1% to Open New Benson Micro-Venue (and what’s it mean to the competition?); Crushed Out, HFW tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 5:05 pm April 10, 2014
The Micek space soon to be Reverb, photo stolen from Omahype.com who stole it from Google Maps.

The former Micek space soon to be Reverb, photo stolen from Omahype.com who stole it from Google Maps.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Omaha World-Herald‘s Kevin Coffey got the scoop yesterday on the new club being constructed by Jim Johnson and Marc Leibowitz in Benson. You can read the article here.

Called Reverb, the new club will have a 100-capacity performance space, and is located in the old Micek bay north of Jake’s.

I had been told it would be a bar first and performance venue second. The fact that they’re planning music “three or more nights a week,” was quite a surprise as it sounded like they would only have music — at most — twice a week. Hey, the more the merrier, I always say.

Will this new club impact O’Leaver’s and/or The Barley Street Tavern? Maybe. Probably not. O’Leaver’s caters to such a… unique audience and books such a specific style of garage/punk that I can’t see that changing, especially with the Cursive boys at the helm. O’Leaver’s, after all, is an American institution.

The Barley Street Tavern books mostly Americana / folk acts and local singer/songwriters. There are plenty of those to go round.

Where Reverb could have the biggest impact is on those national indie shows that have been booked at places like Sweatshop and Farnam House. Titus Andronicus, Parquet Courts and Speedy Ortiz are three examples of recent shows that would have worked well at a place like Reverb… that is if 1% could have booked them. I was told by those bands’ publicists that they purposely chose to book their tours in small spaces like houses and art galleries rather than bars. If attracting an all-ages audience was what lured them to Farnam/Sweatshop, then Reverb would probably be out of the picture, as the club is a “21-and-over” bar, according to Kevin’s article.

And what about Slowdown Jr.? Conventional wisdom would tell you that Reverb and The Jr. are similar size and target the same audience. The fact that 1% books both clubs would appear to be the tie-breaker — I can’t imagine Leibs booking a show at Jr. when he could have it at his own club and soak in all the booze money.

I must admit my bias here. I live just a 5-minute bike ride to Benson (which equates to a 10-minute drunken bike ride back home after shows). I’ll take that every time over the commitment needed to drive all the way downtown for Slowdown shows.

The most intriguing thing about Kevin’s article, though, is this line: “Popular bands also have the potential to play limited-access, intimate shows at Reverb, which could charge $100 a ticket to see a band that would normally play for 500 people.”

Think about it this way: Would you pay $100 to see, say, Rocket from the Crypt at a state-of-the-art 100-capacity club like Reverb? I would. In fact, I think it would sell out rather quickly, whereas a $25 RFTC show at The Waiting Room could struggle to break even. With more and more top-line indie acts going after smaller rooms and putting together “living room tours,” the time may be ripe for Reverb. Sounds like we’ll have to wait until this fall to find out.

By the way, with Reverb’s addition, that will bring the number of places serving booze in Benson to just under 100. Kidding. I think the number is closer to 12 or 13 (or 14?). How can that many bars strung together in such as small stretch of town survive?

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Speaking of small, under-the-radar clubs, tonight Brooklyn guitar-and-drum garage rock duo Crushed Out plays at the legendary Brothers Lounge with local surf punkers Huge Fucking Waves. $5, 9 p.m.

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In this week’s column, on the occasion of 100 years of its existence, I reflect on how UNO student newspaper The Gateway has (literally) impacted my life. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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