TopperGO! plays last show
Story and photo by Brittany McNeal, NewsNetNebraska
Anticipation, excitement and a hint of sadness were in the air as the house lights dimmed at Knickerbockers Saturday night. Opening bands Sheridan Breakdown, A Summer Better Than Yours and Filthy Fresh and the Scumbags had already cleared the stage.
More than 50 people crowded the small downtown venue for local pop-punk band TopperGO!’s final show.
As the stage lights began to rise, any sense of melancholy was quickly washed away, and the noise of a fuzzy amp led way to the band’s last show where, ironically, it all began for the Lincoln band.
Three years ago, TopperGO! played its first show as a trio at the bar on the corner of 9th and O streets.
Members Matt Kaup, Mike Coen and Alex Murphy had always shared a love of music, but it took a while for the band to become the triad it closed its career as Saturday night.
Drummer Alex Murphy and guitarist/bassist/vocalist Matt Kaup formed the band Around 137, and after a short run, lost a member and asked guitarist/bassist/vocalist Mike Coen to join.
“[Matt and I] slowly became friends and were always really interested in music, and after I graduated, we started jamming together,” drummer Alex Murphy said. “I went to Wayne State College for a year. He (Kaup) would come and visit from Lincoln, and we began writing a lot of our own music.”
Joined by their genuine love of music, the trio decided to unite in Lincoln to pursue their musical aspirations.
“We all love music and expressing ourselves through music,” drummer Alex Murphy said. “It’s just been really cool to have the opportunity to play over the past three years.”
The band played mostly to local audiences but also played shows as far away as Sioux City, Iowa.
Now, the departure of Murphy has signaled the end of the band because Coen and Kaup will not replace him. Murphy will move to Arizona in the next few weeks.
“I believe Matt and Mike will go separate ways,” Murphy said. “They have talked about having another drummer we know join in the band, but it really seems like they will want to try different things.”
Despite the sadness surrounding the end of the band, Murphy said TopperGO!’s run was something he will always cherish, not just as a musician, but as a person.
“My goal is and always has been to have music make even one person feel some kind of emotion,” Murphy said. “I’ve really enjoyed all the amazing shows we’ve played thanks to the fans and friends who continued to come over the years. The live shows are by far my favorite part of being in TopperGO!”
When the lights dimmed after the band’s encore, and the house lights turned on, the crowd’s anxious pre-show mood had turned to delight with the performance. The scene was touching as the band’s members got hugs from friends and family.
Although the band won’t play any more shows, their enthusiasm and love of music will reverberate with their fans and other local music lovers.
“It was bittersweet in the way that we had to say goodbye to a friend, but that only made the show that much more special,” said Brett Ketter, A Summer Better Than Yours guitarist. “With that much more emphasis and emotion into a show or just as a final goodbye to a friend, it is inevitably going to have some energy, which it did last night. We hope we gave Alex the goodbye he deserves.”