Folk and Roots Festival dates and location; Universe Contest photos; Hop Along tour; Best Coast announced

Nebraska Folk and Roots festival returns to Lincoln for its second year this summer.

The festival announced yesterday that it would take place on July 31 and Aug. 1. Last year, the three-stage event took over Lincoln’s Railyard stage, a corner the Railyard’s Public Market and Vega for two days. Folk and Roots is an opportunity to celebrate Lincoln’s Americana-music community by both prominently featuring local acts and welcoming touring bands to town.

This year, Folk and Roots Festival is at Branched Oak Farm, about 20 miles north of Lincoln.

While the festival-proper is just two days, associated shows begin as early as April. On April 10, The Bourbon hosts a kick-off party for Nebraska Folk and Roots (RSVP). The show, featuring Lloyd McCarter and the Honky Tonk Revival, Jack Hotel, Bud Heavy and the High Lifes and Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies, is $5 or free with purchase of a $15 pass to the festival. Initial lineup announcements will be made in conjunction with the kick-off show.

Jeremy Buckley, one of the festival organizers, says to expect some pre-parties the week of the festival, as well.

Last year, Wild Child, Union Specific, McCarthy Trenching, Bud Heavy and the Highlifes among others played. Read our coverage here.

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Hear Nebraska contributors Andrew Dickinson and Andrew Stellmon attended Universe Contest at Duffy’s Tavern on Friday night. Here’s their belated coverage:

In hosting their annual “Winter Formal” on Friday, the new Universe Contest finally seemed fully relaxed and in control.

It might be appropriate to say that after its 2015 Lincoln Exposed show, Universe Contest was “back,” but Friday marked the first time since rolling out the new additions of Chris Johnson, Jordan Elfers, Saber Blazek and Jordan Ellis that every aspect of the night screamed UC. The glitz of the stage decor and photo booth was a nice touch for the formal theme, and seeing everybody from musicians to bar staff all gussied up made it feel like a real party. But it all favored the straightforward over the ostentatious.

The feel of their performances has shifted accordingly. Friday’s set in particular seemed built around guitarist/vocalist Joe Humpal, and the way his and Tim Carr’s riffs swirled around each other. Both old songs and new drove forward powerfully. The set’s climax, old favorite “Curf Sity,” exploded from the stage as the increasingly sweaty crowd frenzied.

I noticed at one point that the flying beer-can count might have been the lowest I’ve seen at a Universe Contest show (my wool jacket appreciated that). I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the changes they have made spurred it – there were still loads of balloons and more propelled aluminum than the average night at Duffy’s. But if felt like more people were entranced by the performance itself rather than its frills.

—Andrew Stellmon | photos and captions by Andrew Dickinson

Above: Bassist Saber Blazek mingles at Duffy’s Tavern before wrangling thunderous bass tones.

Above: Jordan Ellis applies standard Universe Contest raccoon-like eye black before their performance.

Above: Even the bartenders were dressed for the occasion.

Above: Tim Carr and Jordan Ellis take in Sioux Falls’ Talk Rock before taking the stage themselves.

Above: Patrons and musicians take their turn in the Winter Formal photo booth.

Above: Drummer Jordan Elfers, draped in a glitz backdrop, locks down the rhythm section.

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One of the new Saddle Creek signees, Philadelphia’s Hop Along, announced details for its first release with the label. Painted Shut will be available May 5. Preorder it now and it will be in your hands by April 21. Hear a new track from the album below.

Hop Along also announced a batch of tour dates, including a June 4 Omaha stop with Field Mouse and Lithuania (RSVP).

Mar. 28 – The Norva, Norfolk, Va.
Mar. 29 – Richmond, VA, The National, Richmond, Va.
Mar. 31 – Bijou Theatre, Knoxville, Tenn.
Apr. 1 – Track 29, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Apr. 2 – Georgia Theatre, Athens, Ga.
Apr. 3 – Iron City, Birmingham, Ala.
Apr. 4 – Minglewood Hall, Memphis
Apr. 5 – Cains Ballroom, Tulsa
Apr. 7 – Historic El Rey Theatere, Albuquerque
Apr. 8 – Tricky Falls, El Paso, Tex.
Apr. 9 – The Pressroom, Phoenix
Apr. 11 – Lucky’s Everyday, Wichita
Apr. 12 – Mike N Mollys, Champaign, Ill.
Apr. 13 – Double Happiness, Columbus

May 5 – Rough Trade, Brooklyn
May 6 – The Space, Hamden, Conn.
May 7 – SPACE Gallery, Portland, Maine
May 8 – Great Scott, Allston, Mass.
May 9 – Union Transfer, Philadelphia
May 10 – Baby’s All Right, Brooklyn
May 13 – Black Cat, Washington DC
May 15 – The Mothlight, Asheville, N.C.
May 16 – Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta
May 18 – Club Dada, Dallas
May 19 – The Mohawk, Austin
May 22 – The Flycatcher, Tucson
May 23 – The Echo, Los Angeles
May 26 – Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco
May 28 – Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, Ore.
May 29 – Chop Suey, Seattle
May 30 – The Cobalt, Vancouver, B.C.
June 1 – Neurolux, Boise
June 2 – Kilby Court Salt Lake City
June 3 – Lost Lake, Denver
June 4 – Slowdown, Omaha, Neb.
June 5 – Subterranean, Chicago, Ill.
June 6 – Cattivo, Pittsburgh, Penn.
June 7 – The Cave at Lee’s Place, Toronto, Ontario

(*all dates March 28 – April 9 with The War On Drugs)

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This morning, One Percent Productions added Best Coast to the top of an already attractive Waiting Room bill with Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Bully. Tickets for the June 9 show are on sale now for $20. Best Coast’s third full-length, California Nights, will be out May 5. RSVP here.

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Tonight at The Hideout, Guttermouth, Counterpunch and The Shidiots play (RSVP). Skate punk outfit Guttermouth has released nine studio albums over the last 27 years. With deliberately explicit and often offensive lyrics, the band has made a name for itself on its aggressive demeanor.

Talib Kweli and Immortal Technique play The Waiting Room tonight (RSVP) with NIKO IS, CF and Hasan Salaam. Brooklyn-based Talib Kweli who rose to prominence over the last 20 years on lyrical-finesse and a social-consciousness. Tickets are $28.

Jacob Zlomke is a Hear Nebraska contributor. Reach him at