In line with this anniversary issue’s theme of looking back on the scene, it seems like a great opportunity to mention two documentary productions in the works about iconic local music venues.
“ Bowling with the Biggest Bands in the World: The Story of the Ranch Bowl” began filming in Feb. under the direction of Austin Cole Anderson and Dundee Digital’s Jeff VanRoy. See ranchbowlfilm.com for the official trailer, Ranch Bowl remembrances and to submit your own stories, photos or videos. The Ranch Bowl at 1600 S. 72nd St. closed in 2005 after changing ownership in 2003. The longtime owner and talent booker of the Ranch Bowl, the late Matt Markel, purchased the place in 1978. Markel took the club from bowling alley to music venue, with multiple stages and the K-ROCK radio station. I remember seeing an early show by The BoDeans in the bowling alley with a stage set up on the lanes. I stood in a ball return.
Eventually the large club in the northeast corner had sound, lights and a stage that hosted everyone from Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Smashing Pumpkins, Green Day and Joan Jett to roots acts Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Arc Angels, Luther Allison, Kim Wilson, Johnny Reno & The Sax Maniacs and Chris Duarte Group. Local bands also got opening slots on national bills and plenty of exposure. Markel, a jazz fan, transformed the club into a jazz spot periodically with white tablecloths and candles on the tables and jazz acts including Stanley Clarke and even Sonny Rollins, if memory serves. The place reached such a legendary level with touring groups that one band member who landed at the Ranch Bowl said later in confusion, “You know, the Ranch Bowl, it’s a bowling alley. I thought it was, like, the Hollywood Bowl.”
Entering the editing phase of production is “Remember the Drumstick,” a documentary started in 2017 under the direction of Catherine Lohmeier, sister of the main visionary behind the Lincoln club, her late brother Tim Lohmeier, who died in 1998. Tim took the venue from a family restaurant specializing in chicken to a nationally known music venue. Bands from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Joan Jett, X, REM, Black Flag, Rank & File, roots artists Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakum, Charlie Sexton and Georgia Satellites, blues-bar staple Johnny Reno and other blues artists such as Jay McShann, Luther Allison, Albert King and The Fabulous Thunderbirds played the venue at 547 N 48th St. in Lincoln. Catherine Lohmeier is seeking funding for post-production of the project and has partnered with the Nebraska Independent Film Project to accept tax-deductible contributions of $100 or more. Visit rememberthedrumstick.com to see the trailer for the film, more photos and details, including Catherine Lohmeier’s establishment of the Tim Lohmeier and Friends of the Drumstick Foundation “to educate the public by making live music and cultural events affordable and available to people of all ages in Lincoln and surrounding areas.”
BSO Presents at Chrome
The March lineup for the Blues Society of Omaha Presents Thursday series at Chrome Lounge includes Chicago blues man and former Magic Slim guitarist John Primer on March 7, harmonica player/vocalist Brandon Santini on March 14, sizzling guitarist Jeff Jensen plugs in March 21, powerhouse vocalist Sugaray Rayford performs March 28 and guitarist Albert Cummings is up April 4. All shows are 6-9 p.m.
Zoo Bar Shows
Lots of great shows at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar this month, including a two-night run by blues-rock guitarist Tinsley Ellis on Monday and Tuesday, March 11-12, 6-9 p.m. Brandon Santini takes the stage Wednesday, March 13, John Németh is back Wednesday, March 20, and the great vocalist and entertainer Sugaray Rayford is another don’t-miss show Wednesday, March 27. Chris Duarte plugs in April 3. All Wednesday shows are 6-9 p.m. Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials play Friday, March 22, and Saturday, March 23, 5 p.m. A BSO BluesEd alum now making music in KC, Heather Newman Band plays Friday, March 22, at 8 p.m. Newman is a recent winner of two Blues Blast Music Awards and is a 2019 Blues Music Award nominee for Best Emerging Artist. See zoobar.com for the rest of the schedule and late-breaking additions.
Several high-profile local roots bands team for two special shows. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal and Kris Lager Band play Lincoln’s Rococo Theatre Friday, March 15, 8 p.m. Hoyer’s Soul Colossal, Kris Lager Band and Sebastian Lane Band perform at Omaha’s Slowdown on Saturday, March 16, 9 p.m. Hector Anchondo Band is at Reverb Lounge on Sunday, March 10, 8 p.m. Up-and-coming blues-rocker Shaw Davis & The Black Ties open the show. Popular roots music veteran Ian Moore plays Reverb on Monday, March 11, 8 p.m. The eclectic entertainment extravaganza that is MarchFourth is at Waiting Room on Thursday, March 21, 8 p.m. The Bishops 24th birthday bash is at Waiting Room on March 30, 8 p.m. Sunday Roadhouse presents Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys on Thursday, April 4, at Reverb, for a 7:30 p.m. show.
Keep up with new bookings at Omaha’s Jewell jazz club at jewellomaha.com.