Ape Wind

The Columbus Music Scene and Beyond

Browsing Posts tagged Rumba Cafe

Vug and the Stallions on stage at Rumba Cafe

Vug and the Stallions on stage at Rumba Cafe

April 1, 2010 – The band I recently had the pleasure to wait to see this week was a five piece roots-rock band that goes by the name of Vug and the Stallions. Hailing from Columbus, Vug Arakas on lead vocals and guitar was a member of another well known Columbus group TV Eye. Other bands that this magnificent group are a part of are Main St. Gospel, Robot Music Mystery as well as The Wing Nuts to mention a few. The Stallions that night consisted of; Barry Dean on lead guitar, Tito Ida on bass, Stamati Arakas on drums, Jay Gasper on pedal steel.

After a long stroll from my parking space I finally found my way into the dimly lit Rumba Cafe. A flash of my Apewind card got me right in the door, no questions asked. As the band before them finished I made my way to the bar for a drink. As usual I found a few friends of mine already at the bar drinking up a storm. A shot and a beer later I settled myself into a chair at the back of the bar. The band did the usual sound check salsa and an ambient warm up from some of the members, Dean and Vug stepped off stage after the announcement of a smoke and pee break. Well that break lasted about twenty minutes and ended in a friend of mine getting onstage after some reassurance from an audience member that it was a good idea. Don’t believe me, check out the footage right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OzBYVqAfpA. The Steel guitarist did not seem amused at first but I have to be honest, Casey and the Stallions were pretty entertaining for the seven to eight minutes they played. The audience seemed to love it and at the very least were entertained enough not to leave.

Vug and the Stallions on stage at Rumba Cafe

Vug and the Stallions on stage at Rumba Cafe

As Casey and the Stallions wrapped up their jam session, Vug and Dean returned from their break (Now going on 30 min) and applauded with the audience. The thirty minute wait was a little uncalled for, but as the band got up and into it I could tell that this could be worth the wait. The set list that night was as follows; “Time Waits for No One”, “Fair Weathered” into “The Deep Trigger”, “Stuck” and then “Honest Eyes”. The band had an interesting look to them with Vug’s super shag and the guitarist looking like Frank Oz. The bands songs went back and fourth in tempo and usually were filled with familiar country like leads. If you heard them you might think Wilco which I hear is a big influence of Vug’s. I thought the vocals were a little to shaky when Vug wasn’t projecting but when he belted his lyrics out he was spot on. As for the Stallions, who could ask for a more eclectic looking bunch of kids with the skills to match. All in all I was impressed by the performance the band gave the audience that night and I hope if you happen to find yourself waiting in some bar for Vug and The Stallions to play that you will wait. And what the hell, you can even give them thirty minutes. You just might be glad you did.

Good luck finding a physical copy of there album somewhere but if you contact them on their myspace http://www.myspace.com/vugdemonstrates you might finagle one out of them. With no talk of album release in their future, you’ll just have to stay tuned to see whats next. To catch them live you’ll have to visit the above web address for times and locations. You’ll even find some music there that is specifically for your listening pleasure.To Vug and the Stallions, good luck fellas and you boys stay Greek, wherever and whenever you are…

March 27, 2010 – I could feel the energy as I entered the Rumba Café.  I began the evening as usual, ordering a drink at the bar and perusing the bar for information available from the performers of the evening.  As I was looking over the merchandise table, Joey Hebdo came up to me asking if I needed any information or help with the items at the table.  Hebdo is very forthcoming and wants to help in any way possible.  We had met previously but it had been at least a year, so I introduced myself.  I had previously contacted him regarding the review, thus he was well aware of who I was and what my goals were for the evening.  He stated that he had already checked over the Ape Wind website and liked what we were doing.  I then knew that this man completely carries the characteristics necessary to be successful in an entertainment profession, and he wasn’t done convincing me of this just yet.

Joey Hebdo before the performance at Rumba Cafe

Hebdo is completely comfortable up on the stage.  If he feels nervous or uncomfortable, he shouldn’t. He looks like he could be a natural actor, as he looks like he’s meant to be up there.  The crowd immediately quieted upon his first song.  He commands the crowd with his quiet yet powerful demeanor and demands attention with his delicate and grooved out tones.  Hebdo is also quite entertaining with his banter, as he talks to the crowd.  At one point he stated, “I almost wanna pretend this isn’t me up here, it’s someone else.  It’s fun, ya know?  Well, here we go then!”  It was as if there were two people in his head talking to each other and getting ready to play the song.

Hebdo has some excellent whistling abilities, which definitely added some cool parts to his fun melodic sounding vocal tones.  I was seriously impressed with the accuracy he kept while quickly switching from a whistling to a vocal sections of certain songs.  Along with his whistling abilities comes a knack for switching from very high to low tones and back without missing a beat.  Many of his vocal tones would start very light and high and end up in a very low and growling manner, which was very entertaining and impressive.  It sounded very natural and proved to be musically valuable within many of the songs throughout the evening.  If I had to pick artists of a similar vocal manner, the first names that come to mind are Shannon Hoon, Ben Harper and Jamiroquai; all of which I am very attracted to musically.

The song constructions seemed so simple, yet sounded so sophisticated, while hearing it performed.  The selections seemed to demand a depth of meaning portrayed through the complexities within the lines Hebdo sang; but only if a listener takes the time to dissect what he is saying.  A personal example for me would be a verse where Hebdo belts out, “Dust and smoke fill our laugh, astrology’s now a jar of ash, I think its time we got this man a box. It never really mattered if we shared the same DNA, I really like the way that you see things.”  It’s not only the picture Hebdo paints with his words, but once again the way he portrays it: in a manner that, at points, would obviously not need the instruments backing.  There were definitive points when the instrumentation would die down and the club was filled with his voice alone, and it was inspiring.

As a musician myself, and an avid fan of seeing local live music, I enjoy knowing how the club’s employees take to the performers and their needs for the evening.  My table happened to be next to the sound booth and at one point I heard the sound guy exclaim, “This is a pain in the ass,” as more people came up including the other artist for the evening to collaborate with Hebdo.  Joey had invited three more people on the stage with him.  One picked up an upright bass, one just had a shaker and was using some kind of vocal pattern for percussion, and one sat down at the drums.  I think it may have been at this point where the sound guy became a bit flustered and maybe he just wasn’t aware of this setup during the first set.  For all we know Hebdo wasn’t aware either but it worked out quite well.

Joey Hebdo band in action at Rumba Cafe

This setup, along with the full Hebdo band setup during the third set of the night, was very patient with their music regarding crowd chatter as they would build their songs.  No doubt they were well aware that by songs end they would have most of the crowds’ attention.  At times Hebdo seemed to just carry on a conversation with the audience just as he had previously in the evening while walking around before the performance.  He seemed to treat everyone there as if they were genuine friends that go way back, and after this evening most of them probably felt like this, even if it wasn’t completely true.  The entire night was a feel good music extravaganza.  If you are into a fun night listening to very talented and friendly musicians, this is your show.

If you would like to check out Joey Hebdo, buy some merchandise, or find where you can catch him next check out:  http://www.facebook.com/joeyhebdomusic or http://www.myspace.com/joeyhebdo and also http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/hebdojoseph.

March 24, 2010 – Paper Airplane consists of Ryan Horns on vocals and guitar, Travis Kokas on bass, Teresa Kent on keyboard and Antonio Garza on drums.  It’s a Wednesday night at Rumba Café.  Paper Airplane is opening for Oblio which is a Nashville, Tennessee band on tour.  The club was empty as I entered except for the tones that filled the room by the sound checking band on stage.  It just so happens that it was the group I was there to review and I was immediately impressed with the camaraderie that they showed to the empty club and the sound guy setting them up.  They seemed to be having almost too much fun for such an empty club.

Paper Airplane flying at Rumba Cafe

They began their set with some excellent energy and a very cool guitar riff that sounded crystal clear.  I wouldn’t have been so impressed with this but I have been to Rumba previously to witness some very muffled sounding guitar based bands.  As Horns’ vocals began I found him a bit whiny in nature, but it seemed to work well. The very warm and melodic sounding tones coming from both the guitar he strummed and the keys with which Kent added was persuading me to the music.  Horns presented himself well with his heavy set guitar while jumping around as if his instrument was light as a feather.  Kent added some very beautiful tones with the keys that probably would leave this music without if it weren’t for the between notes she provided.  Kokas also had his additions that were definitely worth mentioning as his slides and thumps on the bass seemed to move seamlessly between Garza’s’ heavy, yet slick percussion hits that kept everyone together in a very sharp manner.

Horns has a very “every man” voice that makes you feel like you can put this band’s CD in and sing it with him every time feeling good about it.  A good description of their music in general within this aspect in mind is comfortable.  It would be an excellent selection for listening to while driving or doing something that takes time as the song construction and tones they produce are very interesting and thought provoking.  This band has some excellent song writing abilities and they seem to work very well together on stage.  Horns seemed to be the center of the live show.  The rest of the band seemed to feed off of his every move and change.  Kent played some very light keys for much of the show but she really shines when the rest of the band lowers the volume.  Kent very creatively and cleverly catered to the many quick and potent transitions which every song seemed to contain.  Most of Paper Airplane’s songs seemed very short and were all very catchy.  It was almost as if they live and die by a quality and quantity belief in song writing.  I’ve rarely seen a band with so many songs with as many changes in one performance.  Also impressive within this aspect of the show was the tight feel of the music.  The more jammy feeling songs had very clever, catchy endings that were performed with a very close, tight feeling between each instrument and the vocals.  Some of the time it was almost too clever for me as I wrote because the song would end suddenly and surprise me in mid note taking.

There was a moment when Kent hit a wrong note on the keys, smiled and mouthed “oops” as everyone smiled back and moved on seamlessly.  It was as if they practiced what to do in the event of a mistake as to add to the banter between them and show the crowd how well they really do work together.  There was also a moment nearly three quarters of the way through the show where a tuning problem seemed to occur.  Even throughout this one song they seemed to have fun with it and it didn’t really look like they were all that bothered by the problem.  After the song, Horns did state that they should have played the selection earlier as it tends to tire him out more than most songs, and before beginning the last song he stated that they may either butcher this one or it would be lots of fun.  I really enjoyed the band’s banter and communication throughout the show.

Paper Airplane at Rumba Cafe

Overall I would have to highly recommend catching this band live if you ever have the chance.  Their music will leave you feeling good and their stage presence will keep you entertained.  The only real problem I can state having with the show was the lack of audience.  The band had just come back from a winter hiatus of writing and recording music which may explain the lacking crowd attendance.  Apparently the time off will be worth it as they stated they have a new album nearly finished and should be out soon.  Hopefully, in the future they will have the opportunity to play for a larger group and I will be looking out for another chance to catch them in Columbus.  If you would like to check out Paper Airplane and find out where to see them play, check them out at: http://www.myspace.com/therealpaperairplane.