Thursday, January 3, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 1

Originally published in the Broad Ripple Gazette
Happy New Year! It has been a busy three weeks since the last column. I’m not sure that I can recount all of the extraordinary shows that I saw – I went to a ton of shows and had a darn good time, but did not take the first note. I’m going to give you a snapshot, both figuratively and literally (I did take a ton of photographs) of each show.

Birdy’s Christmas Party
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nora and Santa Greg Brenner

I arrived at the Birdy’s annual holiday party late, even by rock and roll standards. I did get there in time to race upstairs for a photo with Santa Greg Brenner, who stepped in for the touring Santa Otis. I missed the music but got to catch up with a lot of people who make it possible for music to be played in this town– Mike and Sue (Birdy’s owners), Jeff Sample (booking manager – Birdy’s and Upper Room), Matt Schwegman (booking manager – Vogue) and Greg Brenner (booking manager – Punk Rock Night at the Melody Inn). I also had fun catching up with friends that were in town for the holidays – newly engaged Jeff Zuckerman and Carrie Sloo and visiting from Austin, Aaron Stroup.

The Benders and Chevy Downs
Friday, December 21, 2007

John Byrne

A great byproduct of the holidays (besides fudge) are that hometown musicians come back to visit. You can always count of a raucous Chevy Downs show around Christmas. This year was no different and these charming lads play a hard-to-describe mix of rock, bluegrass and soul. They are always good sing-along and dancing fun.

John Byrne, Aaron Stroup and Tad Armstrong

The Benders grabbed everyone’s attention with their amazing harmonies, right-on timing and excellent musicians. John Byrne (guitars and all things guitar-y, vocals), Dave England (guitar, writer, vocals), Tad Armstrong (bass, writer, vocals) and Wade Parrish (drums, vocals) make up this super-star lineup. Visiting guitar player Aaron Stroup joined them for a few songs, which unfortunately coincided with a tragic camera battery incident. I got a great aerobic workout racing upstairs and retrieving the fresh batteries from Tammy Lieber and flew back down the steps. It’s not often that I get to see my two favorite guitar players on the same stage with my favorite singers. Some people play Fantasy Football – I like to play Fantasy Bands, and the Benders are one of them. I cannot say enough good things about this band, but I’ll keep trying!

The Northside Newsstand Festivus Party
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The Jazz Kitchen

Gnome Jamie Ridpath

The weather was very cold and windy so I bundled up for the walk down to the Newsstand Party. It was great to see all of the Christmas lights along the way – thanks neighbors for decorating. I promise to talk my lights down before Independence Day next year.
If you have not been in the Newsstand the décor focuses on globes and maps. The window is filled with globes and each table has map under glass. There was a ceramic gnome tucked among the globes in the window. I noticed at some point this year the gnome was gone, but I asked what happened to it. This fall photographs of the gnome in a hospital bed appeared at the newsstand, with a note saying that he would be returned soon. Who sent it was a mystery. A few weeks ago a friend admitted that her daughter had broken the gnome. She panicked, put the broken gnome in her bag and fled. She snapped the photographs and plotted how she could sneak the gnome back to the window. She got the idea to dress up as a gnome to return the original gnome at the Festivus party. As you know, I love a theme - I found a great stuffed recordable gnome at Posh Petals. Jamie's boyfriend recorded a "see you later" message and left at the Jazz Kitchen before the party. Jamie came dressed as the gnome and almost off the secret - the gift bag she returned the ceramic gnome had a gift tag attached that said "to Jamie."

DJ Rusty

The party was a blast as always. There was lots of great food and conversation. Otto the Comic did a fun set and DJ Rusty kept the packed house dancing.

Otto the Comic

Thursday, December 27, 2007
The Corner Wine Bar (Wine Cellar)

Aaron Stroup

The late great Middletown has a reunion show whenever Aaron Stroup is in town. I have a soft spot for the band. Aaron and I used to live on either side of the double that we both rented (and I now own). I heard Middletown form and practice through our shared wall. I loved sitting on the sofa reading with the songs filtering through the wall. The band sounds good as ever. Amazing harmonies, terrific songs and all-around lovely people. Tad Armstrong (vocals, songwriter, guitar and bass), Stasia Demos (vocals, songwriter and accordion) and Aaron Stroup (vocals, songwriter and guitar) manage to play together in various forms. Aaron and Tad tour as part of Susan Cowsill’s band, and Stasia and Tad team up for occasional acoustic gigs.
Tad co-fronts The Benders and plays solo gigs. I hear that his to-be-released-this-Spring album is amazing. I’m looking forward to it. Stasia also plays solo (if fact they boys hijacked this gig from her). Aaron plays with the Austin based Johnny Cashdraw.

Aaron Stroup, Stasia Demos and Tad Armstrong

The Corner Wine Bar is starting a Thursday acoustic music series. The shows will be early and you can have dinner (and delicious food it is). I’ll keep you posted on the schedule.

The Benders
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Daddy Jack’s

I had a rare Saturday night off from the Red Key (thanks Brandy) for the Spitznogle family Christmas party in Logansport. I stopped to see The Benders on the way home (anyone else get the feeling that I’m stalking Tad and John?).

Tad Armstrong

Daddy Jack’s is a grown-up, smoke-free place to see music. The Benders had the dance floor full and the crowd clapping and cheering. David England, Wade Parrish, John Byrne and Wade Parrish were on it.

You can next catch The Benders at Daddy Jack’s on Saturday, January 26th. Great food and no cover (be nice to the band tip bucket) – can’t beat it!

New Year’s Eve in Broad Ripple
Monday, December 31, 2007

Spin (10:30 pm)
Jason Webley and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.

I started my evening at Spin (where I was assured by the owner that the building will not be torn down). Jason Webley was playing accordion when I walked in to an appreciative crowd. His sound is gypsy-punk-folk. I’d describe his look the same way.

Jason Webley

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band marched to the stage with accompanied to hoots and hollers from the packed crowd. You cannot help but dance, clap and giggle to the band. What a fun high-energy way to bring in the New Year. I covered the Big Damn Band show for NUVO last New Year’s Eve and 2007 was a good year – so I can only imagine how good 2008 will be. And, once again, the adorable Breezy Peyton was the best-dressed woman in the room. It takes a good eye to accessorize with a washboard.

Reverand Peyton

The Vogue (12:15 am)
Here Come the Mummies

This was my first Mummies experience. They are an amazingly good funk band dressed in Mummy rags. The Vogue was packed with revelers. I stood by the soundboard (and stole a quick Happy New Year peck on the cheek from Jonee Quest) for a bit to soak it all in. The band is big – I’m not sure how many were on stage. Lots of horns and vocals. I look forward to seeing them some other time. I took a quick lap through crowd and headed back out to the cold.

A side note, the Vogue staff did an outstanding job with the crowd. As I was standing there thinking of how I did not miss the days of club management I was checking out the staff and they were doing an excellent job with the yeah-hoos.…and I’m glad I was not on the clean-up crew. Lots of confetti, noise-makers ands boas were floating through the air.

Local’s Only (1:15 am)
The Gizmos

I took a chance that the music was still going on at Local’s Only and I’m glad that I did. The second that stepped on the dance floor I felt like I was at home. I swear that 25 years melted away when I saw Billy Nightshade, Tim Carroll, Shadow Myers and Dale Lawrence on stage. All of us (average age 45) on the dance floor pogo-ed and sang along. The Gizmos sounded as good as ever.

Billy Nightshade

The Gizmos guitar player Tim Carroll lives and records in Nashville, TN where Billy Nightshade moved a few years ago from Boston. Tim and Billy still play together in Nashville. You can find Dale Lawrence playing with The Vulgar Boatmen and as a solo act.

Tim Carroll

I’m just sorry that I could not get to Local’s Only sooner – I hated to miss the Slammies set (featuring Otto). I hear that it was fabulous. Hopefully they’ll play again soon.
I was glad that I got to end the evening - and start the New Year among old friends.

Shadow Myers and Dale Lawrence


Elvis Birthday Bash
Friday January 4th, 2008
10:00 PM
Local’s Only

I cannot say this any better than Wayne does, so here is his press release:

Each year on the weekend of Elvis Presley’s birthday Locals Only celebrates the music of the King of rock and roll. Now in it’s third year the Elvis Birthday Bash has become one of the most happening events of Indy’s winter music season. This year the show falls on Friday, January 4th.

As always the event is headlined by The Messarounds, featuring Danny Thompson.

Danny is well known to rockabilly fans as the long-time front man of Bigger than Elvis. They play the hot, rockin’ rhythm and blues sound that made the Sun Records music so dangerous in the minds of 1950’s white America.

Hey Hey Melodica play artsy, acoustic rock in the tradition of The Flaming Lips or Ben Folds. They’re sure to put an interesting spin on the music of the King because their music frequently features such non-traditional instruments as the glockenspiel, slide whitsle and of course the Melodica.

Little Voice are a female fronted trio of alt-rockers whose sound is compared to music of Allanis Morrisette or Juliana Hatfield. They sing earnest songs that are snapshots of hidden moments, and angst ridden truths. Ericka’s excellent original tune “she dreams of Elvis” made them a natural choice for this show.

As a special added bonus Jay Elliot will perform solo in between sets to keep the music going. Jay has quite a good thing going as the the front man of Band Battle Champs Stereo Deluxe. What A lot of people don’t know is that he gigs frequently as a Solo acoustic artist as well. Here’s a chance to see one of Indy’s most charismatic front

I’ll be there with my Elvis mask and bacon sandwich!

1 comment:

Jamie Dawn said...

JD was here.
I like name The Gizmos. The Vulgar Boatmen is a name that made me chuckle.
My son's friend's dad used to play in a band called The Swinging Johnsons.