Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Hey, Fred!" Nights Out 07/28-08/02/14

This title disclaimer will run until I’m sick of it.

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.

Music

July 28, 2014

Oneida; Double Happiness, 482 S. Front St. This will be a little long. Bear with me.

  • Oneida is literally the only band I've ever seen who were so heavy I had to leave the room. In all these years, I've seen Slayer six times and Morbid Angel twice, I've seen Sunn O))) and Boris multiple times, but at Terrastock in 2008, in a little room in Louisville, Kentucky, something happened that made my molecules vibrate against each other. I broke out in a sweat; my knees got weak. It was a John the Baptist on the road moment and I just couldn't be in the room any more, it cut me so deeply I had to watch the rest from the hallway, I had to approach from a distance. The other time I saw them my heart felt like it might burst but I was able to stick out the whole set. If you do have a reaction similar to what's described, this show is at a perfect venue, Double Happiness, with its two big patios to catch your breath.
  • For over 15 years, Oneida has pursued whatever struck their fancy at any given moment, working through krautrock and kosmische and afrobeat and Reichian minimalism and ecstatic improvisation and blue collar choogle, and created one great record after another - Each One Teach One, Rated O, Preteen Weaponry, Happy New Year, The Wedding. A rare totally sui generis rock band. The highest level of that kind of music and the kind of empathy you're lucky to ever see on a stage, I can't recommend anything any higher. I don't know when or if they've played Columbus before, maybe the late '90s before I was hip to them, but this is going to be a special, special show.
  • This is also a special show because it doubles as the wedding reception for Fred Pfening (the eponymous Fred of this column's title) and Stephanie Dean. You can't find two greater friends of culture in general, specifically Columbus culture, or two greater friends of Anne and I. Drinking and dancing to their union will be sweet.  
  • A couple notes on the rest of the bill: The Cheater Slicks are riding shotgun on this show and word is they're bringing something special; be there early enough if you know what's good in Columbus for the last 20 years. Hyrrokkin from Yellow Springs open, a much-buzzed avant-rock trio: Ed Ricart who's played with a who's who of interesting improvisers (and whose label, New Atlantis, put out that phenomenal new Brandon Seabrook record this year) on guitar and bass, teamed with Brett Nagafuchi and Paul Larkowski from the avant-punk band Kuan. I haven't caught them on their earlier trips to town but I have their first LP, Pristine Origin, and my only regret is I didn't hear it in time for it to make my 2013 Best Of list. James Englebeck of the Violet Times label who is back in town after stints in Portland and Brooklyn DJs before/between/after bands.
  • Doors at 8:00pm, $8 tickets available here.
Laura Cantrell; Tree Bar, 887 Chambers Rd.  Obviously there's no chance I'm missing Oneida on this night, but man this was an impossibly hard choice. Two NYC acts in nigh-constant rotation in the Sanford part of this household, neither has been here in at least 10 years, and they're playing the SAME MONDAY NIGHT. A great problem for Columbus to have. Cantrell's one of my favorite contemporary country singers: a great writer, a clear stream of light for her voice, and one of the finest gifts as an interpreter of other writers' songs I've ever seen in my life. She's supporting what might be her best record yet, No Way There From Here, which sees her exploring some new, fascinating textures but wrapping them around that same rock solid songcraft.  Doors at 9:00pm, $7 cover.

July 30, 2014

The Bygones, Orson Buggy, and Surf's Up Hose Down; Dick's Den, 2417 N. High St.  Brett Burleson concludes his month-long residency at Dick's Den with a sampling of his rock and roll work: Surf's Up Hose Down, who had my favorite set of this year's Comfest; The Bygones, Bill Wagner's swaggering tribute to all things Stonesy, featuring Burleson and Billy Heingartner on drums; and Orson Buggy, his slightly more angular rock project, also with Billy Heingartner and Matt Duckworth.  Starts at 10:00pm, $4 cover.

July 31, 2014

Aretha Franklin; Celeste Center at the Ohio State Fair.  Since I was a kid, the fair has always had a couple slots for these legendary American voices playing to a real cross-section of their audience - it's where I saw George  Jones, Johnny Cash with June Carter, the O'Jays, Willie Nelson. And American voices don't get much bigger or more potent than the great Aretha Franklin.  Starts at 7:30pm, tickets available at Ticketmaster.

August 1, 2014.

Connections; Kafe Kerouac, 2250 N. High St.  Over the last few years, the creative core of 84 Nash (probably the band I saw most often in the early '00s), Andy Hempel and Kevin Elliott, have formed a new unit, Connections.  Along with other bandmates Philip Kim, David Capaldi from El Jesus de Magico, and Kevin's brother Adam Elliott from Times New Viking, Connections has evolved into a ferocious, stripped-down unit with some of the best, catchiest songs anyone's writing in town. They're as prolific as they are strong, and they're celebrating the release of their third album at Kafe Kerouac on Friday. Pittsburgh's The Gotobeds and locals Day Creeper (splitting the difference between The Jam's dancefloor cynicism and the long Ohio roots stomp tradition) open.  Starts at 8:00pm, $5 cover.

Theatre

Cymbeline by William Shakespeare, presented by Available Light Theatre; Madlab, 227 N. Third St.  Between this and Red Herring's Thicker than Water (more about that next week when it opens), August is surprisingly stacked with compelling theater options. Available Light doesn't often deal with classical theatre. It's an overstuffed trying-to-do-everything at once play that's never really gotten a fair shake. So this take on a rarely performed Shakespeare (possibly the only Shakespeare I've never seen done), directed by longtime collaborator/fight director Brian Evans with a cast of seven headed up by Acacia Duncan, I guarantee will be something worth seeing.  8pm Thurs-Sat July 31-August 9 with one 2pm matinee on Sunday Aug 3. Tickets available at http://avltheatre.com/shows/cymbeline/

Sunday, July 20, 2014

“Hey, Fred!” Nights Out 07/21-07/27/14

This title disclaimer will run until I’m sick of it.

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+. 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.

The big thing this weekend is my better half’s birthday on Friday the 25th. I love you, baby! So this is going to be a light week for me going out, and also a light week for tempting options.

Summer’s hitting its stride; find a cookout someplace. There should be sun-dappled laughter for miles.

July 22, 2014

Michaela Anne; Woodlands Tavern, 1200 W. 3rd Ave.  Brooklyn-based Americana singer Michaela Anne comes through town to Woodlands, toting a voice that reminds me a lot of Amy Cervini. Many of the songs are mining long-stripped alt.country clichés, but the best material on her new record Ease My Mind finds new twists in familiar-seeming melodies and a fresh lyrical spin on even the stodgiest war horses. This could be your chance to get in on the ground floor of something we’re all talking about in a couple of years.  Starts at 7:00pm, no cover.

July 24, 2014

Richard Buckner; Rumba Café, 2507 Summit St.  It feels like Richard Buckner has played Columbus every few months for the past year, which is a treat for fans and a songwriting clinic. Promoting his best record in some time, last year’s Surrounded, Buckner’s Dwight Yoakam-after-too-many-cigarettes voice is always enthralling and he’s got a catalog full of the best heartbreaking abstraction this side of Suzanne Vega. Sean Gardner, local guitarist and songwriter in a similar vein, opens.  Starts at 8:00pm, $12 tickets available at Ticketweb.

Slick Andrews & the 3C Drifters; Dick’s Den, 2417 N. High St.  One of the finest straight ahead honky-tonk bands Columbus has seen in quite some time, Slick Andrews brings his Lonesome Ned-styled voice to a handful of strong originals and the best array of classic country covers you’ll ever see. He’s backed by a crack band of local all-stars and doesn’t play with the full band very often; take the chance to “beer it up” (one of his records) on a Thursday that I promise will leave you very, very thirsty.  Starts at 10:00pm, $4 cover.

The Singles with The Hexers; Ace of Cups, 2619 N. High St.  Vincent Frederick’s Detroit garage rock stalwarts The Singles packed up and moved to LA some years ago, but they’ve returned as a built-for-speed two piece (with Gore Gore Girls drummer Nicky Veltman) touring a phenomenal record, Look How Fast a Heart Can Break. All the crunch and sugary hooks of their best work with a little more summertime swing.  Local juggernaut The Hexers, no strangers to dance floor-filling stomps or some catchy sweetness, are the perfect complement to this bill.  Doors at 9:00, $5 cover.

July 25, 2014

Anne’s Birthday; everywhere.  Buy her a drink if you see her out; we’re not that hard to find.

Dr. John and The Night Trippers; Park Street Saloon, 525 N. Park St. The last few years, Dr. John has been touring with a band largely comprised of Columbus all-stars, including keyboard giant Bobby Floyd, killing drummer Reggie Jackson, and trombonist/bandleader Sarah Morrow. He’s finally paying back – or paying forward – with an intimate Columbus show and, knowing the band members and Dr. John’s encyclopedic recall of everything great in American music of the 20th century, this promises to be a sweaty, raunchy dance party that could be the hottest night of the summer.  Starts at 8:00pm, $42 tickets available at Ticketweb.

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

Sunday, July 6, 2014

“Hey, Fred” Nights Out 07/07-07/13/14

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.

July 07, 2014

Page Meets Stage: Zach Smith and Hanif Abdurraqib; House with No Name, 186 E Hudson St. Page Meets Stage is a favorite series of mine, from its earlier incarnation tied to the Urbana Poetry Slam in NYC (formerly at CBGB’s and the missed first incarnation of the Bowery Poetry Club, currently holding down Tuesdays at The Sidewalk Cafe) to its infrequent but always edifying appearances here.  Abdurraqib I’ve seen read sporadically over the last few years and he’s grown by leaps and bounds.  His performance at the Columbus Performing Arts Center in April knocked me sideways; fierce and lyrical, never trading truth for an easy bon mot.  Zach Smith I know almost nothing about but if I can get out of work in time I’ll almost certainly be there rolling the dice.  Starts at 6:30, $5 cover.

July 8, 2014

Gary Clark, Jr.; Newport Music Hall, 1722 N High St.  I’m as skeptical as the next guy of new “blues saviors” but friends I trust say Clark is the real thing and it’s only really appreciated live because he hasn’t yet mastered making great records.  This might be your last chance to see him in a room the size of the Newport for a long, long time.  Doors at 7:30pm, $27.50 tickets available at Ticketmaster.

Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers; Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St.  For roots music of a more conversational stripe and far less steeped in virtuosity, this is the kind of show Natalie’s does better than anyone in town.  A show that will benefit from and really reward attentive listening.  Muth has been putting out records for a few years and really hit her stride lately.  An unassuming voice and lyrics that mine the understated lived-in desperation of much of America, somewhere between Tift Merritt and Raymond Carver.  Might be the sleeper pick of the whole week.  Starts at 8:00pm, $10 tickets available here.

July 9, 2014

[CORRECTION - THIS SHOW IS CANCELED] Neighborhood Brats with Senor Citizen & The Border Patrol and The Last Ones; Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St.  Raw punk from San Francisco on Dirtnap Records rolls to town on Wednesday in the form of Neighborhood Brats.  The new EP is a supercharged SST-recalling assault led by frontwoman Jenny Angelillo.  Opening are fellow classic punk revivalists (but with a punch that echoes through the future) Senor Citizen & The Border Patrol and The Last Ones with former members of The Nurses and Donnybrook Boys. Doors at 9:00pm, $5 cover.

July 11, 2014

Scott Miller; Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, 5601 N High Street.  One of my favorite songwriters going back to his time with the V-Roys, Miller took a couple years off from recording but he’s coming back with a vengeance attested to by his EP with violinist Rayna Gellert, CoDependents, and his new album written in collaboration with Doug Lancio, Big Big World.  As sharp a wit as anyone you’ll ever see on a stage but writing with a big-hearted empathy that should make most songwriters green.  Backed here by phenomenal bassist Bryn Davies.  Starts at 9:00pm, $10 tickets available here.

July 12, 2014

This is Your Golden Age, Curated by Vanessa Jean Speckman; Wild Goose Creative, 2491 Summit Street.  This is the official opening/party for Wild Goose’s July gallery show consisting of 35 artists’ works inspired by Patti Smith.  Obviously Smith casts a long shadow and is a very visual, sensual writer, so there’s a lot of material there.  Plus, her own visual work is wildly underrated – I still recall a show of her Babel pieces at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh very vividly.  Some of Columbus’s finest singers and songwriters also perform at this including Todd May, Lydia Loveless, Sean Gardner, Micah Schnabel and Shane Sweeney (the latter two play in Two Cow Garage who perform later that night at Rumba Cafe two doors down). Starts at 7pm, no cover.

July 13, 2014

Pokey LaFarge; Park Street Patio, 533 Park Street.  Pokey LaFarge’s good-time blend of early western swing and late ragtime might get a little aw-shucks for me at time but he’s writing great songs in a genre I love that very few people do at all, much less do as well as he does.  Backed by a crack band, this should be a Sunday night waltz you’re raving about to  your friends the next morning.  Doors at 7:00, $12 tickets available at Ticketweb.