As is tradition at each year’s end, we asked a group of Nebraska music scene contributors about their favorites in local music, shows and developments while also looking ahead to 2018. So far, they have dug into the memorable live moments, single-serving tracks, compelling visuals and albums of the year.
In the waning days of 2017, our year-end scene contributors look ahead to what’s in store for Nebraska music in 2018. Read on for their encouraging forecasts both sweeping and specific.
Ben Buchnat, HN Social Media Intern
I see the Nebraska music scene getting younger. I think you’ll start to see more younger kids starting bands, making music and holding shows. I think Nebraska’s music scene is really due for a youth movement and I think 2018 is a great time for that to happen.
Histrionic at Lincoln Calling | photo by Lindsey Yoneda
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Maya Khasin, The Morbs/Plastic Garbage/Artichoke Hearts
It thrills me to see more and more interdisciplinary shows proliferating. Seeing live art, music, and poetry fuel and inspire one another is a sign of a vibrant scene. Along a similar line, people founding and developing media collectives such as Tiny Giant and performance series like Good Gospel and Wordsmiths Rock Marz help anchor the growth of diverse and collaborative performances and performance spaces. In the coming year, I hope people will continue to join, start, and support these collaborative ventures as they look for their place in the music scene. They are a genuine treasure.
Zo Willow at the Tiny Giant Re-Launch Party | photo by Alex Durrant
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Zach Schmeider, The Sydney
Personally, I have been trying to figure out a way to book shows to coincide with a way that we can better the local community (mostly, giving a portion of bar sales to local charities). I have a TON of ideas that I will be implementing in 2018 to bring that to light and make us not just a fly over state, but a city that truly cares about the state itself and the people who call it home.
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Ben Eisenberger, Hussies/Screaming Plastic
We have a lot of cool stuff happening right now. Probably the best part is that it’s not focused in one direction or around one genre. I don’t have one solid prediction per se, but I think there’s a lot getting ready to pop off to more widely showcase Omaha (or Nebraska, whatever). Dave Nance and the Bib boys have been releasing and touring for years now under these names and others, and they are only gaining more momentum, garnering national reviews, etc. Amanda DeBoer is recording, performing and touring with her experimental vocal group Quince and the widely-acclaimed Ensemble Dal Niente from Chicago. Make Believe Studios engineered a Grammy-nominated album. Also, not to shamelessly promote, but my group Screaming Plastic did receive a grant from highly-established nonprofit New Music USA this year to record and release an album which will be out next year, and while you can’t hear it yet, just know that it rips.
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Erin McMorrow, DJ SharkWeek
My prediction for the 2018 year would be to keep looking out for Make Believe Records as well as the Nebraska hip-hop community in general. R0ach, Sleep Sinatra, Conny Franko, the whole Make believe team, I got a sneak peak listen to some new music from Black Jonny Quest who is now producing some of his own beats. I see the hip hop community on the rise and I couldn’t be more excited to hear and see some new vibes from all the many talented folks here in the good life.
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Kate Berreckman, Kate Berreckman Band/Omaha Girls Rock
People should look out for Dirt House’s EP. Annie has some great songs and some really great players working on it, plus I love her.
Dirt House at Benson First Friday Femme Fest | photo by Arianna Bohning
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Dominique Morgan, Dominique Morgan & the Experience
Artists will understand that we are all running businesses. Merch, travel and so on are necessary. I see organizations like Omaha Creative Institute and The Union [for Contemporary Arts] putting more money in developing well rounded and knowledgeable artists.
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Marq Manner, Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards
I might have said this last year, but I still feel like our scene is young again and building again. I see next year being more of that. I have felt like we were in a downtime recently and I truly feel like we are coming out of that. I think soul music, R&B, blues, jazz and real country is what is next for local Nebraska…including longtime players and young musicians.
Lloyd McCarter & the Honky Tonk Revival at Vega | photo by Arianna Bohning
Rothsteen on the Good Living Tour | photo by Lauren Farris
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Taylor Sankey, Milk Run
Ideally, Milk Run will be up and running again. It’s been on a major hiatus and I think with every new year brings new prospects and new opportunities and I’m hoping we can work towards a *permanent* location. I miss doing what I love every day and I can only hope things turn out for the better next year.
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Emily Cox, E3 Music Management
I see the Nebraska music scene in 2018 becoming a much more politically charged form of art and expression. After the whirlwind year we had in 2017 and with 2018 being an important election year for our state, I foresee many (more) musicians using their public platform to express concern and show support for causes they’re passionate about. Whether it’s donating a portion of music sales to Planned Parenthood, performing at a Keystone pipeline protest, using their brand to campaign for a particular nominee, or writing entire songs to shed light on a controversial topic, local musicians are using their voice as a tool more and more every day.
Bien Fang at Rock Against Rape Culture Benefit Concert | photo by Lauren Farris
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L. Kent Wolgamott, Lincoln Journal Star
I’m generally terrible at this sort of thing, but I’m afraid there will be some retrenching on the local scene in 2018. In part that may be caused by changes in the federal tax code that will negatively impact all independent musicians – that’s both touring acts and locals – making it more difficult for them to make any kind of money doing music.
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Nate Van Fleet, See Through Dresses
A local band will drop an EP that is going to turn Nebraska upside down. Ya’ll aren’t ready.
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Shannon Claire, KZUM
I’m really excited to see “the next generation”, Lincoln’s youth, have resources and support to be whoever and whatever they want to be. There are some great organizations, with some dynamic key players, who are shaking up this city and I’m looking forward to there being a lot of crossover support and projects between them to further continue providing safe spaces, events and opportunities, for those under 21.
The Way Out at The Bay | photo by Arianna Bohning
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Sam Crisler, HN Editorial Intern
I’m looking for the DIY scene to keep pumping out bands with the potential to reach regional and national audiences. In the past couple years, BIB and Salt Creek have grown into road-worn carriers of the Nebraska independent music torch, and neither band is a stranger to playing basement shows a couple times a month. A few DIY bands are slated to release new albums next year (looking at you Jacob James Wilton, The Ambulanters and IFTLMF), so things are looking pretty bright.
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Malik Shabal, M Shah
I think things are headed in a really positive direction in 2018. I’ve seen so many people in the local music scene work really hard to try to put Nebraska on the map for music. I think the more we come together as a community to help each other build and grow, the more people will recognize Nebraska as a legitimate music scene. If we continue with the positivity and success we had in this year, 2018 is gonna be really dope.
Buddi3 Da Gawd at Good Gospel Vol. V | photo by Alex Durrant
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Amanda DeBoer Bartlett, Omaha Under The Radar
I’m looking out for more cross-genre collaboration, more jazz, and more conversations about performer compensation.
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Tim McMahan, Lazy-i
Bands who get on the road and tour like See Through Dresses, Bib, Nance, Twinsmith and others will continue to make inroads nationally. It’s hard work, but it pays off. Nebraska’s indie music scene used to be defined by Saddle Creek, and to some extent, still is, however this new generation of local bands is making a mark beyond our borders.
See Through Dresses at Duffy’s Tavern | photo by Lauren Farris
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Sarah Bailey, Briner
Well, this isn’t a prediction, it’s more of a request: Will Bogusman please release a new album in 2018? That would be great, thanks! No pressure.
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Keith Roger, DJ Kethro/Make Believe
I think the Nebraska music scene is in extreme danger. The current state of affairs between musicians has become confusing and very detached. These little bubbles that the “scene” lives in are holding everyone back from creating a successful music industry. So what should people be looking for in 2018? They shouldn’t be looking for shit, they should be making a change.