Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Surly Girl Parking Lot Blowout 2008

If anyone made the unfortunate decision to ask me about the current state of affairs involved with the music scene in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, I would probably respond with nothing more than an empty, blank stare or (at best) a second hand account of a band/personality that hasn't been seen or heard since $1 pitchers of beer sloshed off the bar at 1980s mainstay Crazy Mamas. The whole thing might seem slightly ridiculous if you consider that we are still domiciled in Ohio, and have decided to blather on about music from other parts of the world instead of our own back yard. This time, however, we had an amazing experience back home that we felt the need to share. After receiving a heads up from good friend, Columbus restaurateur and community action hero Elizabeth Lessner, we made our way 100 miles north to the third annual Parking Lot Blowout at her Garden District establishment Surly Girl Saloon. It only took a few steps into the crowd to find numerous friendly faces from the past, including Marcy Mays and Sue Harshe of legendary local band Scrawl as well as (yes the name dropping continues) long-lost acquaintance Will Fugman of the more recent reverb-tastic outfit Brainbow. After a few cups of beer and a walk around the festivities we were ready for what we considered to be the main event...

Great Plains

It has been almost 25 years since my teenage ass first sat on the sidewalk outside of the now long defunct Columbus venue Staches with stolen parents beers in pocket and more of grandfather's Dippity Do in my hair than I care to remember. Of course I was too young to enter the shows, but the sounds that billowed out of that front door still echo in my brain to this day. One of the more memorable people who stepped out of that place on a nightly basis was local musician/record store guru Ron House. Aside from being the front man of Great Plains, Mr. House also sold me some of the first music I can remember falling for (Death of Samantha, Tar Babies, Workdogs... etc.), so when the chance presented itself to experience his band once again, I jumped that very second. The above and below pictures, however amateur, are ones taken from last Saturday's parking lot event.

The set was tight to the point of throwing me back all of those years, while remaining playful enough to gain favor with some of the younger crowd in attendance who may have considered this day an updated, more relevant mini-version of what Comfest could have evolved into. You can find more information at an excellent Great Plains discography website, and an interview (from ten years ago!) with Ron's latest band/incarnation Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments. After returning home to Cincinnati, some digging was done and a really interesting article was found on the music website Moistworks. The discussion involved origins of the term "indie" and included music from Big Dipper (who we featured here and here) as well as Great Plains. We grabbed a couple of songs from that submission to share and hope you enjoy them. This is great stuff.

From the Born In A Barn LP (Homestead Records 1984)
MP3: Great Plains - Love To The Third Power

From the Naked At The Buy, Sell And Trade LP (Homestead Records 1986)
MP3: Letter To A Fanzine

Finally, we neglected to mention that the SGS Parking Lot Blowout was an all ages event, which allowed us to to bring along my quickly growing daughter-type-weed Abigail. It was especially cool to witness her excitement when she received her very first underage "X" hand stamps at the door... and here she is showing them off.

Big thanks and love to Elizabeth & Co for making our day a wonderful experience! We love you.

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