Concert Review: Here Comes Your Weekend IV

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Guinea Worms video courtesy of Mike Sperry. See more clips of Saturday's event at his YouTube account. (Look under "Recent Activity.")

The rain did its best to wash out the fourth installment of Here Comes Your Weekend, the Columbus Music Co-op's annual parking lot blowout at the Surly Girl Saloon. But the tents withstood Mother Nature's offensive, and by the early evening the narrow premises were jam-packed with fans witnessing some fine performances from bands established and obscure. (OK, for some passersby it may all have been obscure, but it was also all good, at least the parts I saw.)

I strolled up around 4:30 to hear The American Jobs for the first time and found their blend of sax, percussion and samples surprisingly entrancing. Each song seemed to drift together out of thin air, as seemingly disjointed parts began to fit together into a monolithic haze. The frontman, whose shirtless, shoeless wardrobe wouldn't warrant him service at the bar most days, was a beacon of performance art playfulness, pouring candle wax on himself and sticking daisy stems down his sweatpants. Not for everybody, but definitely for me.

Next up was Winter Makes Sailors. This is where I have to admit that despite seeing Sean Gardner play a handful of times with his other bands (and playing alongside him with The Kyle Sowashes now and again), I've never seen his solo project live. I still haven't because Gardner played Saturday with a five-piece backing band that included Erik Kang (Margot & the Nuclear So & So's), Kate Folmar (The Black Canary) and more. Listening to the Winter Makes Sailors songs on MySpace has convinced me that they're Gardner's greatest songwriting feats. Hearing them fleshed out like this certainly didn't hurt their standing in my book, though I enjoy the quiet intimacy of the recordings too much for Gardner to go full-band all the time.

I left to run some errands and made it back in time for Moviola, who were performing as an expanded eight-person ensemble. The horn section and Bird and Flower's Eve Searls on backing vocals added a lot to the show, but my favorite moment came courtesy of the regular players, when guitarist Jerry Dannemiller built a tremolo-soaked wall of sound around one of drummer Greg Bonnell's new tunes. The other new stuff sounded solid too. Their old-guy shtick is pretty appealing, although I'm biased as somebody who wasn't paying attention during the Durable Dream era. This was definitely more exciting than the 0-0 Crew/Fire game I skipped Saturday night, though not nearly as exciting as last year's Columbus-Chicago playoff encounter. (Sorry me boys let you down, Jerry.)

Guinea Worms followed with the set of the night. I love how Will Foster's songs usually build around one oblong guitar riff, and the band adjusts them just enough over the course of each song to keep the repetition from straying into maddening monotony. And while I initially bristled somewhat at last year's single "Box of Records," I have come to love that song dearly. Also, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Nobody plays with more enthusiasm than Worms guitarist Gary Brownstein. The guy simply loves being a Guinea Worm.

The sound guys had Cheater Slicks cranked up to suitably obnoxious volumes, much to the chagrin of the band and to the delight of the audience. Who wants a Slicks show that isn't going to permanently damage your hearing? This wasn't one of the more memorable shows I've seen by the garage luminaries, but it's always fine to hear "Refried Dreams," and the miserable ballad "Walk Into the Sea" was a nice touch.

Last was Struck by Lightning. I didn't stick around for much of their set due to lingering personal obligations (and the lingering hum in my eardrums after Cheater Slicks), but I was surprised how well I could make out what Greg Lahm was screaming about between the devastating riffs and fills. I don't like it as much as Mouth of the Architect, who absolutely slaughtered me the one time I saw them before Lahm left the band. But comparing these two groups is kind of like comparing steak and pizza — you can't do much more than enjoy both on their own merits.

All in all, another mighty fine day of music curated by some ambitious helpers of the local music scene in the name of furthering their efforts. Nice mugs, too!