Sunday, May 17, 2015

“Hey, Fred!” 05/18/2015-05/24/2015 A Biased and Idiosyncratic Top Five

Another week I'm out of town for most of so apologies if this is distracted or hasty but there's some amazing stuff coming through town.


The Christians by Lucas Hnath presented by Available Light Theatre. Riffe Center, 77 S High St. Available Light ends their season - which already included some of the best work they've ever done, like Quixote and She Kills Monsters - with what promises to be a bang. Hnath's The Christians was one of the most buzzed about (and called "the finest of the bunch" by the New York Times) plays of the 2014 Humana Festival and plays one of the finest Off Broadway companies, Playwrights Horizons, next season, so its out of town bonafides are unassailable. But for anyone who loves Columbus theatre, its local pedigree is the real trigger-puller. Directed by Acacia Duncan, whose assistant direction on Merrily We Roll Along and Jane Eyre, makes me desperately want to see what she does with this. Starring Whitney Thomas Eads, Jordan Fehr (both of whom most recently blew me away in She Kills Monsters), Ian Short (most recently seen uplifting Gallery Players' The Farnsworth Invention), and Michelle Schroeder and Matt Hermes who have broken my heart many times but I don't think I've yet seen in anything this season. My highest recommendation, and look for a review if I can make the timing work out. Opens on May 21. For tickets and more info visit


May 21: Itasca and Oath. Used Kids Records, 1980 N High St. May 21 is the day I'm sorriest to be out of town this week because of the very different shows at Used Kids and Ace. Kayla Cohen's worked in drone-based and collaged avant-garde modes but her new work under the Itasca name strips that down to diamond-hard acoustic fingerpicking and multitracked vocals that have more in common with In Gowan Ring or Nick Castro or even Marissa Nadler. It's beguiling, intoxicating music. Oath is Julia Lans Nowak, poet and visual artist, whose synthesizer based music has a similar sense of foggy mystery and unbridled promise. Locals Mike Shiflet and Meadows open. Starts at 6:00pm. $5 cover.

May 21: Gary Wrong Group and CCR Headcleaner. Cafe Bourbon Street, 2210 Summit St. The Gary Wrong group are the kind of art-high rock and roll that will scour any corrosion off your old receptors and make the metal in your brain shine. A little Hawkwind, a little Plastic Crimewave Sound, a healthy dose of the Stooges, played with an eye on the future and a thick, greasy sensuality. One of the best things I ever saw at a Gonerfest. This killer double bill also has CCR Headcleaner, who traffic in similarly nasty tones and cracked psychedelia but played with the righteous slowness of great Southern rock or doom metal. Similarly apocalyptic locals Unholy Two and Vatican Dagger open. Starts at 9:00pm. $7 cover.

May 23: X__X. Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St. Classic Cleveland art-punk band X_X, John Morton's follow up to the Electric Eels, has seen a resurgence of late with a compilation, X Sticky Fingers X, out last year and a renewed passion for touring. The current lineup includes Craig Bell (The Mirrors, Rocket from the Tombs, The Down-Fi), Andrew Klimeyk (The Mirrors) and Matthew Herbert and all accounts say the new round of shows are not to be missed. Local spiritual heirs Unholy 2 (on the noisey, art-damaged, end of the world side) and Senor Citizen and the Border Patrol (on the classic rust belt punk tip) open. Doors at 9:00pm. $8 cover.

May 23: Baoku. Rumba Cafe, 2507 Summit St. Cincinnati's Afrobeat healers/revivalist/renegades bring their blend of spiritual groove up to Rumba Cafe on Friday. Nigerian-born frontman Baoku Moses leads a large band through a simmering cross-section of styles and riffs in a purifying, scalding, sensual parade. The local opener of this fascinating double bill is Ben Johnson's Insane Jazz Posse who have transcended the goofball name over the last few years and forged a unique, powerful sound as more originals have been written and refined in the crucible of constant practice and play. Doors at 9:00pm. $5 tickets at


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