Thursday, November 29, 2007

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 4. no 24

Originally published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

Greetings from sunny Sanibel Island, Florida. Wish you were here, seriously. It has been a great week of swimming, eating, sleeping and hanging out with my ever-adorable niece and nephew.
Tonic Ball
Friday, November 16, 2007
Radio Radio and Fountain Square Theatre

I’m not exaggerating when I say this is my favorite day of the year. I get to soak in all of the bigheartedness from the musicians and fans. It just blows me away that over 30 bands donate their time and talent on a Friday night.

Tonic Week started off in a great way with the Barfly cartoon in NUVO. The cartoon featured Queen Bee Nora and the Tonic Ball. A cartoon of a caricature, as it were.

On Tonic Ball morning WTTS arraigned to have Mick Jones of the Clash give a message to the Tonic Ball musicians, “don’t murder his songs.” It was really cool and he talked about Second Helpings and how great he thought the Tonic Ball is.

The Tonic Ball was a blast. Over 600 people poured in to the two venues. The enthusiasm was palatable. I got to be in my best “Nora” mode – project management. Making sure bands were in the right place, volunteers were doing their thing and everything was relatively on time. I got to run around like a nut for a good cause.

The music was amazing. Thirty different bands played that night. Special thanks to Jonee Quest for running sound in Radio Radio. Half of the bands played Clash tunes (and one of their own) and the other half played Madonna songs. As hard as I tried I did not get to see all of the bands. Even the Queen Bee had to wait in line. I think I did see at least one song of about 20 bands. I won’t go through them all, but each one did a great job. Everyone took it seriously and learned their songs.

For the fifth year in a row I missed founder Ken Honeywell’s band Yoko Moment. I loved the Lovemeknots version of Tommy Gun. The Common ruled the stage with London Calling. Bigger Than Elvis closed the night in great form.

Over in Madonnaland the Benders rocked Live To Tell, Stasia Demos played a clever version of La Island Bonita on her accordion. Cara Wahlers and her Susan and the Desperate Seekers bandmates Jon Martin and Gary Wasson did lovely renditions of True Blue and Rain. Cara also gets the best dressed award. She wore and amazing crinoline skirt and had her hair teased to resplendent 80s style.

My heartfelt thanks go out everyone for making this event such a success and helping to feed the hungry children and adults in Indianapolis each and every day.

Monday, November 19, 2007
Soul Bus
Daddy Jack’s (every Monday)

I sabotage myself every time I go on vacation and go out the night before I leave, when I should be packing and stuff – like figuring out who is going to feed my cat.

Seeing Soul Bus is always worth the lack of sleep and panic packing. As it turned out, my luggage did not make it until the next day anyway. It is amazing how far you can stretch the dress you wore to travel in and a Mucky Duck tee shirt and shorts, especially if you share a shoe size with your niece.

Soul Bus is made up of a group of All-Star MVPs. All of the musicians are amazing. I’ll start with the one I’ve known the longest. Drummer Jeff Chapin and I played together as tots in Beech Grove and wound up at Lebanon High School together. I wish I could tell you more about Jeff in high-school, but I was too shy to hang out with him – he was one of the cool marching band kids after all. And now he’s an even cooler drummer. Jeff is plays with several bands including the Gordon Bonham Blues Band.

Bluesman extraordinaire Gordon Bonham has been a fixture in the blues scene for over 25 years. He sings and plays makes-me-giddy guitar for Soul Bus. I have a little crush on his Gretsch guitar.

Bass player David Murray makes it all look easy. Along with the rest of the guys in the band, music is his career. Dave studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and Indiana University. He’s also a damn fine baker.

Jes Richmond sings and plays guitar. His great folk music sensibilities shine though. You can find also him playing solo shows and with his lovely wife Vicky.

Okay, before I talk about vocalist and harmonica player Tad Robinson I need to make a few confessions. I never considered myself a fan of soul music and I’ve made some pretty public admissions of my dislike of harmonica. Through Tad I’ve realized that I am a soul fan and that I do like harmonica, thanks to his excellent talents. I’ve also realized that there are a lot of bad harmonica players out there. Tad released his latest album A New Point of View to international acclaim and invitations to Blues and Jazz Festivals are starting to pour in.

I can’t tell you how tremendous this band is. I think a true measure of how good a band is the number of musicians there are in the audience, and there are often musicians in the crowd soaking it all in. Soul Bus has a regular Monday gig at Daddy Jack’s (in the Apres Jack’s lounge). The bar is non-smoking and there is no cover charge. I’ll see you there!

Saturday, December 1, 2007
Cara Jean Wahlers
Cliff Snyder
CD release show
Indy Hostel
4903 Winthrop Ave
7:00 pm, all ages, non-smoking, $5 suggested donation
Cliff Snyder is celebrating the release of his first CD, Fools Highway with an acoustic show at Indy Hostel. He’ll be joined by Hawaiian slide player Pat Brearton for his set. His music is steeped in the straight forward American singer-songwriter tradition. Cara Jean Wahlers will play a solo acoustic set to open the show. I’ve heard Cara perform with a band, but never by herself. This will be a great show.
If you never been to a show at Indy Hostel, you’re missing out. It is like having a musician play in your living room. Intimate, cozy and plenty of room for everyone. No smoke, cappuccino machines or bar noise to distract you from the music.

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