By Jennifer Maloley
Some musicians complain about the lack of a scene. Some musicians create one. In a town like Kearney, not everyone’s musical interests are going to be served by its relatively small music scene. Sometimes, however, a band comes along that transcends the matter and takes things into its own hands.
Skilled musicians and a good vibe can throw genres and particulars out the window and expand a scene through quality, even if there’s a lack of quantity. This is part of what the band Lighthouses does.
Formed three years ago, they have become well-known for playing all-ages house parties and shows at the Knights of Columbus hall here in Kearney. Being accessible to all ages and having an environment that is friendly seems to be a preference of the band.
They have developed a following and alliances with other bands who have similar goals. Nathan Richardson, a senior music business major who is graduating from UNK this year, is the band’s guitarist.
“It’s an awesome community to be a part of. We had a house here for 2 years that we did a lot of shows through–we had bands from, like, the UK play there,” Richardson said.
When asked if they ever play bars, Richardson said they do once in a while.
“It can be a sweet atmosphere. It’s a different crowd than going to a venue that is solely open just to help out other bands.” Richardson and his bandmates- Kory Reeder, who is from Kearney and a sophomore music major here at UNK, Nate Skinner, of Omaha and a senior music business major, Derek Huebner of Grand Island, and Sam BeDunnah of Lexington- did a 30-day tour this summer.
They toured a good chunk of the country. “North Dakota to New York City, down to Florida, over to Albuquerque, and back up,” Richardson said. “We played lots of house parties. We also played some really nice bigger venues.”
One venue they played in North Dakota was somewhat akin to the Bourbon Theatre in Lincoln.
They have also played in thrift shops, the backs of record stores and band-run venues.
“Our favorite place to play is in Midland, Texas, at the Pine Box. It’s run by a couple of our friends that also tour and they book a lot of shows there. It’s just such a great atmosphere and everybody is super friendly.” So, what’s the music like?
“The genre is post-hardcore,” Richardson said. “It’s kind of melodic and ambient music with heavier vocals.”
It’s music that will go over in a friend’s basement or on a bigger stage.
Friday, Oct. 11, they played at the Sokol Underground in Omaha, which is a fairly large venue and Tuesday, Oct. 15, they played at a house here in Kearney with three other bands. The band has released two EPs and a full-length album.
“We’re writing for a new record, but who knows what we’re doing with it,” Richardson said.
They have just been signed to a label out of Virginia called The Motherland Collective, and are preparing for a 5-day tour in December.
Richardson also keeps busy doing his own screen-printing for the band. Not just for his band, but for others too. Lighthouses is part of a healthy DIY music scene that has branches all over. A positive vibe surrounds what Richardson says about their focus.
“It’s awesome to meet people just solely because of music and having the same perspectives on music–it’s not really about getting famous or making money. It’s just about playing and establishing relationships with people throughout–well, even the world. There’s something beautiful about that.”
A place to play, and a place to hear the music, Lighthouses is part of a scene whose definition of success does not require much more than this. It is a good definition, possibly the best one. These guys are all about the music.