Author: Autumn Dern
The final day of Lincoln Calling was a night to remember. The streets were littered with bustling, vibrant concert goers and beautiful, local art and goods were spread along P street. Hear Nebraska has outdone themselves this year with an impressive lineup of incredible local artists, up and coming American bands, and top sellers like Charli XCX and Cupcakke. Luckily, I had the opportunity to see 6 artists of varying sounds and origins.
Pronounced “oh-high”, this Omaha-born band was an incredible way to start my night. Their smooth vocals accompanied by beats you can tap your foot to convinced the hearts and minds of passersby to join their party. This local band of five average-looking guys blend passion and melody to create memorable alternative/indie tunes. Every single member was having a blast and the crowd could feel it. All of the songs they played were tracks from their new album titled “On the Mend” and every single one that I listened to is now downloaded onto my Spotify playlist. They played at 1867 bar, a bar located near the festival’s hub, around 8pm and were my favorite local band of the night.
I traveled over to Duffy’s Outdoor space to check out the band, Pile, who played from 8pm to 9pm. A group of four guys from Boston, this indie rock band is a distinctive blend of hollering, passionate vocals, percussive beats to remember, and stunning guitar solos that sing. The diverse crowd enjoying Pile was noticeably engaged. Heads were bobbing and arms were waving. Pile has been a four-person band since 2010 and their onstage chemistry is notable. Each member was seamlessly connected to the others through their motion and beat. As someone new to their music, I was impressed and will be looking into their music from now on.
At the Zoo Bar near the center of the festival, JAGAJA, an Omaha duo that plays solo, with other solo artists, and even with larger groups of musicians, played to a crowd that was lining the walls and flooding the tables. JAGAJA’s front men are a pair of twins, Gabriel and Graham Burkum who play bass and guitar, respectively. Their vocals intertwine to create a sound uniquely their own: hypnotic indie pop with swirling string symphonies. This magical brother pair are my newest obsession because their passion and love for music leaks through their soundtracks. JAGAJA is a local band to watch because I have a feeling that they’re going to be big some day.
The last artist I saw before the main acts was Hana Zara who performed at Bodega’s Alley. With the release of her new album, “The North”, Zara surprised each and every person in that bar. With her slightly raspy voice and sweet, melodic guitar, she swept me off my feet. I would describe her as a folk singer/songwriter with easy listening tunes that everyone can enjoy. This woman was so popular amongst the crowd that an encore was requested, and given. Her songs made me feel all the fall vibes and her voice felt like a warm embrace to my ears. Each lyric she sang made me feel as if I had known her for years. If I were to choose one artist that was the most surprising find, Hana Zara would be that artist.
A raunchy, colorful rapper, Cupcakke was a highlight of the night. Her spunk and powerful presence wooed her many fans that were packed to the brim in the Duffy outdoor space late Saturday night. The barricades were shaking with excitement from the bursting crowd that screamed the sexual lyrics back at Cupcakke. Originally from Chicago, Elizabeth Eden Harris (Cupcakke) is a beautiful, curvy woman of color with sexuality oozing from her aura. Although her songs are X-rated in nature, she has been an artist who has spoken out against social issues including police brutality and LGBTQA+ rights. Her advocacy shows through her lyrics in “Picking Cotton” and “LGBT”, which she sang Saturday night. Her body-positive outfit exuded confidence with a gold, calf-length jacket, embroidered, high-waisted shorts, and a white, translucent bralette with daisy pasties and furry sneakers. Cupcakke sang popular songs of hers like “Cum Shot”, “Spider-Man Dick”, and “Deepthroat”–a song that went viral within two weeks of its release. If you don’t know about Cupcakke and you encourage sexual openness, I suggest you check out her work. Cupcakke is a queen.
With number one singles like Icona Pop’s “I Love It” and Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”, Charli XCX was the most highly anticipated artist of Lincoln Calling 2017. She entered the scene at the Bourbon Theatre Saturday night in a millennial pink sweatshirt dress with laced up detailing on the front, holographic hip hugger underwear that she showed off when twerking to the crowd, and simplistic, white Nike tennies. Her epic setlist kept the crowd’s arms waving and hips shaking. Her song selection included well-known hits like “Break the Rules”, “I Love It”, “Boom Clap”, “Fancy”, and “After the Afterparty”. Charli XCX also sang “Roll With Me”, “Dreamer”, and “3AM”. Charlotte Emma Atchison (Charli XCX) is originally from Cambridge, England and first broke out as a popular artist in 2012 when she co-wrote “I Love It” with fellow European artists, Icona Pop. Now, she is known for her electronic pop, singer/songwriter music that collaborates with famous artists like Panic! At the Disco’s Brendon Urie and Joe Jonas. Saturday night, Charli XCX shook the Bourbon and its concert goers to their teen-angst core. Her bad-bitch vibes gave me the urge to down two shots of vodka and dance until the next morning. She had the plentiful crowd engaged the entire concert and when Cupcakke came on stage with her, everyone in that building was pumped. It was the collaboration we didn’t know we needed, but was the highlight of the night. Charli XCX was the perfect headliner for this festival and she left every concert goer satisfied.