Yellow Paper Planes frontman Joshua James recently provided us with a rad little show diary from some recent shows they performed in Columbus, Ohio. Enjoy:
A couple weekends ago I had the pleasure of rattling my earbones with sets from some of my favorite bands. What’s better is my band, Yellow Paper Planes, also got to share the stages on which those favorite bands of mine were holding court. What’s even better still is that I was able to play those shows from the comfort of my own city.
Night One – Spacebar
Friday night I skipped down High Street with a merch suitcase and my chopped up telecaster to play a killer show with a bunch of rock n rollers at Spacebar. Spacebar, for the uninitiated, is the former home of Kobo Live which is what replaced Oldfield’s on High in the Old North area between OSU’s campus and Clintonville. Ben DeRolph and company completely gutted the place and turned it into one of the best spots in Columbus for making and listening to music. So, back to Friday night…Indie darlings, Indigo Wild opened the night, followed by indie stalwarts She Bears, then YPP and finished off by the superpower pop three piece, Cliffs.
Indigo Wild are a quint of quintessential indie pop musicians. They’re all boyishly good looking, they smile and bop while they play and they play indelible indie-rock with close harmonies and gang vocals ala Local Natives. I love these dudes; they recently added a fifth aux percussion and synth player in Varun that levels Indigo Wild up nicely. Their set was killer.
She Bears, to me, feel like a vanguard of modern era Columbus indie music. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been a fan of theirs since before I even started playing music in a band or if they just have that firm a grasp on their place in the Columbus music scene. Either way, or one in the same, indie guitars, cool rhythms, She Bears. Look them up on Guitar Hero or Rock Band or something. Not kidding, one of their tunes is on one of those video games where you stand in a living room and push buttons on a guitar shaped controller.
Yellow Paper Planes played third out of four to a great crowd and we played alright, Pete unplugged my guitar with his rock moves, but other than that, all was well, blah, blah, blah. Actually not blah, blah, blah, Spacebar maxed out its capacity during our set and the place was all jamming along and it was great.
Closing the night was Cliffs. Cliffs suck. I debate leaving it at that, but my softer side prevails. Cliffs don’t suck, not even a little bit. I just like to tell them that. Adam and Aaron and recently Seth on drums are exactly what you need and no more to crush hooky garage rock. Garage as a descriptor is kinda gross, but here I use it to denote that they are loud and crunchy and alternate between Japandroids type soundwalls and Weezery sing alongs. I love Cliffs, just don’t tell them that.
Night Two – Big Room Bar
The Big Room Bar is the new joint above CD102.5’s studios in Columbus’ Brewery District. We were lucky to have been asked to play opening weekend. Cherry on top of that sundae is that we shared that bill with Bicentennial Bear and Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery’s, R. Ring. Full disclosure “No Aloha” from Last Splash is one of my all-time favorite songs of ever. I’ll try not to gush over sharing the stage with Kelley.
Yellow Paper Planes opened the night to a decent crowd, a little stand offish at first but it’s always nice to feel the space between your band and the participating audience shrink throughout the set. A buddy shot some video of our set and caught a couple newish songs for the internet to have. It’s always cool to see crowd shot video surface as well.
Ring, technically being the out of town band, played next so as to be sandwiched between us and Bicentennial Bear, the locals. It’s a little weird to see someone who made one of the best records of the ’90s still humping her own gear on stage and messing with a finicky pedal board in a line check. That is not a slight in any way, it does perhaps shed some light on how fickle this game is that we’re trying to play. Just bring me one person who was a teen in the ’90s and can’t conjure the bassline of “Cannonball”. I digress.
Their set was fantastic. Kelley and Mike have that sort of on-stage chemistry that is unfakeable (is that a word?). They rattled through some slow burners and some linear almost chant like reverb soaked stuff. I reveled at Kelley’s use of the small space allotted to her in the two person setup. Taking a seat at one point and letting Mike carry the song while she sang to his guitar, in another instance backing up three or so feet from the mic just in the periphery of the SM58’s range to grab the slightest portion of her call. I, for one, loved it. I don’t think I was the only one.
The last but certainly not least stop on my mini-show diary is a set by Bicentennial Bear. Billy Peake and company make a place jump. If the place doesn’t jump, then the crowd wasn’t ready to have a good time. I love how Billy sings almost every phrase with a smile on his face like he can’t believe how much fun it is to play rock n roll. He has a presence and a freedom behind the mike that I envy. They played some old stuff and some new stuff which included some sneak previews at a full length they are releasing in November. It promises to be the real deal. Wailing guitars, a hardline rhythm section all accented by fiddle/violin (don’t want to offend any particular vernacular) and well placed harmony vocals.
It was a perfect punctuation mark on end of a couple of shows in a row where I didn’t have to put up with the rest of my stinky band in our touring vehicle losing feeling in my legs because four dudes and all their equipment doesn’t leave a lot of room for a fella of my lank. I just grabbed the merch suitcase and my telecaster and skipped down High Street in my own town of Columbus, Ohio, and played with some of my favorite bands to great crowds at two of the city’s best new venues for rock n roll music. I know it’s not always going to be like this, but it’s cool when it is.
(Visit Yellow Paper Planes here: http://yellowpaperplanes.com/.)