Hello. First stop, Blue Wisp, where I got carded. I was so excited to get carded, really. When you start getting older, you're easily amused.
I saw Cincinnati’s Syd Natanists here. Bring on the funk. Swarthy from the Swarthy Band was kicking ass, sitting in on bass, and the amazing Marvin Hawkins was hitting skins. Elliott Ruther rocked on guitar and vocals, and we had keys — someone tell me who was on keys — sorry brother, you were awesome. I got distracted by CityBeat Big Dog John Fox, who was standing tall next to me, looming over my shoulder and watching my every move. Actually, he was drinking a beer and grooving out, smiling. Yo, this band was tight. Play on players, you got my vote.
I sped on over to the Inner Peace Center to catch locals The Happy Maladies, where there was a solid, absolutely engaged crowd. All CCM grads, these cats are all stellar musicians, and Eddy Kwon, with his slinky moves, Punk-influenced vocals, near-Mohawk and violin, is fantastic to watch. I like to describe them like this: Classical music thrown in a blender with Punk and acoustic Folk. Sometimes they veer into musical interludes, as if suddenly becoming a tricky Rock orchestra. It's utterly complex, and yet it flows.
Whenever I hear Abby Cox sing, I think of Billie Holiday. She has a certain classic sound with a vintage feel. Then we have the talented Stephen Patota (mandolin), Ben Thomas (guitar) and Peter Gemus (bass). It’s hard to know who to watch with this group. They were right on last night, full of energy, and in the music zone. Hey, they have their first full-length CD coming out, and the party is at Rohs Street Café Oct. 16.
I’d been trying to avoid the dead animal Lodge Bar all weekend, but alas I finally journeyed inside this place of antlers and hair to check out Nashville’s Parachute Musical, which was a surprise treat.
I’m a sucker for a singer on keys — made me think of Seabird, and how they’re kicking it all over the map right now. Parachute Musical’s name made sense when I heard some songs that sounded like souped-up musical soundtracks with Motown and Jazz influences. Call it Pop if you want, and compare them to Ben Folds Five if you want, but there’s something else going on here. The more Alt-sounding vocals caught my ear and gave it a different kick. See, there was a touch of Death Cab for Cutie in there, along with some fun, lofty transitions. High energy, there was a strong positive feel; the vocals and smart use of intensity made it drift from the traditional Pop sound.
Foster was a great showman with a natural presence — at one point, he kiddingly said, “Everybody in this motherfucker clap.” And I’m telling you, everyone did clap. I talked with Foster briefly after the show, and he informed me they were on the last leg of a long tour, heading home. I actually bought a T-shirt, if that tells you anything.
When I walked by The Subway, I spotted for algernon’s Jason Wells, who was smiley and kind, as always.
At the CAC, I caught some of The Subjects’ Reggae-influenced Rock, but I admit that I was really antsy to see You, You’re Awesome. I was hanging out with a friend near the merch when I spotted Yusef Quotah, of course. Now I admit the chances of running into him this time were pretty high. I mean, he was about to go on stage in a bit. However, that makes three nights running into Quotah, so he gets my award for “the person who I randomly ran into repeatedly this year.” We shared a wave and a secret handshake. No, just a wave, and then he ran away.
There was another one I ran into all three nights too. But I can’t tell you because it’s top secret.
There was some holdup at the CAC, so You, You’re Awesome didn’t go on until a half hour later than expected, and I was bummed I was missing Sohio, from Seven Mile, Ohio, play at Javier’s (Sohio has a brand spanking new CD coming out soon as well). But I wasn’t disappointed with YYA. With the big screen to hold up their kooky video (including shots of pills, needles, a man skipping, a woman with her full equestrian gear on, spacemen, cartoons, and on and on) and their videogamish danceable sound, this show was every bit worth the wait. Whenever I see them, I feel like I’ve been catapulted into some strange, childlike atmosphere — they really put you on a trip, musically and visually.
So I was a lightweight last night. This was my last show, and it started pouring rain, so I walked to my car, getting drenched. I didn’t mind. I love the rain, actually.
It was a great night overall. I liked all of my picks, but I have to say I give my vote for You, You’re Awesome — between the ambiance and the tunes they sent me to Neverland, and the whole package of that band is something to see, hear and without a doubt experience.
And thinking it all over, I can’t even pick just one band or musician as my No. 1 for the entire weekend. So much talent. But Erika Wennerstrom, you are the cat’s meow, and you and the Heartless Bastards looked and sounded beautiful.
Hey, I love my town. Last night, there were several times when I had to wait my turn to walk down the sidewalk, and I love seeing the downtown streets so packed and alive. Let’s keep this musical energy going. And going. And going.
I think we’re well on the way, folks. Actually, we’ve been on the way for a long while. So, the answer you’ve all been waiting for — my No. 1 musical pick for the entire weekend? I’d have to say I love my town.