This is a look at things coming through town (mostly music, but look for more theater and visual art as fall gets underway) I’m excited about this week. Title is inspired by A making a joke to a great friend of ours: “Rick’s going to start a blog letting you know what’s coming to town called ‘Hey, Fred! Guess what?’” Appearance here does not constitute an endorsement by the real Fred. Big inspirations are Steve Smith’s Agenda posts in Night After Night and amigo Andrew Patton’s weekly column for Mark Subel’s JazzColumbus.
This is not intended to be comprehensive. For that, Joel Treadway’s Cringe does a great job and has for 20+ years. If someone knows an equally good guide to theater and visual art, let me know and I’ll link that too.
I don’t intend for this to cover every local band I like every time they play. If I wrote up every time two of my friends played a show together, the things I want to highlight would get lost and it would be more hassle and stress than it’s worth to me. I want to note something that strikes my interest as special: a record release, a rare reunion, something new I worry will get lost in the shuffle, but obviously that’s going to be capricious and not follow a strict guideline.
Thicker than Water by John Dranshack, Michael Garrett Herring, and Nick Lingnofski, presented by Red Herring Theater; Riffe Center, Studio Two Theater. The resurrected Red Herring continues their winning streak with an original work, a two-hander (Herring and Lingnofski) playing a father and a son who served in different wars dealing with how each shapes the other. This is developed using the great Mike Leigh's process, with both performers and the director, John Dranshack, collaborating on the script. I saw this last weekend and a full review is forthcoming (probably tomorrow, no later than Wednesday) but suffice it to say this is heartily recommended. 8pm Thurs-Sat, through August 16. $20 tickets available by calling 614-723-9116 or Pay-What-You-Want at the door.
August 15, 2014
It's Boob Thirty; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High. Stephanie Lady Monster's monthly burlesque happy hour is always a good time but this month's edition is special for a couple of reasons. First, it's the last installment in its current form as Steph is setting out for Portland this fall. And if that's not reason enough - though it should be - this is a special promotional edition for Beth B's new movie Exposed (more on the movie the week of its September 12th Wexner Center screening) with the Wex's Kellie Morgan both discussing the film and screening the trailer. Performances by Stephanie and other Columbus Burlesque Collective members. Starts at 7:30, no cover.
August 16, 2014
Fall Exhibits Opening; Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Sullivant Hall, 1813 N High St. Anything following the blockbuster Bill Watterson exhibition (and the very fine Richard Thompson show that ran concurrently with it) has a big shadow to get out from under but, at least for the heads, I think curators Caitlin McGurk and Jenny Robb have built something that’s up to the challenge. The Long March: Civil Rights in Cartoons and Comics coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act and given the depth and breadth of their archive promises to be an illuminating look on one of the most important moments in American history and almost the last era when cartooning was still a way of feeling the pulse of a nation. The other exhibit opening, Will Eisner: 75 Years of Graphic Storytelling is a look at possibly the single most important figure in post-war American comics from The Spirit’s transference of cutting edge film techniques onto a comic page to arguably inventing the graphic novel form to many years of being a mentor and confidant to generations of cartoonists. I saw Eisner speak at one of the triennial Festivals of Cartoon Art when I was a senior in High School and I still remember it like it was yesterday, one of the best moments in my art-appreciating life of any medium. Starts at , free of charge.
Sultan Bathery; Café Bourbon Street, 2216 Summit St. Italy’s Sultan Bathery is one of the long line of international garage rock bands Slovely Records has put out and facilitated touring in the US for and they’re another home run. Drunk on reverb and high on twang, nothing they do reinvents the wheel but if you’ve got a soft spot for the Pretty Things and the early R&B version of the Who or other Slovenly bands like Los Vigilantes, they won’t disappoint. Locals Betty Machete and the Angry Cougars, about whose new lineup I heard great things (but, alas, didn’t get there in time to see) at the Hexers/The Singles show the other week, open. Doors at , $5 cover.
Rich Robinson; Park Street Patio, 533 Park St. It’s a good night for good time retro sounds in the Arena Districtat Ticketweb.. Woodlands and WCBE bring Black Crowes guitarist and co-founder Rich Robinson to town. Robinson can drift into blooze clichés on occasion but he’s got a gorgeous, warm guitar tone and always picks great players. In an evening expect touches of grimy country blues a la Ry Cooder, rocking explosions redolent of Peter Green-era Fleetwood Mac, country stylings like the Flying Burrito Brothers and even a couple excursions into the land of Fairport Convention, all played and sung very well. If this is your kind of thing, you might want to call off because I’d lay money on it sounding fantastic at Park Street Patio and turning into a boozy dancing memory-churn. Heavily buzzed NYC band Hollis Brown, mining a very similar constellation of ‘60s and ‘70s referents if you weren’t tipped off by the name, open. Starts at , $20 tickets available
Lyle Lovett and His Large Band; LC Pavilion, 405 Neil Ave. If you’re flush and not concerned about missing the opener at Park Street, you can probably do both these shows in a night, starting at the LC and walking over to the patio. Lyle Lovett is one of the finest showmen in my lifetime and if you’ve got any kind of taste for American popular music of the ‘40s-‘60s you can’t go wrong when he’s got his Large Band assembled. Watching Lovett is a clinic in low key charm and the glory of understatement, he won’t play three notes when one suffices and he won’t waste words or try to do backflips with his voice. There’s a steely confidence in the ability of the songs to do the work and the ability of his audience to come and meet him halfway or more. He takes lessons from Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt and his college chum Robert Earl Keen and splits the difference between the Blakean seriousness of the great ‘60s Texas songwriter tradition and the pep rally cheerleading of Keen with more than a little classic hokum and self-deprecating charm straight out of Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Bob Wills. And while he’s great in lower-key acoustic settings (probably my favorite record of his is his tribute to earlier Texas songs, Step Inside This House), his Large Band is a finely tuned machine that sends joy over the crowd like a flamethrower with full horn section, steel, keys, and a fiddle or two. They don’t just serve the songs, they explode them. Maybe the show of the summer. Doors atat Ticketmaster.., $32.50 tickets available
The Planktones; Used Kids Records, 1980 N High St. With Mark Wyatt, rocker extraordinaire, leaving town to go rule the Terre Haute scene shortly, his cover band with his brothers and Gene Brodeur is having one final blowout at Used Kids. Super energetic covers of everything from Slade to Brian Eno and those familial harmonies make this one of the most fun bands in town and something I’d definitely be sorry to miss. Starts at , no cover, BYOB.
Jack Menkedick and the John Lake Quartet; Brothers Drake, 26 E 5th Avenue. Brothers Drake has turned itself into one of the better rooms in town for jazz and especially out of town jazz while it seems no one was looking. at JazzColumbus but I don’t intend to miss this. Starts at , no cover. bill starts with a solo sax performance by New York-based Menkedick, an OSU alum who was in Naked City-aficionados Alpine Ghost when he was in town, and he’s followed by John Lake playing with the cream of the local crop in a quartet format. More about this show
Chain and the Gang; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an Ian Svenonius project I haven’t really enjoyed – even a night at Home Sweet Home in Manhattan where he was sitting in DJing with Jonathan Toubin was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had dancing. He has a knack for distilling whatever brand of rock and roll he’s investigating to its barest essence and finding a way to wrap it around his own idiosyncrasies. With Chain and the Gang, his main project of the last 7 or 8 years he’s playing the dancing skeleton of soul music at least as its been burned through by J. Giles and the Bob Seger System (both of whom I like), launching an attack on audience preconceptions and even the underpinnings of capitalist society but in a way you can still shake your ass to. Locals Bloody Show (featuring Laura Bernazzoli also of the raved-about-in-these-pages Raw Pony and Day Creeper) and Goners open. Doors at , $7 cover.
Golden Donna with Sweet William; Café Bourbon Street, 2216 Summit St. Joel Shanahan’s solo electronic project, Golden Donna, has recorded for 100% Silk and Not Not Fun records and it’s very much in that handmade-seeming mode. You can dance to it but you’re better off keying into the music’s throb and riding it like a heartbeat. Other Wisconsin band Sweet William is also on the bill, along with Columbus’s mad genius, Jacoti Sommes (formerly of much missed Hugs and Kisses). Doors at , $5 cover.
August 16, 2014
Helter Swelter; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. Ace of Cups is resurrecting the Parking Lot Blowout tradition of Marcy Mays’ earlier establishment Surly Girl with a couple twists, including the headliner, legendary New Zealand band The Clean for the first time they’ve played Columbus since I think the early ‘90s (correct me in the comments if I’m wrong there). And a hand-picked selection of the finest Columbus bands of the same era, including Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Moviola and Scrawl, and a few just as fine bands with a more recent pedigree including Washington Beach Bums, Raw Pony, and Unholy 2. Starts at , $10 tickets available at the bar.
CBG Band; Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St. If you’re more roots-inclined than classic indie rock, this Saturday alternative is a show hard to miss. This collective is named for its three principals. Colin Gilmore, son of Jimmie Dale, has been refining his songs and putting out better and better records since he was last in town opening for his Dad at Little Brothers years ago, with last year’s The Wild and the Hollow doing justice to all his influences and earning Sylvie Simmons’ description, “The Texas Nick Lowe”, big hooks and wry, sardonic lyrics nestled into loping rockabilly shuffles played with a light touch. Bonnie Whitmore’s been playing bass and writing with Hayes Carll and Justin Townes Earle and her more famous sister Eleanor (of The Mastersons and Steve Earle’s current band) and put out a ferocious, sexy record last year There I Go Again I genuinely regret not hearing in time for my best of list last year. The third letter, Graham Weber, is originally from Ohio and I don’t know his work nearly as well as the other two but his previous record got a really good writeup from Jim Caliguri at the Austin Chronicle who’s never steered me wrong. Starts at at the Natalie's website., $15 tickets