By Karynn Brown, Joslyn Keenan, Renee Jackson, Will Roper and Brittany Ward
Photos by Alex Durrant and Stephanie Paul
Feb. 12, 2018
KZUM interns made the rounds during the final night of Lincoln Exposed Saturday evening.
Gerardo Meza Band at Bodega’s Alley
A staple of the Lincoln music community, Gerardo Meza opened the final night of Lincoln Exposed 2018 at Bodega’s Alley. Meza has performed at Lincoln Exposed each year of its existence (usually with The Mezcal Brothers) and never ceases to amaze. The night was filled with songs about lost love as Meza said “it’s close to Valentine’s Day so let’s have songs about love gone bad.”
Consisting of twin acoustic guitars, an upright bass, and a multi-instrumentalist that played a saw for a majority of the set, the band stormed the stage with its fully formed, twangy folk atmosphere. The crowd gathered around the stage as the band’s Americana sound and Meza’s crooning voice weaved his tales of heartbreak.
Warbonnet at 1867 Bar
Following Hosting Monsters to 1867’s stage Saturday night was the punk-inspired southern rock group, Warbonnet. Self-described as such on Facebook, the group consisted of Abigail Ellery(vocals, guitar), Chris Bowling (vocals, guitar), Will McGuire (bass) and Nick Johnson (drums). Ellery’s voice emphasizes the southern and rock-inspired side of their music with a flat line, rough around the edges sound. Warbonnet released their first full-length album November 29. The self-titled work plays to many of the strengths of their live performance. Warbonnet plays with crisp professionalism and no shortage of variable harmonics, classic rock riffs or impassioned lyrics.
Clementine and the Meanderin’ Oranges at the Zoo Bar
Clementine and the Meanderin’ Oranges is a traditional vocal and instrumental jazz group based in Lincoln. The group’s members include Emma Nelson, Tommy Vandenberg, Wataru Niimori, Ian Craig and Jarvis Davis.
With their true jazz sound, Clementine made a great first impression on the crowd at Zoo Bar. The combination of instruments flowed seamlessly in the Zoo Bar’s very relaxed atmosphere. It seemed that all of the instruments worked in harmony. Between vocal breaks there were solos featuring the trombone, saxophone, guitar and drums. One of the vocalists also had a violin that had its own solo later on in the show.
After showing off some of their instrumental skills, a song performed by Clementine was “Ain’t Misbehaving”, which seemed to be the crowd pleaser. This show was the definition of great, live jazz music.
The Fey at The Zoo Bar
Saturday night at the Zoo Bar, The Fey (formerly AZP) came to get down, and so did their fans. The Fey brings a unique sound to the table, one that mixes rock, R&B and hip hop. Each song performed was smooth and cool, and each song had its set of individually mysterious chords.
Toward the end of the performance, The Fey announced that they have signed a record deal with a label in Kansas City. Ishma Valenti, vocalist and percussionist, asked the audience to hold up a peace sign for their final number. The peace sign represented a desire for social change, and the collective gesture was a nice way to send the band off on the last night of Lincoln Exposed.
Verse and The Vices at Bodega’s Alley
The indie rock group, Verse and the Vices’ is self-described on Facebook as, “individual sounds combined to create a unique complex group that is hard to put your finger on.” That couldn’t be more accurate from the 4-piece group. The set explored a combination of genres that fit together seamlessly. From soulful guitar riffs and reggae undertones, to a harder indie-rock vibe, this group has no limitations. Emilio Meza’s deep, rich, raspy voice fit perfectly opposite to Sophia Meza’s mesmerizing, silky, jazzy voice while Otilio Meza (drums), Manny Martinez (bass) held a steady, commanding rhythm.
After nearly six years of playing together, The Verse and the Vices released their versatile self-titled album in April 2016. The group has also released the single, “Lights Out” in February 2016 and in 2017, “A Side B Side.” Their music can be found on Spotify, for more information on upcoming shows, check out their Facebook page.
Floating Opera at Duffy’s Tavern
Floating Opera is a pop rock group with its own distinct sound. Starting up in the early 1990s, their first debut album was released in 1993. Over 30 musicians have recorded with Floating Opera, all ranging from classical to punk. Members of the band are Richard Rebarber, Scott Stanfield, Genevieve Bachinski, Alyssa Storey, Jon Korf, Tery Daly, John Gessert and Thad Miller.
Throughout the performance, Floating Opera kept it relatively fast paced. Their most recent album, Pop Song on the Elevator Down, just released last year. A song off the album, “No Time Machine”, was a performance that particularly stood out. With a great mix of vocals and instrumental parts, it got the crowd excited and dancing.
Magnetic Souls at Duffy’s
Progressive pop-rock quartet Magnetic Souls brought a crowd to Duffy’s bar Saturday night. In their first live show since early December, the group came together to play some friendly, feel-good rock. Magnetic Souls sound emphasizes youthful lyrics. Keyboardist Nealon Schultz provides a steady and eloquent feature to the dual guitar-bass lead lines. Guitarist Thai Nguyen and bassists Marc Mason, both of Jens Lehman and the Time Cops, sing in imaginative chorus and verses, one such song featuring a cry to “cut out a lot of toxic bullshit in this world.”
Alli and I at 1867 Bar
Alli and I is a pop rock band fronted by singer, songwriter and acoustic guitarist Andrew Standley. With three albums under his belt since 2007, Standley has continued to write with sincerity and emotion. He feels extremely relatable, with lyrics that tell stories that make you want to hear more.
The show started out with Standley, alone, playing two never-before performed songs off the upcoming album. Showcasing his raw emotion and guitar playing abilities, Standley had great energy and even better vocals. His guitar playing skills are equally impressive, and it looks like it comes natural. A few stand-out songs Standley played were “December 29th”, and “Coffee At Midnight” — a track off his new album. Standley finished his set with “Life At Its Finest”.
Ro Hempel Band at The Zoo Bar
At 9 p.m., Ro Hempel Band performed at the Zoo Bar. The reggae-rock group attracted a large audience. The crowd moved tables and chairs to get up-close and personal with Ro Hempel Band, and so that they could bob and sway along. The combination of reggae and rock transported the audience to a tropical destination on a snowy night. Each song seemed to be the perfect song to kick back and jam with. Ro Hempel Band closed with “Two Shots”, the title track from its 2014 EP.
Ezra at Bodega’s Alley
In many ways, Ezra is both a foundation of and representative to Lincoln’s thriving and untapped death metal community. The trio’s purely thunderous sound drew a crowd of fans for head-banging and face-melting. Steady, rapid-fire notes from drummer Raws Schlesinger (also of Plack Blague) and bassist Brad Mourningstar give the band their characteristic volume and drone. Lead guitarist and vocalist Scott Schlesinger holds the audience with a can’t-look-away type of stage presence. His favorite moves include playing complex breakdowns under a curtain of hair and raising the body of his guitar to his shoulder, singling out audience members in clear and slow movements.
Ezra celebrated their tenth-anniversary show at the First Avenue Social Hall this past fall, marking twenty years as a band. Since EZRA’s involvement in the scene, Lincoln has seen the growth of local metal bands, many of which performed at Lincoln Exposed, including Cynge, Manslaughterer and Primal Waters.
Lincoln rapper Chris Phipps, known by the moniker Phippa, brought his unique flavor of Christian hip hop to the Zoo Bar for the final night of Lincoln Exposed this past Saturday. Originally from Harlem, Phippa took the stage alongside his DJ to get the place on their feet and deliver some powerful messages.
The blues bar was lit up with Phippa’s incredible stage presence and lyrical flow throughout the performance. The rhythm and cadence of his verses were delivered flawlessly with a passion that was largely infectious, and the production and beats were distinct and original. Overall, the 40-minute set proved a perfect combination for the intimate space of the Zoo Bar, and an excellent way to wrap up Lincoln Exposed.
The last show of Lincoln Exposed at the 1867 Bar was a memorable one, as local rapper HAKIM and others moshed with the crowd at midnight to close the festival off.
HAKIM took the stage with several other performers throughout his set, displaying an unfaltering chemistry as everyone riffed effortlessly through songs off of HAKIM’s newest album Young Drifter II like “Climbing” with Grace Lundy and “Hot Winter” with Bucii. However, there was no question who the star of the show was, with HAKIM delivering bar after bar of crisp, rapid lyricism on top of a detailed production. His stage presence was also impressive, inviting the crowd to clap along to his tracks and at one point jumping off stage and starting a mini-mosh pit.
Lincoln Exposed for 2018 was packed with amazing artists, but they definitely saved one of the best for last in HAKIM.