Free Music Friday!

CoMO will be celebrating the return of our student population and the best weather of the year with a long night of free, live music starting with The Reverend Horton Heat outside the Blue Note on 9th Street.

Then Walk the Plank Productions graces us with another free show afterwards at Mojo’s, featuring local duo, the Flood Brothers…

and Hillbilly Casino from Nashville…

and Chic Gamine.

Thank you, Walk the Plank and the Blue Note.  This will be a perfect way to end our summer.

Tumbleweed Wanderers at Mojo’s

After listening to Tumbleweed Wanderers, two things surprise me about the band: They have only been together for two years, and they are unsigned. I expect the latter to be remedied soon.

Their sound is described as a combination of soul, folk, and rock ‘n roll…but that doesn’t quite capture it.  Or maybe it does; I don’t know.  Give it a listen and decide for yourself.  It’s lovely and fun and upbeat.  They are experienced buskers, used to performing and connecting with audiences.   They would be a perfect addition to True/False.

Wednesday, August 14th at Mojo’s.

Green at Columbia Art League

Green, Columbia Art League’s new show, is the last in a series of color-themed exhibits. Initial feedback on the show is extremely positive–I’ve heard that this is the best of the color shows from several people. Green is not my favorite color outside of nature, but I did find something that needed to come home with me. I was too late though, and the painting–made by a high school student–was snapped up by someone else.  The exhibit runs through June 22nd.

Coveted by the Depth of Your Wishes by Laura Beth Konopinski

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Fitz & The Tantrums at the Blue Note

Fitz & The Tantrums put on an incredible show when they performed at Roots & Blues, and I expect no less of them this Wednesday at the Blue Note. They are a talented and energetic group; one of the best live shows that I have seen. They are super nice too.
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Tristan Prettyman at Mojo’s

Is Mojo’s is large enough to contain the talent of Tristan Prettyman? We will find out soon enough…she performs there this Saturday. I dare you to listen to this and hold still:

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Grand Opening: The Studio of Morli Wilcox

The few times that I have had the opportunity to speak with an artist about her work while gazing at it, I have come away tremendously enriched. That was the case when I met with Morli Wilcox to learn about one of her paintings that I found hanging in the hallway of the catacombs.  (I snatched it up before anyone else could see it.)

A close up Big Bang Bug by Morli.

My painting is called Big Bang Bug. This is no ordinary painting, but Morli will have to explain it herself. I can’t do it justice. Another painting I found online has a similar story.

Morli recently moved to a new studio in the North Village Art Studios building and is holding a grand opening on Friday, February 1, 8 PM to 2 AM.  I am looking forward to seeing more of her work and, hopefully, getting an interview.  First Friday Love Fest will also be going on from 6 to 9 PM…two events well worth braving the cold.


Okay, so I know that 2012 is literally in it sfinal moments as I type this. Snow is falling and within 24 to 48 hours we begin the slow transition from holiday mode to business as usual (though the college winter break will make it linger on a little longer in Columbia). However, at a time when a chunk of the college kids are off with families and taking care of things elsewhere what could arguably be considered the best event of 2012 happened on December 29th when reunion fever of sorts took place at Mojo’s with the return of Bald Eagle (playing thier fourth reunion show) and Como band turned Austinites Megazilla (playing their first show since breaking up a little over four years ago).

Jack Buck

Jack Buck kicking the night off with a small explosion.

The opening slot was held by St. Louis band Jack Buck, who offered up a set of pummeling noise rock full of thick bottom end and sometimes dissonant guitars with humbucker tones that almost have to be scooped out of the speakers. The results lie somewhere between noise, punk and metal with a touch of the experimental thrown in for good measure. Some of the songs had a feel slightly similar to No Means No but the band is far from a copy of that. An interesting set that hinted at the aural carnage to come.


Corey of Megazilla driving home the noise.


After a few minutes to set up and making sure things were ready Megazilla returned to life playing the middle slot of this show. The duo took no prisoners with an intense set that merged noise rock aggression and fury with elements of almost prog like precision using just drums, the occasional sample, and an 8 string bass (tuned in fifths). Tight, heavy, harsh, and somehow melodic that band delivered some heavy music that drew on the energy of the night and made you like it. It was great to see Megazilla back (especially for those people who didn’t get to see them the first time around) and playing as if they never stopped.


Bald Eagle

Behold the ferocity of Bald Eagle in action.

A short time later Bald Eagle came up on stage to tear the place apart. Delivering a setof their patented post metal riff rock, the band’s dual guitar delivery blended precision and heft for a sound as heavy as it was intricate. Hard driving with an occasionl lush synth element at times, the band created an energy loop that fed off the crowd and returned the vibe with an intensity that had to be witnessed to be understood. In a truly just world Bald Eagle would be album rock mainstays (or at least regularly featured on their metal shows) but for now its the crowd on the ground who’s there to see what’s up. I don’t know if there will be more shows but that would be cool if there were.

As the last distorted power chord vibe faded into the ether and we ventured out into the cold we were drained a bit from the energy inside. However, it was time to head for parts unknown and see what was ahead. 2013 was around the corner but tonight was the good early way to send off the final moments of 2012. A great show and one that met all expectations.

December show at PS Gallery

I attended the opening reception of the latest show at the Perlow-Stevens Gallery with the intention of finding one exhibiting artist to highlight and interview. It immediately became obvious that I would not be able to choose just one. The current show is so varied–so abundant–that I have to share it all.*

I became intrigued with Ginny Herzog‘s architectural paintings months ago when I discovered two small pieces at the gallery.  Her work is unusual: She uses oil and  cold wax (a very interesting process that is new to me), piecing together diverse architectural elements into a new form.  One of the unique aspects of her works is that they can be hung more than one way; there is no “right” perspective on most of them.

Kate Gray’s Bella Blue Unknown.

Kate Gray‘s watercolors show phenomenal talent.  Rays of light break through here…shadows fall across there.  These are gorgeous paintings, all inspired by a visit to Italy where the artist spent her days reconnecting to beauty and life.  Each painting in this series (Bella Connections) is paired with a poem written by Gray.  The poems give the works an added depth, allowing the viewer to dive deeper into the artist’s experience of rediscovering beauty (bella).  Many will walk away inspired to do the same.

I usually find myself walking by ceramics after a quick look, but Dawson Morgan‘s pieces made me pause.  It wasn’t color that stopped me; it was shape.  The wispy edges, the folds, the curves, the draping…it feels organic and sensual at the same time.  I was transported to other places while gazing at her work: an autumnal forest with dry and crispy leaves, a dress maker’s studio with yards of silk piled all over, a shallow stream with water gently moving around stones.

Joel Sager’s Rural Structure VI

Joel Sager is a prolific local artist, so chances are pretty good that you’ve already seen some of his work.  I find it fascinating that he uses roofing tar in his paintings; there can’t be many artists out there doing that.  His series of barn paintings elicits adjectives that aren’t usually used for depictions of the American countryside: deep, gloomy, hopeful, dreamy, intense.  I feel like he’s showing me a world that isn’t our own, and I am eager to jump in and explore.

The exhibit (which runs through December) also includes work that isn’t covered here, including a thought-provoking series on books in art (art in books…art as books…book art…), with intallation pieces and items to handle and even take home.  Ask the staff to explain these works; I got so much more out of it after I took a few minutes to ask questions.

*Note: I am not a photographer.  Everything looks much better in person; you’ll have to see it for yourself.


The Ruins of Us, Christmas Shopping and Columbia Independent School

by Keija ParssinenYou might wonder how the The Ruins of Us by local author Keija Parssinen, Christmas shopping and Columbia Independent School connect?  The answer is brilliant and simple!  Barnes and Nobles has provided readers in Columbia with a chance to meet Keija Parssinen while attending a reading of her novel, The Ruins of Us. In addition to this fabulous opportunity, Barnes and Nobles is donating a portion of the proceeds from sales made during the event to the school of Keija’s choice, Columbia Independent School.  To help support the school, stop by the table to meet Keija and receive a voucher that tells the cashier to donate a portion of your purchase to the school.

This event is a wonderful opportunity to meet a local author, published by HarperCollins and shop for those avid or budding readers on your list.  The perk? Your purchases help support an institution on our community.  What could be better than meeting a talented, best-selling author and enjoying a reading from The Ruins of Us, all while supporting an educational institution while Christmas shopping?

Join us on Sunday, December 9, 2012 from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. at Barnes and Nobles in the Columbia Mall. The reading will take place at 5 p.m. We hope to see you there.

COMUSIC REVIEW: Prima Donna, The Dollyrots, Alice’s Anvil @ The Blue Fugue.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: my apologies for the slight delay in getting these reviews up. The past month had been busy and I needed a couple days to rest and process all the information.

The weekend of September 21 and 22 was going to be busy in Columbia due to the Roots and Blues and BBQ Festival coming to town. As a result the city was preparing for what would be an onslaught of locals and visitors coming upon downtown for music and food. However, what was less known was that September 20th was going to be an interesting day in Columbia once I learned the The Blue Fugue was having Prima Donna and The Dollyrots play live.

Alice's Anvil

Taking an audio journey with Alice’s Anvil.

Local rockers Spectravox were supposed to open but had to drop out at the last minute leaving the slot open for Alice’s Anvil. This duo performs layered instrumental soundscapes built on layers of synthesizers and live guitars. Constructed of a blend of textures (delay plays a significant part in their material) and melody lines, their material got the night off to a quite different start in comparison to the other two bands. I have to agree with Kelly from the Dollyrots that Alice’a Anvil should be doing a multimedia performance with visuals added to their sets (hell, part of me sees this sounding like it could be the soundtrack for Japanese animation). Interesting but a surprise compared to the rest of the night.


The Dollyrots: conquering Columbia one gooey hook at a time.

Co-headlining with Prima Donna, The Dollyrots were taking the middle slot of the evening. for their debut Columbia show. After a few minutes to set up the band quickly tore into a blend of punk energy and pure pop hooks that mined both brand new tracks (their new album was released two days before this show) as well as old fan favorites along their 45 minutes set. Despite a change of basses for Kelly after the first song, the band managed to pull off some energetic songs with hooks fresh out of the oven and make it look relatively easy in the process. All of this leading to a closer of “Because I’m Awesome” and the new album track “Staring Over Again” to end the night. They came and made the most of the night, having their sense of fun rub off on the crowd in the process.

Prima Donna

Rocking out with Prima Donna

Prima Donna began to close out the night with a big blast of energy and charisma. The LA quintet delivered some high energy uptempo rock’n’roll with a 70s glam edge and a lot of attitude. Catchy songs full of crunchy guitars and a sneering attitude is this band’s calling card as they blasted out some solid songs and caught the attention of the crowd. Having seen these guys open for Batusis in St. Louis a couple years back, they continued that vibe that sounds as much like it would fit the early 70s glam rock era as it does today. Prima Donna have been gaining a following step by step over the past few years and they appear to show no sign of slowing down as they set out on a mission to rock.

As the PA died down and people began to venture out into the Columbia night, people hung out with the band for a bit and took in the general vibe of the night. While the night was quiet, it would be the calm before the storm as Roots and Blues would soon make for a very busy weekend in this town.