Slowdown began as an idea to start a rock club in the fall of 2000. And a fairly simple idea at that. After living in California for a couple of years, Jason Kulbel moved back to Omaha with the intent of opening a rock club with his friend Robb Nansel. Their idea was to renovate a space somewhere in the downtown area and give Omaha the permanent music venue they felt it was lacking. As the months went by, it started to become apparent that the perfect space for renovation was just not out there. In the meantime, Robb and Jason spent most of their time working on the expansion of Saddle Creek Records. Though the idea for the club was still around, it took a back seat as the label began to build. In the fall of 2004, they decided that the renovation of an old space was never going to be ideal and started looking around for some land to buy. The intention was now to build a permanent home for both Slowdown and Saddle Creek.
A spot was found on none other than Saddle Creek Road in midtown Omaha. The location was thought to be perfect and some contracts were drawn up on the land. Soon after, nearby residential neighbors got wind of the opening of a bar/concert venue in their backyard and, putting it mildly, threw a fit. It was soon decided that this was not going to be the best place to build said permanent home.
Shortly after pulling out of the Saddle Creek Road deal, Jason and Robb were approached by the City of Omaha to find the right place to build Slowdown. A few different options were looked at, and the one that seemed to make the most sense was on a plot of land the city had to offer North of Omaha’s Old Market area and a few blocks west of the Qwest Center arena. The only catch with the land was that it seemed to be a sort of no man’s land.Fearing a future of faceless neighbors and expanded corporate globalization, the city proposed that we took the future of our neighbors into our own hands and help kick-start the rebuilding of the north downtown area. We conceptualized our own “mall” (for lack of a better word) and with the help of J Development and Alley Poyner, began to make it a reality. The Saddle Creek/Slowdown building quickly became a part of a “development” and the rest, as they say, is history.
Slowdown as it has been built is much the same as the idea from 7 years ago – it’s a permanent rock club and bar that Omaha has long been lacking – it just happens to be surrounded by some amazing other spaces as well. We aim to have some great shows and some great times, with your help. See you soon.