“Five Dollar Bill” brought the breeze in.
When Travelling Mercies opened the Americana-themed Turner Park show last night, the sun beat down hard on the greenspace. Families created a blank circle around the lawn to stay in the shade, as Travelling Mercies raged forth with heated songs like “Travelling Preacher.” The pedal-to-the-floor Southwestern song felt right for the moment, but didn’t draw anyone closer.
But then Jeremy Mercy — with a towel in his backpocket and black newsy cap on, looking like a barely-off-duty bartender — cooled everything down with the band’s best-known drinking song.
The opening lyrics — Well, I never met a guy [who] knew when to say “when” — seemed to usher the wind through the American flag overhanging the stage. The sun set and people scooted closer.
Evening arrived when The Bottle Tops took the stage a few minutes after 7 p.m. The Lincoln band rolled out upbeat favorites like “Randolph on Fire” and “So The Story Goes” that sonically spread out across the vast Turner Park soundstage. With steel guitarist Mike McCracken absent last night, Brian McGovern (Southpaw Bluegrass) stepped in with his mandolin and took over most of the solos and moving licks. McGovern’s presence also opened the door for The Bottle Tops to try out a trotting cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.”
See photos from the night below by Bridget McQuillan. And join us next Wednesday at 6 p.m. for the final installment of the series. Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and Snake Island! will perform.