If you have never seen Human Cannonball, then we feel sad for you. We have seen them many times and have never been disappointed. Great melodies, terrific rhythm, great arrangements all around and an energy that if it could be systematically gathered, would defeat any energy crisis. They played the Yellow Cab Tavern on Saturday with Smug Brothers and Swearing at Motorists. It was a good show.
Even a casual listener to Your Tuesday Afternoon Alternative is going to notice something. We love Smug Brothers. And Dr. J and Mrs. Dr. J were very excited when the announcement was made that the band was going to play the terrific Yellow Cab Tavern on July 28 with Swearing at Motorists and Human Cannonball. And yeah, if you listen to the show you are well aware that we like those bands too. What could be better on a lovely summer night than great music? And all of the bands delivered the goods.
We could also not be happier to tell you that the show was terrific. And to make matters even better the proceeds went to assist all around good guy Ian Kaplan who is recovering at a remarkable speed from a liver transplant. Surgery is never easy, yet Ian’s good nature, smile and head bobbing at the show raised the spirits of fans and bands alike. It is simply a good day when a vital member of the Dayton music community is recovering this quickly. All we can do is wish Ian continued good health and speedy recovery!
For several months we have been campaigning just a wee bit — #One.More.Show. — for another Smug Brothers concert in Dayton. And this past Saturday evening, we got our wish. Yeah, it was worth the wait!
From the first song, ‘A Thing for English’ from 2014’s perfect ‘On The Way To The Punchline‘, the band hit the stage with renewed energy and a lively swagger. The twin guitar attack of songwriter Kyle Melton and guitarist/keyboardist Scott Tribble (replacing Brian Baker) was formidable. Kyle Melton was in fine form energetically singing and from time to time dancing and swaying around the stage.
Living legend Don Thrasher demonstrated his tremendous skill with percussion. Don was a powerhouse on the drums. One has to wonder if a drum kit is but an extension of his body. Of course, it does not matter, the man is a master behind the kit.
But as anyone who knows Dr. J will attest to — he loves a loud melodic bass line and Larry Evans offered those in spades at this show. His Rickenbacker glowed with a sense of purpose that drew the crowd into the songs. And the backing vocals that Mr. Evans contributes lifts the level on the song when he sings. The set list was back-to-back favorites and the crowd left no doubt that they shared their appreciation with the band.
Standouts for us included ‘A Thing for English,’ ‘Hang Up’, ‘Its Official Everywhere I Go,’ ‘Concentration Lawns,’ ‘My Little Crowd Pleaser,’ ‘Investigative Years,’ ‘Meet a Changing World,’ and the latest song from the forthcoming ‘Attic Harvest’ — ‘Rare and Double Clutch.’ If the world was a fair place, Smug Brothers would be a household name simply from the propulsive indie powerpop of ‘Hang Up’ alone!
The band played a mix of tunes from ‘On The Way To The Punchline,’ ‘Disco Maroon,’ and a few new songs from the forthcoming ‘Attic Harvest’. By the way, Smug Brothers have an effort underway on GoFundMe to release this new record on vinyl. We highly recommend that you contribute to this more than worthy project!
Here’s to #More.Shows.
What is magic? The Anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski wrote that magic involves the use of paranormal methods to manipulate natural forces to accomplish important life goals. Malinowski discussed how the Trobriand Islanders used magic to manage anxieties of necessary yet dangerous deep sea fishing. According to most scholars, magic is a self-direct activity where an individual manipulates the supernatural to shape the natural. This approach sees magic as an individual practice. However, what if magic is communal? What if magic is something that people create together when they gather for special circumstances and become changed in the process?
This is what happened on Saturday night at Blind Bob’s Bar when Cricketbows played a magical set of truly transformational psychedelic rock and roll. It has been said that a Cricketbows show is a religious experience. And we would not disagree with that but would offer another perspective, perhaps a Cricketbows experience is a magical experience as well.
From the very moment the band took the stage, the crowd could sense an otherworldly musical magic taking hold of them. The band began their set with some of the fantastic songs from their most recent record, ‘Communion’ — a rather apt metaphor for what was happening between the band and the audience that night.
Throughout the set, Cricketbows demonstrated not only excellent song craft but powerful delivery that seemed beyond the usual experience of the concert goers. The band moved through songs from ‘Communion‘ playing the excellent ‘Games People Play’, the moving ‘End of the Night’, and the psychedelic ‘Sea Green’ to new songs that they are recording or soon to record. They also played a fine selection of tunes from their stellar full length ‘Diamonds‘ featuring standouts such as ‘Tiny Little Houses’ and ‘Landing on the Moon’ to more than enthusiastic response.
During the concert, Cricketbows played truly excellent covers such as the moving rendition of a powerful Jane’s Addiction song, the show closing ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and The Monkee’s Porpoise Song (from the soundtrack to the movie Head). The later two songs both previously recorded for ‘Diamonds.’
The audience was transfixed — as with all good magic where the individual loses their sense of separated self and becomes part of the group, collective experience — the audience repeatedly called out for more and the band happily obliged with the cover of the Porpoise Song with a burning intensity that led to cheering and clapping for several minutes until Chad Wells profusely thanked the crowd and had to ignore the calls for more songs from the crowd as the house music came up because the bar was closing soon.
The musicianship throughout the evening was incredible. Christopher Corn on bass was giving a master class in how the bass guitar could not only support a song but could be used as a main instrument in service to a song. The twin guitar attack of Michael Bisig and Chad Wells was amazing. Both are stellar musicians separately however together they transform a song into something powerful with their guitar styles. Kyle Sweney on drums and percussion was incredible through his efforts at propelling a song like an illusion of a runaway freight train yet in reality always in control.
As a concert goer, what is it that you want from singers? Skill? Power? Vocal artistry? Something intangible that cannot be easily grasped? Aarika Watson is a vocalist with few peers. Her singing is more than mere melody. Her screams, yelps, and shouts are more than mere power. She has a rare vocal talent that pulls in the listener as if you believe that she is singing directly to you and only you in that moment in that song. It is difficult to describe the feeling if you have not seen her sing. Dare one say, it is magical.
And Chad Wells, the leader of this spiritual journey, sings with the passion and precision that escapes many singers. His voice is energy. He bends the notes with a fervor of a mission to save souls and convert the listener to a musical salvation. Chad feels the song in a way that will send chills down your spine. And when Aarika and Chad sing together, weaving their voices in a tapestry of the honest human voice such as with ‘Landing on the Moon’ or ‘Sea Green’, nothing else matters. The listener is not thinking about what to do tomorrow, you are there in that moment hearing those sounds, those voices and you are transported, you are indeed changed.
Isn’t that what magic is supposed to do? To create a transcendence through community in a moment that becomes something special. That is Cricketbows.
Second Best playing at The Hatch in Springfield, Ohio on June 1, 2018 for The Poptek Records Showcase! The band played ‘When The Hammer Falls’ and ‘Partners in Crime’ from their debut EP which was released on April 27th.
Last night we went to see The 1984 Draft, Okay Lindon and Second Best at The Poptek Records Showcase at The Hatch Artists Studios in Springfield, Ohio! From the beginning to the end of the night it was a special evening of melody, thoughtful lyrics and captivating musicianship.
The evening began with Poptek’s latest band Second Best, the brainchild of Gigi Palassis and Andy Ingram who luckily for this music fan had copies of their terrific debut record available in cassette. Gigi has been writing melodic and catchy songs for years. He has been active in other projects where he has lent his guitar to several different groups such as Wake Up Mordecai, Jean-Michel, Jill & Micah, and XL427, and then the lost recordings of L’Albatros. Gigi specializes in the yearnings that are never quite fulfilled or satisfied and the emotional pain that such feelings bring to the listener. He paints a picture of the power of wanting that is impossible to escape.
This evening Brenna Myers of Once a Pine joined Gigi and Andy on bass which added texture to the band’s live sound. Speaking of Brenna, we cannot recommend enough for you to check into Once a Pine as well. Listeners to our show know how much Dr. J loves The Florals and it is good to see (and hear) Brenna continuing to make really excellent music in Once a Pine! They often play out so go see them when given a chance! And just a quick question: Is there any instrument that Brenna cannot play?
Okay Lindon was second on the bill. Dustin Smith has created a new and exciting vision of Okay Lindon to the music loving public. This version of the band has embraced sonic textures with maturity and wisdom. Okay Lindon played a captivating set celebrating the the music from their most release, Changes. This fourth record from Okay Lindon has a new lineup featuring acoustic 12 string guitar and violin yet still haunts the listener with real and significant questions about one’s place in the world.
The 1984 Draft finished the evening of great music with their usual enthusiasm and gift for melody. Their latest record, Make Good Choices is coming from Poptek soon! Joe Anderl, of ‘The Draft, specializes in an earnest, almost confessional and honest depiction of the challenges of everyday life that inspire hope rather than defeat. To see and hear The 1984 Draft is to feel the power of music to transform the listener. Choruses become chants, guitar solos become the sonic texture to anguish, the drums cascade like the quickening beats of your heart, and the bass lines keep your head up and vision clear. We cannot be more excited about this upcoming release ! And so should you!
You can buy these records at the Poptek Records website and on bandcamp. And you should do so! As you can see in the pictures it was a great time! Many thanks to Andy Ingram and the other fine folks at Poptek Records for inviting us!