Lincoln Exposed provides warmth in local music scene

The 13th annual Lincoln Exposed featured over 100 local musical acts at five downtown venues over four nights. Hopping between venues in the snow to catch Lincoln’s best musicians brought a warm sense of community. A number of Seeds Entertainment writers widened their music taste this past weekend and discovered new local favorites.

Salt Creek (by Efren Cortez, Seeds Entertainment editor)

Salt Creek vocalist Chase Thompson and guitarist Nate Richardson. Photograph by Efren Cortez
Salt Creek vocalist Chase Thompson and guitarist Nathan Richardson. Photograph by Efren Cortez

Indie rock band Salt Creek brought almost a full room at Duffy’s Tavern last Wednesday night with their mix of punk and dream wave. The boys of Salt Creek are one of Lincoln’s bigger bands, often going on tour around the country and opening for up-and-coming underground bands, such as Remo Drive. Normally a five-piece band, Salt Creek added an additional guitarist for this show and current tour, which added an extra layer of atmosphere to the band’s dreamier sound.

Guitarist Nathan Richardson was impressed with almost a full room of observers on a Wednesday night. Their Lincoln Exposed set was the first date on Salt Creek’s current 12-day tour that will have them travel the East Coast, but before venturing off, the band performed the fan favorite “Phase” as a perfect send off.

The Wildwoods: A Lincoln folk band with a Spark to the Fire (by Michael Bagazinski, staff writer)

The Wildwoods. Photograph by Michael Bagazinski.
The Wildwoods. Photograph by Michael Bagazinski.

The charming Lincoln-based folk band, The Wildwoods, performed at Lincoln Exposed on Thursday night at the Zoo Bar. The youthful group of five members began the night by enchanting the crowd with the calm and poised voices, thanking everyone for supporting live music by coming out to see them.

The Wildwoods’ music reflects a laid back, tranquil sound you would expect from a folk band. This group of talented musicians played everything from the harmonica to drums to guitar. About halfway through their performance, they played “Mason Jars”, a song with a guitar melody and interjections of drums and violin that brought extra life to their already lively performance.

Their music is a must-listen to any time of day or even if you need some much needed relaxation. They are on Spotify but The Wildwoods are a performance you must see live.

Universe Contest (by Duncan Moore, staff writer)

Every band can be loud, but not very many do it as well as Universe Contest. Starting their set at midnight with fog machines and people packed to the door at Bodega’s, it was almost as if the band members melted into their massive but honed wall of sound.

The night featured vocals that perfectly meshed with the hard/punk rock sound and hooks that manged to make me think there was echoing vocal harmonies when there was none. Universe Contest was just the purest straight jam I’ve heard in a long time.

They had few interactions with audience, but they didn’t really need any. The audience around me was mouthing all the words and clearly engaging far more into the music than the dreaded white guy hipster nod along, there was a clear sense of established community and each of the songs meshed seamlessly and impressively together.

So if you ever need songs that can warm you and energize you on boring and frigid Lincoln nights, Universe Contest is the band for you.

Clay (by Nyadet Dojiok, staff writer)

Clay performing at Duffy's Tavern on Feb. 9. Photograph by Nyadet Dojiok.
Clay performing at Duffy’s Tavern on Feb. 9. Photograph by Nyadet Dojiok.

Clay’s use of a guitar, stand up bass and a violin might remind you of your middle school orchestra recital but it is anything but. The strings ensemble wowed the stage as strings class turned folk inside Duffy’s. The three members sang their original songs  “Safe and Sound” and fan favorite “ Better Buy Me A Fucking Drink” staged the crowd in casual attire.

Although their music was fun and light-hearted, their sound left me needing a drink. One flaw that stuck out to me was a lot of vocal straining. Straining is typical of the folk sound but can be damaging to the voice. This became apparent throughout the night. In addition to the straining, there were problems with poor enunciation. It was often difficult to pick lyrics out of the soupy sound. Words were often slurred together making it difficult to understand.

Other than the technical aspects, Clay had an exciting stage presence. It was obvious to everyone in the bar that this band was having fun. In addition to the fun on stage, the lyrics I could pick out were thought provoking.

Commander Kilroy (by Efren Cortez)

Commander Kilroy playing at Duffy's Tavern on Feb. 9. Photograph by Efren Cortez.
Commander Kilroy playing at Duffy’s Tavern on Feb. 9. Photograph by Efren Cortez.

Following Clay at Duffy’s Tavern on Friday night, “superhero rock” band Commander Kilroy played with a sound similar to Omaha reggae rock legends 311 and what would be heard on the “Tony Hawk: Pro Skater” video game soundtracks. This three-piece reggae/punk band put on a small, but fun show. Drummer Andrew Hanna non-nonchalantly drummed away while brothers Dylan and Casey Fink rocked shades as they play guitar and bass, respectively.

The slower reggae tunes were nice and mellow to bop your head to, but the faster tempo punk songs were what got an enthusiastic reaction from the crowd, especially with their songs “Ordinary Guys” and “Sound the Alarm.” There was a lot of empty space between the stage and the crowd except for a moment when a crowd member walked up to the stage to hype up the band in front of Dylan Fink, in which the two locked eyes and Fink played a little solo for the fan. While the crowd interaction was minimal, the band appeared to have fun playing their songs and drinking beers in between.

Jack Hotel (by Duncan Moore)

Photograph by Duncan Moore.
Photograph by Duncan Moore.

Kicking off the 40th birthday celebration for the much-loved Lincoln community radio station KZUM 89.3 was the excellent folk band Jack Hotel.

What started as a small crowd gradually grew as people sat back with friends, family and drinks to enjoy the show. The band felt very confident and relaxed, telling jokes for the audience and meshing perfectly with the vibe of the venue. The lead singer had an especially funny line about his acoustic electric guitar having an “anal prolapse” but he was gonna carry on anyway for the crowd.

Even without a drum set, the band stuck together incredibly well as they performed a standard but polished folk sound. I was especially impressed by the lyrical and vocal skill that was being showcased. Every song was a clear and entertaining story that felt like it wrapped around the deep and complex instrumental being delivered. I’m usually not a folk guy, but you can’t deny the clear and obvious talent Jack Hotel has.

HAKIM: A rising star from the corn coast (by Michael Bagazinski)

Rising rapper HAKIM performing at 1867 Bar on Feb. 10. Photograph by Michael Bagazinski.
Rising rapper HAKIM performing at 1867 Bar on Feb. 10. Photograph by Michael Bagazinski.

As early on as he is in his career, HAKIM appears to be a natural performer. His music has a professional hip-hop beat, his lyrics have the story and his voice has the power. Touting “Corn Coast” embroidered jackets, it’s obvious he’s putting the right thought into the image he needs to develop as a Nebraskan hip-hop artist.

His energetic and engaging performance filled the already packed venue. Performing with his song “Climbing” with Grace Lundy, another local artist, brought the crowd alive and got the night started right. Frequent jumps off stage excited the audience and added more energy to an already bouncing crowd.

Out of the many artists that played at Lincoln Exposed, HAKIM is undoubtedly one you want to keep your eye on. His latest album “Young Drifter II” was released early last month and is available on Spotify.




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