Thursday, September 29, 2011

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol. 8 no. 20

first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

Benefit Concert for the Stagehands of the Indiana State Fair Tragedy
Sunday, October 2
8 Seconds Saloon
111 North Lynhurst Drive
2:00pm - 11:00pm, 21+, $10

Money raised from this mega-show will benefit the Local 30 Stagehands Memorial Fund. There will be two stages of bands and nine hours of live music– there is something for everyone! Laura Steele and Jimmy Cain will emcee the concert and they have promised a once-in-a-lifetime silent auction as well as several raffles and concert memorabilia for sale.
If you can’t make it to the show, but would like to donate it’s easy as pie! You can go to any Fifth Third bank. Specify the Local 30 Stagehands Memorial Fund.

Here is the epic lineup:
2:00pm Opening Ceremony
2:15pm The 3:1 Blues Revue (Tom Kiefaber, Ranch Wuertz, Joe O'Conell, Nick Neureiter, Jay Stein, Charlie Cheeseman, and Brent Bennett)
4:00pm The Remedies (Mike Oz)
5:00pm The Splendid Trend
5:45pm Minsky Kinks Burlesque Troupe
6:00pm Smoke Ring
7:00pm Why On Earth
8:00pm One-Eyed Dog (Erikk D. Lee)
9:15pm Healing Sixes
10:30pm Threat Level
11:30pm Radio FX
12:30pm Recoil

Carrie Newcomer
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Second Presbyterian Church
7700 N. Meridian Street
7:30, all-ages, non-smoking, $18

I’ve always liked being a waitress. My previous jobs all involved working in a nursing home or hospital, so waitressing was a relative breeze. And no one was going to get hurt if I goofed up a drink order. My first waitressing gig was at the Ground Round in Lafayette. Not only was there a constant supply of popcorn, but also Carrie Newcomer played there every week with her pop-folk group, Stone Soup.

It was awesome having Carrie’s sweet voice as the background to my work, but there was one night that I made the whole band stop in their tracks. The Ground Round was one of those popcorn and peanut baskets on the tables places. It was the early 1980s, in a college town so pitchers of beer were a big seller. One evening I had two pitchers in one hand and six mugs in the other when I slipped. I went down hard on my knees and landed on sharp peanut shells. Just as I was waffling between being proud that I didn’t drop the glass pitchers and mugs and bursting into to tears, I realized that the beer had wooshed straight up out of the pitcher and was raining all over the dining room. The band stopped playing as they ducked for cover and tried to protect their instruments. I might have gotten the biggest round of applause that night.

This is Carrie’s debut of her new CD, Everything is Everywhere. Carrie is a wonderful songwriter, and one of the first musicians I ever heard that fit that title. Her voice is gentle, yet powerful enough to get the emotion of her songs to the audience. You will be totally charmed by her. Promise.

The show will benefit Global Gifts and The Interfaith Hunger Initiative, both worthy causes.

Broad Ripple Music Fest
Saturday, October 15, 2011

I will have the full schedule for Broad Ripple Music Fest in the next issue.

I had the good fortune to attend the Austin City Music Fest. Here is my recap of the first day.

Ray LaMontagne

Ray LaMontagne and his band looked like true Texans (or at least and HBO version) in their vests, and fedoras and heavy sprinkling of beards. They played a mellow set, with LaMontagne on acoustic guitar and raspy voice. While I enjoyed the bluesy-folksy set, and pedal steel makes me swoon, I’m not sure what all of the fuss is about – but the 20,000 people singing along clearly disagreed with me.

Kurt Vile and Violators
You can set your watch by the start times of the music at the Austin City Limits Festival. In the last five years I can only think of one time that the stage didn’t start exactly on time. With 130 bands and eight stages the production has to be a well-oiled machine. Kurt Vile and his crew started a few minutes late, giving the stage manager an incredulous look when told that all of the stages start on time. Vile bounded out, looked around for the rest of the band and went backstage to fetch them. Jet lag can be blamed – they were in Europe just two days ago.

After the faltering start the set was indie-stoner-rock at it’s best. Plenty of electric guitars – not a bass guitar in sight – distortion and hair, although I wouldn’t have minded a chorus or something.

Cold War Kids

I enjoyed the energy of the Cold War Kids after the heavy-liddedness of Kurt Vile. Their swagger juxtaposed with their sensitivity for some great fun and pop goodness. They seemed genuinely happy to be there and the crowd of thousands was thrilled to be singing and dancing along. 

Foster The People

Mark Foster, the person was in the hospital earlier today with bronchitis. You never would have guessed by his energy and sound. You’ll recognize their song, “Pumped Up Kicks,” even if you’ve never heard of the band. The clean-scrubbed LA based band has only been together since 2009. I loved how the cabinets for their keyboards and such looked like they’d been fabricated in their grandparent’s basement. The set was big clean fun.

Charles Bradley

I had the good fortune to have a telephone interview with Charles Bradley last year. His humbleness and lack of pretention was totally charming, but his answer to almost every question I posed was, “if I can’t help you, I sure ain’t gonna hurt you.” It took a tremendous amount of cajoling on my part to get his story. And a good story it is.

Bradley has earned his made-for-soul raspy voice the hard way. His music is very personal. His first-ever album, No Time for Dreaming, released last year, “ is based on true stories that I lived.”

Bradley opened with the heart-wrenching song, “Heartache and Pain,” the song about his brother’s death. In the interview Bradley told me that he puts his whole essence into this music, “If you’re watching me on stage sometimes I turn away, I’ve got to catch myself and let the lyrics out, because I’d be so full of emotion.”

He wasn’t joking. I’ve never seen such an expressive performance. The audience was re-living the day his brother died with him.

Although Bradley, 63, has been singing for years, this is the first time he’s been able to perform full-time. He was inspired by seeing James Brown at the Apollo Theater in 1964, when he was 16 years old. 

He eventually found a career in cooking, which took him Maine to Alaska, making California his home for decades. “Music and being a chef have been my whole life.” Bradley was able to squeeze in occasional music gigs and a little studio work along the and was ready to buy his first house.  “Then life hit me real hard.” He was laid off of his restaurant job after 17 years.
He started performing his James Brown routines under his alter ego “Black Velvet” when Gabriel Roth of Daptone records happened to catch his show and recognized Bradley’s raw talent.

Bradley kept telling the ACLF crowd, “I love you, I love you” And I believe him with my whole heart.

Sara Bareilles

I didn’t expect to be so totally charmed by Sara Bareilles, but I’m not even sure what I expected. I realized that I’d looped her in with the Indiana State Fair stage collapse. Bareilles had finished playing not long before the accident.

Bareilles is delightful and is a strong singer-songwriter-piano player with an intimate stage presence.


I was torn – Coldplay or Kanye? They were both playing just minutes apart on opposite sides of the 350 acre Zilker Park. And photo rules state that you can only shoot the first three songs of the set – except in the case of Kanye, where you could only shoot the second and third songs. I let laziness make the decision. The Coldplay stage is easier to fight the crowds to the photo pit.

Coldplay are the ultimate arena rockers. There set was fun and happy and professional – and not nearly as boring as that sounds. They’re comfortable in their own rocker skins and know how to put on a rocking good show. Well done, guys. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Broad Ripple Gazette, vol. 8, no. 19

 first published in the Broad Ripple Gazette

Sleeper Agent (with Indian City Weather, Alter Ego, Jeremy Johnson & the Bleeding Keys)
Friday, September 16, 2011
2131 E. 71st Street
21+, 8:00, $5.

I’m a sucker for young pop bands. Sleeper Agent is right up my musical alley. This talented band can back up their cool kid good looks with well-crafted songs and infectious hooks. Rolling Stone named them a “band to watch,” and who am I to argue with them? 

The Birdy’s show will be just the third stop on the Bowling Green, KY, based band’s twenty-five cities tour, so they’ll be fresh – in several ways. 

A little bit about Birdy’s: In the last several years, it has become one of Indianapolis’ iconic music venues. They have a full bar, and I suggest getting there early enough to eat – the food is way above the typical venue fare.

Indy Jazz Fest
Saturday, September 17, 2011
Opti Park/Indianapolis Art Center Grounds
820 East 67th Street
all-ages, 1:00, $30 general admission, $75 VIP

The week long Indy Jazz Fest culminates with Saturday’s all-day, three stages, concert. 

Yellowjackets - 2pm
Rufus Reid's "Out Front" Quintet - 3:45pm
Spyro Gyra - 5:30pm
George Benson - 7:30pm
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue - 9:30pm

Cathy Morris - 1pm
WOW featuring Tim Warfield & Bobby Floyd - 2:45pm
Melvin Rhyne Trio - 4:30pm
Indy Guitar Summit - 6:15pm

IUPUI Jazz Ensemble - 1pm
Bloomington North HS Jazz Ensemble - 1:55pm
Butler University Jazz Ensemble - 2:50pm
Fort Wayne Snider HS Jazz Ensemble - 3:45pm
University of Indianapolis Jazz Ensemble - 4:40pm
Indiana University Jazz Ensemble - 5:35pm
Ball State University Jazz Ensemble - 6:30pm

There is a free shuttle for the concert. Park at the overflow lot of Glendale Center (62nd/Keystone). The shuttle runs from 11:45 am to midnight. You can bring a chair or blanket (VIP seats include seating), but no food or drinks. There will be wonderful food and beverages available for purchase. No pets allowed.
They Might Be Giants with Jonathan Coulton
Thursday, September 22

The Vogue Theater
6259 N. College Ave
21 +, non-smoking, $23, 7:00

I once got some feedback on this column that I shouldn’t focus on my age and long I’ve been hanging around the music scene, but in this case, I feel like I’ve musically grown up with They Might Be Giants. I first heard of the Brooklyn rockers from my friend, John Gernand, who toured as their soundman. I first saw them in 1993 when they played the Vogue for the first time and I’m looking forward to seeing them 28 years later on the same stage. 

The alternative-rock pioneers are known for their use of quirky stage props – giant fezzes and cardboard heads – and general silliness. Over the years they channeled some of that into a Grammy winning children’s series of educational records. 

TMBG is celebrating their 30th year of uninterrupted rocking with a sparkly new record, Join Us, and a polished-up energetic live show. Jonathan Coulton will open the show.

Art vs. Art Main Event
Friday, September 30
The Vogue Theater
6259 N. College Ave
21+, non-smoking, $12 advance/$15 at door, 8:00

Are you a fan of art, chain saws, boxing matches, witty repartee, audience participation, deciding fate by the spin of the wheel, big band music and general bedlam? I can’t be the only one… Art vs. Art is a raucous and entertaining art show with a twist. And the twist is a big one!

Earlier this month over 100 artists gathered at City Market, were given a canvas and paints and a few hours to create a masterpiece. The paintings are all online ( to be voted on – now is your big chance to be an art critic in the privacy of your own home. The top 32 vote getters will be on display at the Vogue the night of the Main Event. Balloting that night will determine the top 16. The other 16 will be offered for sale for $100. The rest will be for sale for $50. It’s not as confusing as I just made it out to be – the bottom line is that you walk out of the Vogue with a great piece of original art for $50 or $100 – the artists get 70%.

The top 16 paintings are randomly paired on stage and voted on by audience noise making – the decibel meter has the final say. The winner moves on to the next round. The loser is subjected to the Wheel of Death. A spin determines the fate of the canvas – past year’s methods have included chain sawing, pizza making and black paint. You can spare the art by buying the painting from the audience.

The Grand Prize is $4000, a title belt and a whole lot of bragging rights.

The Main Event promises to be twice as fun this year. Emcee Michael Wiltrout will keep on his ruffled tuxedo shirt to front the Leisure Kings Big Band for the after-party concert.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Broad Ripple Gazette vol 8 no 18

Neon Love Life, Tuesday Night CD release party
Friday, September 2, 2011
Radio Radio
1119 E. Prospect Street
8:00, 21+, $10 (includes CD), non-smoking

I’m smitten with Neon Love Life for lots of reasons, but most of all because they are a kick-ass rock band. The fact that the band is made up of all women is secondary.

The band formed in September of 2009, and they spent every Monday and Tuesday evening rehearsing and writing in Broad Ripple. They recorded “Tuesday Night” at Queensize Studios early this year.
Their songs range from straight-forward rock to teen-age punk to moody nostalgia. Lindsay Manfredi and Sharon Rickson share the front woman duties, switching off on rhythm guitar and bass and vocals.
Ashley Plummer plays tasty guitar licks and adds to the energy of the band. Tasha Blackman is a forceful and fun drummer.

Also performing that night: 8 Inch Betsy and Hero Jr.
This promises to be an epic night at Radio Radio.

The Odyssey Favor, Chinese Monster CD release show
Friday, September 9. 2011
Locals Only
2449 East 56th Street
8:00, 21+

The Odyssey Favor is so damn cool. Not only did they write a song for my birthday, but they managed to rhyme ‘Spitznogle’ in a verse. But don’t let the fact that they used hornswagle in a sentence turn you off. The Odyssey Favor is chockfull of pop goodness, a harming touch of quirkiness and moon boots.
Joining them at Locals Only are Hitchhike and Finest Grain. The evening promises to be full of great music and good vibes.

The French Market
Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church grounds
4217 Central Ave
all-ages, free, noon - 10:00, non-smoking

The French Market is a different sort of fun than the church festival of my childhood. My church had an annual turkey shoot. While we didn’t shoot actual turkeys, which would have added a level of excitement, the prizes involved frozen turkeys. And who lets kids run around with guns? Things were different in the early 1970s. 

Saint Joan of Arc’s French Market promises fun for everyone. Food, music, raffle prizes, activities for the kiddos and an artisan craft area are all featured. Did I mention the food? I’m looking forward to the French pastries. Raffle prizes include an iPad, and Pat Crossland handmade quilt, Trek bike, cash and jewelry.

The festival starts at noon. If you do it right you can eat lunch and dinner and everything in between at the Market. Second Helpings culinary job-training students are making the French Onion Soup from scratch – all 40 gallons – let me tell you, that’s a lot of onions to peel.

The French Market turns 21 this year. Speaking of 21, beer and wine are available.  And speaking of beer and wine there will be live music between 1:00 – 10:00, including the bands, Second Wind, The Stardusters, Mojo Gumbo and Living Proof. Mass will be celebrated at 5:30 in the church and historic tours will be available throughout the day.

I’ll see you there!