Review: Captain Kidd / Clubhouse / Personal Public (Skully’s: 4/8/16)

This past Friday night, three of Columbus’ up-and-coming indie rock groups took to the Skully’s Music-Diner stage not only to entertain the sea of concertgoers who braved the elements, but also to support a fantastic charity. Proceeds went to the non-profit Music Loves Ohio, which makes disadvantaged youths’ dreams come true with scholarships, songwriting workshops, and more.  Early into the evening, the doorman had a wad of cash in his hand and given the crowd’s size  by show’s end, thousands had to have been donated.

Spunky quintet Personal Public (@PersonalPublic) kicked off the night to a great sized audience for a nine o’clock start. All five guys seemed to be having fun performing their array of catchy, yet thought-provoking alternative rock songs. Their sound is a fresh mishmash of Kings Of Leon, Parachute, and Knox Hamilton, who are three acts that have earned respect within the genre. The coolest part of their set was the bassist showing off his drumming chops off stage in front of the crowd. Not to be outdone, Personal Public’s actual drummer took to the standalone kit on the concert floor and did his thing. Furthermore, the fact that the week prior these guys played the same gig as national alternative acts Declan McKenna and Best Coast demonstrates Personal Public is getting the right ears to hear them.

Clubhouse (@clubhouse_music) had big shoes to fill and this group held their own with no issues. These guys stood out with a hybrid of the romantic 1980s sound combined with the hooks and harmonies found in today’s alternative music (think UB40 + The 1975). Their music is cool enough to dance to by oneself, but it strikes the heartstrings enough that couples can be affectionate to it, too. It seemed quite obvious due to what Clubhouse brings to the table musically and aesthetically, they had the female-heavy audience from the first note. This is a band that is not too far from where Personal Public are in terms of opening for nationally known artists. On June 11, they will participate in LaureLive, a festival outside of Cleveland that features O.A.R, Grace Potter, Red Wanting Blue, to name a few.

Despite setbacks with the singer/guitarist’s monitor, once headliners Captain Kidd (@Capn_Kidd) started playing the mob quickly forgot about the snafu and hung onto every chord these guys cranked out. These gentlemen were spot on from beginning to end and their indie dance style caught on with ladies and gentlemen alike. Their best known tune, “Freaky Love”, was played next to last and sounded just as great as it does in the awesome video with over 26,000 YouTube views.

When the night was over, fifteen musicians had given their time, effort, and energy to execute something special. Those who witnessed the greatness exuded this past Friday were left wanting more. Perhaps Columbus festivals’ big wigs were in attendance for a prime scouting opportunity as these bands deserve to be considered for spots. If they were not, then they missed out on good music with a fun crowd for a great cause.

Review of Mount Carmel, Nick Tolford & Company, Bummers, and Mama at Woodland’s Tavern – Columbus, OH (3/28/14)

This past Friday night, a splendid four hours of jams were produced by four brilliant local music acts. They all brought a little something different to the table and wholeheartedly delivered sets people not in attendance will regret not witnessing.  After each performance, it is safe to say that the central Ohio music scene is back on track and should be in good hands for years to come.

 

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The quartet named Mama was first up and played to a dozen plus early birds, but laid it all on the stage like they were performing in front of thousands at the original Woodstock. The group might have a modern look, but their sound is totally vintage and it was performed flawlessly. Their female drummer banged that kit like crazy and one could tell she was totally feeling the vibe of her bandmates.  The lead singer, whose mustache gave off a Freddie Mercury look, had a voice reminiscent of Jimi Hendrix. Although the band did not have a record for sale at the gig, had there been one can surely bet that word of mouth would have driven sales of said record. Once a CD from this four-piece is available, not getting an earshot of it is a dire mistake.

 

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Psychedelic surfer rockers Bummers (@bummersmusic) were second on the bill and the fashionably late Woodlands crowd started to file in anticipating an energetic set from this four-man act. This group of fun-loving jammers are coming off performances at SXSW where they were certain to entertain and turn some heads.  They certainly did their share of head turning of the crowd and then some.  The group implied although their album is complete, it will be some time before the masses can get an earful of it.  Bummers are very smart in allowing a delayed gratification for their fans to help generate and maintain the buzz surrounding their music. Once the record is out later this year, it is sure to be a local bestseller. If they rocked Austin the way the rocked Woodlands, there is little doubt a label deal is imminent.

 

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Sextet Nick Tolford & Co. (@TolfordAndCo) were up next on the list and their sound was reminiscent of critically acclaimed Josh Dodes and Fitz & The Tantrums. Honestly, Tolford was more over with the crowd than the headliner, as evident of his constant interaction with them. Everyone on stage seemed to have a great time putting on a performance for the audience and were handsomely rewarded for it.  Tolford’s backup singers were fantabulous in their style as well as with their pipes. It was great seeing Leslie Jankowski, ex-frontwoman of Frostiva and Behind You With Knives, back on stage.  She seemed genuinely happy to entertain again and here is hoping that although she keeps working with this band, perhaps she will strap on a guitar one more time as leader of her own group.

 

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The band everyone came to see, Mount Carmel (@mountcarmelswag), was fascinating from beginning to end of their set. Most of the material came from the trio’s new record, Get Pure, which was released that evening. The Brothers Reed and James McCain brought everything and the kitchen sink to their performance. They are described as a throwback to power rock with a blues influence.  After checking out some of their tracks from years gone by, Mount Carmel’s lead singer brought some heavier sounding vocals that heard on prior tracks.  Purchasers of Get Pure should expect a bluesy metal approach on this CD that is more fist pounding than previously released material.

This was a solid gig from the get-go and was totally worth the hype. It was probably the best $10.00 well spent at a local show in a long, long time.  Those who could not be in attendance ought to take some time to seek these artists out online for booking information, tracks, as well as upcoming events.  It is a show that may have caused a case of Tinnitus, but the experience was definitely one to be had.

 

 

 

Review of OneFortyThree, They’re Coming They’re Coming, and Jesse Wilkes at Scarlet & Grey Cafe (1/11)

This past Saturday night OneFortyThree (@OHonefortythree), They’re Coming, They’re Coming (@TCTCMusic), and acoustic soloist Jesse Wilkes put on a solid night of musical action. These artists could have easily phoned in their performances, given the fact that a fourth set from another band never materialized. It was quite pleasing everyone involved made an effort to put on their best shows to make up for the other group’s absence.

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As for ChilIicothe native Jesse Wilkes, he played as an acoustic soloist.  No beatbox, no computers, no synthesizers. It was just a man with a guitar and his natural voice.  Wilkes was the opener, designed to warm up the crowd for other acts, but he did more than just keep the stage warm.  After the performance Wilkes provided at S&G, one looks forward to what he has to offer in recorded material. He definitely earned his keep for the evening and people should keep a look out for his work in the future.  Wilkes is the #1 Folk artist in his region according to ReverbNation. Fans of singer-songwriters are best served looking up Wilkes to find out what he is all about. He is expected to have a big 2014.

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They’re Coming, They’re Coming is a four-piece Columbus outfit consisting of James Anderson, Louis Liphart, Griffin Brink, and Brad Guggenbiller. From beginning to end, these guys had the female-heavy crowd hanging onto every note. A stuffed ALF doll was present for the set as well and it could be considered an unofficial fifth member of the band. The doll did its job as a good luck charm for the group and the band even received a chant for “one more song”. They’re Coming, They’re Coming did a nice job with the BLACKStreet hit “No Diggity” and performed an alt-country song as their encore. The band has a small presence on the Internet and are ranked #22 at ReverbNation, where would-be Alternative Top 40 hit “The Tree” is available to hear. Here is hoping 2014 is a breakout year for this quartet.

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The third performance of the night was conducted by the #14-ranked alternative rockers in Columbus, OneFortyThree. This quintet was on point and is in the midst of working on a live album, which this past Saturday’s gig was part of.  Newcomer Kristian Wilson more than held her own with the charter members of the band. Boy, does keyboardist Randall Chafins know how to bring the energy or what? Everyone was on point and brought their A-game for one of their biggest performances.  This group should go places in the new year, especially after orchestrating the crowd’s participation in their live recording.  That is when a band knows they are on their way to new heights.  It was announced a new EP is in the works, so be on the lookout for it at online retailers.  OneFortyThree’s current material is available at their Bandcamp page and is downloadable to those who want to add it to their personal music players. Local music fans are best served going out and seeing this group before while they can.  It might not be too long before they are out on the road all over the place spreading their brand.

The music of the evening was all on the up and up and each artist brought something different to the stage, making for a diverse and fun night.  2014 is in its infancy and it will be a shock to no one if all three end up having a better year than 2013.  Music lovers are advised to do their research and learn more about these artists. Get to know them before they explode. Defeatists want to underestimate the central Ohio music scene, but it is not in their best interest to do that any longer.

Review of OneFortyThree, Ted Stevens & The Third Rail, and Dave Buker & The Historians at The Tree Bar – Columbus, OH 11/15/13

On a brisk Friday night, bands brought their unique and distinct sounds to the venue formerly owned by the late CD 102.5 FM Director Andy Davis. Each one delivered heat showing that high quality music is alive and well at local venues. The future of the independent music scene is looking very bright after seeing and hearing these artists in action. Music aficionados should follow suit and these are acts that deserve the credit for a job well done.

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Opener OneFortyThree (@OHonefortythree) sounds every bit as great live as their digital tracks advertise. Lead vocalist/guitarist Matthew Berger was spot on with the stage presence and had the lively crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. Their female backup vocalist made her live debut with the group and did an exceptional job. Here is hoping the momentum continues and she delivers for years to come. In addition to performing with a new member, OneFortyThree introduced a track performed for the first time, which along with breaking in a new bandmate is not always the easiest thing to do. The entire band delivered music-wise and even provided some comedy, albeit at the expense of the always-in-trouble Chris Brown.

Similar artists: Kajagoogoo, Ben Lee, Ben Kweller

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Louisville-based Ted Stevens & The Third Rail (@tedstevensmusic) was like stepping into a time warp to the 1970s and that is a good thing. The Classic Rock trio is unlike anything Yours Truly has heard live since forever. Stevens pulled off the ultimate rock star outfit with a white polka dot shirt and leopard print sneakers. After the show, Stevens was clad in an awesome leather jacket oozing with uber charisma. Only in rock ‘n roll, people. Drummer Tony Gantt was solid behind the kit in a controlled frenzy and Kirk Kiefer was on point handling bass duties. The band’s catalog would be perfect for airplay on Columbus’ rock station Q-FM 96.3. “Hometown, Hometown” and “Live Forever” are two of the group’s best tracks performed and are available to listen to at their ReverbNation and Facebook pages. Here is hoping Ted Stevens & The Third Rail go on to have more success out of Lousiville than the now-defunct Parlour Boys and local legend Peter Searcy, artists who did not see the chips fall in their favor long-term.

Similar artists: Taxxi, The Black Crowes

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Lastly,  the buzz-generating sextet Dave Buker & The Historians (@DaveBukermusic) performed. The group was recently featured on the local PBS affiliate’s series ‘Broad & High’ and also was highlighted on the city’s premier independent radio station CD102.5. The band’s folksy sound mellowed out the crowd from the high brought on by Ted Stevens & The Third Rail, and it worked to perfection. The musicianship was superb from all six members and even with a crowd that had long filled out, no one mailed it in. This confirms the professionalism of the band, which should lead to landing shows with larger fanfare.

The group recently released What Can You Bring Back To Me?, an LP that took a year to record between two different studios over 100 miles apart. Tracks like “Molecules” and “A Ride Home” are ideal tunes to take one’s mind off of a bad day or to calm a fussy baby. Dave Buker & The Historians have a future in music for the easy listening, family-friendly music lovers and art house film soundtracks. Not everything has to be at turbo tempo to be good music, and these six musicians get that.

Similar artists: Annalibera, So Hard

It is in indie music lovers’ best interest to be on the lookout for these three groups for years to come as their futures seem very bright after brilliant performances. If these artists were so good at a small-sized venue with minimal sound and a tree stump in the middle of the audience, just imagine the possibilities if they receive the privilege to perform at more spacious settings such as Skully’s, the LC Pavilion, and The Newport. The music industry is littered with whitewash and what was heard and witnessed last night is so refreshing one can not wish nothing but the best for all three.

*Band photos courtesy of each group’s respective Facebook pages.

Review of Lucky City at World Of Beer (Easton)

Last night, Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Sean Benjamin and his band made his return to the capital city and entertained the masses at World Of Beer, an establishment located in Northeast Columbus. It was a very interesting show and some of that had to do with the ‘venue’ itself.

Regional music scene veteran Benjamin was his usually solid self on guitar and vocals, this go around flanked with Lucky City cohorts Egan Ammerman and Jason Seich who sounded great. The group broke out WNCI Top 40-type tracks like “Sky Dive” from Benjamin’s latest studio record, “I Exist”, as well as covers of hits of yesteryear. The best of the bunch was “No Diggity” from BLACKStreet. The lounge-y version of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus” fit in with the intoxication of the patrons and established that Lucky City likes to put its personal spin on covers versus doing a ‘knock off’ of the original. The band broke out new material as well, which fits in with Benjamin’s solo hits. A Kickstarter campaign does not seem too far behind in getting an EP of full-length of new tracks recorded and out to the masses.

The only and major problem with the gig, however, is that World Of Beer is not a typical live music facility. The group was positioned at an upstairs portion of the building in a restricted area approximately 12 feet off the main floor. Therefore, while you could hear the awesome music, the group and the audience were unable to see each other creating a massive discord. A less informed visitor of the place would have thought the radio was playing. Due to the obstructed view, applause was minimal as most of the crowd were watching sports on the countless TVs or shouting amongst themselves. This setup is perfect for artists with absolutely zero stage presence or who have stage fright and want to play for a crowd without actually playing for them.

Lucky City are three handsome guys who deserve a chance to connect with a live audience. Obviously, being the professionals they are, Benjamin, Seich, and Ammerman like playing at the atypical watering hole and did not dog their performance. If you are a live music fan, this particular place may not be for you. The group, however, is worth a listen so checking them out at other establishments will be something you will not regret.

Similar artists: Jason Mraz, Calvin Harris, Shane Harper, Josh Kelley, Matt Nathanson.

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