Ten Shredders at Lincoln Calling Music Festival

Think about any technically proficient guitarist, and all of the cringeworthy critical cliches — “face-melting,” for instance — come to mind. 

But there’s undoubtedly something to the art, especially when it invokes or reinforces the mood or feeling a song is trying to convey. Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King would rarely play his famous Gibson ES-335 “Lucille” and sing at the same time; his instrument had a voice all its own.

Today, we highlight 10 of the filthiest, gnarliest, most technically proficient guitarists on the Lincoln Calling lineup, including Bien Fang’s Rachel Tomlinson Dick, Screaming Females’ Marissa Paternoster, Mesonjixx’s Myles Jasnowski and more.

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Rachel Tomlinson Dick, Bien Fang

photo by Ingrid Holmquist

Rachel Tomlinson Dick has made a long career, between Omaha’s Hers and Manic Pixie Dream Girls and her current Lincoln outfit Bien Fang, of riffing with the best of them. Her solo project Miniature Horse pushes front and center her sonic punk sensibilities, adept lead work and grungy tone. All three come to a head at the conclusion of the below rendition of “North.”

Saturday, Oct. 8 | 8:30 p.m. | Duffy’s Tavern back lot | 19-plus

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Marissa Paternoster, Screaming Females

We addressed Paternoster’s legend last week in our list of Lincoln Calling frontwomen, but she is undeniably one of the best lead guitarists of the festival. The June 2013 performance of “Bell” (from Screaming Females’ 2009 record Power Move) is just one example of her style, which here feels like a stunning mashup of classic and prog rock.

Saturday, Oct 8 | 10:35 p.m. | Duffy’s Tavern Back Lot | 19-plus

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David Nance, Simon Joyner & the Ghosts

photo by Lauren Farris

Singer/songwriter David Nance is a textbook DIY example, recording his most recent solo record More Than Enough in his pal Simon Joyner’s basement with a rotating cast of players. His lo-fi grunge is carried by roaring vocals and sand-blasted guitar riffs. After a stint in Los Angeles, he’s been hanging around Omaha with Joyner as well as his own band Lush Bruise Crew. He’ll play with the former Thursday, Oct 6 at Vega; see the latter burst

Thursday, Oct 6 | 10:30 p.m. | Vega | all-ages

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Myles Jasnowski, Mesonjixx/A Ferocious Jungle Cat

photo by Lindsey Yoneda

It’s difficult to say which is more admirable: that the young Lincoln guitarist is one of the most talented in the Star City, or that he does it in so many different ways. With a style heavily influenced by funk and blues, Jasnowski has played with more than a handful of local bands over the past year, from indie rock project I Forgot To Love My Father to Funk outfit A Ferocious Jungle Cat to soul/R&B band Mesonjixx. He’ll appear at Lincoln Calling with two of the three, one a long time mainstay of the scene and the other, one of the city’s fastest rising. Hear him perform with the latter on community radio station KZUM’s Hear Nebraska FM below:

A Ferocious Jungle Cat: Thursday, Oct 6 | 9:35 p.m. | Bodega’s Alley | 21-plus

Mesonjixx: Saturday, Oct 8 | 7:45 p.m. | The Bay | all-ages

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Dani Neff, Megafauna

The undeniable force that is Dani Neff is another repeat LC lister and, like Paternoster, it’s because she absolutely shreds. She fronts Austin, Texas grunge trio Megafauna, which released new full-length album Welcome Home in May. They performed its third track, “Panpsychist,” in June at Los Angeles’ Blind Blind Tiger studios, and its Neff at her trippy, manic best.

Thursday, Oct 6 | 11:45 p.m. | Bodega’s Alley | 21-plus

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Saber Blazek, Universe Contest/Halfwit

photo by JP Davis

With an unbeatable bass face and his trademark Stingray, Blazek is another veteran ripper in the Lincoln scene. Formerly one-third of prog rock band The Machete Archive, he now thuds away as part of another prog rock outfit in Universe Contest and garage rock “supergroup” Halfwit. “Can a bassist shred?” we were asked when assembling this list? See for yourself in a cut from the old days:

We must also nod to Halfwit guitarist Kevin Waltemath:

Universe Contest: Saturday, Oct 8 | 12:45 | Duffy’s Tavern indoor | 21-plus

Halfwit: Thursday, Oct 6 | 12:45 | Bodega’s Alley | 21-plus

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Dylan Baldi, Cloud Nothings

While “shredding” traditionally refers to lead-style soloing, we couldn’t ignore the sheer aggression with which Cloud Nothings can tear apart its songs as they spin into chaos. The two-minute mark in its furious, most recent KEXP Seattle appearance (below) convinced us. Shredding can also mean beating the hell out of your instrument.

Friday, Oct 7 | Midnight | Duffy’s Tavern back lot | 19-plus

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Mike McCracken, Lloyd McCarter and the Honky Tonk Revival/The Bottle Tops

photo by JP Davis

Locals know McCracken as a pedal steel maven that can flex into blues, folk and honky tonk styles. His infectious smile and searing lead work can often be found with regularity at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar with the likes of The Bottle Tops and Lloyd McCarter, both of whom will play the festival. Watch McCracken in the very same blues haunt below. We saw him this summer and can assure you he hasn’t lost a step.

The Bottle Tops: Saturday, Oct 8 | 10:30 p.m. | Zoo Bar | 21-plus

Lloyd McCarter: Saturday, Oct 8 | 1:05 a.m, | Zoo Bar | 21-plus

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Ronnie Lee, The Cult of Lip

Minneapolis’ The Cult of Lip is a trio relishing in the smoky spaces between psychedelia and powerful drone music. The band released its latest 7’’ this past spring and Ronnie Lee’s guitar work blares like a siren throughout the album’s haunting spaciousness.

Friday, Oct 8 | 11:05 p.m. | The Bay | All-ages

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Sam Costello & Jim Rhian, The Ambulanters

photo by Lindsey Yoneda

The Ambulanters represent a young contingent of creative, talented young bands that comprise the future of Lincoln’s music scene. Costello & Rhian, the band’s guitarists (and candidate for best law firm name), help create the swirling soundscapes found on the band’s debut EP Leave The House. Dripping with post-rock goodness, the album finds its best moments on tracks like “The Storm,” where the pair’s leads weave and twist around each other. Watch them perform it live below:

Thursday, Oct 6 | 11:05 p.m. | The Bay | All-ages