This title disclaimer will run until I’m sick of it.
A Sanford-eye view on stuff that's got my attention for the next week. It's not comprehensive, it probably won't even include every show I go to (I always reserve the right to call an audible that just piqued my interest). The title is based off talking to a good friend of mine about a great show I'd seen that he missed and A. joking, "Rick's going to start a new blog called, 'Hey, Fred, here's what's coming to town!'". I should note appearance here does not necessarily constitute an endorsement by Fred – this is my mess alone. Big inspirations are Steve Smith's Agenda posts at Night After Night and especially amigo Andrew Patton's weekly column on Mark Subel's Jazz Columbus.
This runs Monday-Sunday of the following week; I intend to post it on Sunday or Monday. This is not intended to be comprehensive, Joel Treadway's Cringe does a great job with that and has since I was sneaking into shows as a teenager. These are things I feel pretty confident giving my stamp of approval to. See my Best Of lists from past years for a barometer to my tastes. Like with those best ofs, everything is in Columbus, Ohio unless stated otherwise.
For whatever reason – I’d speculate routing to and from Fitzgerald’s annual festival in Chicago but I haven’t checked – there is an abundance of shows this year in what’s usually a sleepy week, particularly of the Americana stripe.
July 1, 2014
King Buzzo with Emma Ruth Rundle; A & R Bar, 391 Neil Ave. The legendary Melvins frontman comes through town supporting an acoustic record I’m honestly still processing but expect the same biting lyrics and howl that launched a million scenes and have been oft-imitated but never equaled only from a slightly different perspective. Emma Ruth Rundle from The Marriages opens who also put out a very fine, shimmery solo record this year. Doors at 8:00, $12 tickets available at Ticketmaster.
Mac Blackout Band with Gamma World and Will Foster; Cafe Bourbon Street, 2216 Summit St. I saw the Mac Blackout Band in Chicago at a day show around the HoZac Blackout fest a year or two ago and they were the band that stood out. A mélange of drugged out synth-punk weirdness reminiscent of later Lost Sounds but with a two-guitar attack that recalled the punkier years of Iron Maiden and big Buzzcocks hooks. The records are a little slower and I’m given to understand the lineup’s a revolving door but I feel comfortable saying this is a must see. Doors at 9:30, $5 cover.
July 2, 2014
Bria Skonberg Quintet; Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St. Skonberg’s part of the heavily buzzed trad-jazz revival with the Hot Sardines, the Tuesday jam sessions at Mona’s, Duchess, etc. Last in Columbus for a Benny Goodman tribute with the CJO alongside other guest Ken Peplowski, she returns with her own quintet supporting a really fine record Into Your Own which merges some of that material (“Winin’ Boy Blues”, “Three Little Words”) with some more modern rhythms and that luscious, warm trumpet tone. Starts at 9:00pm, $15 tickets available here.
Radioactivity, Bad Sports, Vacation, and Nervosas; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. If there’s a show that rocks harder this summer I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Radioactivity is the new project of Jeff Burke from the Marked Men and it’s in that same catchy, crunchy vein. Bad Sports, the Denton three-piece fronted by Orville Neely, are one of the best bands I ever saw at a Gonerfest which is saying something. Snarling punk with searing guitars and a throbbing rhythm section. Nervosas are one of the most consistently exciting Columbus bands, combining influences like Wire, the Wipers, X, and the Cramps into something that always feels fresh and new. Vacation, from Cincinnati, I’m not familiar with yet but if there was confidence they can hang with this bill I can’t wait to see them. Doors at 9:00pm, $8 tickets available at Ticketleap.
July 3, 2014
Sarah Borges with Girls Guns and Glory; Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St. I remember the first time I heard Sarah Borges and her “The Day We Met” (still my favorite of her songs). Came out of nowhere at a particularly low ebb in alt.country or Americana or whatever you want to call it and she was writing standards and brilliantly picking covers with a white-hot perfectly simpatico band behind her. The level of songwriting and the mastery of so many different strains of American music reminded me immediately of Greg Cartwright (whose “Stop and Think It Over” she’s covered). She writes hooks that are in your head the first time you hear the song and songs that hold their own on records alongside bona fide classics like NRBQ’s “It Comes To Me Naturally”, Smokey Robinson’s “Being With You”, and Clive and Christine’s “Yesterday’s Love”. Her onstage act can get a little “Moot Davis” for me but the minute she starts singing and lunges into that big Telecaster rhythm all is forgiven. Girls Guns and Glory I didn’t know at all until Eric Ambel produced their newest record, Good Luck, but it smokes. That Buddy Holly sweet spot but with just enough dirt thrown on it. So I’m looking forward to seeing them live both opening and backing Borges. Starts at 9:00, $20 tickets available here.
July 5, 2014
4th and 4th Fest; Seventh Son Brewing, 4th St and 4th Avenue. Bobby Miller’s been booking shows for almost 15 years and he has a particular knack for festivals going back to the Slum-B-Qs at Little Brothers (with my old pal Phil Goldberg and built around their website The Vertical Slum). Last year he took advantage of the absence left by the Parking Lot Blowout (run by the Columbus Music Co Op next to Surly Girl Saloon for 6 years) but did something different more focused on out of town bands and it was one of the more fun nights I had all summer. This year’s a little smaller in scope but maybe more ambitious with the out of towners including R. Ring (with Kelly Deal), Autumn Defense (with Pat Sansone and John Stirratt from Wilco) and Operators (with John Boeckner from Wolf Parade and Divine Fits and local hero Sam Brown). For me, the can’t miss band is Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites, making their second trip down from Akron, a phenomenally entertaining soul band. Other things I have no intention of missing are The Randys doing their ‘50s-‘70s pop and the Ron House/Jared Philips project Counter Intuits. Add in a couple bands I’m going into blind and this should be a great day. Starts at noon, $10 tickets available here.
Blueprint with Count Bass D and Zero Star; Brothers Drake, 26 E 5th Ave. One of my favorite rappers and producers, Blueprint’s Respect the Architect record continues and bolsters his winning streak. One of the most charismatic people I’ve ever seen on a stage, seeing him rock this stage in this smaller room should be an experience not soon forgotten. Starts at 9pm, no cover.
July 6, 2014
Chuck Mead and His Grassy Knoll Boys; Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St. Chuck Mead’s old outfit BR549 was one of the finest dance bands I ever saw anywhere and making anyone else trying to do classic honky-tonk work just that much harder (notably, one of only two acts positively mentioned in Robbie Fulks’ call to arms “Fuck This Town”) and now that he’s gone solo he’s put together a crack band including Mark Miller on bass and backing vocals, Carlo Clave on pedal steel and mandolin, and Martin Lynds on drums. Expect sharp originals and classic covers. Expect some ballads that’ll smash your heart into a million pieces, some heavy shuffles and a little rockabilly. And expect to be dazzled. Starts at 8:00pm, $15 tickets available here.