Tunes, Brews Flow at Beer Nebraska; Photos of SowerFest, O’Leaver’s Fest, The Album Leaf

Tunes, Brews Flow at Beer Nebraska

by Jhalisa Robinson

Zipline Brewing Company and Hear Nebraska collaborated for the first time this weekend to strengthen the bond between Nebraska’s local craft beer and music community.

Cursive headlined the inaugural Beer Nebraska, an event which featured five local bands and statewide breweries. Better Friend, Criteria, Universe Contest and a reunited Columbia vs. Challenger performed while each brewery showcased exclusive craft beers.

The event was hosted in a cleared out warehouse of Zipline’s west-Lincoln brewery, the aroma of hops clouding the room. In the furthest corner of the warehouse, the audience clustered around the stage and beer tents throughout the day.

Scattered showers and wind initially threatened the event, but luckily the crowd and Zipline  were prepared to fight off all musical festivals’ sworn enemy with umbrellas, raincoats, tents  and the warehouse space for people to stand under.

Each of the five breweries created a new product specifically for the event. Zipline crafted Hoppy Hollow — in honor of the band’s 10-year-old LP Happy Hollow — which was premiered during the concert. Kinkaider, Empyrean, Upstream, Blue Blood and Zipline pulled out all of stops with samples and varieties of beers to try.

Being the youngest band to play, Better Friend came in swinging with a solid performance, featuring Meghan Munyon’s powerful lyrics and outstanding playing from Caleb Wiedel, Kalib Faltys, Alex Steele, Meghan Munyon and Aaron Lee. Next up, Columbia Vs. Challenger seemed to be the most anticipated band of the night after seven years of not performing. The reunited Lincoln four-piece’s funky and easy going lyrics welcomed it’s fans with open arms.

Universe Contest definitely didn’t disappoint after following Columbia Vs. Challenger, occupying a dark stage with their dominating presence. This was the band’s first show of the evening, as it joined CvC and Halfwit later at Zoo Bar.

Criteria followed with its indie-rock sound, showing no intentions of being mellow. The lead vocalist and guitarist Steven Pederson sweated harder than any other artist on-stage. And as Beer Nebraska’s headliner, Cursive drew an audience that spilled from the warehouse into the parking lot. With longtime former drummer Clint Schnase behind the kit, the band pulled largely from its early to mid-2000s catalogue of Domestica, The Ugly Organ and Happy Hollow.

Beer Nebraska was the brainchild of Craig Reier, Zipline’s Director of Marketing & Events. As a musician himself (currently Yesh and Low Horse), his motive for the event was building the bridge for the Nebraska’s craft beer and music culture.

“Zipline’s employee line is filled with musicians, and I thought it just made sense to bring those two worlds together because whether people thought so or not…they always were,” he said.

See photos from Beer Nebraska below:

Cursive’s Tim Kasher and Criteria’s Steve Pederson (a former Cursive member) hang out in the green room | photo by Lauren Farris

photo by Lauren Farris

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Better Friend

photos by Lauren Farris

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photo by Lauren Farris

photo by Gabriella Parsons

photo by Tarah Dawdy

photo by Lauren Farris

Better Friend’s Alex Steele (left) and Aaron Lee enjoy a post-set beer | photo by Gabriella Parsons

Columbia vs Challenger

photos by Tarah Dawdy

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Universe Contest

photos by Lauren Farris

photos by Connor Lepert

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photos by Gabriella Parsons


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photos by Tarah Dawdy

photos by Lauren Farris

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Photos of O’Leaver’s Fest

The night before, HN intern Connor Lepert went to O’Leaver’s Fest, where Derek Pressnall’s Flowers Forever gave its first performance this decade on a billing with Bien Fang, Eric In Outerspace and Fun Runner.

See Lepert’s photos below:

Bien Fang

Eric In Outerspace

Fun Runner

Flowers Forever

Photos by Connor Lepert

And here are some shots of Cursive, which returned home to play the Sunday afternoon shift, courtesy of David Shreffler:

photos by David Shreffler

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Photos of SowerFest at Duffy’s Tavern

HN contributor James Dean spent the weekend at Duffy’s Tavern for SowerFest, Sower Records’ annual label and friends showcase. Saturday’s backlot billing was also forced inside to the back of its concert room due to rain, but the bands appeared to make the most of it.

See Dean’s photos of A Ferocious Jungle Cat, Jack Hotel, The Bottle Tops and more below:

The Bottle Tops

The Hangin’ Cowboys

Dan Tedesco

Lil’ Darlin’

Evan Bartels & the Stoney Lonesomes

Clarence Tilton

Union Specific

Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band

Hana Zara


Gerardo Meza

Wendy Jane

Orion Walsh

Mike Semrad & the Likes

Andrea von Kampen

The In-Betweens

Jack Hotel

Emily Bass

A Ferocious Jungle Cat

Photos by James Dean

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The Album Leaf, Rituals of Mine at Vega

Also from the weekend, HN intern Tarah Dawdy caught The Album Leaf and Los Angeles soul duo Rituals of Mine as the pair toured through Vega Friday night. The long time solo project of Jimmy LaValle, The Album Leaf released its sixth studio album Between Waves this past August, marking its first with its current full-band lineup and its Relapse Records debut. The group will spend the remainder of 2016 on the road in support of the new record. Rituals of Mine (formerly Sister Crayon) release new music this weekend, following its second studio album Devoted (produced by The Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez) in 2015.

See Dawdy’s photos below:

The Album Leaf

Rituals of Mine

Photos by Tarah Dawdy

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Lincoln Calling seeks volunteers

HN is looking for volunteers to help produce the downtown festival’s 13th annual run. In exchange for working two four-hour shifts, you’ll receive one three-day general admission pass, one t-shirt and the opportunity to help grow a nonprofit festival.

Apply here by Monday, Sept 26 for first-come, first-served jobs in ticketing, hospitality, runners, site build/tear down, merchandise, stage crew, security and more. Individual jobs will be assigned as needed for work pre, during and post-festival. Applicants must be 18 years of age by October 6, 2016. Read the document describing duties and conditions here, and send any questions to

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Plan for the week ahead with our statewide calendar here. If you do not see your show or one you plan to attend, email us at or add it yourself with our easy-to-use contribute feature here.