The Pedaler’s Jamboree

According to my dictionary, a jamboree is a carousal or any noisy merrymaking. The Pedaler’s Jamboree is all that with bicycles…a trail mix of slow riding, hanging out, eating, and drinking to a soundtrack of high-energy, Missouri-infused, live music.

The two day event begins on Saturday, May 26th, in downtown Columbia. Riders take off for a leisurely ride to Boonville via the MKT and Katy trails. Along the way are many opportunities to stop and enjoy great music and refreshments.  At the end of the trail, at Kemper Park, is an evening of main stage performances, Burn Circus, more refreshments, and free camping for registered riders.

On Sunday riders will backtrack, enjoying more music and refreshments (including an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast) and an after party at Broadway Brewery, brewers of Pedaler’s Jam Session IPA microbrew.  I did my first Jamboree last year, but couldn’t fully participate because I was desparately needed for a surprise disco party and a midnight run to the airport.  I vowed to let nothing hold me back this year, especially after seeing the musical line-up:

Southern Culture on the Skids (watch for the interview!), Dirtfoot (watch for the interview!), The HipNecks (read the interview!)…

Carrie Nation and The SpeakeasyThe Ben Miller Band, Brad Cunningham of Man in the Ring, Wild Cat Daddies, Noah Earle

The Kay Brothers, Primitive Soul, We Live in Public, The BluesSlingers, and Honkey Tonk Band.

I’ve been collecting reasons not to attend the Jamboree and here they are:

I’m too old/I’m too young.  Nope.  You are not.  People of all ages enjoyed last year’s ride.  Awesome folks from one month to 80+ were seen having a good time.

I’m not a cyclist.  You don’t have to be.  If you don’t want to cycle the trail to Boonville, you can get a pass just for the festivities at Kemper Park.  You could walk the trail.  You could skip the trail.  There will be plenty of people on the ride who rarely ride bikes; it’s not a race.

I don’t have a bike.  You can rent one!  Try Walt’s or Tryathletics or CycleXtreme, but get on it right away!

I don’t like to camp.  I don’t like to camp either.  I like to sleep!  You can stay in a hotel and take the shuttle bus, or you can have your 17 year old son pick you up from Kemper.  I’ll be doing the latter.

What if I get a flat?  There will be SAG support on the ride.  You will also be surrounded by friendly, happy cyclists who are willing to stop and help a rookie.

It might rain.  Yes, it might, but the show will go on.  We’ll all enjoy it, rain or shine.

I can’t haul all my camping stuff on my bike.  You don’t have to!  Off Track Events will do it for you; just drop it off at the registration point on Saturday morning.  Do the same on Sunday morning at Kemper, and pick it back up when you get to town.

I don’t own any spandex.  Spandex is totally optional.  It is not an option that I ever choose.

I don’t know what to bring.  All you need are a few things: a bike, sunscreen, and some cash.  If you are camping, you’ll need shelter unless you are very good at quickly making friends.  Everything else you can find along the way.  I plan to bring water, a camera, sunglasses, a bike helmet, food, a phone, and a change of clothes because people are always spilling beer on me.

I don’t think that I can handle the ride.  It sounds hard.  It’s not.  The trail is flat and quite beautiful in places.  There is one hill at the very end, but it is easy to manage.  Again, it’s a leisurely ride and not a race.

 I want to bring my kids, but I’m worried that they won’t go to sleep in the campground.  Children have an awesome time on the ride, and they are totally pooped out at the end of the day.  The music switches to acoustic at 10:45, so the little ones won’t have any trouble settling down.

Still have questions?  Check out the website for the schedule, food options, and more info on camping and registration.  Early registration has been extended: You can save $10 by registering before midnight on Tuesday, the 15th.  I’ll see you on the trail.

CoMusic Review: Photos from Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin on The Missouri Theatre Center for The Arts patio

That may be a record setting post title. Maybe I should have gone with SSLYBY @ The MO Theatre. After a late night of thesis writing in the coffee shop Tuesday, I just happened to see the show advertised on the theater marquee as I walked past. I didn’t even know the theater had a patio, so the fact they were holding a show on it definitely intrigued me. It didn’t hurt that I think SSLYBY is one of the most underrated bands performing today (ignore the fact that their debut Broom was the love child of just about every music blog except Pitchfork).

SSLYBY played well, plus had a strong showing of super fans standing in front, singing along with every song. Unfortunately, the mix was way off and even with the extra help the vocals were muddy and sometimes absent. John Robert Cardwell and Phillip Dickey often trade vocals or interweave them throughout a song. Since the mic at the drum set was turned down so low, it seemed like one singer was giving the silent treatment to the other. Plus, the patio’s geometry really lends itself better to a wine and cheese function with a jazz band than a crowded rock show. But for what it’s worth, SSLYBY played well, the crowd was into it, and it’s hard to beat a night of music with your friends under the warm Missouri sky.

CoMusic Review: Photos from Dr. Dog at The Blue Note

Dr. Dog paid a visit to Columbia last night. They were last in town four long years ago. Back in 2007, they played Mojo’s and an in-store at Slackers during a tour with What Made Milwaukee Famous (incidentally, this photographer caught that tour in St. Louis at the Creepy Crawl). They played Mojo’s again in 2008. It seems time has treated the good doctor well, because now they’re playing a near-capacity Blue Note. This show must have sold very well, because the big barricade was up near the stage, a rarity at The Blue Note.

I’ve seen Dr. Dog a number of times before, including an opening slot for The Black Keys. This is the best show I’ve seen from them. In part it was probably due to the silly stage decorations that included multiple tiger heads and fireplaces and better lighting. The crowd interaction was almost nil, save for an extended staredown by the bassist Toby during “Fate.” Still, energy was high and the music sounded great. Dr. Dog has left their lo-fi origins far behind. The set included a number of cuts from the band’s excellent recent effort Be The Void. Scroll to the bottom for a full setlist.

Givers opened the show. I’ll admit, I knew nothing about them, but I liked what I heard. One of my friends realized he knew two of their songs without actually knowing the band. He claimed that he heard them on a Minnesota radio station, but it turns out it was probably from the Fifa 2012 video game soundtrack.


Dr. Dog Setlist:

That Old Black Hole
The Breeze
The Ark
Do The Trick
Shadow People
Hang On
I Only Wear Blue
The Rabbit, The Bat, and The Reindeer
These Days
Heavy Light
The Old Days
Shame, Shame

Encore (This is from a previous show. Any ideas if it’s correct?):
The Way the Lazy Do
My Friend
Jackie Wants a Black Eye
Heart It Races (Architecture in Helsinki cover)

All photos by Benjamin Gross

DO THIS ON FRIDAY: Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour@ The Blue Fugue

Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour this Friday March 9th The Blue Fugue at 9pm. These bands are on the way to play South By SouthWest (SXSW) or the “place you’d rather be seeing shows”.

Whenever Cincinnati bands/musicians tour, I try to let people know. It’s one of those cities that when you live there you say “if this was somewhere else, it’d be huge”. Or if you’re a musician there, you also say “this is bullshit, imagine if we lived in Brooklyn”. I cut my musical teeth on the mean (not really) streets of Cincinnati Ohia (my mom pronounces it “O-Hi-Uh”). I moved there from the best state in the lower 48, Kentucky, way back when the internet and all banking systems were set to explode-The year 2000 and have played some of the best shows in front of the best people there. Outside of the suffocating nature of far-right christian conservatism, GOP city/county domination, and annual Christmas time crucifixion crosses hosted by the Klu Klux Klan, I met an amazing set of friends, comrades, artists, rebel-rousers and rockers that I still keep close. There’s also a stellar music scene that gets national news only when a band moves out of the city and acts like they’re above it now-see: The National, Heartless Bastards, Afghan Whigs, Oh and that awesome pic of Iggy Pop crowd surfing was from Cincinnati too, etc.

I met the good folks in The Sundresses back in 2003. They played a Books Not Bombs show that I organized at my alma mater and it smoked. The Sundresses went on to make a couple of incredible records since then and have extensively toured the U.S. Imagine a punk rock band stuck in Memphis right after Brown vs. Board. Anti-racists playing music in the midst of the violent white backlash. Imagine the politics of the period, the convergence of some Old Crow-soaked speakeasy mixed with front porch hollerin, cranked fender amps, and fucking trombone. It’s Lead Belly using Muddy Water’s gear with Nina Simone’s snarl, and the jump-boogy that connects it all in a really weird way. It’s all over the map and delicious. CoMo doesn’t have this so get it while it’s in stock.

Listen to The Sundresses “An American American”

 Wussy is the good therapy session that you walk out of on Friday and plan your weekend too. Dueling vocals that fit that duel-voice narrative in your head that argues the merits of whether you should buy some “party supplies” from that dude Gary or just commit to being a shut-in. At once melancholy and at the other hyperactive, all wrapped inside addicting melodies and primal rhythms. I hated 90’s college rock for the most part (that includes the Pixies) but this stuff is on another level, different. The production on all their records is flawless in my opinion. For chrissakes, the New York Times and Village Voice are in on the pile up. They’re a huge draw back in the ‘Nati and should be here too.

Listen to Wussy “Muscle Cars”

The Whiskey Daredevils from Cleveland are also along for the ride. They remind me of fistfight between two guys that have brand new cowboy boots. They’re nice guys but those boots are brand-fucking-new, like the tags got cut off right before they walked in. Uber-clean country twang hot licks that won’t be found at a Mitt Romney Revival. There is pierced tongue as a leftover from bad decisions placed firmly in the cheek of most of their songs. I like to think that they’re one of the guys fighting Brad Paisley in that boot fight.

Listen to Whiskey Daredevils “Skulls” via the Misfits

Oh Me My ,from the greatest state in the lower 48, Lexington KY, are also tagging along. Big soul vocals make this a winner already. These kids clearly have been raised on WRFL (Ky’s version of KCOU, but back in the day, way better). If the Flaming Lips listened to more soul records and did less L.S.D. and had more sex, this is what would’ve happened. Somewhere along the way of listening to more soul records they got hooked on low-fi garagey stuff. That Wayne dude is super weird and one of the FL dudes now lives in Newport Ky.

Listen to Oh My Me

The Midwest by Southwest tour hits The Blue Fugue for the first stop on an epic 10-day run to Austin, TX and back, featuring of some of the best bands the Midwest has to offer. 

(hear ’em all at:

 The Midwest By Southwest 2012 tour, presented by the Bunbury Music Festival, is spreading the Midwestern musical love to and from the South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival. 


Being a lover of all things live original music, moving here was a return to a happy place. Living in a remote Iowa town last year really made me appreciate the music scene in my former Cincinnati. Growing up in an area where there was, in all likelihood, live original music in some setting 7 days a week and then moving to a town with weekly and sometimes monthly shows began to drain me. In a period where auto-tuned, talentless, morons with unlimited resources are able to record, tour, and and endlessly promote a soulless product ripe for youth consumption, watching and listening to something that a real person made with real analog instruments brings an enormous shit-eating grin to my face.

Don’t mistake my perspective for being instrument bias nor am I apart of the Analog Taliban who will make the dumbest choices in the name of analog purity. I cut my musical teeth on the best of 1980’s and early 90’s rap. In fact, I didn’t even listen to anything with a guitar until I started hanging out with the kid who pushed carts at Central Hardware. Seeing live music, has at this point in my life, has become a crucial part of creating my own happiness. With seemingly endless wars, the emergence of Police State USA, and horrible election fever, seeing a really loud rock band whilst having some adult sodas is a fine temporary vacation.

Last Friday I got the chance to see Jack Buck (the band, not the dead Cards announcer who made the 1990 world series a painful listen) and Shaved Women (Crass anyone?) from St. Louis. They were both loud, noisy, chaotic, and slightly dangerous on stage. I could name drop a bunch of bands that they sound like but that rarely works. You should also pick up Jack Buck’s brilliantly packaged 7″ vinyl record. Its pretty much the best thing I’ve bought since I moved here. They played at the Hairhole, a DIY art/show space here in CoMo. I had heard a lot about it and know some of the folks who help out there. It was a great time and much needed. Needless to say, I had fun and met some really genuine people creating some great sounds. Everyone should have the opportunity to do that every now and again. I’m just lucky enough to have a TEAM that supports it. For its size, this town has a boatload of live music venues. Not all of them book good music but its live and mostly original. Do yourself a favor and go see some. GOOD NEWS: I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a couple of righteous gentlemen and we have a band now. Our debut will be sometime in the early part of 2012 which may spell the end of civilization according to the Mayans or if Newt Gingrich is elected president.

Yards & Gods Fall Ball

Yards & Gods is a collective of musicians — a label of sorts — who have lived in or currently live in Columbia. This year is the third annual Fall Ball. It’s a showcase of Y&G bands at Eastside Tavern where everyone is encouraged to dress up like they’re going to a high school dance and watch a bunch of free local music. Psych-pop-rock-noise-ambient-folk stuff. On top of that, it’s free (though you can donate to help cover costs of the web hosting and other things). Here is the info from the Facebook event page:

Saturday, Nov. 5, 8pm. Eastside Tavern.
You are cordially invited (in a super non-cordial way via Facebook) to the Third Annual Yards & Gods Fall Ball! “What is that?” you ask. Why, it is a lavish event where we turn Columbia’s Eastside Tavern into a highschool prom (complete with fake flower petals and stuff) and party down to the sounds of your favorite (?) Yards & Gods bands. “Who are my favorite Yards & Gods bands?” you ask. Hell if I know! But this year, these people are playing (listed in alphabetical order, but playing in arm-wrestling order):

–Claque (CoMO ex-pat Jacob Kruger and his merry men)
–Conceal & Carry (Another CoMO ex-pat, Carrie Wade)
–Deep Sky Catalog (Logan Epps, Michael Hopkins, Zach Biri, Ben Chlapek)
–Jowlz (Billy Haring, Josh Cochran, Ben Chlapek, Ted Sharp, Zach Biri, Michael Hopkins, Chad Maize)
–Neatly Knotted (Ben Chlapek)
–Maybe more!

Get a feel for some of the bands at

Live Review: Task Force, GRG,& The Phaggs at Cafe Berlin

Sunday July 10, 2011. Summertime in Columbia has reached the roughly halfway point. The town is in a quieter mode in some ways, but this also means that the quest to fid something to do can affect you in strange way. It’s on this quiet Sunday night that a punk show at Café Berlin seemed to be something interesting to do.

The Phaggs

Up first was local teen hardcore band The Phaggs. They revel in short fast loud songs with overloaded guitars and screamed vocals that almost seem to end before they begin. I admit in the past I have been a little guarded towards this band (especially given their penchant on occasion towards shock for shock’s sake on some songs in the past) but at this show they managed to show how solid they’ve become. It will be interesting to see what happens if this band sticks around or not (given their age, anything can be possible on this count).

GRG tearing it up.

In a twist of the fate the out of town band (who would normally be on last) ended up holding down the middle slot of this bill. Oklahoma City based trio GRG play grindcore, an extremely loud and fast subgenre of punk and metal built on scooped death tone guitar chords and blast beats that make the loud fast punk of 25 years ago seem midtempo in comparison. Crunchy and in your face, the band’s songs are sometimes aural attacks that seem to hit like a kick in the chest. I know grindcore is a love or hate subgenre but people curious about how extreme rock music can really become should check GRG out.

This leaves Columbia’s very own Task Force to headline the night. Over the past year and a half the bands blend of HC punk with elements of funk, noise and even pop took advantage of the situation and proved to be a sonic compliment to the grindcore of the previous band. Walkinga fine line between melody, punk angst, funk, and noise, the band’s songs are measures in what the DIY ethic is and how it can improve the music. While it was a little sloppy on occasion, Task Force showed once again why they’re one of the best punk bands in this town.

Jack and Ben of Task Force

At about 11:30 or so it was over and we were heading back out into the heat. Summer was still more than everpresent amidst the small talk and learning of new shows coming up. Still, it was good to get to see what’s going on and catch a break from the heat and the routine,

CoMusic Preview: Yeasayer with Smith Westerns and Hush Hush

Photo of three members of Yeasayer

Yeasayer (Image taken from

Don’t miss your chance to hear the band The Hype Machine called the most blogged-about of 2010. Yeasayer are bringing their psychedelic 80s sound experiment to The Blue Note this Friday with Smith Westerns and Hush Hush. The Brooklyn-based trio has never been a naysayer when it comes to pushing aural boundaries, describing themselves as “Middle Eastern-psych-snap-gospel.” Their first album, 2007’s All Hour Cymbals, established them as Talking Heads for a new generation, with chanting, yelping, and world beats thrown in for good measure.

Neohippie indie darlings they may be, but their follow-up album Odd Blood (2010) reinforced their staying power. “Ambling Alp,” the first single off the album, is a crowd pleaser so full of teen spirit it’s played in Old Navy dressing rooms (I swear). At times the band ambles right over the alp, losing their listeners. They can be muddy and meandering, sometimes suffering from identity crises, but they ultimately woo you back with the element of surprise. Prog-rock anthems? Electro-boogie? Exaggerated reverb? Yeasayer brings it. In April they released End Blood, a limited edition EP with two overflow tracks from Odd Blood.

Word has it the lads of Yeasayer are chatty on stage and comfortable in their own skin. They perform a solid, energetic live set that just might blow the art right out of the park this weekend. For a preview, check out Chris Keating’s one-of-a-kind vocals on the live video for “Tightrope” from the Dark Was the Night (2009) AIDS benefit compilation.

Photo of Smith Westerns

Smith Westerns (Image taken from

Openers Smith Westerns are a band from Chicago promoting their January 2011 album Dye It Blonde. Listing their influences as David Bowie and T. Rex, they offer a much weaker version of both, but as the video for their single “Weekend” shows, they’re still in the pupal stage. Hush Hush is just that—a one-man side show about which little is known. His hits include “Open Your Mouth,”  “Sex Party,” and “Bloody Sex.” Sense a theme?

Doors at The Blue Note open at 8:00. Tickets are $20.