Story and Photos: Audrey Wright
Saturday night (12/17) Omaha legends Haven 21 kicked off their album release show at The Waiting Room Lounge. Having been a long time listener of this group to say I was excited was a huge understatement. It's always great to see your favorite local band play. Before I go into the details of the night I’m going to go down memory lane on how I discovered this one of a kind group.
Back in the day, I used to go see local shows all the time at Sokol Underground. I happened to see a band called Capehart, who is the lead vocalist, Jason Struebing’s, previous band. He happened to be selling Haven 21 merch at the time and gave me a copy of their CD. I listened to that CD and watched the unforgettable Mangina Monologues, tour diaries. I was forever changed by their humor and their pop punk sound. Later I discovered that their bassist at the time, Christian Skirmont, was in another band called Ativan and I also gave them a listen. I saw them play a couple times when they rolled through Omaha. I played both albums on repeat for months. Haven 21 is one of, if not the best pop punk band to rise from Omaha. They are not only great musicians but also wonderful humans and they will always make you laugh.
Now, back to the show. Several bands played before I arrived and I’m disappointed I had to miss them. Luckily I was able to catch the tail end of JV All Stars before Haven 21 took the stage. I did This is another one of those bands that rose from the ashes of Nebraska in the early 2000’s and played so many great shows. If you know, you know.
Since becoming a fan, I haven’t missed a Haven 21 show through all these years. One of the last times I saw them was at the Lookout Lounge (R.I.P) and then in 2010 they had a reunion show at The Slowdown. I still have my infamous 3D Haven 21 glasses. This pop punk band rose to starlight in the early 2000s, having travelled all across the U.S. before taking a hiatus and then rejoining. They've come a long way since Mangina Monologues, but their humor will forever be something that they will never lose. Guitarist, Mike Torres, dedicated the evening to the one and only, James Cameron himself, stating “You guys could be watching the new Avatar, but instead you decided to come watch us play”. They played new songs off their new album Radial including their single "Panic Mode". They also played some oldies from their album The Getaway including one of my all time favorite songs, "Back To The Start". I still have that cd in my car.
This was my last shoot of the year and there was no better way to end it than with my favorite local band. In total I have shot for over 50 artists this year! I can’t wait to see what next year has in store. I would like to thank The Waiting Room Lounge and staff for always being cool and having the best hospitality. I would like to thank everyone this year who has supported my work, read my articles, followed me on my socials, and has shared my photos with the world. Lastly, I would like to thank the guys in Haven 21 for always making me laugh and just being yourselves. You are AWESOME! I cannot thank you enough. Until next time, friends.
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