It wouldn’t be Lincoln Exposed without Thirst Things First, which might just be Lincoln’s best rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s certainly the most entertaining.
Playing at 10:20 p.m. Wednesday at 1867 Bar rather than, say, closing the festival on a Saturday in a packed Duffy’s Tavern afforded the still decent sized crowd to get up close and personal with Team TTF, which hit the stage wearing matching black-and-red track suits.
Descendents of Devo, TTF had its video screen, featuring Lord Boot, the group’s alien overlord, talking, dancing and introducing songs -- tunes about a dead neighbor, “Fat Cat, Long Cat,” and “vapists” potentially blocking airways.
Led by frontman savant Mikey Elfters, those songs were performed exuberantly, with leg-kicking, sunglasses throwing showmanship.
All of that, however, would be performance comedy if TTF couldn’t deliver musically. But it always does -- with verve -- cranking up infectious, dancing inducing New Wave-meets-punk-pop anchored by the drums of Jordy Elfers, who was playing one of his handful of Lincoln Exposed shows with TTF.
Hilariously, TTF poked major fun at Lincoln Exposed. When not exhorting the audience to “drink oil,” Mikey Elfers thanked the crowd for coming to the TTF show, defeating their “mortal enemies” Tie These Hands, who were playing Duffy’s Tavern at the same time.
Moments later, Lord Boot argued that Team TTF was the most important band at Lincoln Exposed and that bands who played opposite should be “ashamed.” That, was all in good fun -- which is what TTF is all about, good fun.
I started Wednesday at the Bourbon Theatre’s Rye Room to catch Orion Walsh, who tours the U.S. and Europe solo playing with his band The Ramblin’ Hearts.
Take Walsh’s troubadour songs, add electric guitar and a backbeat and you’ve got rock ‘n’ roll of the folk variety. And it sounded great, transforming songs like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” about living the backpacking life into Band-like rockers.
A ukulele added flavor to a few songs and Marina Kushner joined the band on violin for the last couple songs of the 40 minute set, changing the tone of the music and providing the perfect feel for the final number about a schizophrenic man.
In between Walsh and TTF, I caught Hex Weaver’s Bourbon Theatre set. I knew nothing about the group going in -- one of the great things about Lincoln Exposed is seeing new bands. But I was intrigued enough by their violin-guitar-drums, all instrumental music to hang for the whole set.
On paper, that instrument combination sound Velvet Undergroundish. But the music, while it had a little droning, was far from VU -- a pounding, high volume rock assault. I’ll see them again, for sure.
Lincoln Exposed continues Thursday at the five 14th and O area venues.