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.

COMUSIC REVIEW – BALD EAGLE, MEGAZILLA, JACK BUCK @ Mojo’s

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.

Megazilla

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.

COMUSIC REVIEW: Hooten Hallers 45 Release Party @ Off Broadway in St. Louis

Okay it’s the 14th of September and I found myself in the St. Louis area this weekend for work related reasons. While I know a couple of people and have relatives in the area I also wonder what else is going on as the days approach. In my research I come across  news that Columbia’s own the Hooten Hallers will be having a release party for their new 45 RPM record at Off Broadway in St. Louis. Needing something to do Friday night, I decide to head over there and see what things were like. Here’s a brief example of the artists who played and the atmosphere there.

 

Doormat and Littel Rachel starting off the night.

St. Louis; Doormat and Little Rachel played first. Their old timey blues with male/female vocals and an electrified dobro style guitar was a blend of both old blues and jazz as well as some originals. Intimate, even a little tinny (a metal bodied guitar will do that), the duo had a swing feel and made the most of their brief set to play something that seems a world away but will fit the tenor of the night better than some would expect.

Jack Grelle and the Johnson Family bringing the honky tonk to us.

 

After several missed opportunities I finally get to chance one time local Jack Grelle’s latest project – Jack Grelle and the Johnson Family playing live. Ranging from five to seven people, the band transforms Grelle’s old timey folk country songs into stone country tracks one would find on a jukebox at a honky tonk. Full of pedal steel guitar and tales of life, loss, and people you wish would get lost Grelle and company were largely acoustic, even mixing in a bit of Western Swing into the sound that’s rooted somewhere between Austin and Bakersfield as much as the Midwest. Those familiar with Grelle’s previous solo work will be pleased with this fleshing out of his sound.

Bugchaser taking the night somewhere completely different.

Bugchaser veered things into a complete different path. Their music was high energy space rock (for lack of a better term) built of dual drums and dual keyboards as much as spaced out or fuzzed our guitar. Driving and high energy their songs walk more of a punk or garage feel than the roots music of the earlier acts. Still, the chaos was less of a contrast than one would think.

The tension in the crowd grew as Hooten Hallers came on to play. As you may have guessed, their nasty, stripped down blues rock tore the house down. Delivered with an intensity that neared vintage punk at times, John and Andy fed off the crowd’s energy and gave it right back with some greasy guitars and primal drumming that hit the spot like an after bars late night diner breakfast. Tight, energy draining and aggressive, this turned out to be one of the best shows I’d ever seen by them, I was expecting a lot and I wasn’t disappointed.

Hooten Hallers taking the night over.

And with that it ended. As last call hit we ventured out into the autumn air and various plans (ranging from parties to sleep – depending on the person). Regardless, this was one of those events that I needed to witness.

CoMusic: Papadosio

I came across Papadosio while checking out upcoming shows at the Blue Note. If I’m not familiar with a band, I’ll listen to a song on YouTube and decide within two minutes if I’m going to the show or not. It didn’t even take two minutes to get completely hooked on Papadosio’s sound.

That sound has been described as live electronica with songwriting that “showcases improvisational interludes and refreshing vocal harmonies with an amplified message of transcendence, unity and universal understanding.” It sounds lofty, but that is exactly what I feel while listening.

Their live shows combine music with art and lights to create an atmosphere that transports audience members somewhere else—I’m not sure exactly where, but I plan to find out Wednesday evening.

Until then, here’s a short interview with Anthony Thogmartin:

I don’t think that “live electronica” adequately describes the music of Papadosio. Do you have any words that do it better?

I don’t think it does either. I like the word “electronica,” and I like the word “rock.” They are both very unassuming, and that’s right where we like to be. The whole premise of the band has been to never discredit a musical idea regardless of how much it does or does not sound like Papadosio. Honestly, we didn’t think people were going to be very into our sound back in our first years, but we find ourselves gaining more and more ground. I think it’s because people like variety and color. They want epic; they want emotional; they want to go on a kind of adventure. That’s the show we are trying to throw. So to define what an adventure is may be rather difficult. They should call us Progventurocktronica.

You put on a hybrid show–music, lights, art. Can you tell us how that evolved and what to expect?

Expression led to expansion. We are surrounded by creative people who inspire us and we inspire them. Some of them have joined us on the road; some of them have given us art to project live; some of them come to dance. We took all these elements and made an all-encompassing experience that changes every night. All I can say is: it’s never going to be the same night to night; it’s always going to be fresh. And this tour is going to be very stimulating for sure.

What does To End the Illusion of Separation (TETIOS–the name of the new album) mean to you?

The new album’s name came from the central theme of our life and time now. It’s not complicated; nor does it deserve a long silly scientific explanation. It’s just the most obvious thing that we are all in this together. It’s entirely up to us to learn that all life is reliant on different aspects of itself to survive and thrive. We need to learn to reintegrate ourselves as humans into this vast web of interconnections, instead of trying to dominate it as if we were separate from it. This is just one of the many ways we feel like the title is relevant to what is happening in our world. Many of the songs deal in some way with this realization too.

Artistically the album is a collaboration between us musically and twenty different artists who created a special visual piece for each of the twenty songs. So we are trying to unify visual and audible art: to end the illusion of separation between different art forms. It’s a very exciting time for us to be releasing this album. 😉

Papadosio at the Blue Note. Wednesday, August 29, 2012. Show starts at 8:30.

COMUSIC – Local Bands Worth Checking Out

So, the summer is over in all but the actual autumn equinox sense. School is back in and people are adjusting to a long routine of studying, work, et al. However, life is about more than just the work we have to do to survive. With that in mind I would like to talk about some bands you may not have heard of. They’re mentioned here in no particular order other than the first bands or artists that came to mind. They’re also the ti of the iceberg in terms of local music in Columbia, So whether you’ve just moved here for school or other reasons or have been around for a while but really busy and haven’t paid attention to what has been going on here musically, here are a few local bands worth checking out.

BATTLEMENT

Battlement

 

I hadn’t heard this band until I saw them play live recently and became a believer. This young trio delivers vintage style thrash metal with tight, relatively complex songs and a hint of prog mixed in. What emerges are songs that draw upon the roots of thrash while adding enough of a twist to show the potential they have ahead of them. More intricate guitar leads than gimmicks or tuned down crunch, While Columbia has never beenexactly known as a hotspot for metal, Battlement is a band that may change that.

GRAN MAL

Gran Mal

Ben and Nate of Gran Mal

 

What if you’re in the mood for some vintage style punk? Well, check out Gran Mal. this trio tears down the aural gauntlet with straightahead punk and hardcore that goes for the throat with medium fast beats and raw to the point,power chord guitar work. These guys know their genre and deliver no frills and in your face with a mix of sonic roughness and visceral energy that you don’t hear a lot these days. Gran Mal is the latest link in the chain of hardcore punk reamining true to its roots while trying to mark their own niche within it.

NOISE ORDINANCE

Noise Ordinance

Noise Ordinance live – May 2012

 

This is a very young band (as in they’ve only played a literal handful of shows) but these kids lay down a blend of vintage punk with occasional ska and reggae overtone that shows a lot of potential.  Yeah, they wear their influences on their sometimes tattered sleeves but they draw from old HC as much as new punk and raw a rawness that some readers will find refreshing.

 

As I said earlier, this is far from a complete list of local bands to check out.  It’s the tip of the tip of the iceberg.  In addition, just because I recommend a band doesn’t mean you’ll agree with me.  Regardless of what you think of the bands I recommend here I do feel you should take some time and check out the local music scene here in Columbia.  Yes, it may take some effort but you may also find some artists that surprise you.

 

Wordless Wednesday: Artrageous Friday & Summerfest

(all photos taken on a Nikon D300 with 35mm 1.8 lens)

 

COMUSIC REVIEW- Trio Kablammo, Missouri Weather and the Wait 5 @ Artrageous Friday

As I type this we are suffering under the weight of one of the worst droughts in years (if not decades) Several weeks of nearly constant 100° plus days has created a stifling heat that has gotten people on edge and made people not want to go outside anywhere unless absolutely necessary. However, since cabin fever can drive people up the walls, sometimes you have to brave the heat and get away. For me it was after doing some errands Friday night and the realization that I needed to have a night out that led me to finally fulfill a promise and see a band I’ve been meaning to for a while but had been unable to in the past.

 

Missouri Weather and the Wait 5 laying it down

Missouri Weather and the Wait 5 laying it down

I arrived at the back of Artrageous gallery in downtown Columbia shortly after Artrageous Friday’s house band Missouri Weather and the Wait 5 started playing. This local quintet provided a sonic backdrop of classic sounding rock drawing from a mix of jazz and blues elements with a fair element of improvisation and some hints of heavy metal at points. Built around Anna’s vocals and acoustic guitar work, the songs have a lilting quality where lush organ and piano percolate to evoke vibes that are part jam band but one may also hear touchstones of classic rock ranging from Van Morrison and Atlanta Rhythm Section in their sound. This band is still fairly young but standing at a crossroads between class rock/jam band style roots and melding more modern sounds within it. This band is slowly building a following in the region and looks to be growing into a promising live act.

 

TK

Trio Kablammo taking things somewhere unexpected – as expected.

I didn’t know Trio Kablammo would be playing tonight until I found out just after Missouri Weather began playing, making this a welcome surprise. The band rose to the challenge to deliver a set of their trademark jam/country rock complete with their trademark skewed sense of humor. Filtering jazz chords and thumb picked lead guitar with a tight rhythm section, the trio came up with a set that was relatively breezy, slightly snarky, and a respite from the sweltering heat outside. While Trio Kablammo was unexpected, they added a feel to the event hat complimented the night.
Eventually, I went out into the night. Between Ana Popovic playing Summerfest on 9th St and a couple of club shows, this was a quasi-sleepy night in Columbia. However, sometimes when you seek things out on a hot somewhat sleepy night, what you might may surprise you.

COMUSIC REVIEW: CABIN SESSIONS – “Back to Compton”

Back to Compton Vol5 the fourth CdCabin Sessions have always been somewhat of an enigma within Columbia’s music scene. Where most artist begin playing live before recording, CS began as a one-off project with some local songwriters that was recorded just to hear how it sounded. From those first songs getting played to friends, the local collective emerged as a band in its own right with three CDs released and a number of live shows (limited due to family and other obligations). After a fourth session was shelved for a number of reasons, it appeared the future was in question, However, they eventually returned to Compton, AR (the site of the first session) and emerged with their fourth album.
Vol5: Back to Compton finds the group’s blend of country, folk, and indie pop harnessed in the vibe of each songwriter, starting with the introspective pop of “When the War (Within You Ends).” Along the way, the songs move the listener on a (mostly) acoustic journey through country (“The Grip,”), folk (“Slow Moving Cold Front”) and blues (“Tom Cat Blues”) and onwards with aural landscapes painted with blends of acoustic guitars and assorted percussion while peppered with slide guitar, banjo, and lush harmonies in many songs. All leading up to the loose feeling blend of country and folk “When It All Goes Wrong,” which closes out the disc. While the recording vibe is far from slick, the rough hued charm is what makes Cabin Sessions what it is on disc.
Back to Compton finds Cabin Sessions at an interesting point. While no longer a one time project, it began as, the band has created music that reveals a variety of moods while complimentary the individual songwriter. It will be interesting to see what they do in the future.

Southern Culture on the Skids

What are you thinking about doing this weekend? Some live music? Maybe something different for a change? How about a band that’s been around since 1983? Or one that aims to combine high and low culture (moonshine martini, anyone…)? Or one that plays swamp pop? Or surf? Or R & B? Or rockabilly? Or a crazy combo of all those styles with a punk edge?

How about a show that Rolling Stone magazine calls “a hell-raising rock & roll party”? Or a show where, if you are quick, you can catch some fried chicken thrown from the stage?  Or maybe you’d like to go to an outdoor show because the weather is so beautiful?  Maybe you need a family-friendly event where the children can run around blowing bubbles while you laze next to your dream date?

Or maybe you’d like to see a band whose current LP has something to do with zombies? Or maybe one whose music has been featured in a hit movie like Beavis and Butt-head Do America?  Or a band that will let you dance on stage and share their bounty of banana pudding when your energy starts to flag?

Of course I am now going to tell you how to get all that and more.*  I’m not a tease.

Southern Culture on the Skids.  Saturday at Kemper Park in Boonville.

The show is part of the Pedaler’s Jamboree line-up.  Those not riding on the Jamboree can attend the show by getting tickets ($20) at Kemper Park starting at 3 pm on Saturday.  I’ll be there dressed in orange, a perfect target for some chicken.

SCOTS, as we like to call the band, consists of Rick Miller (guitar, vocals), Mary Huff (bass guitar, vocals), and Dave Hartman (drums).  I spoke to Drummer Dave about everything but music.  Here is some of that conversation:

How did you come to discover that “the people want chicken”?

We were in Harrisonburg, VA, playing near the front door of a tiny club to eleven disinterested people.  A guy wandered in off the street and stole our chicken dinner from the side of the stage while we were playing.  We looked over and saw him dancing with a piece of chicken in his mouth. Rick said, “If you’re gonna dance with our chicken, you need to be on stage.” Suddenly the eleven people became interested, and the rest is a Trivial Pursuit answer (really – Pop Culture Edition).

How’s the chicken cannon coming along?

Still in development. We’re modeling it after the design of the Go-Nuts Snack-A-Pult™. Really.

Who would portray the band members in SCOTS: The Movie?

Harry Dean StantonNed Beatty, and Katey Sagal.

If Elvis were alive, what SCOTS song would he cover?

Carve that Possum.

Have you actually roasted a pig on stage or is that just a dream?

Are you kidding? That takes 24 hours and the hardest part isn’t staying awake – it’s not getting too drunk to eat.

If SCOTS threw Jello along with the chicken and banana pudding, what flavor would it be?

Lime flavor with 7-Up, just like at the family reunions.

What advice would you give your younger band self?

No Little Debbie snack cakes or leftover chicken after 2 am!

Ever play a bicycle event?  How do you feel about Spandex?

Don’t know anything about Spandex, but Rick’s down with the Sans-A-Belt™.  Now, if they’d invent a product called “Spam-dex”….

*The more that I promised?  It’s Hella Go-Go, because it isn’t a dance party without Hella Go-Go!  Not only do these gals wear awesome dresses, they get down in the crowd and boogie.  If anyone is up to the challenge of getting tired cyclists to get up and shake it, it’s Hella Go-Go.

The entire Kemper Park main stage line-up: Carry Nation & The Speakeasy (6:15), The Hipnecks (7:30), Burn Circus (8:45), Southern Culture on the Skids with Hella Go-Go (9:00), The Wildcat Daddies (10:45–acoustic).  See you there!