The real fun begins after the Awesome Biker Nights kick-off party. The annual charity bike rally has always entertained its audience with live music performances, in addition to all the stunt teams, ramp jumpers and various contests throughout the three-day fest.
Here’s what to expect Friday (June 15) at the Main Stage and Court Street Stage at Awesome Biker Nights this year:
10 p.m. - 35TH & TAYLOR
Siouxlanders ought to be very familiar with this local powerhouse. Originally billed as November 35th during the band’s early years, this young group of musicians has since changed its name, its look and its approach to music under the moniker 35th & Taylor in just a few short years. Comprised of Anna Taylor, Evan Kaler, Max Miller, Jack Osborn and Spencer Andresen, the group specializes in catchy, blues-laced alternative rock tunes. A year after releasing its latest album, “I Know You’re Trouble,” 35th & Taylor had the opportunity to share the same stage as Bon Jovi, opening for the legendary rocker in front of a sold out crowd at the United Center in Chicago.
8 p.m. - CANADIAN STRANGER
We all know what happens when you meet a stranger in the Alps. But what if that stranger is Canadian? Well that’s a whole ‘nother story right there. You see, Canadian Stranger is a band that’s full of mystery. Some say the group originally hails from Manitoba, even though a great deal of members were born and bred out of Sioux City; some say the band toured all across the Canadian countryside, although there is no real record that any of that ever happened. In any case, Canadian Stranger is a masterful group of guys that knows a thing or two about performing great songs for great people. They guarantee you’ll like at least a couple parts of a couple songs. Obligatory: “You betcha!”
6:30 p.m. - KINGS OF OBLIVION
So where exactly is Oblivion? Well if we went by Kings of Oblivion’s hometown, it would be somewhere around Yankton, South Dakota. Well that’s pretty neat. Founded in 2007, Kings of Oblivion is an acoustic guitar duo comprised of musicians Eric Beringer and James Dean. Since its creation more than a decade ago, Kings of Oblivion have been introducing audiences to its unique blend of live music fueled by a hodgepodge of influences like rock and blues and jazz and reggae and ska and country — you name it! This is bare bones music.
5 p.m. - SPENCER ASPLEAF
Some might recognize him as that feathery-haired guitarist from Port Nocturnal. He’s a man with exceptional talent, which is a prime reason to perform solo acoustic gigs. But don’t you dare scoff at that notion. Aspleaf held his own as a solo performer at the recent BAND6k Battle of the Bands at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City. Don’t underestimate the guy’s killer guitar skills and smokey, vulnerable voice.
COURT STREET STAGE
10 p.m. - JADE MONKEY
When you want to party, you need a party band. And Jade Monkey knows all about partying. Formed in Mitchell, South Dakota, by Laurriee Bentson, Jimmy Lee Isburg, Neil Schlimgen and Mark Hardy, Jade Monkey plays all the hits you want to hear from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s. Hopefully you all brought your dancing shoes.
8 p.m. - TOP DOWN
Top down, bottom’s up! We might have said that a few times while watching this band with a drink our hands. It’s only proper that the Court Street Stage has lots of rock ’n’ roll bands to keep the party going. By this time, you’ll be feeling pretty good, right? Top Down will make sure they play all the right tunes to tickle your fancy.
6:30 p.m. - STEALING MERCURY
You gotta respect a band that lists other local bands in the “Artists We Also Like” section of its About page on Facebook. The Sioux City-based Stealing Mercury features Emily Johnson, Mitch Martin, Ritchie Howard and Corey Pithan. With their powers combined, Stealing Mercury will perform an energetic setlist of rock, blues and soul music.