KZUM and Ferguson House host inaugural Soup & Songs living room concert series; Benson First Friday Femme Fest 2016 announced

We begin news today on a somber note, as long-time Kearney singer/songwriter Mike Adams passed away late last week.

The Americana troubadour was beloved by Kearney music fans and those across the state. We were fortunate ourselves to have Adams open the Kearney leg of the Good Living Tour in July.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to Adams’s family, friends and the Nebraska music community. We have already received a few notes, but if you have any memories or stories about Mike, or anything to say in remembrance, please share via email at, or post in the comments.

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With colder weather approaching, KZUM is sponsoring a new monthly concert series to warm audience’s ears and stomachs.

The inaugural Soup & Songs living room series kicks off Sunday, Sept. 27 with Jazzocracy. It runs from Sept. 25 through Feb. 28, and will feature a variety of local musicians performing in the intimate setting of Lincoln’s Ferguson House at 700 S 16th St. Grateful Bread, along with a few other local businesses, will provide food and refreshment at each concert.

KZUM Director of Development Shannon Claire  aims to provide a lineup that is approachable for listeners as well as a showcase for artists. Soup & Songs artists include mainstays like Kris Lager, Emily Bass, Jack Hotel and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, as well as rising acts CJ Mills and Hana Zara.

Claire, who curated the now-defunct Bourbon Brunch series, says the series came together last-minute in August. The community radio station has long had a relationship with the Ferguson House that Claire felt was underused.

“[We’re] trying to provide an environment that you wouldn’t expect,” Claire says. “You don’t have to go downtown to a bar or venue.”

Soup & Songs begins this Sunday at 5 p.m., with music starting at 5:30 p.m. Admission is open to all ages by a suggested donation of $10. Seating is first come, first served, as space is limited. RSVP here, and find the complete schedule below:

Sept. 27 – Jazzocracy (jazz, Lincoln)
Oct. 18 – CJ Mills (soul/R&B, Omaha)
Nov. 22 – Jack Hotel (folk, Lincoln)
Dec. 20 – Emily Bass & Kris Lager (blues/funk, Lincoln)
Jan. 24 – All Young Girls Are Machine Guns (soul, Omaha)
Feb. 28 -Hana Zara Band (folk, Lincoln)

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When Rebecca Lowry set out to book Benson First Friday Femme Fest, she knew it could be a unique event, a display of solidarity by the scene’s women musicians and support from its fans. But a total of 44 acts on seven stages across the Omaha neighborhood?

“How could I have asked for that?” Lowry says. “How could I have known?”

Due to this year’s success by all accounts, Femme Fest will run for a second year next Sept. 2. One Percent Productions, Benson First Friday and E3 Music Management have thrown their support behind the event, which received its renewal just days after the last notes sounded.

“I wanted to do it again the very next night,” Lowry says.

Lowry says the Femme Fest committee will likely take submissions beginning in March, but she wanted to announce its second coming as soon as possible. In the meantime, read our written and photo coverage here. And read 15-year-old Ryleigh Welsh’s refreshing perspective here. The budding musician played that night in Omaha Girls Rock’s Sassafrass, then detailed its impact in her guest column.

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HN interns Lindsey Yoneda and Grey Castro went to Knickerbockers Friday night to catch a pair of Lincoln bands — Domestica and Red Cities — play with Kansas City prog rock touring act The Philistines. Here are Castro’s review and Yoneda’s photos:

“Offstage, Domestica’s Jon Taylor says the band doesn’t worry about what the listeners will think of their songs, but rather that they write and play focused on their own satisfaction. The idea is echoed in the opening lines of their song “More”: “Sorry to break this to you: we’ve got nothing to lose.” But the crowd response Friday night makes it clear: the audience likes what they’re doing.

A construction crew, a surging storm, and the roll of a freight train; these were the rhythms paralleled in the music of Domestica, the Philistines and Red Cities as they each brought their own approach to hard rock to Knickerbockers on Friday night.

Loading in to a quiet main room as the audience drank and chatted at the bar, Domestica’s Taylor, Heidi Ore and Paul Tisdale—guitar/vocals, bass/vocals and drums, respectively—joked and teased each other through setup and soundcheck, mostly alone in the space. But when they opened their set, their custom-built cabinets kicking out their characteristically deafening guitar tone, people came in fast. After that, if a band was on stage, the audience was up front to listen, cheer, dance and joke with the players for the entire rest of the show.

Domestica gathered the crowd and held them with a sound rooted in fast riffs with frequently shifting chords, vocal melodies that push voices hard and hang long on phrase-ending notes, thick bass tone and busy, articulated drum parts.

The music’s speed and volume were mirrored in the physicality of the playing. The band engaged so viscerally with their instruments that they looked like they were at a worksite, hammering, sawing, wrenching to get the songs out. The force they put into the songs was in constant evidence: Ore stepped into the power stance, picking with a motion that evoked repeated punches. Sweat ran down Taylor’s guitar. During a percussionless break near the end of set-closer “What of Me,” Tisdale stepped away from his kit, muscles tight, and slammed the wall with both fists before dropping back in, catching the snare on the beat even as he sat down.

Domestica | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15Domestica | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15
Domestica | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15 

Kansas City’s the Philistines came on next, trading Domestica’s constant speed and sharp changes for a different style. They frequently focused on taking distorted, quickly shifting melodic motifs and exploring it at a range of dynamic levels, dropping down quiet or building up loud, adding to parts and getting busier or stripping things away and playing spare. They worked often with long, ringing washes of sound from heavily effected dual guitars, sometimes while bassist Michelle Bacon played busier melodies underneath.

Between songs, vocalist Kimmie Queen joked with the audience, saying “I like being on stage. It’s a secret.” She made extremely clear once the music started how into the performance she was, dancing gesturally throughout the show, stepping up to her bandmates during instrumental stretches, her arms out and legs kicking. At the mic, she sang with strength and precision.

The band returned regularly to the multiple-takes-on-one-melody approach, skillful and confident as they rose smoothly from quiet simmers up to big, pounding interpretations of the same themes, recalling the swells and fades of the thunderstorm that rolled over the city earlier in the day. They worked in some changeups too, with guitarist/vocalist Cody Wyoming picking up an electric 12-string and Rod Peal pulling warbling, ringing notes from his tuxedo-colored guitar with an ebow.  

The Philistines | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15
The Philistines | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15The Philistines | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15

Lincoln’s Red Cities took the stage last and quickly set a fast pace for the night’s final set. Driving drumbeats stressing the two and four counts pushed their their fast guitar riffs, churning fretless bass and vocals that swung between song and speech. The propulsive, frenetic drive of the songs spilled into their performance, with guitarist Matt Bokovoy jumping straight up with the determined verve of a kid leaping to catch a high branch as he played.

Stage chat tended toward the direct, as when guitarist/vocalist Byron Anway finished one song, said “This next one’s about getting dumped,” and they began. Anway has a delivery style that moves fluidly among singing, speaking, and near-shouting, and some lines are sharpened by an audible sneer.

Red Cities’ show-ending song “Fight Fight Fight” used long dynamic builds focused on terse lyrics, lines repeating and adding a few words at a time, with the instrumentals eventually cresting into the band’s signature relentless freight-train beat and rapid-strumming riffs. Anway says their upcoming Lincoln Calling performance may be the last time they play a full set in this style, as they’re getting ready to explore new songwriting directions that showcase their drums and bass.

Red Cities | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15Red Cities | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15
Red Cities | Knickerbockers | 9.18.15 

Throughout the night the crowd was animated and engaged during songs, and they talked and laughed with the bands in between. The bands responded in kind, playing hard, excited to be there. Save for two or three in the audience who kept to their barstools, they were on their feet and near the stage from Domestica’s first song to Red Cities’ last.

words by Grey Castro, photos by Lindsay Yoneda

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Bonehart Flannigan, former Lincolnite Jon Dell’s folk singer/songwriter project, returned to the Cornhusker State over the weekend. Dell played O’Leaver’s Friday night and Zoo Bar Saturday. Yoneda was on the beat again, and caught photos of both Bonehart Flannigan and Lincoln’s Jack Hotel, which are below:

Jack Hotel

Jack Hotel | The Zoo Bar | 9.19.15
Jack Hotel | The Zoo Bar | 9.19.15

Bonehart Flannigan

Bonehart Flannigan | The Zoo Bar | 9.19.15
Bonehart Flannigan | The Zoo Bar | 9.19.15

photos by Lindsey Yoneda

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Former HN intern Peter Barnes went to The Waiting Room Friday for night two of Warzone 2015. The annual Omaha metal showcase featured The Impulsive, Ironsights, Green Death, MurderHouse and Projekt Luna.

See Barnes’s photos below.

The Impulsive

The Impulsive at The Waiting Room
The Impulsive at The Waiting Room


Ironsights at The Waiting Room | 9-18-15
Ironsights at The Waiting Room | 9-18-15

Green Death

Greendeath at The Waiting Room | 9-18-15
Greendeath at The Waiting Room | 9-18-15


Murderhouse at The Waiting Room | 9-18-15
Murderhouse at The Waiting Room | 9-18-15

Projekt Luna

Projekt Luna at The Waiting Room | 9-18-15
Projekt Luna at The Waiting Room | 9-18-15

photos by Peter Barnes

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As always, head to our statewide calendar at for a full listing of this week’s shows. We are always adding evens, but if you do not see your show or one you plan to attend, email us at, or add it yourself. And keep those song submissions, story ideas and news tips coming.