Author Archives: Ben Chenoweth

MP3: Ezra Furman “Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde”

MP3:   Ezra Furman – Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

If the face looks familiar, it’s because Ezra Furman has made a few stops through town over the last couple of years with his former backing band The Harpoons. One of these trips gave birth to the really great DonewaitingTV session, were Ezra & company did talking and playing with Wes Flexner and the Electraplay boys. It’s worth your click, promise. This time around EF is hitting Rumba Cafe in Columbus tonight (8/11) Harpoon-less, instead supporting a new solo record The Year of No Returning. The first half of that record is available as a free download, if the MP3 linked above doesn’t sate your appetite.

Ezra’s solo work doesn’t seem a vast departure from previous offerings- a jangly intersection of pop and folk, delivered by a voice that will likely forever be compared to a modern, pissed off Bob Dylan.   The comparison probably does EF a bit of a disservice, as he can whip from a plaintive croon to a frenetic howl in practically the same phrase.  I believe a more contemporary comparison would be to Dan Bejar (New Pornographers, Destroyer), as the two share more as they tend towards pop-punk than Dylan’s mumble-folk.

The live show promises to tend toward the frenzied and fun side of things, but sure to include moments of wistful bliss. Continue reading

Watershed Featured on NPR Today

NPR’s Weekend Edition is featuring a story about Columbus rock veterans Watershed today.   Joe Oestreich’s recent book Hitless Wonder: A Life in Minor League Rock and Roll serves a launching point for describing the band’s continued efforts at chasing the dream, including the recent new album launch and their ongoing tour.  Audio for the story will be available on the NPR site after 12ET. From the story:

“I’ve got a 2-and-a-half-year-old son and a 3-month-old daughter, and my wife is at home with both of them, single parenting, right now,” he says. “On the one hand, everyone says, ‘Follow your dream,’ and we’re doing that, but is that in fact admirable? Some days it seems kind of pathetic. Maybe we should just pack it in and go home, but, at this point, I think it’s just too late. This is what we do.”

Besides, Gawel adds, “If you love what you’re doing, and you still feel passionate about it, why would you stop?”

 

 

Nelsonville Fest Preview: Mucca Pazza

Note: I’ll be trickling out some previews for sets that I’ll be sure to catch at the Nelsonville Music Festival throughout the week.   This is a rough chronological order.

Mucca Pazza isn’t necessarily a band who’s album would end up in my stereo on a Sunday morning, but live… good lord what a treat.   The self-dubbed “circus-punk” clan of 3o or so characters made up of horns and percussion and cheerleaders and who-knows-what else don thrift store band uniforms and make a spectacle of your middle school marching band nightmares.    One part Sousa, one part Klezmer, and at least one part pure funk, these Chicagoans  bring pure unadulterated joyous  fun.  Truly a highlight of the festival.

Nelsonville Festival Preview: Iron & Wine

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Note: I’ll be trickling out some previews for sets that I’ll be sure to catch at the Nelsonville Music Festival throughout the week.   This is a rough chronological order. 

There has always been some sort of historical aspect to the vibe at the Nelsonville  Fest, blacksmithing demonstrations and log cabins aside.  The selection of acts has always included something that a previous generation would have turned out to see, in addition to plenty of current musicians doing a present-day take on older styles of music.   Sam Beam of Iron & Wine is somewhere in between those two categories, but aligns perfectly with the bucolic feel of the festival.  He’s emerged from his professorial career and evolved into a seminal folk musician- an elder who’s cut the trail for indie darlings like Bon Iver or Fleet Foxes.  While Iron & Wine hasn’t abandoned the whisper quiet signature of early albums, Beam & company have continued to evolve their craft  by experimenting with larger bands, layers, production, and even pop music influence.   While I might not have imagined them as a big, open air act, I think sitting in the grass, basking in the sun while taking it in will feel pretty sweet.

Nelsonville Fest Preview: Those Darlins

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Note: I’ll be trickling out some previews for sets that I’ll be sure to catch at the Nelsonville Music Festival throughout the week.   This is a rough chronological order. 

This year won’t be the first trip to Nelsonville for the Tennessee honky-punk lady trio,  but their visit a couple years ago was cut short, so I’m ready for the full treatment. In the time elapsed, they’ve added a drummer, had a hit in a car commercial, and put out a second album.  While they’ve always hidden (or not hidden) a little snarl behind their drawl, recent material owes as much to the Ramones or the Ravonettes as it does to Loretta, Wanda or Dolly.  It’s sassy and brash and funny (as the booger hook photo on the front would suggest) but has moments of the forlorn among the edginess.  However, expect the live show to favor the latter.

Video: Madonna featuring M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj “Give Me All Your Luvin’”

RIP, Ms. James

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Rest in peace. This is a big loss.

Ohio Film + Music Fest Begins Tonight!

Donewaiting had some early coverage of this locally born, Ohio-centric festival a few months back, but as details have emerged and the hour drawn near it’s time for an excited reminder. The festival kicks off tonight (8PM) at Bourbon St Cafe with a series of short documentaries and live footage from several historical Columbus and Dayton bands. Following the screenings, the first of three nights of live music shows begins next door at The Summit. The bills for all three nights of music are excellent, showcasing some of Ohio’s premier homegrown talent. Of note is the live debut of RJD2′s Icebird project, a resurgent Kelley Deal in R Ring, and a return to the motherland by Heartless Bastards. I doubt any folks around here need to be introduced to New Bomb Turks, Nick Tolford, Blueprint, EYE, or Envelope, but yeah, they are all (along with others) performing as part of this over the next three nights.

While the collection of musical performances is going to be great, the film offerings are proving to be the real rare treat. There is more happening than I have time to highlight, so I really encourage a review of the festival website for a thorough rundown of what’s showing. Highlights for me will definitely begin on Friday with The Garage Tapes, three never-before-screened short films featuring a musing and performing Tom Waits, as shot by Jim Jarmusch. In the vein of music-related films, the documentary Outside In delves into the often difficult life of Akron artist Alfred McMoore, who was befriended by Dan Auerbach and was the source for Auerbach’s band name- The Black Keys. 45365, a winner of the Grand Jury Prize at SXSW, is a portrait of Sidney, Ohio and describes both the simplicity and depth of life and relationships small-town America. Columbus ex-pat and festival co-founder Eric Mahoney is screening is own contribution- North Dixie Drive, about the eccentricities of one particular Dayton neighborhood and the characters found within it. Also on my must-see list is Oscar-nominated The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant and 4192: The Crowning of the Hit King about the career of Pete Rose. Tickets are still available for all these events, check the festival website or Facebook page for showtimes. Movies will be screened at the Arena Grand Theater (they have beer) downtown. Get on it!

8th Annual Creative Strings Festival This Week

For the eighth year in a row, Columbus native and renowned jazz violinist Christian Howes brings the Creative Strings Festival back to town. The festival marries a week of workshops for student string players (violin, cello, viola) with daily performances throughout the city for enjoyment by a variety of audiences, including many free performances at a number of venues. The premise is to pair student musicians (both youth students and aspiring semi-pro adults) interested in jazz, rock, classical and improvisational music with established masters from around the country. The pairing doesn’t stop at the classroom- performances include the student-teacher dynamic as well, where instructors impart technical expertise and real-life gigging musician experience. A full schedule of events, including a stint at ComFest this weekend, be found here.

Nelsonville: Donewaiting recommends…

We’re all pretty excited for the weekend of music and fun down in Nelsonville, which is now only hours from kickoff. There’s a lot to see and hear, so as promised, I’m gonna layout what I think are going to be highlights for me. You know what they say about the best laid plans though – there’s going to be friends to see, beer, naps, etc. and performances will most certainly be missed. You don’t have to listen to me – you can see a list of artists, complete with descriptions and links here. Picking from this line-up is tough, but my path, roughly in order, will look something like this:

Friday- I’m excited to see Justin Townes Earle (one of two son-of-a-legend sets this weekend). He was supposed to play a gig in Columbus a while back, but a day or so before the show, his tour was cancelled do to some rockstar issues. I’m excited to see George Jones not so much because I have a lot of personal history with the guy, but more because he IS history. You can’t pass up a chance to see one of the greats. From the main stage area, I’ll swing over to the Porch Stage to see a Columbus double header of Nick Tolford followed by Mount Carmel.

Saturday- This is going to be pretty much a main stage day, but there are some real gems all over the Festival. I’m going to start with the haunting Baby Dee, and from there go to the No-Fi Cabin, which is one of the real treats of the Fest. There’s zero amplification, no stage, and nothing much more intimate in live performance. Lovely Eve Searls will enchant with her quirky folk ukulele, followed by close associate and Black Swans front man Jerry DeCicca. This guy will whisper-croon some dark and smoky tales, while evoking a chuckle or two along the way. Ned Oldham plays after them, and the cabin seems a perfect venue. Continue reading