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Hear Nebraska concert review - Rig 1

Published on 23rd June 2015From Hear Nebraska news update, 6/23/15.

Contributing writer Jeff Lawler was at Pageturners last night for Rig 1 and High Up:

Pageturners Lounge is not a huge bar, but not exactly tiny either. “Cozy” is a word that comes to mind, walking in just off the northwest corner of 50th and Dodge. Put more than 100 people in there, and it feels pretty packed. This was the scene Monday night for a free concert (part of Pageturners Summer Concert Series), featuring High Up and Rig 1.

The venue felt almost like a family reunion leading up to the show; it seemed as though many friends and family had gathered to celebrate these artists with Nebraska roots.

In its debut live show, High Up gave an ecstatic performance of retro rock and soul punctuated by a sharp horn section. Christine Fink took lead vocal duties, and sister Orenda Fink handled guitar, backing vocals and occasional trumpet. The band was rounded out by Greg Elsasser, Josh Soto, Eric Ohlsson and Jason Biggers on electric bass, trombone, keys and drums. They opened the set with a couple of ‘50s style rockers, and then switched it up with more traditional indie rock, as well as several powerful soul numbers. Several of the songs were primarily keyboard-based, with guitar adding color. The drum and bass rhythm section provided a driving backdrop for their emphatic soul sound.

Hip-hop act Rig 1 (a.k.a. Ian McElroy of Desaparecidos note) took the stage not long after. He was joined by drummer Clark Baechle of The Faint, giving real oomph to his trippy, psychedelic electronic beats. Early in the set, Orenda Fink even hopped on stage to provide some backing trumpet.

The sheer volume of words mixed with the thumping bass from the backing track and crackling drums made for a dynamic performance. A standout was the slinky track “Mindfucker,” which was the winner for catchiest hook of the night. The crowd was locked in on McElroy as he swayed and bobbed around the stage, rhyming about everything from the nature of existence to how we’re all becoming computers.