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Thursday, September 22, 2011

­Music Week Columbus

Written by Josh Weiker & Raad Shubaily
Music Week Columbus – Where do I begin? Honestly, that is the question I found most prevalent each night – where should I begin?
            Well, for starters, this event takes place over three nights, across three venues, and showcases some 42 bands. Ya, I know, right? Aside from the majority of local Columbus and surrounding Ohio bands, it also brings in new acts from Chicago, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, Minneapolis, and Brooklyn. 

Most of the acts this year would fall in, or around the Indie Rock category, with a few heavier Metal bands sprinkled throughout the lineup.
Music Week Columbus (Mid-by-Midwest as some have cheekily referred to it) truly is an all out onslaught of live music. Taking place on the stages of the Ravari Room, Rumba CafĂ©, and Kobo, this is not your average, ‘I’m going to see (that band) kind of festival’ – this festival should be approached with a more ‘let’s go see what’s out there’ attitude.
            Since each venue hosts four or five bands each night it can be hard to know who’s where, when; and which place you’ll enjoy most. 

The way I see it, there are two options: 1) Do some research – try to find some of the featured bands on the internet, and then fairly judge them based on what little web content you can find (not a very successful route); or, 2) Just go, get the three day pass, and you have unlimited access to all three venues, all three nights. So if one venue isn’t striking your fancy, or you’re just really A.D.D. and like to change up your scene every 30 minutes, you can. 

            So who’s playing? Well, anyone that has been around the Indie music scene in Columbus over the past year should be familiar with at least seeing the names like: Town Monster, Way Yes,  the Dew Droppers, Wet Darlings, Karate Coyote, Maza Blaska, and of course, the Phantods.
            Having just gone to the event, I can tell you its much more fun discovering the new bands that are just beginning to rise, rather than just pensively waiting around for the ones you know. 

This year, I found a few new (or at least ‘new’ to me) amazing bands such as the Dirty Girls and Petit Mal; both rocked my socks, and I look forward to seeing each of them again, as soon as possible. It is always great to get a fresh reminder of just how well the local music scene is developing in Columbus. 

Of the 15 non-native Columbus bands, I heard a lot of excitement among the crowds about seeing: 1, 2, 3 (from Pittsburgh), Milano (from Chicago), Megachurch (from Cleveland), Beast Make Bomb, and Deluka (both from Brooklyn [Deluka originally from the UK]) – I’ll just say the Music Week Columbus Scouting Department (with a little help from CD101) hit this one out of the park, Barry Bonds style.

Luckily, for this event, we had a few sets of eyes and ears to help take in everything this three-day-show had to offer. BusTown Writer, Raad Shubaily was kind enough to take a closer look at some of the bands featured from 2011’s Music Week Columbus, as well as offer his perspective on the festivities … enjoy …

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Independent’s Day
Date: Saturday, September 17th 2011
Location: East Gay Street – Columbus, Ohio
… from Noon ‘til Midnight …

 Independent’s Day is quickly becoming one of the premiere annual festivals in Columbus. While it may sound confusing in any simple conversation, let me assure you this extravaganza is completely unrelated to the 4th of July. So what is Independent’s Day?  In short, it is an approximately twelve-hour, non-stop, live demonstration that aims to show off the immense presence of independent business, arts, and music that the city has to offer. 
Each year, in the middle of September, the city shuts down one of its usually hustling and bustling streets right in the heart of downtown, to host this amazing festival. 

On Gay Street, between High and 3rd Street, (and the adjacent alleys of Pearl and Lynn Street) you can find eclectic local merchants selling a wide variety of goods, eccentric artists sprawled about like Easter eggs, food carts, beer carts, and of course, music.  The exponential growth of this event is probably most apparent when looking at the entertainment lineup. Beginning with a mere 2 stages in 2008, this year’s fest is scheduled to host 5 stages for its 30+ musical acts, and handful of live performances.

Music is almost always a good thing, but the most incredible part of this festival is the Art.

 The individual artists, as well as the mediums of art, seem to change from year to year – in 2009, there were mostly sidewalk chalk artists (which happens to be when I fell in love with this festival). 

All up and down Gay Street were just absolutely phenomenal portraits, landscapes, and abstracts – each with amazingly vibrant colors and definition. 
 I about peed my pants when I was invited to sit down and ‘doodle’ with one of the local artists on their allotted canvas of asphalt. Walking around a bit, I eventually got to do some painting on one of the live working murals – badass! – I am in no way an artist, but if and when given these opportunities in life, you should definitely enjoy them, right?

In 2010, I’m not sure if it was the festival, or just me, that took more interest in the musical and alcohol aspects than the art, but either way, that is what I ended up enjoying, and I still had a blast.

Independent’s Day 2011 is looking to be quite a spectacle with the local art collective supergroup, CloudHaus at the helms. With a flux of creativity and ridiculous amounts of talent, these folks have spent the past number of months plotting and scheming in order to make their outstandingly elaborate ideas into possibilities and realities. 

As if that weren’t enough, this year’s musical lineup is killer – any festival that opens with Enrique Infante and closes with roeVy is good in my book (for more info on the lineup, check out: Some of the additional acts I’m looking forward to seeing include (but are not limited to): Bum Wealthy, Trains Across the Sea, Wing & Tusk, Teen Fiction, Mount Carmel, and G. Finesse and the N.S.

            If you’ve never been to Independent’s Day, I implore you to come. Get out and enjoy this quickly growing festival before it too gets super-huge crowds like ComFest (don’t worry ComFest, I still love you). Come find some amazing art, and meet the incredible people behind it; grab a drink and some munchies then check out some of the great bands; spend the day downtown, surrounded by skyscrapers, you can even have a picnic in the middle of the road! Basically, get off your butt and out of that mindset that ‘nothing ever happens in Columbus,’ because the truth is: It is happening, you’re just missing it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Written by Josh Weiker
If you live in Columbus, and enjoy alcohol, music, and trees; then you surely know of the Treehouse (formerly known as “Andyman’s Treehouse”). This bar is infamous for a number of things: its hidden-back alley location, its absence of parking, the freakin’ tree growing in the middle of the building, and of course, the ever-present cluster of hipsters smoking out front.   Most of the time, I’d end up at this bar, already after a night of drinking; and  occasionally with the intentions of seeing some band play in the jam-packed back room. 
I never really liked the place as a venue, and was always reluctant to make the ‘far’ trip out to Grandview, but every time I went, I always found myself stumbling headfirst into a good time. Aside from feeling salty for not hitting up the Treehouse as often as I should have, I’m also bummed because this was one of those places that you can all but  guarantee that there is an amazing library of stories, inside jokes, and bar secrets that have happened under that Tree. Now, all of that history is gone.

      The Treehouse wasn’t an overly-stimulating place, but it always had a very unique vibe. I still remember how confused I was the first time I went there – falling down the step at the front entrance, walking a circle around the pool table, and realizing I had pretty much just taken a tour of the place. Despite the small rooms, the patrons were always comfy – tucked away in the corners on the couch, near the bar, or on the patio. It’s like it was almost impossible to be awkward in this bar, because the layout made socializing so awkward, that being awkward was the norm (that, or I’m just a huge nerd). Whatever it was that perplexed me about this bar, I do know that I will miss being able to pass up all of the glitzy, over-image inspired bars to creep away to this amazingly chill gem in Grandview.

            So that’s it?
            No –
            It can’t possibly just end there, can it?
            Would I truly be content, just letting this mystery take the rout of Pac and Biggie?
            There must be more …

      So, What killed the Treehouse? Well like most mysteries, there is a world of speculation as to what exactly was responsible for the bar’s demise. After much cross-referencing and fact-checking, here is a condensed list of some of the more plausible rumors as to what led to the closing of the Treehouse:

·         Environmental terrorists poisoned the Tree, thus leading the owner to close the bar.

·         CD101’s Ed Francis drank all of the booze in the bar

·         The bar was invaded and overrun by Crab People

·         The Greater Grandview Community Committee petitioned to have the place shut down due to “spontaneous hipster mobs.”

·         Some say, Kyle Sowash killed a girl in the backroom over a bottle of Sake.

·         Mayor Coleman had the bar closed so he could turn it into his own private underground diplomatic speakeasy and moustache trimming salon.

·         An ominous cloud appeared over the Treehouse and some reported seeing a mysterious flying object hovering above the building. Rumor has it, the staff was abducted; but it was all later dismissed and reported as just an abnormal accumulation of swamp gas.

·         Someone stole the cue ball from the pool table, thus evoking ‘the curse of the missing cue’ upon the bar and its patrons.

·         Michael Bay shot a scene for his next film in the Treehouse – unfortunately the interior couldn’t withstand the constant barrage of over-the-top pyrotechnics.

·         Secret got out that the Tree inside the Treehouse would actually eat one over-inebriated patron each night … Little Shop of Horrors style, for real.

·         It was that damn Sasquatch.

      Unfortunately, none of those rumors led to any culprits due to a consistent ‘lack of factual basis’ (whatever that means). Alas, the case did not close there – in hopes of tracking down the killer, BusTown enlisted the help of some of the greatest mystery-cracking minds that the world has ever known:

 Scoob & the Gang
… once again blamed the mystery on old man Jenkins (for trying to run out customers in hopes that he could finally mine for gold in the surrounding area). This theory was later dismissed due to age discrimination and repeated profiling.

The Hardy Boys
… liked to talk a bunch and used pretty big words for a 4th grade reading level. All in all, we never got to the end of their theory, it was just too boring, and lacked the sex and/or humor appeal we so all yearned for.

Blues Clues
… while the fun colors and happy songs entertained the stoner crowd, after thirty minutes of following their ‘clues’ we just ended up making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a salt and pepper shaker – I suppose that’s what you get for letting a blue dog lead your investigation.

Sherlock Holmes and Watson (the Jeopardy computer)
… it turns out Sherlock Holmes has been dead for over 100 years; apparently he was smoking meth in that pipe of his; and unfortunately, Watson, the super computer, was ‘Temporarily Out of Order’ during our allotted time. 

Angela Lansbury (a.k.a. Murder, She Wrote)
… is also dead. – wait, what’s that? No, she’s not? Oh, … really? … hm, well, oops?

So it seems that all of these avenues are a bust. Luckily, there is hope – the back alley inside connections.

      So who done it? What killed the Treehouse? Well, it hasn’t been my place to call people out or talk badly of a place (so I’m going to leave out names and certain details), but the people have spoken, and they demand the truth. Two sources have told stories of absolute assurance and it goes a little something like this …

      There are two reasons, or primary factors that led to the closing of the Treehouse. The first and most prominent tone points to poor management of the bar’s budget. Some claim the bar was behind on rent payments, and in time of crisis the head rat deserted the ship. The other reason points to you – You killed the Treehouse. It’s said that the bar profits had been on the decline for the last year, and if you put two and two together, it’s not hard to create a picture of how this bar slipped into the red.

Whatever the reason, two things are for sure: 1) some shit went down, and 2) the Treehouse will be missed. Fortunately, there are some apparent talks about the House re-opening under new management. Only time will tell what truly happened, and what will come of the ominous bar known as the Treehouse.

For a more proper/accurate perspective about the Treehouse closing, check out Meghan Ralston’s (of the Hot 17) article …

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