Columbus Block Party Music Festival Wrap Up
Here is what I saw over the 3 nights of the Columbus Block Party Music Festival. No way could I see every band or hit every venue. If you saw bands that I didn't, please feel free to submit your own reviews here.
DJ Shortpants rolled into my �hood about 4:30pm on Thursday to pick me up and take me to the Columbus Block Party Music Festival kickoff party at the Scarlet & Gray Caf� on campus. It was a VIP/Invitation Only event with a great turnout including members of bands that playing the CBPMF as well as the assorted Hollywood types who fly in for photo op events exactly like this one. CBPMF, for the uninformed, is a combination of SXSW and Sundance with less snow and more blow (wish I could have gotten a Red Bull N� Blow sponsorship for the weekend � I would have saved me some major cash).
The dueling DJs concept worked well in the confines of the hip campus club. Donewaiting contributor Tankboy spun songs from upcoming releases by the Rolling Stones, The Prairie Cartel, Bloodhound Gang, t.A.t.u., Gang of Four and Franz Ferdinand while Ultragrrl�s playlist ranged from the Cure to Kelly Clarkson (y�all should have seen Kevin from 84 Nash bustin� a move to �Since You�ve Been Gone�) to The Killers. And, yes, that WAS Brandon from The Killers helping Ultra pick out songs.
After a dozen sesame chicken wings, half a dozen oysters on the half shell, and half a half a dozen Bacardi and Cokes (all free, of course), DJ Shortpants and I headed over to Ruby Tuesdays to catch B.A. Baracus. Patrick was in fine form, shimmying like Axl Rose while belting out a handful of new songs that sounded like a mix of the Black Crowes and Stone Temple Pilots. No doubt the Baracus performance was fueled by the fact that Turbonegro and (International) Noise Conspiracy would be gracing the very same stage just a few hours later. Before the (inter)national headliners went on, however, another C-bus band had a chance to play in front of a packed house. The Evil Queens chugged their way through 10 sludgey, stoner rock anthems while the kids up front threw out more devil signs than an army full of Satanists at a Ronnie James Dio shindig.
First gossip-worthy moment of CBPMF: as DJ Shortpants and I went outside to hop a ride on the CBPMF shuttle (yo, whoever came up with this idea � free shuttles running and back forth between the clubs all night long � should get a raise!) we saw Evil Jacob hop into the back of a waiting car with Winona Ryder. (EQJ getting a little Roxy Charmichael loving? He�ll never tell.)
The High Five was playing host to the Donewaiting showcase featuring The Whiles, Tiara, Miranda Sound and the Decemberists. Although the line stretched around the block, we flashed our Donewaiting membership cards (available here for a mere $118 a year) to the door guy and slipped in past a crowd which included starfucker Tara Reid. We later heard that Reid herself was able to bypass the line by convincing the door guy that she was related to the Peppercorns (Joe and Matt of The Whiles). Duffy was playing congenial host, bouncing around from group to group, shaking hands and posing for pictures (yep, even the Olsen twins wanted their photo taken with the Columbus music mogul) while we watched Miranda Sound. I nearly pooped my pants when Billy Peake starting singing �Susudio� between songs.
Back to the other side of town, we caught the tail end of the Vertical Slum showcase at Caf� Bourbon Street (El Jesus de Magico, Times New Viking, Fiery Furnaces, and Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah). The Washington Beach kids were snapping up Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah t-shirts the way the emo kids snap up white belts at Hot Topic the night before a Dashboard Confessional show. While I would have liked to have seen CYHASY�s show, I got stuck at the bar pounding PBR tallboys with Vince Vaughn. That fucker can drink with the best of them! As we were leaving we caught sight of Tara Reid sitting at a table eating chicken tacos from the Taco Ninja with Vertical Phil. Nice.
There were after-parties all over town though we had only one destination in mind � Gonzo�s pad, Silver Lady Studios. Not so surprisingly, the line to get into this party was as long as any we had to stand in to actually see bands earlier in the night. (Thank God the Red Bull kicked in around 3am). Bless you Gonzo for leaving our names on the guest list. Inside Silver Lady Studios, The Shatters (the ONLY Columbus band that didn�t score a slot on any of the CBPMF gigs) were playing an anti-CBPMF show that attracted the attention of celebs like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Hilton even joined the band on the makeshift stage for a cover of �Brown Sugar.� I used my cellphone to call my work voice mail so that I could record the cover. If anybody wants to hear it, let me know and I�ll give you the digits.
Some time around 6:30 am we left the party. Tara Reid was still waiting in line when we left.
After some late afternoon recreational drug use, DJ Shortpants and I stumbled around campus trying to decide if we had time to see Teeth of the Hyrda at the Ravari Room (also on the bill: Amps II Eleven, Black Mountain Creeper, Eagles of Death Metal) before the BIGGEST.SHOW.OF.CBPMF. � Scrawl, Swervedriver, and MY FUCKING BLOODY VALENTINE at the Ohio Union. One of these bands alone would have been the highlight of the festival but all 3 bands reuniting for this bill (I�m not even going to guess how much Downfront Productions had to pay these bands to reunite and play) � fugedaboudit. We decided to camp out at the Union since we didn�t want to miss this bill.
E! was on hand filming the crowd before the show as it was THE place to be seen (and because Tara Reid was there to host some show about �fashion�) and I caught Kate Hudson, L.A. Reid, Drew Barrymore and Tim Robbins (seriously!) all mugging for the camera. And � with Shortpants as my witness � I heard Robbins says that Scrawl was his favorite band and that he really wanted them to be in Tapeheads but he couldn�t talk Cusack into it. High Fidelity my ass, Cusack.
Scrawl�s set consisted primarily of songs from He�s Drunk and Bloodsucker, much to the delight of Ron House who sprayed his beer on the kids in the first few rows during �Love�s Insecticide�.
The Swervies played as if they were a dozen dates into the Mezcal Head career � in other words, despite not having played together for a bunch of years � they brought their A-game. Don�t know how many actually SAW the band as most of the crowd was busy gazing at their shoes during the 50-minute set.
As Kevin Shields took the stage for MBV�s set, he was joined by Don Bovee who coaxed the band to start their set with a sonically swirling rendition of �Batman�. My ears started bleeding during �Only Shallow� though I was disappointed that Bilinda Butcher decided against taking part in the reunion. Her replacement Miki Berenyi (ex-Lush) looked HOT and sounded HOTTER (where was Miss Bella and her camera????). I�d write more about MBV�s performance but the acid that I took before the show really kicked in during the set and all I remember doing is dancing as if I were at a warehouse rave in 1993.
Caught up with Girl.e, Kelly Taylor, and Tallgirl outside of Little Brothers (the smoking ban drove them out to the sidewalk) where they informed us that the Royal Crescent Mob (playing under the name Mrs. Clarence Booty) had just finished a blistering set of funk n� roll. While we thought about going inside to catch Greg Dulli�s solo set with Happy Chichester joining on keys, we decided to hit White Castle for some much needed Slyders instead. Tara Reid was eating fried clam strips and onion rings when we got there. Shit, this girl was EVERYWHERE!
Biggest rumor of the night: We heard that the White Stripes played a short set at the Short North Tavern in between the Flotation Walls and The Sun. It wouldn�t surprise us as DJ Shortpants swore that he saw Jack White picking up Blueprint�s 1988 at Magnolia�s earlier in the afternoon. If you have photos of the White Stripes at the Short North Tavern, send them to me or at least give us a recap of the show.
Tried to get into Bernie�s for the odd bill of Stardrop, 84 Nash, Kopaz, Starving Goliath and Fatkid Dodgeball but Shortpants and I were turned away when we couldn�t produce a business card from a major label. Not sure what that was all about but I just heard that because of their performance at Bernie�s, Stardrop was offered a development deal by Dreamworks and that Kopaz inked a deal with Capitol immediately following their set. 84 Nash was seen hunkered down near the pool table with Steve McDonald (from Redd Kross) all night while Starving Goliath piqued the interest of Warner Brothers. Fatkid Dodgeball meanwhile sent out a press release saying that they had �very interesting conversations� with somebody who may or may not be affiliated with Atlantic Records.
After our failure at Bernie�s, we went to the Scarlet and Grey Caf� and caught the Feversmile reunion (Sean Beal looks like a computer technician these days but still sounds like Eddie Vedder) followed by Earwig�s poppy assault that left Shortpants wondering if this was the same band we used to see at the Neil House in the early �90s. And, who was that jive turkey pounding the skins for Earwig? He�s no Neil Peart or Terry Bozio but the guy sure complimented Lizard�s brand of rock and roll. While it would have been nice to stick around for Greenhorn and the New Bomb Turks, after pinching the ass of some chick wearing her boyfriend�s Unsane t-shirt, Shortpants and I split down to Skully�s to see M.I.A. and Bloc Party (sorry we missed you opening the show, DJ Riko, but we heard great things about your mash-ups including one that we HAVE to hear someday, �You Got Another Thing Wrapped Around Your Finger� � mixing Judas Priest and The Police? Fucking brilliant!).
M.I.A. wasn�t bad but something about her screams NENAH CHERRY at me and if you�re asking �Who�s Nenah Cherry?�, my point is proven. Spotted Stephen from the Alive cornering M.I.A. after her performance and inviting her out to the back patio for a smoke.
And, how could a Block Party be complete without a performance by Bloc Party? While Columbus may not be the hippest of cities in this here rock nation, the kids fell hook, line, and sinker for Bloc Party�s Joy Division-meets-The Cure-meets-Gang of Four new wave punk sound. Shortpants had an odd conversation with Beck at the bar � something to do with Pee Wee Herman and his collection of Donald Duck memorabilia.
Woke up Sunday morning with a hangover the size of Big J's ego (yep, it was that big), wondering if I had dreamt this whole thing. I would have said yes had I not found my CBPMF badge still hanging around my neck.
A HUGE round of applause should be given to DOWNFRONT PRODUCTIONS who delivered on their promise of featuring over 140 artists - national, regional, local, signed and unsigned acts. While I was counting heads, I'd say they definitely met their predicted 10,000 in paid attendance and after counting up all the complimentary badges given away to press and celebrities, I wouldn't be surprised if an additional 500 to 750 people were in Columbus for the festival. I, for one, can't wait to pick up a copy of the live compilation album that was recorded over the weekend. And, hell, I'll even plunk down some cash for a Times New Viking ring tone for my celly once you've got them ready.
Can't wait 'til next year.