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When Digisaurus launches its first live set this month, they won’t need chrome robot suits or inflated mouse heads, fancy haircuts or projected cartoon versions of themselves to whip up the crowd. In Columbus at least, James Allison needs little introduction. As a musician he’s made a number of stylistic curlicues, and most anything he’s [...]
Kevin J. Elliott



When Digisaurus launches its first live set this month, they won’t need chrome robot suits or inflated mouse heads, fancy haircuts or projected cartoon versions of themselves to whip up the crowd. In Columbus at least, James Allison needs little introduction.

As a musician he’s made a number of stylistic curlicues, and most anything he’s a part of is anticipated. Digisaurus is another bold move. His upcoming No More Room For Love EP is a producer-driven collage of hyper-electronic dance music and festival-ready funk and soul. It’s evident what has inspired the switch.

“When I started I was listening to the Daft Punk record a lot,” says Allison of Digisaurus’ origins. “I think it was less about the music they were doing and more about the approach. They invited and included anyone they wanted into the studio and in their writing sessions. That really excited me, especially since the band I was in had just broken up.”

Since moving from Ealing, England in 2006 for school, Allison’s journey through the local music scene has been exemplar but also hard-luck. The defunct bands he was a part of make for a great CV of current edge and collaboration. Be it his first adventure with The Blastronauts, the synth-pop battles of The Town Monster, or the Spector-ish girl-group glitz of The Regrettes, he has had his sonic tentacles in many celebrated projects. That’s not to mention his steady work recording and filming those who have passed through the studio at Electraplay, where he crossed paths with a number of the musicians who appear as part of the Digisaurus collective (The Regrettes’ Lizzy Morris and Chelsea Automatic’s Jeremy Fina among them).

“I approached it more with a producer mindset, being the facilitator.”

Digisaurus, the name a portmanteau linking the past and the future, started casually. Allison was experimenting with in-the-round recording sessions, in which he would recruit different groups each Thursday night at his house, announce a “theme” and initiate a “try everything” attitude. That resulted in Allison piecing through hours of jams, adding and subtracting until each track came together. Just the latest EP alone was a tireless process that came from his desire to make every song “as perfect as it could be.”

“The idea of the band was romanticized for me, but I started to see over the years how limiting that concept was,” says Allison of Digisaurus’ more project-based alternative to the standard “band” logistics. “I didn’t want to keep writing with the same four people all my life. With Digisaurus, I approached it more with a producer mindset, being the facilitator and inviting in different people for the performance and different people for the writing. I don’t want anyone to think that they have to commit significant time to this unless they want to. I want it to exist forever.”

“Make a Move” is just the type of song Allison hopes will become timeless. It’s got a bit of everything, a disco-punk beat, a little ’70s air-conditioned pop in the chorus, the Bee Gee’s falsetto, and Daft’s skyward arpeggios—niche or not, in Columbus this type of music is not being made. It should turn many a rock club into a dance floor.

As far as contemporaries, Allison reps the Columbus hip-hop scene for a similar aesthetic. Though he’ll admit the two spheres are making different music, he’s inspired by that scene’s penchant for mixing and matching and not settling for small. He is at his most determined with the ensuing task of promoting Digisaurus. He designed the live show to be yet another dimension of what he composed in the studio. With a national tour, reputable publicists, and maybe a light show or two, Allison is poised to attack Digisaurus with an “all-in” attitude.

“I want this to be my last project. This is really me giving it a go,” he says. “I want a career doing this. So I definitely see this as something that I’ll take out on the road and hopefully everyone involved will be here for the entirety.”

Digisaurus releases their first EP with a Spacebar show on June 14. For music and more information visit

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Music industry designates Blackout Tuesday as time of pause




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




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:

To volunteer for Curbside Concerts, follow the link here:

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Arts & Culture

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




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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