July 1, 2017

It was a beautiful Sunday evening—the clouds were white and puffy and the sky was the perfect shade of blue—and the last stop of Twenty Øne Piløts's Tøur de Cølumbus was upon us. Throngs of people congregated outside of the arena in the Northwest plaza, sprawled in the grass, with the excited fans of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun all singing along to the music blasting through the speakers as they waited for the doors to open. People that had obtained General Admission tickets had been lined up as early as six o'clock in the morning and had camped out elsewhere even before that. From as far as Alaska and Maine they had traveled and we were all there for the performance of a lifetime.

As the doors...

June 10, 2017

   

It was a party at the Schottenstein Center on Wednesday night, and fittingly so, because we were celebrating the 40th Anniversary of one of America’s greatest rock bands - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The band took the stage to enthusiastic and extended cheering, and then kicked off the show with “Rockin’ Around (With You), the first song from their very first, self-titled, 1976 album. Next, Petty started the first crowd sing-a-long with “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” which was first released in 1993 as a new track on the Greatest Hits compilation, and which some of the slightly younger Petty fans remember from it’s music video which ran extensively on MTV in the ‘90s.

With 13 Hear...

June 9, 2017

Walking into the backstage area of Express LIVE on Sunday afternoon, I was immediately confronted with the glamorous life of rock stars on the road - Miles Zuniga of Fastball loading dirty clothes into the washing machine. We then moved into the small green room area, and were joined by Tony Scalzo. Before we began our interview, Miles was excitedly sharing the sounds of the rattling washing machine that he recorded on his phone, along with a beat added by drummer, Joey Shuffield, that he is hoping will be the base of a future song.

Out on the road with Everclear for their So Much for the Afterglow 20th Anniversary Tour, Fastball just released their sixth studio album, Step Into Light, on May...

June 6, 2017

 Sunday night started with torrential rain, lightning, and thunder, but the weather could not dampen the enthusiasm of Columbus for the dose of '90s rock they were about to receive.

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of So Much for the Afterglow, Everclear took the stage and kicked off their set by playing the first six songs from album, from the opening title track down to “One Hit Wonder.” Everclear frontman, Art Alexakis dedicated “One Hit Wonder” to all of those people who thought So Much for the Afterglow would “suck,” and who thought the band were one hit wonders after the wild success of “Santa Monica” off of their sophomore album, Sparkle and Fade. Even after all these years, it was st...

May 22, 2017

As soon as Warpaint took the stage at the Newport Music Hall on Friday, the night turned ethereal. Maybe it was the lighting, maybe it was way Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman’s vocals weave in and out of each other, maybe it was the thunderstorm filled day, or maybe it was the single candle burning behind the band, lit for Chris Cornell whose death was hanging over the whole music world, and Columbus especially on this night. Whatever it was, Warpaint’s set transformed the Newport to another place, a place where for that time the music was all that mattered.

The band opened with the upbeat title track from their 2016 album, Heads Up, before jumping back to “Krimson,” off of their 2008 debut EP...

May 10, 2017

Lewis Del Mar, the experimental alt-pop duo from Rockaway Beach, NY, was back in Columbus last night, headlining a show at A&R Music Bar. The duo features Danny Miller on lead vocals and primarily acoustic guitar, and drummer/producer Max Harwood. For their live shows, the band is joined by bass and electric guitarists, and a keyboardist. Last time the band was in Columbus, they played downstairs in The Basement, but on this night they played before a nearly sold-out crowd upstairs.

The band opened their set with “Such Small Scenes,” the first track off of their self-titled 2016 debut album. Like most of Lewis Del Mar’s lyrics, this song is deeply introspective and illustrative of Miller and...

May 9, 2017

White Reaper, along with opener No Parents, made it a night full of raw, intense, rock ‘n’ roll at The Basement last night. White Reaper, the Louisville, Kentucky based garage punk/rock band, was back in Columbus for the first time since the release of their second full-length album, The World’s Best American Band (released April 7). While the new album offers a more slightly more polished and mature sound than the band’s 2015 debut, White Reaper Does It Again, White Reaper is still tearing things up on stage.

On this night, lead singer/guitarist Tony Esposito was sick. So sick, that apparently there was blood coming out of his mouth/nose earlier in the day, and some sort of medicinal shot to...

May 8, 2017

It was a chilly Sunday night in Columbus, but the Pixies provided all of the heat necessary at Express LIVE! to warm up the crowd.  Coming out to a dimly lit stage, the band started the show with David Lovering providing a steady beat on the drums and Paz Lenchantin playing a driving bass line, before Joey Santiago began adding in faint strains of melody on guitar, and then with Black Francis bringing the slow buildup to a close by launching into “Gouge Away,” from 1989’s Doolittle. This was the perfect tone setting opening track for the venerable alt-rockers, showcasing Black Francis’ trademark scream as he sang.

The Pixies, who play each night without a prepared setlist, then launched into...

May 7, 2017

I’m a sucker for a band that enjoys performing . . . especially without pretense.  I’m a bigger sucker for a band that feeds off the audience and uses that energy to shift into an even higher gear. For both of Jamestown Revival’s shows at The Basement in 2014, the foregoing absolutely occurred. But, two-and-a-half years later, could they accomplish that again at the A&R Music Bar (on a night when Todd Rundgren was playing next door)?Fortunately for the sold-out crowd, the answer was an unequivocal, “Yes.” If Jamestown Revival is jaded to any degree after three years of constant touring, I did not catch a whiff of it.  

I was first exposed to Jamestown Revival in 2014 when I hea...

May 7, 2017

An outdoor concert in Ohio is always a bit of a risky proposition, even during the summer months, and Friday night at Express LIVE!, the xx brought some of the finest English weather with them to Columbus, but the gamble was still worth it. The temperature was a balmy 40 degrees and the ever-present light mist throughout the evening served as a reminder that things could always get worse. At least is wasn’t freezing, right? Despite the miserable conditions, the xx gave those who braved the conditions a heartfelt set. They addressed the crowd intermittently to thank them for turning out despite the weather (and many did turn out), to relate an anecdote from their last trip to Columbus, or to...

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