The heck with Christmas… Easter is coming early to the Valley this year. Friday, Feb. 18, to be exact. And music scene staple Henning Ohlenbusch, for one, couldn’t be more excited about it.
“Even though I’ve produced and recorded a lot of music over the years, I never really got absorbed in learning about different producers except for this one name that always stuck in my head: Mitch Easter,” Ohlenbusch says. “He worked on the first three R.E.M. albums—which are still three of my all-time favorites—and that sound they developed sort of became a default in my head. That is what music should sound like.”
Ohlenbusch and his partners in prickly power pop—School For The Dead—will share The Elevens (elevensmusic.com) stage with the Mitch Easter Band, Boy Genius and Ribboncandy this Friday for a dream bill made possible in large part by a rather significant local connection.
“Our good friend Amanda Lindsey—who was in Northampton’s own Model Rocket—now plays with the Mitch Easter Band,” Ohlenbusch says, “so this show is sort of a homecoming/reunion, too.”
Similarly exhibiting strong regional roots is the Melvin Sparks show slated for Theodores’ in Springfield on Friday, Feb. 18. While the legendary soul-jazz guitarist Sparks has made his home in New York City for the past four decades, his band features Northampton’s own Beau Sasser on organ. Doors open at 9 p.m. and admission is $5. For more information, kindly point your browser to theobbq.com.
In other news… talk about job protection. Not only did former No-Shadow Kick bassist Tom Pappalardo trade up to six-string guitar proper for his current project, The Demographic, but he refused to hire another bass player in his stead?
“Yep, we’re a somewhat loud guitar and drum two-piece that cuts all of the bullshit out,” he explains. “We write short and concise songs with brief intros and zero guitar solos.”
Pappalardo is the first to admit that such stripped-down instrumentation appears to be the concept du jour, but he’s equally eager to note that his Demographic was by no means an effort to jump on the bandwagon.
“We’re a duo out of necessity and pragmatism more than [we’re] trend followers,” he says. “Myself and Sturgis [Cunningham] were in another band, and when our guitarist moved away, we decided we still wanted to play and didn’t necessarily feel like making any new friends!”
This Friday, Feb. 18, the Demo-duo will officially debut its latest studio labor of love—a seven-song EP they call Verse Chorus Curse—at The Basement (iheg.com). In addition to hearing every track from said EP during the live shindig, Pappalardo revealed that attendees will also be treated to every other song they know how to play, plus a few they don’t.
“Kinda the burden of writing such short songs,” he chuckles.
Last but not least, the Crawler hooked up with director PJ Moynihan to discuss his upcoming documentary Salmonboy.
“While the narrative structure focuses more upon the ‘living art project’ that was the former Fire & Water Performance Space in Northampton, the film is actually a musical driven by the singing/songwriting of owner Star Drooker,” Moynihan explains. “In fact, at first I thought I was getting into a project about the cafe, the performers and its role in the Valley. But once I learned the actual backstory, I realized the real story was about Star and his family and Star the musician.”
Salmonboy: A Story of Fire & Water premieres at the Academy of Music (academyofmusictheatre.com) Feb. 19. A question and answer session with the film’s producers will follow the screening.
Catch the Nightcrawler every Wednesday at 8:50 a.m. on the Steve Cantara Radio Show, WRNX 100.9 FM. Send correspondence to Nightcrawler, PO Box 427, Somers, CT 06071; fax to (860) 394-4262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.