It’s a slow news day. So… this:
A colleague of mine at The Reader pointed out a piece that appeared in the Jan. 6 issue of The Lincoln Journal Star with the banner headline “Lincoln music scene far outpaces Omaha’s.” Accompanying the piece was a life-size photo of Matthew Sweet looking like a street guy. The story is here. Apparently it’s part of a series that compares and contrasts Lincoln and Omaha, sort of like sizing up two football teams. After reading the piece I considered responding somewhere. Maybe my column? But what’s the point? Yeah, Lincoln has The Zoo Bar. Lincoln has Duffy’s. Lincoln’s always been a better place to bar hop — you can walk from one tavern to the next, whereas Omaha’s venues demand that you drive. The writer points out that Matthew Sweet and Maroon 5 are from Lincoln, then says Omaha counters with 311, then goes on to say Lincoln trumps because its bands have sold more merchandise (*Gotcha!*). I don’t think you’ll find anyone in Omaha who wants to claim 311, anyway. You can have them, too.
Then the guy goes on to diss Saddle Creek. Instead, he should have pointed out that Creek’s roots also are firmly in Lincoln (along with Presto’s). Everyone points to the Creighton Prep ties, but really, a lot of these guys also went to school together at UNL. The question of who has more talented local indie bands isn’t worth arguing. Since when is music a frickin’ sport? I don’t get the Qwest Center argument. I guess it’s nice to have an arena here, but I generally don’t go to arena shows. Too expensive and the seats are too far away. I prefer my Rolling Stones on my iPod or the radio. The writer’s comments about One Percent are nonsensical. “1% Productions brings cool shows to the Sokol Auditorium’s basement but has trouble developing a strong audience for its offerings.” They have? He then goes on to say that it’s disappointing that Omaha gets all the cool indie shows but “That, however, is off the point to some degree.” It is? I guess it depends on how you define your local music scene.
He goes on: “It has long seemed to me that Lincoln is culturally equal if not superior to Omaha, with more films shown here, thanks to the Ross Media Arts Center, the programming at the Lied Center for Performing Arts that has been unmatched in Omaha, and an internationally acclaimed art museum in the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery.” And Omaha will have Filmstreams, has The Holland Center and Orpheum and The Joslyn, but who’s counting?
The conclusion: “When it comes to cultural offerings and the music scene, Lincoln is just cooler than Omaha, period.” If you say so. I like Lincoln and its bands. Though I don’t get down there as much as I wish I could. As I told my colleague, I have met a few people from Lincoln who insist on making these arguments, as if it really matters to anyone. The cities are only 50 miles away. When I have one of those Lincoln guys poking a finger in my chest about how much better Lincoln’s scene is than Omaha’s, I usually respond with “I guess you’re right. How about them Huskers?” as we order another beer from Sokol’s or O’Leaver’s or The 49’rs bar…
Tomorrow morning: Jason Anderson interview. Be there.
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