Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Hey, Fred!" 04/27/15-05/03/15 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top Five

A rare all-music week of "Hey, Fred!" and even more stuff I couldn't fit on. Go out and see some shit this week, Columbus.


April 28: Are You Fucking Kidding Me? A 50th Birthday Celebration of Quinn Fallon. Little Rock Bar, 944 N 4th St. Quinn Fallon's been a mainstay on the Columbus music scene for as long as I've been aware of the music scene. As a singer, songwriter, bandleader, benefit organizer, bartender at some of our key venues including 700 High, Stache's, and Little Brother's (if you don't think the bartender is a cornerstone of any rock and roll scene, you are sadly mistaken), and for the last 15 years bar owner (first at Andyman's Treehouse and now at Little Rock) giving many bands, DJs, and bookers their early shot. He's been directly or indirectly responsible for many of my favorite show-going moments in this town and he finally has a band and songs I'm 100% behind with Los Gravediggers. If you owe Quinn a favor or a thank you, and I know that's no small number of people, you should make it out to this birthday celebration featuring two Los Gravediggers sets. Starts at 7:00pm. Free show.

April 30: Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza, 5601 N High St. You could scour the whole wild world and not find 10 people with even half of Robert "Big Sandy" Williams' sweet, soaring tenor voice and boundless charisma. He's one of the finest singers I've ever laid eyes or ears on and one of the great accomplishments of Natalie's - on a very long list - is bringing Big Sandy and his hard-swinging Fly-Rite Boys back to Columbus on a regular basis for the first time since Little Brothers lamentably closed. He writes impeccable, knowing songs in classic forms - most often rockabilly and Western Swing, but also with a tight grasp of doo-wop, R&B, honky tonk country, jazz balladry and even exotica and rocksteady - with the lived-in quality of standards and the clear eyes of today and right now, merging the two like very, very few others ever have. And that's not to slight the perfection his band brings to the bandstand every time at bat, with a solid four-piece lineup these days including long-time guitar ace Ashley Kingman and supple, swinging rhythm section of Kevin Stewart on upright bass and backing vocals and Joe Perez on drums. I can't make this swing through our fair city because of a play I'm reviewing but that opens up a spare seat for you, dear readers. Starts at 9:00pm. $15 Tickets available at Vendini.

May 1: The Ex-Bombers. Cafe Bourbon Street, 2216 Summit St. Columbia, Missouri's Ex-Bombers play what they and their label, Cavetone Records, call dirtbag jazz and beatnik spy punk. They bring a sound that's all low end with Keri Cousins' sparse drumming that recalls Moe Tucker and takes that influence all the way back in time to Olantunji and her crooning, scratchy vocals backed only by Scott Walus' throbbing bass and backing vocals. They use the elements of a rich palette of colors and moods but feel like they edit religiously and throw away what they don't need with the abandon of a real artist - it's an intoxicating mix you can dance, nod off, or make out to and I'd expect to see all three responses when they come to Bobo for a happy hour show. Locals Faster Island open. Starts at 7:00pm. $5 cover.

May 1-2: Columbus Jazz Orchestra featuring Maria Schneider. Southern Theatre, 21 E Main St. The CJO closes its 2014-2015 season with a bang. There's no legend in the world of big band writing and arranging of the last 30 years bigger than Maria Schneider who almost single handledly kept the torch of Carla Bley, Gil Evans, and Bob Brookmeyer alive in the dark days of the '90s with one classic after another like Evanescence, Coming Around, and Days of Wine and Roses - Live at the Jazz Standard which I played constantly in my early 20s. And she's still making classics - as she experiments with longer forms and other genre references, Sky Blue and Winter Morning Walks are as good as anything anyone's done for the form. A bridge between classics of the big band genre and the new jacks like Guillermo Klein, Orrin Evans, and Darcy James Argue. Her writing is rich and unexpected and charming, clean and brutal and wise, that keeps revealing its mysteries and secrets year after year after year. The program here is called "Big Band Evolution" and come with your ears and mind ready to be cleaned the fuck out. Let's also hope this might be a bridge toward CJO dealing with a more modern repertoire at least occasionally, some of the best players in the world for this kind of music digging into things just a little outside of their comfort zone. Show starts at 8:00pm. Tickets and more info available at

May 2: Blueprint. Brothers Drake, 26 E 5th Ave. Blueprint's one of the finest rappers in Columbus or anywhere with a cracking live show and his records just get better, stronger and catchier and more diverse. As a producer, he's got no equal in town and as a songwriter he's brings crystal clear perceptions, sharp and funny and grim and hopeful, to everything he touches. So any time a new record drops is a cause for celebration and this show for his new album King No Crown is no exception. The bill is stacked with support from legend J Rawls, King Vada about whom I hear nothing but good things, The Almighty Owl Greens and DJ Rare Groove. Show starts at 10:00pm. $10 tickets available at


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