Jimmy Can’t Dance

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As Insider Louisville reported yesterday, we are incredibly excited to hear about a new underground jazz club opening soon. We at Louisville Effing Rocks were ecstatic, being jazz enthusiasts. However, we’re left with a string of cautionary tales fraught with failed attempts at jazz venues in recent memory.

Louisville has a rich history in jazz. It was a regular stop as players would work their way from New Orleans, to Memphis, through St. Louis, over to Louisville, up to Indianapolis, and finally Chicago. Guys like Cannonball Adderley and Coleman Hawkins, as well as classic voices like Ella Fitzgerald played here regularly in numerous downtown clubs like: Club Neon, Palm Room, and Top Hat. Rooms where people in surrounding working class neighborhoods would gather and listen to the music they loved.

Currently a lot of local restaurants and bars are hosting “Jazz Nights,” but most of these places are pricey, and are hardly amenable to the working class roots of jazz as an art form. And with spaces like The Jazz Factory who priced themselves out of the market, through expensive cover charges, expensive cocktails.

So, it is this writer’s hope that as they move forward with Johnny Can’t Dance, which I am genuinely excited about, that they will remember the working class roots of the music they obviously aim to pay tribute to and the fans who long to support the music.

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An Open Letter to Those Who Died this Month, and Those Who Mourn Them

“Sex, death, and war.  And justice.  There’s no shortage of lyrics there.”
–Lemmy Kilmeister

“All art is unstable, its meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author.  There is no authoritative voice.  There are only multiple readings.”
–David Bowie

“If only life could be a little bit more tender and art a little more robust.”
–Alan Rickman

“People don’t run out of dreams, they run out of time.”
–Glen Frey

To Whom it May Concern:

Today is January 28th – one month ago today this bad dream started with the death of Lemmy Kilmeister of Motorhead – a man truly of legendary proportions, that in all of my sane understanding of the circle of life, legitimately questioned whether death would ever actually conquer the hardest of them all.  Alas, it did.

Shortly thereafter, came my excitement with the release of David Bowie’s latest album, Blackstar – which was almost immediately met with profound grief, when two days later on January 10th it was announced that he lost his battle with cancer.  This loss hit much harder than I would have ever imagined.  I always liked and appreciated Bowie – his songs did touch me deeply at many different phases of my life.  However, my tastes generally tend toward the earthy, the bluesy, the gritty, the less polished of the creative sort; so generally in any arbitrary list shaped through late night bar talk bar talk or otherwise would generally make it in somewhere near the bottom of my Top 10.  And yet, I still loved him; and even when I didn’t want to listen to him, Bowie was in there somewhere Ziggying away.

Only four days later on January 14th – still punchdrunk from the loss of Bowie the world found out that one of the greatest actors of his generation, Alan Rickman passed away.  For nothing else the man gave flesh and breath to Hans Gruber and Severus Snape.  The snarl from which a generation cowered.

And only another four days later on January 18th we were all informed that Glen Frey, one of the legendary voices of the Eagles had also died.  This was too much, too many, too soon, in too short of an amount of time.  We can’t stop the inevitable roll of fate, and yet here we were emotionally battered from the loss of some of the greatest artists as well as icons, in such an abbreviated amount of time.

And too make it worse, iIf those three giants among men weren’t enough, between those four deaths and now, we’ve lost several others, whom their stars may not have shined quite as bright as the aforementioned, their loss is no less impactful.  Natalie Cole on December 31st, John Mackenroth of Rollins Band died on January 5th, Dale “Buffin” Griffin drummer for Mott the Hoople passed on January 17th, Dallas Taylor who was one of the most legendary sidemen in the business passed away on January 18th, Jimmy Bain of Rainbow died January 24th, and Abe Vigoda of The Godfather and Barney Miller left us on January 26th.

So yes…this has been a rough month for most of us – those with hearts in our chests, blood in our veins, and souls that reach skyward into the ether of high art.

I see it all the time upon the death of some iconic performer or artist, cynics will scoff when fans mourn the loss of someone they’ve likely never met.  And when I see that, it only makes me feel bad for the cynics, that they’ve never allowed themselves to step out of their own mind long enough to let art of any kind wash over them, move them, or even rattle them.

If you have not been touched by Humphrey Bogart’s tender, yet damaged portrayal of ex-pat Rick Blaine in Casablanca, or felt a tear well-up at that first single note from Coltrane’s horn on Blue Trane, neither remembered a lost love, or first love, or present love in the words of Emily Dickinson; then you have not explored nor experienced human emotion to its full potential or complexity.  Life is simply incomplete if you cannot surrender yourself, in some way, to art of any kind.

For the rest of us, who allow ourselves to be taken away with art, these artists that we’ve been mourning, lived in the moment; they wrote and sang and performed for a higher truth they knew existed but never fully experienced until this godforsaken month.  Their voices were silenced, their pens are dry – and we are left with what they left.  We have no hope of what might be for their body of work, we can only imagine setlists for concerts that won’t ever be played, or songs on albums that no longer be written, scenes in films that won’t be made, and monologues in plays that won’t be performed.

These are all sad things for us.  These are not who those people were, fathers, husbands, friends – we can’t mourn for that aspect of who they are.  But we can mourn for the art, the one part of them that we could know.  And some might argue the largest part of them; how many lives have been ruined, marriages ended, children raised in disregard due to a person’s pursuit of art?

Don’t say that mourning “a stranger” is a waste of emotion.

Because we mourn as a thank you for the sacrifices they offered to the proverbial gods of art.  Perhaps they were rewarded with wealth, or prestige, or even the empty promise of celebrity; but those things don’t last, their worth is fleeting, at best.  What is not fleeting are the connections and emotions that we share between one another as human beings.  Art exists solely to connect the creator and the observer by eliciting emotion.  Therefore, sadness at the passing of an artist you do not know and have never met, shows gratitude to those we have connected with over the years, and allowed inside our weird little brains to rile up the emotional apiary that we call life.

And that in itself is a perfect expenditure of emotion.

Good art is selfish, and thus our mourning for artists is selfish.  We mourn for the novels that will never be written, verses never sung, the stage lights that will no longer go up.  We mourn for the loss in our lives – Bowie will never write another “Space Oddity” for me to hear.  “Take It Easy” will never again be sung by the voice that sung it into creation (except when co-writer Jackson Brown performs it).  My bones will never be rattled at the same frequency at which Lemmy managed to rattle them.  Dallas Taylor will never collaborate with Van Morrison or Stephen Stills, ever again; which means I will never hear another “Manassas” or “Déjà vu.”  And for all intents and purposes both Severus Snape and Hans Gruber are for now and forever irreversibly, indisputably, and wholly dead.

I’m sad now.  In no different way than I have been for the past four weeks, watching helplessly as my icons and heroes have been falling all around me.  It’s just that, sitting here, typing this; I can’t fight back the image in my mind of Major Tom now floating quiet and alone off into the star speckled abyss.  Bowie is gone now and no one can pull Major Tom back to civilization or save him from the black vastness of space where he will forever drift, untethered from the voice that narrated his greatest adventures.

In parting, I suppose I mean to say that:  art is anything but useless.  It is the map by which we plot our lives.  Art is the very thing that allows our memories to be tactile.  I’ll never forget watching “The Shining” in high school with my freshman crush.  Just Jack Nicholson, her, and me.  Or driving around in the back of the first car my friends and I had access to,  hanging out the windows singing Pearl Jam’s “Alive” at the top of our lungs on a summer night.  Or in college when I fell in love with an actress in a Neil Simon play, and then was lucky enough that later she fell in love with me in real life.  Art doesn’t define us, but it does embellish us, it brightens all of our lives in one way or another; so why shouldn’t we mourn?  It’s just showing a little appreciation for those who colored in all the black and white lines that make up human experience.

 

 

 

An Interview with Alex Reymundo

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Ron White
w/ Alex Reymundo
January 22nd
The Palace Theater
http://www.livenation.com
8:00 PM
$52-$128

What would you do when your best friend of twenty-five years is Ron White, one of the biggest comedians in the world, and tells you he’s going to marry your sister?  Well, as Alex Reymundo recalls with a laugh, “We were sitting on his plane at the time, so there wasn’t a whole lot I could say.”  Reymundo and White started their careers together as small time comics in Texas, playing dives and bars all over the country together.  So, a few years ago, when White married his sister he officially became family.  By then Reymundo had already settled down with a Kentucky girl and moved to Louisville, but they remain close and perform together all of the time, including this Friday, a homecoming of sorts for Reymundo when he opens for Ron White at The Palace Theater.

LER:  Are you excited to get to do a hometown show with Ron?
Alex Reymundo:  I am.  It’s always fun to play a place as nice as The Palace.  I guess, it’s nice for all the people that know me to play a place that prestigious, because it kind of elevates what I do.  People will be like:  “Wow, you’re playing The Palace.”  When in reality it’s Ron White playing The Palace, I’m just fortunate enough to get to open for him.

LER:  You’ve started the Alex Reymundo Great American Mic-Off on Wednesdays at Laughing Derby, where did that idea come from?
AR:  The tequila company has kept me so busy the past two years I’ve kinda neglected writing, I’ll still come up with some stuff, but not near as much as I had prior.  So I made a commitment to Laughing Derby that I was going to be there every Wednesday working new stuff out.  I love open-mics, for five bucks you can see pros, amateurs, and first timers – every level of comedy on one show.  And plus, I’m working on a new special.

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LER:  What’s the new special going to be?
AR:  I don’t know yet (laughs), I haven’t had enough Wednesdays yet.

LER:  Have your kids show any interest in going into comedy?
AR:  My daughter has said she thinks it would be an interesting experience to go up and do it on stage, and she’s not short on opinions, I’d love to see that.  But I don’t think for a second it’s anything either of them would want to do for a living.  And yet I would really love to see my daughter do it, she’s seventeen, she’s just now forming her own opinions – so I’d like to get her up there and let her get her thoughts, let her see what she thinks about what she thinks.

LER:  Will your kids get to come out to see Dad and Uncle Ron talk dirty on stage?
AR:  They’re old enough now, sure – I’m going to say yes.

LER:  Do they get surprised by what you say when your performing?
AR:  I wanna trade places with them for a day, to get their perspective.  I know my daughter’s class, the teacher was like, “Your dad’s a comedian we’re going to show some of his stuff on t.v for the class.”  I don’t know what they were studying that they’d wanna see that, but my daughter was the voice of reason and was like:  “I don’t know if you know it, but my dad’s a little inappropriate for school.”  As much as loves me and is proud of what I do, and proud of who I am – I don’t know that she’s proud of everything I say.  This younger generation is very, very politically correct, and in my opinion it’s because they don’t know the world yet; but I like to find the humor in things.

LER:  Do they ever get upset by the things you say?
AR:  I have nice little arrangement with my kids.  I get to say what I want about their mother or them when I’m onstage, and they get to continue to eat.  (Laughs)

LER:  Do they watch any comedy?
AR:  My daughter has been digging a lot of comedy specials recently on Netflix, so I asked her who her Top 5 favorite comics were.  She listed them and it was a good list, a lot of funny people on it – I was a little surprised the comic that’s fed her, her entire life didn’t make the list…you’d think that guys would make the goddamned list.

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LER:  As the owner of Number Juan Tequila and Louisville resident, doesn’t the idea of a Kentucky based tequila seem as ridiculous as a Mexico based bourbon?
AR:  Our headquarters is here, this is where the business is based out of.  But make no mistake the tequila has to be grown, harvested, distilled, bottled, everything has to happen in Mexico – a lot like Kentucky bourbon.  It just so happens to be where I live and where I run the company.  I’m actually proud to be a part of bourbon country, educating people about tequila.  I think they’re so similar in the way they should be enjoyed, and in the way that they’re aged, in the care that people take to make them, and how the region around them protects the product.  It can’t say “Kentucky Bourbon” if it ain’t from Kentucky…and yes, I just said ain’t.

 

 

 

Best Concerts to Hit Louisville in 2015

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03/14 – Prince & Thirdeye Girl @ The Palace Theater

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04/25 – Neutral Milk Hotel w/Circulatory System @ Iroquois Ampitheater

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04/30 – Ryan Adams w/ Jenny Lewis @ Iroquois Ampitheater

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05/03 – Kimya Dawson and Paul Baribeau @ Studioworks

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05/08 – Wilco w/Steve Gunn @ Iroquois Ampitheater

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06/09 – Dawes w/Gil Landry @ Headliner’s Music Hall

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07/29 – Diana Krall @ Kentucky Center for the Arts

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7/31 – Raekwon and Ghostface Killah w/Dillon Moore @ Mercury Ballroom

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10/08 – Father John Misty @ The Palace Theater

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10/16 – The Suffers w/Bhi Bhiman @ Zanzabar

Best Films of 2015

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“Straight Outta Compton” – Not since “The People vs. Larry Flynt” has Hollywood made a film documenting the ongoing fight for Freedom of Speech with such controversial antagonists.  And this movie was a stunner, O’Shea Jackson portraying his father Ice Cube, conveys beautifully the rapper’s explosive vibrato on the microphone, while depicting a more quiet seething rage in his personal life.

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“Ex-Machina” – This is a sleek, wondrous journey through the virtual rabbit hole of singularity and what it means to be human.

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“The Hateful Eight” – Tarantino’s masterpiece.  Enough said.  He moves the camera impeccably.  He takes his time to let a scene breathe; and he has an amazing score from Ennio Morricone.  Everything Tarantino has done previously, has been leading up to this.

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“Steve Jobs” – Fasbender, Winslett, and Sorkin.  Two of the world’s finest actors, portraying the life of one of the twentieth century’s most controversial, compelling, and revolutionary men – from a screenplay written by the most gifted auteur of dialogue in the modern era.  It was destined to be this freakin’ good, it’s a shame it came out in one of the worst box office months the industry has ever seen.

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“Spotlight” – A story that needed to be told.

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“The Big Short” – A story that needed to be told.

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“Truth” – A story that needed to be told.

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“Inside Out” – It’s really been a long while since I saw a children’s movie, or any movie really, where the plot was so literal and made such a profound statement.

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“The End of the Tour” – What this film lacks due to its aimless intellectual rambling, it more than makes up for with breathtaking performances by both Jason Segal and Jesse Eisenberg.  The seething tension and ceaseless admiration between the two main characters is more than enough reason to hop on this tour.

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“Grandma” – Lily Tomlin at her salty, poignant best.  And who would have thought you would get a legitimate comedy out of a plot line centered around a broke, recently heartbroken, pot smoking, lesbian grandmother taking her teenage granddaughter to get an abortion.  It sounds ridiculous, but the script is on-point and Lily Tomlin swings for the damn fences.

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“Trainwreck” – You can’t beat the year Schumer’s had.  And “Trainwreck” is kind of the crown jewel, the always funny Amy Schumer had a box office smash with this semi-autobiographical story about growing up and settling down.  Besides Schumer, comic genius Bill Hader goes right along with her as the straight-man – while LeBron James and John Cena both turn out to hold their own and have impeccable comic timing, alongside pros like Schumer and Hader.

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Star Wars:  The Force Awakens – Finally!  A Star Wars for the next generation that is also a film that the old school audience deserves.  There may have been a little rehashing of old tropes, but ultimately that and the cast from the originals, are what made slipping back into this universe on Rey and Finn’s journey feel a little bit more familiar.

Top Albums of 2015

2015 had a lot of great releases, from some of best artists in the industry and some newcomers, we’re going to take a look back and see which ones rose to the top and why.

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Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, self-titled – Hands down the best album of the year.  Period.  Soul, blues, gospel, R&B, Garage Rock, hand claps, foot stomps – it’s all wrapped up in this epic breakthrough album for Rateliff.  The fact that legendary Rhythm and Blues label Stax Records in Memphis released it, should tell you all you need to know.

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Wilco, Star Wars  – Jeff Tweedy brings Wilco back more energized than the band has been in several albums.  Sounding as fresh and visceral and melodic as they did on their mid-90’s classic “Being There.”  Songs like “Random Name Generator” and “The Joke Explained” carry the same air of whimsy, desperation, sarcasm, and melody that made Wilco the band we love.

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D’Angelo and The Vanguard, Black Messiah – It only took fifteen years for D’Angelo to follow-up the modern soul classic Voodoo with Black Messiah, and yes, it was worth the wait.  This collection of gritty, baby-making music comes from a place so deep, that James Cameron hasn’t even managed to build a submarine that goes down that far.  But this album has a conscience, as well; touching on social issues such as inner-city violence and systemic injustice, it came out just as the flames of Black Lives Matter were finally beginning to get noticed.  This album carved his face on Mount Rushmore of composers alongside Prince and Niles Rodgers.

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Ryan Adams, 1989 – We all know what we thought when we heard Ryan Adams was going to be covering Taylor Swift’s entire 1989 album…he’s going to expose this silly fraud for what she is.  And nope, we were wrong – he proved that beneath all of her social media veneer and pop-princess lacquer – there are beautiful and engaging lyrics filled with heartbreak and whimsy hidden under all of those synthesizers, auto-tune, and drum machines.

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Jason Isbell, Something More Than Free – On Something More Than Free Jason Isbell finally finds the right balance between spinning yarns, and telling a universal truth.  Kicking around for a decade and a half now, Isbell blew up a few years ago with his last album – the deeply personal Southeastern – on Something More Than Free he steps out of himself a bit to allow bleeding wounds to heal, and focuses on a larger picture of southern life.

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Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly – It’s hard to imagine this album isn’t at the top of everyone’s list (and from what I can tell it mostly is), and with good reason.  Besides the fact that Kendrick Lamar is without a doubt the most profound lyricist of his generation – this album flourishes into jazz, funk, and even classic hip-hop, making this more of a mission statement than just another chart topping album.

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Father John Misty, I Love You, Honey Bear – I’m not sure there was a better song written in 2015 than “Bored in the U.S.A.” – but the rest of the album flushes out to be an astute, sarcastic, apathetic and sometimes hilarious commentary on life and love in the new millennium.

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The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness – If you wrote The Weeknd off as a vapid, Canadian pseudo-R&B star after his last album failed to capture the artist’s bizarre charisma.  But when he came back this past year with the dark, infectious Beauty Behind the Madness he solidified his reputation as a writer and composer up there with Bruno Mars and Michael Jackson.

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Dr. Dre, Compton – Dre comes back with a boom, releasing the self-referential album Compton.  Inspired by the experience of producing his own bio-pic “Straight Outta Compton,” the nostalgia of looking back made for a collection of songs that offer an excellent portrait of his beloved hometown and struggle to get out.  Regardless, it’s always hard not to smile when Eminem and Kendrick Lamar show up to spit fire with Dr. Dre.

This Week Effing Rocks 11/2 – 11/8

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Tuesday
11/3 – Kat Edmonson @ Bomhard Theater
11/3 – New Found Glory w/ Yellowcard @ Headliners
11/3 – Run With the Bulls @ Zanzabar

Wednesday
11/4 – Cannibal Corpse @ Expo 5
11/4 – Benyaro @ The New Vintage

Thursday
11/5 – Aaron Watson @ Headliners
11/5 – Son Little @ Zanzabar
11/5 – Powell @ The New Vintage
11/5 – Shaun Latham @ Laughing Derby
11/5 – The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence

Friday
11/6 – Big K.R.I.T. @ Mercury Ballroom
11/6 – The David Mayfield Parade @ The New Vintage
11/6 – G Jones @ Diamonds (Highlands)
11/6 – Opiate – A Tribute to Tool @ Headliners
11/6 – Brooks Wheelan @ Zanzabar (early)
11/6 – Welcome to the Weekend:  80’s/90’s Dance Party @ Zanzabar (late)
11/6 – Shaun Latham @ Laughing Derby
11/6 – The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence @ The Bard’s Town (early)
11/6 – The Little Heart Records Roast @ The Bard’s Town (late)

Saturday
11/7 – The Honeycutters @ The New Vintage
11/7 – Little Hurricane @ Zanzabar
11/7 – Pop Evil @ Mercury Ballroom
11/7 – Captain Midnight Band, Vessel, Slow Down Johnny @ Headliners
11/7 – Shaun Latham @ Laughing Derby
11/7 – The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence @ The Bard’s Town (early)
11/7 – Damaged Goods @ The Bard’s Town (late)

Sunday
11/8 – Two Cow Garage @ The New Vintage
11/8 – The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence @ The Bard’s Town

Review: Diarrhea Planet @ Zanzabar

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Diarrhea Planet the best band with the worst name on the planet, crushed Zanzabar last night.  Their concise set shot off full throttle with a healthy dose of punk rock “I don’t give a eff attitude” all the way through the bitter end.

Their four guitar assault had people literally hanging from the ceiling, including guitarist Brent Toler, who was hanging upside down from the rafters playing his guitar solo upside down.  It was high energy madness in one of the city’s finest rock clubs.  The set last just under an hour, which generally seems short for a headlining set, but the band left nothing on-stage, by the end the crowd was so exhausted I don’t think they could’ve taken much more if they’d wanted to.

The band’s setlist included crowd favorites like:  “Kids,” “White Girls (student of the blues, part 1),” and “Emmet’s Vision.”

Local band Brenda opened the show with their percussive brand of garage rock that always makes for a  fun show.  Their songs are a stretch on the surreal that exist somewhere between early White Stripes and the mid-90’s genius of Yoko Ono.

This Week Effing Rocks 10/12-10/18

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Monday
10/12 – Sanctuary @Expo 5

Tuesday
10/13 – Josh Groban @ The Palace

Wednesday
10/14 – Cedric Burnside Project @ New Vintage

10/14 – Lera Lynn @ Headliners

10/14 – Louden Wainwright III @ Clifton Center

Thursday
10/15 – Maiden Radio @ Louis the Ton

10/15 – Twizted @ Expo 5

10/15 – Andy Pitz @ Laughing Derby

10/15 – Bard Theater presents:  Crooked @ The Bard’s Town

Friday
10/16 – Joey Bada$$ @ Mercury Ballroom

10/16 – Matt and Kim @ UofL (downtown campus)

10/16 – The Suffers @ Zanzabar

10/16 – Andy Pitz @ Laughing Derby

10/16 – Va Va Vixens present Va Va Vortex @ Art Sanctuary

10/16 – Bard Theater presents:  Crooked @ The Bard’s Town

Saturday
10/17 – The Beach Boys @The Palace

10/17 – Paula Poundstone @ Kentucky Center for the Arts

10/17 – Va Va Vortex presents Va Va Vortex @ Art Sanctuary

10/17 – Indigo Girls @ KCD Theater

10/17 – Andy Pitz @ Laughing Derby

10/17 – Bard Theater presents:  Crooked @ The Bard’s Town

Sunday
10/18 – All-Star Comedy Show @ Laughing Derby

10/18 – Indigo Girls KCD Theater

10/18 – Bard Theater presents:  Crooked @ The Bard’s Town