- Associated Press - Saturday, May 24, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Tenzin Moore was 10 days old when the Bourbon Theatre opened. This fall, he’ll start kindergarten.

“I can’t believe it’s gone so quickly,” said Tenzin’s dad, Jeremiah, who along with his wife, Leah, five years ago took over the old O Street movie theater that had previously failed as an entertainment venue and turned it into what is now the centerpiece of Lincoln’s thriving music scene.

“It’s pretty much been exactly what we hoped it would be - that it would grow into a venue where we’d catch a lot of national acts passing through town,” Moore told the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1gQS67Q). “It’s been a lot more work than I imagined. But when isn’t it a lot more work?”

The Bourbon is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month, starting last Wednesday with its local showcase of FREAKABOUT! and Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers, who in January packed the place with the biggest crowd ever for a local band.

The anniversary celebration includes shows by Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, and from May 29 to 31, Blitzen Trapper, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band and HAIRBALL.

That lineup reflects something of the diversity of the Bourbon’s offerings. Unlike most venues, which specialize in one or two genres, the Bourbon books everything from hip-hop to country, death metal to electronic dance music.

“I enjoy all styles of music,” Moore said. “If you flipped through my record collection, you’d wonder if it belonged to a single person, in size and in styles. It’s also because something we’ve prided ourselves on from the beginning is being available to Lincoln and celebrating its diversity. We always figured, this is Lincoln, Nebraska, we’re going to be open to everybody.

“If we did just one or two styles, we wouldn’t do as much business and we wouldn’t have as many people enjoying the shows. To provide entertainment in Lincoln, you’ve got to be broad. If we can take in all of these categories, it seems like there’s more going on in town.”

In fact, the Bourbon is credited by many, including Pinnacle Bank Arena manager Tom Lorenz and those who run other local venues, for taking the Lincoln scene up a notch.

“These guys have done a great job of bringing new acts to Lincoln, some national acts to Lincoln that are on the way up,” Lorenz said. “They fill that gap from the bar scene into bigger venues. It’s also helped Lincoln concert-goers get used to going out to shows.

“They’ve done it right. They’re very good at social media marketing and getting the word out. They really have made an impact, and it’s continuing.”

“Definitely, it changed things,” said Eli Mardock, a co-owner of Vega who has played the Bourbon with his bands. “The longer you’re doing it, you start building up relationships with agents and they start routing bands through the market. It’s made a huge difference.”

Over the course of the last five years, the Bourbon has done more than 1,000 shows - some in the large main room, some in the former lobby that was converted to a small performance space and bar.

The Rye Room holds a couple of hundred people at most and features lots of shows by local bands along with some smaller touring acts.

“We try to keep our roots of where we came from, which is being accessible to everybody, whether they’re local or coming through,” Moore said.

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