Preview: Alive Summer Music Tour

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

After one of the dreariest springs ever, Columbus is ready to plunge into summer fun. There's no better way than by showing up for Alive's Summer Music Tour, a monthly concert series spotlighting a variety of Columbus musicians in some of the city's top venues.

The series launches Friday at Woodlands Tavern and continues all summer with stops at Carabar (June 10), Skully's (July 9) and Kobo (August 6), all leading up to the second edition of Rocktoberfest this fall.

For this first installment, we've rounded up an exciting slate: Old Hundred, Maza Blaska, The Spruce Campbells, Narrow & the Brights, and Time and Temperature. They're artists working in various subgenres, bound by their mastery of the pop hook.

Music kicks off at 9 p.m. sharp Friday and continues until last call, so arrive promptly and stay late.

Old Hundred

Few folk-rockers write choruses with as much staying power as Old Hundred. Last fall's full-length debut was stacked from front to back with the kind of shout-to-the-rafters sing-alongs that keep the kids coming back.

The increasingly collaborative ensemble sometimes envelops its hooks in moody, spaced-out sonics, resulting in something like Radiohead with banjos and shakers. But sometimes, as on signature stomper "A Thousand Times," it's a straight-up hipster hoedown.

They'll cap off the night at 1 a.m. Friday.

Maza Blaska

Maza Blaska's music feels exotic but familiar at once, a trick Yoni Mizrachi and Sam Corlett have been honing for a couple of years now with help from their sprawling list of collaborators, which now includes former quivering folkie Blakey Ray Miller. A mini-preview from "Storyteller," their long-awaited debut album due out this summer, shows they've become pretty damn adept at it.

See them in action at our showcase 'round midnight.

The Spruce Campbells

In real life they're just six average Columbus twentysomethings, but on record The Spruce Campbells sound like a pop-art concert poster come to life. It's as if rays of psychedelia, classic pop, garage rock and glam streamed into Jason Matthew Kusowski's consciousness and refracted across the sky in big, bold colors.

Since last summer, their steady stream of EPs has made them one of the most prolific - and consistently great - groups in town. They'll share some of that magic at 11 p.m. Friday.

Narrow & the Brights

Here's the thing about Narrow & the Brights: The resemblance to Interpol is pretty immediate and striking. But do you remember what they used to say about Interpol? "They sound so much like Joy Division!"

Besides, among the new wave of young guns in Columbus indie rock, few bands are writing songs as gripping as Tim Race, Brad Wilson and Zach Inscho. Witness their supernova stage show in the 10 p.m. slot Friday.

Time and Temperature

Rarely do people stumble upon Val Glenn playing one of her songs without stopping to listen until she finishes. Glenn's melodies are stunning jolts of beauty, emanating from each finger-plucked ballad like flowers from a bed of soil.

For a long time fans could only find Time and Temperature recordings in limited edition, but last fall's definitive "Cream of the Low Tide," released online through Bandcamp, made Glenn's music readily available.

She'll launch our show in gorgeous fashion at 9 p.m. sharp.

Be there:

Woodlands Tavern

9 p.m. Friday, May 27

1200 W. 3rd Ave., Grandview