The Waiting Room turns 5 with Criteria, Little Brazil; Lincoln’s Good Speaker Fest tonight; Icky Blossoms tomorrow…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:58 pm March 9, 2012
Marc Leibowitz, left, and Jim Johnson stand in The Waiting Room just prior to the venue's grand opening in 2007.

Marc Leibowitz, left, and Jim Johnson stand in The Waiting Room just prior to the venue's grand opening in 2007.

by Tim McMahan,

Seems like only yesterday that Jim Johnson and Marc Leibowitz were standing in the empty, broken down building that once housed the legendary Lifticket Lounge at 6212 Maple St. and talked about how they were going to transform it into their dream music club. That was five years ago. Within its first year of operation, The Waiting Room gained a rep as one of (if not the best) place in town to see rock shows, fueled by stellar bookings from the owners’ own One Percent Productions, fantastic bar service and a killer sound system.

Said Johnson in this 2007 Lazy-i profile: “Here, we have control of our own destiny. We can make it the way we want to make it. After doing 800 shows, we think we’ve determined what this town needs.”

Little did they know that their efforts would be the driving force behind Benson’s transformation into one of the city’s most vibrant entertainment districts. Tonight the guys — along with everyone who’s enjoyed a show there — will celebrate The Waiting Room’s five-year anniversary, and five stellar performers are helping blow out the candles: Little Brazil, The Photo Atlas, Great American Desert, DJ Kobrakyle and the night’s headliner, Criteria (yes, that Criteria). Expect a crowd. $5, 9 p.m. Hopefully we’ll all be doing it again in 2017.

Also tonight (but in Lincoln) it’s the debut of the Good Speaker Fest, a night of music organized and curated by Darren Keen, a.k.a. The Show Is the Rainbow a.k.a. Bad Speler a.k.a. Touch People. We’re talking 21 bands performing at three Lincoln establishments: The Bourbon Theater, the recently opened Mix: Bar and Arcade and the legendary Yia Yia’s Pizza. It all starts at 6, and admission is only $7. L. Kent Wolgamott’s got all the deets in this Ground Zero cover story.

And then tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s Icky Blossoms in Slowdown’s big room with Midtown Marauders and Pony Wars. As mentioned in yesterday’s Icky interview, the goal is for the band to generate as much cash as possible to help get them to SXSW in Austin next week. $7, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night down at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Saudi Arabia (formerly The Dinks) plays with The Eightysevens. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And over at Stir Lounge in CB The Whipkey Three plays with Fizzle Like a Flood. $5, 9 p.m.

And the party continues at The Waiting Room with Landing on the Moon, Moscow Mule, The Big Deep and Vago. $7, 9 p.m.

And down at The Barley Street Tavern, Midwest Dilemma opens for Les Jupes. $5, 9 p.m.

Finally, Sunday night at The Waiting Room it’s Eisley (Equal Vision Records) with Tallhart & Christie Dupree. $13, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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