Tommy Stinson/Cowboys In The Campfire-Zipline Brewery Lincoln-July 9th, 2023
Tommy Stinson is, of course, known as a member of the famed Minneapolis rock band The Replacements. He also spent close to a couple decades as a member of Guns & Roses and was in Soul Asylum for a bit. He has had his own bands, such as Bash & Pop and Perfect, along with various solo albums. Cowboys In The Campfire are Tommy and guitarist Chip Roberts. Some years ago, Tommy and Chip did a performance at the now-defunct Hi-Fi House in Blackstone. They have been touring this project off and on for a long time, but the album Wronger that just came out last month is their first under that name.
Stinson is playing odd rooms and chose the Zipline Brewery in Lincoln for this stop, or was chosen for this gig. When driving to the place, I truly thought I had the wrong address, as I didn’t know that area of Lincoln existed and it didn’t seem like a place for a brew pub. It ended up being the actual brewery, and the stage was kind of a loading dock area with bags of barley and oats along the walls. They had a permanent stage there, and some banners on the walls from local radio station KZUM looked like they had been there awhile. This space has been used for shows. The show started at 7 p.m., an hour after the advertised 6 p.m. start time, because Tommy and Chip and bassist Chops Laconte (kid you not-Chops) went to the wrong place also. No worries, as it was an early show and no one was in a rush, and I don’t think anyone expected a long, drawn-out show as that is not what Tommy does.
He took the stage with an acoustic guitar, and Chip would sit and play various guitars along with a slide. Laconte slapped bass the entire show, and it was driving me nuts, as I swear I have seen him play before. I asked him after the show who he has performed with, and he said some bands I didn’t recognize, Wanda Jackson, and a stint with Setzer, but nothing at a time I would’ve seen. He has that rock-a-billy bass player look, so I have probably seen many bass players that look like him.
The trio would play the entire Wronger album, minus one song, I think. He also threw in a song from the last Bash & Pop album and a couple other solo tracks. They also did “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” At one point, he started playing “Alternative Ulster” by Stiff Little Fingers on guitar before claiming he was confused. My heart jumped a bit, as that would’ve been pretty cool. Thankfully, the 70 or so people in attendance were probably educated about the fact that Tommy was not going to play any of the “hits” and didn’t yell out Replacements songs. Though it might have been entertaining to hear how he would address that and shut said person down,
The new album is very good, and if you are a Replacements fan or a fan of Tommy’s other bands and solo work, you will find it enjoyable. The hour-long set was very much just enjoying those songs, but also kind of enjoying them in the sense that you were watching this guy who had a part in creating so many other songs that are a big part of your life. That is the draw. Tommy was in good spirits and had fun with the other guys on stage; he always feels slightly like he could go off the cuff at any minute, which he kind of did at the end of the set. After the show, he sold his own merchandise and talked with the people in attendance. The whole show had the feel of an elevated house show (which he also does) without the uncomfortableness of being a show in someone else’s house. Enjoyable evening that didn’t take up a lot of time in a space that ended up being very comfortable and sounded good. It’s fun to see music occasionally outside of the usual spots.