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!