Ape Wind

The Columbus Music Scene and Beyond

July 10, 2010 – After picking up a flyer at Pattycake Bakery, I was instantly anticipating attending Biggie Smalls 2010 at Junctionview Studios in Grandview. The event boasted big art and small art… and while some of the art was small in size the event truly produced something great for the music and arts scene in Columbus.

Going to a venue like Junctionview Studios is always fun – there’s something about industrial areas with warehouses that evoke a sense of intrigue and delight. It almost feels like you’re not supposed to be there, like there’s some sort of secret meeting with a private invite. Plus, the event was BYOB which practically feels dangerous and outlandish. Just like being a kid again.

The Little Professors

The soundtrack of the event began with The Little Professors, a band that generally produced noise backed with a simple drum line that was, at times, slightly catchy. During their set the bassist and guitarist swapped instruments a few times, which added a bit to their performance but didn’t contribute much to their music. The Little Professors sounded much like high school kids playing in their neighbor’s garage – not very good, but kind of fun.

Between bands I took a closer look at the artwork. While some of the art seemed crafty and slightly amateur, I started to feel the magic of the event. This show was supposed to showcase big art and small art, not just with respect to size — it was a presentation of both talent and creativity.

"It Just Keeps Coming" by Adam Brouillette.

The first piece to really get me excited was by Adam Brouillette titled, “It Just Keeps Coming.” This piece was 8 feet by 6 feet and absolutely bombarded me with instant joy and exhilaration. This was big art. I do believe I exclaimed, “Eeee!!” out loud upon seeing this painting, and I could feel the kid in me jumping up and down with delight.

"Stockade" by Jesse Mills.

Another object of largeness worth mentioning was a stockade by Jesse Mills. I love art that can be experienced and played with, and I watched as event-goers, young and old, positioned themselves within the stockade and took pictures. The piece was extremely comedic (painted a cutesy pink and blue) and received a lot of attention due to its placement in a large room near the performing bands.

The Woozies

The second band I stayed to hear was The Woozies. This was an interesting group that used cool bass lines topped with psychedelic guitar to create a retro kind of 60s vibe. The harmony between the male and female vocalists was reminiscent of the Mamas & the Papas when they were in tune and pretty unpleasant when not. All in all, though, a pretty fun band with some promise and talent.

In all fairness to the bands that played, Junctionview Studios is first and foremost a place to create and display artwork, not a live performance space. The band was set up in a hallway and was basically playing to a wall. I bet that both The Little Professors and The Woozies would sound much better in a location made for performances.

"Somnius Nex" by Ira Tecson.

Another memorable work of art included a piece titled “Somnius Nex” by Ira Tecson. This strange creature appeared to be beheaded and mounted to the wall. The animal reminded me of something one might see out of the movie Dark Crystal — something very Jim Henson inspired.

"Rollin' on the Rocks" by Patricia DeMaria.

And last, but not least, one of the only small pieces to really catch my eye was titled “Rollin’ on the Rocks” by Patricia DeMaria, which was a cute little bug of some sort on roller blades, drinking a martini. Pretty much sums up the night for me, and I rolled on out of Junctionview.

Overall, I never leave disappointed from Junctionview Studios. I saw some really cool artwork, got to hear some live music, ate some delicious cupcakes from Pattycake Bakery and hung out with some friends. If I had known it was BYOB, I would have brought some cans of Miller High Life (which seemed to be the beer of choice for many). The event was casual, fun and friendly – a lovely evening in Columbus.

Check out the studio, musicians and artists:

http://www.junctionviewstudios.com/
http://www.myspace.com/thelittleprofessors
http://www.adambrouillette.com/
http://www.myspace.com/thewoozies

April 23, 2010 – Lisa Gain is one of those standard folk musicians that has been haunting Columbus, no wait, the entire United States, for years. Hailing from Ashley, Ohio, Lisa plays an assortment of original and different sounding covers for your standard 40-something crowd. Her music is inspired by the usual folk suspects: Cash, Parton, Williams and Nelson. This is very apparent in her style.

Lisa Gain at Fat's Billiards

Lisa Gain at Fat's Billiards

She started off with what may have been a cover song declaring what would happen if she became a political leader, ending chorus and verse with the sentiment that she would be assassinated by Sunday. Every song she played made me feel like I was stuck in a coffee shop strapped in and listening to the banter of high school philosophy students right next to me. I spent most of the show trying to figure out the political ramifications of her music being played to drunk voters in a pool hall.

On a positive note though, the area designated for music was packed with eager listeners, each of which was enthralled by her music. Her talent on the guitar was relatively good and her vocal styling’s played well into the style. The applause after each song was enthusiastic.

Lisa Gain at Fat's Billiards

Lisa Gain at Fat's Billiards

Now I am opinionated about the music I listen to, as everyone should be to some degree, it’s what makes us discerning people. But I have to draw the line sometimes and I have serious problems with some styles. Not that I’d go out of my way to bash some group of peoples choice of music, but given certain venues, I get a little confused about the choices of the performer. It’s like flipping on the Christian rock station in the middle of the night and hearing Christian Death Metal… I have no idea how this style exists, but it does. Anyhow the point I’m getting to, when I go to a pool hall, with a complete full service bar, the last thing I need/want to hear is a person going on about her religious views. I mean come on, it’s a freaking bar, a place to sin. Sure it’s not a strip club, but it’s only a few naked girls away from that.

So to sum up, if you like Christian folk rock, and you are 40 or older, then it seems this performer is the perfect match for you.

You can find Lisa Gain on myspace at: http://www.myspace.com/lisagain.

-V-

Primarily consisting of two members from Tub Ring, Super 8 Bit Brothers is a life-long love affair with video games expressed through a musical outlet.  Fronted by Rob Kleiner and Kevin Gibson, the CD comes across as an unabashed homage to geeks across the planet that were raised by babysitters with names like Atari, Coleco, Intelivision & Nintendo.

Rob and KevinThe album kicks in with the track “Cyber Space Sirens / Computer Casanovas,” which is a catchy tune that comically laments the Internet dating game. It expresses the sad truth about people finding out that those  they are connecting with rarely look like what their profiles and pictures portray them to be. It is a fun tune that is only more amusing due to the irony that it is actually not about video games at all.

If you are familiarized with Tub Ring, then the variety/inconsistency of this album should come as no surprise. Part of what makes Tub Ring so great is a large part of why this album holds up so well. If you are not familiar with Tub Ring please stop reading this right now and go catch up, then come back. I’ll wait for you.

With any album this diverse, there undoubtedly will be some songs that just don’t catch you. For myself, that lone track was “Goodbye Cruel World (of Warcraft).” Having never been a part of the Internet phenomenon of multi-player gaming, it just didn’t do much for me. To anyone that has played World of Warcraft and listened to this album, I would look to the feedback (in the comments) to see what they thought of it.

I enjoyed the rest of the tracks a lot. The music is typically a hodgepodge of leftover game audio samples piled high with layers of synths and electronic drum loops. The lyrics and vocals are way better than the subject material should allow, leading to a much deeper overall experience than one would reasonably expect. Somehow out of all this you get poppy, catchy, fun and funny music that is simultaneously layered and accessible, which holds up to repeated listenings.

BrawlThe album highlights include “8 Bit Lullaby,” a track that one could easily set beside any track on any Tub Ring album and not seem out of place. That’s as good a compliment as this reviewer can give, by the way. Other tracks like “2600 Refugee,” “Blinky Loves Pepper,” and “Don’t Sell the Barrels to the Monkey” wear their heart on their sleeves for a number of classics from the early era of arcades and home consoles. That last track “Don’t Sell the Barrels to the Monkey” is a brilliant ditty sung from the perspective of the barrel salesman that supplied Donkey Kong with all his materials.

If you enjoy heavily electronic music, witty lyrical ingenuity and inspired song compositions, Brawl is a highly recommended album that will likely have a long life in your music collection if you were a gamer of any soft in the ’80s.

Video Link: 2600 Refugee