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Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Written by Raad Shubaily
In an age where most pop songs are three-minute love songs, there are still those among us who believe in a more engaging musical structure. Alpine Ghost doesn’t simply do what needs to be done and move on.  The first thing that struck me about them were their more complex and entertaining song structures.  Most of the songs on their 6-track EP are well over three minutes, including blissful crescendos and extended solo sections. They’re more like fleshed out compositions rather than the usual short, poppy hit single.
There’s a long list of comparisons that can be made to the self-proclaimed jazz rockers. Not only does Jack Menkedick make the sax cool again, but it also inspires similarities to bands like The Zutons and Morphine. 

One person at a recent Alpine Ghost show said they “take ska and obliterate it.”



I personally see a lot of Radiohead in them, and their more aggressive songs can come across like early Modest Mouse tunes. Aggressive is a key word. I’ve never been very interested in harder music, but their faster songs are just a bit punky, not hostile. It’s cool when a band has peaks and valleys at a concert, instead of just playing fast and loud the whole time or quiet and slow. Another aspect of their appeal is their serious musicianship.  Any of the members could solo all day if they needed to. The extended sax and guitar solos are a special treat, as not every band can even provide them. 


With an exciting live set and solid recordings, Alpine Ghost is doing it right.  I’ve had their album playing in my car for something like two or three weeks now.   They currently have a number of local performances coming up, and also a trip to Dayton.  While there’s certainly no shortage of gigs, I’m most excited about the next time they release an album. 

Members of The Alpine Ghost include:  
Jack Menkedick (Vocals, Sax, Didgeridoo)
Brandon Paul (Percussion, Keyboards)
Andrew Sais (Guitar, Vocals)
Alex Jewell (Bass)

Check out for more information on The Alpine Ghost 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Written by Josh Weiker
It’s a cool, fall, Saturday evening in Columbus … that usually means the masses are gathered around their televisions, watching their beloved college football games. Alas, a renegade gaggle of music-lovers have packed Dick’s Den for some all-out, knock down, slap-you in the mouth because it’s so funky, jazz.
The night is set to be musically enhanced by local saxophonist Dan White (along with his cast of merrily-music-making-men). All together, there are 6 of them – because according to Mr. White, “Six is better than Four,” and also because it makes it all “more powerful.”

            Apparently, the Dude knows what he’s talking about, because as soon as you walk into the Den, there is a vast explosion of sound. Fluid, smooth, and yet sporadic jazz compositions – the bass is walking all over the place, the horns are blaring, the drummer is killing it, and the guitar is harmoniously balanced (a rarity at any live show).

Photo courtesy of
The gang has come together to help promote Dan’s new CD, Between the Lines. The tracks were recorded and produced in New York City, but the sound is more worldly than ever with crazy calypso and bossa nova beats and rhythms. And you can call me crazy, but I’m pretty sure at one point during the night, I heard a wicked jazz cover of ‘Lithium’ … ya, as in – by Nirvana.

            I have to admit, I kind of lost it when Jon Lampley [trumpet] pulled out a sousaphone (pretty much out of nowhere), and laid down a nasty ass bass hook. After letting everyone soak it in for a few measures, the rest of the band busted into the action, and just devastated everyone with absolute live funk. It was nasty. 
This group of schoolmates created enormous and fantastical sounds that kept the crowd moving all night. Even if you might not consider yourself a “fan” of “jazz,” you should still check out Dan White, his new CD ( Between the Lines) and the guys he was playing with (conveniently listed below) – because good music, and I mean Good Music, is undeniable. 

Special Thanks:

Dan White – Saxophone
Jon Lampley – Trumpet
Chris Ott – Trombone
Joshua Hill – Guitar 
Adam DeAscentis – Bass
Cedric Easton – Drums

The fantastic staff and people at Dick’s Den.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


written by Josh Weiker 
Photo courtesy of J. MATTHEW PHOTOGRAPHY
 Dance Party, you say? Look no further than TEEN FICTION. By looping amazing hypnotically bass-driven beats, and adding a vast array of accompanying melodies, this act is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.

Photo courtesy of J. MATTHEW PHOTOGRAPHY
Front man, Bob Dawson, is like a magical, electro-rock pastry chef, who delivers awesome little treats concocted from his primary ingredients: drums, guitar, keys, sampled beats, and vocals. Then, right hand man, and local saxophone extraordinaire, Colin Martin comes along to place the proverbial whipped cream and cherry on top – seriously, it’s a ridiculously perfect mixture of modern and classic musical styles, that truly rocks, and is a must see ...

The first time I saw this act was at ComFest (2011). Sadly, I came in near the end of their set, but it was very obvious by the rather sizable dancing mobs of people, both on, and in front of the stage, that something good was going down. It was kind of hard to tell who was in the band, and what was happening, but I remembered that Teen Fiction was worth checking out – little did I know, just how many times I would see them in the following months.

Photo courtesy of J. MATTHEW PHOTOGRAPHY
This dynamic duo has been blowing up all over Columbus in 2011. Aside from playing ComFest, you might have seen them at Urban Scrawl, Hot Times Festival, Independent’s Day, Trauma, or at one of the many various venues around the city (and perhaps maybe even a strip club).What is really incredible, is the level of energy Teen Fiction brings to each show.

Mr. Dawson is always hyped and ready to dance semi-circles around his drum pad and keyboard – and you know the party is really going when he yells out his now trademarked fixture, “WoOOooOO !!” (which will also be supplemented with the occasional, “ YaaAAA !!!”). Mr. Martin, on the other hand, has taken it upon himself to wear the most hilariously peculiar outfits for their latest live shows – it’s as if he has an eccentric alter-ego [whose name is either unknown, or yet to be determined].

 Additionally, there have been recent sightings of one, Miss Button le Bouton, fancifully dancing about various Teen Fiction stages – and what can’t you love about her? All music aside, you should go to a Teen Fiction show just to have the opportunity to meet Mr. Bob Dawson– he’s one of those amazing people that emits ridiculous amounts of positive energy.

Photo courtesy of J. MATTHEW PHOTOGRAPHY
I swear his happiness is contagious, and it comes out in his music, his performances, and his company – each show is sprinkled with quirky shout outs of love to the crowd, and ever-present dancing legion of followers. I dare you to get out to a Teen Fiction show, listen, let go, and just have fun … just don’t yell at me when you end up dancin’ your pants off.

For more info, please check out:


VENUE: Newport Music Hall
Written By Josh Weiker

 Location:  1722 N. High Street (between 12th and 13th Ave.)
Events Calendar: Link
 Genres:  Variety - Nationally touring acts
Cover:  +$20
Drinks:  $5 - $10
 Perks: Balcony

Sitting just off the heart of the Ohio State campus is the Newport Music Hall. With its giant billboard promoting upcoming shows, and the almost ritualistic line of patrons awaiting entrance, it’s almost impossible to not notice this place. 
Primarily an outlet for nationally touring bands, this is a venue’s venue. The interior is very spacious, with an upper balcony for your alternative viewing pleasures – but don’t let the space fool you, this place gets packed. The main pit is usually the most crowded and rowdy, and if that’s not really your thing, rest assured, there is usually enough room to dance in the wings. Again, the balcony is a great spot for getting a good look at the band, people watching, or trying to find somewhere to sit down for a bit, but most of the fun is being had on the ground floor. 

There isn’t really a patio, as much as a door that takes you out to a small, semi-fenced area, where you can get some fresh air and/or smoke between back-alley buildings (but be advised, you can’t take your drink with you – lame, right?)

Beginning as a movie theatre, and then spending a short time as a ballroom, the Newport officially became a music hall in the mid-80s. After one look, it’s not hard to tell that this place has been arranged for one thing – live music. With a very simple bar set up (pretty much domestic draft beers), and minimal options for sitting, this probably won’t be a place to hang out all night, or frequent on a regular basis. If you happen to attend a show at Newport, then definitely make post-show plans. 

Most shows let out kind of early, and it’s usually nice to go to a bar where you can unwind and cool down after a show, not to mention get some liquor for a decent price. The Newport Music Hall is tied in with PromoWest Productions, which also manages the stages at The LC, Stage AE, The Basement, and the A&R Music Bar. Additionally, CD 102.5 (previously CD101) helps coordinate their shows, which occasionally gives local musicians an opportunity to play on these bigger stages.

The radio station also frequently uses this venue to present its “Low Dough Shows;” in which a better known or rising band is featured, and tickets are usually around $5 - which is a steal, being that the average ticket price for a show at the Newport falls within the realm of more than twenty dollars.

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