Friday, March 26, 2010

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 7, no 6

 first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

Bill Constable Benefit Dinner, Auction/Raffle and Social
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Goodland Indiana Town Center

I first met Bill Constable when we both working at Houlihan’s in Glendale Mall in the late 1980s. I was a brand-new manager and Bill was a bartender. When Bill gave his two-week notice the general manager asked me to get Bill’s keys and to tell him that we didn’t need him anymore. At the time it was the restaurant’s policy that anyone who handled money was immediately let go in case they weren’t so careful in their last shifts. Bill was the first employee that I had to “terminate,” even though technically he was leaving under his own steam. I remember being terrified and having a shaky voice as we stood in the mall in front of the stained glass windows in front of the bar. Bill laughed and made me feel better and the incident helped form my management style. I swore that I’d never fire someone that didn’t have an inkling it was coming. It didn’t stop me from having to terminate people, but no more blindsiding.

I didn’t see Bill again until the mid 1990s when I was working at Some Guys Pizza and he came walking though the door with his accordion. I had no idea that Bill was a musician. As it turned out we have a ton of mutual friends (we didn’t even need facebook to tell us). I was thrilled to have the funny and talented Bill back in my orbit.

I loved going to college football games and screaming and waving until Bill and his co-worker Rupert (yes, that Rupert) would notice me and wave back. They both worked with the giant crane-like things that ran the camera down the field. This fall Bill thought he had the flu and was diagnosed with bile duct cancer.

As a testament to how much everyone loves Bill a big group of his friends and his whole hometown have come together for a benefit to help Bill with medical expenses. Goodland is about an hour and a half northwest, just off of I-65.

The day starts at 1:00 and is chock-full fun. Dart tournament, bake sale, auction and raffles (signed New Orleans Saints helmet, a Dell computer ,weekend trips and much more), hog roast and bands full of Bill’s friends are performing. The Broad Ripple based band, The ReachArounds are on the bill.

Even if you’ve never met Bill this would be a great time for a road trip. This day will be a great example of what life is like in small town Indiana. Folks pulling out all of the stops for one of their own. And who can resist a bake sale?

Check out the Web site for directions, auction items and events.


Austin City Limits Festival day three
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Zilker Park, Austin, TX

Recap: The Austin City Limits Festival is three days long. I had a photo pass which allowed me to be in the “photo pit” right in front of the stages for the first three songs of the band’s sets. Friday featured beautiful weather. It rained all day Saturday.

And by Sunday morning the park smelled like Uncle Cletus’s pig barn. And sort of looked like it too – with 800 bales of straw strewn over the mud. Profits from previous ACLF shows had gone to refurbishing Zilker Park, including putting down sod to replace the grass that had been tramped on by thousands of festival goers and to help with the dust problems of years past.

Under the newly laid sod was Dillo Dirt, a fertilizer the city had laid down before the new grass was planted. Dillo Dirt is compost the city of Austin makes from treated sewage sludge and yard trimmings collected curbside. According to the city's Web site, the 130- to 170-degree temperatures generated during the composting process kill pathogens and poses no health risk even to people who accidentally ingest some. The risk might have been cooked out but the smell was still there. And the consistency of the mud was weird – foamy. The kind of foamy that sucked thousands of people out of their shoes.

My boots stayed on though sheer will and clever curling of my toes while walking. This was the day I finally gave up on how I looked. I was sporting muddy boots, rolled up jeans and tee-shirt and a pink bandana to catch the sweat around my neck. None of that mattered though – Indiana’s own Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band was playing.

They’d started by the time I got in the tent. The rain and mud changed the entrance locations a bit and my breeze-through-the-special-gate entryway was gone and I had to wait in line with the rest of the great unwashed. The Peyton’s played on the Wildflower Stage which didn’t have a photo area, but I was pleased to see several photographers in front of the state. I loved seeing the looks on the faces of the people that looked slightly bored during big-name shows laughing and loving and bopping along to the Big Damn Band. And I was a total dork telling them all, “They’re from Indiana and I know them!”

I can only think of one band that could have torn me from the front of the stage. A band that had a huge influence on my musical tastes – The B-52s. To make it to their photo pit I had to scoot between the thousands of arms cheering and clapping for the Peyton’s. I was grinning wildly as I wove my way through them.

The B-52s were as awesome as I thought they’d be. I was surprised to see all of the young kids singing along to the songs. Fred, Kate, Cindy and Keith were as groovy as ever and they all looked terrific. I know that I wouldn’t want someone looking at me through a high-powered lens in natural light! As much as I wanted to stay for the rest of the B-52s set I slogged my way back to the Peyton’s stage. The mud made walking a challenge. Boots getting sucked into the mud, curl toes, arch foot, extend heels, take a step, repeat.

The Peyton’s – brothers Jayme and Josh and the fabulous Breezy (married to Josh) were traveling with tour manger Dave Searle and NYC resident (and Indianapolis ex-pat) Matt Chandler. Indianapolis’ favorite librarian, Erin Brown completed our little Indianapolis party backstage. And in this case backstage was a big squishy lawn. I drank a band beer – my first beer of the festival -- and got to see how the “talent” is taken care of. hey had their own area to hang out away from us media folks. And they were driven around on golf carts. I didn't see any bowls of green M&Ms or massage tables, but might not have been looking in the right place.

I loved hearing how excited the band was about the show. They said it was easily the biggest audience they’d ever played for. Matt filmed the whole two-week tour for the Big Damn Band. You can find it on You Tube: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - Two Weeks' Hard Labor: Day 5, Austin City Limits, Austin, TX. You can the performance and see me in all of my sweaty glory (bandana included).

You can find tons of photos of Reverand Peyton’s Big Damn Band and the B-52s at

Friday, March 5, 2010

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 7, no 5

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette


Girls Rock! Indianapolis benefit featuring Neon Love Life, Pravada, Ari No Drink
Friday March 5, 2010
Talbott Street
2145 N. Talbott Street
$5, 8:00pm – 2:00am, 21+

I’m really excited about this. Girls Rock! Indianapolis is a non-profit organization dedicated to building positive self-esteem in girls and encouraging creative expression through music. Their music education programs will provide girls with an opportunity to participate in an environment that fosters leadership, encourages social change, and cultivates a supportive community of female peers and mentors. Rock on!

This show will help raise funds for their first week-long camp this July 19-23 at Park Tudor for girls ages 9 – 16. Not surprisingly the Girls Rock! Indianapolis is lead by some kick-ass women rockers who play in the band Neon Love Life. You might remember Ashley Plummer from the Peggy Sues and as part of the early Broad Ripple Gazette staff. The rest of the band includes Tasha Blackman, Lindsay Manfredi and Sharon Rickson.

There are two other bands on the bill, Pravada (indie-pop) and Ari No Drink (funk/rock). Between the bands DJ sets by Annie and Andy of A-Squared Industries. As if that is not enough there will be go-go dancers, raffles and a drag show. What more can you ask for, really?

March of Dimes benefit featuring Everything Now!, Jenn Cristy, The Cousin Brothers, Eisenhower Field Day
Friday, March 19, 2010
Locals Only
2449 East 56th Street
$6, 8:30. 21+

This is the third year that Ace Cash Express has hosted a benefit for March of Dimes. The March of Dimes works to prevent birth defects and reduce infant mortality. There are four awesome bands on the bill. Not only does Everything Now! have a most excellent name they are a terrific band. Based in Muncie but touring the country they have an ever-changing sound. Think Flaming Lips mixed with Bowie and T-Rex.

Jenn Cristy will knock your socks off with her high-energy, piano-fronted, original rock music. Although Jenn had a sweet gig as a John Mellencamp backing vocalist she’s now out front. Where she clearly belongs!

The Cousin Brothers have a unique blend of rocked-up bluegrass. They appeal to a wide audience, voted Indianapolis’ number one country band and number two folk band by the readers of NUVO newsweekly.

I was smitten with Eisenhower Field Day the first time I saw them. They’re an energetic power-pop trio of goodness. Their sound is a lot bigger than you would expect from a trio paired with pretty harmonies and smart lyrics.

Chair-ity Affair to benefit Care for Kids Foundation
March 19, 2010
Mavris Center
121 S. East Street
7:00 – 11:00, $50.

What a cool idea! Chairs for a charity event. The evening will feature live music, a strolling dinner and an auction of unique works of chair art.

The Care For Kids Foundation’s mission is to support programs and services which provide positive life changing experiences that impact the outcomes of vulnerable children.

They work with nonprofit youth organizations and agencies that serve children who experienced abuse, neglect, abandonment, or children who may be orphans or live with foster parents.

Evan Dando
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Radio Radio

I almost didn’t go to this show. I was so tired that I’d taken a four-hour long sofa nap after work. In my dress. When I woke up I debated doing the sensible thing and stumbling down the hallway to put on my pajamas and go to bed for real. Luckily my not-so sensible side won. Evan Dando fronted the wildly popular band, The Lemonheads and was a favorite of mine in the late 80s.

The Lemonheads have deep Indiana connections; at least four past and present band members are Hoosiers. I’ve felt connected to Evan ever since I met him in the Red Key two years ago and my first-ever interview for the magazine Ghettoblaster (don’t let the name throw you, it’s a quirky mix of music features, CD reviews and movie blurbs. You can find it locally at Barnes and Noble) was with Evan in anticipation of his latest record, Varshons. The album is produced by Gibby Haynes (who I also got to interview) and is Evan’s “varshons” of cover songs.

I got to Radio Radio just in time to hear the end of Evan’s solo set. He sounded great, although it was a little surreal to see him in a golf shirt playing two feet from me. He brought Vess von Ruhtenberg and Devon Ashley (and for a confusing minute current drummer Mark Cutsinger) on stage for a short set. Good stuff.

Finest Grain and Odyssey Favor
Friday, February 19, 2010

I had a blast at the show. Finest Grain was celebrating the release of their newest CD, In the Story – the adventures of kid B. Sean Jackson and Kent Vernon started the evening playing as a duo, really showing off their fine harmonies and great songwriting. I love it when I get to see singer/songwriters perform in that setting. For the second part of the concert they brought musicians who contributed to the record to the stage to join them. It was the first time I’d heard Finest Grain with a full band and they sounded great.

Odyssey Favor played next. They’re full of good power poppy fun. They played original songs and covered some other songwriters, including a Finest Grain tune. I always enjoy seeing them perform and I enjoy them off stage too. I’m a big fan of bass player, Jenny Elig. Not only is she a slammin’ player but she’s one stylish chick – and the fashion writer for the Indianapolis Star. Her footwear of choice for the gig? A very futuristic looking yet nostalgic pair of Moon Boots. Remember those? Popular in the 1970, no discernable right or left foot, came in only three sizes, S,M,L with “Moon Boot” written boldly around the top. Jenny can pull them off. Which is just as impressive as her bass playing.