Sunday, July 13, 2014

“Hey, Fred!” Nights Out 07/14-07/20/14

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.

Before I get into the meat of this, I have to say RIP Joey Moore.  One of my favorite guitar players to watch and, from what I knew, a great guy.  I feel terrible for all my friends who are hurting right now.  More about him when I talk about the record from his band The Girls! in my year end Best Of (I can just about guarantee it’s on there, no way I hear 20 better records in the next four months).

July 14, 2014

The Brooklyn What; Tree Bar, 887 Chambers Rd.  Few bands are doing revivalism for the Lou Reed ‘70s (with a soupcon of Gaslight Anthem’s swinging sloganeering) nearly as well as Jamie Frey’s five-piece, The Brooklyn What.  They put out a great record last year, Hot Wine, which is packed full of hooks, snark and stellar two-guitar interplay and this is the second or third time they’ve graced the Tree Bar.  Locals Sleep Fleet who plow similarly anthemic fields open.  Starts at 10:00pm, $5 cover.

July 15, 2014

Billy Joe Shaver; Woodlands Tavern, 1200 W 3rd Ave.  Billy Joe Shaver’s sets are a clinic in songwriting and delivery.  Still touring and making great records in his ‘70s, this legend who wrote major hits for Waylon Jennings (“Honky Tonk Heroes”, “Black Rose”, “Ain’t No God in Mexico”) and Jon Anderson (“I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal”) is a prime example of that breed of ‘70s Texas singer-songwriter who snarls and weeps and covers the whole gamut of human emotion in between sometimes with sharp turns and sometimes with carefully wrought construction.  He articulates a desperate hunger for everything – for innocence, experience, salvation, and guilt – better than anyone I can think of.  But funny as often as not.  And always with what feels like an uncommon ease.  If someone can hear “Live Forever” without getting choked up they’re made of sterner stuff than I am or they’re dead inside.  Starts at 8:00pm, $20 tickets are available at Ticketweb. 

July 16, 2014

Brett Burleson Quartet; Dick’s Den, 2417 N High St.  The second week of Burleson’s residency at Dick’s features his usual working quartet  with Eddie Bayard on sax, Ryan Jewell on drums and Roger Hines on bass.  All four of them are great in just about any context but there’s a rare empathy when they share a stage; an encyclopedic knowledge of jazz history but without feeling shackled to it.  On a good night they’re the best jazz quartet in town.  On a good night they’re as good as any jazz you’ll see anywhere.  As relayed to Jazz Columbus, Brett promises some of his own terrific compositions and tunes by Coltrane, Sonny Sharrock and Jim Hall.   Starts at 9:30pm, $4 cover.

Fat Creeps; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St.  Fat Creeps are a poppy garage rock trio from Boston that remind me a lot of Be Your Own Pet.  That wobbly guitar sound I’m a sucker for and big hooks slathered in gravel and motor oil. Hearing great things about their first full length album but this is the kind of thing best appreciated live – it is highly recommended to wander up here after a set of Dick’s or catch this and wander down for Burleson & co’s final set.  Qurikier Vermont popsters The Lentils open.  Doors at 9:00pm, $5 cover.

July 17, 2014

Owlfood with Taiga and DOT; It Looks Like It’s Open, 13 E Tulane Rd.  An evening of haunting, creeping folk and ambient comes through the It Looks Like It’s Open gallery space which I’m happy to see live music returning to over the last couple months.  Owlfood occupy a space not unlike the moodier side of Akron/Family or the bigger band versions of Six Organs of Admittance but there’s a high lonesome timbre in what they do that cuts through any facile comparisons and there’s a level of control that should be the envy of most bands dabbling in their genre, lots of discussion of “drone-folk” but theirs is a drone like Bartok; like Goya’s black and El Greco’s grey.  Taiga is the ambient guitar work of Bryant Cliffort Meyer from Isis, I’ve only heard a couple pieces but I’m really intrigued to see how that fills the air in this gallery space.  DOT is the solo project of Keith Hanlon, drummer (Black Swans, Orchestraville), recordist (engineered the new Jerry David Decicca record and records the Mug and Brush Sessions), label owner (Scioto Records) and all around great musician and great guy.  I saw an embryonic version of this, I think, in duet with Mike Shiflet about a year ago and it was rough but all the bones were there.  Starts at 7:00pm, $5 cover.

July 18, 2014

Jazz and Ribs Fest; Arch Park and North Bank Park.  As a child this was my favorite festival to go to with my Mom so it makes me very happy to see it having kind of a resurgence.  Yeah, there’s lots of stuff over the weekend I have less than no interest in but are actually quite a few things to pique my interest.  On Friday:
  •  5:30pm, AEP Stage: Mucca Pazza:  This punk marching band out of Chicago might be the most fun musical experience I’ve ever had in my life, whether at Skylab or the Cleveland Museum of Art, they understand exactly enough about what they’re doing and their exacting repertoire to set a crowd on fire.  There’s a winking, novelty quality but also a harnessed power.  A dance party for the kind of wedding you always hope you’ll be invited to.
  • 7:00pm, AEP Stage:  Organ Monk featuring Reggie Woods:  Greg Lewis’  B-3 trio doing Monk tunes and standards associated with Monk is the kind of conceptual hubris-laden project you think couldn’t work but often succeeds beautifully, trading in the unmistakable thump of Monk’s piano but not going into the full-on slurry soul jazz of Lonnie Liston Smith (both of which I love more than anything). Lewis finds a conversational middle ground that I think will make the tourists working on their Buddha-like pork overdose happy but has more than enough teeth for the heads, especially with his band including the great Cindy Blackman (firmly in the Elvin tradition) on drums, Ron Jackson on guitar, and Reggie Woods on tenor.
  • 9:30pm, AEP Stage:  Soul Rebels Brass Band.  One of the finest of the current brass bands working more contemporary repertoire into the classic New Orleans second line idiom while always doing justice to both sides of the fence.  My biggest regret (in advance) of this weekend is having to miss this set for Marissa Nadler (see below), but if you’re not as huge a Marissa Nadler fan as I am I guarantee you can’t go wrong seeing this whatever you normally like.

Marissa Nadler;  Rumba Café, 2507 Summit St. I got turned onto Marissa Nadler when it looked like she would play the Louisville Terrastock in 2008.  She ended up canceling because of a schedule conflict but by then I’d purchased Ballads of Living and Dying and Songs III: Bird on the Water and they’d wormed their way into my soul.  Especially the latter with songs like “Diamond Heart” and “Thinking of You” that felt like they crystallized so much of my own experience but had such a pure, soulful idiosyncratic voice – both a singing voice and a writing voice that felt like it could have only come from that one person, earthy but like it was being beamed in from outer space.  Every record since then has been a little different and a little more sophisticated and assured, with the new July out on Sacred Bones neck and neck with Songs III for my favorite, so I’m very excited she’s finally playing my town and Rumba should be the perfect room for her.  Locals Mosses open.  Starts at 7:30, $12 tickets available at Ticketweb.

Drift Mouth; Shrunken Head, 251 W. 5th Ave.  I don’t intend this to be something for every local band – if I wrote up every time two friends of mine played a show, this would be too much hassle to write and no longer be what I want to do. In general, this is a listing of stuff coming to town I want to make more accessible to folks interested. But I reserve the right to make the rare exception when there’s something new I worry will fall under the radar, a rare reunion, a record release. I caught Drift Mouth’s first show – at the Tree Bar – a few weeks ago and it might have been the most excited I’ve been about a new band since The Girls!. Lou Poster from Grafton fronts this assemblage, turning the fader up on the country element he always had in his songwriting, and keys his songs, the high lonesome snarl in his voice, and the grit of his guitar toward more of a narcotic waltz. Better than ably accompanied by Brad Swiniarski, maybe my favorite songwriter and drummer in town, on drums and backing vocals; Josh Draher on an upright bass he plays with a thickness that adds to the moisture in the air but never drags it into lugubriousness; Craig Davidson with his swamp of lap steel and slide guitar; Mark Spurgeon bringing sparks of light with his crisper, higher electric guitar leads. Go, have a couple $1 shots in my name, don’t miss this.  Starts at 6:30, no cover.
July 19, 2014

Nickel Creek with the Secret Sisters; LC Pavilion, 405 Neil Ave.  A rare breed all around, Nickel Creek injected some fresh artistic blood into a moribund and mummified jam-grass scene and managed to impact the country mainstream along the way.  In their hiatus they spawned the fantastic solo careers of 2/3 of the trio, mandolinist and vocalist Chris Thile and violinist and vocalist Sara Watkins, both of whose records I spin around the house more than the Nickel Creek records, but they were a fantastic live act and this seems like a show tailor-made for a summer Saturday night.  Secret Sisters open with their blend of roots-swing and close sibling harmony supporting a terrific record called Put Your Needle Down. Doors at 7:00pm, $30 tickets available at Ticketmaster.

Jazz and Ribs Fest; Arch Park and North Bank Park.  See Friday.  Things I’m interested in on Saturday include:
  • 1:00pm, Jazz Café Stage:  Mark Lomax II Trio:  I don’t get to see drummer Mark Lomax nearly often enough but the first time I saw him play, at the King Arts Center with his group Blacklist (fearing Eddie Bayard mentioned in the Brett Burleson Quartet writeup on Wednesday) opening for and backing the great Amiri Baraka, was eye-opening and is still one of my most treasured moments.  Whatever he’s doing at any given time is to be missed at your own peril, if you’ve got any interest in jazz or improvised music at all.  I’m not sure who else is in the trio right now but I guarantee I’ll be front and center.
  • 1:00pm, AEP Stage:  From the Five Jazztet:  Mark Flugge’s former band paying tribute to their leader who has passed on (with a substitution of Dave Dewitt to piano from bass and Derek Dicenzo taking his bass chair).  I saw them play Flugge’s public memorial/tribute a month or so ago and it was soul-shaking.
  • 1:30pm, North Bank Park Stage:  Talisha Holmes Ensemble: One of my favorite singers in town writing some of the soul songs anywhere – absolutely modern but recalling everything you loved about classic ‘70s and ‘80s tunes.  Holmes is great with whatever musicians she has but when she has the larger band it’s unstoppable.
  • 7:00pm, AEP Stage:  Funky Butt Brass Band:  I’ve heard raves about this band from friends in St Louis doing a rollicking take on traditional brass band music with a few spoonfuls of classic Midwest R&B and even a few nods to STL’s Black Arts Group tradition of the avant-garde.
  • 7:00pm, North Bank Park Stage:  Rez Abbasi and Christian HowesColumbus’ finest jazz violinist (and one of the finest contemporary jazz violinists anywhere) teams up with his NYC comrade guitarist Rez Abbasi (last seen in Columbus in 2011 at the Wexner Center) for what I’m sure will be a scorching performance.
July 20, 2014
Jazz and Ribs Fest; Arch Park and North Bank Park.  See Friday.  Things I’m interested in on Sunday include:
  • 2:30pm, AEP Stage: Dan White Sextet: I wrote about them in my Comfest post and I still stand by that, a perfect post-lunch set.  
  • 4:30pm, AEP Stage: Byron Stripling Quartet with Kenny Drew:  While the Columbus Jazz Orchestra often programs material not to my taste or inclination, hearing Stripling’s warm, lush trumpet tone is always a joy and a small group should be a perfect place to catch up on what Stripling’s doing


  1. For the record, The Honky Tonk Happy Hour on Friday starts at 6pm and Drift Mouth should be going on about 6:45/7:00.