have me?” Most of the band’s available recorded music was produced on KZUM, as a part of the Hear Nebraska FM show. One such song includes a crowd favorite and divergent from their other songs, “Country Boy Love Tune: The Ballad of Jacob Zlomke”
Hailing from Lawrence, Kan., Arc Flash. A guitarist-drummer duo, rocked out at 1867 Bar Friday night. Their first album, Carbon Copy, was released in March and the band will soon be releasing another 7” album. Arc Flash guitarist rocks the Twenty-One Pilots-eque face mask during performances, but to an entirely different sound. The duo produced clear, concentrated and hard-hitting rock.
El Ten Eleven
As a headliner this weekend, Los Angeles duo El Ten Eleven packed the Duffy’s backlot stage. Their mellow, bass and drum machine sounds kept the crowd swaying and nodding heads. The positive energy was high for their performance Friday evening with shouts of, “I’ve been listening to you since ‘09” and, “You’re a genius…thanks for writing your songs,” coming from the audience. The performers matched the energy of the crowd, playing new and older favorites. They seemed surprised to be recognized in Lincoln and gave the crowd a heartfelt, “Thanks for coming out, for having us, thanks for knowing our songs!” El Ten Eleven recently came out with an EP, Unusable Love, that features vocalist Emile Mosseri.
El Ten Eleven at Duffy’s backlot Lincoln Calling Sept. 29, 2017. Photo by Kyle Gibson.
A longtime Lincoln favorite, Universe Contest is no stranger to Lincoln Calling. This five-piece band performed punchy, break-the-rules indie rock punctuated with the off-and-on of halogen floor lights, giving the entire performance a washed-out intensity. Universe Contest fans swarmed the Zoo Bar, moshing and singing so close they engulfed both the stage and the press pit. An off and on collection of band members throughout the years has given Universe Contest a steady rise in popularity and experimentation. Their next album, Got Cot Livin’, is set to release on Bandcamp on Halloween.
This group lives up to their name with wide, electronic loop, staccato synth sounds and gently chanting vocals that mimics the Talking Heads. From Brooklyn, N.Y., Future Punx performed many songs from their first full length album, This is Post Wave. The band, decked out in sunglasses, sparkly go-go boots and surrounded by light fog, gave off an unmistakable aura of 80s pop. Closing Bodega’s Alley Friday night, the band performed to a healthy crowd that was ready to dance to their laser-like beats.
Another Los Angeles-based band, Sego is touring with El Ten Eleven. Sego’s latest single “Whatever Forever,” is the an upbeat, get-things-going piece that hails to the frustrated summers of 20-somethings making a mark on the world. This single marks their sixth release, including three full-length albums.
Lincoln’s hard rock jam-band closed 1867 Friday night to a loving crowd that didn’t dare hold back. After an exciting performance at DIO Fest two weeks ago, Bogusman’s four-piece group was ready to rock. Lead guitarist Nate started getting sentimental to the crowd, “I just want to tell you all..from the bottom of my heart…” and was promptly cut off by the lyrics of their next song.
Bogusman at 1867 Bar during Lincoln Calling Sept. 29, 2017. Photo by Kyle Gibson, KZUM.
For more on the festival, visit lincolncalling.com.
Hailey Krueger, Bassey Arikpo, Angel Mai, Karynn Brown and Stephanie Paul are KZUM interns. Kyle Gibson is a KZUM board member..