Despite a red-state legislative body that preaches reefer madness and has only gone as far as to decriminalize cannabis in the state of Nebraska, in Omaha, the 4/20 festivities will go ahead as planned.
The even better news is that there are several ways to make the most out of this federally-unrecognized holiday, from laid-back gatherings to genuinely thrilling live concert events. Here are six things to do in Omaha on 4/20, followed by one thing to do in Council Bluffs.
Jerry Pranksters and Powder Blue at DU
- 4:20 p.m. to 7:10 p.m. | $10
- The Down Under Lounge: 3530 Leavenworth St | (402) 933-3927
The annual Down Under (DU) 4/20 bash will kick off at 4:20 p.m. with Jerry Pranksters supplying the juicy jams on the outdoor stage. Afterward, Powder Blue (a Ween tribute band) will perform inside the DU, which 2022 Readers called one of the best bars for an internet date, live music, bartenders, and more.
The Jerry Pranksters are well-known champions of the Omaha music scene, no strangers to the Down Under, where they perform avid tributes to the Jerry Garcia Band and Grateful Dead. The band does those covers justice with their unique electric live energy and out-of-body psychedelic rock vibrations.
If you are a fan of the eclectic—often zany and conceptual—indie-rock band Ween, chances are you will dig Powder Blue, who colorfully embodies the source material.
The Bruce Katz Band at the Jewell
- 6-9 p.m. show | $10-$15
- The Jewell: 1030 Capitol Ave | (917) 748-4337
Bruce Katz is a keyboardist with an accomplished repertoire well-versed in the blues, soul, jazz, and rock genres. Since the band has two setlists to perform, the show is likely to explore a vast portion of tunes spanning the last century, thanks to these now pivotal genres in music that concertgoers have, in their time, enjoyed in live musical settings, yes, sometimes stoned. Why not celebrate the jazz cabbage with some jazz music?
Katz has amassed a dynamic discography during his still-vibrant career, including ten albums as a band leader, touring experience with the Gregg Allman Band (and occasionally, the Allman Brothers), and 60+ recorded studio credits as an invaluable session musician for several jazz and blues legends (such as John Hammond).
Basics of Watercolor at Laurizen Gardens
- 6-8:30 p.m. | $45-$55
- Lauritzen Gardens: 100 Bancroft St |(402) 346-4002
If you have ever wanted to explore the wonderful world of watercolor painting, you can learn on 4/20 at the chill, romantic Lauritzen Gardens. Create beautiful works that you can display proudly in an environment that pairs nicely with a holiday dedicated to a flower!
Instructor Sydney Sehi will lead the course, for which no experience is necessary – you can show up as a total amateuer.
And if you do know something or even quite a bit about painting, even watercolor specifically, there is still something you can likely glean from signing up for a course.
The course will cover fundamentals, like the materials you need and how to get the desired values in the colors you will paint with. You will receive all supplies when you show up for the class: purchase your tickets ($45-$55) and register for the event online.
King Iso with Taebo Tha Truth and more
- 7:30 p.m. show | $20-$25 | All ages
- The Waiting Room Lounge: 6212 Maple St | (402) 884-5353
Another 4/20-imbued hip-hop showcase will take place at the Waiting Room.
Nice Enough Entertainment unites local talent, excellent gigging opportunities, and the greater Omaha area year-round around the medicine of music, but the annual 4/20 show takes that mission to the next level.
Established and up-and-coming local artists will put on what could easily be the most rad local show and 4/20 one-off of the year. King Iso will headline, proceeded by Taebo Tha Truth. Supporting acts include Pacc Dillon, Yung Rico Chillz, Dread & Strange, Gdot Savo, Abstrakt, Dredaymackoveli, Thuggy Yuxk x Race Coakley, and the Outlawz.
Tickets are $20-$25 before fees, depending on if you purchase your tickets at the door. Speaking of “the door,” entry into the show opens at 6:30, with the show starting at 7:30. All ages can attend this indoor showcase.
Treeline, Xid, High Ruler, and Cote at Reverb
- 8 p.m. show, doors at 7 | $10
- Reverb Lounge: 6121 Military Ave | (402) 884-5707
Supporting acts Xid, High Ruler, and Cote will bring the noise, too. Xid is an industrial artist, Cote is a noise outfit, and High Ruler is a stoner doom band.
While some might feel put off by the harsh sounds, others feel at home in the chaos. For fans of stoner, sludge, noise, and industrial metal or electronic music, the 4/20 Treeline show at Reverb will be a feast for the ears.
And even though not everyone will connect the dots between the sludgiest, doomiest metal and cannabis, many heavy bands have infused a love for the plant with legendary power slides. Similarly, many bands that rock the hardest stay straight edge (sober). Do you!
Lily Mckown at Pageturners Lounge
- 8 p.m. show | No cover
- Pageturners Lounge: 5004 Dodge St |(402) 933-3973
Touring musician Lily McKown will headline the Pageturners Lounge mainstage at 8 p.m. on 4/20.
McKown is based in Philadelphia, PA, and has released music—some singles, an E.P., and a record—since 2019 on bandcamp.com. Many of McKown’s tunes combine melancholy and sunny vibes through a stripped-down, lyric-driven, atmospheric, and lo-fi sound.
Ben Eisenberger, a local singer-songwriter who plays melancholy Midwest acoustic music, will open the show. Eisenberger’s bandcamp has been active since 2018, with the 2020 album “Soloists” being the latest release you can check out.
The two singer-songwriters, their respective projects, and their distinct tonal identities will be at home at Pageturners, known for its summery cocktails. Pageturners belongs to Conor Oberst, singer-songwriter of Bright Eyes, Despararedicos, the Mystic Valley Band, and more.
The show costs nothing to attend, it starts at 8 p.m., and you must be 21 or up to catch it.
Direct Hit, Decent Criminal, Top-Notch Defective, and The Shidiots at Maloney’s
- 8 p.m. show|$13-$18
- Maloney’s Irish Pub: 162 W Broadway, Council Bluffs | (712) 796-4476
If you find yourself on the other side of the river, Direct Hit will headline the punk-filled 4/20 show at Maloney’s Pub in Council Bluffs. Decent Criminal, Top-Notch Defective, and The Shidiots will support at this rad Irish bar.
The four punk bands are from across the nation. Direct Hit is from Milwaukee, WI, Decent Criminal is from Santa Rosa, CA, Top-Notch Defective is a punk band from Lincoln, NE, and The Shidiots are from Omaha.
Maloney’s is located on 100 Block in downtown Council Bluffs, carving a space out for itself as a premiere venue for live music.
The doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. It’s an all-ages event, and tickets cost $13-$18, depending on if you purchase tickets at the doors or beforehand.