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Glam and Grime

The Cadaver Dogs are fueled by suggestion. Many new attendees of their shows stand slack-jawed at first, unsure as to whether the leather-studded, eye-lined, tongue-wagging spectacle before them is an act, or a lifestyle…the Dogs delight in such ambiguity. In fact, it doesn’t matter to what extent Mat Franklin and Lex Vegas live out their [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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The Cadaver Dogs are fueled by suggestion.

Many new attendees of their shows stand slack-jawed at first, unsure as to whether the leather-studded, eye-lined, tongue-wagging spectacle before them is an act, or a lifestyle…the Dogs delight in such ambiguity. In fact, it doesn’t matter to what extent Mat Franklin and Lex Vegas live out their hard rock fantasy, it’s the suggestion of excess and dirty deeds that sells the show.

Our interview is also fueled by suggestion; namely a happy hour location where we can find the cheapest cans of PBR.

Now that we’ve convened at Bossy Grrl’s, where the tallboys are a cool buck, I’m convinced their entire existence is one long happy hour.

It’s a lazy Thursday in my mind, but Franklin and Vegas are particularly hyped for the week ahead, which promises a set full of ZZ Top covers and hopes to hang backstage with Mötley Crüe at the Nationwide Arena show.

There’s no time for sleep.

For the constantly touring road warriors, Columbus serves as a way station for multiple jaunts. The Dogs feel more at home in locales of pure sin, places like Las Vegas and Los Angeles, where the band recalls adventures of drunken recklessness and saying “yes” to all things – at all times. Their only pet peeve is the fans who pass out too early. When the Dogs are in town, there will undoubtedly be a party. I mean, c’mon, these guys are sponsored by Jägermeister.

Courtesy Mike Edmonds

For most other groups, an interview laced with frequent quips about how “life is a vacation” or how one must “pay their dues” and other scattered expletives, might come across as clichéd. For Cadaver Dogs it’s part of the vocabulary, a blueprint, the norm.

I ask, with a disclaimer not to take offense, if the personas they inhabit are caricatures they switch on and off.

“The stage is just an amplified version of self,” says Franklin. “It’s a blurry line, especially when we are on the road. But people want it, and expect it, and I love giving it to them.”

Even when it comes to their origin story – forming Look Afraid in 2010 as the house band on a Marion cable-access late-night show – debauchery seems at the heart of their aesthetic.

That same year, Franklin and Vegas, along with former bassist Cole Walsh-Davis, won a prestigious “battle of the bands” which won them a gig at the legendary Stubb’s at Austin’s SXSW. There they wowed the pants off of industry insiders, but proceeded to spend their $10,000 prize money on a tour van, a ridiculous hotel room, and an epic after-party. Along with a guy they call Johnny Trashpockets and a fridge stocked with $1,000 dollars of Joose (the precursor to Four Loko) they boozed until a 9 a.m. flight. Such is the way of the Dogs.

But last year, when the trio was reduced to a duo with the departure of Walsh-Davis, it seemed corners might have to be cut. Then again, as survivors, the trimming only made the Dogs hungrier, and more poised than ever.

Their third album, the recently released Too Much, is a testament to that re-invention. As a duo, they claim to be louder than every other band they play with. It’s definitely a badge of honor for Franklin, who now has to execute plugged into both bass and guitar amps, if he is asked to turn down. A less-is-more freedom has re-energized them. The math equates to more free drinks. By necessity, on Too Much, Franklin and Vegas had to sideline the complexity and soloing of previous efforts and focus on simpler, pummeling riffs and blunt beats that could be pulled off in live settings. They boast, with typical Cadaver Dogs hubris, that the album was recorded in 3D.

During our interview the bartender insists on blaring the contents of her iPod, an onslaught of Katy Perry and Iggy Azalea. It’s loud enough to muffle the Dog’s answers, but pertinent enough for me to ask about their thoughts on pop music these days. In listening to Too Much, it’s hard not to find similarities – both the Cadaver Dogs and Lil’ Wayne contain mindless, easy-going vibes broadcasted for the party. It would be hard to exclude “Feel the Heat” from many glossy Top 40 playlists if not for their worship of bands like Monster Magnet and Queens of the Stone Age.

“What we do is accessible for everyone, and I think we like going right down that middle,” Vegas said. “We’ll see 16-year-old girls and 60-year-old bikers at our shows. So for some, they think we f*cking shred, but the other side is happy they can also dance to it.”

An equal conflict of acceptance and drive occurs when asked about their upcoming appearance at the first annual Fashion Meets Music Festival. As far as the theme is concerned, their usual uniform of bandanas and black leather is perfect for the part, but I was determined to get their official statement concerning the controversy surrounding the fest.

“It’s becoming like a ridiculous car crash and I want to look,” Franklin said. “All I know is we are going to destroy the lives of how ever many thousands of people we play for and we could care less about seeing R. Kelly.”

For more information on the Cadaver Dogs visit www.cadaverfuckingdogs.com.

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Music industry designates Blackout Tuesday as time of pause

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To honor the memory of George Floyd and fix the injustices surrounding his death, the music industry has designated Tuesday as a time of pause to collaborate on ways to better support the black community.

Businesses and organizations within the music industry have been asked to pause regular work to reflect on how they can better serve the black community, according to a report from Variety. In general, businesses and organizations across the board have been asked to use Tuesday as a way to focus on the effort.

The message that circulated around social media quickly on Monday stated that “Blackout Tuesday” is being used as “a day to disconnect from work and reconnect with our community” and “an urgent step of action to provoke accountability and change.”

The movement has been gaining momentum under the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused. Major labels such as Capitol Music Group and Warner Music Group announced their alignment with the “Blackout Tuesday” cause. 

Companies have also announced practices such as pausing social media activity throughout the whole day.

Spotify and ViacomCBS have already announced an 8 minute and 46-second moment of silence for Tuesday. The time reflects how long the Minnesota police officer dug his knee into the kneck of Floyd.

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Curbside Concerts brings live music, hope to those in need

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Can’tStopColumbus took a quick pause when the pandemic shut down the world and asked two questions:

  1. Are we sure we're solving the needs of everyone in our community during this time? 
  2. Are we not just coming up with ideas based on our own experiences?

Our elder community was one of the major demographics to have stricter socially distancing guidelines suggested to them. Holidays and birthdays went by without hugs from grandpa or grandma’s cookies.

Out of the need to fill that missing love in the life of American seniors, the idea of Curbside Concerts was born. Anyone is able to jump on the Curbside Concerts signup page and request a concert for an elder, sick people not able to leave the house, or a simple celebration.

Sending a concert telegram is free, and you can also leave a message for a loved one and suggest what type of tunes the organization-selected Columbus-area musician.

So far, the feedback has been inspiring. 

“People cried. I cried. We cried. It was beautiful,” said Zach Friedman, one of the service’s founders and creators. “We had a powerful idea on our hands, and the amazing power of the #Can'tStopColumbus community to scale it and bring it to life.”

To date, Curbside Concerts has had over 50 volunteers. Their job is to drive around a Columbus musician and their equipment with trucks provided by Ricart Automotive. It’s a road trip around the Columbus area, delivering concerts to those who may just need their spirits lifted. It’s like a non-depressing version of Inside Llewyn Davis.

Support has come from all ends of the Columbus creative community, including The Columbus Foundation, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Streetlight Guild, and What? Productions. Through these organizations, musicians are able to be paid for a route that usually lasts five to six hours. 100 percent of the donations they receive on their route also goes to the musicians.

Friedman is asking people to keep requests to older audiences.

“Working with local musicians to perform curbside at people's homes is the vehicle or medium, but the real thing we are doing here is connecting those to older people they love, with an authentic and emotional experience to send love over,” Friedman said.

We found out pretty quickly how much as a collective that we take live music for granted. Live streams have been a temporary, dulled-down replacement. You realize how long people have been robbed of the experience when you see a musician pull up in a pickup truck, set up in five minutes, and serenade neighborhoods with songs like “Lean on Me” and “What A Wonderful World.” It starts off with a message to one house and then resonates down the street, like the citizens of Gas Town rushing to The People Eater for even a drop of water.

Photos by Zak Kolesar

For most people, it was their first taste of live music since mid-March. While we may want concerts to return as soon as possible, its productions like Curbside Concerts that display the emotional power of music.

To request to send someone a concert, follow the link here: https://sendaconcert.herokuapp.com/request

To volunteer for Curbside Concerts, follow the link here: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/9040b45abaa22a4fb6-curbside

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Arts & Culture

Live music allowed again in restaurants and bars: how will these establishments respond?

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A major step forward in the return of live music in Ohio took place over the weekend. The Ohio coronavirus guidelines were updated to reflect the new COVID-19 Dine Safe Ohio Order.

The order outlining the guidelines on live music in restaurant and bars is as follows:

Musicians and bands may perform in restaurants and bars as long as the individuals who are performing maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from all other people including, but not limited to, fellow performers and restaurant and bar patrons and staff.

DJ's are included along with musicians and bands in the order.

Something that was on the mind of a lot of musicians with the reopening of restaurants and the indefinite closing of large venues was how restaurants and bars were going to respond to the immediate venue demand. Places like Woodlands Tavern that already have an infrastructure for live music will have no problem complying with the updated order, but will restaurants and bars that depended on jukeboxes before pivot to a live music model?

With a lot more space available in restaurants due to capacity cuts, does this leave more room for a live music set up? Or will restaurants have to get rid of even more tables if they want to make room for a performer?

The thought of live music in a venue setting is alone enough to get excited about. How these places that now have the ability to host live music execute freeing up space for a band to set up or a DJ to bring his rig in while practicing social distancing is what makes this situation a tricky one.

Not being able to get down in a MojoFlo Soul Train line will be pretty tough, but it’s a tradeoff we’ll have to accept for the return of live music.

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