Let me share something that ought to be obvious after 30 years of inflicting my musical opinions on the local long-suffering populace: music gives me a boner. Still. After all these years.


And I mean a big boner. A huge boner. A boner bigger than Boehner. A death-defying, trapeze swinging, no-safety-net-allowed, take-no-prisoners, gotta-have-my-musical-fix of a boner bigger than the Empire State Building with King Kong dancing the watusi on top!


It's really the only thing that soothes the beast inside. However, much as I try Buddhism and/or booze, it's music that...changes me.


OK, so what I'm saying, crudely, is that music supplies the transcendence I need in life.


And when the music is bad or just mediocre? No matter--boner! Sorta. Let's say a disinterested boner. But a boner nevertheless. Maybe bad music is its own special reward in my case because I get to write about how bad it was. And that's always fun because people love blood in their ink. I mean, I am karmic revenge. And I am a passionate bitcher. Thus, I often sport a transcendent, vengeful musical boner.


So be all that as it may, let's relive this past month's music-boner safari around town. It was a good month--and looks to be a good summer.




Watching a man die slowly is never boring but with B.B. King it felt sort of cheap. The once-mighty, now 80 percent diminished King should've gracefully retired a decade ago. But he didn't. On May 28 at the LC Pavilion, sitting like a squashed buddha, he rolled like a rusty iron-lung through a set of B.B. chestnuts. While it wasn't embarrassing it came close. Instead of spending his sunset years tending the needs of his ever-expanding herd of wantonly sired seedlings, he's still out there being the great shrinking B.B. King. The best thing about him, besides his sense of humor and the fact he was facing the right way, was how well he sang the first line of every verse. That he half-mumbled the rest really didn't matter given he is several centuries old. Strangely, it's his guitar playing which was the main disaster. It was astonishingly non-existent. One would've thought the other way around would've been the case. He did not play a single coherent solo the entire night. He was essentially mumbling the notes with his fingers, and with literally zero of the fire for which he permanently and indisputably wore the crown for decade after decade.


Coupled with a near-pulseless performing energy--the band could only do so much and on occasion drowned him out because it wasn't hard-- it was like a ghost tip-toeing on-stage, well, seated but you know what I mean. No impact. Zero. Nada. Nunca. Thus the formerly heartiest of blues men performed with an energy so low, so diminished I thought at times he might've expired between notes there was so

little happening. As he gently lapped his way through his set, there was no high point nor low point. It just seemed pointless. It didn't seem like a victory of man over mortality. More like here comes the whisper, do you remember the bang?


If you could get through his mind-numbingly boring version of “You Are My Sunshine” then your blues dues were paid. The (much) better following material was its own reward. Or almost. I will say the good-sized audience was one of the sweetest, most loving and adoring audiences in the history of mankind. For them the thrill is mos def not gone. I however felt bad for B.B.'s guitar, Lucille, which he


used to bring to full orgasm several times per performance in his prime, especially with his arcing, womanly sustain. Now, she too sleeps through his shows. I'm sure they'll share the casket together.


So while I wouldn't call B.B.'s show boring--no fading legend could do that--it wasn't even sad nor a pathetic spectacle--though it came close. It just...was. The question is, is the fate of the blues tied in with him and his generation? That near-future page is unwritten.


One positive over his last couple of visits is that at least he didn't talk so damn much. I couldn't stand his yak at the Palace a few years back. I guess senility can be tempered. I just hope he wasn't wearing diapers.




Let's see, how can I convince the world our fantastic Elvis Presley tribute band, The Sons of Gladys, present a musical satisfaction so great you'll feel ashamed the next morning that you were ever tempted to dismiss 'em without hearing 'em because of the alleged cheese(burger) factor?


But it's true, true, true. Just ask my musical boner. The Sons do a fabulous job recreating The King's career, and they don't take the easy way out by just doing the three-chord rockabilly stuff, great as the Sun shit is. What can you say about a brilliantly-led 12-piece Elvis band that opens with “C.C. Rider” and “Burning Love” and then for song number three goes into a pitch-perfect “Something,” the gorgeous George Harrison love song replete with cascading horns and a vocalist hitting the right emotion in the rightest way possible?


And of course, the ace up The King's man's jump-suited sleeve here is that he's Indian--as in India Indian: Sudhir Ranganath, born America, naturally tanned from the homeland, and as fine an Elvis singer as this melting pot nation has come up with yet. Sid, as he's called, I think is one of the best pop-

rock singers in Columbus, period, let alone as an Elvis aficionado. He's got emotional depth, he sounds manly, he's got vibrato and timbre and he's a showman. Sid's the shit, as we say in Calcutta and Bangalore.


Led by the preternaturally unassuming guitarist Jeff Passifume, this band is Sands Casino-ready. Loaded with talent, and terrific intent, they don't miss the mark in any way conceivable. The set list rolled on: “My Way,” “Polk Salad Annie,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “An American Trilogy” and three of my favorites which when I woke up the next morning were battling in my brain for mental re-play playlist supremacy: “Kentucky Rain,” “Viva Las Vegas” and “Suspicious Minds.” In all, they did nearly 20 tunes at the North Market Apron Gala on May 16 and eventually won a fine dancing crowd away from the free good food inside. Even the guy who looked like Truman Capote's twin was hoofin' it up.


The deepest secret to TSoG's artistic success is the quality of the songwriting The King attracted, literally the finest numbers in the American pop canon from back then. So I'm telling you nitwits, hearing this band is a win/win/win proposition.


I dare you to go see 'em and not dig 'em. I double-dare you--with an evil boner on top!




Many years ago, between writing gigs, I used to sell t-shirts and merch for a band called O.A.R. Who went to school at Ohio State. I remember some drunk kid come bounding down the stairs into the lobby

of the Newport where they were playing, singing along with whatever song they were playing, at the top of his lungs. He was happy. It was a phenomenon: these OAR boys are still in college but they've got kids singing their songs with gusto as they take the steps from the second-floor balcony two at a time to take a piss.


I've never written a song anybody's ever sung. Boo-hoo. No wonder my mailbox has never seen a royalty check.


Thus it was with The 1975 at the LC Pavilion May 5: 2000 19-year-old girls singing along, every word. British to a fault, they do what the British do: the appropriate styles, restylize 'em and that is the substance. I never find fault with the Anglo approach.


For the '75 subtly merge a little Queen, a little mid-period boring Bowie, a little Cure gothy-ness, maybe even a little U2. The results? Massive love from the little girls who understand, and one yawning boner on ol' Captain Ahab here.


Because you know who these quantum bores reminded me of? INXS.


"The City," "Milk" and "M.ON.E.Y." said something, I think, what I'm not sure. But the audience singalong was humongous. Still, the band's performance was so, well, mannequin-ish I thought I was back in the old downtown Lazarus. I was hoping National Lampoon Magazine's character Manny the Mannequin Fucker would've shown up because frankly, these guys acted like breaking a sweat was so, you know, American. Goddam British. The adulation's gone to their head. One girl told me lead singer

Matthew Healy was so much more 'down to earth' at the band's A&R Bar show just months earlier.

But now, he's a preening, careening Jim-Morrison-acting rock star and he's probably not even drunk, high or inspired. In fact, he reminded me of the guy who was paid to act like he was a fucked-up Morrison in the Doors tribute band, Moonlight Drive.

The nature of the music was, oh, I don't know. There wasn't a nature to it. It was so cleverly constructed and seamless and yes, soulless. I found the band utterly disposable, like a baby's used diaper or a bad sex condom or Mitt Romney placards. There was no wildness to The 1975. In fact, I would've preferred Bon Jovi because he's such an asshole and his fans are incredible fat.

The 1975 attract healthy, corn-fed Midwest girls who don't have criminal records, very few tattoos and can remember lyrics. Can't say I know the magic formula to do that. No matter, The 1975 still sucked the hairball stuck on your shower drain and that's all there is to it, dude.

But then again, what do I know? I'm not a 19-year-old girl fantasizing about some stick-like British lead singer who probably doesn't even like girls, doesn't watch American football and can quote you Dickens, Shelly and Yeats.

The wuss.


The funkiest thing in this white-bread town at the moment is the newly redesigned Dos Hermanos taco truck, which you may or may not have yet seen but won't soon forget once you do.

There's something eminently appealing about two gritty-looking Mexican bandito-types wearing sombreros (but no bandoleers!) with the Mexican national colors gracing their background on the side of a taco truck whizzing it's way down High Street. I dunno, maybe I didn't get enough of the local scenery when I was in Nuevo Laredo or Juarez on a motorcycle trip down there a few years ago. But I like it, I really really like it. But when I first saw the Hermanos truck, it just grabbed me like a sonuvagun and I haven't been the same since. There really isn't another like it in town or maybe anywhere in the world for all I know (and hope, because we really do need all the original notoriety and color we can locally generate since nothing will ever replace retired local sportscaster the late Jimmy Crum).

Owner Lisa Guitarrez hooked up with a pair of young architects, Paul Miller and Dyani Robarge, through Dinin' Hall, a downtown spot on Rich Street where food trucks come and sell to the neighborhood, an idea organized by Tim Lai ArchitecT nearby.

Miller got to know truck owner Lisa Gutierrez and husband Salvador, one thing led to another, he stepped out of his architectural comfort zone and created three designs for Lisa and Sal. "As soon as I saw it (the two brothers design) I knew that was what we wanted," said Lisa. The images were to be in black and white, their seriousness offset by the festive Mexican national colors of red, green and white.

Miller and Robarge used a projection method to creat a template and then "we used sponges to create the gradient of the image."

Painting the truck as opposed to using a “wrap” was "more economical for us, "said Lisa. It took Miller and Robarge a week of evenings to do the job. "The name Dos Hermanos has a strong identity and communicates the authentic nature of the food," said Miller. "I wanted to create a design that had the simple elegance of the name." To which I would also add 'rustic'.

"It's increased our business, especially when we cater weddings," said Lisa whose husband uses hometown recipes from Oaxaca, Mexico, in preparing the food daily fresh. And she's since had Miller outfit her taco/tamale cart with the Dos Hermanos image.

"I guess we're finally branded?" she asked with a laugh.