Second Story 25th Anniversary
Second Story Nightclub, Bloomington
Wednesday-Saturday, Sept. 27-30
Bloomington’s Second Story is celebrating its 25th anniversary with performances by bands from Indianapolis and Bloomington.
First opening in 1981, the club hosted now-legendary experimental and punk bands that have gone down in Indiana rock lore. The Dancing Cigarettes, MX-80 Sound and the Zero Boys all graced the stage in its first year. As the ’80s progressed, college-rock staples the Vulgar Boatmen and punk-rockers The Walking Ruins made a name for themselves on the stage.
In the ’90s, Second Story became a regular stop for the fledgling indie-rock scene. Wilco, Yo La Tengo, Neutral Milk Hotel, Cat Power and Songs: Ohia all played there on the way to bigger stages.
Though the club has struggled to maintain its presence and business in more recent years, it remains a venerable and driving force in keeping the Central Indiana music scene alive. There will be four nights to pour out support for the place starting on Wednesday. The Zero Boys, Arson Garden, Catfish Frenzy, The Walking Ruins and Speed Luxury will all make rare comeback appearances this week, and newer acts like Gentleman Caller, Racebannon and Early Day Miners will stake their claims among the old legends.
For a complete lineup, see www.secondstorynightclub.com/.
Bill Miller with Greg Ziesemer and Kriss Luckett
Radio Radio, 1119 E. Prospect St.
Thursday, Sept. 28, 6:45 p.m.
$15 at the door
Singer/songwriter Bill Miller’s album titles tell the story: Red Road, Ghost Dance, The Art of Survival, Spirit Rain and Sacred Ground. Miller’s Native American Indian roots feed the strong trunk of his talent and the many branches of his message.
Miller, a Mohican (Mahicanuk) who grew up on the Stockbridge-Munsee Reservation in Wisconsin, stays close to traditional Indian themes in many of his lyrics, but often uses them to explore a greater collective humanity. In “Ghost Dance,” Miller writes, “I want to go where the blind can see. I want to go where the lame will walk. I want to see the sick ones cleaned, where the deaf can hear and the silent talk ... I am a mighty warrior and I’m finally going home.”
His music likewise adapts a traditional Native American background to contemporary rock-flavored folk. The combination yields dramatic and powerful songs with appeal for many audiences.
Miller won Grammys in 2004 and 2006 for Cedar Dream Songs, an all-instrumental CD, and Sacred Ground, respectively. In 2000 he took home five Nammys (Native American Music Awards), including Artist of the Year for Ghost Dance. He has shared stages with such diverse musicians as the BoDeans, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, and toured with Tori Amos.
Miller’s Indianapolis appearance concurs with the first Native American Education Conference at IUPUI and benefits the Sindoqua Scholarship Fund of Native American Indian Voices of Indiana.
Roger Waters of Pink Floyd
Verizon Wireless Music Center
Saturday, Sept. 30
Opening with low tones of clanging change, cash registers and male voices, an iconic scream follows as Pink Floyd’s classic 1973 album, Dark Side of the Moon, unfurls. Mellowing into an almost country-tinged, pedal steel guitar-driven melody backed by bass and drums, the opening of “Breathe” reminds us not to succumb to the cold world of 9 to 5. Other highlights from the album, “Money,” “Us and Them” and “Brain Damage,” explore the treacheries of wealth, war and mental illness.
After having sold 30 million copies since its creation, Dark Side has evolved into a staple of psychedelic music culture, influencing generations and millions of fans. Its pyramid rainbow prism cover symbolizes the best years of a legacy in music history.
The original supergroup long since disbanded, Pink Floyd’s bassist and chief lyricist Roger Waters tours on, despite losing friend and bandmate Syd Barrett this summer. His 2006 solo tour challenges his past foils and fetishes, as well as the nation’s, by revisiting the famed album so beloved by Floyd followers. The national Dark Side of the Moon tour features Waters performing two sets, including the complete album with his touring band.
In sync with the tour comes the release of music critic John Harris’ book, The Dark Side of the Moon: The Making of the Pink Floyd Masterpiece, which uncovers the behind-the-scenes truth about the mystic album and the circumstances that brought it to life. Exclusive material includes never-before-seen photographs and interviews with Waters, guitarist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason and others. Harris’ paperback describes the rise of the momentous album and the unity of purpose to which the band members clung until time and pressure tore them in separate directions.
During the Abbey Road studio recording sessions of Dark Side, Harris writes that Waters gathered studio visitors and staff to assist in the album’s sound effects. He recorded their answers to concerns expressed in his compelling lyrics and sampled them throughout the album. So dust off the old album. If you listen closely, you’ll hear something you may have never heard before. Though, even better, you now have a chance to hear it live.
Toby Keith with Joe Nichols and Lindsey Haun
Verizon Wireless Music Center
Sunday, Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m.
What started out as an audition for a role in the movie Broken Bridges ended up being a lot more for singer/actress Lindsey Haun. “I had sent in an ‘audition tape’ of myself doing a song I had written,” Haun recalled during a recent conversation. “Toby [Keith, who plays the lead character in the film] heard that song, and not only did I get the part in the movie, but he signed me to his record label [Show Dog Records] too!”
In Broken Bridges, Haun plays Dixie Delton, the 16-year-old daughter of Keith’s character, a country artist whose career has been on the decline. Haun found the experience of “being” a teen-ager again an enjoyable one.
“It was really wonderful playing the character, to get back into my skin from when I was 16 years old,” Haun, a 21-year-old California native, admitted. “Going through the struggles that girls that age deal with, learning their identities, strengths and weaknesses.”
Like her character in the movie, Haun is the daughter of a musician (her dad was the lead guitarist in the ’80s band Air Supply). But Haun said she wasn’t force-fed the music of her dad’s band. When it comes to musical influences, she mentioned Yes, Queen and the Beatles.
With Toby Keith’s current tour, Haun has found the people who come to see the show very receptive toward her as well.
“The tour with Toby has been amazing! His fans are so supportive of him, and in turn, they approve of me. The audience response has been incredible. The first night of the tour, I made sure that I stayed focused, to prove to Toby and the label that I could do it. Now I can just go out and perform.”
The plan is for Haun’s debut CD to be released early next year. She and Keith “want it [the CD] to maintain its artistic integrity. We don’t want to put the CD out there before it’s ready.”
Monday, Oct. 2
Once upon a time it would have been easy for Oakenfold to sell out on a scale previously unheard of to man. Tracks like “Starry Eyed Surprise” were almost custom-packaged for maximum radio and soundtrack play and ad-friendliness (and, indeed, that particular song is STILL being used).
And there was a point, a few years back, when it looked like that might turn out to be the case. Last time he was here, Oakenfold brought razor-sharp precision and expert rhythm and flow, but also a strangely hollow sense, as if it was going through the motions — delivering the talent but not the soul.
Recent evolutions in Oakenfoldland indicate that this might not be the case this time around. For an example, check out his most recent opus, Faster Kill Pussycat (you can never go wrong with a Russ Meyer reference), with vocals by Brittany Murphy, equal parts bleak and energetic, with a relentless beat as much at home in the 1970s as today. Not to mention bringing in Grandmaster Flash on another song, or his recent remix of the Transformers theme — Oakenfold is nothing if not beholden to his forebears.
Note: Doors open at 8 p.m., presale tickets are available from groovetickets.com for $20. The place was packed to overflowing last time, so you may consider arriving early.
—Paul F. P. Pogue
Mark Kozelek with Corrina Repp
Monday, Oct. 2, 8 p.m.
As the frontman of the Red House Painters throughout the ’90s, Mark Kozelek breathed an air of depressed cool. He wrote songs with his soul laid bare, like stark paintings, damning the consequences of any personal embarrassment.
Growing up in the Midwest, Kozelek lived a rough life early and was addicted to drugs by the tender age of 10. Pulling himself out of the madness through music, he eventually wound up in San Francisco in the early ’90s and formed the Red House Painters with friends. The music was mainly singer/songwriter based, but a sea of guitar sonics were utilized to create atmospheric backgrounds for Kozelek’s tales of love, death and salvation.
The band garnered a huge cult following with its early records on the famed 4AD record label. The 1995 RHP album Ocean Beach still stands as the penultimate statement of the mid-’90s sadcore and dream-pop movement that included bands like Low, Cat Power and American Music Club.
In recent years, Kozelek’s output has been a bit of a mystery. Following the collapse of Red House Painters in 2001, which had remained a band only in name, he put out a series of confusing releases including a John Denver tribute and an entire album of AC/DC covers. In 2003, he formed a band called Sun Kil Moon, and its debut, Ghosts of the Great Highway, was hailed as a return to form. Kozelek was also making some appearances on the silver screen with small roles in Almost Famous and Steve Martin’s Shopgirl. Ever the mercurial guy, his second record with Sun Kil Moon in 2005, Tiny Cities, was an album of Modest Mouse covers.
Murat Egyptian Room
Wednesday, Oct. 4
Since Jamie Cullum arrived on the music scene in 2004 with the CD Twentysomething, he has made it difficult for people to get a fix on his musical style. Shifting easily between jazz and pop (plus a few other more subtle influences), he has been the stylistic equivalent of a moving target.
The 26-year-old Cullum figures he didn’t make anyone’s job easier with his recently released follow-up CD, Catching Tales.
“I think the point is on this record that the lines are blurred a lot more,” Cullum said in a recent phone interview from his home in England. “On the Twentysomething album you had a jazz song and then you had a pop song. Like say ‘All It Seems’ is a pop song and ‘Devil Moon’ or ‘I Get A Kick Out Of You’ are jazz songs, quite obviously. On the new album, there are songs like ‘Photograph,’ for example, which starts off like a kind of pop kind of singer-songwriter piano song, but has a kind of rock-pop chorus and then has a Latin jazz piano solo in the middle. So it’s not so much that it’s more pop or less jazz or anything, I just think I’m getting a better understanding of how to really mix things without separating them out as much as before.”
Twentysomething became a sensation, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide (400,000 of those in the United States), while Catching Tales (which was released overseas well ahead of its October 2005 Stateside release) has also topped 2 million in worldwide sales.
Cullum brushed aside any thoughts of making Catching Tales a big production.
“I kind of limited myself in a way,” Cullum said. “Apart from bass and drums and the occasional strings that are on it, I play all of the other instruments. I played the guitar, [did the] programming, the synthesizers, all the vocals this time, all the backing vocals. I arranged all the tracks. I didn’t leave it to other people this time. I just wanted to have fun with it and not really think about how we can make this big follow-up record. I just wanted to progress and make a better record.”