I apologize for the week off – I far overestimated the amount of energy I’d have after a long weekend and going back to work the next day. Next time I’m going to be out of town I’ll try to plan better. I hope everyone reading this got out and did something great in the week not forewarned because there was a cultural bounty in town and speaking strictly for me nothing was bad.
Also, due to technical difficulties at the homestead, no links this time. Mea culpa.
October 7, 2014
TJ Clark Talk; Wexner Center, 1871 N High St. One of the finest art historians working today, TJ Clark, whose last book neatly ties into the mammoth Transfigurations exhibition (Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica), returns to the Wexner to dissect two of Picasso’s landmark paintings both from 1932 – Nu au plateau de sculpteur and Nu au fauteuil noir. This should be electrifying. Free event. Reservations at Wexner website.
October 6, 2014
Screaming Females; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. One of the finest rock and roll bands working today, Marisa Paternoster’s power trio out of New Burnswick, New Jersey, have gotten bigger in their appeal and sound and sharper and more defined in their attack over their five albums. Paternoster’s buzzsaw guitar and acidic howl distill everything I’ve ever loved about punk rock with a sly wit and then fuse that to a rhythm section that swings and stomps. A case study in recombining elements that are far from new but making them sound as fresh as a slap in the face. Nashville’s Pujol and Cincinnati’s Vacation open. Doors at 8pm. $10 cover.
October 8, 2014
Cory Branan; Lost Weekend Records, 2690 N High (5pm instore) and Rumba Café, 2507 Summit St (9pm show). Cory Branan is riding a wave of hype any rootsy songwriter would envy with his new Bloodshot Records release The No-Hit Wonderincluding guest appearances by heavyweights like Jason Isbell, Caitlin Rose, and Columbus expat Tim Easton, and the praise and the confidence of other stars are both richly deserved. Branan’s got a honeyed drawl with just enough dirt on it and an easygoing delivery that belies a cold-eyed understanding and an empathy that should put most of us to shame, with insidious hooks that don’t call attention to themselves will be stuck in your head for days. A record that for me recalls Easton’s solo debut Special 20 more than anything else but also a little Guy Clark’s Dublin Blues, Emmylou Harris’s Red Dirt Girl, and John Prine’s The Missing Years, records that already had some life and a surfeit of confidence to them. Kindred spirit, Two Cow Garage’s Shane Sweeney opens the Rumba show along with longtime Columbus jack of all trades Aaron Pauley. Instore is a free event. Rumba Café is $10, tickets available at Ticketweb.
Matt Adams Quartet; Dick’s Den, 2417 N High St.This week’s installment of bassist Matt Paetsch’s residency at Dick’s featuring the Matt Adams Quartet with led by trumpeter Adams and featuring Tony Bonardi on keys and Max Button on drums. Adams has long been a bracing trumpet voice in New Basics Brass Band and an instructor at Capital, it’s always a joy to hear his tone cutting through chatter and clouded thoughts in his rare small-group outings and it should be wondrous to hear the new material he’s been writing played by this finely tuned ensemble. More information at Jazz Columbus. Starts at 9:30. $4 cover.
Danny Bauer Quartet; Brothers Drake, 26 E 5th Ave. I haven’t seen Bauer yet but I’m very intrigued by this tribute to the Chris Potter Underground, a group led by one of my favorite saxophone players working today whose sound blew me away hearing him on Paul Motian and Dave Holland records (and live with both of them) in High School and College. This has the potential to be a really interesting airing out and expansion of some repertory not often explored. And Bauer has a powerhouse band with him for this, augmenting his keys with Bryan Olsheski on sax, Josh Hill on guitar, and Zach Compson on drums. A bigger and better writeup of this is at my pal Andrew Patton’s column at Jazz Columbus but consider this officially cosigned by me. Starts at 8pm. Free event.
October 9, 2014
Sharon Van Etten; Wexner Center, 1871 N High St. I saw Sharon Van Etten play a solo show – just her and an electric guitar – at a day show at CMJ in 2009 right before the ferocious garage-pop assault of Smith Westerns and I still remember that set like it was yesterday. Van Etten used space and silence like knives and every song kept that upstairs room rapt like I’ve very rarely seen in any circumstance, especially an event like CMJ where sometimes the loudest voice and the best drink special wins. That record, Because I Was in Love, is one of my favorite records of the last 10 years, and her followup, epic,also tore me apart. She lost me a little bit with Trampbut this year’s Are We There is a stunning return to form, continuing to dig deeper into herself while broadening her canvas. Starts at 8pm. $18 tickets available at the Wexner Center website.
Junior Brown; Woodlands Tavern, 1200 W 3rd Ave. Junior Brown is the kind of entertainer you’re lucky to see once in your lifetime. He’s a virtuosic guitar player playing a gimmick combination of electric guitar and pedal steel who overcomes any gimmick or trained seal guitar pyrotechnics connotations within one song. He comes with a rich singing voice that conjures Ray Price and Hank Locklin. And he writes some of the best country songs anyone’s written in the last 30 years. A mix of honky-tonk and western swing that’ll satisfy the purists of either but breaks through to people without any interest in country music. Texas duo The Roosevelts open. Starts at 9:00pm. $20 tickets available at Ticketweb.
New Gentle Soul and the Sin Shouters; Tree Bar, 887 Chambers Rd. I’m making an exception to one of my general rules because these bands haven’t played a lot and I’m afraid this show might get lost in the shuffle. New Gentle Soul is three of my favorite songwriters in town, Tutti Jackson (from Action Family and The Patsys), Travis Kokas (from The Cusacks) and Matt Benz (The Sovines and The Beatdowns) teaming up to create something that at least lives up to the sum of its parts, not small praise when you consider those three have led some of my favorite bands and written some of my favorite songs ever. Tutti on bass that walks and swings and trading off lead and backing vocals with Travis, and Travis and Matt’s intertwining guitar lines (sometimes on two 12-strings for a harmonic web you can get beautifully lost in) and rock-solid drummer Gene Brodeur finding new fills and textures in his always impeccable dancefloor beat. This band has the makings of some of the most interesting rock and roll in town, heavily drawing on the Paisley Underground but with the best elements of ‘60s beat music and ‘90s shoegaze and glittering country melody, including covers of The Monkees, Everly Brothers, and the Velvets. Sin Shouters share a member in lead guitarist Matt Benz and the lineup’s identical to the first lineup of The Sovines (very possibly my favorite Columbus band of all time) with Bob Starker on vocals, rhythm guitar and sax, Ed Mann on bass and backing vocals, and Pete English on drums, but they’re not sharing any material with their storied earlier band. This is a fresh start leaning more on the wild rock they grew up with like The J. Geils Band and The Flamin’ Groovies. Starts at 10:00pm, $5 cover.
October 10, 2014
Bria Skonberg Quintet; Lincoln Theatre, 769 E Long St. One of the shining stars of the hot jazz revival in NYC right now, Bria Skonberg’s new record Into Your Own, is a sultry record bringing stone classics like “Winin’ Boy Blues” and “Laura” into a contemporary context but also writing originals that have a beating songwriters heart, not just writing melodies to solo over. Starts at 8pm. $20 tickets available at Ticketmaster.
Los Gravediggers; King Avenue 5, 945 King Ave. Los Gravediggers is the best band Quinn Fallon’s had in town, stripping away some of the jokey qualities and arena-esque flash and filigree and concentrating his observations and lyrical wit into some great, catchy songs. This is a release party for the new record, Get a New Ghost, ; Word from people who’ve heard it is it’s his best collaboration yet with producer Dan Baird and sports guest appearances from Al Perkins and Rolling Stones sax legend Bobby Keys. King 5 isn’t someplace I go very often but when I do I always have a better time than I expected, with one of the best sound systems in town, great sightlines, and cheerful, fast bartenders. For this kind of meat and potatoes rock it seems like the perfect spot in town. Hardest working band in Columbus, Erica Blinn and the Handsome Machine open. Starts at 9:00pm. $5 cover.
October 11, 2014
Landfall by Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet; Wexner Center, 1871 N High St. Laurie Anderson’s been a favorite of mine since the first time I heard her and while the Kronos Quartet took me a while to come around to after my first exposure in High School I’ve since seen the light. One of the finest modern string quartets working and an unassailable force for good in commissioning and arranging new work. This first collaboration between the two – introduced at the Wexner Center’s opening in 1989 – comes to town a few weeks after its performance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and I can’t wait. A storytelling-based collaboration with arrangements by Jacob Garchik (whose record The Heavens was one of my favorites of 2012 and if anyone’s listening I’d love to see come through town with his trombone-based music). Starts at 8pm. Tickets start at $27 and are available at the Wexner Center website.
UK28 Part 2; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. The bar-based second half of Used Kids Records’ 28thanniversary celebration features a terrific and diverse lineup at Ace of Cups. Highlights for me are the new lineup of The Girls! (about whom I’ve written a lot in this space) and the slinky R&B of Renee Dion and Jon Rogers, but everything’s worth checking out including Counterfeit Madison, Cliffs and Washington Beach Bums. Starts at 9:00pm, $5 cover.
October 12, 2014
Merchandise; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St.Merchandise updates and upholds the classic 4AD aesthetic in equal measures, with their new recordAfter the End jettisoning their previous taste for noise and krautrock and wrapping the heavier Smiths influences in some lush REM-style guitar. I’m not sure what the live show sounds like these days but they’re worth checking out in any guise they wear. Dutch band Lower who channel similarly brooding and dramatic archetypes open along with local assault unit Unholy 2. Starts at 9:00pm. $8 tickets available at Ticketleap.