The overarching thing this week is, of course, my better half’s birthday. Happy birthday, Anne Courtney! I love you, baby. In conjunction with that, there’s a greater chance you won’t see me at these shows with the commensurate wining, dining, and fête-ing. So get out there and mix it up on my behalf. Secondarily, this continues the summer of rocking retro sounds with both some classic shit and some new artists plowing those still-fertile fields.
July 21: The Rezillos with Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Senor Citizen and the Border Patrol. Ace of Cups, 2619 N High St.
Scotland’s The Rezillos burst into the first wave of UK punk with their barbed hooks, stop-start grooves and ominous B-movie sheen. Their first record, 1978’s Can’t Stand the Rezillos is a stone classic with a similar place of pride in that early Sire Records lineup as the Dead Boys’ Young, Loud and Snotty and Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation. They reformed for periodic tours a little over a decade ago and word from everyone I’ve heard is it’s still a funny, sharp, intense show.
Rounding out Ace of Cups’ terrific coup in booking this are Columbus ’90s heroes TJSA and manager Aleks Shaulov’s Senor Citizen and the Border Patrol who are steeped in this same kind of late ’70s raw rock and roll. A rare chance to see full-stop, no-qualification-needed, legends at play in a sweaty club. Fuck what you’re doing Wednesday.
Doors at 8:00pm. $12 tickets available at http://aceofcups.ticketleap.com/rezillos/
July 22: Alice Bag with Sex Tide and Raw Pony. Cafe Bourbon Street, 2216 Summit St.
Also starting in 1976, The Bags were part of maybe the most diverse punk scene of the first wave, LA. They only put out a handful of singles and compilation tracks, most notably on Dangerhouse Records, but those few songs sent shockwaves through the nascent underground scene. And – in a “Did you love well what very soon you left” way – they continued to reverberate with band members going on to be integral parts of 45 Grave, The Gun Club, Sisters of Mercy, and Catholic Discipline.
In the intervening years, frontwoman Alice Bag wrote one of the best rock memoirs, Violence Girl. This tour bringing her to Bourbon Street finds her promoting her second book, Pipe Bomb to the Soul, culled from journals she kept on a trip to Nicaragua in 1986. This stop promises a mix of readings and songs.
Supporting Bag are two of the finest rock bands in Columbus right now, Raw Pony and Sex Tide.
Starts at 9:00pm. Alice Bag scheduled to read/play first. $5 cover.
July 24: James Cotton. Scioto Mile, 25 Marconi Blvd.
James Cotton is one of the few living links to the purifying groundwater from which most American music post-WWII sprung. Very few people still touring can say they played with Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters at the height of those two legends’ powers, which is not to discredit Cotton’s own stellar work starting in the late ’60s, especially his work with pianist Otis Spann. From Sun Records through working with Johnny Winter, Cotton’s the real deal.
An unmistakable stylist, his harmonica has been copied by almost everyone to pick up a harp since but never as well. You can hear his using the harp to lead a horn section echoed in The Blasters and his throaty conjuring of other sounds in Charlie Musselwhite. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still see the real thing while you can. At 80 years old, there may not be many more chances.
Starts at 8:00pm. Free.
July 24: Pigeons with Crystalline Roses. The Summit, 2210 Summit St.
NYC’s Pigeons make a blend of introspective rock that slips between signifiers. Led by Wednesday Knudsen’s voice, guitar and occasional reeds, Galaxie 500 seems like a heavy touchpoint for this band but I also hear Spanking Charlene’s mellower moments and even some of Husker Du’s mournful aggression. Their new record, out in May, The Bower, is revelatory. Summer songs heavier on the melancholy of memory (or maybe the melancholy of memory).
Massachusetts’ Crystalline Roses is a throwback to the best stuff I heard at the height of the freak-folk era – PG Six, In Gowan Ring, B’erith, Sharron Krauss. Great, echoey songs that use their twists and turns, that use mystery, to keep that spark in them alive instead of using it to obfuscate some lack of meaning, some thing not thought through.
Doors at 9:00pm. $5 cover.
July 26: JD McPherson. Park Street Saloon, 533 Park St.
JD McPherson might have the best shot of crossing over of any roots-rock act I’ve seen in many years. A great-looking guy with an intense charisma and a live show that’s nothing short of incendiary. With his new one Let the Good Times Roll, he also finally has a record that’s as good as he is.
I saw him at Woodlands Tavern a couple years ago with a rhythm section anchored by Teen Beat from Los Straitjackets doing a set of Specialty Records-style vintage R&B and early rock and roll – despite the lazy writing you might have heard, while rockabilly’s in his toolbox, it’s not most of what he does – and it might have been the wildest, most ecstatic crowd I’ve ever seen in that club. He had that audience – especially the ladies – eating out of the palm of his hand for a set that, honestly, might have gone a little long for me but there was the very real danger he’d be torn apart if he stopped playing. I walked out of there with my shirt sticky and translucent and definitely a believer. Maybe the best dance party of the summer but, even though it’s in the more spacious Park Street Saloon this time, I wouldn’t expect it to be any less packed. Come ready to move.
Jake La Botz, Chicago blues of a more recent stripe than James Cotton referenced earlier, opens.
Starts at 9:00pm. $18 tickets available at http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=5806335