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Pregame favorite Sidetrack Band to move down the street

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In about two weeks, Husker football fans will look for a fall tradition at The Sidetrack bar.

But they won't find the band that took its name from the bar at 10th and O streets on home game Friday nights and Saturdays.

The Sidetrack Band is finishing up a contract to move to a new location but will keep its name.

Known for its raunchy, Husker-related parody and cover songs, the band will perform at the yet-to-be named bar and restaurant planned in the former Boomer's Printing Co. building at 10th and P streets this season.

The Sidetrack Band started out in the Haymarket in 1977 but moved to 935 O St. in '85. Singer and pianist Joyce Durand owned the bar until 2001 and continued to perform as part of the band after selling it.

The move to the Boomer's building -- which is being renovated and will be run by the owners of the Hour Lounge at 14th and O streets -- is only the third in the band's 34 years. 

But the changes and renovations are running up against a tight deadline, as football season kicks off Sept. 3. 

For now, the place will be pretty bare bones, Durand said. The restaurant likely won't be ready until after the football season. B&J Partnership has filed a $50,000 building permit to replace the concrete floor and add more exits.

Durand said she and sidekick Paul Newton began thinking about making a change after Romantix, the building next door to The Sidetrack, burned down late last year.

The Sidetrack will replace the Sidetrack Band with Big Fred and Rupert on Sept. 2 and 3, according to a sign in their window. 

"We just wanted to make a change to somewhere bigger and closer to the stadium," Durand said. "We don't really have any other big dramatic reason."

The atmosphere likely will be different from The Sidetrack, which has tile floors and Husker memorabilia on the walls. 

Eventually, the 10,000-plus-square-foot space will be a restaurant and bar with a "Colorado western or Rocky Mountain feel," according to the tenant/restaurant owner Heath Macomber.

But that won't change the flavor of Durand and Newton's show.

"You could turn a Presbyterian church into football pregame," Durand said. "It doesn't matter what the decor is. People just like to cheer for the Huskers."

Macomber invited the band to play his other property, the Hour Lounge, during the spring game in April and said the crowd was great and the band and management hit it off.

"Our personality and the band's personalities meshes well," he said. "We grew up watching them in the '90s and now that I'm 35, to have them actually be a part of what we're doing -- it's going to be fun.

"They bring a substantial audience and we hope we can bring in some new people who may never have seen them before."

The band will introduce new songs about the Big Ten Conference and teams but will keep some Big 12 gems, like a song about commissioner Dan Beebe with words not fit to print.

You can find the band on the road this year, too, in Fremont and Sargent, and at all the road games, in Cheyenne, Wyo.; Madison, Wis.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Meanwhile, they'll break in the new digs during home games, but both parties say it's going to be a work in progress.

"There's going to be a lot of work put into this place," Macomber said. "Stay tuned."


Reach Jordan Pascale at 402-473-7120, or follow him @LJSPascale.


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