SLAM Omaha is finally dead; Lincoln Calling headliner Charles Bradley diagnosed with cancer; Jay Arner tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:01 pm October 5, 2016

by Tim McMahan,

Original SLAM Omaha logo.

Original SLAM Omaha logo.

Twenty-odd years ago, back when the internet was just getting started, when those of us who were “online” were using AOL and Netscape browsers, there was a little ol’ website called SLAM Omaha.

SLAM stood for Support Local Art and Music. The website was among the first online resources for band gig information, with a robust show calendar that was unmatched by anyone. Over time, the website became known more for its webboards than anything else. Both the Music and Cool Talk boards were hot beds for heated discussion, sometimes insightful, often hilarious. This was a time well before Facebook or Twitter when webboards were a preferred online resource for music information. Saddle Creek Records had a very robust webboard of its own; as did and a few others that have long since disappeared.

Well, time finally caught up with SLAM Omaha, too. For the past few years, the site has been limping along with no updates and only a handful of people still chiming in on the webboards. Last week the site quit working, and users were redirected to a SLAM Omaha Facebook page.

Mick Messina, who was among those who ran the site, confirmed that SLAM Omaha is, indeed, dead. After the site’s budget dried up a couple years ago, he and his wife, Melissa, paid the service fees out of their own pockets. They finally quick paying. “Very hard for us to let go,” Mick said. “We peeled that band-aid very slowly.”

Mick said Hear Nebraska and its website,, helped them realize it was time to close SLAM Omaha for good.

It’s hard to pin down the significance of SLAM Omaha in the history of the Omaha music scene. There’s no question that it played an important role during a time when Nebraska was just emerging nationally. SLAM Omaha was the online water cooler where fans and musicians traded rumors, compliments and outrageous insults about everyone involved in the scene. Oftentimes, those comments were posted anonymously, and part of the fun or frustration was trying to figure out who was saying what about whom. It was a free-form environment that — for better or for worse — will never exist again in the Facebook era. It will be missed.

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Yesterday it was reported that bluesman Charles Bradley has been diagnosed with stomach cancer and is cancelling his upcoming shows, including this week’s Lincoln Calling festival appearance.

In a statement, Bradley said: “In the past few months, I have had to cancel a number of shows due to illness, taking me away from my beautiful fans. My doctors recently discovered a cancerous tumor in my stomach. I’m getting the best medical care and we are all extremely optimistic. I will fight through this like I’ve fought through the many other obstacles in my life. My upcoming tour dates will be postponed so I can concentrate on healing. Thank you all for understanding. Music is how I share my love with the world, and the love that my fans have given back brings me so much joy. I look forward to seeing your gorgeous faces soon, and to continue to share my love through music.”

Hear Nebraska, who is organizing Lincoln Calling, quickly filled Bradley’s LC spot with The Mynabirds. No doubt front woman Laura Burhenn will have a special tribute to Bradley during her band’s performance.

Lincoln Calling kicks off tomorrow. You best get your tickets now at

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Canadian musician/producer Jay Arner headlines tonight at Reverb Lounge. Arner releases music on Mint Records. Opening is Routine Escorts. $7, 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

  • Bummer that hear nebraska’s website stopped being updated just a year later. We could really use a nebraska music hub online again1

    Comment by Scott — August 12, 2022 @ 11:52 am

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