Beck at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • September 2017

Written by Cydney Phelps

Saturday night at Stir was one for the books! With the the season coming to an end soon, it was as if we were at an end of Summer party. And boy am I paying for it today!

The night kicked off at 8 with DJ Kethro playing to the at capacity cove. While I, personally, am not huge into electronic music; it really was a great way to hype us up before the man himself took the stage. I also love the fact that Stir invited a local DJ to play to a sold out crowd. Kudos!

And then the time came. It was right about 9:00 and we were nearly shoulder to shoulder. The beer lines were long and I felt at home with the mostly Generation X and Y congregation. Out he came, of course with his signature hat. Opening up with Devil’s Haircut from the 1996 album Odelay got us all bobbing our heads with so much anticipation for the rest of his set. You couldn’t help but move. I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect before show time. I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained. I had heard multiple times that Beck was great in concert and, my friends, I can now attest. Even when it came to his slower hits, the energy was still high.

Bek David Campbell, known mononymously as Beck has been at it for 30 years. He found fame in the early 1990’s and has since released 12 studio albums with one more on its way. He and his band refuse to be tied down to a specific genre and I believe that’s one reason why you can find Beck fans anywhere you go. Call them funk, folk, soul, alternative, they are all encompassing. I hope they continue on their musical journey for another 30 years!

As always, the folks at Stir Cove really know how to put on a magnificent show. The lines move quickly and the staff is always smiling. I’ll be sad to see this season end, it’s been one of the greats. But I will keep on coming back and hope to see you there!

See photos here:


Old Market Acoustics: The Clincher (Review)

Written by Gerald Glaza • September 2017

Old Market Acoustics: The Clincher   September 3rd, 2017

Review by David Taylor

Spotlight Omaha were courteously invited to this special taping of Old Market Acoustics, which is a new talk show that showcases local artistic talent, whether it may be musical or artistic. They have been posting the episodes through YouTube. I was quite interested what I would get out of this show.

With the title of the show being Old Market Acoustics, you would think The Clincher would be playing an all acoustic set. Then, I walk into the studio, and I see amps, electric guitars, and a drum kit, so this must have been an exception to the name of the show. The opened the show playing one of their songs. It looked really professional, with a handful of cameramen and a sound engineer.

After they performed, they moved on with the interview portion of the show, which was moderated by the host, Christopher John. He asked questions such as the meaning behind the band name, what their lyrics mean, how they formed, and what was the audition process was like for the new members. What I did get out of this was they liked to have so fun with this, so during the interview portion, the band was handed cards numbering how does one become metal, with John fixing his appearance to become metal, which included him taking off his suit and donning a Motley Crue t-shirt, a wig, and a trucker’s hat, truly becoming the embodiment of metal.

After a set change, they played game where they shot color-coded water guns with a mystery liquid in them, with them trying to guess what was in the liquid, with John telling them what was actually in them. The liquids included were Coca-Cola, Pepsi, soy sauce, hot dog water, and church wine. It really showed the band’s chemistry with each other, giving it a fun perspective.

Right after that, they play a handful of songs, with the crowd standing up, kinda reminiscent of a hardcore show, but more controlled. Lori Piper’s voice was amazing, with a perfect blend of heavy and clean vocals. Matt McClure and Lorenzo DeCoco are awesome additions to the band, with Matt shredding and Lorenzo killing it on the rhythms. Tif Philly and Benjamin Kadaffi make a killer rhythm section.

It was a one of kind show that I highly recommend to check it out. The Clincher was have a new album by next year. We’ll keep you updated when the episode gets released. I am glad The Clincher got to do this to help market their brand and highly encourage other local bands to hop on board and come on this show, as well.

Photo above courtesy of: Old Market Acoustics


Lynyrd Skynyrd at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • September 2017

Sunday night at Stir Cove, featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band Lynyrd Skynyrd, proved to be one of the best rock and roll shows I have ever been lucky enough to attend.  It was pure gratification from beginning to end.   

Skynyrd was outstanding from the first drumbeat to the final guitar lick.  They delivered the exact show that every fan was craving; non-stop hits, precise instrumentation and clear vocals.   

Sometimes when classic rock groups are in their later years the music seems a bit slower, the notes seem a bit lower and the lead singer seems a bit wider…but you still love it.  This band is definitely the exception.  The show, the sound and the performance was as crisp and clean as it was 40 years ago.  Despite the much discussed tragedies and changes in the band lineup, this ensemble has endured it all and can still deliver a show that is nearly perfect. It was as though time stood still, and we were all belting out “That Smell” for the first time.  It was so incredibly special….and so incredibly invigorating. 

The bowl was filled with a mostly mature crowd with hundreds of fans clad in Skynyrd t-shirts.  Soccer chairs filled the hill and the lower bowl, and the multitudes surrounding the stage were using every moment to raise a drink or capture a picture.  By the time the strains of “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird” rounded out the production, everyone was on their feet, and so…so…so… happy.

Thank you Stir Cove for a night that will not be forgotten.

See photos here:



Aaron Lewis at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • September 2017

Unbelievably, it did NOT rain on Thursday night when Aaron Lewis took the stage at Stir Cove.  He and the nearly full house were both thrilled and elated.  Lewis has had his issues with the Nebraska weather in the past, and this was a concert rescheduled from earlier this year due to a rain out.  Finally, Lewis and his fans could share a rewarding evening together.

Lewis, as you already know, was the lead singer in the band Staind, but has since moved into the country music genre and gleaned an additional level of loyal followers.  Every concert Lewis performs begins with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Thursday was no exception.  Men removed their hats, we place our hands over our hearts, and together we recited those words that should provoke goose bumps with every syllable.  Then, with a mighty shout out of “God Bless Texas”, the night began with a twang and a strum.  This is a conservative Republican individual, but he is still profane, still a bit edgy and still a self-proclaimed ‘sinner’. 

Sipping beer and chain smoking between tunes, Lewis gave his audience a 90-minute performance that seemed to thrill the masses.  I am a sucker for that deep voice, and I love his words and his emotion…but I admit, I am still getting used to the switch to a country style.  But that’s okay – it’s not about what works for me, it’s about what works for the masses.   And his new style seems to work for the masses.  The attendees were on their feet for most of the night, and the lower bowl was elbow-to-elbow.  There were continuous shout outs from the crowd and many sudsy salutes.  All in all, it was a metal meets country love fest.  And thank goodness…it never rained.


See photos here:


Darius Rucker at Stir Cove

Written by Karen Freeman • August 2017

By Karen Freeman



They stood shoulder to shoulder at Stir Cove on Saturday night, for a sold-out show featuring Darius Rucker, the former front-man for Hootie and the Blowfish, turned country star.  It was a beautiful night and a beautiful experience.

But before we get to Mr. Rucker, let me just expound upon the talent that preceded him.  Jocelyn Mohammed, a 19-year old singer from Omaha graced the stage for a 40-minute performance that knocked this reviewer out.  Darius Rucker discovered  Miss Jocelyn’s talent in an episode of Undercover Boss.  Long story short, Rucker saw the potential in this gifted and gracious performer, and gave her a stipend to jump-start her career and is hooking her up for a record deal as well.  She has a sweet and soulful presence, and her original tunes were thoughtful and thought provoking. Jocelyn has played the street corners of the Old Market and the stages of the Slowdown and Waiting Room.  She seemed right at home on the Stir Cove platform, and with a little polish, we are going to be following this young lady’s career for years to come.  She was surrounded by a small but mighty group of musicians, and she made me...and everyone around me, just smile.

I don’t want to do Darius Rucker a disservice by continuing to associate him with Hootie & the Blowfish, but if it hadn’t been for his amazing talent as that lead singer, I may never have paid attention to him as a country singer.  Rucker launched his country career in 2008, and he hasn’t had to look back since doing so. While winning a host of accolades in the transition, he seems so very comfortable in this genre.  He was the 2009 Country Music Association New Artist of the Year, and won his second Grammy in 2013 for the Best Country Solo Performance of Wagon Wheel.  Rucker has that deep and expressive vocal talent that just brings you to your knees.  He is committed and commanding when he performs.  He featured melody after melody of meaningful country lyrics before breaking into some brief Hootie moments, and topping it off with a couple of diverse covers from both ends of the universe – Garth Brooks and Dr Dre.  It was all just way more fun that you can imagine.  This show was very entertaining, the crowd was appreciative and it was a blend of happiness from beginning to end.

The appeal of Darius Rucker was apparent in the diversity of the crowd.  Stir Cove is an all ages venue, and that’s what you had on Saturday…all ages, all sexes, all ethnicities.  What a wonderful feeling after a week of turmoil in our country.  Stir Cove and Darius Rucker brought us all together and we could not have valued it more.  Huge kudos and huge thanks go out to all.

Don’t miss your chance to share the experience that is Stir Cove, it is one of the finest outdoor venues in this area and has something for everyone.

To see images from the show click the following link:



Make America Rock Again Tour Review

Written by Gerald Glaza • August 2017

Make America Rock Again w/ Scott Stapp (Creed), Drowning Pool, Sick Puppies, & Trapt OFFICIAL

Ralston Arena Ralston, NE 8/9/17

Review courtesy of: Pat Douglas / Photo courtesy of: Geraldography

The second year of the now annual Make America Rock Again tour stopped in our area Wednesday night. Setting up shop at the Ralston Arena, the tour brought a big time production with them as the stage erected was definitely designed to wow the crowd. A large backdrop with the tour logo and twin skull and crossbones was only overshadowed by the large and well planed light show. A nationwide tour of this size usually puts the crowd a little farther back from the stage, but this one left the alley between the stage and the barrier a bit skinnier- bringing the crowd a bit closer to the action. While the light show was definitely the highlight, the sound was not to be dismissed either. It was both clear and powerful, bringing the production value full circle.

Up first was Trapt. The California band, who has released seven studio albums and a handful of live releases took to the stage for a quick 45 minute set. Playing a good sample of their extensive library, the band doesn't seem to have lost their edge. Having gone through multiple lineup changes since forming in 1995, vocalist Chris Taylor Brown and bassist Pete Charell still anchor the group and keep the sound and consistency true to their roots. Joined now by guitarist David Sudock and drummer Brendan Hengle, the band has their sound honed in tight and doesn't seem to have lost a step.

Next on the lineup was the Australian rock trio Sick Puppies. First formed in 1997 by guitarist and singer Shimon Moore and bassist Emma Anzai, the band stayed solid and co-won an Australian band competition which allowed them to record and release their first album and an EP. When their first label folded and their original drummer left the band, they moved to LA and found new and current drummer Mark Goodwin by posting an ad on Craigslist. This led to recording and release their album Dressed Up As Life which included their breakout single “All the Same”. Three albums later the band ia now touring with new singer and guitarist Bryan Scott and, to me, they seem better than ever. The Sick Puppies were my highlight of the night as they solely depended on their talent and stage presence to wow the crowd. Filled with energy and fueled by crowd reaction, the band stepped it up a notch with every song they played. After playing what turned out to be their last song, it seemed they just wanted to keep going. Scott started to say “Do we have….”, but abruptly stopped his sentence, waved to the crowd and left the stage. It may just be my interpretation, but I think he was hoping for time to play another song. This would have been just fine with me and I'm sure would have been just fine with the rest of the crowd.

Third in line was hard rockers Drowning Pool. First formed in 1996 in Dallas, the band has had a steady core lineup of guitarist CJ Pierce, bassist Stevie Benton and drummer Mike Luce. However, tragedy, turnover and controversy plagued the bands early years. Their original vocalist, Dave Williams, died from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2002 after only one album. Since then, there has been a rotation of singers join the group until settling on current vocalist Jason Moreno in 2012. The bands biggest hit, “Bodies”, generated controversy by incorrectly being linked to a mass shooting and also being used by the US government as enhanced interrogation in Guantanamo Bay prison. Now, after 6 full length albums, the band is going strong and touring as much as possible. They've got their sound locked up tight and they all obviously fully enjoy playing to their crowds. This night, they had a very energetic set and played through many highlights of their catalog. One thing was extremely obvious during their set…..the moshpit is alive and well in the Omaha music scene. This was especially apparent during “Bodies”, which is what the song is about anyway.

The headliner for the tour was former Creed frontman Scott Stapp. Stapp has had plenty of his own controversy throughout his long career in music. A founder member of Creed, Stapp and crew earned many awards and nominations and frequently topped charts in the late 90’s. After disbanding in 2002, the band reunited to tour for a few years in 2009. Stapp played in some other bands, but has mostly focused on his solo career, his family and his philanthropic work. Interspersed with negative media attention, Stapp seems to be back on the straight and narrow and focused on his music again. Playing a good mix of his hits from Creed and his solo work, Stapp put on his show to the arena and gave his message for his “Arms Wide Open” foundation that is dedicated to helping children. At times, the performance seemed a little uninspired and almost as if his backing band had been thrown together and put on tour without much rehearsal. Regardless, the crowd reacted well and for the most part seemed to really enjoy what he brought with him.

To see more images from the night, click the link to go check out the gallery:

Make America Rock Again