It’s hard to make it out of Gambier to see a concert, especially when your Google search for “Concerts in Columbus” or “Shows in Cleveland” returns thousands of results. Here, I’ll try and point you to a few that I’m excited about (with some live videos, so you can get a preview) to ease your concert-discovery process.
When: November 19th, 2013.
Where: A and R Music Bar, Columbus, OH
This is one you won’t want to miss. The quartet from New Albany, Indiana will bring their southern style Rock and Roll to Columbus this Friday. Atop greasy guitar riffs and sprawling organ chords, this band stacks up magnificent four-part harmonies. Thematically, they craft themselves to be intellectually blue collar with songs about going to jail, working at the factory, and train hopping all while throwing in a few sophisticated allusions here and there (catch the Nietzsche reference in the video). They rock hard, but do so precisely and deliberately. Grab a beer and let them blow you away.
Who: Pusha T.
When: November 22nd, 2013
Where: Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH
Pusha basically does my job in his song “40 Acres” when he describes himself as “Unpolished, unapologetic.” Like a thunderstorm in a nightclub, T. comes at you with a primal force glossed over only slightly by the dark lights in the club. His lyrics hurl at you while he forcefully bites down on the hard consonants. With blaring guitars and synths over beats ranging from tribal to house, this show promises to be as fun as it is intense. The venue itself is one of the greats in Columbus, according to Classics Professor and resident music aficionado Zoe Kontes. Sporting multiple balconies, the Newport Music Hall provides a good view from virtually anywhere.
Who: The Lone Bellow
When: November 24th, 2013
Where: Beachland Ballroom and Tavern, Cleveland, OH
Like Houndmouth, this is another act specializing in great vocal harmonies coming soon to a nearby theater. Don’t be fooled by their all-acoustic setup in the video, this group can wallop you with their sound. However, if the idea of an acoustic trio is unappealing, fear not: they are currently touring with a full band (and having recently seen them I can personally say they sound awesome). They perform impeccably clean harmonies on intense ballads erupting into unabashed rawness. Even when they reach those wailing climaxes and all the emotion in their voices threatens to combat the musicality, they never seem lose the tune.
Who: Bill Frisell
Where: December 3rd, 2013
When: Wexner Center for the Performing Arts, Columbus, OH
One of the more popular jazz guitarists of the day, Bill will come to the beautiful Wexner Center at the Ohio State University along with his Big Sur Group to deliver a show celebrating one of the most beautiful parts of the state I call home. Aside from the drummer, the group is comprised entirely stringed instruments and that serves to create a sound that is somewhere between the old west, the 1960’s, and modern Americana. Frisell’s shimmering telecaster layers nicely over the string quartet while they reinvent classic tunes such as The Beach Boys’ “Surfer Girl” along with breathtaking originals like “Big Sur.” It’s technically jazz, but it brings so much else with it.