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.
A much lighter week than last time but that’s no bad thing.
August 23, 2014
Feed Your Soul ’14; Riffe Center, 77 S High St. I don’t go to a lot of galas/fundraisers partly because of lack of funds but mostly because they’re usually significantly less fun than another three options that night. But Feed Your Soul is one of my favorite events in any year, drawing some of my favorite people and a wide range of fascinating people I didn’t already know, with a well-chosen spread of food and an interesting lineup in the silent auction. But the real draw for me is the performances: there are always some highlights from the past year, a preview of what’s being worked on for the upcoming season, and a handful of things built for one night only (last year’s terrific multi-voice adaptation of Artistic D irector Matt Slaybaugh’s monologue “The Absurdity of Writing Poetry” comes to mind). I’ve only missed this once in the last few years (for the out of state wedding of one of my best friends) and I have my ticket for this year. Starts at here., $50 tickets available
August 20, 2014
Joe Hunter Trio; Dick’s Den, 2417 N High St. This week’s installment of bass player Roger Hines’ residency (the definitive writeup is on Jazz Columbus) features pianist Joe Hunter, currently of Cleveland, and drummer Joe Ong doing some sets of standards. These three have been a rhythm section for a long time and they play with dexterity and empathy. I expect this to be a wholly satisfying show. Starts at , $4 cover.
Bob Log III; Rumba Café, 2419 Summit St. If you think a blues-punk one man band would be an arduous exercise to sit through, you haven’t met Bob Log III. A barbed wire and neon tumbleweed of sound and antics, it’s been too long since he’s come through town. The Washington Beach Bums are the perfect openers, a good-time frat rock tent revival show wrapped around a dark, complicated heart. Starts at at Ticketweb.., $10 tickets available
Mavis Staples; Scioto Mile. Columbus Parks and Recreation’s free Rhythm on the River series peaks with one of the greatest living American voices – Mavis Staples. Not only has she never stopped, she’s made the most out of her comeback records starting with the Ry Cooder-produced We’ll Never Turn Back and continuing through two collaborations with Jeff Tweedy. I’ve seen her in the last couple years, she still sings like everything depends on her, like she can still save a life – and sometimes she can. Funk-jazz juggernaut fo/mo/deep open. Starts at , free.
Candye Kane with Th’ Flyin’ Saucers and Sean Carney; Woodlands Tavern, 1200 W 3rd St. If Feed Your Soul is over in time and I’ve still got the energy to venture that far from High Street it’s very possible you’ll find me dancing like a moron over at Woodlands. I’ve seen Candye Kane twice, most recently with the much-missed Columbus band The Sovines at Skully’s in 2002, and both shows stand as some of the best fun I’ve ever had seeing music. After starting in LA’s country scene, appearing on the holy grail compilation A Town South of Bakersfield alongside Rosie Flores, Dwight Yoakam, Albert Lee, and Lucinda Williams, she reinvented herself as a bawdy blues belter in the style of Bessie Smith. Over the years, she’s battled cancer and thrown off some of the schtick that was distracting audiences from the fact that she’s one of the best jump blues/boogie woogie vocalists in the business fronting a blistering band and from accounts I trust is playing and singing better than ever. A sampler of Columbus’s always-strong retro warhorses open, Th’ Flyin’ Saucers still bringing their big-energy show and Sean Carney who is a walking blues encyclopedia. Make room for dancing, don’t let the seated crowd take up the good spots. Starts at at Ticketweb.., $12 tickets available
Karl Hendricks Tribute; Little Rock, 944 N 4th St. And this is the other show I’m very likely to appear at after Feed Your Soul. While I don’t know Karl Hendricks personally, he’s definitely enriched my life through his band, The Karl Hendricks Trio, and running my favorite record store in Pittsburgh, Sound Cat, and this stacked tribute show lineup is a testament to the love people have for him in Columbus and beyond. Kyle Sowash, who also organized the show, is joined by Marcy Mays and Sue Harshe from Scrawl, Chicago’s Andy Cohen and Tim Midyett from Silkworm, Lizard McGee of Earwig, Ron House, and Lou Poster from Grafton and Drift Mouth. A great cause at a great bar with some of the best songwriters in town. Starts at , $7 donation.
Nick Tolford and Company; Goodale Park. The last show of this year’s Goodale Park Music Series and they’re going out with a bang. Nick Tolford’s assemblage has been firing on all cylinders lately since the release of his fantastic new record in January and they seem particularly well-suited for an outdoor show. That big voice, stinging guitar, swirling Wurlitzer and a pulsing, swinging rhythm section even better since Bobby Silver took over the bass chair are the prime delivery method for some of the best NRBQ-style bar room stomps and waltzes anyone in town is writing. .
The Fairfield Four; Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St. The perfect here.. show. A little later than usual and rare ticketed brunch show at Natalie’s but if this isn’t magical I’ll eat my hat. The Fairfield Four are a multi-generational gospel group who started in the ‘40s as a peer of the Dixie Hummingbirds and the Five Blind Boys of Alabama and Mississippi, recording phenomenal sides for the Dot label through the ‘50s. They broke through to a higher secular profile in the late ‘90s accompanying John Fogerty and Steve Earle and an appearance in O Brother Where Are Thou, and though members have come and gone – Bobby Hebb and Isaa'60s c Freeman both passed in the last few years – it’s the highest standard of gospel harmony you’re going to find. Starts at , $15 Tickets available
Miss Tess and the Talkbacks Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St. One of my favorite newer voices out of NYC’s perennial retro scene, Miss Tess and the Talkbacks are writing pitch-perfect torch songs flecked with shadings of rockabilly and honky-tonk ably played by her crisp, tight band. If you’ve still got energy after this weekend you can’t go wrong with some dinner, a glass of wine, and this. Starts at here.., $15 tickets available