To encapsulate 2014 as best we could, we asked nearly two dozen Nebraska musicians, journalists and scene figures about their favorite albums, songs, shows and events of the year. Catch up on the other categories and keep an eye out throughout this week for more reflections and predictions from this crew.
In this installment, we simply asked our contributors which Nebraska venue they thought booked the most “interesting” shows of 2014. Here’s how they responded:
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Marq Manner | OEAAs Music Chair, Omaha Dispatch
The Waiting Room — Afghan Whigs, Future Islands, Pizza Underground, Biz Markie, War On Drugs, Dandy Warhols, J. Mascis, etc. What a great year for The Waiting Room.
photo of Afghan Whigs by Randy Edwards
Ben Brodin | Recording Engineer/Producer at ARC Studios
Spencer Munson | DJ Spencelove, Marketing/Booking at The Bourbon
One Percent always kills at The Waiting Room. Now that they have Reverb there will be even more hot shows on the block. I will say though that The Bourbon had its best year ever.
Lucas Wright | Founder/Operator of Black Heart Booking
The Sweatshop Gallery
Hanna Guenther | Hear Nebraska Summer 2014 Intern
The Waiting Room hosted some of the best shows this year. How To Dress Well, Mutual Benefit, Nathaniel Rateliff, Shakey Graves, Phox, First Aid Kit – this is only a handful of shows booked by the Benson venue. The artists they invite are on the rise, bringing their own unique styles to the well-known space.
photo of Phox by Bridget McQuillan
Laura Fortney | Host of KZUM’s “Every Kind of Blue”
The Zoo Bar definitely has a wide variety of shows every year, in a variety of genres, in a variety of settings. Heck, at ZooFest alone I saw rock, blues, funk, soul, polka, and whatever the Self Righteous Brothers are. To the bar they coaxed me in for Sister Sparrow, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Orgone. They’re known as a blues bar, but I’m impressed by the number of local and touring acts they bring in from outside the genre. It’s an honor to play there – for local and national musicians alike – but it’s also a great place to get a start.
Ryan McKeever | Telepathy Problems, Staffers, Skeleton Man
Sweatshop. This place has hosted Parquet Courts, Fat White Family, Naomi Punk, Tyvek, Stomach and more. They always have the best shows.
photo of Fat White Family by Jake Greve
Raws Schlesinger | Plack Blague, Vickers
West Wing in Omaha. You can see anything from a naked dude with electronics tied to his penis singing in a punk band to a legendary grindcore band like Phobia, crushing a basement full of punks. You can maybe catch an insect presentation/exhibit or see 10 harsh noise groups shooting sparks off of sheet metal at the crowd. You might even fall on that last step.
Tom Flaherty | Teetah, Routine Escorts, //FITNESS founder
I think the Sweatshop got some of the most interesting shows this year. Amen Dunes and Perfect Pussy just to name a few.
Molly Misek | Hear Nebraska Spring 2014 intern
O’Leaver’s. Between the bands, the clientele, and the employees, you cannot have a better mix of good ole’ local weirdness. Need I say more?
Andrew Stellmon | Hear Nebraska Fall 2014 intern
Vega — Universe Contest, Sondre Lerche, Coolio, Shabazz Palaces, Man Man
Slowdown — Jenny Lewis, New Pornographers, Okkervil River
The Waiting Room —Future Islands, War on Drugs, local hip-hop, Tennis
photo of The New Pornographers by Will Stott
James Fleege | BZZZ, Oketo, Silver Street producer
The Bourbon does a good job at bringing a wide array of acts to Lincoln. Still mad I had to miss that Nas show.
Jeremy Fifield | Hear Nebraska contributor
The Zoo Bar is primarily known as a blues bar, but they bring in quite a diverse crop of musicians every year with styles including jazz, folk, country, rock, soul, Latin American music and African music. It would take far too long to list all the interesting shows I attended there in 2014, but I’ll say that they do a great job of supporting both local artists and those who tour nationally and internationally.
photo of TJ Saddler at Zoo Bar by Bridget McQuillan
Derek Pressnall | Eyeball Promotions, Icky Blossoms
I love the Sweatshop Gallery. It’s diverse and loose and strange.