Live Review: Refrigerator, Simon Joyner; Lincoln Calling tix on sale Thursday; Electric Six tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:29 pm July 5, 2016
Refrigerator at O'Leaver's, July 1, 2016.

Refrigerator at O’Leaver’s, July 1, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

Refrigerator is a literate indie rock band that puts its guts out there for everyone to see, but still doesn’t take itself that seriously. Case in point: Halfway through their set Friday night at O’Leaver’s, guitarist Dennis Callaci decided it was a good time to form a congo line and bounce on out to the beer garden with his brother, frontman Allen Callaci, while the bassist and drummer kept the beat in the club. And out they went doing the usual bunny hop with grins on their faces (along with the dozen or so people who joined in, hands on hips).

The show had been promoted as a special occasion based on the fact that Refrigerator has never played in Nebraska before, despite having close ties with some prominent Nebraska musicians — Simon Joyner chief among them. To me, the band is identified with The Antiquarium, which was where you’d find their albums and cassettes, along with other releases on Callaci’s label, Shrimper. Their music has the same pleasantly abrasive style of a few of my favorite ’90s indie bands like Silkworm, Grifters, a more refined Guided by Voices — smart, earnest rock with a crashing beat that gets you moving. It was a great set.

The band had a big spread of their releases available at the show — lots of cassettes and some vinyl. But with only $20 to spare, I bought a copy of Allen Callaci’s book, Heart Like a Starfish, a handsome tome and a challenging read that I began tackling this weekend. The story recaps Allen’s medical struggles involving his heart. I’m just 40 or so pages into it and it’s getting rather grim, but I know the book has a happy ending because I saw it being lived out on O’Leaver’s stage.

Simon Joyner at O'Leaver's, July 1, 2016.

Simon Joyner at O’Leaver’s, July 1, 2016.

During the opening set, Simon Joyner on electric guitar, accompanied by a drummer, ripped through a number of new songs as well as some chestnuts like “Joy Division” (or at least part of that song) and “Javelin.” Always a good time.

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Lincoln Calling Oct. 6-8

Lincoln Calling Oct. 6-8

As you may or may not know, Lincoln Calling is getting a rather massive facelift this year. The primary change: Hear Nebraska is now putting on the three-day festival, which is being held Oct. 6-8 in venues throughout downtown Lincoln. Believe me, you will be impressed by the line-up, which HN will begin to announce July 13 (they’re doing incremental lineup announcements).

That said, tickets go on sale this Thursday, July 7. Early bird, three-day general admission festival passes will be available at a discount price of $29. Once those sell out, 3-day passes will increase in price to $39 for a limited time, and will eventually sell for $49.

Sales of all-ages 3-day passes that allow entrance only into two venues — The Bay and Tower Square — also go on sale Thursday for $25. Comedy-only passes will be sold for $25.

And then there are the two specialty passes:

Trustee passes at a cost of $250 includes a three-day festival pass, access to a lounge area with comfortable seating and tables, food and drink tickets, and additional perks to be announced.

SPEED! passes at $150 (only 10 available) gets the bearers to the front of the line at every concert, and allows access even when shows are at capacity.

One-day passes may be available day of show — subject to availability. In other words, at these price points, they’re expecting to sell out those 3-day passes.

No doubt Hear Nebraska is going for a South By Southwest-type event. The difference is they’re combining national touring acts of various genres with some of Nebraska’s finest bands, all playing in multiple venues for multiple days.

BTW, I have seen the initial line-up, and yes, it rivals this year’s Maha Festival. Get your tickets Thursday morning at

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Tonight Detroit disco-punk-new wave-garage-metal band Electric Six makes its annual pilgrimage to The Waiting Room. Joining them are In the Whale. $15, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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