Friday, August 1, 2008

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 5. no 16

July 18, 2008
Upper Room

The much beloved trio played their semi-annual reunion show with a twist. They were joined by Dean Metcalf on standup bass for the whole set, with John Martin occasionally sitting in with them.

And I have some big news: The band spent time recording while Aaron Stroup was in town. Rumor has it the new record will include three of Aaron’s heartbreaking beautiful tunes, more Stasia Demos goodness including “Pushing Up Daisies” and new Tad Armstrong songs. I don’t know anything else about it – in fact, maybe I dreamed the whole thing since I’ve been wishing for a new Middletown record for so long.

As always, they sounded great and I look forward to the next show. When will Stroup be back in town?

God Made Robots
July 24, 2008

God Made Robots has been on my radar for a while and the stars finally aligned for me to see them. The trio has a great smart-kid pop sound. The lovely Sarah Jane Mills plays bass and sings. According to their Web site British Petroleum was the lead singer, guitar player and Ziodyne was the drummer. I look forward to seeing them again.


Indiana State Fair
August 6-August 17, 2008

You know what a State Fair junkie I am. I’ve already turned in my toffee, snickerdoodles, ugly lamp (purple!), salt and pepper shakers (plastic roses in a pot), baby boomer toy (Pez pony) and Christmas item (Santa Pez). I’m anxiously awaiting opening day.

The State Fair is chock full of entertainment this year. Indiana’s own Virgin Millionaires are opening for Daughtry on August 9th. You can get your Idol fill – over the course of the fair. Corbin Bleu, Justin Stein and Carrie Underwood are also playing the Main Grandstand.
The WFMS Free Stage will have music at least once a day also. I’m looking forward to the Traditional Arts Indiana Fiddle Contest on Saturday, August 9 from 9-2.

The Buckle Up Indiana Main Street Stage features lots of diversity. Every thing from ice sculptors to the Blue Monkey Sideshow. I think it’s a little cruel that the Blue Monkey show is on Thursday, August 14 at 8:00 – coinciding with Senior Day. You need a strong heart to watch those guys. My dad and I wandered by their show last year. When the guy lifting weights his pierced nipples said, “hi Nora,” I thought dad was going to faint. I have a very diverse group of friends.

New at the fair this year: The Indiana State Fair Covered Bridge- a permanent park of the fairgrounds on the northwest side of the grounds. The Olympics of the Forest Lumberjack Show – four of the strongest lumberjacks in the country will show off their cross cut sawing, log rolling and ax throwing skills each day. Indiana’s Got Game! Exhibit – featuring Indiana sports and an interactive area. Indiana sports celebrities will be stopping by for autographs. Normandy Barn - has been moved across the street to the north side of the grounds.

Also be on the lookout for Garfield celebrating his 30th birthday, a rolling Wacky Wheeler performer and the tigers in the Riley Fun Park. Let’s just hope we don’t see the tigers chasing the Garfield chasing the Wacky Wheeler acrobat.

Check out for times and details.

Now all I need is to hitch a ride on the tractor parade….anyone?

April Combs and James Combs
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Indy Hostel Outdoor Stage (indoors if the weather is bad)
4903 Winthrop Ave

Seriously, you need to go to this show. I adored what I could hear of April Combs over the bar chatter when she was here last week. The Hostel will be the perfect place to hear here. She’ll be joined by her equally talented brother, James Combs. April and James are touring together for the “first time in many, many thousands of years,” according to James. It may seem like thousands of years, but it has been since the early 1990s since they’ve been out on tour.

I got to see them play with their band Arson Garden at the 1992 Lollapalooza show. At least I think I did, I made it a point to see all of the side stage bands. That show was on a ski slope and I rained buckets for days. You can picture the scene – mud, mountain, mayhem.

I’ll let James tell you their story: “We will be playing several shows in the Midwest – including gigs in Bloomington (IN), Indianapolis, and Chicago. We’ll include songs from each of our solo careers as well as songs from our celebrated rock band of yesteryear, Arson Garden. 

Perhaps you recall Arson Garden. The Indiana music scene was so very kind to us during the 90’s. And we had a quite a run for awhile: we managed to release three albums internationally on indie labels, tour 36 states and 5 European countries, play the Lollapalooza festival, do a live Peel Session for the legendary BBC DJ John Peel in London, have our video aired on MTV’s 120 Minutes (remember 120 Minutes?)..and we always played to many hundreds of people in our hometown Bloomington (and elsewhere around the Midwest).

“The press was always very good to us, too - enthusiastic notices flowed in from publications running the gamut from CMJ to Option to NME to Melody Maker. The Chicago Reader even said we were “the only art rock band in North America that mattered.” Whoa, we said. When The New York Times. Mentioned us in the same breath as Nirvana, we almost fell over. Heady days, those. As musicians, we were especially thrilled when we got the opportunity to share bills with some of the great touring artists of our era: The Replacements, The Afghan Whigs, They Might Be Giants… even Marianne Faithful. And hey, how about great Bloomington bands: Speed Luxury, Pitbulls On Crack, Walking Ruins, Zulu Bearnicks,

“But times change and we decided to pursue some other things – April became a design professor at the University of Cincinnati and had two gorgeous little girls with her husband, Michael Mann. James moved to California to pursue a solo indie music career – and to compose for film and TV. Maybe you’ve heard James’ songs on Six Feet Under, Entourage, Dexter, Men In Trees, Swing Town… 

2008 finds both James and April sporting new records (James’ album “To Know You Is To Save You” was released this spring, and April’s forthcoming album is due in the fall.) So we said, out loud, to the universe – let’s tour together! In fact, let’s play each other’s songs on said tour! And we’ll bring our amazing harmony singing colleague Laurie Burnham along! So here we are. Coming to town. Playing April’s dazzlingly beautiful songs and James’ indie rock confections. And even the occasional, re-imagined Arson Garden song. Oh, and we couldn’t help but notice that Arson Garden’s music had over 70,000 downloads last year on the great Indiana music scene website Wow, we said."

This is one of those times that I’m going to insist that you go to a show. I mean it.

Cristabel and The Jons
Sunday, August 10, 7pm, $8.
Indy Hostel Outdoor Stage (indoors if the weather is bad)
4903 Winthrop Ave

Cristabel and The Jons sound like they will be a blast. They hail from the hills of Appalachia and classify their music as sultry Tennessee swing. I hear they wear vintage costumes to give the performance a speakeasy feel. Sounds like the perfect way to wrap up the weekend.

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