said plans include creating a full-service restaurant and a separate
music store targeted toward musicians. "It's going to be a
very niche music store," he said. "It won't be similar
to anything around here."
Expanding the main club
and enhancing the sound system also is in the works. "There
are so many layers to this onion, it's much more complex than I
ever thought. We want to streamline the operations and make it more
efficient, as well as do a better job booking the place and try
to get as many cool shows through as we can. We want to get the
club into the kind of shape on par with the region's best music
clubs, like The Blue Note."
Musicians might be the
first people to notice a change in the Ranch Bowl's operating philosophy.
Some practices, such as forcing local bands to sell tickets to earn
their pay, have been eliminated. "That doesn't help the bands,"
Brannan said. "Anything that's counterproductive to the bands
doesn't do us any good. We want to emphasize the community aspect
and have bands develop their own following, which ultimately benefits
When it comes to booking,
Brannan said he's open to just about any idea and is even willing
to let other promoters host shows at the venue. Among them, Matt
Markel, who Brannan said is welcome to book shows there anytime
But it's the Ranch Bowl's
diversity of income that gives it an advantage over other venues
and promoters. With a bowling alley, volleyball courts, restaurant
and music store, Brannan and Crowell will be in a better position
to book shows that other venues or promoters would pass on as too
risky in terms of potential draw.
"We'll be pursing
everything that we think is interesting and that adds to the venue's
overall vibe," Brannan said. "We're trying to bring cutting
edge music to Omaha.
"I would hope that
this change will be a vast improvement for the local music scene
in general," he added. "The Ranch Bowl is an interesting
property. It has floundered recently, though it still does a lot
of interesting shows and people continue to come out to them. We
want to do a number of new things that will bring in an even more
How does the music veteran
characterize the current state of the Omaha music scene? "Locally,
indie music is hot because of the Saddle Creek Records guys, who
have done a great job getting that together," Brannan said.
"But with a place like this, you're hitting a wide swath of
the community. We just want to be involved with good music and the
zany aspects of bowling. We saw an ability to get in and revoice
this place the way we want to see it voiced. And it's going to start
with simple things like customer service and cleanliness and move
on from there."
Published in The Omaha Weekly-Reader Jan. 3, 2003. Copyright ©
2002 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.