Tommy Castro returns to the metro Monday, April 29, 6-9 p.m. at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar and Tuesday, April 30, 6-9 p.m. at The 21st Saloon. His latest band, Tommy Castro & The Painkillers, features the return of the band’s original bass player, Randy McDonald. The two have a crackling chemistry that equals big fun as well as fine music. Rounding out the band are Bryan Cage on drums and James Pace on keyboards. Castro is an Alligator Records’ artist and a multiple Blues Music Award winner including two wins for B.B. King Entertainer of The Year. The Omaha show April 30 is a Blues Society of Omaha (BSO) fundraiser for the Blues Foundation’s Raise the Roof campaign to establish a physical space honoring the Blues Hall of Fame inductees that have been named each year since 1980. For more information, see and follow the Blues Hall of Fame icon. Admission is $10 for BSO members and $20 for non-members.

Nebraska Blues Challenge

The third and final preliminary round of the BSO’s Nebraska Blues Challenge was held Sunday, April 21, at McKenna’s. The band receiving the most points and advancing to the finals is the Back Alley Blues Band. The finals will be Sunday, May 19, at The 21st Saloon. The finalists perform in this order, based on a random drawing: 5 p.m. Hector Anchondo Band; 6:10 p.m. Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers; 7:20 p.m. Back Alley Blues Band. (Full disclosure: I am an advisor to the BSO board and the event.)

21st Saloon

Thursday, April 25, 5:30 p.m., The 21st Saloon presents the Brandon Miller Band (K.C.), the Dustin Pittsley Band (Tulsa, Okla.) and award-winning blues and soul man John Nemeth. Admission is just $10. Weather permitting, this event will be an outdoor parking lot party. Next Thursday, May 2, Chicago’s Steepwater Band returns with contemporary blues-based rock.

Hot Notes

The Zoo Bar hosts a fundraiser for bartender Teresa Renken’s trip to Africa. She will be doing a month of volunteer work with elephant conservation and public education to help improve elephant survival. The event is Saturday, April 27, 3-7 p.m. Tijuana Gigolos perform 3:30-5 p.m. See

Excellent guitarist George Walker plays McKenna’s Thursday, April 25, 7:30-10:30 p.m. 40 Sinners brings raw, gritty, guitar-driven blues to McKenna’s Friday, April 26, 7-10 p.m. Hector Anchondo Band plays Horseshoe Casino’s Whiskey Roadhouse Friday, April 26, and Thrift Shop Radio gigs Friday at Kilt’s at Clancy’s, 777 N. 114th St.

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