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It’s rare for a band to be great and be the first band its members are
in. Not to say that the bands that the guys from Universe Contest have
been in weren’t damn good, but something is going on with this
incarnation that never quite clicked completely in the way it does
now. The press has been universally (pardon the pun) positive in its
praise of the band. Fans in the crowd have been rowdy, smiling and
singing along, and the band has found itself in a position of having
multiple songwriters that can bring something to the table, creating
an infectious sound that varies from discord to harmony within the
same song in a way that always keeps the listener enthralled.
The lineup includes Tim Carr (vocals, guitar), Joe Humpal (vocals,
guitar), Brenton Neville (drums, vocals), John Freidel (keys,vocals)
and Bonehart (bass, vocals). They’ve been compared to Modest Mouse,
MGMT and Dismemberment Plan, yet a most recent review said “Take away
the Modest Mouse overhang and they’re harder to pin down. As the name
implies, they’re spacey, but not shoegaze spacey or Bowie spacey.
Spacey like a group of Midwestern hillbillies who got ahold of a stack
of Popular Science magazines and figured out how to build their own
spaceship from abandoned grain silos, Case tractors parts and the
cockpit from a hollowed-out ’73 Maverick. I can see them now sitting
on the launchpad in their overalls, their hippie hair sticking out of
their gold-painted football helmets. 10.9.8.7…” (Lazy-I, Omaha)
In the past 24 months the band has already toured regionally to places
such as Madison, Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Kansas City and
made recent appearances at the Hullabaloo Festival (Kris Lager Band,
Curtis Salgado, Sophistaphunk), Maha Music Festival (Garbage, Delta
Spirit, Desaparecidos) and the Omaha Entertainment & Arts Awards
Showcase. In 2013, the band plans to expand its touring schedule to 60
tour dates along with recording and releasing its second full length.
Download Universe Contest’s self-titled debut album as well as a
four-song EP for free on their website at www.universecontest.com.
Recommended listens: Snake Stand, Relephants, Curf Sity, Someone Else, Dying
Website : http://www.universecontest.com
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/universecontest
Bandcamp : http://www.winners.bandcamp.com
"UNIVERSE CONTEST in five minutes"
"We Are the Rattlesnake" - Demo sampler for our upcoming release.
Live at the Duffy’s Tavern during Lincoln Calling: http://youtu.be/_Lqm83ko4IY
Live at the Spaceship in Chicago: http://youtu.be/ELs4Vor9S30
LIve at the Gallery Bar in Nebraska: http://youtu.be/YODOdRRj9II
"The quintet of guitarists/vocalists Tim Carr and Joe Humpal, drummer
Brenton Neville, bassist Jon Dell and keyboardist John Freidel donned
their halloween costumes early, called all their friends and put on
what I’m calling the best rock ‘n’ roll show Lincoln has hosted in
five years. Yeah, I said it. Where to begin?
Their show was that music, plus some incredible new songs, played with
well more volume and passion than the small, dank stage at Duffy’s
really merited. And that’s not a jab at Duffy’s. Universe Contest just
made the small room look microscopic in comparison. They were every
sound in a crowded bar. Every sight. Every smell as well — that room
reeked. But the room had more than just a tinman, a caveman, Santa and
a couple of interstate hookers in it. It had Lincoln in it.
I can’t recall it ever being that hard to get to the front of the
stage at Duffy’s. That’s usually the most vacant spot in the house,
but people were literally clawing and punching to get closer to this
band. This local band. This Lincoln band. And I can’t recall ever
seeing that for any band Lincoln has spawned in the last five years.
And a capacity crowd came to participate in it. As many Lincolnites as
could see it, saw it. And as many who saw it, loved it — blood,
bruises and all.
Universe Contest is the sum total of everything the Lincoln music
scene has to offer. They draw a crowd like no other band in town, and
unlike some of the other big Lincoln acts, people actually
participate. We sing along, we dance, we flirt and fight and fuck and
smile to this music, because it’s not only catchy and anthemic and
loud, but it speaks to us. And it is ours. It is Lincoln’s, and
hopefully soon, it can belong to the world."
"My biggest discovery Friday was Universe Contest, who were
captivating and entertaining at the Bourbon Theatre's Rye Room. I
don't have a quick, clever description of the music -- it's kinda
poppy, then would shift into some serious rock and sprawl into
guitarland. Whatever you call it, I liked it a lot and the band is
relatively new -- with great promise. Best new band I have seen in a
long time. Exciting-interesting-sonically explosive." L. Kent
Wolgamott, Lincoln Journal Star
"The best new find of the night was at The Bourbon Theater Rye Room
where Universe Contest was playing. The band (which I am told are
former members of Gooses) were exciting, interesting and explosive
sonically. They were appealing and catchy though they did not color
within any lines or play nicely with the formula for current indie
music that has been thoroughly mapped out. This was one of those
moments where people were crawling over each other to see the band
play with a ferocious energy only to drop down to more somber moments
at the stop of a drumstick. I had to climb up some stairs (also full
of people) and hold on to a bar with one hand just to catch glimpses
of the group. I have listened to their album online three times today
(winners.bandcamp.com/) and this is one of the most interesting and
exciting bands I have heard out of the area in a long time. I would
travel to Lincoln again just to see them, though I hope we will be
seeing many more Omaha appearances.