Friday, December 4, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 6, no 24

Austin City Limits Festival, continued
Friday, October 2, 2009

The first day of the Austin City Limits Festival (ACLF) was beautiful. And I had a photo pass, which meant that I could be in the “pit” in front of the stage. This was the first time I’d ever had a photo pass -- or a fancy enough camera to qualify for one. I quickly learned the system – you could only shoot the first three songs, no flash and stay out of the way of the stage crew and security. I added my own rules. Let the big guys (CNN, Rolling Stone and Paste) snap first, stay the hell out of the way and look like I belonged. I soon learned my way around the pit. Everyone was nice and takes a turn in front of the stage, I learned how to walk crouched down and backwards and shoot, to change lenses between songs and that stage right means to my left. Having a photo pass also keeps you on a schedule. Generally you have to be in the pit by the time the first song starts or you’re out of luck. Some stages wanted you to sign a release promising to just publish the photos in one publication and others needed special permission. I just about fell over when I saw my name on the list of approved photographers for Dave Matthews.

I stared day one of the festival with the Avett Brothers (reviewed in the last issue vol. 6, no. 23). I also caught part of the Texas swing band, Asleep at the Wheel’s set and a chunk of the indie darlings, Blitzen Trapper. The last time I saw Blitzen Trapper I was leaning against a speaker cabinet at Locals Only, I waved but I don’t think they recognized me. It was a blast to see them playing to thousands of enthusiastic people.

I ran to see the barefoot and always charming Todd Snider from there. Todd played an acoustic solo set, which is my favorite way to hear a singer-songwriter, especially a smart/clever/funny writer like Todd. Todd swings through Indianapolis at least once a year and I try not to miss him.

The next act I caught was sentimental favorite, Daniel Johnston. I admit that I knew nothing about him, but he’s an Austin staple and cult favorite. The documentary, The Devil and Daniel Johnston,” followed him in his musical and mental heath journey, winning an award at the Sundance Film Festival. I enjoyed Daniel’s set and wish I would have done some research about him ahead of time.

I’ve been a fan of Robyn Hitchcock since his days in the New Wave band, The Soft Boys. When your name is Nora it is hard to find things with your name on it. I’d always look longingly at the racks of bicycle license plates, pencils and shot glasses hoping I’d find one with my name. In literature Nora tends to be the upstairs maid or spinster aunt (we’re hitting a little too close to home here). I was thrilled to hear The Soft Boys, “Ugly Nora,” and took at as a compliment. Robyn was playing with another rock icon, Peter Buck from REM. I did my best to look like I belonged, not swoon or yell out, “Ugly Nora!”

From there I raced to see Them Crooked Vultures, the super-power trio of Dave Grohl (Nirvana)), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin). Talk about rock royalty! I was nervous even standing in from of them! What did they sound like? The guy from Queens of the Stone Age singing and playing guitar with the bass player from Led Zeppelin and the drummer from Nirvana. I’m not good a comparisons, but that one was easy! And I must say, Dave Grohl looked happy has hell to be back behind the drums where he belongs (he plays guitar in his other project, The Foo Fighters).

I had a hard time choosing between the last acts of the night, the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs or Kings of Leon. I decided to check out the Nashville family band (three brothers and a cousin), Kings of Leon. They’ve got some good genes going on! I can see why they are favorites of a wide range of folks. They’re talented and have swooningly good looks and harmonize beautifully. In the last year they’ve morphed from wooly bearded garage rockers to shiny pretty art-rockers. And I’m okay with that!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tonic Ball 2009 line up and schedule

Radio Radio - (Led Zeppelin stage)

7:00 PM - Bat Tattoo
7:20 – The Radiators
7:40 – The Misprintz
8:00 – The Old Fair and Square Band
8:20 – Ebenezer and the Hymnasters
8:40 – The Last Domino
9:00 – Frankie Camaro’s Atomic Bombay
9:20 – ESW
9:40 – The Cocaine Wolves
10:00 – The Common
10:20 – We're Not Squibnocket
10:40 - Jennie DeVoe
11:00 - Healing Sixes
11:20 –Yoko Moment
11:40 –.
12:00 AM – Bigger Than Elvis
12:20 – Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes

Fountain Square Theater (Bob Dylan stage)

7:00 PM – Cliff Snyder
7:15 – Ladymoon
7:30 – Sanuk
7:45 – Coolidge
8:00 – Jeff Byrd and the Wingmen
8:15 – Jon Strahl Band
8:30 – CW and the Working Class Trio
8:45 – The Odyssey Favor
9:00 – Luke Austin Daugherty Jam Band
9:15 – Joel Henderson
9:30 - Shelby Kelley
9:45 - Susan and the Desperate Seekers
10:00 – Jon Martin and…
10:15 – Everest
10:30 – Brian Deer and the Achievers
10:45 – Tad Armstrong
11:00 – Mardelay
11:15 – Everthus the Deadbeats
11:30 – Everything Now!
11:45 – Otis Gibbs
12:00 AM – The Vulgar Boatmen

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 6. no 23

Tonic Gallery
Friday, November 20, 2009 5:00-9:00
AV Framing Gallery
1139 Shelby Street, Fountain Square
free, all-ages

The Tonic Gallery features the work of thirty amazing artists with the sales to benefit Second Helpings. Bidding starts at $100 with the buy it now price of $400. The collection is fabulous and includes art from Kyle Ragsdale, Larry Endicott, Kipp Normand, James Sholly and Jeremy Efroymson. There are several things I have my eyes on. I just need more wall space!

Tonic Ball 8
Celebrating the songs of Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin
Friday, November 20, 2008, 7:00 pm
Radio Radio (21+) and Fountain Square Theatre (all-ages)
$20 to benefit Second Helpings, non-smoking

As many of you know, I love my awesome job as director of operations for Second Helpings- a food rescue, job training and hunger relief agency serving greater Indianapolis. As you may not know, I learned about Second Helpings from my work as a committee member for the Tonic Ball.

The Tonic Ball features more than thirty musical artists – folk, jazz, funk, country, rock and pop playing the songs of Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. If you are motivated you can try to see all of the bands, but it would be a challenge. You could easily see fifteen with no fuss. In Radio Radio each band will play a Led Zeppelin song and one of their own, with only ten minutes between bands. Right next door in the Fountain Square Theatre bands will be playing Bob Dylan songs with only five minutes between bands. It’s fast and fun and full of good music and cheer. It really is my favorite night of the year.
The lineup in phenomenal –

Radio Radio (Led Zeppelin stage)
Bat Tattoo, The Misprintz, The Old Fair and Square Band, Ebenezer and the Hymnasters, The Last Domino, Frankie Camaro’s Atomic Bombay, Big Betty, Yoko Moment, We’re Not Squibnocket, Jennie DeVoe, The Cocaine Wolves, Brian Deer and the Achievers, The Common, Healing Sixes, Bigger Than Elvis and Mandy Marie and the Cool Hand Lukes.

Fountain Square Theater (Bob Dylan stage)
Cliff Snyder, Ladymoon, Sanuk, Coolidge, Jeff Byrd and the Wingmen, Jon Strahl Band, CW and the Working Class Trio, The Odyssey Favor, Luke Austin Daugherty Jam Band, Joel Henderson, Everest, Susan and the Desperate Seekers, Jon Martin and…, Shelby Kelley, Brian Deer and the Achievers, Tad Armstrong, Mardelay, Everthus the Deadbeats, Everything Now!, Otis Gibbs and The Vulgar Boatmen.

I’ll see you there – I’ll be the one running around like a nut grinning from ear to ear.

Long overdue review:
Austin City Limits Festival (part one)
Zilker Park, Austin, TX
October 2 – 4, 2009

I can’t believe it has been over a month since the Austin City Limits Festival! I had a wonderful time and got to see a ton of music and shoot photos with the big kids. I swooped in to Austin a few days early to visit friends and soak in some sunshine. The first night I got to hang out with three Indianapolis-to-Austin music folks. Guitar player extraordinaire Aaron Stroup (Middletown) gave me a quick tour of Austin that included seeing Jazz great Stanley Smith and his band the Jazz Pharaohs at the Elephant Room. From there we headed to Stubbs BBQ - I was bummed that there was not a BBQ rib in site, but I did hear some great music and got to catch up with Cameron Smith, former talent booker for Verizon Music Center and the Murat. Cameron now teaches venue management the University of Texas – Austin.

The first day of the Austin City Limits Festival was amazing. The weather was perfect and I had a photo pass. One of the first things I heard when I got to the media tent was the Avett Brothers playing an acoustic set for one of the local television stations. Not only do you stumble across musical acts at in the media tent, but also they have food, drinks, Wi-Fi and most importantly Porta potties – with sinks!

The photo pass meant that I got to stand in front of the stage of the first three songs of each band. It was my first experience in the photo pit, so I did a good amount of standing back and watching to see with the pros were doing. Everyone was super-polite and helpful. One of the first bands I photographed was the Avett Brothers. I first saw them at the Midwest Music Summit in 2005 on the porch of the Monkey’s Tale. We’ve all come a long way since then! The talented – and dare I say, dreamy brothers Seth and Scott Avett with bassist Scott Crawford rocked the bluegrassy set and had the crowd entranced – and me hooked being that close to the band.

I’ll continue with the ACLF review in future columns.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 6. no 22

Gary Wasson’s open stage
Sundays 6:00 pm
The Wine Cellar (the Corner Wine Bar)
6331 Guilford Avenue

I’m excited that Gary Wasson’s open stage moved closer to my house! Gary has run the well-respected open stage for years, first in Noblesville and most recently in Fishers. Open stage shows are a great way to see several musicians play in one evening. And you never know what you’ll hear --everything from new to playing in public folks to established musicians trying new songs. Bonus: Gary plays an opening and closing set, often joined by other stellar folks.

The food at the Corner Wine bar is available in the Wine Cellar also – I’m a big fan of the Sunday – Thursday filet special. I’ll see you there soon.

Hero House - Comics, Anime and Pop Culture, grand opening
Shawn Crystal, artist of Deadpool (Marvel Comics) 

Friday, November 6, Saturday, November 7, 2009 

1112 E. Prospect Street (Fountain Square)

There is a new store full of comic books and coolness in Fountain Square. The owners are two talented guys – artist, Wayne Bertsch and musician Mike Shimmercore (Red Light Driver). You might recognize Wayne’s work from the Barfly comix in NUVO – I like his cartoon version of Nora – he draws me a little curvier than I am in real life.

The store carries comic books, Anime and other pop culture goodness. What is Anime you ask? I thought I knew, and that it had something vaguely to do with the Hello Kitty style of comic drawing. Anime is the abbreviated pronunciation of the Japanese word for animation. It does not just apply to Japanese work, but it is a blanket term for all types of animation.
The Hero House is celebrating its grand opening with the super-star artist Shawn Crystal, of the Marvel Comics’ Deadpool series. He’ll be making a rare Midwest appearance to meet fans and sign autographs.

D tour documentary
November 10, 2009, 10 pm
Network premier
WFYI TV(20.1)

The tag line for the film is: A rock ‘n roll film about life, death and bodily functions. The film movie follows Indiana musician Pat Spurgeon in his quest to find a living kidney donor as his band, Rogue Wave, starts to find success. The film examines Pat’s choice to keep touring while focusing on this health and finding a potential organ donor. The movie is racking up awards at film festivals all over the country. I can’t wait to see it.


Johnny Socko
October 16, 2009

I can’t tell you how excited I get by seeing a line out the door of the Vogue for live music –it’s a beautiful thing! The kickoff show for the Broad Ripple Music Fest had feeling of a college Homecoming weekend – lots of nostalgia and catching up with old friends.

I arrived just in time to catch the Johnny Socko reunion show. The band was just as remembered: danceable ska silliness. There were plenty of not-so-subtle reminders that we’d all aged in the fourteen years since the original lineup of the band had been together. Lead singer Mike Wiltrout made his entrance on a Rascal wearing a banana suit and sang “The Girl from Ipanema” in a wobbly voice. The crowd was enthusiastic and sang and danced along. I squished down in front of the stage for a few songs and got pulled in to several groups of dancers.

It also loved connecting with out of town folks. Monumental Marathon founder Carlton Ray was visiting from D.C., where he’s in charge of cleaning the Potomac River. Jeff Zuckerman and Carrie Sloo Zuckerman were visiting from the other coast. Jeff is embracing his California-ness with zest. He’s sporting longer hair, a bit of a beard and sandals. My little sister, Ann, was in town from Phoenix and tagged along to say hello to lead singer, Mike Wiltrout’s parents. One of Ann’s first jobs was with the Wiltrouts (in the wire biz, if you’re wondering).

I’d like to give hearty congratulations to the organizers of the Broad Ripple Music Fest. It has turned in to an amazing event in only three years.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 6. no 21 - Broad Ripple Music Fest 2009

Broad Ripple Music Fest
Saturday, October 17, 2009
(preview shows Thursday and Friday)
Broad Ripple Venues
$10 for festival wristband (good for all but Friday Vogue show)
wristbands can be purchased at the venues or at

This is the third year for the Broad Ripple Music Fest and it just keeps getting better and better. Here is the schedule and lowdown on this great weekend of music. Several of the shows are free and all-ages. Proceeds benefit Keep Indianapolis Beautiful

Thurs. October 15, 2009
Local's Only - 2449 E. 56th St.
Butler Scion / Twin Peaks Showcase 8:00 / 21+ / FREE

The Right Now
Xenobia Green
Twin Peaks DJ's

Fri. October 16, 2009
Vogue Theatre - 6259 N. College
Nuvo / WTTS Presents BRMF Kickoff!
8:00 / 21+ / $10 adv / $12 door

JOHNNY SOCKO (original lineup)
Mab Lab
Nightjar (Virtual Battle of Band Winner)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Luna Music Showcase
5202 North College Avenue
All Ages / Free

The show is all-ages, but Luna has a one-day beer permit. Shows at Luna are always great! And there is a good chance you’ll see me there before my Red Key (and possibly during) shift.

Noon - Caleb McCoach
12:45 - Bolivant
1:30 - A Caesar Holiday
2:15 - Holy Ghost Canyon
3:00 - Norman Oak
4:00 - Abner Trio
4:30 - pons
5:00 - Imaginary Friends
5:45 - America Owns the Moon

Indy CD and Vinyl Showcase
806 Broad Ripple Ave.
Noon / All Ages / FREE

There is always fun stuff going on at Indy CD and Vinyl. Look for fun surprises there all day. And you can’t go wrong with Wolfy, Sanuk and Elsinore.

12:00 - Spirit Spine
1:00 - Matt Mitchell Project
2:00 - Wolfy
3:30 - Sanuk
4:30 - Elsinore
5:30 - Mary Claire
7:00 - Eric Radoux
8:00 - The Post Script

Birdy’s, 2131 E. 71st Street
Midwest Emerging Artists Showcase
6:30 / 21+ / $7 (without wristband)

This is a great lineup. You wouldn’t be disappointed if you parked yourself at Birdy’s.

Hey Hey Melodica
Eisenhower Field Day
Beta Male
Stranger Lazy
Harley Poe

Tru Nightclub (formerly Seven) - 6235 N. Guilford Ave.
Sidetrack presents the INhouse Showcase
9:00 / 21+ / $6 (without wristband)

I’m a big fan of Jackola – anything he’s involved in is always a blast!

9:00 - Rudy Kizer
10:00 - DJ Starsteady
11:00 – Jackola
midnight- Bryan Jones
1:30 am - DJ Deanne - 1:30am

Locals Only - 2449 E. 56th St.
Transpanther / Joyful Noise / Standard Recording Showcase
Noon / 21+ / $8 (without wristband)

Between the great music and the wonderful food at Locals Only, you could easily spend the whole day there. In fact there is a good chance that I’ll wind up there after my Red Key shift.

12:00noon - Japatucky
1:00 - Stationary Odyssey
2:00 - Light Pollution
3:00 - Lucky Pineapple
4:00 - I Need Sleep
5:00 - Hermit Thrushes
6:00 - Prayer Breakfast
7:00 - Everything, Now!
8:00 - Thunderhawk
9:00 - Marmoset
10:00 - Early Day Miners
11:00 - Prizzy Prizzy Please
12:00 - Dead Beats
1:00am - Jookabox

La Jolla's Wasted Space - 921 Broad Ripple Ave
Indianapolis Songwriter's Cafe
5:00 / All Ages / Free

Join the Indianapolis Songwriter’s Café folks at Broad Ripple’s newest listening room. Can’t go wrong with Cara Jean and Deep Cricket Night.

5:00 - The Weakest Suit
6:00 - Tony Marshall
7:00 - Cara Jean Wahlers
8:00 - Bears of Blue River
9:00 - Deep Cricket Night

and later that night:
La Jolla's Wasted Space - 921 Broad Ripple Ave
La Jolla Showcase
10:00pm / All Ages / Free

Catch Tim Wilsbach in one of his increasing rare projects. His record with Paging Raymond has a permanent spot in my CD player.

10:00 -Sara Myers - 10:00
11:00 - Whoa Tiger - 11:00
midnight - Tim Wilsbach and the Wuss Rock Renegades

Alley Cat - 6267 Carrollton Ave
Dude Fest Showcase
8:00 / 21+ / $6 (without wristband)

I think Dude Fest says it all. And say hello to my favorite Dude, Tom Esterline while you’re there.

9:00 - Drogas
10:00 - Slam Dunk
11:00 - Phoenix Bodies
12:00 - Demiricous

Casba - 6319 Guilford Ave
A Squared Industries / MOKB Showcase
8:00 / 21+ / $5 (without wristband)

Any collaboration between A Squared and My Old Kentucky Blog has got to bring good things! This will be a great mix of DJs and bands.

8:00 - A Squared DJ's
10: 00 - Heavy Hometown
11:00 - Johnny 23
midnight - Ryan Reidy -
12:45 - Andy D
1:30 - Black Heat

Connor's Pub Showcase
6331 Ferguson St
7:00 / 21+ / $6 (without wristband)

A chance to hit Connor’s before last call. Check out Odyssey Favor (and the ever fashionable Jenny Elig).

8:00 - Soft Speaker
9:00 - Alull
10:00 - We Landed on the Moon
11:00 - The Odyssey Favor
midnight - Coolidge

ES Jungle - 6151 N. Central Ave.
Piradical Productions Showcase
5:00 / All Ages / Suggested Donation

You can’t go wrong with this lineup. I’m a big fan of Sanuk and I adored Rodeo Ruby Love when I saw them at the BRMF last year. And The Last Domino is good stuff!

6:00 -The Working Hour
7:00 - Highway Magic
8:00 - Sanuk
9:00 - Rodeo Ruby Love
10:00 - The Last Domino

Northside News Café
Heavy Gun Blog Showcase
3:00pm / All Ages / FREE

Northside News Café is turning in to a hip-hop joint for the day. And there is a Beat Battle too. Pull up a Cuban sandwich and make a day of it!

3:30 - Cyclopean Superhero
3:50 - Deeg of Blank Space
4:10 - Dirty Thirty
4:30 - Beat Battle 1
5:25 - Oreo Jones
5:45 - Com Dot
6:05 - Beat Battle 2
6:35 - The Proforms
7:10 - Beat Battle
7:25 - Grey Granite
7:45 - Yeti One
8:05 - Beat Battle Finals
8:15 - Mudkids

BAR (BR Steakhouse) Showcase
929 E. Westfield Blvd (Next to Boogie Burger)
6:00 / 21+ / FREE

The music will be in the BAR bar in Broad Ripple Steakhouse building. Another stellar lineup!

6:00 - Christian Taylor
6:45 - Jesse Lee
7:30 - Jascha

Monon Coffee Company Showcase
920 E. Westfield Blvd
5:00 / All Ages / FREE

The Monon Coffeehouse is warm and cozy and a great place to enjoy music.

5:00 - Blue Cut
6:00 - J Cameron Hall
7:00 - The Bonesetters
8:00 - The Working Hour - 8:00

Broad Ripple Steak House Acoustic Stage
929 E Westfield Blvd
6:00 / 21+ / FREE

Enjoy a delicious beer and some poppy music goodness.

6:00 - Christian Taylor
6:45 - Sloth Pop
7:30 - Jesse Lee
8:15 - Jascha

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 6, no 20

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

I’m headed to the Austin City Limits Festival! I had a blast last year and this year promises to be even more fun! Indianapolis’ own Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band are playing Sunday, October 4. I have a photo pass and bought a fancy new camera lens for the festival. I’ll try not to take too many pictures of my feet.

Butler Scion Free Music Thursdays
Locals Only
2449 E. 56th Street
21+, free, 8:00 pm

Music on Thursdays at Locals Only is taking a little turn starting in October. The shows are free and back to smoking. October 1: Mardelay. October 8: Win With Willard. October 15: The Right Now and Xeno Bia Green.

The INDIEana Handicraft Exchange
Friday October 2nd 2009 6PM-9PM
Saturday October 3rd 2009 10AM-6PM
Harrison Center for the Arts
1505 N Delaware Street
free, all ages, non-smoking

I hate it that I will be out of town for this. The INDIEana Handicraft Exchange is to highlight local crafters and artisans as well as to expose Indianapolis to some of the best vendors on the national indie craft fair circuit. From their press release: Most of the products sold by IHE artists serve the dual purpose of art and function and range from the beautiful to the irreverent, from the adorable to the slightly sinister, from the hysterical to the just plain bizarre. Vendors may use traditional crafting techniques but they express contemporary themes and design. Vendors offer a range of unique handmade goods from wooden jewelry to fanciful undergarments, from custom vintage-inspired western wear to stationery, from plush animals to natural bath and body goodies, from hand-screened rock ‘n' roll poster art to pop culture icon finger puppets and much, much more.

IHE will feature 70+ vendors, live roller girls, live music by the Shirtless Biddles, Mandy Marie Luke & Mo Foster, The Jack Davies, Julia Schafer & D. Mark Conway, Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, and A Squared DJs, as well as giveaways of many fantastic raffle prizes donated by our vendors and sponsors.

Admission into the fair is FREE to the public. Raffle tickets are sold for $2 each, three for $5 or 7 for $10. Patrons may obtain additional raffle tickets by bringing children's arts and craft supplies, or children's art books, for donation at the door the day of the event. Money made from raffle ticket sales is used to purchase arts and craft supplies for select Indianapolis area public school art programs. Prizes for the raffle are donated by our vendors and local, independent business sponsors. The event is kid-friendly, but some artists’ work features the occasional dirty word or sexual image, so parents might want to take a gander before their little ones get an eye full.

Mike Stagliano (from The Bachelorette), Todd Carey, Tyler Burgardt, Jovian Mons
Sunday, October 4, 2009, 7:30
2131 E. 71st St
21+, $12

I’ve only watched one season of the The Bacherlor/Bacherlorette series, but I find it fascinating. Michael Stagliano was on the on the last season and from everything I read he was a charming as could be. Now is your big chance to see the singer-songwriter up close.

Julie Neumark, Dave Carducci, Chad Mills, Carrie Pietz
Monday, October 5, 2009
2131 E. 71st St

Continuing with Birdy’s musicians you’ve seen on television….actress singer-songwriter Julie Neumark is performing. You might recognize her from the Gilmore Girls and Mad About You. She’d been secretly writing songs since her childhood in Cincinnati, but it wasn’t until a role called for her to play guitar that she picked one up and gave herself a crash course. Soon touring won out over acting parts and she’s been on the road ever since.
David Carducci is touring the Julie, is also based in Los Angles. He’s played everywhere from busking in Santa Monica to jamming with Loudon Wainwright III for a documentary.

Chad Mills has a steady stream of gigs, but I was happy to see his name the Birdy’s lineup – closer to home. Carrie Pietz is an Indianapolis based singer-songwriter. I think this will be a solo gig for her, but her band includes former Gazette writer, Ashley Plummer (the Peggy Sues).

Jeff's Birthday Bingo Bash w/ The Playboy Psychonauts and Charlie Krone
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
2131 E. 71st St
21+, 6:00 – 8:00 beer tasting, 8:30 –ish for the birthday fun.

Jeff Sample (music booker extraordinaire and Upper Room bartender) is celebrating his birthday with bingo, beer and music. The Playboy Psychonauts and Charlie Krone of the Born Again Floozies will play. Cavalier Distributing is hosting a beer tasting from 6-8pm.

Broad Ripple Music Fest
Friday, October 16, 2009
The Vogue
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Broad Ripple Village venues

I’ll have a full schedule in the next issue, but I want you to save the dates. And you should probably buy a ticket now for the Friday night kickoff at the Vogue. The concert features the original lineup of Johnny Socko, The Pieces and Mad Lab.

I also want to put a bug in your ear about the Emerging Artists stage at Birdy’s on Saturday. I’m a huge fan of Matthew (Dirty Matt) Aaron’s photography. His band, Endiana, is playing. The band is made up of Matt (vocals), Scott Manning (guitar), Tim Fuller (bass), Tim Gray (drums) and Nick Jones (keyboard). The rest of the lineup looks great too: Eisinore, Stranger Lazy, Harley Poe, Dorsey, Eisenhower Field Day, Beta Male and Hey Hey Melodica.

Cari Ray CD release concert
- also a benefit for The Project School
October 17, 2009
Basile Auditorium ,Indianapolis Art Center
820 E 67th Street
7:00 pm, all-ages, non-smoking, $15

I’ve been listening to Cari Ray’s new CD, Always On, for a few weeks now. Cari is an excellent songwriter and storyteller, not to mention singer and guitar player. She writes songs that speak to any heartbreak and joy in relationships and families that we’ve all experienced, yet are uniquely her own. Listening to the record reminds me a bit of another outstanding singer-songwriter, Carrie Newcomer.

The ReachArounds
Locals Only
Thursday, September 24

I always have a blast when I see these guys play. The play a fun mix of Scott Sanders originals, and rock and bluesy covers. I can guarantee a danceable good time every time you see The ReachArounds.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 6, no. 18

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette


Malcolm Holcombe + Cliff Snyder
Thursday, September 10th, 2009
Radio Radio
1119 Prospect St
(317) 955-0995
9:00 pm, non-smoking, 21+, $8 advance, $10 at the door

Malcolm Holcombe played the very last show at CATH coffeehouse at 54th and College (the site of Fresh Market) almost exactly five years ago. The show where all of the furniture and fixtures were gone. The show that was lit by a lone lamp and fifty votive candles. The show where you had to bring your own chair and drinks (my refreshment might have come from a Jameson bottle in the back of the truck, if I remember correctly). I’d wanted Malcolm to play for so long that I hated to cancel the show, so I had him play even though the coffeehouse was officially closed.

I was afraid the whole experience scared him away because he hasn’t been back since. I saw Malcolm in a parking lot in Nashville, TN a couple of years later. I was so excited that I babbled the story of CATH and the last show he played in Indianapolis. Malcolm very sensibly got in a car, waved a polite goodbye and his wife pulled away – I’m guessing they drove straight back to North Carolina. I was sure I’d never see him again – with good reason.

I’m happy to report that Malcolm Holcombe is going to play at Radio Radio. Cliff Snyder was able to work his Indianapolis Songwriter Café magic and bring him to town. Malcolm’s last record, “Gamblin' House” was in the top twenty of the Americana Music Association chart for nine straight weeks. He has a new record, “For The Mission Baby,” coming out this fall. I’m looking forward to the show; I’ll be the one standing in the back, trying to look inconspicuous.

Rolling Stone Magazine described Malcolm as "Not quite country, somewhere beyond folk, Holcombe's music is a kind of blues in motion, mapping backwoods corners of the heart."

tickets: or Future Shock (Broad Ripple)

danny flanigan
Locals Only
Friday, September 10, 2009
2449 East 56th Street
(317) 255-4013
8:30, non-smoking, 21+

When it rains it seriously pours! danny flanigan was the first person to ever play at CATH coffeehouse. I’m a huge danny fan and when he suggested a show at the coffeehouse I jumped on the idea and the rest is history. danny will be playing a solo set and is scheduled to play first. Catching danny solo is a real treat. Based in Louisville, danny has a well-deserved local following. He’s an amazing songwriter – often they’ll be a song dancing around in my head and I realize it’s a danny tune. He makes everyday things in to celebratory songs. Breakfast in Iowa turns in to a raucous family love song. The story of two sisters starting an organic farm makes in good rocking dance-y tune with danny’s expert crafting.

The rest of the lineup was not available when I was writing this, but it promises to be a great night. My plan is to try to make it to see both danny and Malcolm – my personal CATH history bookends.

Friday, September 11 (6-11pm)
Saturday, September 12 (11 am – 11 pm)
Rain or shine
Basile Opera Center
4011 N. Pennsylvania (former site of the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church and Greek Fest) $5 advance, $8 at the door (children under 10 free)

The Indianapolis Opera folks decided to take advantage of the fact that people are used to coming to 40th and Pennsylvania the second weekend in September for Greek Fest to throw a party of their own. The inaugural Operapalooza festival will benefit Indianapolis’ new opera center.

Just in case you were wondering – or worried, the music is not all operatic. The lineup includes Frank Glover and Khilo, Stereo Deluxe, and Forty Percent Steve, along with other classical and community musical groups. Food will be provided by Judge’s BBQ.

Advance tickets and more information are available online at


Edwin McCain
September 13, 2009

I knew that Edwin was coming to the Vogue, but I was so immersed at in the State Fair – it was SPAM contest day after all, that I had not planned on going to the show. Then I heard him play on the Bob & Tom show that morning and remembered how much I loved him. It was a marathon day at the Fair and I raced to the Vogue only to realize that I didn’t have my wallet. I sent Jeannie (who got to drive Edwin to his radio interview that morning) a text and she came out and rescued me.

Edwin cut his trademark long hair – and I hate to admit that I like his music better; maybe I have a long hair bias. He donated his hair to Locks of Love, but admitted that was not the reason for the haircut. He walked in to his young son’s room with his wife, his son called them both ‘mommy’ and Edwin decided it was time for a change. Anyway, he and his band sounded great.

Edwin played a beautiful new song, “Walk With You,” he wrote for a friend’s daughter wedding. It will be available on iTunes September 8th. I predict it will be the new wedding song, knocking Edwin’s other wedding favorite, “I Could Not Ask For More,” aside.

I thoroughly enjoyed the show – Edwin music is a great blend of folk, rock and soul. His voice is amazing and he kept the show moving. I can’t tell you how important that is from the audience perspective and I think a lot of bands drop the ball in this area. Edwin told fun stories and introduced his long-time band members but didn’t stop the music. All and all a good show – amazing songs, Edwin’s great voice and personality, wonderful harmonizing from the band and an attentive crowd. Good stuff.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 6, no. 16

Indiana State Fair
August 7 – 23, 2009

Indiana State Fairgrounds

As you long time readers know, I’m a State Fair junkie. Some of my favorite childhood memories revolve around the State Fair. I still can’t believe that I’m lucky enough to live close enough to walk to the Fair. I enter projects in the open-class in the Home and Family Arts Building. I thought you might enjoy some State Fair history and fun facts.

- The first Indiana State Fair in 1852 had an entrance fee of 20 cents and had 30,000 visitors over three days.
- In 1916, a 2,000-foot high-speed roller coaster was erected on the
- In the 1930s, State Fair officials allowed people to bring items such as a
bag of grain in exchange for a ticket.
- Beer was sold at the State Fair from 1933 to 1947.
- Approximately 70,000 feet of ribbon is used in State Fair awards…
enough to circle the 1-mile Track of Champions more than 13 times.
- The West Pavilion (Cattle Barn) is the one of the largest of its kind in
the world. There are approximately 4.5 acres under its roof.

I love a theme and no one does it better than the Indiana State Fair. 2009 is the Year of Tomatoes. There are hundreds of tomatoes planted all over the Fairgrounds. The gazebo is decorated as a giant tomato patch. This is also a good time to ketchup on your tomato knowledge. Did you know that Indiana ranks second in production of tomatoes used for processing in the country? 294,000 tons of processed tomatoes and 255,000 hundredweight (that’s 112 pounds per hundredweight for us non-commodities folks) of fresh tomatoes were harvested last year. 

There will be several tomato-y events. In the Ag/Hort building check out the giant structures that will be constructed with cans of food (to be donated to Gleaners food bank). Build day is August 7, winners announced on August 8. Have you grown a tomato over 5 pounds? Enter it on August 8 by 10:00 am in the Ag/Hort building for the largest tomato contest. Red Gold is sponsoring a salsa contest on August 20 and The Jazz Kitchen is sponsoring a Salsa dance contest on August 9.
Please check the Indiana State Fair Web site for specific contest details-

Remember all of the cool retro candy that Wendy Reed used to stock at Artzy Phartzy? Wendy did the purchasing this year for the Hook’s Soda Shop (State Fair Boulevard – southwest corner of the Fairgrounds). She has stocked the shelves with Whirlipops larger than your head and other nostalgic candy--wax lips, Necco wafers,  Valomilk and more.

Entertainment has been a staple in the Grandstand since the State Fair since moved to the current location in 1892. Here are the Grandstand highlights for this year. Check or call the State Fair box office at 317-927-7901 for ticket prices and details.

Band Day Competition
Friday, August 7

The Band Day competition started in 1947. Last year’s champions, Muncie Southside High School will be defending their title.

Tractor Pulls
August 8 and 9.  

For the first time in nearly two decades, tractor pulls are returning to the State Fair. Drivers will compete in six different classes during three different pulls in the Grandstand.

Demi Lovato
August 10

Demi Lovato has come a long way since her days on “Barney & Friends” when she was just 10 years old. She starred in the Disney Channel original movie “Camp
Rock” and now has her own TV series, “Sonny with a Chance.” Her debut album, “Don’t Forget,” was released last September with her Top 10 Radio Disney hit, “La La Land.” Sounds like a good time to take your niece to a concert.

Sandi Patty’s Broadway with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
August 11

Anderson’s Sandi Patty is the most award-winning female artist in Christian music history. Her show will feature Broadway numbers along with songs from her 30th recording, “Songs for the Journey.” The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will be supporting Sandi.

MercyMe with Jeremy Camp
August 12

The band, MercyMe, is a regular on the Top 40, Adult Contemporary and Christian chart.

Indiana MusicFest with Jon McLaughlin, The Why Store and The Elms August 13

I’m really looking forward to this free show of Indiana musicians. Jon McLaughlin has recently released his secondalbum, “OK NOW,” to follow-up his highly successful debut album, “Indiana.” The Elms just released a highly anticipated new album. The Why Store, with frontman Chris Shaffer, is still going strong after 15 years and five albums.

Kelly Clarkson
August 14

The winner of the original “American Idol” show  made Billboard magazine history for the largest leap to No. 1 by going from No. 97 .

Keith Urban
August 15

Keith Urban has recorded seven No. 1 songs and another seven Top 5 country hits. I wonder if he’ll be traveling with his wife, Nicole Kidman?

Journey and Heart
August 16

The two iconic bands will share the bill. The grandstand is sure to be loaded with folks who were fans the first time around and youngsters just discovering them. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is the top selling track in iTunes history.

Jason Mraz with G.Love & Special Sauce and K’Naan
August 18

Known for his fun, folksy style, Jason Mraz always puts on a good show.

Oak Ridge Boys with special guest Larry Gatlin
August 19

The Oak Ridge Boys are returning to their gospel roots after decades of turning out country hits.

Demolition Derby & Fireworks
August 23

An old-fashioned, “drive it ‘til it dies” demolition derby returns to the fairgrounds. The free show will end with fireworks. 

The big name acts that play the Grandstand, but there is a giant turkey leg’s worth of free music throughout the Fairgrounds.  The Main Street stage next to the Grandstand the features everything from bluegrass to the Blue Monkey Side Show. FYI, your dad will be extra-horrified that the guy who lifts things with his nipples knows your name. The Celebrations Park stage near the 4-H buildings leans to the country and world music side of the spectrum.

I love the old-timey music on the state in the Pioneer Village building. You’ll find lots of familiar folks playing there, including Cara Jean Wahlers and LuAnn Lancton.   There are some changes in Pioneer Village this year.  The Antique Tractor Barn is
no longer a tractor barn. It was converted into an Opry House, and will be the home of
several new and different activities in addition to the ever popular Farm Toy Show and Old Time Auction. Some of the new activities planned include a tribute to the WLS National Barn Dance, the Traditional Arts Indiana State Fair Fiddle Contest, and a Liar’s Contest.

WLS National Barn Dance
Possum Holler Opera House
Pioneer Village
August 15, 8 pm.

Several of my friends have been working on this great show and I’ve seen some intriguing photos of rehearsal. Remember Red Foley, Lulubelle and Scotty? Do you miss hearing the Hoosier Hotshots or Patsy Montana? The WLS National Barn Dance is your change to rekindle the memories.

Charlie Ballantine
Thursday evenings

1134 E 54th St

The musical apple did not fall far from the tree. Charlie Ballantine is the very talented son of guitar hero, Scott Ballantine. Charlie will play every Thursday evening until he starts back at the IU School of Music. You need to go see him now, so you can tell your friends in a few years, “I saw Charlie Ballantine play at a little café on the Monon Trail. I knew he was going to make it big.” I’ve enjoyed a couple of Thursday evenings sitting on the patio, enjoying a delicious Zest salad and listening to Charlie play. Good stuff.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nora goes to the Indiana State Fair.

I'm a State Fair junkie. I have my dream assignment -- NUVO is letting me write about the Indiana State Fair this year. Here are my Top Ten picks:  Nora's Top 10 Indiana State Fair. 

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 6, no 15

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

Do-Re-Mi Steps, Salzburg, Austria
Tuesday, June 23

Most of my family took a wonderful vacation to Germany last month. We took a day trip to Salzburg to see the wonderful town and amazing churches. Salzburg is famous for two musical things – Mozart’s birthplace and the setting for a good bit of the “Sound of Music.” It was pouring rain that day, so everything I saw that day was filtered though my umbrella and a sheet of rain. As I skipped down the famous “Do-Re-Mi” steps, “Singing in the Rain” was running through my head. All musicals tend to run together in my mind. The churches were amazing and I adored the baroque architecture. And I scored one of my favorite souvenirs -- an inexpensive cardboard music box that plays Edelweiss. It only got slightly warped in the rain.

I must admit that I enjoyed the time on the train traveling to and from Munich, Germany. I laughed harder than I did on the whole trip about the Paper Mache that formed on my jacket from a wet shopping bag rubbing against my coat as we ran to the train – and the fact that Mom handed me a hot pad to try to clean it off. I guess you had to be there…

Our (Radius Tours) tour guide was amazing and we were lucky enough to be the only folks on the tour. Mike Richardson’s knowledge of the area, history, art and quirky stuff was incredible and he did a great job of tying it all together for us. The conversation on the train turned to music and it turned out Mike booked and hosted punk rock shows while in school in Minnesota (his home state). His band toured with the Dropkick Murphy’s in 1998. I loved collecting band names and his now has a sticky note on my inside closet door wall of fame – Ten Kegs. Who wouldn’t go to a show with Ten Kegs on the flyer?
I’ll continue the art, music and beer tour of Germany in the next issue.

Bill Mallonee, The Benders
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Radio Radio

Bill Mallonee earned a dedicated fan base with his former band, The Vigilantes of Love. Bill is a great songwriter -- Paste Magazine lists Bill at number 65 as on the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters Poll. So you don’t need me to tell you about Bill – there has been lots of great stuff, written by much more knowledge people than me for you to read.

I want to talk about revamped band, The Benders. The lineup is David England (guitar, vocals), John Byrne (guitar, pedal steel and vocals), Matt Brookshire (bass) and Wade Parish (drums, vocals). I’ve been a fan of the band for quite a while and quite frankly was worried about the lineup changes, but not to worry – they sound great! David, John and Wade harmonize beautifully. The set was full of guitar-laden goodness. Their set included a good chunk of David England’s new album, Little Death. His new record is great! It showcases David’s songwriting and his power-pop sensibilities. Think Elvis Costello. Good stuff.

Soul Bus
Slippery Noodle Inn
Thursday, July 2, 2009

I must wear my blues bias on my sleeve because when I parked in the lot next to the club the parking guy quizzed me to make sure I was in the right place. The nice guy at the door double-checked that I was in the right place. And I know I was one of last people Soul Bus bass player, David Murray expected to walk through the door at midnight.

And guess what? I loved it! That night’s Soul Bus line-up that night was Gordon Bonham, Paul Holdman, David Murray and Jeff Chapin. They played a lot of Rolling Stones and surf-rock. You can catch Soul Bus every Monday night at Daddy Jack’s.

Premium Blend
Saturday, July 4, 2009

I don’t know if you remember how soggy Independence Day was, but I was one of the folks that stayed at Victory Field until the fireworks were officially called off at 10:00. Through the magic of texting I met up with friends at the Chatterbox. Listening to jazz was the perfect way to melt the craziness and tension of the day away. David Andrichik has created a magical place – always worth popping in.

Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses
Radio Radio
July 10, 2009

When people ask me about how I started writing about music I credit Alan Hague for letting me write this column and have free-reign to write about what I want to. And Lost Highway records for keeping me on their radar. My first-ever phone interview was to be with Ryan Bingham last year. I was super-freaked out and nervous. The interview was cancelled at the last minute because Ryan got a last minute invitation to appear on Conon O’Brien. I can’t tell you how relieved I was, but I still hang my ability to get to interview national touring musicians on Ryan’s hat rack.

I got to stand on the stage at the Austin City Limits Festival last year when Ryan and his band knocked the socks off of the huge crowd. I felt as proud of him as I do when I see my sweet niece and nephew do something adorable (which is every time I see them).

Ryan has a new CD, Roadhouse Sun. His observational singer/songwriting and his alt-country swagger shine through on this record. Roadhouse Sun is more roots rock than his first record, the twangy Mescalito.

The Radio Radio show was great. Ryan and the band pulled out all of the stops. And I stood on the side of the room, singing along and grinning like a proud aunt.

Deer Tick
Locals Only
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

First of all, it warmed my heart to see over 100 people out on a Tuesday night seeing live original music. Woo Hoo! It’s easy to see why Deer Tick has the ear of the cool kids. Deer Tick has great songs, excellent musicians and indie band charm. Besides their own music they play ironic covers of Tom Pet. I giggled during the encore set of psychedelic rock at the thought that their parents were probably listening to the same songs in their bedrooms in the 1970s and melting crayons over light bulbs in their closets.

Neko Case
Clowes Memorial Hall
Friday, July 17

Thanks to Jeff Grantham for the awesome birthday gift – second row, center seats to see Neko Case. I’m not usually a sit-down sort of concert person. I like to be able to move around and listen from different parts of the room. That said, wow! The seats were great – and the legroom was incredible. I could stick my feet straight out and my cowboy boots did not touch the seat in front of me. I can’t even do that in my kitchen.

I’ve been listening to her new record, Middle Cyclone a ton. I used to say that I have a musical crush on Neko; now I’ve decided that I want to be her. Sadly I think the only things she and I have in common is our prudish dislike of certain words – I’m shivering just thinking of them. Neko and long-time singer/collaborator Kelly Hogan have great stage rapport and really connected with the audience. Neko seemed like she was having a lot more fun than the last time I saw her. The whole band seemed to be in good spirits and full of fried chicken (their pre-show dinner was at Hollyhock Hill).

Neko Case and her band were wonderful – I was particularly intrigued by the pedal steel/guitar/banjo player, Jon Rauhouse. As you know, I adore pedal steel and banjo and Jon brings it to another level. They played a good deal of Middle Cyclone and older Neko songs. Neko switched off between accompanying herself on guitar and singing. I soon figured out how to tell what she was going to do next. Hair up, sing. Hair down, guitar. Okay – that just seemed a little stalkerish. I’m going to declare this as my favorite show so far this year – it will be hard to top.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 6, no 14

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette


Deer Tick, Dawes, Kentucky Nightmare
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Locals Only
2449 E. 56th Street
9:00, 21+

When I saw Dawes play at Locals Only a few months ago I was blown away by two things. One, they were amazing good. Two, there was nobody there. The San Fernando Valley band plays soulful pop. Brothers Taylor (guitar) and Griffith Goldsmith (drums) harmonizing beautifully with Wylie Gelber's bass guitar. They played as a trio the last time they were in town. I can’t wait to hear what the addition of keyboards does to the mix. I’ve really been enjoying their self titled CD. They’ve got it all – great songs, tight sound, good looks and boyish charm.

Steve Smith and Vital Information
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Jazz Kitchen
5377 N. College Ave, 317-253-4900
7:00/9:00, $20. 21+, non-smoking

The all-star Soul/Jazz/Funk/Fusion super-group is celebrating their 25th year and the celebrating release of their new album, Vitalization. I’m always fascinated by groups that have drummers as bandleaders. Not because of any drummer stereotypes, but because I think that the whole process of being a drummer would consume every ounce of energy that I had. Just the thought of keeping time makes me sweat.

Steve is no ordinary drummer. He was named Modern Drummer’s "#1 All Around Drummer" five years in a row and was voted one of the "Top 25 Drummers of All Time" in a recent reader’s poll and was named to the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2002. I hope all of these awards mean that he does not need to carry and set up his own kit anymore.

A concert to celebrate the life of Mark Garback
Friday, July 17, 2009
Radio Radio
1119 E. Prospect Street (Fountain Square)
9 pm, $5 donation, 21+, non-smoking

I first met Mark Garback as a volunteer for the Tonic Ball. He had the formidable job of helping hustle 15 bands on stage for 10 minute changeovers, keep the path to the stage and the equipment clear and the path to the exit open at Radio Radio. And he managed to pull all of that off with good-humor, grace and charm.

Mark was an ABATE motorcycle safety instructor and had a part-time gig as a motorcycle funeral escort. He was hit by a car while leading a funeral procession in May and died a few days later of his injuries. He would have turned 48 on July 21. His friends are throwing a memorial concert/birthday party/fundraiser (for SCI Hope fund – helping people with spinal cord injuries), and they encourage everyone to come.

The emcee for the evening will be Mark's good friend, Steve "Papaw" Pyatte and there is a stellar lineup of bands playing - Shelby Kelley, Big Betty and The Common. I’ll see you there – right after the Neko Case show, of course.

Josh Hoge
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Birdy’s Bar and Grill
2131 E. 71st St.
31- 254-8971
8:30, $8, 21+

Nashville’s Josh Hoge is one of the guys that I’ve been meaning to see for a long time. I keep reading great stuff about him and I like what I’ve heard of his music. I’ll let Ryan Tedder of One Republic tell you about him. "Josh Hoge is one of the most talented vocalists I have ever worked with. In a world filled with copycats, he doesn't sound like anybody but himself. I've known him for almost a decade and have watched him go from talented singer to talented singer, writer and performer; he is a recording 'artist' in every sense of the word."


The good news: I’m back in the groove of seeing shows. The bad news: I’m back in the groove of seeing shows, coupled with jet lag, Second Helpings fiscal end of year and the Independence Day holiday I’m shockingly far behind on writing up the reviews. So you’ll have to wait until the next issue to hear about the punk-rock Salzburg tour guide and my turn on the ‘do ri me’ steps and running in to someone I know while naked at the baths in Baden Baden – and getting ‘shushed for talking about our love of Yat’s. In the mean time…

Blythe Hager – Dry Rot
Healing Arts Indy
805 S. Meridian Street (across from Shapiro’s Deli)

I first met Blythe at CATH Inc, back in the days when it was in the storefront space across from Hit City Recording. We passed the manager baton and she went off to bigger and better things. I knew that she wildly talented and creative. I love when I get a piece of mail from her and she always brings delightful things to parties. I still have a bouquet of doll’s heads from a Saint Valentine’s Day party years ago.

I am surrounded by such talented folks, that I tend to forget how amazing they are. I was smacked in the eyes with it when I walked in to the Healing Arts Indy gallery. Blythe came up with the concept of the show while contemplating the house she’s lived in for years and the repairs it needed. As she says, “Dry rot is defined, in part, as decay from within caused especially by resistance to new forces.” Her series looks at that through the eyes of contemplating the American dream of home ownership.

The official word on Blythe: Hager is a fine artist and scenic painter from Indianapolis and Herron School of Art graduate. For over 10 years, Hager’s work as a scenic and decorative painter has taken her throughout the U.S. and even to Japan. She has worked on a wide variety of murals, backdrops, stage and television sets, exhibits, and props. As a fine artist, Hager has exhibited her paintings in local galleries. Working in acrylic and oil, she paints narratives of mundane life suspended in mysterious moments.

The unofficial word: She’s a kick-ass artist and all-around cool chick.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ryan Bingham at Radio Radio, July 10, 2009

Click here and scroll down to 'Friday roots' for the NUVO Soundcheck preview that I wrote for the Ryan Bingham show. I'm a big fan of Ryan and have been listening to his new record, Roadhouse Sun pretty much nonstop for the last month. Great stuff.

While you're reading the previews, scroll down to Saturday and read Scott Shoger's 'Butt Rock' blurb about the Kid Rock/Lynard Skynyrd show. The best two sentances I've read in a long time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 6, no 12

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette.


Teen Arts and Music Festival
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Broad Ripple Park
1550 Broad Ripple Avenue
11 AM – 7 PM, all-ages, free

This is the fifth year for the Teen Arts and Music Festival and it keeps getting bigger and better. There will be twelve bands on the main stage and an open stage for teen singer-songwriters, poets and dancers to perform. Dozens of teen artists will have their work on display and for sale.

The lineup is stellar – including two bands I’ve heard before and love – Sanuk and Razorback Llama and the teenagers at heart band, Tim Brickley and The Bleeding Hearts.

11:00 Cities of Noise
11:30 The Grimes Girls
noon Rebel Harriet
12:40 Aquatones
1:20 Reload
2:00 Star Sixty-Seven
3:00 Razorback Llama
3:40 Tim Brickley and The Bleeding Hearts
4:20 Consensus
5:05 The Are You Ready’s
5:50 Sanuk
6:35 Rocketbot

Bring a lawn chair, blankets and sunscreen. Food will be available. It promises to be a fun day!

Derelicks Yard Sale
Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27, 2009
52nd Street and Clarendon Road (Rocky Ripple)
10:00 am to 5:00 pm

I know this is not the classified section, but this yard sale is benefiting two favorite things – making records and hunger relief. The talented and quirky band, The Derelicks are hosting a rummage sale to help finance the recording of their next record, Flat Can Cover Sessions, and to raise some cash for Gleaners Food Bank. I’m sure it will be chock-full of treasures!

Cameron McGill, David Townsend James, the Medders
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Indy Hostel, outdoor stage
4903 Winthrop Ave
doors 7:00, music 7:30, $7. all-ages

The first time I heard Chicago’s, Cameron McGill I was charmed by his alt-country sound sincerity. He’s charmed a lot of other folks in the last four years, performing with his band, What Army? (isn’t that the best band name, ever?). He’s doing a solo tour to promote his new record, Warm Songs for Cold Shoulders.

David Townsend James hails from Indianapolis and I enjoyed what I heard on his MySpace page, Americana – folk.

Here are Hostel John Newton’s words about The Medders: I saw these guys play a house show down in Nashville. Don't be fooled by the country-western sound (which they do quite well) - Cheyenne (lead singer) has one of the best voices for Chuck Berry around. Bring your dancing shoes!

I love their story – three sons of a Nashville Country song writer, finding their own sound and regrouping in Nashville after college. Read and hear more on their MySpace page.

I would plan my weekend around this show, if I were you. I’ll be in Germany with my family, hopefully listening to Volksmusik, but most likely watching a band that features a klezmer (not that there is anything wrong with that!).


Ice Cube Head Gallery Show
Friday, June 5, 2009

No one is more surprised by my life than I am. Seriously. And I can trace all of the cool stuff I get to do back to my job at Some Guys Pizza. I worked at Some Guys when I first moved back to Indianapolis in 1996-ish. I was my first independent restaurant gig and I know I drove them crazy with my corporate restaurant mentality. I soon got over that. I met and worked with so many cool people – including owner/operators Nancy Carey and Keith Carey. I met Second Helpings co-founder, Kristen Cordoza through the Carey’s and many amazing friends.

One of the folks that really shaped my Indianapolis experience was co-worker Jeff Ayers. Jeff was my not-so-evil landlord for almost a year. I can honestly say that I laughed every single day that I lived in that house; Jeff is one of the funniest and most creative guys I know.

All of the art in the show was a riffed from a disconcerting photograph of Jeff taken last winter. Here is Jeff’s artist statement:

“ In the Beginning: The idea behind Ice Cube Head the picture and was completely unplanned and serendipitous. It began like this: I have two large dogs, Louis and Grrrl. They are mostly outdoor dogs and their water dish is a five-gallon plastic bucket. In the winter, when one bucket starts to freeze, I switch it out with a fresh one. The water in the bucket freezes from the top down and along the sides. Given a certain amount of partial freezing, followed up by several hours indoors thawing, you can get a perfectly formed hollow ice cylinder out of the bucket, open on one end, like a giant glass or a vase. Just the right size to fit snuggly over a man’s head. Shortly after making this discovery, I was playing a game of winter bocce with an artist friend, Jim Kelly. I asked him to take a picture of me wearing the ice helmet. To make the image more humorous, especially given the below-freezing temperature and my pathetic physique, I stripped to the waist. The result is a slightly disturbing image of a half-naked grown man whose head appears to be frozen inside a giant ice cube.

“There is a group of bocce players who regularly congregate at my house, several of whom are artists of one type or another. We decided that we would all draw, paint, whatever medium, a version of the photo, then gather them all together and have a little party. The initial results, particularly the work of Jim Kelly and Sean Gelarden, were so impressive and fun that we decided to invite others to participate. The group expanded beyond our bocce circle to include a wide spectrum of contributors, from trained art professionals to people who hadn’t drawn a picture since early school days. Jim, Sean and I then decided we would print some of the best pieces and offer them for sale at a gala party at my house.”

The art work was amazing. The Ice Cube Head interpretations ranged from traditional mediums to a night light and an unsettling tableau of monkey with a glass on his head. Go to the Web site to see the art work (do yourself a favor and type in the address, Googling “Ice Cube Head” brings up Web sites that make a Catholic girl blush).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol 6. no 11

Musical Family Tree presents Math Bats reunion show w/ The Last Digit, Bramble Grit, Cheeses from France.
Friday, May 29, 3009
Birdy’s, 2131 E. 71st Street
9:00, 21+, $6.00

I am continually amazed at how things in my life circle back around, especially in the music world. Cue the flashback music, and travel with me to 1979. The year that young, innocent, wide-eyed, braces wearing Nora went from zero to punk rock musically. We didn’t listen to much music when I was growing up. I got most of my music education from the AM radio, singing, “Run, Joey Run,” at the top of my lungs on the tractor.

So you can imagine how my little mind was blown by punk rock. And I wound up with a front row seat for some the most amazing things that were happening in the Midwest (and national) scene. After a chance meeting in the Purdue Student Government office (I’d snuck in one night to use the typewriter) I was the assistant to the treasurer of the student government and hanging out with the punk band crowd of Dow Jones and the Industrials. They were the smartest, hippest and most fascinating people that I knew. It truly changed my life and gave me the courage to be my own person.

The Last Four (5) Digits was one of the bands I was seeing play at parties and backroom concerts, including a memorable gig at the Sigma Nu House at Purdue – forever dubbed as the Sigma Nu-wave House in L5D history. The band followed up their wildly successful 1982 east coast tour – including a CBGB gig with Marky Ramone in the audience with a raucous Bill Levin promoted headlining show at the Vogue. And then they broke up (see band name timeline below).

The original band lineup was: Brad Garton (Mr. Science from Dow Jones and the Industrials) Mike Sheets, Julie Huffaker, John Koss, and A. Xax (Dave Fulton). The lineup Friday includes everyone but Mr. Science.

The Last Four (4) Digits last played at a benefit show for the late Dow Jones and the Industrials drummer Tim North six years ago. I got the chance to catch up with them after a Last Digit practice last week. I’ll admit to being awestruck. They are working on new stuff for the show – including a mash-up of one of their songs with an E-In-Brino tune.
This will be a great show if you’re an old school punk rock fan, or if you want a peek in to new wave history. I’ll be there for sure.

Here is my attempt of a L4D timeline. Ground Zero: Joint Chiefs of Staff to Last Four (5) Digits to Last Four (4) Digits to Weird Jimmy Hoffa. They are playing this show under the name of The Last Digit.

JJ & Kai Tribute
Friday, June 5, 2009
The Jazz Kitchen
5377 N. College Avenue
7:30 & 9:30 pm, $12.

Trombonists Tom Garling and Dave Dickey will be giving a special tribute to trombone legends J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding. Original arrangements J.J and Kai did in the 50s, plus new arrangements will be performed. 
The band includeds Jeremy Allen on bass, Jason Tiemann on drums and Chip Stephens on piano.

54th and Monon Art Fair (Reese Kitchens)
Saturday, June 6, 2009
10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
54th Street and the Monon Trail

This always feels like the kickoff to summer for me. The juried fair features more than 60 local artists. Free hot dogs, lemonade, music and balloons and great artwork are featured. Good stuff!

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition viewing party
May 17, 2009
Locals Only

We laughed, we cried. Big thanks to the folks at Locals Only for opening up on a sunny Sunday so we could all watch. It was really cool to see our city featured in the two-hour season finale. If you missed it, you can still catch it at

Willie Nelson
May 18, 2009

What more could be said about Willie Nelson that has not been said already? The show was excellent. He started with Whiskey River and played two hours of rock and roll. The Vogue was sold out for the show. I loved standing in the middle of a packed venue. There are a good chunk of shows that I see that I’m one of a dozen people in the room – including the band. The crowd was multigenerational and enthusiastic. It did my little heart good to stand with hundreds of people on a Monday night listening to live original music. Don’t ever miss a chance to see Willie Nelson in concert. You won’t be sorry.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Last Four (4) Digits, Friday, May 29th

Here is a preview for the Last Digit show at Birdy's May 29th.
It's hard to do justice to a band that you watched 25 years ago with wide-eyed, slam-dancing amazement -- in 300 words or less.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Indianapolis edition
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Locals Only
2449 E. 56th Street (just off of 56th Street and Keystone Avenue)
smoke-free, 21+, doors 6:30

If you’ve been around me at all in the last month you know how much I loved hanging around the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition site. The day has finally come – the special two-hour season finale will air Sunday, May 17. I had a blast being on the building site each day and I can’t wait to see what the inside of the house looks like. I’m also looking forward to seeing how they piece the show together. This photo is of a scene that they shot several times in front of the house. Think it will make the cut?

The lovely folks at Locals Only are opening up the pub for a viewing party. If you’ve never been to Locals Only this is the perfect time to check it out. The food is wonderful and the kitchen will be in full swing. There is plenty of room for everyone to sit and watch the show.
This is the kick-off to my birthday week (I like to stretch the celebration out) that also includes the Willie Nelson show and a Phillies game in Cincinnati. I’ll be the one in the Home Makeover tee shirt. I’ll try to restrain myself from wearing the hard hat. I’ll see you there!

Vulgar Boatmen
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Spencer’s Stadium Tavern
802 S West St Indianapolis
21+, 9:00

This is should be on your short list of shows this week. The Vulgar Boatmen are playing an acoustic show at Spencer's. And they don’t play often. They had an especially fun time when they were there last. We've played there twice before and had an especially fun time last spring.

Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart
Big Roots Show
April 30, 2009
Locals Only

The Thursday Big Roots Show continues to host great local and touring musicians. I was really looking forward to this show. I first saw husband and wife team Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart in 2002 (before I ever dreamed about writing about music) and I have been talking about her talent and quirkiness ever since. Think honky-tonk folk.

Stacey Earle is a great storyteller. She led in to a song about mother’s intuition with a story about the tablet the song was written in and a trash bag. She walked among the crowd singing and charming us all. Mark Stuart is an amazing guitar player, but switched to the piano to accompany Stacey for her last song. They ended the show with a piano duet – Chopsticks.
You can hear another member of the Earle family, Stacey’s nephew Justin Townes Earle, June 5 at Radio Radio.

Scott Ballantine and Karen Irwin
May 7, 2009
Wine Cellar (Corner Wine Bar)

Scott Ballantine and Karen Irwin are playing every Thursday in May in the Wine Cellar at the Corner Wine Bar. Karen Irwin has a bigger than life voice and it is fun to see her in this intimate venue. Scott Ballantine is a terrific guitar player – he is amazing to watch. They play a mix of standards and classic pop songs.

The Wine Cellar serves the wonderful food -- including the 12.95 Filet Mignon special and has a full bar along with the great wine selection that you would expect in a wine cellar.

From there I headed to The Big Roots Show….

Jason and the Punknecks
Big Roots Show
May 7, 2009
Locals Only

I’d joked; half seriously that Jason and the Punknecks scared me. I had a much better time watching them than I did the last time I saw them (at the now defunct Sam’s Saloon). Husband and wife team, Jason and Polly Punkneck could not be any different than Mark Stuart and Stacey Earle that I saw on the same stage the week before. Honky-tonk folk to honky-tonk folk.
Jason and Polly play with great enthusiasm. Polly assured us that, “we like morality, just not normalcy.” Good to know.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Indianapolis 500 Mini Marathon music reviews

I walked the 13.1 mile route and reviewed the bands along the way. 
I had a blast and got a sports byline all at the same time!