Popular summer concert series Playing With Fire hosts three of today’s most exciting blues artists at Slowdown this Friday, Oct. 12. Tickets are $35 and proceeds go to help with expenses for next summer’s free concert. Doors open at 7 p.m. and music starts at 7:30 p.m.

Don’t be late, artists in order of performance are Tommy Castro, Curtis Salgado and Joe Louis Walker. Tommy Castro is a multiple Blues Music Award winner and his new band The Painkillers is rockin’ with the return of bassist Randy McDonald. Curtis Salgado is one of the finest soul-blues-funk-gospel vocalists working today. His late-1970s act inspired John Belushi’s Blues Brothers character (see curtissalgado.com). Salgado has special ties to Omaha where he received a life-saving liver transplant at the Lied Transplant Center on Sept. 30, 2006. Since then he has gone on to make the best music of his career including 2012’s Soul Shot (Alligator) and has won two Blues Music Awards for Soul-Blues Male Artist of the Year. Closing out the night is guitarist Joe Louis Walker. See playingwithfireomaha.net.

Zoo Bar House Band

If you enjoyed the Zoo Bar House Band’s stellar show in honor of Larry Boehmer last Thursday, Oct. 4, at The 21st Saloon, remember you can catch some configuration of these Lincoln all-stars most Mondays, 7-10 p.m., at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar. They make some of the best national blues you’ll hear at the Zoo. Don’t forget to support hometown musicians.

Lincoln Calling

In its ninth year, Lincoln Calling hosts 125 local and national bands and DJs playing diverse styles of music at nine Lincoln venues over six nights. Music began Tuesday, Oct. 9, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 14. It’s worth noting that South by Southwest had home-grown beginnings like this. See lincolncalling.com.

Hot Notes

Stacy Mitchhart gigs at The 21st Saloon Thursday, Oct. 11, 5:30 p.m. Too Slim & The Taildraggers play Thursday, Oct. 18.

Runny Nose Pete swaggers and stomps the blues old-school at Gator O’Malley’s Oct. 11, 9 p.m.

Kris Lager Band plugs in at Waiting Room Friday, Oct. 12, with Voodoo Method. The Johnsen Brothers have a rare show at Elkhorn’s Heartland Cafe Saturday, Oct. 13, 8 p.m.

Acclaimed Texas songwriter Darden Smith plays The FolkHouse Saturday, Oct. 13, 7:30 p.m. See folkhouseconcerts.com. Smith is in Lincoln Sunday, Oct. 14, see lafta.net for details. Dr. John and The Blind Boys of Alabama perform at the Bourbon Theatre Saturday, Oct. 20. See bourbontheatre.com.

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