photos and words by Cameron Bruegger
Envision Pla Mor Ballroom, and it might conjure up images of country music, the swing era and dancing lessons. And located on West O Street, six miles from downtown, Pla Mor is displaced from Lincoln’s downtown music scene, where The Bottle Tops have become recognizable roots music players during the last year. For the release of their debut record, they elected for a dance floor with ample elbow room and the retro aesthetics at which their music gestures.
This is the night in photos.
The Sower Dance Party that ensued (named for The Bottle Tops’ grassroots record collective with a handful of other Nebraska artists in and near the folk genre) seemed to be a time capsule of music scenes past, with poodle skirts, horned rimmed glasses and vintage suits. In turn, singer Gerardo Meza of The Mezcal Brothers paid tribute to early rock ‘n’ roll with his rockabilly band’s cover of Johnny Cash’s “Get Rhythm.” The old walls of the spacious ballroom seemed to come alive again as music reminiscent of the venue’s heyday bellowed from modern equipment.
The Mezcal Brothers
Billy Bacon celebrated his 50th birthday Saturday night and briefly shifted the environment from country swing jubilee to cantina. Hailing from Austin, Bacon’s roots consist of a mixture of Tex Mex, rockabilly and classic country. And ironically, as he and his band performed “Una mas Cerveza” the dancefloor began to cluster, shortening the lengthy beer lines. Bacon’s appearances have been few and far between in recent years due to health concerns, but for Saturday’s audience, Bacon presented one of his increasingly rare and rich performances.
The Bottle Tops arrived on stage with a flourish by releasing three large bags of balloons. And when the bar ran out of PBR early in the set (though as the photos show, singer Kerry Semrad still had her typical PBR in hand), singer and guitarist Mike Semrad brought Günter Voelker (Jack Hotel) onstage for a guest appearance. They would later also be joined by members of The Mezcal Brothers for a crowd-wide chorus of "Let the Circle Be Unbroken."
The Bottle Tops shook the Pla Mor stage and onlookers who were too apprehensive to dance before dropped all reservations and smothered the closing act. The night was clad all in red, reflecting off Kerry Semrad’s twirling dress, as she shimmied to the tune of The Bottle Tops’ contemporary bluegrass.
The Bottle Tops
Cameron Bruegger is a multimedia intern for Hear Nebraska. If you would like to teach him the two-step, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.