Concert coverage: Norfolk feasts on the Good Living Tour
by Andrew Stellmon | photos by Lauren Farris
After nearly three summers producing concerts across the state, one thing is for certain: the more community involvement in the show, the more successful and engaging it is. Rolling into town, erecting a stage and throwing bands at people is great and perhaps it reaches those who might be most interested. But it’s the locally-specific aspects of each Good Living Tour stop that make them events — a painted-chair auction, a costumed .05k fun run, human-fooseball.
Norfolk and its annual ‘Fork Fest came through in a big way Friday, giving the Good Living Tour a vaulted platform among lines of classic cars in the streets and of people winding toward food truck windows. A whopping seven original Nebraska acts performed while festivalgoers ticked off their culinary ballots for the food truck “rumble”, which occurred much like last year’s edition.
Different from 2016, however, was the aligning of HN’s GLT lineup with the locally curated “Hear Norfolk” stage. The first three acts — all set to perform on the latter but moved to the “main stage” — gave the first half of the concert a touching community feel. The Begats, a reggae-rocking five-piece, shared a keyboard player and drummer with country act Tucker Hill Citizens Brigade. Baker Explosion brought the first half to a rollicking close, its guitarist/vocalist Benjamin Baker offering an emotional tribute to County Road vocalist and Norfolk native Abby Uecker (professionally, Abby Nichole) who passed away in a utility vehicle accident just two weeks prior.
Tucker Hill Citizens Brigade
A good chunk of the evening’s remainder likely challenged the concert’s spirited (and sated) audience. The Ambulanters changed the tone completely, unleashing roaring and swirling guitars and howling gang vocals. They were tight, the likely product of its recent, expansive west-coast tour, but it’s hard to imagine that kind of pained yet riveting post-rock gracing a downtown Norfolk classic car cruise before. Hakim was his usual fast-rapping self, bouncing around the stage with hype-man Dey-Jean. The Lincoln rapper spent the hour leading up to his set pacing around, headphones in, warming up in silence, and could be seen doing this exercise back-stage minutes before. He finished his set, riddled with songs about fatherhood, with his son on his lap, a final a capella verse echoing into the night.
Thick Paint followed, chilling things out as the night cooled. Though the band was quite relaxed, and Graham Ulicny’s vocals soothed, its compositions were also quite complex. Each song dipped nimbly in and out of unconventional time signatures; the look of concentration on drummer Jake Newbold’s face during one particularly repetitive sequence suggested a high-level of difficulty. Yet each was delivered tightly and crisply, almost angular for the sharpness in guitar tone.
That Kris Lager Band was the most accessible of the evening detracted nothing from how simply fun their set was. In town between sets at its own Hullabaloo Music Festival, the five-piece band jammed hard behind the energy of its unshakeable front man. The wide space between the beer garden and front stage meant plenty of “dry” room, but that also didn’t stop a detachment of fans from dancing with Lager at stagefront. The most memorable image from that set had to be saxophone player Mike LeFever’s hair blowing in the gentle wind of a stage fan; it was like the cover of a blues players’ romance novel.
Kris Lager Band
As drummer John Fairchild freestyle-rapped the set to a close — a frankly goofy but hilariously party-sustaining final act — it underscored one of my personal favorite aspects of the Good Living Tour. Like any show, it’s a chance to display what your band has been up to. Every act out there did some funky stuff, a few moves or sounds or screams some in attendance had likely never heard before. Like the mouth-watering menu of food trucks, the concert itself was a literal smorgasbord, meant to both embrace and challenge (as much as barbecue is capable of). This isn’t necessarily unique; tour will end, and shows statewide will continue to mix emcees with emo rockers and precise math rock with easygoing country. It’s the practical nature of the Nebraska music scene, large enough to hold everything but not so large those people aren’t rubbing elbows. Cheers to its ongoing proliferation.
See more photos from the Good Living Tour Norfolk below.
Kris Lager Band
photos by Lauren Farris
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Tim Kasher to debut ‘No Resolution’ movie at Film Streams
by Sam Crisler
Back in March, Tim Kasher dropped his third solo album, No Resolution, as the first release from his band Cursive’s new record label 15 Passenger. With dense instrumentals and somber lyrical themes of mortality and anxiety, No Resolution was trademark Kasher, never ceasing the dive into his deepest emotions.
Film Streams will debut Kasher’s feature film, titled after the LP, in a one-time screening at Ruth Sokolof Theater on Aug 31, with a short musical performance from Kasher preceding the showing and a Q&A following the film. No Resolution follows the story of a washed-up musician as his relationship with his pregnant wife devolves on New Year’s Eve. Tickets are $16 for general admission and $14 for students, seniors, teachers, military and those arriving by bicycle. Visit Film Streams’ website for more information on No Resolution. RSVP to the screening here.
Listen to what HN’s On The Record podcast team thought of the No Resolution LP here.
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KANEKO and Omaha UTR explore sound and environment in new Generator Series
by Sam Crisler
KANEKO and Omaha Under The Radar Festival have collaborated for the past four years to spotlight experimental performers from Nebraska and around the country during the yearly festival. This fall, the partnership will extend into a new performance series at KANEKO aiming to connect the physical world with music.
The Generator Series will kick off with its “Sound and Spectra” performance on Aug. 31, featuring Lincoln acoustician and engineer Lily Wang, Ph.D. working with Omaha composer Stacey Barelos to create a live musical composition that reacts to KANKEO’s physical surroundings and environment.
That interaction between environment and sound will be the root of the new series, which will present four total performances.
“Every piece on every program will be carefully selected to reflect potential inroads toward the general themes of ‘what the heck is music?’ and ‘how do we listen?’” says Omaha Under The Radar coordinator Amanda DeBoer.
The Generator Series was developed from the desire to create a more focused series than Omaha UTR, DeBoer says, which typically explores the various realms of experimental music and art, rather than a singular idea.
“We love the chaotic mix of the festival, but the Generator Series will be totally different,” DeBoer says. “We’ll create programs that are hyper-focused and that explore specific ideas on a deeper level.”
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Axcess copes with consequences in new video
by Sam Crisler
When met with forks in life’s road, the path we choose often ends up defining us. Do we stay true to ourselves, or do we indulge in our vices? In the music video for his track “Falling Sky’s,” Omaha rapper Axcess explores the consequences of our decisions as he spits over a sparse, piano-driven instrumental.
The video, directed by Cameron McClarty and featuring a soaring, sorrowful hook from Trevor Scott, observes two young brothers as they walk home from school laughing, eat dinner and work on homework together. During a study session, one of the brothers gets a phone call, which leads him to a meeting with a drug dealer. The next chance he gets, the younger brother snoops through his sibling’s backpack, where he finds a bottle of pills and a stack of cash. After facing the disappointment of his younger brother, will the eldest choose family over crime? See for yourself in the video below.
“Falling Sky’s” appears as the second song on Axcess’s 11-track mixtape “RAS (Rebel Against Society)” mixtape, which dropped back in February. Listen to “RAS” here.
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Photo Coverage: Spit Seeds for Proseeds
HN contributor Will Stott was on-hand Friday as HN and The Bay kicked off this year’s Hear Lincoln in style with Spit Seeds for Proseeds. The watermelon seed-spitting contest benefitted both non-profit organizations and was followed immediately by performances by Jack Hotel and Risky Clique. Check out Stott’s photos below:
photos by Will Stott
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Photo Coverage: X-Rated Women in Music showcase at Duffy’s Tavern
HN intern Marti Vaughan stopped by Duffy’s Tavern Friday night after the seed-spitting festivities for KZUM’s X-Rated: Women In Music showcase. St. Louis pop-rock band Bruiser Queen headlined the show, hosted by the titular program which celebrates women in music every Thursday on Lincoln’s 89.3 FM. Nebraska acts Blowing Chunks, Kait Berreckman, Mad Dog & the 20/20s and Histrionic also performed. See Vaughan’s photos below (sorry for missing you, Histrionic; we’ll see you this Saturday at The Commons LNK for HN’s benefit show).
Mad Dog & the 20/20s
Kait Berreckman Band
photos by Marti Vaughan
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Keep the spirit of the weekend going by heading out to a show. Have a look at our picks below, and find a more comprehensive list of what’s going on in Nebraska concerts at our events page. If a show is missing, add it to the events page using the contribute feature here.
Nikki Lane with Jonathan Tyler at The Waiting Room – Coming off the strength of her February LP, Highway Queen, Nashville country/rock artist Nikki Lane, stops at The Waiting Room tonight with the album’s co-producer, singer-songwriter Jonathan Tyler. Along with rollicking instrumentals of reverbed steel guitar and pounding bass drums, Highway Queen shows Lane opening up into her experiences with heartbreak on the road. Her Omaha show starts at 8 p.m., is all ages, and tickets are $15. RSVP here.
Sylvan Esso with Flock of Dimes at Sokol Auditorium – Sylvan Esso, the Durham, North Carolina, electropop duo specializing in off-kilter synth squeals and layered but minimal productions, is back with its first album since 2014, What Now, and they’re stopping at Sokol Auditorium on Tuesday. The LP is being hailed as a maturation from the band’s self-titled debut, diving deeper into vocalist Amelia Meath’s emotions and challenging the meaning of electronic pop. Baltimore’s Flock of Dimes, the solo project of Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, opens the show. 8 p.m, $22, all ages. RSVP here.