Beer and Pavement

CoMusic (killer) Filler Wednesdays

Posted in Live, Records by SM on April 20, 2011

Maybe my fillers on Mondays Wednesdays will be my new tradition or something. Either way, the content below is worth your attention. It also won’t hurt for you to check out The CoMO Collective when you’re done.

I wrote the first piece on Dubb Nubb. The second is mostly not my work, but it’s a cool narrative anyway. The third bit is mainly some video, but it too is worth your while. Finally, the last is a review from a show last weekend. I’ve mentioned Believers before, but last Saturday’s show was pretty wicked.

Once dubbed as the only “twindie-pop band in America,” created a buzz with their turns as buskers for this year’s True/False Films Fest, Dubb Nubb has conjured quite the following in our fair city. Recalling the undead ghosts of Joanna Newsom and Julie Doiron, the twins harmonize with a youthful zeal not often caught on tape. There’s hurt beyond their years, hopefulness despite our times, and a bit of anger to keep it honest.

All this comes through loud and clear on the duo’s latest release New Bones. Sparse, echo-y production feature the grrrls at their finest, fully capturing the craft in their vocals, chords, and lyrics. Listening to New Bones, it’s hard to believe that Dubb Nubb is young enough to enter a battle of high school bands while simultaneously finding it hard to get into some of the clubs in which they play. I suspect they don’t need fake ID’s, just hand over a copy of New Bones to the doorman and they’ll be granted instant access with a Manhattan on the rocks to follow.

I recognize that this blog typically follows Columbia acts or those bands playing CoMO venues. Technically, Dubb Nubb has played this town and are well-connected here. Plus, New Bones is worthy of a listen, download, and one-of-a-kind cloth packaging (while supplies last). So, this all adds up to the band being honorary CoMOians. Welcome them with open arms and hearts, Columbia, and be on the lookout for a Dubb Nubb gig in the near future…after graduation, anyway.

A couple weeks back, I was contacted by Amanda Rainey in regards to my purchase of the Dubb Nubb’s New Bones. She mentioned her involvement in the 48 Band Competition at Hairhole. Either I asked or Amanda offered to write about her experience, but the important part is that she was willing to share the post below.

Amanda describes herself as “a soon to be business school dropout and a percussionist, quilt artist, sunday school teacher and lady behind little local label Special Passenger Records.”  She is currently working on a compilation project called “Feels Like Coming Home” which is an exploration of hometowns and music communities all over the country.  That album comes out in July and will feature a Comfort Zone (her 48 Band Competition champion foursome) song about the Hairhole called “Practice Space.” Find out more at  Special Passenger Records and Feels Like Coming Home.

Also, Amanda and her collaborators are starting a craft studio/community office space at Hairhole that will be home to “lots of tools and machines and scrap fabric and materials.”  There will be open studio times and craft nights starting next month.  Email Amanda if you are interested in becoming a member, donating materials, or learning more about Hairhole. Her email: – Ed.

Sometimes perfect things happen.

Last November after hearing quiet rumors about a 48 band competition at the Hairhole, I asked Sabrina at Maude how to sign up and she said – you gotta find Leo.  I didn’t know who Leo was, but I walked down the street to meet friends at Saigon – opening night  – and they were standing at a table talking to Leo.  So I signed up.  They only had one spot left.

48 hours later I walked into the Hairhole and stood among mostly strangers as they decided the bands – and I was placed in Leo’s band, also with Max and Emily – really wonderful strangers who became friends within a few hours of excited drinking, planning and playing music. 48 hours later we performed as Comfort Zone, playing 8 songs and musical interludes that we wrote and meticulously practiced throughout the weekend.  We won.  I can’t really tell you right now exactly how much that night meant to me or how much it changed everything.  Ask me in a few years.  But I can tell you that it brought out the best in Columbia’s music community.  Through ten new bands performing 100 new minutes of music we caught a glimpse at near perfection.  Well, until the cops showed up.

Since 48 hours, Comfort Zone has played three more shows and written six more songs.  Max is moving to Chicago soon, so we will probably only play one more show in mid May.  However, we were determined to make an album before we split, so we got together a couple of weeks ago and recorded all 11 songs at the Hairhole in one night.

Leo and I arrived at 3pm to clean and set up and we started recording a couple hours later.  Throughout the night, friends showed up to hang out, drink beers and help us with our scream and clap tracks.  Emily arrived right as we finished our instruments and vocals and did violin layers that will give you goosebumps.  At the end of the night we sat back and listened to the album straight through three times – it clocks in at a whopping 15 minutes and 16 seconds.  It’s pretty perfect.

I am excited to say that the album will be released in May as a split 12″ with our sister/friendlord band Task Force on the other side. It’s called 12″ Pizza Split and the recordings are getting mastered and plated as I type this.  This record is a community art project and we can’t wait to share it with everyone. I’m sure there will be a release show in May and the records will be for sale at Maude.  For now, here are some pictures of our recording session – Wednesday March 29th, 2011 at Hairhole, USA. – Amanda Rainey

Yes, we are like five months behind on this thing, but we also didn’t exist in November. That said, a significant event in the CoMusic scene in recent history was November’s 48 Hours Battle of the Bands competition at the Hairhole, an arts space in the North Village Arts District. Over the course of a weekend, forty local musicians got together, drew names out of a hat, formed four piece bands, wrote and practiced songs, and performed at the Hairhole in a battle du jour. Don’t take my word for it. Check the following videos below and come back tomorrow for a firsthand account from one of the event’s participants, Amanda Rainey (who also provided me with the links to the videos you see below.

Artist depiction of Believers

The Hairhole doesn’t exist. It’s not in a basement somewhere in the North Village Arts District. They didn’t hold their last show in November. You can’t check-in with FourSquare even if you could find it. There’s no cover at the door. And there wasn’t a show there Saturday night.

I won’t write how nostalgic I felt upon entering the Hairhole, or “Harold” as some might call it. It didn’t remind me of the Neil House, a residence near Ohio State’s campus rented out to a bunch of hard core kids who would hold shows in their living room. I won’t mention a club called Bernie’s with it’s basement locale and claustrophobic-inducing darkness and lack of exit signs. I certainly won’t tell you about the time I made myself bleed watching a band in a basement because I had to pound the beat out on the wall. Nope, all those things happened and the Hairhole did not.

So, everything you’re about to read didn’t actually happen as the Hairhole doesn’t actually exist…

Columbia up-and-comers Quailskin showed great improvement from the last time I saw them a month ago. That first night at East Side was not a good first impression. However, the band pulled together a nice set of actual songs. Gone were the electrotrash pretensions that dominated their set at East Side. Here was the songcraft that will keep folks coming back. Very groove-able, certainly worth another listen. There are some strong pieces in Quailskin. Once they iron out a few wrinkles, I expect them to be a solid part of the scene.

Road-conditioned Senryu found a crowd as happy to see them as they were to see the Hairhole after its forced hiatus. Senryu don’t play ska, but it’s as danceable and rugged as the punk-approved precursor to reggae as anything else I’ve heard. Folks danced and sang along, proving that Senryu’s previous visits to the ‘hole were not in vain. Seriously, their set was a lot of fun, more fun than I’ve seen at a show in this town. Apparently, all the personality in this music community is located in that basement.

Headliner Believers’s pre-show setup gave a pretty big clue of what was to come. Two drum kits were at the front corner of the stage with everything else at the edges, spilling off the stage and into the dancing audience that surrounded them. Percussion is at the center of the Believers sound. Sure, the band features silky vocals, vintage guitars, bass lines that drive, and some well-placed ambient noise, but the beats are what made believers of the audience, whipping the crowd into a frenzy, cracking the ‘hole’s foundation.

Fucking A! This was a great set. The atmosphere was loose. The band was having a good time and the Hairhole crowd was having an even better time. The Believers set Saturday night was what you want in a rock show. So much fun. I really can’t tell you anything else except that you really have to see this band live and in-person.

As if the night couldn’t get any better, Believers switched things around a ripped into a raucous rendition of The Breeders’ “Cannonball.” The Ohioan in me smiled with pride, but the Missourian in me looked forward to more shows at Hairhole and more from Believers.

6 Responses

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  1. Pizza Cottontail said, on April 20, 2011 at 9:18 am

    The Hairhole sounds like kind of a cool place, if it’s really a place.

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 20, 2011 at 9:22 am

      If there really is/was a Hairhole, it would be the coolest…in that sweaty, punk-rock, basement kind of way.

  2. Steve said, on April 20, 2011 at 10:13 am

    That competition sounds like a really fun idea, and a good way of cross-pollinating (for want of a better term) a scene. It would be interesting to see how the concept of putting strangers together for a particular project could work in other fields – writing, beer, movies…

    • builderofcoalitions said, on April 20, 2011 at 10:28 am

      Ooh…You’ve given me an idea for a beer event. Thanks!

      Funny that you should mention writing. The blog where these posts have or will appear(ed) is a collaborative effort amongst several local bloggers. I wish it were as edgy overall as some of my music coverage, but the balance of more mainstream stuff will make us more interesting to a wider audience. And that means more hits which mean ad revenue. I’ve already made more money than all of my other years in blogging. It’s not much, but there’s potential there.

      • Steve said, on April 20, 2011 at 10:32 am

        Wow, if you’re making money from blogging you’ve reached the promised land! Congrats! I’ve had a quick look at the blog, but will delve further soon. I think there is lot of untapped potential for local blogging, as there is so much knowledge and passion within local bloggers that larger media just can’t (or won’t) compete with.

        I look forward to hopefully hearing about some sort of collaborative beer event sometime soon!

      • builderofcoalitions said, on April 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

        Well, it’s not a lot, like a couple hundred dollars as we only have one sponsor. Supposedly, there is more ad revenue out there to be had. Some marketing company need content for their site and we have writers (working for free). We’re hoping to turn this into an opportunity for us. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

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