Engineering at Nebraska Fall09
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by Carole Wilbeck
After a week fueled by code and caffeine, UNL senior Nate Lowry is heading to the 12th Street Pub for some relaxation. He meets up with fellow seniors AJ McVey, who majors in Construction Management, and Paul Bauer, also a Computer Science & Engineering student, and together they do a good job of representing the venue’s tagline: where good friends and good times meet. Music is at the heart of it all as their band, "Nate & AJ, warms up for another Friday night of entertaining a corner of Lincoln.

For AJ and Nate, songwriting is straightforward: "We find a good subject or hook and write most songs with our friends."

Nate and AJ take their show outdoors for a party at one of UNL's Greek houses.

By 8:30 p.m., they set up their equipment on the small stage: Nate and Paul’s guitars, and AJ’s drums. Mikes and a few amps ("nothing fancy) round out the gear, but the playlist is a nod to their self-proclaimed "nerd tendencies—Nate used software to randomly generate the song titles’ order in a spreadsheet.

Like their music, these musicians fit comfortably with the pub crowd. The band claims a "nongenre of modern and alt-country and acoustic rock, with Third Eye Blind, Eli Young Band, and Jason Boland and the Stragglers as influences.

Nate grew up in Cairo, Neb., and began playing guitar eight years ago. By summer of 2007, he, Paul and AJ were friends from classes and time in the dorms, and formed a band. Their biggest audience so far was a company party last spring in central Nebraska with about 250 people attending. The 12th Street commitment is habit, as are garage and house parties, and they occasionally venture to South Dakota for some roadtrip bookings.

Nate’s other main "gig is serving as a project manager with a design studio team in UNL’s prestigious Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management. Graduation looms on the horizon and, while adding job-seeking to the mix, the trio manages to keep their music a pure outlet—something they hope to continue after transitioning to full-time careers.

Editor's Note: Hear the music of Nate & AJ at: Nate+%2526+AJ.