Staff pick: Greenhorn at Ace of Cups

Joel Oliphint
Greenhorn in 1994

Nearly 10 years ago I asked Anyway Records head Bela Koe-Krompecher to say a few words about Greenhorn for an old feature called “Overlooked in Ohio.” It’s still my favorite primer on the cult-favorite ’90s rock act fronted by singer/guitarist Dan Spurgeon, who played alongside his oft-shirtless guitarist brother, Mark, and supported by the rock-solid rhythm section of another sibling pair, Steve (bass) and Pat (drums) McGann.

“It is truly a shame that Dan Spurgeon has never gotten his due as one of the finest Midwestern songwriters in decades,” Koe-Krompecher wrote, and he’s not the only one who feels that way. Greenhorn funneled classic rock, grunge and Midwestern cowpunk through a wall of Marshall stacks, and the foursome always seemed to be on the cusp of national acclaim. Then they’d break up. And then reform. Then break up again.

Most of the music Greenhorn recorded is unreleased, which tends to relegate the band to the fringes when the topic of Old Columbus Bands comes up. But Greenhorn was always at its best on a stage, anyway, ear-bleeding volume and all. The last Greenhorn reunion show I know of was in 2016, so tonight’s gig at Ace of Cups is a rare and welcome opportunity to watch the Spurgeons and McGanns do what they do best.

But wait. There’s more. Another band from the early ’90s, Feversmile, featured an all-star lineup of Sam Brown (Operators, Divine Fits, New Bomb Turks), Sean Beal (who later played with the McGanns in revered Americana act Big Back Forty) and Dan Cochran (League Bowlers, Four String Brewing). The roots-rock act tends to get overshadowed by the future projects these players later joined, but that resume is reason enough to show up early.

According to the Facebook event, opening act Mr. Tiger (ex-Clay) will hit the Ace of Cups stage at 8 p.m., followed by Feversmile at 9 and Greenhorn at 10:30.

Ace of Cups

8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27

2619 N. High St., Old North