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Month: March 2016

The Columbus Music Scene, Could It Grow?

The Columbus music scene is the hidden gem of the Midwest. From The Basement, LC, and A&R on Neil up through Skully’s and The Newport on North High Street, there is a vibrant and active music culture that spans across all age-ranges and tastes. There are even scattered music bars around in the different suburbs of Columbus. Flannagan’s hosts the occasional summer concert. Keystone Pub in Polaris has weekly shows. There’s The Bluestone on Broad Street and many others scattered throughout. But of course the highest concentration of venues will always be down between Neil Ave and High Street. All of these venues add to the vibrant and active Columbus life. But what Columbus doesn’t have is a highly concentrated area of live music venues. While Park Street offers dance clubs and bars, there are seldom bands performing live in them. And, yes, on any given weekend there are a number of shows to see, but they are all concert oriented. You buy your tickets, call a taxi, have a few drinks, and then either find a bar afterwards or go home (both of which you’ll probably have to find a ride for). This is where there is opportunity for growth. I like to think of Nashville. Nashville is legendary for their Broadway strip of live music bars that all have music pouring out of them from open to...

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Pretty Mighty Mighty returns

Pardon me if you’ve heard this story before … I remember Pretty Mighty Mighty being a campus bar regular when I was in college and I had some acquaintances who were big fans but as I was a college student in the early ’90s and grunge bands ruled my world, I mistakingly assumed a band with a violin player was either a hippie/Deadhead band or some sort of folkie outfit. It wasn’t until I saw PMM open for somebody like The Promise Ring at Bernie’s that I realized how wrong I was and, fortunately, I tried to make up for the years I lost by checking them out whenever I could. I even was able to talk them into opening one of the first Damnwells gigs in Columbus at a point when they weren’t really playing out that often. I don’t remember exactly when singer Jon Chinn moved to NYC (maybe in the early 2000s?) but that move effectively put an end to Pretty Mighty Mighty – I don’t think they really broke up but, rather, just stopped being a band. Jon does return to Columbus on occasion – the most recent time being last October when his band, Manager, played at Ace of Cups – but I can’t remember the last time Pretty Mighty Mighty’s name appeared on a bill so it’s exciting to see that the band...

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The real backstage story

Arriving at University of Toledo’s Savage Arena on Saturday, Lovins and I picked up tickets and meet-and-greet passes at Will Call, the goods having been left for us by one of the bands performing at the Rock the Arena show. The tickets were front row (whoa!) and situated just behind a small general admission pit. The meet-and-greet came with no instructions as to where to meet or at what time. We figured we’d deal with that later. After Lita Ford ended her set, we found somebody wearing an Arena Security shirt and asked where the meet-and-greets were taking place. He had a few sheets of paper and started looking through them. “Hmm, it doesn’t have any info on here. Let me radio somebody and find out.” We stood for a few minutes waiting for a response and then somebody else from the arena staff came over to us and asked which band had given us the passes. “Warrant,” we said. He radioed somebody, waited another few minutes, then came over and said, “Meet by the elevators on the second floor after Warrant’s set and somebody will show you to the meet-and-greet area.” As instructed, following Warrant’s set we made our way to the elevators where we met with another staff member. We told her what we had been told and she said the whole day had been a mess when...

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Friday: Dear Tracks at Double Happiness

Tired of seeing Facebook posts from friends attending SXSW and missing out on the insanity? Head to Double Happiness on Friday night to check out four acts that easily could be playing multiple showcases on 6th Street in Austin. Michigan’s Dear Tracks is the odd band out on this otherwise local bill (Spencer Morgan of Psychic Wheels, Sega Genocide and Room & Board), though their dreamy, shoegaze pop is a welcome – and natural – addition. Dear Tracks recently issued a 4-song EP titled Soft Dreams and released a video for the title track featuring snippets of old home movies from the ’80s interspersed with more current footage of the band. Doors open at 8, music starts at 9. Double Happiness is advertising this as a FREE show so you can be assured you’ll get more than you paid...

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Thursday: Dead Stars at Ace of Cups

I was turned onto the Brooklyn band by my friend Tankboy from Chicago. Not surprised at all that he digs ’em as Dead Stars’ sound reminds me a lot of the bands that came out of the Windy City in the early-to-mid ’90s, particularly Fig Dish. I realize this comparison is going to resonate with probably 1 or 2 people (hi Kyle Sowash) but think fuzzy guitars with power-pop sensibilities filtered through rock bands like Weezer and Husker Du. Dead Stars rolls into Ace of Cups on the second night of their tour on Thursday night. The band’s on their way to SXSW...

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