by Brent Crampton
Weekend in Review
Starting things off on Thursday, Omaha had a 1,700-person, sold-out Bassnectar show at Sokol. Of course, that was off the meters. I haven't seen any pics, but heard good things, as usual. Meanwhile, we had loom Weaves Master Kev at España. And despite the cold rain and Bassnectar show, we had a decent enough turnout to get the dance floor to suitable energy levels. Kethro made us proud at loom, throwing down an eclectic and proper opening set alongside live violin by Kaitlyn Maria Filippini. Master Kev did wonders with his signature flares and strong stage presence.
Check the photos from Daniel Muller here.
Friday I had the night off and headed to the newest club/lounge in Omaha called Capitol. Sitting in the midst of the burgeoning North Downtown neighborhood, this new spot promises to be the next best thing since the Club Nico days. I interviewed the owner, so I'll give my two cents and his own words below …
As for Saturday, J-Wreck did his moving-away party in all flamboyant style by renting out all of Slowdown for the occasion. With DJs in hand like Mello Mic, Spence, Kobrakyle, Enso, and of course J-Wreck himself, a lot of good people were in the room that night. I missed out personally due to my Sake residency, but luckily our man Daniel Muller was in the house to grab photos.
Capitol Review and Interview
As I wrote above, Friday I dedicated a night to checking out Capitol. I had some friends tell me it was just a mirror of some mainstream-music club you'd find in Las Vegas and wasn't worth my time. But considering that Capitol has positioned itself as the best night club to appear in Omaha since Nico and a major contender for straight white people who otherwise would have gone to The Max on a Saturday night— I figured it was worth my time to check out.
Walking up to the front door, I was half expecting a line half-way down the street based on accounts people have given me. There was a designated space for a general admittance line and a table/guest list line. With only a few stragglers were outside at 11:30 p.m., and we were able to walk right up to the door. A suited man with a clipboard asked if we were on the guest list, which we were. He then had us wait a minute while the entrance cleared. He lets us pass and once we get inside, we're approached by an additional door man who points us to a window to be charged $5 a person. I inform him that we have a table reservation and then he points us to stand to the side and wait for a hostess.
While waiting about 4-5 minutes, my confused friend grows restless and decides to pay the cover charge for us to continue on. Once we're past that, we walk through the first room which has a bar and a high ceiling with a balcony overhead. Not seeing our table, we walk on through and up a ramp to the dance floor area. There's no bar in this room, but four or more tables sit to the back reserved for bottle service. Oh, and of course there are go-go dancers on elevated platforms. We turn the corner and see the DJ elevated high on the dance floor.
At this point, our hostess spotted us and she gave us wristbands, which gave us special designation to be allowed up the stairs to where the DJ booth and additional bottle service tables lie. Once up there, we walk back to another room — the one that overlooked the main entry room — and find a bar to the right and our friends with a table to the back.
The overall look of Capitol is very clean, sleek and modern. We had a great spot for our table. An animal rug was underneath our feet (only moments later to be spilled upon). The balcony overlooking the entry room was right next to us, great for people watching. Our server checked on us regularly while our hostess made sure we were taken care of. And we had immediate access to an outdoor balcony, all while being tucked away from the gradually-growing momentum of the dance room.
While chatting with friends, occasionally someone would ask what I thought of the place. I could see in the hesitation that they were expecting me to rip the place, but truth be told … I liked it.
No, I wasn't into the music — cheesy house remixes of mainstream songs, mash-ups and Top 40 hip-hop selections. It's totally what I expected.
No, I didn't care for the majority of the crowd: It was a taste of West Omaha downtown with sprinklings of what I heard referred to as "douchebags."
Was Capitol a mirror of some mainstream club you'd find in Las Vegas? Yes.
But being tucked away upstairs, away from the dance floor and surrounded by only my friends — none of that seemed to matter and I had an absolute blast. (Note: It was an encore birthday celebration of mine and the free drinks were nonstop).
The point is, while I may not be able to identify with venue, I can see that it holds value. Any growing metropolitan city has to have places like this to thrive. It keeps young people from moving away and brings competition to the plate in opening aesthetically appealing places. Based off of the initial success of the place, there's a demographic of people who are yearning for an experience that they provide, which isn't available in to the same capacity anywhere else in Omaha. I've been to many Capitol-like establishments in other cities, and Omaha was definitely in need of something like this.
Now, my experience was on a Friday, and as you can imagine, a place like this plays it pretty safe on the weekends. But I took some time to interview the owner, Jason Himberger, and it turns out that the venue is at least initially open to less-mainstream DJs.
"Friday and Saturday evenings generally have our resident DJs, Travis Howe and Lucas Krance, working on an open format with a focus toward a mixture of house, remixes and mash-ups," Himberger says. "Our 'Throw Back' Thursdays and 'Service Industry Night' Sundays incorporate the diversity of local DJs whom enjoy greater latitude in music selection."
As it turns out, Ultimate Downhill Machines have a Sunday School event coming up, and things are in the works with 1/Fourth to do regular parties.
Himberger goes on, "with our landscape ever changing with sports fans around us, business conventions, Holland, Qwest and Slowdown concerts … Obviously we can't be all things to all people, but creating a venue that embraces this diversity will ensure success and longevity."
Well, it's definitely worth checking out.
Record Store Day / April 16 / All Homer's Locations
Show some love to the independently owned record stores of America! … Or just the only one in Omaha—Homers. Specifically, in the downtown location, there will be in-store DJs-not-DJs, such as Tim McMahan of Lazy-i and Kevin Coffey of the World Herald-Herald. I actually think that's more interesting.
Mighty LOUD! / April 16 / The Sydney
Loud is back in Benson and they're bringing a Mighty Boosh theme, which is off the chain. Jacob Thiele of Depressed Buttons is guesting. He's changed his DJ name again — Kid Coma.
Side Door Disco / April 21 / Side Door Lounge
So, this one time, I dropped old school disco at the Side Door Lounge on recommendation of Nayef Aljuraid, and it absolutely tore the place up. Thus, I'm gonna do it again.
Earth Day Sunset Ceremony / April 22 / Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge
It's Earth Day. Let's celebrate. Drums, hulla hoopers, fire spinners, dancers, dogs and incense will all coalesce on a big bridge over troubled water. Afterparty at Nomad Lounge where I'll be spinning.
Sonic C / April 23 / Nomad Lounge
Last time his flight got canceled, so this is the make-up date. Get it!
Easter Funday / April 24 / Waiting Room
Kobrakyle and Mello Mic team up for holy day shenanigans.
Tropical Bass feat. Apt One & Brent Tactic / April 28 / O Dining & Lounge
I'm stepping up the game of Tropical Bass with bringing in one of moombahton's rising stars from Philly, DJ Apt One. Alongside will be Brent Tactic from KC, Kobrakyle, Spence and myself. Will be nutty!
Sunday Funday / May 1 / CAPiTOL
Want to see non-mainsteam music at CAPiTOL? Then support this.
loom Weaves Cinco De Mayo / May 5 / España
Cinco De Mayo in loom celebration style.
* Main image from Daniel Muller
DJ Diatribes & Dandies is a weekly column written by Omaha promoter and DJ Brent Crampton exploring the electronic dance music and DJ-related culture in his city. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.