By Karynn Brown, Joslyn Keenan, Renee Jackson and Brittany Ward
Photos by Alex Durrant and Jay Douglass
Feb. 9, 2018
KZUM interns made the rounds during the second night of Lincoln Exposed Thursday evening. The all-Lincoln music festival runs through Saturday night at 1867 Bar, Bodega’s Alley, The Bourbon Theatre, Duffy’s Tavern and The Zoo Bar. Check out a complete schedule here on our website.
The Mezcal Brothers at The Zoo Bar
Thursday night of Lincoln Exposed 2018 began with a sizzling performance from the Mezcal Brothers. Zoo Bar patrons gathered around tables with their drinks to hear the rockabilly and bluesy tunes. The Mezcal Brothers have played at Lincoln Exposed every year for 13 years, and the band turns 20 years old in 2018.
Vocalist Gerardo Meza raised a (shot) glass and proposed, “To 20 more years, how about that?”
Listening to The Mezcal Brothers, it’s clear these musicians have been mastering their skills for 20 years. Upright bassist Charlie Johnson performed many tricks with his instrument by playing it upside down, on the ground, and all around. At one point, Johnson and lead guitarist Benny Kushner traded instruments to proof even further their musical ability.
“We may be old,” Meza said. “But we are very bold.”
The Hanyaks at Duffy’s Tavern
Starting out strong at Duffy’s second night of Lincoln Exposed, alternative/rock/pop band, The Hanyaks, were a tough act to follow. Self-described on Facebook, The Hanyaks’ “Rock without regard. They plug in. They make sounds. They walk away.” The four piece consists of; Monte Peck (vocals/guitar), Ash Sharp (bass/vocals), Robert Klingsporn (guitar) and Nolan Morten (drums).
The band’s stage chemistry and charm draw the crowd in and there is no shortage of entertainment from them, nor is there a shortage of talent. Peck and Sharp switched it up for a song so Sharp could sing lead. The guitar-heavy band played some fan favorites from their first album, The Breakdown, released in February 2009. In May 2010, Like a Parthian Shot was released. December 2016 saw the band release its third full-length album, Social Candy.
Mad Dog and the 20/20s at The Bourbon Theatre
Mad Dog and the 20/20s opened the Bourbon Theatre at 7:20 p.m. The band’s funky ska sound filled the lower level of the theatre. After a few songs, vocalist Madeline Christensen quickly left the stage to blow her nose.
Following a pregnant pause, guitarist Jarett Eaton asked, “Well, who knows any jokes?”
The quirky, youthful, and fun style of ska seemed to perfectly match the band members’ personalities. Toward the end of the performance, a mosh pit formed as a perfect send-off for Mad Dog and the 20/20s.
The Renfields at The Bourbon Theatre
The Renfields followed Mad Dog and the 20/20s at The Bourbon with a much different sound. The three-piece rock band drew a crowd of head-bobbers and swayers. The performance was full of rich chords and smooth guitar solos. In contrast with Brandon McKenzie’s pulsing drums, Nick Westra provided mellow vocals and contemplative lyrics. Malcom Miles’ bass guitar perfectly meshed the drums, vocals, and guitar. The Renfields showed easy synchronization and played as if they could do it asleep.
Domestica at The Zoo Bar
Domestica, a trio of longtime Lincoln musicians, have set out to become your new favorite old school rock band. Heidi, Jon, and Paul brought spunk, heart, and the classic sounds of early 2000s alternative rock to the Zoo Bar Thursday night. With balanced song structure, catchy choruses, and the smooth rise and fall to their songs, Domestica kept the crowd moving and on their feet. No strangers to the Lincoln music scene, Jon and Heidi are former members of the band Mercy Rule, in addition to having hosted an all-local music program on KZUM. These years of experience shine through in the band’s sass, badassery, and clear-cut rock.
Gabe Nelson with PANTS at 1867 Bar
Gabe Nelson with PANTS performed with a fun and infectious stage presence. With the charismatic Gabe Nelson (vocals/12-string guitar) leading the show, Kevin Korus (drums), Travis Hagge (lead guitar), Torrey Rasfeld (bass) and special guest, Brett Holihan (trumpet), the audience was in for an unexpected journey.
The set started out with “Fast Freddy,” a dramatic combination of mariachi trumpet and roots rock about a man Nelson met at a gas station. A surprise to the crowd was an Americana version of Ice Cube’s “Today Was a Good Day.”
With the fast-paced Americana-Roots-Rock style of the band, the 40-minute set seemed to end too quickly. As the band was packing up, the audience approached the members to say tell them how amazing the set was. If you missed out, you can find their album Up The Dosage, on Spotify.
The Midland Band at Duffy’s Tavern
The Midland Band drew a large crowd at Duffy’s Thursday night.
The progressive rock group from Columbus includes guitarist and vocalist Tom Adelman, bassist and vocalist Scott Henggeler, drummer and vocalist Butch Owens and Jake Reisdorff on the keyboard, guitar, percussion and vocals. A higher energy than most rock shows and more aggressive, The Midland Band did not disappoint.
The first song played was “The Killer’s Eye”. Piano used throughout the performance gave a special effect, and the guitar solos weaved throughout the show were out of this world. Keeping the vocals to a minimum, The Midland Band went above and beyond with their instrumental skills. The show was an experience, and loud cheers rang throughout Duffy’s as it came to a close.
The next event for The Midland Band will be in June at the Power and Progress Festival in Columbus.
Andrea von Kampen at The Bourbon Theatre
Andrea von Kampen is a singer songwriter, specializing in folk and acoustic. Kampen has released two albums. The first album in 2015 titled Another Day, and her most recent album Desdemona was released in 2016.
Kampen has a one of a kind voice. With a soothing and calm tone, she has a very distinct sound that separates her from a variety folk artists. Her smooth guitar chords and soulful lyrics made the room fall completely silent for most of the show. The show was off to a great start with her song “Portland”, and toward the middle of the show Kampen put her own twist on a Bob Dylan song. Covering “Boots of Spanish Leather”, it was one of the many highlights of the show. Kampen’s meaningful and mature songwriting abilities make all of her songs special and that much more intriguing to listen to. Making it easy to get lost in her music, Kampen made her 40 minute set feel like 15 minutes.
Andrea von Kampen & The Brother Brothers have two shows coming up this month. On Feb. 20, at 7:30 p.m. they will be performing at the Turbine Flats Project here in Lincoln. The second show will be the following day, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. at the Reverb Lounge in Omaha.
Cornerstone Dub at Bodega’s Alley
Cornerstone Dub is a reggae, ska and rock infused band in Lincoln. The group members are Bill Eltiste, Ted Kastl and Shane Venhaus. Initially starting in 1999, they continue to bring a fresh, unique reggae style to the Midwest. Throughout their careers they have shared the stage with acts such as Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, The Expendables and more.
Known for an upbeat, but laid-back sound, Cornerstone Dub did not disappoint. Songs throughout the performance had a good mix of old and new. A stand out performances from their 2008 album Dub the Mood was a song called “Rock Steady”, which was faster paced with quick guitar strums.
Cornerstone Dub has an upcoming show, The Taproom Sessions with Billy Eltiste Acoustic, at the Blue Blood Brewing Company on Feb.17 starting at 8:30 p.m.
Tim Budig Band at the Zoo Bar
Award-winning blues/rock band the Tim Budig Band closed out night two at the Zoo Bar. The five-piece group complemented each other’s individual talent and stage personas to come together as a stomping blues band. Members of the group are; Tim Budig (vocals/guitar), Mike Wheeler (guitar), Jeremiah Weir (keys), Aaron ‘AC’ Wright (bass), Casey Hodgin (drums).
This Tim Budig Band is self-described on Facebook as a “raw, rowdy and rough edged band that delivers original Chicago style blues with heart, dedication and reckless abandon.” The band members played riffs that danced around and weaved together to create to upbeat, playful but cohesive sound. A couple spotlight songs were, a new song from an upcoming album as well as an incredible rendition of Albert Collins’ “I Ain’t Drunk.” Stay tuned, music from the band can be found online.
While the synth trio of Sputnik Kaputnik and the Cherry Mashers was one of the more unique and quirky performances of Thursday night’s Lincoln Exposed, the tight synth beats, booming bass and vivacious trumpeting quickly proved to the audience why this group has been playing on the local scene for so long.
Dressed in the traditional grey coat and red tie, Sputnik Kaputnik himself mixed performance art with dream-pop trance beats, at times picking up not one trumpet but two and blasting out decorative embellishments over a melodic guitar and synth bass. The bass and synth beats were excellent and got me out of my seat immediately, although at times it was difficult to hear all of the lyrics. Nonetheless, the overall effect of seeing Kaputnik live for the first time far exceeded my expectations, and they’ve definitely made me a fan.
Cynge at The Bourbon Theatre
Cynge is in this world to show to us all how to make a little more damn noise. The 13-year old, 4-part death metal group brought more bass that ever thought possible to the Bourbon’s Rye Room following folk singer songwriter Andrea Von Kampen on Thursday night. Cynge’s sound pairs heavy-handed, steady and powerful rhythms in guitar, bass and drums underneath the singer’s lyrical screams. Their set included a mix of new and old favorites including “Erosion”, an aggressive work cancer, and “Dragonborn” an outlet for the singer’s Skyrim-fueled angst. The performers brought enough powerful energy to match their sound with wild stage movements from the instrumentalists and a singer not confined to the stage itself. Overall, the performance gave tribute to the humanity, humility, and unadulterated joy of death metal music as the band give it their all to a crowd no bigger than themselves.
Cuddlebone at 1867 Bar
Undefined rock trio Cuddlebone closed the eclectic lineup at 1867 Bar Thursday night.
Playing nearly exclusively pieces from their November 2017 release, The Aviary, Cuddlebone’s sound highlights roots and experimental rock forms. Cuddlebone takes the clean lines and storied lyrics of roots rock into a full bodied, classic song structure brought together by singer and guitarist Caleb’s soul-and-blues twinged vocals. Layers of distortion and power cords add an alternative feel to the sound. The group finished with a beautiful rendition of The Pixie’s song, “Where is my Mind?”
People had undoubtedly been dancing all Thursday night for Lincoln Exposed, but they probably didn’t dance as hard as they did at midnight when local indie rock band Universe Contest took the stage.
Closing the night out at Bodega’s Alley was Universe Contest, who put on one of the better shows I’ve seen at Lincoln Exposed thus far. The entire performance from the indie rock band was high energy and addictively vicious, with songs off of their new album Get Cot Livin’ like “Cooler Full of Babes (Trunks Full of Hunks)” and “When it’s Over” creating an incredible atmosphere on the small dance floor of Bodega’s. The stage was filled with an aura of yellow light, white smoke and a flashing white light that drifted over onto the onlookers throughout the bar as they bobbed their heads to the roaring progressive rock instrumentals and shouting lyrics.
This quintet, with two guitars, bass, violin and drums, certainly knows how to put on a show.