This week’s big event is the Playing With Fire concert Saturday, July 16. It’s set for Stinson Park at Aksarben Village. Missouri River flood waters washed out the Lewis & Clark Landing and threatened the proposed second site. A lot of people seem uncertain about where Stinson Park is. It is the park on the Center Street side of the old Aksarben property. Stinson Park is located at 67th & Center in what is now called Aksarben Village, across the street west of the Wohlner’s location. Stinson Park is a nice central location with plenty of green space and a fixed stage. Come early to stake out the best spot. There is free parking in the garage off of 64th & Center.

The event is free and donations will still be collected at the gate to benefit the Food Bank for the Heartland and Playing With Fire costs. No outside food or beverages and no pets are allowed. PWF vendors, including the Blues Society of Omaha, will have water, pop and adult beverages for sale. Food vendors will be on site.

This year’s headliner is Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. See the profile in this week’s Reader. Jones’ non-stop, electrifying performances are compared to Tina Turner and she has been called “the female James Brown.” Jones is riding a wave of “overnight success” in the mainstream media after spending 20 years performing as often as she could while holding down various day jobs, the most notable working as a prison guard. The band has appeared at major music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and the Austin City Limits Music Festival and has been featured on Austin City Limits.

Blues Society’s BluesEd youth band Crimson Dawn kicks things off at 4:30 p.m. Brad Cordle and his bad-ass R&B band heat things up around 6 p.m. Austin’s Malford Milligan Band plays at approximately 7:30 p.m. Milligan is a sizzling soul-blues singer who will appeal to fans of artists like Curtis Salgado or old-school vocalists like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. Milligan was named the Austin Chronicle’s “Best Male Vocalist of the Decade.” Milligan also fronted an excellent Austin blues-rock supergroup called Storyville.

According to PWF Public Relations Director Ron Gerard, “the continuation of the PWF concert series in Omaha [in 2012] is contingent upon significant sponsors stepping forward.”

Find all this year’s details and more on the artists in this week’s Reader PWF concert insert. Check for online info.

Zoo Bar Birthday Success

The Zoo Bar 38th Anniversary fest was a great week of music and celebration.

“We managed to throw a really great party,” says Eileen Boehmer, Zoo Bar social media and communications coordinator and wife of co-owner Jeff Boehmer. “Our customers were happy, our bands had a great time and the Zoo is another year older. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

Boehmer has set up a community blog at where she encourages fans to post photos, videos and personal anecdotes about the Zoo Bar. Check for who’s playing when the bar reopens on Thursday, July 14.

Travelling Mercies CD Release

Omaha’s Travelling Mercies hosts a CD release party at The Sydney on Saturday, July 16. Their new disc, Ghosts in the Bloodline, contains original tracks that range from driving to haunting. Songwriter/frontman Jeremy Holan leads the raucous band with members Danny “Bueno” Leonard, Vern Fergesen, George Prescott and Edward Spencer. Holan calls Travelling Mercies “an abridged history of American music offered up on a platter of losing lotto tickets, runaway dreams, Midwestern family history, hellfire and brimstone.” I think I coined the phrase “electric troubadour gypsy folk” that Holan also has posted on the band’s Facebook page. I’m a big fan of Holan’s songs and the unbridled abandon the band puts into performing. The Mercies are the last band of the night, so you can come late and still check them out.

Sunday Roadhouse

Dean Dobmeier’s and Gary Grobeck’s Sunday Roadhouse brings back the wild rockabilly of Nashville’s The Hillbilly Casino. The band’s blend of rockin’ showmanship and fierce musicianship makes for an exciting show for rockabilly and roots-rock fans. Showtime is 5 p.m. at the Waiting Room on Sunday, July 17. See for details and links to band interviews and videos.

21st Saloon Blues

Lincoln’s Lil’ Slim Blues Band has their Omaha CD release party on Thursday, July 14, at the 21st Saloon. Come support the band that will represent the Blues Society of Omaha in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Acclaimed English guitarist Matt Schofield plugs in on Thursday, July 21. See Thursday shows begin at 5:30 p.m.

Hot Notes

Lincoln’s Rococo Theatre presents zydeco master Terence Simien & The Zydeco Experience on Friday, July 15, at 8:30 p.m. It’s an 18 and over show. The Rococo just announced the always magical Gillian Welch performs Thursday, Oct. 13. See for details.

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