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Negative Guest List: September Concerts

Sorry if you didn't attend these shows. Good on you if you did. The Negative Guest List is going to be a new monthly column looking back on the month that was in Columbus live music. Here's the first installment. Three sold out concerts that should have been firmly on your radar. Queens of the [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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Sorry if you didn’t attend these shows. Good on you if you did. The Negative Guest List is going to be a new monthly column looking back on the month that was in Columbus live music. Here’s the first installment. Three sold out concerts that should have been firmly on your radar.

Queens of the Stone Age/Royal Blood (9.12 @ Express Live)

It was Royal Blood who provided the “calm” before the storm, that was figuratively a roaring set from Queens of the Stone Age, as well as the literal downpour that only added fuel to the frenzy. The duo of Matt Kerr and Ben Thatcher — of Brighton, England — possess a veritable rags to riches, or garage to amphitheaters, story. Math is futile in music criticism, but it works for Royal Blood. As in, what do you get when you cross the White Stripes with the Black Keys and raise that creation on ’80s hair metal and pop anthems. For two guys, they make much more racket than the aforementioned guitar and drums iconoclasts. The crowd appeared to be genuinely in love with this band, besides my half-hearted assessment. What they do is catchy and loud, and Kerr, switching from guitar to bass and being as charismatic as they come is a rock star in the making, but it just felt as if nothing stuck. I’ve heard it all before. Still, it’s hard to fault their resourcefulness and penchant to make rock radio great again. Too bad they had to open for the Queens.

About the time Queens of the Stone Age took the stage the rain had commenced, and it was pouring hard. That didn’t stop the band from affirming why they are the best in the business when it comes to putting on a “hard” rock show, with all the emotional bent of rebellious teenagers and the cathartic aggression of war-torn troubadours. Halfway through I proclaimed them to be the best American band of the last two decades and on this night they proved that statement to be correct.

They took a time machine through their greatest hits, which was tailored to all tastes from the band’s many moods, “Make It Wit Chu” — for the ultra-stoner Ween hang-oners, “No One Knows” for the mainstream fans, “Avon” for those who have been around since the grinding, desert daze, “Leg of Lamb” for the introspective, guitar-magnified, weirdoes.

But the new album — and a wide selection from …Like Clockwork — dig deep into the dark psyche of Josh Homme. Meditative in the form of nuanced guitar freak outs, perhaps he’s the guy who came up with the formula. Surely if you cycle through the drought of Queen’s material, when he was sound tracking Guitar Hero and middling through his first wave, a bad look for making history, you’ll find hits, but this last duo of comeback albums stretches into a new abyss of performance and metal malleability.

When they finally ended the night, delving into their latest “dance” phase, “The Way You Used to Do,” the crowd was drenched but happy, and actually “dancing” to a metal band. It was glorious to say the least.

Wire (9.18 @ Ace of Cups)

If there were one band I ascribe to shaping who I am now, it’s Wire. Colin Newman and company taught me punk could be art and that art-punk could be both sugary sweet and obtuse without dulling the edge. While I should have planned ahead for the sold-out event, I snagged a ticket last minute, and was instantly invigorated. I spent most of that day blaring Pink Flag out the window, wishing on a quasar they’d come roaring into town in a nostalgic buzz.

No luck. Any search through recent set-lists revealed Wire does not revel in the past. They’re a future band, always have been. However, they did start with “Ahead” (again that motto of movement), a stunning, shoegazing, mid-‘80s pop song, which is in close relation to Wire’s current M.O. It was a nice surprise, but besides that and a rousing “Three Girl Rumba,” their set consisted of material from their last decade of under heard albums. Still, seeing Wire in any capacity is a treat, an honor, you’re in the presence of those who broke punk. Despite not hearing the classics, their vibe was continually taut, and melancholic, with electronic beats battling organic drums, and metallic guitars heavily manipulated and snaking through the layers. It was euphoric at times, boring when it lagged, and a huge hole for those who missed it.

Big Thief (9.21 @ Ace of Cups)

Something was afoot when Brooklyn’s Big Thief took the stage in Columbus. Noticeably, guitarist Buck Meek was missing from the line-up. There were no extraneous guitar trips as exhibited on their albums. There was a lack of atmosphere from that side of the stage. There was a void to be certain.

But anyone who’s been hooked on the young band since hearing them for the first time would know that the center of Big Thief’s universe is the voice and songs of Adrienne Lenker. She could play two strings acoustically and the crowd would still hang on every word. Lenker always wears her heart on her sleeve – bloody and still beating – and on this night she was nearly in tears at the absence of her partner, the aforementioned Meek. It was heavy, emotional, full of peaks and valleys. There was a void to be certain.

In that void though, Lenker filled the space. The triumphant “Real Love” was a call to arms, in the center of the set, confronting her obvious sadness with a rage-filled solo that was Neil Young-level destruction, loud and atonal. Elsewhere, the road-weary band showed their pro chops, playing though songs like “Masterpiece” and “Mythological Beauty” as if they’ve been Top 40 hits for years. There is an advantage to plying your trade every minute of every day – you start to sound like you know how to adapt to any situation with zero effort and all the passion. Had you not known about Meek beforehand, you wouldn’t have known any better, as they Lenker is always in her element.

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Music

Local rocker Angela Perley shines on solo debut

Mike Thomas

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This article was originally published in the September 2019 issue of (614) Magazine.

Folk, alt-country, or indie rock—however you choose to categorize her sound, Angela Perley remains a pillar of the Columbus music community—and highly in-demand as a national touring act, to boot.

(614) caught up with Perley to discuss her new album, life on the road, and what it takes to make it as a musician in the Capital City.

Photos: Brian Kaiser

(614): YOUR NEW RELEASE, 4:30, IS YOUR FIRST AS A SOLO ACT. WHAT LED TO THIS CHANGE?

AP: Since 2009 until last year, I had the Howlin’ Moons. It’s always been myself, Chris Connor on lead guitar, and then we had bassist Billy Zehnal in the band up until last year. We’ve had a rotating extended family of drummers. Billy’s not in the band anymore, and we were also on Vital Companies, which is a studio/label in Columbus that did our previous albums.

https://open.spotify.com/album/04pKByd2ygDHXdvl1TcdWP?si=6njCmRpfR5GRWe5kLNghVw

So this one—it’s a solo one, it’s my first independent release. There’s no label involved, I own the masters to the songs. It’s hard to keep a band together, so Chris, who’s been in the band since the beginning, and I, we’re kind of the only members, and we have an extended family of really great and talented people who have other projects they’re in. It just works a lot better with what I want to do.

YOU USED KICKSTARTER TO HELP FUND THE ALBUM. WHAT WAS THE CROWDFUNDING EXPERIENCE LIKE?

Before, with Vital, they had a studio and video production, and they took care of all of our recording in-house. We didn’t realize how expensive everything was. We had paid for studio time [for 4:30] through show money, but to look at all of the other expenses of making a record happen and trying to get it out there, it’s pretty intense! There have been a lot of independent artists that we know that will do Kickstarters, and I’ve never done anything like it before, so I was really nervous doing it. But it was a success, and I actually just finished sending out all of the preorder vinyl that people ordered.

YOUR SOUND IS OFTEN DESCRIBED AS ANYTHING FROM AMERICANA, TO ALT-COUNTRY, TO PSYCHEDELIC ROCK. WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING WITHIN THOSE TRADITIONS IN 2019?

You kind of have to make your own path, because although there is a resurgence of rock ‘n’ roll, everything’s been done before. It has those roots, but we’re not breaking the mold or anything. You just have to be true to yourself and to the music, and just go from there. Everyone’s voice is important as an artist, so that’s important to remember.

YOU’RE ON THE ROAD TOURING QUITE A BIT. DO YOU STILL KEEP TRACK OF WHAT’S GOING ON IN THE COLUMBUS MUSIC SCENE?

Columbus is definitely growing, and moving toward doing things independently. I’ve seen a lot of bands touring, which is good. It’s an affordable place to tour out of, and there’s a community here for sure. Whenever I have a chance, we go out to the shows. We love The Cordial Sins, and we’re having them as our special guests for our album release. The High Definitions, Souther—there are just so many good bands.

When I go to other cities and I realize that there’s not really much of a scene going on, it is kind of cool to see that in Columbus, people are very aware and supportive of musicians. Even the businesses around here, everyone’s trying to work with musicians in some way. There are so many gigs, be it at breweries, at restaurants, or little festivals that pop up. There’s work for musicians here. And some other cities, there’s really not.

IN THE PAST, YOU’VE PLAYED SOMETHING LIKE 150 SHOWS A YEAR. ARE YOU KEEPING UP THE SAME PACE THESE DAYS?

I’m glad that we played that many shows at that time. We were playing anywhere and everywhere, and a lot of that was pressure financially. If that’s the way you’re making a living, you’ve got to take every gig. We’ve spread out the shows since, especially since we have been doing it for this long. We’re kind of gearing more towards quality shows. I will say, playing that many shows—I needed that. We needed the experience, and just the repetition. Every venue is different, every environment, every crowd. You cut your teeth and it makes you stronger.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO LOCAL ARTISTS HOPING TO MAKE A CAREER IN MUSIC?

It’s tough, because for each person it’s so different. Getting out there and working hard, playing as many shows as possible—that's all really great experience. But also focus on the music itself. If you’re going to make a music video or a recording, take your time—don’t half-ass it. Wait until you know what you’re doing. Although, you kind of have to learn from your mistakes, too.

Catch Angela Perley with special guests The Cordial Sins on September 6 at Skully’s Music-Diner for the release show of her new album, titled 4:30.

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(614) Sessions

614 Sessions: Doc Robinson

Mike Thomas

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4QdxpbrZgg&feature=youtu.be

Doc Robinson, the collaboration of Columbus music stalwarts Jon Elliott and Nick D’Andrea, joined us for this session in the 614 offices to share their unique brand of "Backyard BBQ Breakup music."

While here, the duo played stripped-down acoustic versions of their songs "Wilderness" and "Wild Beauty."

To hear more from Doc Robinson, follow them on your streaming platform of choice, or visit https://www.docrobinsonofficial.com/

Be sure to catch the group at Woodlands Tavern on Saturday, September 21, when they'll be joined by Hebdo, Parker Louis, Honey and Blue and many more for their Family Jamboree.

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/artist/5O0efDEpkqEmWbXD2zpkjz

Apple Music:
https://music.apple.com/us/artist/doc-robinson/1116027164
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Producer: Mike Thomas
Videographers: Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper, Mike Thomas
Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley
Video Editing: Mike Thomas
Contact: [email protected]
Website: 614now.com

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(614) Sessions

(614) Sessions: The Turbos

Mike Thomas

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ThYK1D0000

The Turbos’ high-octane heroics have earned the group a fierce following in the Columbus rock scene and beyond. Combining shredding guitar virtuosity with soaring, anthemic vocals, co-frontmen Alex D. and Lucas Esterline lead the group in a sound that combines the best of the old and the new. Rounded out by the multi-talented Cameron Reck on bass and mononymous local music veteran Jahrie behind the kit, the Turbos are leading the charge for a new generation of rockers.

For the first of what we hope will be many in a new music series we're calling The (614) Sessions, The Turbos joined us in our offices for a stripped-down acoustic set. Despite leaving the electrics at home, the power of their performance was still enough to garner multiple noise complaints (sorry, neighbors).

For show dates and more, be sure to follow The Turbos on Facebook. Big thanks to the group for sharing their music as our first-ever guests in this new endeavor!

———

Producer: Mike Thomas
Videographers: Mike Thomas, Adam Fakult, Mitch Hooper
Audio Mixing/Mastering: Jared Huntley Video
Editing: Mitch Hooper
Contact: [email protected]

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