The organizers of last weekend’s Lincoln Invasion festival have to be somewhat satisfied with the way the event went down. LI organizer Jeremy Buckley said they sold around 150 wristbands on the first night. Ultimately, bands probably took home around some cash. Friday night seemed more crowded than Saturday night. Neither night was a crush mob anywhere, though there was at least 50 people in Barley Street during Triggertown and around 75 in PS Collective during Columbia vs. Challenger.
Here’s a recap of both nights:
For me, the best performance Friday night was the first one of the evening — Triggertown at The Barley Street Tavern. I love this band, and so did Teresa, who would have been happy to just listen to them all night (She wasn’t happy when we had to leave before their set ended to catch another band). I don’t know how you define “traditional bluegrass,” but Triggertown must come pretty close. The band includes an upright bass, a couple guitars, fiddle and a guy sitting playing what looked like a lap steel guitar (I couldn’t see what it was). There was no drummer, which I guess follows the bluegrass rules. Still, Triggertown’s sound isn’t buried within bluegrass conventions. They have an infectious, twangy, acoustic rural style, with gorgeous harmonies and a sassy little fiddle player that would make anyone smile. Here’s a blurry photo of the action.
Like I said, I hated to tear myself away from their set, but I didn’t want to miss The Machete Archive at TWR. I tweeted Friday night that their sound was “electric prog rock instrumental power trio w/amazing hair solos,” and that about sums it up. I wouldn’t call them “metal” as their sound isn’t evil enough for that sort of thing. Instead, their music was all about rhythmic precision, violin-like guitar tone and that crazy-ass bass player and his amazing afro (Whipkey now has competition in the “best hair” department) who was impossible not to watch. He also was the featured “whistler” on a song that was the highlight of their set. See pic.
Next it was down the street for Lucas Kellison and the Assembled Soul at the PS Collective. Buckley said they forgot to hire a sound guy for that room, and it showed — it sounded bouncy and hollow for music that was more “lounge” than “soul.”
I strolled back over to TWR for about 15 minutes of Ideal Cleaners — they sounded big and huge and angry. Very nice. See photo.
Then it was back to Barley Street for Pharmacy Spirits. I’m listening to the band’s self-released album of demos called Teen Mindwash right now, which I picked up at the show for $5 (get one if you can). They remind me of Boys-Don’t-Cry-era Cure mixed with New Order and a smidge of Pixies. I point to their bouncy bass style/ tone, which sounds as if it was lifted directly from the British Isles circa 1980. I like frontman Jim Reilly’s voice better here than in Beep Beep, but I wish he’d sing closer to the microphone — I was having a hard time hearing him. In fact, I could have used a ton more of both guitars in the mix. While I’m making suggestions — don’t do a thing to the drums, they’re perfect — simple, crisp, the epitome of ’80s post-punk percussion. I want to see this band on a larger stage, with a larger set-up — it will either ruin their sound or take them to the next level. One more thing about Pharmacy Spirits — they do something that no other bands seem to do these days — they find a groove and exploit it for two, three, four minutes per song, and I could listen to it all night. (Another crappy photo)
The first night ended with The Show Is The Rainbow at TWR — Darren Keen, his guitar, his laptop and his video, playing to around 75 dazzled fans. He said he had to cut his usual set short due to computer problems, and instead ended with three or four songs sung only with guitar. Among them was a new one designed to be a comment about his recent dealings with Saddle Creek Records, which (in the end) turned out in his favor, though that wasn’t exactly reflected in the lyrics. There was a couple others that he said were about moving into a house with his girlfriend — sweet/cute. (a blurry photo).
Saturday night began with singer/songwriter Manny Coon at TWR, playing to a somewhat sparse crowd — hey, it was early. MC’s style was traditional story-teller folk done up on acoustic and damn good. See photo.
Next was Once a Pawn at PS Collective (with Jon Taylor of Domestica handling the soundman chores!). Last time I saw them they were a trio. Saturday night they were just a guitar-and-drum duo with more than enough fire power to fill out their sound (though I do miss that bass). The music was loud and punky and a lot of fun, though only about 20 people were there to hear it. (See creepy pic)
Did I say loud? Well, it was nothing compared to Domestica at The Waiting Room, which was the highlight of the festival’s second night. The band always sounds enormous, but was particularly epic on that stage. I don’t know if they were playing new material or if I just didn’t recognize it in this setting, either way it was mega-good, and mega-loud as all good Domestica shows should be. See pic.
Finally, it was back to PS Collective for the farewell set by Columbia vs. Challenger. Actually, the band repeatedly told the rather large crowd that they played their “real farewell show” a few weeks earlier in Lincoln. This one, apparently, was a bonus round, though you wouldn’t have known it by all the technical problems they suffered. They were supposed to go on at 10:10 but didn’t actually start until about a half-hour later, and then kept having even more problems. After their first song, they discovered that their keyboards weren’t working, which delayed the show for another 10 minutes. They ended up playing only four or five songs to a crowd that was hungry for more. (see photo)
And that, my friends, was the end of my Lincoln Invasion experience. Overall I thought it was a lot of fun, and again proved that Benson is great place for festivals (We’ve got two more coming in the months ahead). The only disappointment was the lack of the usual Benson crowd at the shows. Where were all those Benson musicians and singer/songwriters? I did see plenty of other musicians in the house — including a contingency of Saddle Creek folk, Speed! Nebraska pit crew and a few other local legends. Now we wait and see if Buckley and Dub do it all again next year…
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This just in, a last-minute update from Buckley himself:
“Hey Tim, looks like we had about 330 paid for the weekend — 164 and 165 respectively. Each band made about $35 a piece after the expenses were taken care of (which was about 1/2 of the door when all was said and done). From the communications I’ve had with the bands I know some of the obvious things we’d like to improve on for next year, but overall (bandwise) everyone expressed how much fun they had over the weekend, getting out of town, seeing faces new and old, etc. The venues were all pretty easy to deal with, the bands and Lincoln fans who drove up all were into the spirit of the event and the faces I didn’t know seemed genuinely excited to be trying something new. The goal for now is to build on this initial venture and work out the kinks to make an even better Lincoln Invasion 2.0. Here’s to seeing who else can invade where!”
And here’s an update on Box Awesome, also from Buckley:
“…had our second court date this morning. We are out of the current Box Awesome location by July 6 and our last show will be on June 30 featuring Somasphere, Triggertown and Plack Blague. We’re hoping to get up and running by the end of the year at Box Awesomer. Now we get to figure out who’s moving in. :)”
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Telekinesis kicks off a very busy week of music in Omaha. The Seattle band that’s signed to Merge Records is playing at Slowdown Jr. with Brisbane’s An Horse and Our Fox. Amazing line-up for a mere $8.
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