Which Nebraska Band Toured the Most in 2015? | Year In Review

Ask any road-tested band about the best way to build a fan base, and almost all agree: tour, tour and tour some more. In 2015, Nebraska musicians put that plan into action.

We surveyed touring acts from all around the scene, many of which have toured for years, and others still who made it out for their first time this year. Combined, they played roughly 1250 concerts in more than 200 cities nationwide, covering nearly all 50 states. Not to mention the globetrotters that traversed Europe, Japan, Australia, Mexico and New Zealand. That’s a big Nebraska music footprint.

Read on to find out which Nebraska act toured the most in 2015. Our correspondents tell us where they went, who they met and what experiences were the most memorable.

[Editor’s note: if we missed your band, or one you know hits the road hard, email us at editorial@hearnebraska.org. We’ll add them in.]

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Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal — Josh Hoyer

photo by Shelby Wolfe

How many days did you tour in 2015?

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal played 107 shows outside of the Lincoln/Omaha area. Some were just regional weekend trips and others were longer tours. We played a total of 27 states. We also had to separate week-long recording sessions in Nashville and made two records this year. Cooked Raw released in November and Running From Love is set to be released April 2016.

Where did you go? South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa.

What was the most surprising show and why?

We played a Monday night in Bismarck, ND at Laughing Sun Brewery in August. The beer was amazing, the owner was great and the employees were very cool and accommodating. And man, did we have a dance party that night! The venue only held about 60 people and we had it full of fun-loving folks that got down with us. A lot of times, these kind of gigs are just gas money gigs to get you to bigger cities- but these folks were all about it. One of the funnest shows of the year by far.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

The Blues on The Chippewa Festival in Durand, Wisconsin was great. The people were very receptive to our original music and really connected with the lyrics, the players and the vibe. It took place in the town square, which was loosely fenced off so people could bring in liquor and food. It was a family affair! Our set was on Sunday afternoon at like 3pm- had to have been almost 100 degrees in the shade. But those folks had a blast with us. Of the 1000 or so people there, a good 300 of them were dancing and singing along- the others chilling in the shade…after the show we went to sell CDs and man- we got a bunch of hugs and firm hand shakes and smiles from complete strangers. Thats what its all about!

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

We met so many kind and genuine people in our travels in 2015, it is hard to narrow it down. So many good folks out there. I’d have to say that John May from St. Louis sticks out to me. He is a talent buyer and one of the old school good guys that really looks out for bands. In an industry quickly giving way to massive corporate promoters that really stick it to bands in cities all across America, these guys that keep their word and work on a handshake are harder and harder to find. These kind of guys will bend over backwards to help bands out because they have either been working or traveling musicians or have really learned how tough the road can be by listening to and caring about the artists. To John, and a few others like Pete Watters at the ZOO, Suki at Uncle Bo’s in Topeka, Chris at the Knuckledown in Madison, Carla at Ziggies in Denver, we are not just simply a commodity to help sell beer. we are an important part of the fabric of American life.

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The Talbott Brothers

photo by Chris Dinan

How many days did you tour in 2015?

174 days on tour, 116 shows (including private events)

Where did you go?

Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Kansas, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Michigan, Illinois

What was the most surprising show and why?

It’s hard to narrow it down, but one of one’s that stuck out was Harmon Park Amphitheater in Kearney. Kearney is where we first started playing out and there were a lot of people that came to see us and have supported us since the beginning. It was humbling that people had traveled from different parts of the midwest to spend the evening with us and yet we still got to meet new people from the community as well.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

We don’t have a favorite venue because there are so many cool places we have the privilege of playing. We will always call Nebraska home and we love taking our music on the road to share with others across the country. That being said, one of our favorites is McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale, Ore., which has a really unique history with the property and the vibe and interactive crowd made it one of our favorite’s to play this year.

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

They aren’t necessarily from a different scene, but Evan Bartels & The Stoney Lonesomes have been great guys to share the stage with. They work hard and are great writers and musicians.

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Bonehart Flannigan

photo by Lindsey Yoneda

How many days did you tour in 2015?

I was officially away from home for 13 weeks and 3 days. I think I played something like 70 shows last year total. Not great, but not terrible.

Where did you go?

I played a handful of shows here in New York City, a couple of house shows at SXSW, and did a couple weekend run outs back to Nebraska. Trainwreck Tour went from NYC across to Chicago, then did a loop-di-loop through the Midwest, then up through Colorado/Wyoming/Montana/Idaho, then back to Colorado, then out to California, down the coast, across the Southwest and down along the border of Mexico, then cut diagonally from north to south across Texas, then New Orleans and back up through the Appalachian mountains and back to NYC.

What was the most surprising show and why?

Maybe Austin? I kind of didn’t expect anyone to show up but it was packed. Also, Friend Fest was surprising because I didn’t know we were going to play it until a week and a half beforehand.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

That’s really hard. That’s like trying to choose my favorite band.

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

Haha, and that was the next question! That’s sort of a loaded question to begin with, and impossible to answer. I’ve met hundreds of amazing bands and people on the road, there isn’t really a “best” one.

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A Wasted Effort – Jared Gottberg

photo by Hear Nebraska

How many days did you tour in 2015?

In 2015, A Wasted Effort did about 45 days on the road between 25 cities on two different tours.

Where did you go?

The tours lead us to the South twice and then the West Coast including several amazing stops like Hollywood, San Fran, and Dallas, but eventually the second tour, the Going Broke Tour, got cut short 3 days and 2 shows due to being robbed of a large portion of gear and personal items in San Antonio.

What was the most surprising show and why?

The most surprising show was having the opportunity to play at the Gas Monkey Live in Dallas, TX… simply due to the absolutely huge crowd, the reputation the venue has, and the love and warmth the crowd and new fans showed us.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

The band’s favorite show was in Fort Collins, CO when before our set, we brought and presented a cabbage to our friends in Savage Cabbage while they were on stage at the Aggie Theater. Their  fans, known as Cabbages, absolutely loved it, and Savage Cabbage joined us for both of our dates in Denver!

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

The coolest people we met from a different scene were the Savage Cabbage guys, whom have since August moved their whole group from Fort Collins to Nashville. We also would to throw a shout out to one of our best friends and fans Robbie Berglund whom let us crash at his place in Manhattan, KS in March and then again after he moved to Fort Collins, CO in August. Literally both tours!

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Twinsmith – Matt Regner

photo by Lindsey Yoneda

How many days did you tour in 2015?

75

Where did you go?

12/31 – Omaha, NE – O’Leaver’s NYE
2/17 – San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall
2/18 – San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brew
2/19 – Fresno, CA – Strummer’s
2/20 – Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex
2/21 – Pomona, CA – Glass House
2/22 – San Diego, CA – Casbah
2/23 – Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom
2/24 – Albuquerque, NM – Sister Bar
3/1 – Lincoln, NE – Duffy’s
3/2 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
3/3 – Columbus, OH – Tree Bar
3/4 – Pittsburgh, PA – Howler’s
3/5 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie
3/6 – Boston, MA – Middle East
3/7 – Brooklyn, NY – Union Hall
3/8 – Washington DC – DC9
3/9 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
3/10 – Athens, GA – Caledonia Lounge
3/11 – Atlanta, GA – Music Room
3/12 – Knoxville, TN – Preservation Pub
3/13 – Columbia, MO – The Bridge
3/16 – Tulsa, OK – Soundpony
3/17 – Denton, TX – Rubber Gloves
3/19 – Austin, TX – Stay Gold -SXSW Nicodemus Showcase
3/21 – Austin, TX – Red Eyed Fly – SXSW Saddle Creek Showcase
3/23 – Wichita, TX – Rock Island
3/28 – Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
3/29 – Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
3/30 – Fargo, ND – The Aquarium
3/31 – Billings, MT – Pub Station
4/1 – Spokane, WA – Bartlett
4/2 – Seattle, WA – Conor Byrne
4/3 – Portland, OR – White Eagle
4/5 – San Francisco, CA – Hotel Utah
4/6 – Los Angeles, CA – The Satellite
4/7 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar
4/8 – Las Vegas, NV – Beauty Bar
4/9 – Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
4/10 – Denver, CO – Lion’s Lair
5/15 – Omaha, NE – Slowdown
6/2 – Council Bluffs, IA – No Coast Festival
7/18 – Ogallala, NE – HN Good Living Tour
7/20 – Iowa City, IA – Gabe’s
7/21 – Columbus , OH – Double Happiness
7/22 – Lakewood , OH – Mahall’s 20 Lanes
7/23 – Indianapolis, IN – Joyful Noise
7/25 – Springfield, MO – Outland Ballroom
8/17 – Sioux Falls, SD – Icon Lounge
8/18 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
9/10 – Lincoln, NE – Zoo Bar
9/12 – Des Moines, IA – Des Moines Social Club
9/13 – St. Paul, MN – Bedlam Theater
9/15 – Madison, WI – Frequency
9/16 – Chicago, IL – Township
9/17 – Dubuque, IA – The Lift
9/18 – Burlington, IA – Washington
9/19 – Denison, IA – Tri City BBQ Fest
10/2 – Lincoln, NE – Bourbon Theater
10/14 – St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House
10/15 – Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck
10/16 – Peoria, IL – Pizza Works
10/17 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall
10/24 – Wichita, KS – Barleycorn’s
10/25 – Springfield, MO – Outland Ballroom
10/26 – Denton, TX – Rubber Gloves
10/27 – Austin, TX – Hotel Vegas
10/28 – San Antonio, TX – Limelight
10/29 – Houston, TX – Walter’s
11/1 – Memphis, TN – Foo Bar
11/2 – Nashville, TN – High Tone
11/3 – Columbia, MO – Social Room
11/4 – Iowa City, IA – Gabe’s
11/5 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar
12/23 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room

What was the most surprising show and why?

There were all kinds of surprises along the way, from a room full of confused country fans just trying to eat in Knoxville, TN to a sold out crowd of wound up party dawgs showing up right at doors at the Echoplex in LA. The biggest surprise by far, though, was that we made it to our show in Chapel Hill, N.C. after our brakes went out the day before.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

So many great ones! Great American Music Hall in SF is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, The Echoplex had perfect sound, and The Old Rock House in STL was incredibly hospitable. One smaller venue that was particularly memorable was The Social Room in Columbia, MO. It’s a fully functional speakeasy with a 150 cap room attached to it. A+ sound, a great promoter, and a super quirky retro decor that basically looked like the Jetson’s living room. We definitely recommend it to NE bands looking for some sweet regional dates!

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

Another endless list. Broncho and Reptar were a blast to tour with. Mike Jaworski, originally from Omaha and now booking at the Bell House in Brooklyn, is a great dude with tons of music knowledge, industry experience, and solid hangs.

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Digital Leather – Shawn Foree

photo by Will Stott

How many days did you tour in 2015?

We played about a month’s worth of shows out of Omaha in 2015.

Where did you go?

We hit the Midwest, the South, East coast and the Southwest.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

Lots of interesting venues with varied crowd sizes. My favorite was probably Trailer Space in Austin. It was a record store. No stage. No pay. But a lot of friends showed up and we had fun. Trailer Space has since closed its doors. Glad to have been one of the many performers who got to play that historic DIY spot.

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Orion Walsh

photo by JP Davis

How many days did you tour in 2015?

I played around 100 concerts in 2015 which is actually less than last year, which was around 140 concerts. I was home in Nebraska about three-and-a-half months this year and the rest of the time I was touring, traveling, or recording.

Where did you go?

This year I got the pleasure to do most of my touring in Europe which did include concerts in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Belgium, Ireland, and England. I also toured through the Midwest of America this summer with singer-songwriter Jordan-Morgan Lansdowne — with whom I have done eight tours with in the past — which included Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska. I also played many concerts on the west coast which included California, Oregon and Washington. As well I played in Wyoming for the first time in Cody, played in Boise, Idaho and also a string of shows in Florida with my friends in the band Musical Chairs to end the year out.

What was the most surprising show and why?

I think one of the most surprising shows for me this year was in a town in central Germany called Bad Harzburg.I had never been there before and a couple named Christa and Manfred invited me to come play a house concert in their home which is a renovated barn over 200 years old. It was an amazing experience, packed full of people, and they were truly a great audience! I would definitely return there if given a chance.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

That is a hard question. I would say for an American venue I really enjoy playing at Vega for a hometown show when I’m performing with a band, as the sound is great and you can’t beat the atmosphere. Second place would go to Crescent Moon Coffee in Lincoln which I personally think is the best place for an acoustic show in Nebraska that I’ve found. For international venues I would say my favorite this year was in Galway, Ireland, a venue called Monroe’s. I played the big stage there on a Saturday night with a phenomenal Irish band called Rackhouse Pilfer who plays Americana music better than most Americans. It was a pleasant surprise.

Who is one of the best people/bands you met from a different scene?

I think one of the best musicians I toured with this year that I just recently met would be Jante, who is a singer-songwriter from Chemnitz, Germany. We toured together for one week in eastern Germany, which is an area that 25 years ago I would have never been allowed to enter as an American musician. All the concerts we did together were filled with magical moments  and good energy from clubs, to an art gallery, to house concerts, to playing music in the streets. I met him last year when I was staying at a hostel in Dublin. I definitely recommend checking his music out especially the song “Von Land zu Land.”

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See Through Dresses – Sara Bertuldo

photo by Peter Barnes

How many days did you tour in 2015?

See Through Dresses toured 85 days this year. We were hoping to double what we did last year, which was 52. 2016 will be a good one though.

Where did you go?

We did the East coast a couple times, a lot of the Midwest, and mainland Europe. We still have never played the West coast. Haha. One day.

What was the most surprising show and why?

I’ve never played the entire state of Indiana before this year. We got to play Bloomington, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne each on separate trips and they were all surprisingly fantastic. Mostly because I didn’t have any sort of expectations beforehand (hope that doesn’t sound bad), but the people we met in these cities were all so sweet

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

This is a really hard question, so I’m not gonna pick just one. The bigger venues we had the privilege of playing this year, Lincoln Hall (Chicago), Triple Rock (Minneapolis), and Chameleon Club (Lancaster). I really adored Rozz-Tox in Rock Island. There are so many amazing clubs in Europe, but the one that stands out to me is Oetinger Villa in Darmstadt, Germany. It’s basically an old mansion run by a bunch of punks. Punks that cook you amazing food and give you a place to stay.

Who is one of the best people/bands you met from a different scene?

Also a tough question to answer. We have a deep connection in both Kansas City and Minneapolis, they’re truly our homes away from home. The Author and the Illustrator, Fullbloods, Jerad Tomasino are real good friends of ours in KC. Dan Mariska & The Boys Choir, Brilliant Beast, Strange Relations in Minneapolis. Both of these cities produce so many talented bands, it makes me wish we all lived closer so we could start a band together. I also must mention our good buds Decibelles from France. Formed a bond in the span of just two shows, alcohol is likely a factor in that equation. They’re one of my favorite bands I’ve had the pleasure of playing with. We hope to play with them again one day!

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Bent Life – Brock Stephens

photo by Ben Semisch

How many days did you tour in 2015?

60

Where did you go?

All over the United States and Japan

What was the most surprising show and why?

Every show in Japan because we were in Japan and people actually showed up

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

The Game in Tokyo, Japan

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

Person – Hiroyuki from Tokyo

Band – Caught In A Crowd from Boston

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Darren Keen

photo by James Dean

How many days did you tour in 2015?

Not much – just over 40

Where did you go?

From New York City to Austin and home twice (once for SXSW) and a little east coast jaunt. A short trip to Chicago and back.

What was the most surprising show and why?

Birmingham, AL – The Firehouse. It was the last day of a tour. I drove solo overnight 16 hours and was really spun out and tired when I arrived which was about 10 minutes after doors were open. Audience and other performers were really understanding and we had a blast. Super attentive fun audience. Some people road tripped from Florida to see the show. It was great.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

The Crown – Baltimore. It’s a perfect blend of professional, on top of their shit bar / club & wild DIY venue. They have a Thai restaurant in there too.

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Matt Whipkey

photo by JP Davis

How many shows did you play in 2015?

Between band shows and solo shows I performed about 40 dates outside of the Omaha market this year.

Where did you go?

We were luckily to play all over the United States: IA, MN, IN, WI, IL, SD, KS, CO, OK, NM, TX, CA, OR, VT, PA and several locations in Nebraska outside of Omaha.

What was the most surprising show and why?

Our first show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa, was also our first show of 12 this year with country music icon Dwight Yoakam. As very much students of rock and roll, the Surf holds a near spiritual place in my heart. In 2001 while coming back home from seeing Jeff Tweedy solo in MPLS, my friends Anders, Nick and I made a stop at the ballroom. The front door was locked, but a side door was open. As we walked in there was a lonely janitor mopping the pristine wooden dance floor, on the overhead loudspeakers a song was rocking, “Welllll that’ll be the day…” My friends and I looked at each other with acknowledgment that is kind of cute and clever to have Buddy being played at all times. After the song, the music cut to commercial, “You are listening to WXXP (sp?) playing all the oldies all day long.” That was not programmed music but one of the most ridiculous coincidences of my life. The thought of ever performing there seemed like a very distant dream.

When the opportunity arrived to perform with Dwight at the Surf in May, we were more thrilled. Dwight Yoakam is the definition of “real deal” His music spans genres effortlessly and his 2015 release “Second Hand Heart” is easily one of his best. It is difficult to describe what taking the stage at the Surf Ballroom feels like. Everyone who steps foot on it with a guitar in hand has an obligation of sorts to not just bring their absolute best but exceed it.  The crowd was packed in, there is no barrier at the Surf, and literally you can pat someone on the head in the front row. We knew everyone was there for DY and we had to earn it. I sincerely believe we did. What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why? Along with the Surf Ballroom, two venues really stick out in my mind: The Green Music Center at Sonoma State University in CA and the Ignition music garage in Goshen, IN. I was doing a run of solo acoustic shows with Dwight on the West Coast in August when I was added somewhat last minute to his show at Sonoma State. This venue blew my mind, so so beautiful. The general landscape in Sonoma is kind of what I imagine heaven to be, so the venue had that going for it out the gate. The interior reminded me very much of the Holland Center but the very back wall was open and there were a couple acres of beautiful rolling hills where people were seated. While most of the shows with Dwight have a surrealistic quality to them, this one I had to pinch myself.

The Ignition Music Garage in Goshen, IN is one of the coolest clubs I have ever performed in. During regular business hours it functions as an independent record store/ stereo repair shop. However on show nights, all the bins roll away and seats are brought out. In a matter of minutes it is transformed into a treasure of a music venue. The audience is beyond attentive and the building also houses their own AAA format FM radio station. When we rolled into town, they actually were playing our songs on the station. I have been making music in Omaha for fifteen years and I have never heard our songs on 89.7 FM on a weekday in the afternoon. Hell unless you have some guttural, agro quality to your tunes, you probably never will. It is beyond refreshing to know that there are places like the Ignition Music Garage.

Who is one of the best people/bands you met from a different scene?

Forming new relationships is easily one of the best parts of hitting the road. Although many of are brief, you never know who will come back into your life time and time again.  The entire Dwight Yoakam crew has been absolutely wonderful to work with. From the onset they treated us with a degree of respect most support acts simply do not get. After a few shows, they really made us feel like part of the team for whatever that day’s task was. Dwight himself has become a pretty fantastic friend, you would be hard pressed to meet a more gentlemanly and generous musician. Being in the presence and friendship of Dwight cannot help but rub off some musical inspiration as well; he knows a thing or two about songwriting.

One of the reasons we had such a fantastic time in Goshen, IN was the act we shared the bill with: Carey Murdock. Carey and his band hail from Georgia and in true southern fashion could not have been kinder. Everyone in the group was so humbly genuine. They performed first that evening and it only took a handful of songs for the boys and I to share that look of, “Damn, I don’t want to follow this.” This is one of my favorite feelings in music. There is such an underlying comradery to being a travelling musician; everyone is always willing to help each other out. However, when it is show time, we cannot help but feel the ever so smallest sense of competition. It is wonderful and really brings out the hunger and fire in everyone. Thank you Carey for making some Omaha dudes kick the jams a little harder that night, you guys still smoked us!

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FREAKABOUT – Cortney Kirby

photo by James Dean

How many days did you tour in 2015?

We were on the road for 81 days in 2015 and played 68 shows outside of Lincoln.

Where did you go?

East Coast, down south, up north, out to Colorado, ehhh I can’t remember where else.

What was the most surprising show and why?

I would have to say the most surprising show was down in Austin, Texas at The Indian Roller. We played with our tour mates, American Pinup and two other incredible bands that just so happened to both be all female bands. One was a Misfits cover band called the Missyfits and the other was a “swing-punk/alternabilly” band. I would say we were surprised because that is a very rare thing for us in the Midwest. We’re lucky if we can play one show with one female. That was pretty cool.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park, N.J. The moment we walked into this venue we could feel the history behind it. Asbury Lanes is a fully functioning bowling alley that also happens to have a huge stage right in the middle of it where they have hosted hundred and hundreds of shows over the years. We were told that this venue is “legendary.” The staff was amazing, the bands we played with KICKED ASS and the people that came to the show were nothing but welcoming. Overall, it was one of our favorite shows on this last tour.

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

When we played in Lancaster, Penn., back in September, we played with a local band there called Medusa’s Disco. They’re a four piece rock n roll band with an energy that I’ve never seen before. We clicked within an instant. They are super talented musicians and I wish we could hang out/play with them on a regular basis.

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Plack Blague – Raws Schlesinger

photo by Samuel Bennett

How many days did you tour in 2015? Where did you go?

Plack Blague had a busy year in 2015, playing shows from coast to coast for all sorts of weirdos and freaks! I did a lot of unconventional touring which consisted of mostly weekend one-offs, a couple flights to Los Angeles, and a quick jaunt to Providence, RI and back. Plack Blague managed to pull off 16 out of state shows this year (amongst the slew of Nebraska shows also played), with five of them taking place in L.A., a couple in Chicago, Minneapolis Industrial-Noise Fest and also including Kansas City, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Buffalo, Brooklyn, Providence, Baltimore, Columbus, and Denver, Colorado.

What was the most surprising show and why?

One thing about touring in Plack Blague is that venues and most of the bands/artists sharing the bill can be quite strange and surprising. Sometimes what surprises me is when you get to play a super nice venue with a secure backstage, clean bathrooms, buffet of food and cocktails. Not that I don’t appreciate a good diy show or illegal venue situation, but sometimes getting to chill in “luxury” isn’t bad either. I had quite a few surprising shows happen to me this year, one being that I got to perform at the infamous Viper Room in Los Angeles this summer with 3Teeth. Playing on the Sunset Strip was like a childhood dream come true and just knowing how many legendary artists and musicians that shared that same stage is unbelievable to me.

That being said, I would have to say the MOST surprising show Plack Blague did this year was probably the Mustache Mondays party that took place at La Cita Bar in downtown Los Angeles. Mustache is a weekly queer dance party that has weird avant-garde/underground artists of all sorts also perform amongst international deejays and hosts. The show was completely insane and packed with all walks of life, go-go boys, and friends that had been following me around Los Angeles for about a week of shows.  The crowd was screaming during my entire 15 minute performance and by the time I was finished, they were soaked in sweat from dancing like crazy people! The energy was the most intense and fun crowd I have played for, which says a lot because LOTS of different scenes have really partied and danced for Plack Blague. Also, the huge outside patio to the bar, covered in Christmas lights, had one of the best views in downtown Los Angeles.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

In December, I was lucky enough to be asked to open for the legendary Psychic TV at Summit Music Hall in Denver. I knew this was going to be a huge show and not at your normal dive bar, so it was exciting to walk into a huge venue like this knowing hundreds of people will be filling up the pit with enthusiastic concert goers. This was probably my favorite venue to play at just because of the size of the show and being able to perform with such an influential band also helped. This was also the first venue where I had stage hands take care of my equipment for me and also a backstage with security. While most of these accommodations were arranged from the concert promoter, it was just nice to kick back in a large clean environment. Also, it helps that I can get naked somewhere secure and change into my leather. Ha! An honorable mention to the surprising show category would have to be NA4E in Baltimore. I haven’t played at a venue that not only you could smoke cigarettes at, but EVERY SINGLE PERSON was smoking at the show. Haven’t been offered a cigarette by so many people in one night.  I don’t even smoke.

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

Picking somebody that would be the “best” person or band from a different scene is super hard for me, because I met so many awesome people this year. I was fortunate enough to meet Adam Morosky this year, who performs under the name Timeghost, out of Providence, RI. He does this over the top, primitive industrial inspired project that I had known from videos I had seen on the internet and became an instant fan. He had contacted me to book him a show this year in Lincoln and we finally got to meet and play a show together. So when the time came for me to play in his city, he helped me out with a show in Providence and really went out of his way to make us feel really well taken care of. It’s always cool when you can play another city super far away, and you are really made to feel at home for the night. Granted, I did personally know quite a few people at the show, but the whole vibe of noise acts, industrial music and black metal really felt like a show I would book in Nebraska. Adam is somebody I have really grown to respect as a performer, an artist and also a friend. I’m totally inspired by his work and love getting to know him as well. Timeghost is easily one of the best industrial artists happening at the moment.

* * *

No Tide – Sean Murphy

photo by Peter Barnes

How many shows did you play in 2015?

We had approximately 70 tour dates. We spent an additional 10 days in Massachusetts recording our full length record.

Where did you go?

After recording in February,  we did a west coast run with Seasons Change in April. We toured with Giants at Large and did a bunch of shows on the east coast in June. July we toured with Sundressed through the Southwest,where they’re from. in September we had a short run of dates with a Texas band called Thieves.

What was the most surprising show and why?

Our most surprising show was probably Denver Colorado. This really nice venue called the Marquee Theater hooked us up and was a great place to play. There were quite a few people that had come to see us, it was a really great show.

What was your favorite national (or international) venue and why?

Our favorite place to play on the road is Seventh Circle Music Collective, also in Denver Colorado. They have always been good to us and we have had some really good shows there. Its a cool DIY venue that’s run for the sake of having shows.

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

We also really liked traveling with Sundressed. They are the first label-mates we have toured with so far. They helped out a lot with our video for Sunday Morning and were just fun to hang out with. We spent the night in a recording studio/venue with them and had a huge jam session with equipment we found in the place including three drumsets. It was a ;ot of fun and incredibly loud to say the least.

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Icky Blossoms – Nik Fackler

photo by Nickolai Hammar

How many days did you tour in 2015?

We were on tour for around 2 months in 2015.

Where did you go?

We did two east coast and south/east coast runs. Made it to New York, Atlanta and some other fun places like Asheville.

What was the most surprising show and why?

The most surprising show was in Brooklyn at the Cameo Gallery. It was our first NYC show promoting our new record, Mask. We had no idea how many people would come. What was so great and surprising was seeing the place fill up. But fill up with so many familiar faces of Omaha friends who now live in NY.  They filled the front row and started a mosh pit in the middle of the show. It felt like home, even though we were all so far away from it.

What was your favorite national venue and why?

Hard to say. It is always fun to play in Atlanta at the Masquerade. It is always filled with familiar faces and its rad to see all your gear being pulled up on this large pully system to get all the gear up onto the third floor of the venue. The venue itself is awesome because there are three floors. Heaven, Hell and Purgatory. Each a different size. The venue itself is a little dirty and not perfect, which is something I actually like in a venue.

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

We toured, opening for Of Montreal and really fell in love with the band and the crew.  On our final night together we all went to ihop and ate breakfast at around 2 in the morning.  We all got to become close and it was hard to say goodbye.

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Kris Lager Band – Jeremiah Weir

photo by Nickolai Hammar

How many days did you tour in 2015?

We have done around 150 shows a year for the last 14 years.

Where did you go?

In 2015 we played CA NY & many places in between. Our good friends Andy Frasco & Mato Nanji have given us the chance to play internationally & I certainly enjoyed my experiences in Mexico Canada & China. In 2015, KLB stayed stateside as our families are growing and we made a lot of progress in spreading the good word and our Celebrate Life mantra.

What was your favorite national venue and why?

Whenever people ask me what my favorite venue is I usually answer with “where do we go next.” I hope this keeps me looking forward to future positive experiences & the endless possibilities that await. I would like to give a big shout out to the new music venue in Syracuse NY called Funk’n’Waffles owned & operated by the funkmaster Adam Gold of Sophistafunk. Sophistafunk has been a huge inspiration on KLB in many ways.

On the last tour we did with Andy Frasco, we had Eman & Jack on the road with us and every day, every show they brought huge talent & the positive energy it takes to keep going in the live music world. If you haven’t heard of Sophistafunk yet, do yourself a favor and check them out. For the last 5 years, we have cultivated a grassroots music festival in NE called Hullaballoo & many artists near & dear to our hearts have helped us grow it into a successful event.

It usually is the last weekend of July at Sokol Park in Bellevue NE and it is definitely one of our favorite shows of the year. That really speaks to how great our Nebraska music scene can be. All the touring we do, all the wonderful places we have seen, and the beautiful people we have met, we still look forward to coming home to Nebraska. Venues like the Zoo Bar, & Bourbon Theater have supported us for so many years now. That is something we cannot take for granted and I hope that we never do.

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Cursive – Matt Maginn

photo by JP Davis

How many days did you tour in 2015?

We did about 60 days on the road.

Where did you go?

We did most of the major markets in the continental US.  Did not make it overseas at all this year.

What was the most surprising show and why?

Maybe Columbus, Ohio, this Fall at a place called Ace of Cups? We played with some great bands and the whole energy in the crowd that night was pretty amazing. It was a room that was not originally built as a venue per se but it happened to sound amazing and they packed about 300+ into the room. Stage was in the corner which is odd and it wasn’t the fanciest system, but it all worked and made for a great vibe and feel for the room. It didn’t hurt that they had an amazing BBQ food truck and an indian cafe onsite as well for some hungry travelers.

Who is the best person/band you met from a different scene?

I would have to say the good people in Beach Slang from Philadelphia, PA. They did about 30 shows with us and we just all clicked immediately. They are so refreshing in their earnest and honest approach to creating music and art. I am a little biased because I was a huge fan of their two 2014 EPs so I already loved them musically. Luckily they also happened to be very kind, thoughtful, beautiful hearted individuals as well. The record they put out this year only made us love them even more.

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We also ran the totals for the following Nebraska acts:

Conor Oberst – Played 31 total shows as a solo act, traveling all over the United States and parts of Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.

The Good Life – Played 42 total dates in support of Everybody’s Coming Down, the band’s first record in eight years. It included a nationwide tour with Big Harp, and a single show in København, Denmark. Both bands head overseas later this month for a European tour.

Desaparecidos – Played roughly 36 dates in support of Payola, its first release since 2002’s Read Music/Speak Spanish. The nationwide tour was unfortunately cut short in late October after Oberst fell ill. Missed dates included a homecoming show at O’Leaver’s and a headlining spot at The Fest in Gainesville, Fla.

  • Thai Scott Yager

    Screaming For Silence played 179 shows in 2015. Traveling 63k miles from NY to LA. Playing Omaha/Lincoln 6 times. They were also the winners of Ernie Ball’s Battle Of The Bands for Rock On The Range. Selected from over 2000 bands nationwide. They did all of this independently. I love the list and the article. I love showcasing local artiststhat are getting out there and grinding. I just wish Screaming For Silence could get the love they deserve locally. They will always rep Nebraska.