Take Cover Lincoln reaches capacity; The Minor Third: The Crayons final show with The Ambulanters, The Morbs and Bogusman; High Up, Yes You Are, Carl Miller & the Thrillers at Slowdown

Take Cover Lincoln reaches capacity

There always manages to be a few surprises at Take Cover. In its fifth year, both benefitting Hear Nebraska and celebrating its half-decade run, it was full of them.

We had the benefit of some foresight. We knew there would be 20 bands — plus Orion Walsh — and we knew (for the most part) which fellow Nebraskans’ songs they would reimagine. One could have probably guessed the Zoo Bar would be packed, given a vast, eclectic lineup and the venue’s snug fit — and it was at capacity for a brief time.

Execution is a different matter. We didn’t know I Forgot To Love My Father frontman JP Davis would burst a blood-cap in his mouth and spew it across his face as Icky Blossoms’ “Sex To The Devil” exploded from stage. We had no idea (unless you were at Zoo Bar the night before) Ambulanters bassist Robert Specht would valiantly give his best Teal Gardner impression for The Ambulanters’ wild rendition of UUVVWWZ’s “Grips.” Who knew a bunch of these kinds of moments were in store?

All in all, Take Cover Lincoln was a blast. At the risk of gushing, the amount of creativity stuffed into one night, on one tiny stage, blew me away. A huge thank you goes out to everyone that performed and anyone who attended. We’re eagerly awaiting this Saturday’s Omaha concert (RSVP here).

Until then, relive some of the best moments from Take Cover Lincoln, from Bud Heavy & the High Lifes’ bluegrass blét cover to Bien Fang’s take on Millions Of Boys, and much more:

La Musa Confusa plays Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Ingrid Holmquist

The Ambulanters play Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Ingrid Holmquist

Clay plays Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Ingrid Holmquist

Verse and the Vices play Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Ingrid Holmquist

Commander Kilroy plays Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Ingrid Holmquist

Bien Fang’s Rachel Tomlinson Dick at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Ingrid Holmquist

Emily Bass at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Ingrid Holmquist

Evan Bartels & the Stoney Lonesomes at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

The Mezcal Brothers at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Ingrid Holmquist

Bud Heavy & the High Lifes at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by Lindsey Yoneda

Powerful Science covers Halfwit at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

Orion Walsh at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

Walk By Sea at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

I Forgot To Love My Father covers Icky Blossoms at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

Thirst Things First at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

Powers plays Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

Mesonjixx at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

Better Friend covers Desaparecidos at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

FREAKABOUT covers Thirst Things First at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

blét at Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

A Ferocious Jungle Cat closes Take Cover Lincoln | photo by James Dean

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The Minor Third: The Crayons final show with The Ambulanters, The Morbs and Bogusman

review by Gabriella Parsons | photos by Lindsey Yoneda

Sweat, tears and punk-rock fanatics filled the dimly lit Zoo Bar Friday night to wish The Crayons a forever farewell. Accompanied by the eclectic sounds of The Ambulanters, The Morbs and Bogusman, The Crayons nearly brought out a full house, making heads bang, bodies move and ear plugs necessary. Shoulder to shoulder, people crowded in the limited space near the stage, nobody afraid to get too close. It was clear from the smell of spilt beer that The Crayons would be missed, glasses clanking throughout the night, raising a toast to The Crayons last show ever.

The Ambulanters’ dual onslaught

Two guitars, two drumkits, one keyboard and a bass. The Ambulanters have a way of presenting themselves to a crowd with ease, occupying every bit of the stage possible. The vocal bond between frontman Jim Rhian and guitarist Sam Costello cannot be broken, drawing the audience in with precise measure and harmony. The rapport duality of loud thuds coming from drummers Jarvis Davis and Mike Rhian cannot be overlooked, Rhian simultaneously maneuvering to and from the keyboard. While each Ambulanter shined in their own respect, no band member stood out quite like bassist Robert Specht, who surprised everyone when he stepped away from his instrument and picked up a microphone. As Costello took over the bass, Specht led the group through its Take Cover spoiler, a rendition of UUVVWWZ’s “Grips,” hitting high notes with stunning precision throughout.

The Morbs’ versatility

The instrumental abilities of this punk-pop three-piece were interchangeable as they swiftly moved from one place to the next across the stage. The enticing exchange between Monica Maher from drums to guitar and Ch Egen from bass to drums was matched by Maya Khasin as she handled the synth keys with confidence. Lyrically, The Morbs’ are unafraid. Singing about anything from cats to cat-calling, this all-girl trio equally handle vocals with a quaint and quiet softness. The subtle whines from The Morbs could be heard across the venue, exercising their right to do whatever they please, on and off the stage.

Bogusman’s effortless grunge

As Bogusman took the stage, they immediately set the tone for what would be a carefree performance, drummer Jackson Trover consulting his bandmates, “Alright, what the f*** are we playing?” The free spirit of this group was inviting, from frontman Nate Luginbill moshing into bassist Andy Pederson to guitarist Lee Lohrberg stripping off his shirt mid-set. The laxness of Bogusman was apparent when Lohrberg’s shoulders bent back as he gave a breezy guitar solo, or how Luginbill facetiously flirted with the crowd in between song changes. The feverish rock group upholds a sense of harmony, not one person ever stepping over the other, jolting between complex tempo changes and succinct rhythm.

photos by JP Davis

The Crayons’ fond farewell

It felt as if I entered the world of The Crayons right as it was ending. For all of the hard work that led up to this moment, The Crayons played their last set with admirable and uncomplicated exertion. The punk-metal band took the stage with painted faces, wearing their true colors for one last set. Frontwoman Emily Wynn wore a shirt that read “R.I.P.” and you couldn’t help but wonder what was going through her head each time the crowd chanted, “One more show, one more show” throughout the set. The consistency of this uncanny group was led by drummer Stuart McKay, who carefully anticipated his bandmates every move. Wynn’s voice echoed through the pit of her stomach as she screamed, “Oh death, won’t you spare me one more year?” The intensified beats that came from Wynn’s bass were rhythmically matched by David Tysdal’s passionate trumpet playing. Dedicating songs to ex-catholics and mushroom-takers, The Crayons left it all on stage. After their closing song, Tysdal dropped his trumpet with relief before hugging guitarist Brett Kelly. Each band member took their time embracing one another, and with no looking back, The Crayons stepped off stage for the last time.

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Photos of Snow Ball 2016: Rather Unsightly Gentlemen, Carson City Heat, The Sub-Vectors, Two Drag Club, Satellite Junction

HN multimedia intern Adam LaRose was also out and about Friday, catching Snow Ball 2016 at  Lookout Lounge. Below, see photos of Rather Unsightly Gentelmen, Carson City Heat, The Sub-Vectors, Two Drag Club and Satellite Junction 

Rather Unsightly Gentlemen

Carson City Heat

The Sub-Vectors

Two Drag Club

Satellite Junction

photos by Adam LaRose

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Concert Review: High Up, Yes You Are, Carl Miller & the Thrillers at Slowdown

HN contributor Krystal Sidzyik went to Slowdown Saturday for the third stop in a mini-tour for High Up and Kansas City’s Yes You Are. They were joined on the bill by Carl Miller & the Thrillers. Here’s what she had to say about the front-room show:

“High Up didn’t just walk onto Omaha’s music scene; they exploded, shooting fiery soulful lava from a powerful volcano known as Christine Fink.

That kind of volcano needs proper coaxing, the kind of opening bands that know how to warm up a crowd before delivering them to the explosive, hot headliner.

Saturday night’s show in Slowdown’s front room included a diverse local lineup, most with history rooted in Omaha. Carl Miller & the Thrillers, an Omaha-based Brazilian group, opened the show. Lead vocalist Michaela Favara was as unique as the music was smooth. Favara sang solely in Portuguese, transporting the crowd from a blistery cold Omaha night, to a warm, small club in Brazil.

The crowd might have been fully attentive when the Thrillers first took the stage, but most people seemed to take notice by the second or third song when it became obvious the words flowing from her mouth weren’t English. Other band members included  classical guitarist Carl Miller, upright bassist Alec Erickson and percussionist John Seevers.

We were getting warmer. I knew the next band had roots from Tilly and Wall, so we all were in for a treat.

Led by the defunct Omaha band’s erstwhile frontwoman Kiana Alarid, Kansas City’s Yes You Are offered a dynamic change of pace by playing more upbeat power-pop influenced tunes. Alarid got most of the crowd out of their seats, and closer to the stage. The room filled with the reverberated sounds of the crowd singing along to the band’s synth-covered dance rhythms. Alarid is an intense front woman – she’s an expert in the realm of stage presence. And although stage space was limited, she bounced all around, moving her arms and kicking her feet.

Yes You Are brought the crowd from warm to hot. The room was sunny with a chance of storms.  And we were ready for High Up.

Once High Up took the stage, the packed room got on to their feet and piled as close to the stage as they could get, leaving their belongings hidden on chairs and under coats. This recently formed band exploded onto Omaha’s music scene after playing their first show last year in June at Omaha’s Pageturner’s Lounge.

High up comprises lead vocalist Christine Fink, her sister and guitarist Orenda Fink, keyboard player Greg Elsasser, bassist Josh Soto, drummer Eric Ohlsson and brass player Jason Biggers. Orenda is already a signed Saddle Creek Records artist, most known from previous projects like Azure Ray, Harouki Zombi and her solo career.

The band recently was nominated for an Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award for “Best Alternative/Indie” act, and was named one of 2015’s Best Bands by “The Reader.”

Christine Fink builds musical narratives. She started Saturday’s story slow and smooth. She fleshed out her soulful melodies with soaring and layered arrangements. And by the middle of the set, Fink was belting catchy songs that were dynamic and mesmerizing – her voice like a powerful storm, raining down upon us.

And if hearing this band already wasn’t enough, watching them provided a unique experience. The band glows with vigor. It’s as if they’ve been together for years. They compliment each other flawlessly, moving and grooving to each song. Their presence on stage is inviting and demands your attention. By the end of the set, everyone was dancing.

High Up plays a show that’s easy to get lost in. Although they played for over an hour, once they left the stage, the crowd demanded an encore. The band returned to the stage and didn’t disappoint, paying homage the late David Bowie by playing “Let’s Dance.” They might be a recently formed band, but they’re already masters in song and presence.”

— Krystal Sidzyik

Here are some photos from the High Up/Yes You Are show at Duffy’s Tavern the following evening, shot by HN intern Lindsey Yoneda

High Up

Yes You Are

photos by Lindsey Yoneda

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Concert Round-Up

Tonight, Omaha bands Scenic, Melodic Dellia and solo act Scott Armstrong play Midwest Elite Concerts’ New Music Mondays series at The Waiting Room. Scenic (formerly Unscene Patrol) have recently toured across the US, opening for acts like Lybecker, Pilgrim Song, Remedy Drive, Chris August and Newsong. Its most recent single, “We Are More,” is getting international radio play in the US & Canada. RSVP to the show here.

For a fuller listing of this week’s shows, head to our statewide calendar at hearnebraska.org/events. As always, keep those story ideas, news tips and song submissions (for HN Radio and Hear Nebraska FM) coming.