by Koby Good of Morning at Sea
We pulled up to a coffee house on 11th Street in Lincoln, Neb. There were some long-haired college students outside photographing a woman who was scantily clad in fishnet stockings and platform shoes, a rather odd sight.
The shop was super punk rock inside. I thought I was in Brooklyn for a moment. The bathroom even had a dresser full of baby clothes for the less fortunate. There was a music guru type outside posting the new hours on the the door of the coffee house. Apparently, this was the last time Cultiva would open late for live music.
The crowd was small. There were a few couples with jet black hair wondering about looking real indie. There was a couple people with their heads buried in books, a few older punk rock types, the baristas working and cooking and a lady frantically writing a eulogy for her dying mother in front of the tiny stage.
Chris Van Dyke opened the show. His music is clever and kinda jam bandish with a country alternative jive and not that memorable. There was a tip jar for the bands, and I'm not sure the venue had noticed we had arrived yet since we were on "tour" and blending right in to the hipster crowd.
The Lincoln band Fair Child took the stage around 9 as a three-piece: guitar, lead singer and piano. The lead singer repeatedly asked the crowd how the balance was. I found this odd for such a small venue. Fair Child was pretty good sort of a stoner folk band. I liked Fair Child enough to put $10 in the band tip jar. After their set, which was real short, about 30 minutes, the band cleared the stage as Morning at Sea was setting up.
I noticed the piano player for Fair Child clean out the tip jar. She saw me watch her take it, and she asked if that was rude. I didn't really care, but Chris who opened the show might have thought she was, as he was, obviously waiting around to get paid.
"I heard they pay bands in Lincoln, but that is not why we were there. I'd like to think our music heals, and these people needed some Morning at Healing." Fair Child cleared out. They said they would be back, "but I think they saved themselves some embarrassment after taking all the money and stayed away," not that we cared and they missed an amazing "morning set."
The lights went dark and beautiful reverb was in full effect. The banjo started to sink with my guitar, and the set went on without a glitch. The small crowd called for an encore, and the tip jar filled back up with the kindest words we have received from strangers yet, and we felt really humbled, and I think the lady in front row finished her eulogy.
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