LINCOLN — With a giant “V” formed by criss-crossed lights at the back of the stage, Vega opened with four hard rock groups and a few hundred fans to break in the venue.
Filter headlined Tuesday's grand opening for the new music venue, located in the second level of the new Railyard entertainment district.
Vega has all the trappings of a modern rock venue and, most notably, the place sounds fantastic.
Even with chainsaw-loud hard rock groups such as Filter and Fight or Flight, the room's new system sounded crisp.
That has a lot to do with the room, co-owner Eli Mardock told me. The venue has wood acoustic structures, a sound-absorbing floor and a ceiling sprayed with sound-absorbing insulation so sound waves don't bounce all over the room.
Vega's open layout also is appealing. The club's doors open to a bar that curves off to the left exposing a big, open room with a shallow stage in the rear. The front of house (where the sound board is located) and an area used as equipment and instrument loading sit at stage right while merchandise tables were set up at stage left. The rest of the venue was a wide-open room. Bar tables were moved off Vega's floor to accommodate more patrons.
I really dig Vega's modern and clean look, which includes concrete floors, an aluminum bar, wood accents and modern fixtures.
More than 200 patrons packed into the small venue to see Filter and supergroup Fight or Flight, which includes members of big-time band Disturbed, but I most enjoyed opener Nothing More, which played with intensity to the sparse early crowd.
Fight or Flight had some famous faces, but also a generic hard rock sound that didn't do much.
Filter delivered on its big hits, “Take a Picture” and “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” but frontman Richard Patrick's voice sounded flat and somewhat strained. He didn't come close to hitting the notes in the band's new single, “Surprise.”
Despite that, the crowd loved hearing the band's hits and screamed the words along with Patrick.
Though the crowd was less than capacity, the multitude filled up the venue. Along with four bands (and equipment) that had to share the same space, Vega felt a little small. The stage was so cramped that crew had to load and unload equipment directly off the stage and through the crowd. There was no room on the wings.
Even some of the bands commented on the stage, which was cramped with so much stuff. “I have more room on my bed than on this stage,” said Justin Cordle, frontman of We As Human.
In addition to the music, there's a lot more to enjoy about Vega. Beer lovers and foodies will enjoy the place, too.
The bar has a large selection of bottled beers. Regular rock club devotees will be happy to note that in addition to a $4.50 Negra Modelo, you can also get a $3 PBR.
And I can't forget the hot dogs. Vega serves a menu of several gourmet hot dogs and several more wedge salads, as well as fries on the side.
I tried the Amores Perros dog, a Mexican-inspired dish topped with so much pico de gallo, black beans, bacon, chipotle mayo, guacamole and other toppings that I couldn't pick it up to eat it. Using a knife and fork, I devoured the hot dog, which popped with the addition of a roasted jalapeńo pepper. French fries with a pesto aoli sauce for dipping were a treat, too.
Vega's owners told me that the venue is only going to get better. Co-owner Jeremy Buckley said more TVs will be hung above the bar and elsewhere, the front hallway is getting art for the walls, and they're adding extra subwoofers to give the room more bass.
Vega is already a top-notch space, and I can't wait to see what's going to happen here in the future.