Omaha’s Benson Music Venue gem: The Waiting Room
One of the most loved clubs in Omaha for a local act, national sensation, or chilling out with pinball and microbrews, the Waiting Room has been a sound staple of Omaha’s Benson District for about 6 years now. Constantly undergoing renovations inside and out, it recently became much more open in the front by the stage, and really set the tone for other vibrant and diverse businesses to move in to Benson. One holiday weekend when I was there to see a reunion show for Mousetrap and Mercy Rule, it was so packed full of Nebraska music icons it was astonishing. Lucero, The Meat Puppets, Reverend Horton Heat, and Buckethead are some of the national acts that have blazed through Omaha and brought their craft to this great sounding and well lit venue.
A temporary home to musicians like Rilo Kiley, Azure ray, and Criteria, Omaha has long been a hotbed of talent, rabidly cultivating into one of the hottest music scenes in the nation. Ritual Device, Clever, Frontier Trust, and others were formed here in the 1990’s, and some of them will still re unite and grace the stage; much to the glee of those that still follow them. One of those places that feels cozy but absolutely large at the same time, the Waiting Room is known thankfully as a venue in Benson that some regulars with go to even if they don’t know who is playing, a trend that desperately needs to be revived nationwide. Tribute bands, heavier and darker metal acts that the Midwest is becoming known for, and all sorts of others grace the 28’ wide, 15’ deep stage.
The venue has a large array of microphones, and state of the art Furman power distribution system. With tons of neighborhood parking, Halloween events like Zombie Fests and other great Omaha venues like the Beercade popping up, Benson has been the place to be as of late. Barley St Tavern is another live music place around the corner and down the street from the Waiting Room, more intimate and neighborhood feeling. Now known as a premiere venue in the state, any band is going to get excited to play here on any night of the week. If it is happening and hot as a music group, chances are the Waiting Room will have them on the marquee; this is one venue that will keep pleasing Omaha natives and visitors for years to come.