Reverb: Omaha’s Mid-Century live music lounge (in the column); and how many bars are in Benson, anyway?

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:01 pm October 2, 2014

by Tim McMahan,

A look inside the new Reverb Lounge as well as some Q&A with one of its owners, Jim Johnson, is the subject of my column this week. Jim talks about his vision for the club and why One Percent decided to open another bar literally feet away from two other bars they own. It’s in this week’s issue of The Reader and online right here.

As I say in the column, I foresee that I’ll be spending a lot of time at Reverb. As Omaha continues to get bigger and bigger, I’m spending more and more time in a smaller geographical location — i.e., Benson. Back in the old days, going to shows would mean driving to way south to Sokol, to downtown Omaha, out to The Asylum on West Center, and so on. These days most of my time is spent on Maple Street, with the occasional trek to O’Leaver’s. I haven’t been to The Slowdown in a few months (due to a combination of factors including 1) going to fewer mid-week shows, 2) Slowdown booking more private functions on weekends, along with 3) Slowdown booking fewer indie shows).

My coverage is definitely becoming too Benson focused, both in this blog and in my column. There is a world west of 72nd Street, though these days, I rarely step foot in it. And with clubs like Reverb opening, I’m less apt to.

So what’s the current bar count in Benson? Let’s see (not counting restaurants that serve booze): Jerry’s, Full House, Beercade, Krug Park, The Waiting Room, Burke’s, 1912, The Sydney, The Musette, St. Andrews, Benson Brewery, Infusion, Jake’s, The Barley Street and now Reverb. That’s 15 (and I’m probably missing something). That’s a lot of bars in about a half-mile stretch of road.

You have to ask yourself if there’s enough people to keep them all afloat.

BTW, news to me (though probably news to no one else), Jim told me that The Waiting Room is only open when an event or show is booked. Did not know that.

Some other comments that didn’t make it into the column:

— There will be tables and chairs added to Reverb’s concert space when appropriate. Jim is even considering adding row seating for some performances.

— There are no TVs in Reverb, nor video games or pinball.

— Jim said they’ll be adding some “sound treatment” to the concert room in the near future.

Again, you really need to check it out, whether there’s a show scheduled (check out their website to see) or not. And man, they make a potent mai tai.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


CWS begins; Hospital Ships, Rogue Wave, Silversun Pickups tonight; Benson and Louis and food deserts (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 6:11 pm June 14, 2013


The Great Wad at CWS 2012. Here it comes again...

The Great Wad at CWS 2012. Here it comes again…

by Tim McMahan,

I told you reception was going to be spotty this week. I made a quick overnight trip to NYC. Only one celebrity sighting: Joe Perry of Aerosmith and his entourage walking out the elevator at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square, and based on the scowl on his face he hadn’t been “living it up” while going down. No Steven Tyler to be found. BTW, Perry is a tiny little man, which supports my theory that all major celebrities are wee.

Anyway, I’m back just in time for your weekend update.

The College World Series begins tonight, which means a deficit of shows at The Slowdown for the next 10 days as Robb, Val and Jason crank up that money-printing machine they keep in the secret basement beneath the “big stage” along with the white tents and giant “We’re No. 1” foam fingers. This is, indeed, the harvest time for Slowdown, but for us poor music fans it’s just a worn patch in the road as the only thing playing on their stages for the duration of CWS is cover bands.

This should be an even-more profitable year for the Saddle Creek moguls as they just opened their new bar right across the sidewalk from Slowdown in the old American Apparel space, called The Trap Room. It’s just a bar, kind of like how Krug Park (across the street from The Waiting Room) is just a bar (i.e., no live music, just booze). I’m dying to check it out, but not this weekend.

So with all the focus on downtown baseball-wise, the focus shifts as it always does to Benson and O’Leaver’s.

Speaking of O’Leaver’s, Omaha’s finest music dive bar has a scorcher tonight. Lawrence band Hospital Ships headlines. The band, which features Taylor Holenbeck (Appleseed Cast, Old Canes), has a fine indie rock album just out called Destruction in Yr Soul on Graveface. Opening is fellow Lawrence-ites Cowboy Indian Bear and our very own Cooper Lakota Moon (of Dim Light). $5, 9:30 p.m.

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Also tonight, Rogue Wave returns, this time to The Waiting Room, with local folks Field Club. $15, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at everyone’s favorite casino (Harrah’s Stir Cove) it’s Silversun Pickups with Joy Formidable. 8 p.m., $35.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s a mini Lincoln invasion at The Waiting Room with noise band Masses and Life Is Cool. Canby opens. $7, 9 p.m.

O’Leaver’s has more live music Saturday night with The Debts (Unread Records) and Plant Parenthood (No idea who these folks are, but I support their pro-leaf position). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Did I forget something? Put it in the comments.

Oh yeah, I did forget one thing: This week’s column looks at Benson’s Louis Market / Bar property, its potential development and why Bensonites might want to think real hard before they drive it away. It’s in this week’s issue of The Reader or you can read it online right here.

Have a good weekend.

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.