Discover The Hidden Gems Of Live Music In Omaha

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Welcome to the heart of live music in Omaha! For music lovers, it’s no secret that small and big concert venues have been slowly disappearing from our city. With this in mind, we know how hard it is to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to local concerts and shows. That’s why in this article, we’re going to present you with some of the hottest spots in Omaha for live music, so you can discover new artists, genres, and venues to enjoy.

If you’re tired of searching for shows and artist information, you’ll love what we have in store for you! Our curated list of venues, events and popular places to go on the weekends will make sure you’re always up-to-date with Omaha’s live music scene. Whether you’re looking for a booming bass, sultry melodies or something in between, we’ve got you covered! By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly where to find your new favorite bands, and how to get to the venues when they come to town.

Experience the magic of Omaha’s live music scene like never before! From venues that host exclusive events, to intimate shows that will give you goosebumps, we’ve done the hard work to narrow down some of the top spots to visit. Not only that, but we’ve also included insider tips, like which venues offer happy hours, food, and even some secret pre-show hangouts that will get you up close and personal with your favorite artists. With our guide, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in Omaha’s vibrant, passionate music scene, and connect with other music lovers like yourself. So, let’s get started!

Best venues for live music in Omaha

Omaha, a city located in the midwestern United States, has long been a thriving epicenter of live music. There are numerous music venues in Omaha that offer a wide range of live performances, from indie rock to jazz, hip hop, and blues. Whether you are a music fan or a musician, Omaha offers something for everyone. Here are the top venues for live music in Omaha:

The Waiting Room Lounge

The Waiting Room Lounge is one of the best live music venues in Omaha. It’s located in the historic Benson neighborhood and has played host to various national and regional acts. The venue offers an intimate setting that’s ideal for music lovers who enjoy close-up and personal performances. Here are some of the details about the Waiting Room Lounge:

  • The capacity of the venue is about 450 people, making it a great place for mid-sized shows.
  • The venue offers a full-service bar featuring a variety of drinks and a selection of food from local vendors.
  • The venue has hosted big-name acts such as Wilco, The National, Cold War Kids, and many others.

Additionally, the Waiting Room Lounge is known for its sound quality, which makes it a consistent favorite among both musicians and fans. With great acoustics, this venue ensures that every note of music can be heard loud and clear.

For a comparison of the Waiting Room Lounge with other popular music venues in Omaha, here’s a table that highlights the pros and cons of each venue:

Venue Name Pros Cons
The Waiting Room Lounge Great sound quality, intimate setting, hosts big-name acts. None significant.
The Slowdown Larger capacity, top-notch sound system, lots of parking space. Can be crowded, expensive drinks, can get some noise bleed from nearby events.
The Holland Performing Arts Center Spectacular views, state-of-the-art sound system, hosts a variety of shows and events. Can be pricey, limited parking space, not as intimate as other venues.

Whether you’re a music fanatic or just starting to explore live music in Omaha, the Waiting Room Lounge is an excellent place to start. From the cozy atmosphere to the superb sound quality, this venue provides an unforgettable music experience that you can’t find elsewhere in Omaha or the surrounding area.

The History of Live Music in Omaha

If you’re a fan of live music, Omaha is certainly a great place to be. This bustling city in Nebraska has a long and fascinating history when it comes to live music, with plenty of iconic venues, influential artists, and legendary performances to its name. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the history of live music in Omaha, exploring its rise and development over the years.

The Early Days of Live Music in Omaha

Like many cities across America, Omaha’s live music scene began to take shape in the early 20th century, with jazz, blues, and swing music all proving particularly popular. As the city’s population grew, so too did its demand for live music, with new venues and clubs opening up in various neighborhoods.

One of the most iconic early venues in Omaha was the Dreamland Ballroom, which opened in 1923 and quickly became a must-visit destination for music fans. Located in the heart of Omaha’s North Side, the ballroom welcomed performers from across the country, with the likes of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Count Basie all gracing its stage.

Another early landmark was the Orpheum Theater, which opened in 1927 and quickly established itself as one of Omaha’s premier entertainment venues. Designed in a lavish, Art Deco style, the Orpheum showcased everything from Broadway productions to symphony orchestras, with live music playing a central role in its programming.

The 1950s and 60s: Rock ‘n’ Roll Comes to Omaha

As the music industry evolved and new sounds began to emerge, Omaha’s live music scene followed suit. In the 1950s and 60s, rock ‘n’ roll took center stage, with a crop of young, energetic musicians bringing their sounds to the city.

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One of the most significant local acts of this era was the Thunders, a group led by guitarist Larry “The Mole” Taylor, who would go on to become a founding member of the blues-rock supergroup Canned Heat. The Thunders played regularly at Omaha’s Peony Park Ballroom, a popular spot that hosted a range of touring acts throughout the 50s and 60s.

Another key venue of this era was the Sokol Auditorium, which was founded in the early 20th century by a Czech immigrant society. Over time, the auditorium became a hub for live music, hosting everything from big bands to rock ‘n’ roll shows. When Elvis Presley came to Omaha in 1956, it was the Sokol Auditorium that played host to his iconic performance.

Recent Developments in Omaha’s Live Music Scene

In recent years, Omaha’s live music scene has continued to thrive, with new venues and festivals popping up all over the city. One of the most notable additions has been the Slowdown, a multi-purpose entertainment venue that hosts everything from concerts to comedy shows to trivia nights. Other notable venues include the Waiting Room Lounge and the Holland Performing Arts Center.

In addition to these year-round venues, Omaha also plays host to a number of annual festivals and events, including the Maha Music Festival, which brings together local and national acts for a weekend of music and fun. The city also has a strong DIY scene, with numerous house shows and underground gigs taking place throughout the year.

Overall, the history of live music in Omaha is a rich and exciting one, with plenty of memorable moments and influential artists to its name. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado, a rock ‘n’ roll fan, or just someone who loves a good live show, there’s plenty to discover in this vibrant city.

Key Concepts Pros Cons Comparisons
Wide range of genres Opportunities for local artists to showcase their talents Can be expensive to attend certain shows or festivals Compared to other mid-sized cities like Kansas City or Des Moines
Iconic venues Boosts local economy and tourism Some venues may have limited seating or be difficult to access Compared to larger cities like Chicago or New York
Annual festivals and events Opportunities for community engagement and socialization Events can be weather-dependent and require significant planning and preparation Compared to other Midwestern cities like Minneapolis or Denver

How to Find Upcoming Live Music Events In Omaha

Omaha is a city that boasts a vibrant music scene, with a wide range of live music events happening year-round. Whether you’re a fan of jazz, rock, country, or any other type of music, Omaha has something to offer. Finding live music events in Omaha can be a fun and exciting experience, but it can also be a challenge. In this article, we will discuss some of the best ways to find upcoming live music events in Omaha.

Searching Online

In today’s digital age, searching online is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to find upcoming live music events. With just a few clicks of a button, you can access a wealth of information about local venues, artists and shows.

  • 1. Check out Event Websites: There are plenty of websites dedicated to listing events in Omaha, including StubHub, BandsInTown, and Ticketmaster. These websites can give you access to a wide range of events and artists playing in Omaha, as well as information on tickets and showtimes.
  • 2. Follow Local Venues on Social Media: Another great way to stay up-to-date with upcoming live music events is to follow your favorite venues on social media. Many venues in Omaha use social media to announce events, share updates, and engage with their audience. Following these venues on social media can help you stay in the loop and discover new bands and artists.
  • 3. Check Out Music Blogs: There are plenty of music blogs that focus on events happening in Omaha. These blogs can provide detailed information about upcoming shows, including artist bios and reviews of past performances. Some popular music blogs in Omaha include Hear Nebraska and The Reader.

Checking Local Publications

Another great way to find upcoming live music events in Omaha is to check local publications. Omaha has a range of newspapers and magazines that regularly feature information about upcoming shows and events.

  • 1. Omaha World-Herald: The Omaha World-Herald is one of the city’s largest newspapers, and it regularly features information about events happening in Omaha. The paper’s entertainment section, GO, is a great resource for finding live music events, as it covers everything from big-name concerts to local shows in smaller venues.
  • 2. Omaha Magazine: Omaha Magazine is a monthly publication that covers events, news, and culture in the city. The magazine’s website includes an events calendar that lists upcoming concerts and shows in Omaha, as well as other events like festivals and art exhibitions.
  • 3. The Reader: The Reader is a local newspaper that focuses on culture and the arts. The paper’s website features a comprehensive events calendar that includes live music events, as well as theater shows, film screenings, and other cultural events.

Talking to Locals

Talking to locals is another great way to find out about upcoming live music events in Omaha. Whether you’re at a coffee shop or a bar, strike up a conversation with the people around you – you never know what you might learn.

  • 1. Talk to Venue Staff: When you’re at a live music event in Omaha, take some time to talk to the venue staff. These individuals are often knowledgeable about the local music scene and can provide you with information about upcoming shows.
  • 2. Ask Local Musicians: Omaha has a thriving community of local musicians, so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with them. They can provide you with insider information about upcoming shows and are a great resource for discovering new bands and artists.
  • 3. Attend Open Mic Nights: Open mic nights are a great way to discover new talent and learn about upcoming shows. Many local venues in Omaha host open mic nights, and attending these events can give you a taste of the local music scene.
Pros Cons
Easy to access a wealth of information about local events online Not all events may be listed on event websites
Following venues on social media can help you stay up-to-date with upcoming events There may be limited information about events on social media, and not all venues use social media
Local publications can provide comprehensive information about upcoming events Publications may only cover a limited number of events
Talking to locals can provide insider knowledge about the local music scene It may be difficult to strike up conversations with strangers, and not everyone may be knowledgeable about the local music scene

In conclusion, finding upcoming live music events in Omaha can be both a fun and challenging experience. By searching online, checking local publications, and talking to locals, you can stay up-to-date with the city’s thriving music scene and discover new bands and artists. Whether you’re a lifelong Omaha resident or just visiting for the weekend, the city’s live music events offer a great way to experience the local culture and enjoy some great music.

Local bands making waves in the Omaha music scene

Omaha may not be as famous as Seattle, Portland, or Austin when it comes to music, but the city has a vibrant and diverse music scene. There are several local bands that are taking the Omaha music scene to the next level, and they have been getting national and even international attention. Here are some of these bands and what makes them stand out.

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The Faint – Innovators of Electroclash

The Faint is an Omaha-based band that was formed in 1995. They started as a punk rock band, but they gradually began incorporating electronic elements into their music. They released their breakthrough album, “Danse Macabre,” in 2001, which was a critical and commercial success. The album’s blend of punk rock, post-punk, and electro made it a pioneering work in the new wave of dance-punk or electroclash.

The Faint’s music is characterized by catchy melodies, driving beats, and sarcastic lyrics. Their live shows are also known for their theatricality and energy. They use strobe lights, smoke machines, and elaborate costumes to create a visually stunning performance.

The band’s influence can be heard in the works of other bands like LCD Soundsystem, The Killers, and Franz Ferdinand. They have released seven albums so far, and their latest album, “Egowerk,” was released in 2019.

The Mynabirds – Political and Personal

The Mynabirds is a project led by Laura Burhenn, an Omaha-based singer-songwriter. The band’s music is a mix of indie rock, folk, and soul, and their lyrics deal with both personal and political themes. Burhenn’s songwriting is introspective and emotional, but it also tackles issues like social justice, LGBTQ rights, and immigration.

The Mynabirds’ debut album, “What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood,” was released in 2010 to critical acclaim. The album’s songs were inspired by a turbulent time in Burhenn’s life, which included the breakup of her band, The Georgie James, and the death of her grandmother. The album’s sound drew comparisons to artists like Cat Power, Feist, and Sharon Van Etten.

The Mynabirds’ latest album, “Lovers Know,” was released in 2015, and it shows a more electronic and experimental side of the band. Burhenn’s songwriting remains personal and political, but it also explores more abstract themes like love and mortality.

The Finesse – Bringing back Jazz and R&B

The Finesse is an Omaha-based band that specializes in jazz and R&B. The band’s music is characterized by smooth vocals, lush harmonies, and intricate arrangements. They draw inspiration from classic jazz and R&B artists like Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, and Chaka Khan, but they also add their own modern twist to the genres.

The Finesse was formed in 2014 by two Omaha natives, Bryan High and Josh Hoyer. They quickly gained a following in the local music scene and started performing at venues like The Waiting Room and The Slowdown. They have released several singles and a self-titled EP, which showcases their soulful sound and tight musicianship.

The band’s live shows are also known for their energy and crowd involvement. They encourage their audience to dance and sing along, creating a party atmosphere that brings people together. They have also collaborated with other Omaha musicians like The 9s and E Rawq, further cementing their place in the local music scene.

The Wayside – Bringing back Alternative Rock

The Wayside is an Omaha-based band that plays alternative rock. The band’s music is characterized by dynamic guitar riffs, soaring vocals, and catchy hooks. They draw inspiration from classic alternative rock bands like Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and Green Day, but they also add their own modern twist to the genre.

The Wayside was formed in 2018 by four musicians who had previously played in other Omaha bands. They quickly gained a following in the local music scene and started playing at venues like Reverb Lounge and Lookout Lounge. They have released several singles and a self-titled EP, which showcases their anthemic sound and relatable lyrics.

The band’s live shows are also known for their intensity and crowd interaction. They encourage their audience to mosh and sing along, creating a cathartic experience that brings people together. They have also been nominated for several Omaha Entertainment Awards, further cementing their place in the local music scene.

Band Genre Influences Notable works
The Faint Dance-punk, electroclash Post-punk, new wave, electronic “Danse Macabre,” “Wet From Birth,” “Egowerk”
The Mynabirds Indie rock, folk, soul Cat Power, Feist, Sharon Van Etten “What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood,” “Generals,” “Lovers Know”
The Finesse Jazz, R&B, soul Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, Chaka Khan “The Finesse EP,” “Miss Lisa,” “Harmony”
The Wayside Alternative rock Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Green Day “The Wayside EP,” “Kiss and Tell,” “Reasons”
  1. The Faint’s “Danse Macabre” was included in Pitchfork’s Top 200 Albums of the 2000s.
  2. The Mynabirds’ “Generals” was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
  3. The Finesse won the Omaha Arts and Entertainment Award for Best R&B/Soul in 2019.
  4. The Wayside were nominated for Omaha Entertainment Awards in 2019 and 2020 for Best Alternative/Indie Band.

Overall, these local bands are a testament to the vitality and diversity of the Omaha music scene. They show that there is no one “Omaha sound,” but rather a multitude of genres and styles that reflect the city’s rich musical history and community. Whether you’re into dance-punk, indie rock, jazz, or alternative rock, there’s something for everyone in Omaha’s music scene.

The Economic Impact of Live Music in Omaha

Live music events play a significant role in the economy of Omaha. They not only bring entertainment to the community but generate a vast amount of revenue. In this subsection, we will dive into the economic impact of live music in Omaha and explore its effects on various areas.

Revenue Generated by Music Industry

The music industry is one of the most profitable industries in the world. Similarly, Omaha’s music industry generates a significant amount of revenue each year. According to a report by the Omaha World-Herald, the music industry generated $18 million in revenue in 2019. The report also stated that the number of music-related jobs in Omaha increased by 10 percent from the previous year, further indicating a positive trend.

  • Omnifest, a popular annual festival, brings in around $625,000 in revenue each year.
  • The CenturyLink Center Omaha, a popular venue, generated $61.6 million in revenue in 2017.

Job Creation in Music Industry

The music industry in Omaha creates numerous job opportunities. Every live music event requires people to work in various capacities, such as security staff, sound technicians, and event managers. As a result, the live music industry in Omaha has created thousands of jobs in recent years.

  • The music industry in Omaha created 1,900 jobs in 2019, according to a report by the Omaha World-Herald.
  • The CenturyLink Center Omaha employs roughly 500 people, providing jobs to the local community.

Increased Tourism

Live music events attract tourists from near and far to Omaha. Tourists visit to attend music festivals, concerts, and other live music events. As a result, the local economy sees an increase in revenue through tourist spending. Tourists stay at local hotels, eat at restaurants, and buy souvenirs, benefiting local businesses.

  • The Maha Music Festival attracts approximately 12,000 people each year, generating $5.5 million in revenue.
  • The annual Nebraska Folk & Roots Festival attracts roughly 2,000 people each year, generating $400,000 in revenue.

Increased Tax Revenue

Live music events also lead to a significant increase in tax revenue. As the music industry creates jobs and generates revenue, it also leads to an increase in tax revenue collected by the government. These tax revenues can then be used to provide funding for various community programs and infrastructure projects.

  • According to a report by the National Independent Venue Association, live music venues in Omaha generate $2.8 million in state and local taxes each year.
  • The CenturyLink Center Omaha paid $3.7 million in city taxes in 2017.
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Challenges facing the industry

Despite the positive economic impact of the live music industry in Omaha, there are some challenges that the industry faces. We will look into those challenges as follows:

Lack of Adequate Infrastructure

There are only a few venues in Omaha that have adequate infrastructure for live music events. The lack of suitable venues limits the options for event organizers, reducing the number of events that can be hosted in the city.

Seasonal Nature of Live Music Events

Most live music events in Omaha happen during the summer months. As a result, the live music industry finds it difficult to sustain business throughout the year.

Competition from Other Cities

Omaha faces competition from other cities within the state and the region. Cities like Lincoln and Des Moines attract tourists and event organizers, reducing the number of events hosted in Omaha.

Pros Cons
  • Generates Revenue
  • Creates Job Opportunities
  • Increases Tourism
  • Increases Tax Revenue
  • Lack of Adequate Infrastructure
  • Seasonal Nature of Live Music Events
  • Competition from Other Cities
  • Overall, live music events have a significant economic impact on Omaha. They create jobs, generate revenue, attract tourists, and increase tax revenue. However, the industry faces some challenges, such as the lack of adequate infrastructure, seasonal nature of events, and competition from other cities. Despite these challenges, the live music industry in Omaha continues to grow, making it an essential part of the city’s economy.

    FAQs – Live Music in Omaha

    What is the live music scene like in Omaha?

    The live music scene in Omaha is diverse and thriving, with many different genres and styles of music. Omaha hosts multiple music festivals throughout the year and has a variety of venues that offer live music performances on a regular basis, from small dive bars to large arenas.

    What are the best venues to see live music in Omaha?

    Some of the best venues to see live music in Omaha include the Slowdown, the Waiting Room Lounge, the Orpheum Theater, and the Holland Performing Arts Center. These venues offer a range of genres and attract nationally recognized acts as well as local musicians.

    What is the best time of year to catch live music in Omaha?

    The best time of year to catch live music in Omaha depends on your preferences. Omaha hosts music festivals such as Maha, the Jazz on the Green series, and the Omaha Summer Arts Festival throughout the summer months, while fall and winter are a great time to catch indoor concerts at venues like the Sokol Auditorium and Reverb Lounge.

    What types of music are popular in Omaha?

    Omaha has a diverse music scene that includes a range of genres, with a particular focus on indie rock and folk music. Omaha is also known for its influential underground music scene, with bands like Cursive and Bright Eyes originating from the city.

    Are there any free live music events in Omaha?

    Yes, there are several free live music events in Omaha, including the Jazz on the Green series, the Omaha Farmers Market live music performances, and the 712 Day celebration in July, which features free concerts and events throughout downtown Omaha.

    What are some upcoming live music events in Omaha?

    Some upcoming live music events in Omaha include the Maha Music Festival in August, the Chromatica Ball featuring Lady Gaga in August, and the Zac Brown Band concert in September. Check local event listings for a full schedule of live music performances in Omaha.

    Where can I find tickets for live music events in Omaha?

    Tickets for live music events in Omaha can be found on the websites of the individual venues or through online ticketing sites like Ticketmaster or StubHub. Local record stores like Homer’s and Drastic Plastic also often sell tickets to local shows.

    What are some tips for attending a live music event in Omaha?

    Some tips include arriving early to get a good spot, following the venue’s rules and regulations, wearing comfortable clothing and shoes, and bringing cash for merchandise and drinks. It’s also a good idea to check the weather and bring appropriate gear if the concert is outdoors.

    Are there any all-ages live music events in Omaha?

    Yes, there are many all-ages live music events in Omaha. Check with the individual venues or event listings for specific details on age restrictions for each event. Many venues also offer separate areas for those over and under 21 years old.

    Can I bring my own food and drinks to a live music event in Omaha?

    The policies on bringing outside food and drinks to live music events in Omaha vary by venue. Check with the individual venue beforehand to determine their policies. Most venues allow sealed water bottles, but not outside alcohol or food.


    Omaha has a lively and diverse music scene, with plenty of options for live music throughout the year. Whether you’re into indie rock, jazz, or folk music, there’s a venue and performance for you in Omaha. Check out upcoming events, grab some tickets, and enjoy a night out listening to great music in the “Gateway to the West.”

    After reading this article, explore other tourist attractions, events, and activities in Omaha, such as visiting the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, taking a stroll through the Old Market, or catching a game at TD Ameritrade Park. Thank you for reading, and we hope you enjoy your visit to Omaha!