Written by Tawnya R Lynch • June 2017

STYX And An Old Friend

By, Penny Pepperstein

Styx was my first hard rock concert. In 1983 (age 11) the band was touring their latest LP Kilroy Was Here and my mom’s old boyfriend, Bruce, (RIP) had bought two tickets, one for him and one for her. Lucky for me, my mom had to work that weekend so I got to go. I was thrilled, overjoyed and freaking out as I stood in line at the Civic Auditorium waiting to head inside. Pretty much all concerts where GA (general admission) at the “Civ” back then and Styx was no exception. When the doors opened we headed up the ramp to the first bowl and found seats. At 8pm a screen lowered and a short film started, the movie explained who Kilroy was and how the world was taken over by robots, music was illegal, Kilroy broke free from a prison (using the robot uniform as a disguise) because he wouldn’t conform to what the world had become, the movie segued and the concert began… (IT WAS AWESOME!)

The concert world segued again for me last weekend when I saw Styx at the Pinewood Bowl in Lincoln, Ne. The band started the night with their new song “Gone, Gone, Gone” on the latest album, The Mission, released in June, 2016. The song was really good but the next song on the set was an old favorite, “Blue Collar Man”, the keyboard intro to this song always takes me back. It was playing on the radio when I was taking my driver’s test. I forgot to turn my radio completely off, so when the song started, I turned it up. The man giving the test shook his head and turned the radio off.  If you don’t know “Blue Collar Man”, go listen to it right now and you will hear the song intro I mean.  Go ahead…I’ll wait.

The stage set up had a small staircase on either side, that led down to the center of the stage and as each band member made their appearance from the top, the crowd went wild as they descended. James “JY” Young and Tommy Shaw looked like they did in the old days. A little shorter hair with more grey, a few wrinkles here and there but still lookin’ damn good for being in their sixties and rockin’ like they’re still in their twenties. Everyone in the crowd, younger and older, had their hands up and clapping in time to imitate songs such as “Too Much Time On My Hands”.

There was a tiny void in some of us older Styx fans as Dennis DeYoung had parted from the band in 1999. Lawrence Gowan, with his dark hair, grey striped at the temples and a vested, suit was just enough resemblance to DeYoung to appease that tiny void. However, his stellar voice and classical piano skills, mixed with his charismatic charm was enough to stop the resemblance and give homage where homage was earned. When the song “Come Sail Away” ended the applause was almost deafening for his performance. The audience welcomed him into our Styx “fan” club, Nebraska style.  

I am going to wrap this up by saying the lights, the sound and the looks that make up Styx still holds a place in my heart and always will. The memories of that first concert came alive for me again and as I stood near the stage taking pictures of Tommy Shaw, I quietly said “this one is for you, Bruce.”

STYX is: Tommy Shaw Lead vocals/guitars, James “JY” Young  Lead vocals/guitars Lawrence Gowan Lead vocals/keyboards, Ricky Phillips Bass/guitar/vocals Todd Sucherman Drums/percussion

This is Penny Pepperstein signing out! See you soon, See you there!

PS Don’t forget to tip your bartender/server

If you would like to see more articles & photography by Penny, check her out here:  Penny Pepperstein Music Journalist & Concert Photographer



Little River Band

Written by Tawnya R Lynch • June 2017

Oh, the harmony, that sweet, sweet harmony of the Little River Band. I grew up listening to that harmony on the radio and remember loving songs like “Lonesome Loser” and “Lady”, never knowing it was the same band. The coolest thing about not being able to know the difference between those song's owner is that your able to reach a different audience with each song. This makes for a huge success, this makes the Little River Band
I have seen them twice now, once tonight with a friend and once a few years ago with my boyfriend. Both times the surprise on their faces when they heard a song they didn’t know was the Little River Band  was completely priceless. Evidently, my friends aren’t the only fans that have this same reaction. In an article I read, Wayne Nelson says “You’ll see plenty of people mouthing the words…’I love this song…I forgot it was one of Little River Band’s hits!’ 
I always have my adventures when going to review a performance for the and and this was no exception I will share the craziness that is Penny Pepperstein. To start off the night, I overestimated my time getting from Omaha to Lincoln and was almost late.  When I arrived at the Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater I was greeted by the friendly parking staff that pointed to the direction I was to park and they did so politely. I found my parking, grabbed my tickets and was blown away by the great seats. I looked around, and I couldn’t see a bad seat in the place. There was GA but still, it wasn’t hard to find a good place to sit. The downside, no folding chairs were allowed in the venue. So it could be uncomfortable and vision can be difficult if you're sitting but really, who sits at a concert anyway? 
When it got close to show time, I headed down the front of the stage with my camera and took my position. A few minutes later, the Little River Band took their position on the stage. Wayne Nelson-lead singer and bass player was center stage and would explaine the meaning of certain songs such as "Help Is On It's Way, (dedicating this to all those in uniform) and this gave the concert-goers the ability to relate and rev them up for the song and it worked like a charm.  
The first song out of the gate was the hit "Happy Anniversary" a timeless classic that had the crowd singing along and dancing too. Then, “Reminiscing”, a beautiful song and their highest ranking hit on the Billboard Charts in 1978, invited people put their arms around one another and sing, foreheads or cheeks were kissed and swaying back and forth as the Little River Band sang in perfect harmony. The band continued their set with every song more familiar than the last, making the concert one awesome hit after another. 
I was so honored to have been able to see LRB again and bring yet another person to their show. Both experiences were amazing! I will be front and center when they come back this way again. One thing I have learned with the records I have listened to over the years and I still play on my stereo console, I am never sorry when a band like this plays all the songs I loved on those records.. 
Wayne-Bass, Vocals, Ryan Ricks-drums, Chris Marion-keys, Rich Herring-lead, Greg Hind-rhythm make up the band that is Little River Band. Every member sings harmony. Rich and Greg switch played both lead guitar on several songs, making that a cool harmony too.

Thank you for the entertainment and thank you for the dance down memory lane. 

As this was a double band night…I will be back shortly with second act and the memory lane STYX will bring. To be continued.

To see more articles like this as well as accompanied concert photos please visit my blogsite

This is Penny Pepperstein signing out! See you soon, see you there.

PS Don’t forget to tip your bartender/server. 


Brantley Gilbert | June 9

Written by Sarah Cooper • June 2017

It never ceases to amaze me how much country music has evolved in the last few years.  There is much less twang and much more rock.  A tad bit of rap here and there, and a whole lot of pyrotechnics and light shows that leave the fans in a frenzy.

Such was Friday night at Stir Cove, when Brantley Gilbert headlined a nearly sold out show.  Gilbert had all the magic touches – the lights, the action, the video screen accompaniment, and one heck of a talented group of musicians to back up his deep and meaningful vocals. 

Gilbert showcased a number of his hits, such as “Dirt Road Anthem” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” and shared tunes from his latest album, “The Devil Don’t Sleep”.  That album hit the country charts at #1 after it was released in January.  Gilbert is talented, humble and hard-working.  He ambled the stage tirelessly and gave the patrons everything they wanted and everything he had.

Fans were of all ages – from eight to eighty.  They swayed, they danced, they sang loudly and everyone had their cell phone raised for a picture Gilbert and his band.  This self-stated unconventional country artist puts on one heck of a show, and it was a great night to be at the Cove.

Opening for Gilbert were two bands that both expressed their delight and appreciation for being a part of the Gilbert road show.

Tim Montana and the Shrednecks were a fast and furious southern rock band, with a love for Kid Rock and ZZ Top.  Montana collaborated with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top for their hit “Weed and Whiskey”, which became the anthem for the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 World Series.  Kid Rock is putting a Montana song on his next album release and the respect for Montana and his group just continues to grow. 

The Steel Woods preceded Gilbert, and while Rolling Stone has listed them as ‘hard-hitting southern rock’, I found them to be just a bit slower, and not as polished as the Shrednecks.   But, it’s all in the eyes of the beholder, and that is why there is music for everyone at the Cove.

There is so much more to come at the Cove.  Don’t miss your chance to shake your wild thing with the rest of us.  Visit and find yourself some tickets for a night you will remember forever!


Pink Hair, Blue Hair, Penny's Overall’s & Seether’s Audience.

Written by Tawnya R Lynch • June 2017

Well, I am going to begin at the end of the show and work my way to the beginning. Let me just get this out of the way and say I love Seether. Shaun Morgan’s hardcore, gruff, angry sound to his voice gives his songs a pissed off feel to them. This is a guaranteed, big reason as to why Seether is so loved. He screams out the words we want to scream out. When Shaun Morgan started the song "Gasoline", one of the band’s first big hits (2002 Disclaimer album) with the distorted first chords of his guitar had the audience worked up and ready to rock. Everything about this show started out so kick ass and then…the sound system had feedback, like, A LOT of feedback. Seether continued to play thru it, but the more Shaun would scream the worse it got. Long, loud screeches rang throughout the auditorium, leaving the audience to cover their ears to escape it. The fans didn’t seem to care much because as soon as the annoying sound subsided it was as if nothing happened and everyone continued the enjoyment of the song being played. This continued off and on throughout the performance during some of their biggest hits…it did get worked out and the show moved forward.

As I worked my way thru the audience to find a place to see, I realized that as a shorter person, in a standing room only, Sokol Auditorium this had become a small feat. I wiggled my way upstairs to the balcony and did manage to find a little step to call my own. When my favorite song “Country Song” began, I began my devil horn, headbanging, craziness along with the rest of the upper floor.

Suddenly I realized I was still wearing my overall shorts I set out of the house in that morning. I had a busy Saturday and hadn’t gone home to change into my black jeans and concert t-shirt. You know, the standard attire for the going to a Seether concert? But I digress, I was still wearing my light denim overalls with little hearts, stars and stripes embroidered on the front pocket. I quickly scanned the area for gawkers and I noticed that everyone was, well…old. Wait, wait before you turn off this post let me explain.

When I listened to Seether in the past, no matter what year or how new the album was I always think of myself as the older one in the room/car/concert. I think this is because in 2002 when Disclaimer was released I was 30 years old, in 2007 when my daughter was a teenager and listened to Seether, I was 35. I felt like the oldest Seether fan on the planet. That is, until Saturday night. Everyone was my age, some were little older and there were a few that were younger but every one of them was in that moment with Seether and without an age group. I suddenly felt very comfortable again and me and my overalls continued the head banging ritual that is hard ass rock.

Next in the lineup going backward, is Letters From The Fire. Alexa Kabazie with her long wild aqua colored hair that she happily threw around when emphasizing a pivotal moment in the song when the entire band would do the same in unison. This became contagious as the audience too began to follow the band’s lead. The song “Worth The Pain” had edgy, raw lyrics that I have definitely have felt before. Alexa’s voice reminded me of a combination of singers, I heard a little Joan Jett, Kelly Clarkson and a tad of Amy Lee thrown in for good measure. Drummer Brian Sumwalt, guitarists Cameron Stucky, Mike Steller and Bassist Clayton Wages make up this a must see awesome band.

The final band which is actually the first ban, Kaleido started the night with featuring a tiny, pink, girl. Yep, I said tiny, pink, girl. Christina Chriss stormed the stage with hot pink, semi-Mohawk, type hair style and a hot pink style attire to match. She looked to be about 5 foot nothing and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet. But that is where the tiny stopped. She let out a scream that stopped the audience cold. She was a hard rockin’, fist pumpin’, foot stompin’ wild child! Christina knows how to bring out the best in an audience. The band's song “Die Tryin’” an anthem for a girl living the same old mundane life and will die tryin’ to break free from it.  Every song was better than the last and I found myself wandering over to the merch table to buy a CD. Christine helped me decide which CD to purchase, the band autographed it and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. I do have to give the guys in the band some serious kudos, the one that had me staring was the bassist Cody Morales. Dressed in bass man attire, black and black, he was constantly smiling, sticking out his tongue, laughing and was a show all by himself. Not only was I constantly smiling, I was laughing as I watched him enjoying the audience’s reaction to his good time. The drummer Joey Fava, guitarists Ronnie Rosolino and Zach Bolling were all the real sensational deal. All of them living and rocking in the moment and giving the audience all they had. I can’t wait for this band to return because when they do, I will be front and center.  

The Sokol Auditorium is located on South 13th street near downtown Omaha. The “Sokol” provides entertainment year round and is home to many touring bands and the Omaha local music scene too. If you missed this show or one of your other favorite bands, chances are you will see them or another at the Sokol Auditorium soon.

This is Penny Pepperstein signing out! See you soon, see you there.

PS Don’t forget to tip your bartender/server.

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Z92 Rocks the Cove | June 2

Written by Sarah Cooper • June 2017

My favorite thing about Stir Cove is that every year the concert series includes genres that appeal to each and every music lover.  Friday night was no exception as heavy metal favorites graced the stage.

I will not claim to be a heavy metal connoisseur like so many other Z-92 listeners, but I can tell you that the crowd was thrilled and totally blown away by the likes of Sebastian Bach, Queensryche and Vince Neil.  It was a loud and deeply bass and screaming guitar experience that the near capacity crowd prized.

Shame on me – I couldn’t tell you the name of one song played during the multi-hour event, but here is what I can tell you….

The lower bowl was mobbed with attendees raising their fists, bobbing their heads and singing along proudly.  The upper bowl was mobbed with the ‘senior’ head bangers – who enjoyed the music just as much, but were content to stay in their seats.  (Perhaps they spent one too many years swinging their long locks up and down!)

By the time Vince Neil made his appearance, the crowd in the lower bowl had doubled in size and he was met with a serious ovation. 

There were similarities in each performance.  The guitar shrieks loudly, the voices shriek louder and the drummer seems to be the hardest working musician on the stage.  Each act works the audience masterfully with their off-color repertoire and the frenetic on-stage presentation.

Frankly, I was deeply impressed with each band and the fact that after nearly 30 years, they still can reach the hearts and souls of their everlasting fan base.  It was a pretty darn great night at Stir.

Check out the Stir Cove website to find out what the rest of the season has in store. It will blow you away.  The staff is amazing, the facility is one of the Midwest’s finest and now that it is an all-age venue, you can share your music with anyone!

Check out some photos here:


The Shins at Stir Cove | May 20th

Written by Sarah Cooper • May 2017

Saturday night was the season opener for Stir Cove 2017. The weather was not exactly great for a mid-May outdoor concert, but fans certainly did not shy away. The evening started with Tennis, an Indie-Pop band from Denver, Co. The band formed in 2010 with a husband and wife at the helm. It was a beautiful way to get things started. The charming voice of Alaina Moore drifted off the stage and made us all forget about the misty rain. They mentioned how touring with the Shins was a dream come true and every day was the best day of their lives. They weren’t lying. You could see how much they truly enjoyed playing their music for people. Cheers to them for living their dream!

The Shins came out with a bang at 9:15. The rain had cleared up by then and I’m not sure if it got warmer, or if the crowd was just getting cozier with each other. The high energy music got everyone dancing and there was a smile on every person’s face. The Shins have been around for over 20 years now. That, alone, is hard to believe! They formed in Albuquerque, NM in 1996, originally as a duo led by James Mercer. The band was on tour with Modest Mouse when they got their first record deal and lives were turned upside town. Their popularity grew throughout the years and though the band did experience some turmoil, Mercer has come through and seems to be stronger and more creative than ever.

Stir Cove never disappoints. The staff was so excited to get the season started and were very accommodating given the circumstances of the weather. Beer lines were short last night, I’m sure because it was chillier than expected. Gloves or koozies can easily fix that problem. Stir even had blankets for sale for $5! You’d better believe we picked one up! Even the price of domestics went down this year, which was a pleasant surprise!

My husband and I have this tradition of having dinner at the Backstage Grill inside of the casino. They have a special menu on concert nights. The food always satisfies and lays a good base for beers! Last night we had the best service. They got us in and out in perfect timing for the show to start. The decor is also super cool, covered in autographs of artists who have performed at Stir. I highly recommend it!

This is going to be another amazing year for Stir Cove! It’s their Lucky 14th year! I’m so anxious to see more talent this year and am more and more excited with every show announcement! Get your tickets and get down to Stir Cove this year, let’s party!

Check out some photos here: