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LinOma Pays Tribute to a Superstar

story by tim mcmahan



Lazy-i: December 17, 2002

Jesus Christ Superstar Live Tribute
w/ 16 Linoma bands
Thursday, Dec. 19
Sokol Underground
Friday, Dec. 20

9 p.m., $5

It sounds like a spectacular Broadway production -- two cities, 16 bands, one groundbreaking musical -- but it's even more special than that.

For two nights -- Dec. 19 at Omaha's Sokol Underground and Dec. 20 at Lincoln's Knickerbockers -- 16 local bands will take a shot at performing what is arguably one of the most important musicals and albums of the 1970s -- Jesus Christ Superstar.



Organizer Eric Ziegler said the idea grew out of a showcase put on by Knickerbockers in Lincoln three years ago. Ziegler, who was attending school there, helped put on the series called "The X vs. Y Matches" that featured local bands performing covers from two different artists. For example, one night featured David Bowie vs. Lou Reed covers. At the end of the evening, the crowd would decide which band performed the better cover versions.

"We had an idea of taking one classic album and having bands play the whole thing," Ziegler said. "A friend of mine, Charles Lieurance (The Honey Hush, ex-Black-Dahlias), thought it would be cool to try to mix Omaha and Lincoln bands."

Ziegler said one of the project's goals is to bring the two scenes closer together like they were in the mid-'90s. Back then, it was not uncommon for bands such as Omaha's Frontier Trust, Mousetrap or Ritual Device to share the stage with Lincoln's Mercy Rule or Sideshow. "Lincoln and Omaha bands used to play together all the time," Ziegler said. "We want to start up that whole LinOma scene again."

With that idea in mind, bands were selected from both cities, with Ziegler coordinating the Omaha bands while Lieurance worked with the Lincoln bands. The final line-up includes 11 Lincoln bands: The Fools, Crush the Clown, Cuffs 'n' Muffs, The Honey Hush, John Gapp, The Lepers, Greg Cosgrove, The Bad Sects, Strawberry Burns, Jill Thiele & Charles Lieurance, and Ghost Runners.

The Omaha acts include Niva Dinova, Race for Titles, Matt Whipkey, Wolf Tickets and Kyle Harvey. The tribute show will act as Wolf Tickets' debut performance. The band features Ziegler on vocals, project organizer Jeff Randall on guitar, Mike Tulis (The Monroes) on bass and Jeff Heater (ex-Men of Porn, ex-Ritual Device) on drums.

Neva Dinova
Race for Titles
Kyle Harvey


"Lincoln and Omaha bands used to play together all the time. We want to start up that whole LinOma scene again."



The Lepers
Strawberry Burns
Crush the Clown



Ziegler said most of the bands weren't familiar with the Tim Rice / Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which premiered in New York in 1971. A film version of the musical was produced in 1973. "We had a listening party for the album, but no one showed up," he said. "We ended up helping the bands pick songs that would best compliment their style."

The set list includes Neva Dinova performing "Strange Thing Mystifying," Race for Titles performing "Hosanna," The Lepers doing "The Temple," Greg Cosgrove (ex-Thirteen Nightmares, The Great Dismal) singing "I Don't Know How to Love Him," Matt Whipkey (ex-The Movies) performing "I Only Want to Say (Gethsemane)," and Kyle Harvey handling the big show-stopper, "Superstar."

Ziegler said the tribute won't be an attempt to stage the production, but rather an evening of bands performing songs from the musical. As a result, the staging at both venues will be rather sparse, with only a standard drum kit and two guitar amps set up, he said.

As an afterthought, organizers decided to make the tribute a benefit for the Salvation Army, who will receive all profits from the $5 tickets. "The charity was the last thing on our minds," Ziegler said. "But we thought we might as well do something if we're going to butcher Jesus' songs and image."

Could this be the beginning of a series or multi-band, multi-city tribute nights? Ziegler wouldn't say. "First, let's see how this one comes off," he said.

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Published in The Omaha Weekly Dec. 18, 2002. Copyright 2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.