I am very sad to report that The 21st Saloon has closed effective Monday, Jan. 30. Owner Scott Kirk has carried on the venue’s long-standing tradition as a great home for the blues that dates back to efforts begun by Terry O’Halloran when the venue was The 18th Amendment, then Murphy’s Lounge and finally The Lift.
Since Kirk became involved with the venue under the second owners who bought it from O’Halloran and then ultimately took it over about 5 years ago, Scott has done a tremendous job. Kirk and his team showed true dedication to taking care of blues bands, fans and also being a home for the BSO’s BluesEd program. I, personally, can’t thank him and his staff enough for their dedication to live music, taking a chance on original blues artists and creating a home for the blues community.
Below is some news from the Blues Society of Omaha on the status of the Thursday blues series. The series has a new home for February at Chrome Lounge (8552 Park Drive) beginning with Slam Allen’s show this Thursday, Feb. 2, 6-9 p.m. Slam is a Blues Music Award Nominee and was the lead singer, lead guitarist, and band leader for James Cotton from 2001-2010.
Please get out and support these shows if you want to see the Thursday blues matinee series continue beyond February, enthusiastic audience support will be the key to the continuation of the blues shows we blues fans have come to love every Thursday.
I want to add that I think there is some misperception among some fans that the BSO has a financial stake in the blues shows. That is not true. The venue certainly depended on the BSO and blues fans to spread the word on blues bookings and to support the events with attendance at shows. However, I want to point out clearly that though the BSO’s Terry Sedivy has handled the task of booking the bands at The 21st, the band fees were paid by the venue at The 21st. The band fees must BE BALANCED BY PAID ADMISSIONS AT THE DOOR for the shows to be viable. This will continue to be true at Chrome, so if you care about these shows, please be there to pay the cover and to show your support in dollars and cents. Much as we love the blues, the business side has to be workable for everyone for the shows to continue in some form in the Omaha metro.
Repost from the BSO’s Facebook page, facebook.com/BluesSocietyOfOmaha:
“We regret to announce that The 21st Saloon has ceased operations at 4727 S. 96th St., in Omaha.
Heart-felt appreciation goes out to Scott Kirk and his team for their support of BSO, BluesEd, and Blues Music. Unfortunately, while Blues shows were generally well-attended, it was not enough to pay the bills.
The Thursday Blues Matinees will be moving to Chrome Lounge (8552 Park Drive) for the month of February. BSO and Chrome Lounge will discuss extending our partnership after a few shows.
The Thursday Blues Matinees and The Blues Society of Omaha both began in 1996 at 96th & L St., then known as The 18th Amendment Saloon. The series moved to The Music Box (7777 Cass St.) in 2000, returning to 96th & L as Murphy’s Lounge in 2002. The series moved to SHAG (707 N. 114th St.) in 2006, until noise complaints after a couple of months sent it back to 96th & L St., where it has continued ever since. The 21st Saloon operated 2012-2017.
Highlights of The Blues Matinee series include legendary (now deceased) artists Junior Wells, Buckwheat Zydeco, KoKo Taylor, and Magic Slim.
The Blues Society of Omaha is thrilled that we have found a landing spot for the Blues Matinees series and hope you will be joining us at Chrome Lounge in February, and possibly beyond.
Get out and get into it!
TH 2/2 6pm Slam Allen (Blues Music Award Nominee and the lead singer, lead guitarist, and band leader for James Cotton from 2001-2010).
Saturday 2/4 5pm The Nace Brothers (Together since 1981, after 7 CDs and countless gigs, this “rootsy” band is a dance-floor filling, BSO favorite. We will be celebrating BSO Supporter George Stillahn’s Bday as well!)
TH 2/9 6pm Zac Harmon
TH 2/16 6pm Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials
TH 2/22 6pm 24th St. Wailers “