In addition to filling me in on Lincoln Invasion, Jeremy Buckley updated me on the status of Lincoln’s Box Awesome, which is being forced from its current home by its landlord who hoped to have them out well before the end of their lease (Oct. 31). The issue already has gone to court and the case has been continued to June 22, with hopes that both parties can reach some sort of agreement/settlement. In the meantime, he and Box Awesome owner Jeremiah Moore have been scouting new locations for the venue. “We’re going to be picky and make sure the situation is something we can sustain for a long time,” Buckley said.
He said they know they’ll be able to host their shows through the rest of the month, but will likely be gone shortly after that. In the meantime, they’re looking at ways to make the new Bourbon Theater “smaller” for smaller shows — this could involve some strategically placed curtains. “We’re not going to do shows where we know no one is going to show up,” he said. “Shows that draw 50 or less won’t be happening at The Bourbon.”
The ultimate goal, however, is to find a new location for Box Awesome. “We want to get this all figured out and have something up and running by the end of this year,” he said.
Right now, though, Buckley’s focus is on Lincoln Invasion. Someone asked me the other day which bands I’ll be most eager to see at this weekend’s festival. Buckley said he staggered each venue’s band schedule so that “theoretically” you could see some of every band performing at all three venues. So my answer is: All of them.
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Column 226: The Lincoln Invasion
2 nights, 22 bands, 3 venues
Let’s start by clarifying that I don’t really have anything to do with this weekend’s can’t-miss event, Lincoln Invasion. We’re talking two nights of top-flight musical entertainment — 22 bands by way of Lincoln, Nebraska — at three of Benson’s finest clubs. For just $5 each night you’ll get into all three clubs all night. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of entertain direct from the Star City to you — the easiest way you’ll ever have of experiencing the best of Lincoln without having to truck 50 miles south by southwest on I-80.
My only role in this amazing extravaganza is coming up with the idea. Years ago, before there was an OEA Showcase or a Mid-America Music Festival, I was chatting with Jeremy Buckley, who’s organizing this weekend’s event along with Duffy’s booker Jeremy “Dub” Wardlaw. Buckley had just held his first Lincoln Calling Festival (which you’ll hear more about in the coming months), and I suggested that instead of me having to drive my lazy ass down to Lincoln, that he pull together a handful of Lincoln bands and have them play in Benson, where folks could walk from club to club all night long.
Jeremy let that idea steep in the back of his mind until this year when, after graduating from the esteemed University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he realized he was about to have a lot of time on his hands. “I was freaked out and had to find something to do,” Buckley said. So he contacted the folks at The Waiting Room, PS Collective and The Barley Street Tavern, found an open weekend in their crowded schedules, and with Dub’s help started contacting bands. The rest, as they say, will be history this Friday and Saturday night.
Buckley said his motivation other than filling a hole in his social calendar was to get Lincoln bands into the Omaha spotlight. In a sordid effort to help hype the event, I tried to get Buckley to say that Lincoln Invasion was really a chance for him to once-and-for-all prove that Lincoln bands were far superior than Omaha bands. But he just wasn’t biting. “That’s just a weird notion,” he said. “Both (cities) have fantastic bands that will go to the other city and play for 10 people, and that sucks — everyone involved (in those shows) feels like shit afterward because they know that the bands deserve more.”
Lincoln Invasion is a chance to get the broadest Omaha exposure to the largest number of Lincoln bands in the shortest span of time. “It gets Lincoln bands out of town and (afterward) gives Omaha people a reason to drive to Lincoln,” Buckley said. “The cities aren’t that far away from each other.”
It’s also a chance for the bands to make some money. Unlike some other local music “festivals,” bands will actually get paid for playing, that is if enough people show up. Buckley said total costs for printing fliers and posters, and paying the sound guys, is only around $500 to $600. “Every band splits what’s left after covering expenses,” he said. “All bands get an equal share — from the band who might be playing to 10 people at the Barley Street to another playing to 100 at The Waiting Room. The entire pot is split evenly.”
That’s all very magnanimous, but really, why should anyone go? Buckley points to acts like Machete Archive. “They’re beloved in Lincoln, but Omaha people don’t know them at all,” he said. Machete Archive plays instrumental math rock along the lines of Mars Volta and “are fun to listen to live. Everyone in the band is talented, but everyone fixates on the bass player, who is just all over the place. They’re one of the most entertaining bands in Lincoln.”
Buckley also mentioned Manny Coon, a singer/songwriter in the Wilco vein. “He tells amazing stories with his songs. It’s easy to get fixated on what he’s doing.”
And then there’s Columbia Vs. Challenger, a band that’s been kicking around Lincoln for years. One of the band’s members is about to move to Honduras, making the Lincoln Invasion gig the band’s last show ever. “That’ll be bittersweet and awesome and sad,” Buckley said. “It’ll be interesting to see how the band handles it on stage.”
Buckley said he has no expectations on the success of Lincoln Invasion. “Whatever happens this first year will help us decide if we should try it again,” he said. “The answer should be obvious. I think we’ll be looking at ways to improve it for next year, with more bands and more venues, and figure out how to do an Omaha Invasion in Lincoln.”
In fact, Buckley and Dub have even talked about doing a cross-border exchange. “We should have a Nebraska Invasion in Kansas and have 20 bands from Omaha and Lincoln take over Lawrence for a weekend, and then get 20 bands from Lawrence to come up here,” he said. “The options are limitless.”
Here’s the schedule. Just $5 each night will get you into all three venues.
Friday, June 19
PS Collective: The Allendales (9:30); Lucas Kellison and the Assembled Soul (10:40); Andrews Ave. (midnight).
The Waiting Room: The Machete Archive (9:40); Ideal Cleaners (10:50); The Show Is the Rainbow (11:55)
Barley Street Tavern: Triggertown (9:20); The Amalgamators (10:20); Pharmacy Spirits (11:20); The Big Gigantic (midnight).
Saturday, June 20
PS Collective: Gooses (9:10); Once a Pawn (10:10); Columbia vs. Challenger (11:10); Knots (12:10).
The Waiting Room: Manny Coon (9:40); Crush the Clown (10:20); Domestica (11:20); Somasphere (12:20).
Barley Street Tavern: AM Revival (9:00); Jodie Loves Hinkley (10:00); Orion Walsh (11:00); Strawberry Burns (midnight).
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Tonight at The Slowdown, it’s Jenny Lewis with Deer Tick. This show sold out a few days ago, so no tickee no luckee. It starts at 9 and I suggest you get there early for Deer Tick.
Of course if you’re in Lincoln tonight, check out Cursive at Box Awesome with Ideal Cleaners and Box Elders.
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