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Columbuzz Friendly Faux

At the culmination of each cycle for the Columbus power trio—the latest being putting the finishing touches on the band’s third record, tentatively titled Abandon Ship!—guitarist and vocalist Geoff Spall is a man possessed. But not so demonically or spiritually, more, Friendly Faux are physically and mentally enthralled by their own sonic grooves. “It’s very [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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At the culmination of each cycle for the Columbus power trio—the latest being putting the finishing touches on the band’s third record, tentatively titled Abandon Ship!—guitarist and vocalist Geoff Spall is a man possessed. But not so demonically or spiritually, more, Friendly Faux are physically and mentally enthralled by their own sonic grooves.

“It’s very organic and open-minded,” says Spall, who, along with bassist Charis Yost and drummer Brandon Morit, formed Friendly Faux from the ashes of Seasonal Help. “It’s heavily influenced by being under the influence. We’re a three piece because that keeps it very simple. The riffs come from improvising together and through grooves, then we run with it for a while until we can attach hooks to it. It’s not a set structure, it’s a ‘sex’ structure.”

All joking aside, Friendly Faux already appeared locked in with the release of last year’s gnarled, hyper-charged, and surprisingly melodic Three Lefts. While songs like “Going Going Gone” and the thrifty raunch of “Now You See Me” are glaringly indebted to heady hard rock, from Queens of the Stone Age to Monster Magnet and ’90s grunge saviors Nirvana, the last 12 months have found the band honing in on their own voices.

“It’s been really wacky this time around,” says Yost about Abandon Ship! “It hasn’t been that fast-paced, like we’ve done the first couple of times. It’s more deliberate and concise. We’ve given ourselves time to tailor it to be exactly how we want it to be and to sound.”

“It’s dangerous rock and roll. An exploration in dynamics and darkness,” adds Spall. “I like to take risks and do nothing else but think of music, girls, and gin and tonics.”

That dedication, ahem, “possession,” has paid off. Though working with Adam Smith during the last throes of the famed Columbus Discount Recording studio on their debut in 2013 preemptively pegged Friendly Faux as a “lo-fi” band, the slightly slicker and coolly focused Abandon Ship!, recorded with engineer Andy Sartain at Oranjudio, posits Friendly Faux as going for the golden ring. Once, the self-deprecating nature of the band made them outcasts, but now they have little trouble finding their way onto oddball lineups at any and every club in town, subliminally finding a way into the local scene’s collective consciousness.

“Recently we’ve been doing pretty well in that aspect,” says Spall of Columbus’s sudden appreciation for Friendly Faux’s frequent shows and play on CD102.5’s rotation. “Years ago I never thought a band like us would work on the radio, but lately the radio has picked us up, so I feel like there is that niche now for us to fill in this city. I feel like there’s a place for us now, at least until… Tuesday.”

Throughout an interview full of chain-smoking and liberal imbibing—those gin and tonics again—our conversation leads to “a particularly intoxicating event” at Brothers Drake, in which the band was cut off from drinking—and playing.

“We were enjoying their booze on stage and we just got a little carried away,” remembers Spall. “We weren’t acting out of line or putting on a bad show at all, but I think we were just a bit too loud for them.”

That behavior is perhaps a perfect encapsulation of Friendly Faux’s sound: the trio aren’t drunks, or cretins, or causalities of the “live fast, die young” cliché, but they are just as rowdy as the music allows them to be without sacrificing the pop craft within.

“If you tell us to turn down,” concludes Spall, “the crowd is going to have that much less fun.”

Members

Brandon Morit, Geoff Spall, Charis Yost

friendlyfaux.bandcamp.com

Upcoming Shows

8.7 Brothers Drake Meadery

8.8 Park Street Saloon

9.7 Skully’s

Noise of Choice

Brazen Grunge Pop

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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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