Monday, June 23, 2014

“Hey, Fred!” Nights Out 06/23-06/29/14 (Comfest Edition)

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!'".  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 expected 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.

This week is the Community Festival (ComFest), traditionally one of my favorite weekends of the year.  The line-up seemed a little scant to me, but there’s still plenty of things I enjoy or things that have been on my list to check out.  And maybe I’ll find something new to love.  If you’re reading this, drop a comment and let me know what you think I should check out.

Leading up to the fest itself:

Tuesday June 24, 2014

Snarky Puppy; Park Street Saloon, 525 N Park St.  Jazz/instrumental R&B juggernaut Snarky Puppy return to Columbus playing one of the larger rooms in the Woodlands empire.  Expect a barn burner.  $20, doors at 8pm.  Tickets available at Ticketweb.

Thursday June 26, 2014

The Rad Trads; Brothers Drake, 26 E. 5th Ave.  This very young NYC band dedicated to small-group rollicking jazz in the style of Louis Jordan, with a helping of classic JBs mixed in, are making another trip through Brothers Drake and it’s always a party when they come through town.  Might as well start your ComFest hangover early!  Starts around 9pm.  No cover.

Comfest

Friday June 27, 2014

12:00, Offramp Stage: Quiet Pepsi.  Starting the day off with a dash of the weirdness that, near as I can tell, is sorely missing from this year’s ComFest.  A noise assault with found texts turned into lyrics by frontman Nate Reynolds, accompanied by guitarist Adam Fleischer (Swamp Leather, AS/US), man about town Matt Bush, and Ryan Jewell (projects too numerous to mention).

12:50, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Tom Davis Quartet.  Recently returned to Columbus after some time in Scotland, Tom Davis’s guitar and compositions are a breath of fresh air.  Having seen him with this quartet and in Aaron Quinn’s quartet recently, this should be a perfect first-beer-and-fishboat-of-the-weekend ease-in set.

1:45, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Patrick Overturf Quintet.  Vibes player Overturf is writing some really interesting tunes that I expect to shimmer in the damp heat of late June the same way they do in a smoky bar, helped by his crack band with Aaron Quinn on guitar and Elliott Scozzaro on reeds.

2:15, Offramp Stage: Swarm. I haven’t seen this thrash band yet, but friends of mine into the genre rave about them and they've been on my list to check out for a while.  Part of the great joy of ComFest is taking a chance on something without a cover charge.

3:40, Bozo Stage: Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons.  Perley’s writing some of the most beautiful alt.country songs in town right now, with a voice you could pick out in a thunderstorm.  And while the band can get a little corny for me on stage, when everybody locks in together – Chris Connor’s David Gilmour-influenced guitar with Billy Zehnal (of too many jam and jazz bands to name) on bass and Steve Rupp (son of masterful jazz drummer Jim Rupp) on drums – it can be an inspiring, moving thing to watch.  Has the potential to be the best thing I've seen on the main stage since The Rackets played a similar Friday mid-afternoon years ago.

4:05, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Liver Quiver.  This collective trio is composed of three of my favorite jazz players in town.  Alex Burgoyne (who I just saw do a phenomenal set of Ornette Coleman and other tunes at Brothers Drake a week ago) on sax, Aaron Quinn on guitar, and Seth Daily on drums create a massive sound but without sacrificing any sense of surprise or nuance.

4:15, Offramp Stage: Raw Pony.  This is not a band you go to looking for subtlety and it’s certainly not over-rehearsed.  The only song I’ve managed to see (I’ve had some scheduling issues with trying to catch whole sets) makes me comfortable saying this is a safe bet to get a dose of raw, snarling rock and roll into your pleasant good-time Friday.

5:45, Offramp Stage: HMOOC.  Donovan Roth (possibly my favorite bass player in town)’s take on King Crimson through a hard punk rock lens should bum all the right people out.  While the songs are more structured, this is a similar refreshing breath of weirdness to Quiet Pepsi at noon and the kind of thing I wish there were more of this year.

7:00, Live Arts Stage: Is Said and The Advance Party.  For my money, legends in Columbus don’t come much bigger than Is Said – a poet who laid the groundwork for spoken word in town in a way that’s still reverberating out through the great work done by Scott Woods, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, and William Evans; a riveting playwright; a tremendous entertainer.  His Last Poets-style configuration here is a ComFest staple I think there will be riots if they ever stop inviting back, and I’ll be leading the charge with a pitchfork.

7:50, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Tonky De La Peña with Sean Carney.  Sean Carney’s burnished-to-a-shine guitar tone never fails to make me smile, a blues guy who can solo but has more to do with Eddie Lang and Charlie Christian than SRV.  This collaboration with Spanish blues singer Tonky de la Peña (who previously worked with Mick Taylor) should be a delight.

8:00, Offramp Stage: The Worn Flints.  The last time I saw this band they weren’t quite there yet, but I love the terrain they’re plowing, that fertile ground where The Gun Club meets Dead Moon, and if they’ve improved and tightened the songs, I can’t wait to see what they’ve grown into in the last 6 or so months.

10:15, Offramp Stage: Lo-Pan.  If you made it this far, you’ll be richly rewarded with one of Columbus’s preeminent hard rock bands.  Thick grooves and interesting arrangements wrapped around tight songs made tighter by all their time on the road opening for bigger acts of late.

Afterparty Action:

  • Angela Perley & The Howlin' Moons, Nick D' & The Believers; Rumba Café, 2507 Summit St. See above for write-up of Perley.  Rumba’s usually the home for prodigal son Tim Easton, and folks looking for some of that rootsy dance party charge this year (when both he and Megan Palmer are not returning to Columbus) are likely to find it here.  $8.
  • KOAL; Dick’s Den, 2417 N. High St.  Some kind of tribute to the legendary Ronald Koal, who I was too young to see before he passed away, but many folks I respect, including A., call him one of the great frontmen and I know those songs from the records inside and out.  At Dick’s Den, I expect this to be a wasted mess in the best possible way.  $4.

Saturday June 28, 2014

5:30, Offramp Stage: Damn The Witch Siren.  Krista Botjer from Matte Black Silhouettes and Nathan Photos from Town Monster team up for a weirdo disco band.  A couple fantastic songs and a band that’s really swinging for the fences – see this now because if everything gels, your friends out of town will be talking about them in a year or two, and if everything doesn’t, their legend will grow in town tenfold.

6:05, Bozo Stage: Mojoflo.  This band I first saw with Wiley and the Checkmates (one of my shows of the year in 2008) and they get better, funkier, and more interesting every time I see them.  One of my favorite party bands in Columbus.


8:00, Gazebo Stage: Slick Andrews & the 3C Drifters.  Slick Andrews is the real deal, a honky-tonk singer devoid of any pretense or conceptual trappings, doing the songs he grew up loving as well as you will ever see them done live.  Helped by a nigh-perfect roots band including guitar hero Matt Newman and Jon Coleman.

8:50, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Dan White Sextet.  Newly transplanted to New York, this sextet sheds their eager-student skins a little more every time, helped a lot by their sponge-like listening and the frontline (Dan White on reeds, Jon Lampley on trumpet [who may not be here as OAR is mid-tour], and Chris Ott on trombone)’s constant gigging as a horn section for hire. The harmonies are as sophisticated as you want and they really connect with a crowd.  Sometimes you want to cheer on a band doing everything right even if the music’s not all the way there, but they get better every single time I see them and I want to cheer that on too.

Afterparty Action:

  • The Randys; Dicks Den, 2417 N. High St. One of the most entertaining bands I’ve ever seen – covering everything from Del Reeves to Johnny Burnette to Joe Tex to the Velvet Underground in the most joyous, accessible way – playing in my favorite place to see them.  Expect this to be a righteous, packed, sweaty dance party spilling out into High Street.  $4.
  • Mojoflo; Brothers Drake, 26 E. 5th Ave.  See their write-up for ComFest proper above.  This aftershow in a great, tiny room a 20-minute walk north of ComFest should be a dance party to rival The Randys.  If you can find a cab or the bus timing works out, I’d advise attending both.  No cover.
  • BB and The Timelords, Dirty Biscuits; Ace of Cups, 2619 N. High St.  Dirty Biscuits have, over the last few years, turned into one of my favorite rock and roll outfits, channeling Billy Childish and the Hoodoo Gurus with catchy songs and one of the best rhythm sections in town.  I haven’t yet seen frontwoman Beth Hunter’s other project, BB and The Timelords, but she fronted one of my favorite and much-missed bands, Thee Pistol Whips, and the rest of the band are players I’ve loved in other projects.  Alas, Righteous Buck and the Skull Scorchers (another band that overcame my reservations and turned into a band I couldn’t wait to see), who originally held the end of this bill down, have called it quits. $5.

Sunday June 29, 2014

11:20, Gazebo Stage: John Mullen.  A longtime co-worker and friend, Mullen has a rich, resonant voice and is very appealing on stage. I haven’t heard him do a set of his own work yet so I can’t speak to the songwriting, but as long as I can drag myself out of the house in time, it’s a very safe bet you can find me under a tree, drinking a lemonade and hoping my regret flows out with the toxins.

12:00, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra.  Wiester’s a Columbus treasure and an opening-ComFest-Sunday tradition. Even though the jazz stage is no longer the first to start and the last to end, watching him lead his big band with his trombone is the kind of thing that does a heart good.  Always has great players, always plays classic charts.

1:10, Offramp Stage: Surf’s Up Hose Down.  One of my favorite bands to see and as much fun as you’ll have seeing live music in town, an avant-garde/jazz supergroup (Brett Burleson on bass, Larry Marotta and Aaron Quinn on guitars, Joe Nelson on drums) in the service of killer, catchy surf tunes.  If there’s any kind of a poll, can I put in the suggestion box that Bob Starker (“hardest working man at ComFest”) sit in on sax for a number or two?

3:40, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Honk Wail & Moan.  Also featuring Larry Marotta, this avant-swing big band is one of my favorite institutions in town and they’re never more on their game than playing a ComFest.

4:00, Gazebo Stage: Barry Chern’s Radical Mood String Band.  I haven’t seen Chern play in many years, but friends who saw this configuration open for Michael Hurley said great things, some healthy doses of Jansch and Incredible String Band getting stirred back into the Charley Patton and Mississippi John Hurt.

5:00, Gazebo Stage: John Turck Trio.  If you like this kind of thing, this is the kind of thing you’ll like.  A trio with Turck on vocals and keys, Danny Cashin on bass and backing vocals, and AJ Barnes on drums and percussion.  The songs can get a little soft for my usual taste, but the playing is impeccable and Turck knows his way around a glowing melody.

6:00, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Brett Burleson Band with Steven Wood.  Brett Burleson, one of my favorite guitarists and bassists, always brings something special to ComFest.  One of my favorite ComFest memories ever was a Stones-y set from The Bygones (a band Brett played in) featuring Wood on B3.  Steven Wood led the soulful jazz band Postal when he was in town and has been much missed since making his way down to Atlanta, so this reunion should be a treat.

6:25, Offramp Stage: Los Gravediggers.  Quinn Fallon’s been making music here in town for almost 25 years, but for my money this is easily his best band.  The songs and the playing are stripped down and delivered in a more lived-in way than his long running X-Rated Cowboys.  The good songs they do are as good Americana as anyone’s writing right now, working the pop-inflected terrain of John Wesley Harding’s early records, and really reflect his time spent working with Dan Baird – particularly “Vacancy Sign,” which almost sounds like a Bob Starker tune, “Soundtrack to My Life,” and “Family Tree.”

6:55, Bozo Stage: Nick Tolford & Company.  One of my favorite writers and singers in town, Nick Tolford released his second record this year at one of the most packed local shows I’ve ever seen, and judging by both that and his performance at the Wexner Center’s Off the Grid, his band is a well-oiled machine ready to do justice to his best set of songs yet.  The rare show worth braving the main stage crowd for.

7:00, I Wish You Jazz Stage: Tony Monaco Trio.  One of the great Columbus masters of the organ taking up where Hank Marr left off (along with a few others like Bobby Floyd), it’s a Columbus tradition to see Monaco close that stage and it’s never less than heartwarming.

7:25, Offramp Stage: Colin Gawel and the Lonely Bones.  Colin Gawel, one half of Watershed’s singing/songwriting duo, in a rootsier configuration closer to his much-missed League Bowlers, with Dan Cochran (of Big Back Forty and Feversmile, now perhaps as much known for his fantastic Four String Brewing line of beers) on bass and backing vocals, Rick Kinsinger on guitar and keys, and original Watershed drummer Herb Schupp on drums.  One of the most charismatic frontmen around and bringing a sack full of great songs, I expect them to make the most out of this festival-closing set.

Afterparty Action:

  • Dan White Sextet; Brothers Drake, 26 E. 5th Ave.  See my write-up in the ComFest Saturday section.  Look for the DW6 stretching out in ways they couldn’t in their limited ComFest slot; maybe the last time you’ll get to see these lads until they’re back in town for their album release sponsored by the Jazz Arts Group.  No cover.
  • Postal with Steven Wood; Dick’s Den, 2417 N. High St.  First Postal show in a few years with Wood back in town (see the above write-up of the Brett Burleson band).  If you’ve got any energy left, this is the place to be.  $4

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