The Lunar Year

The Lunar Year performs at The Shrunken Head on Friday night with Typewriter John and the Blue Strings and Chris Laster. Doors at 8pm, $10 cover.

On Friday night, the Philly-based band The Lunar Year will warm up The Shrunken Head (251 W. 5th Ave) with their inviting classical-based indie rock. There’s a lot of depth in the six songs on the band’s debut release, Mon Ange Alice, which came out this past summer and you can hear how artists like The Beatles, Radiohead, and Beirut have influenced the songwriting.

I recently had the opportunity to ask The Lunar Year’s singer/keyboardist Katie Burke a few questions.

Can you give some background on how the band came together? You mentioned that some of you are from – or lived in – Columbus. Were you doing anything musically in Columbus before moving to Philly or was it the move that inspired you to start the band?

Well I am from the Philadelphia area and lived in Columbus for about a year and a half. My bass player Zach McCaw grew up in Columbus. Zach and I have been friends since we were teenagers and started playing together a bit when I moved to Ohio. When I moved back to Philadelphia a few years ago, I started writing on my own. He’s got a great ear for music, so we collaborated long distance for a while and he eventually moved to Philadelphia to go to school for audio engineering. I wrote alot of solo pieces at the start and played with some friends here in Philly, but it wasn’t until he moved that we really started seeing a vision for the music. Then we found Steve Heine, our guitarist, and our drummer Kevin Walker. It was really something to see how our musical backgrounds blended so well. I write all of the music and then we come together and see what parts should go where and where we want to take the song. I feel grateful to have found such excellent musicians who understand the music I write and share the same passion for it.

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Chris Wood with Red Fang

Chris Wood (Starwood Presents) with Red Fang, one of the many bands he’s booked in the last decade

With new singer Adam Clemans in tow, the Athens, Ohio-based metal band Skeletonwitch makes their noisy return to Columbus on Saturday night in support of the recently released EP, The Apothic Gloom. The show at Ace of Cups has significance as the co-promoter of the event, Starwood Presents, is treating it as a 10th anniversary celebration. Tickets are still available ($15) for the show that will also feature Fuck You Pay Me, Nukkehammer and Fever Nest.

If you’ve followed the metal scene in Columbus over the last decade, chances are you’ve attended one of the 300 mostly metal shows that Chris “Woody” Wood has booked under the Starwood Presents name, starting out at Ravari Room before moving onto other clubs like Ace of Cups and Park Street Saloon.

I’ve known Woody for well over 20 years, first meeting him as a drummer when he was in the band The Gingerbread Men (at least that’s where I think I met him) and have – many times over the years – been very thankful that he’s gotten into the booking game as he’s brought some of my favorite bands to Columbus (Helmet, The Dollyrots, Royal Thunder, etc.). While we’ve all attended Starwood Presents shows, I realized I didn’t really know the history of the promotions company so I sent Woody some questions to ask him for some background.

How did you fall into the booking thing? You mentioned you did some stuff (which I remember) at The Factory in 2002-2003 but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard how it all got started.

I’m a drummer and way back when I was playing regularly I was usually doing the booking or made the contacts for the bands I played in. It came naturally to me and I enjoyed it. I’ve always been interested in how things happened and the details related to booking and promotion. In the year 2000 I landed an internship with PromoWest Productions which led to a full time position in marketing for the Newport Music Hall. I moved on from there to work with a talented group of people starting a new downtown club in the Buggyworks building where the nightclub Mekka had been a big dance night success. After Mekka folded it became The Factory. Two of my booking highlights there were confirming UK band Sneaker Pimps at the end of 2002 and Interpol picked us for their first Columbus performance in early 2003. That was an amazing time!

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lou_grammI feel like I take a band like Foreigner for granted. For as long as I’ve been listening to music, I’ve been able to turn on the radio, find a classic rock station, and hear one of a dozen (or more) of Foreigner’s greatest hits. Lou Gramm is the voice behind those hits and was the lead singer from 1976 to 1990 and then again from 1992 to 2003. Gramm’s 2013 biography – Juke Box Hero: My Five Decades in Rock n’ Roll – documents his career, from his start with early days with Black Sheep to his days in Foreigner and as a solo artist to the discovery of a brain tumor in 1997 that was, thankfully, benign and is a good read (and it’s available from the Columbus Public Library).

These days, Gramm is playing the shows he wants to play rather than hoping in a tour bus and criss-crossing the country on a regular basis and he’s got a free show Friday night (9pm) at the Obetz Zucchini Festival. As you’ll read below, expect to hear a night of recognizable hits.

I’ve interviewed hundreds of artists but will admit that having the opportunity to do a phone interview with Lou Gramm was a bucket list item that I still can’t believe happened. Here’s what he had to say.

You’re playing Friday night at the Obetz Zucchini Festival. Now, I know you’re probably getting a nice paycheck but I’m wondering what your thought are about zucchini?

It’s one of my favorite vegetables.

Columbus, like probably every other city in the US, has a classic rock radio station and I kid you not when I say that on my commute to or from work every single day I hear a Foreigner song. Can you wrap your head around the fact that at any given point during the day, not only is one of your songs getting airtime but there is somebody sitting in their car singing along and doing their best or, ha, in my case, their worst, Lou Gramm impersonation?

It’s a stretch for me [to wrap my head around] because as much as I’m proud of the music we’ve written and recorded, the longevity continues to stun me.

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IMG_5904The classic thrash/industrial/metal band Prong played Ace of Cups Tuesday night – their ferocious riffs and speedy, tight rhythms shaking the venue to its core. Many metal bands are out there trying to make it, but Prong’s finesse and continually evolving sound (while still staying true to their roots) have stood the test of time. I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to founder, singer and guitarist Tommy Victor before the show.

 

 

Welcome to Columbus– thanks for this cool opportunity! My husband’s downstairs, he’s a huge fan – he saw you with Mind Over Four back in the day.

WOW! That’s a long time ago! Seems like yesterday—but time flies!

Well, that’s one of my first questions… you’re a current band, continually touring and putting out albums – but people still think of you as a 90’s band; do you ever get that nostalgia of fans coming up saying “Oh, man, I saw you in ’94…”

Every night! Continually. Still, the main pocket of fans, especially in America, remember us from the MTV days… we get a lot of that.

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Review: Stephanie Garber
Photos: Kimberly Rottmayer
Interview: Piper (Kids Interview Bands)

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It was a vibe of sheer giddiness that filled the Newport as Frightened Rabbit’s devoted followers crammed the pit Monday night.  People were fairly frolicking in their anticipation for the Scottish electro-folk-rock five-piece to make their arrival onstage. 

Known for lyrical emotional highs and lows and painting a gloomy landscape, the upbeat crowd (and sound) was juxtaposed throughout the night; songs with sparse, staccato beats you could sway and sing along to contrasting with the well-known, cathartic Frightened Rabbit lamentations.  A deep, violet-blue stage washed the band with darkness as the pulsating electronic opening notes of “Get Out” sprung to life – (as did the crowd), then swelling into Pedestrian Verse’s well-loved “Holy” as the driving guitar surged under singer Scott Hutchison’s blunt admission:  “I don’t mind being lonely, so leave me alone.”

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