The List: Seven things we’re looking forward to in 2022

Following a bleak year, here are a few things giving us hope as we barrel toward the end of 2021

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
The Old North building that will become the new bar and music venue Lovebirds

The last 12 months have been a slog, starting with the insurrection of Jan. 6 and wrapping up with the holiday-timed spread of the omicron variant, which is set to usher us into year three of the pandemic with record COVID case counts. As a way of burying 2021, we thought we’d turn a more hopeful eye to next year. Here are seven things we’re looking forward to in 2022.

A new album from This Is My Suitcase

Joe Camerlengo put this local favorite to bed in December 2013, exiting on a high note a la George Costanza rather than ingloriously fading from view. “A lot of local bands tend to fizzle out," he said at the time. "I'll ask people about their band and they'll be like, 'Oh, I don't know. We haven't done anything in two years,' and I don't want that fate for This Is My Suitcase.” 

Now, after having not done anything for more than eight years, This Is My Suitcase is primed for a 2022 resurrection, according to a late December Facebook post. “We are working on a new album,” Camerlengo wrote. “It’s already my favorite of ours. A loud album that celebrates the daily existential worries of aging, remembering, dreaming and wondering.”

The opening of Lovebirds

Outside of a handful of indie venues, the Columbus concert scene is still dominated by industry giant PromoWest, an AEG affiliate that owns and manages Express/Kemba Live, the Newport, A&R Bar and the Basement, giving it an outsized role in shaping the local touring industry. For that reason and more, we’re looking forward to the 2022 opening of Lovebirds, a cozy new Old North-adjacent bar and concert venue owned and operated by Bobby Miller of Archie Fox, who has already proven his abilities in booking concerts at Ace of Cups and curating the now-defunct 4th & 4th music fest, which featured some of the best single-day bills of recent years in its too-short run. We can’t wait to see what Miller does with his own room.

Otherworld expands

One of the neatest escapes in Columbus is set to get a massive upgrade this year as the immersive art installation gradually expands its sizable confines to a whopping 58,000 square feet. Best of all, the addition will include a 2,000-capacity concert space, creating a huge, unique venue that should allow Otherworld to increase its already adventurous bookings.

The opening of Understory

In June, Wolf’s Ridge announced plans for Understory, a new brewery space and restaurant set to open in the renovated Open Air building in Columbus’ Old North neighborhood, initially predicting a fall opening. While construction delayed the intended 2021 launch, the space is gearing up for its 2022 debut, focused on oak-aged lagers and a smaller, more veggie-centric menu.

Double Happiness booking more national touring acts

While Double Happiness reopened prior to the pandemic following a years-long closure, owner Yalan Papillons recently said the Brewery District bar and music venue will return to booking more national acts beginning in April — welcome news for a space that hosted some of the best double-bills of recent years before its temporary closure (Metz/Lightning Bolt and Parquet Courts/Protomartyr spring immediately to mind). Papillons said she moved to more aggressively bringing in national artists following a plumbing disaster that temporarily shuttered the bar in December. “It made me proactive in sending offers for shows, which I hadn’t really been doing,” she said. “We needed to raise the vibration."

The debut of Jackie O’s massive outdoor patio

Renderings of the planned patio at Jackie O’s brewery Downtown on Fourth Street surfaced in February 2021, with initial discussion centered on a late summer/early fall opening the same year. Following delays, the patio should be finished in plenty of time to enjoy spring weather.

The end of the Republican senate primary campaign

It’s beyond exhausting watching a theocrat and a fascist engage in an ongoing game of one-upmanship while others nip aggressively at their heels. Following the May primary, at least we won’t have to constantly hear from everyone engaged in this cursed campaign.