I apologize for the delay, my NYC trip killed two weeks and I decided to take the Thanksgiving week off. I hope you have been getting out and taking advantage of the dwindling lights (in all senses) of fall, and are girding your loins and battening down the hatches (again, in all senses) for the winter that will soon be upon us. But the calendar isn’t slowing down; this is one of the most packed weeks in recent memory.
She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen; Available Light Theatre, Studio Two, Riffe Center, 77 S. High St. I’m extremely excited for this – this play seems like a return to AVL’s sweet spot,
and I can’t wait for Ian Short’s return to directing after his riveting production of Cock earlier this year. She Kills Monsters is an antidote to the too-common narrative that women find their way to gaming through boyfriends and a look at how roleplaying games are sometimes a step on the way to self-actualization, not a way to escape and shut yourself off. With a phenomenal cast including AVL mainstays Whitney Thomas Eads (one of the best things in Dirty Math 2016), Jordan Fehr (on a terrific hot streak this year), and Adam Humphrey (blew my mind in bobrauschenbergamerica and 33 Variations), and augmented by fresh faces who I’ve really enjoyed in other work like Actor’s Theatre’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Allison Brogan) or Short North Stage’s Sunday in the Park With George (Krista Lively Stauffer), and newcomers just out of school like Kimberly Martin and Emma Lou Andrews. Opens December 4. Runs Thursday through Saturday at 8pm except December 11; Sunday matinee December 14 at 2pm. Tickets available at Ticketmaster or pay what you want at the door.
December 1, 2014
Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas; The Basement, 391 Neil Ave. One of the brightest lights in Detroit’s current garage rock scene, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas have been laying waste to stages for a few years and have seen a justified uptick in their profile with their first album, Secret Evil, out earlier this year. Raucous howling and slashing guitars never sacrifice the “roll” part of the equation with a series of dancefloor stomps. Locals Van Dale and Toledo native Dean Tartaglia open. Doors at 7:00pm. $10 tickets at TicketMaster..
Ishmael Ali’s Zebec; Dick’s Den, 2417 N. High St. Columbus expat Ali is back in town for the weekend and he’s playing a rare Monday show at Dick’s. One of my favorite composers here who didn’t hit my radar until not long before he left town, this should be a treat. Accompanied by a slew of great players including Billy Wolfe on reeds, Mike Humpherys on bass, Thom Caminito on tenor sax, and Matthiesesn Nisch Quan on drums. Bigger and better writeup by Andrew Patton at JazzColumbus. Starts at 9:30pm. $4 cover.
Puce Mary with Ligature, Liebestod, Unholy Two, and Melted Men; The Summit, 2210 Summit St. Maybe the most exciting show of the week. Denmark's Frederikke Hoffmeier's Puce Mary project brings its throbbing beats and taste for surreal detail with Ligature (featuring members of The Men, from the Ascetic House collective) and Liebestod (a solo project of Jesse Sanes from Hoax) and two of Columbus's finest, Unholy Two and Melted Men. Doors at 9pm. $5 cover.
December 2, 2014
Todd May; Natalie’s Coal-Fired Pizza, 5601 N. High St. The finest singer-songwriter in town (“And I’ll stand on Ron House’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that” – A. (after Steve Earle)) is hitting a new stride and getting a lot of long-overdue attention with his co-writes and indispensible lead guitar on Lydia Loveless’s record Somewhere Else and opening slots on many of those dates, and still riding his classic record Rickenbacker Girls (one of my top 5 records last year and a record I still play weekly). One of his solo sets should go over beautifully in one of my favorite rooms in town. The double bill is filled out by Jeff German of the Cur Dogs (and long ago Th’ Flyin’ Saucers) whose solo record 12 Rounds has gotten a lot of heat this year. Starts at 8:00pm. $8 tickets at Vendini..
Martin Savage Gang; Ace of Cups, 2619 N. High St. Sweden's Martin Savage Gang played an outdoor Buccaneer show at Gonerfest a couple of years ago and split my wig. A thick layer of powerpop hooks and grooves laid over a prodigious bedrock of sleaze and grime. They're perfectly complimented by Raw Pony, one of Columbus's best bands who I think have come into their own this year, and other locals Nuclear Moms. Doors at 9pm. $5 cover.
New Pollution with John Turck Trio and the Tony Monaco Trio; Woodlands Tavern, 1200 W. 3rd Ave. An odd bill that speaks to the fascinating crosscurrents through genre in Columbus bands. One of our finest B-3 trios, Tony Monaco Trio, featuring guitar master Derek DiCenzo and terrific drummer Louis Tsamous, will lay down a bed of ferocious grooves and infectious, funky swing. Monaco is not to be missed when he plays in town between his jaunts to Europe or Japan. Following is the John Turck Trio, which features Turck, a strong tenor voice and one of the finest keyboard players in town in more pop context, augmented by Danny Cashin on bass and backing vocals and AJ Barnes on drums, who brings a sharper avant-garde edge to the proceedings but can lay down a pocket with the best of them. I saw the JT3 at Comfest and was blown away at how much tighter their songs have gotten. I'm not familiar with New Pollution, the headliners, but they're listed as a "soul/funk machine" and so should go over gangbusters with the crowd at Woodlands. Doors at 7:30pm. $10 cover.
The Human Experience with SaQi and Scotty Boombox; Rumba Cafe, 2507 Summit St. It's a pleasure seeing Scotty Boombox back making solo music with his new record, A Mime and a Thief, after several years with Ocean Ghost, the joyous joke-belying-real-darkness collaborative band with J. Rhodes .His return to downtempo, sensual electronics threaded by his voice is full of great songs with sticky hooks. Headlining are touring acts SaQi (whose work mines a similar seam) and The Human Experience. Starts at 9pm. $10 cover.
December 5, 2014
Lee Konitz Quartet; Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High St. Legends don't loom much larger in American music than Lee Konitz and the fact that he's still touring at 87 is a marvel, much less that he's still working so close to the top of his game. From his work in the early '50s with Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, and Lennie Tristano, through one of my favorite records, Some New Stuff, with the rhythm section of Greg Cohen and Joey Baron in 2001, and up to his terrific quartet with Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden, and Paul Motian, Live in Birdland, of just a couple years ago, he's still making beguiling, intoxicating music. His world-beating quartet of Dan Tepfer on piano, George Schuler on drums, and Jeremy Stratton on bass are more than up for the challenge. If you have any interest at all in jazz or I'd hazard to say in modern art, do not miss this. Starts at 8pm. $18 tickets available at the Wexner Center website.
Elephant Wrecking Ball; Scarlet and Grey Cafe, 2203 N. High St. This funky trio of trombone, bass, and drums features Scott Flynn from Pretty Lights and John Brown's Body on brass, Neal Evans from Dopeapod on drums, and Dan Africano whose long resume includes Zongo Junction (their appearance a couple of years ago at Woodlands is one of my favorite shows ever in that venue), Nicky Egan and NYC's well-loved cover act The Bayside Tigers on bass. It's an infectious, joyful mix and something people not immediately allergic to things jammy should make a point of checking out. Locals ALCON open. Doors at 9:00pm. $5 cover.
Andyman-a-thon 2014 Benefit Concert; King Avenue 5, 945 King Ave. The Andyman-a-thon benefit for children is one of the best traditions in Columbus and it's fantastic that Andy's friends (principally Quinn Fallon) and CD1025 keep that flame alive since his tragic loss, including with an annual show that includes people Andy personally championed and up-and-coming bands. This year, the former category includes Colin Gawel and the Lonely Bones, who are as satisfying a straight-forward roots-rock outfit as you'll find in this town when they're firing on all cylinders, and a reunion of the original lineup of the X-Rated Cowboys, who drew rabid fans in their day with their brand of wry honky-tonk songs and an energetic stage show. The newcomers include Damn the Witch Siren, whose synthpop gets stronger and tighter around their hooky songs every time I see them, and Comrade Question, whose middle ground of the Ventures and the Velvets makes them one of my favorite bands working in town right now. If you want to take the temperature of a slice of Columbus music past and present, this show will be very rewarding, and in a great room for a great cause. Starts at 7:30pm. $10 cover.