Indie label Saddle Creek Records, home to Omaha, Neb., native Conor Oberst, is again breaking new territory, this time by opening a concert venue in the city. Slowdown is expected to offer two to three concerts a week, featuring primarily indie acts, and be open daily as a bar.
"We set out to build the perfect rock club," said Saddle Creek exec Robb Nansel. "I don’t know if it’s perfect, but it’s pretty cool." The 470-seat Slowdown threw a two-day open house with local bands June 8-9.
In addition to opening the venue, Saddle Creek is moving its offices to the two-building complex that houses the club, an arthouse theatre, stores, restaurants and apartments.
Saddle Creek Records, with the help of Oberst as well as bands like Cursive and The Faint, has given Omaha an indie patina in recent years. As the anchor tenant in a multimillion-dollar mixed-use development project, Saddle Creek and Slowdown are driving a resurgence in Omaha’s downtown section.
Slowdown – an homage to early-’90s Saddle Creek band Slowdown Virginia – features a balcony 14 feet above the stage, black tiled walls and a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system.
Among the more unusual features for a club its size are a green room with showers and a washer/dryer for bands, glass-paneled walls that open and close, a black-and-white photo booth, free jukebox, an outdoor patio and a retractable wall to separate the bar from the stage.