Disclaimer: This is an over-excited post about any and everything that has gone on at The B-Side this summer, but it’s also a really long “thank you” note to everyone who helps these events happen—all of my teammates at OLG, all the people who perform or plan the shows and, especially, everyone who shows up to these things.
The space on the south side of our offices at 1301 Lafayette Street is… borderline indescribable, without sounding overzealous. It’s great. It’s the absolute best. It’s The B-Side. And I love it. All the happenings going down at (and around) The B-Side during the past few months have been brain-busting, world-changing and a damn good time.
So many shows have happened. So many great shows have happened! Earlier this year, we hosted Tim Easton (You Don’t Have to Break Your Mother’s Heart), Rayland Baxter (Oh man, that whistle…), Lloyd Cole (!!!!!) and Penny & Sparrow (they sang an acoustic cover of Usher’s “Nice and Slow” and it was the sexiest). So far this summer, Darren Hanlon, Marah, American Wrestlers, Richard Buckner, The Ike Reilly Assassination and Mike Doughty have all played—with Mandolin Orange coming up at the end of this month (more on that later).
Darren Hanlon, what a guy. Our Aussie Art Director, Jonathan, and MK managed to get this unreal singer/songwriter to come play The B-Side all the way from Australia while he was touring the US with mega-babe Courtney Barnett (who’s song I Wanna Go Out but I Wanna Stay Home speaks directly to my soul, but I digress). He came straight from the Bowery Ballroom in NYC to The B-Side in FTW—for real! You’ll have to ask JB more about this one next time you see him. I think the best part about this event was watching JB create the super detailed/meaningful poster and then get to watch one of his own personal favorites play right here at OLG. So good. Sometimes—most of the time—I still can’t believe all the cool shit we get to do here at OLG HQ. Thanks, Boss.
Marah, I mean… c’mon. MK brings Marah to town once again and the world collectively loses their cool—as we all should. Put it on your bucket list if you haven’t seen them, and then come out the next time they’re here… if you’re into the whole “stand on the bar, break some guitar strings, carry-on even louder and stomp your feet even harder” type of thing. One time, Marah came with an 11-year-old guitar/fiddle player named “Gus,” who rocked harder than most adult musicians I’ve ever seen. His guitar was made out of an old cigar box and some strings he probably found on the playground. (I just took a 30-second pause from writing this post and loudly chanted “Gus for President” at my desk, with my arms extended fully in the air.) Moving on….
American Wrestlers (!!!) The first show I’ve ever helped book at The B-Side, and then proceeded to freak out about everything from what hummus plate to buy the band to how many people would show up. Turns out, I shouldn’t have worried. I didn’t even care about the gum I had to scrape out of our carpet the next day. I mean, please don’t all come spit your gum out on our floor, but after that night and that show, I didn’t care much about anything. I was good. They played their best (and only) songs, they loved The B-Side—which made me love them even more—and everyone had a great time listening to some good ol’, static-filled rock ‘n roll. After that show, I said to MK, “You can tell me tomorrow if you ever want me to try one of these things ever again…honestly.” I think he just kind of nodded his head up/down/side-to-side while I scraped the gum out of the carpet. That’s a good enough response for me! Onto the next….
Richard Buckner had a song called Emma on the album he was selling. I listened to it because I, like other people (I assume), am always looking for a song titled with my namesake, hoping it tells my exact story. This one was hitting a little close to home until it turned way south, I mean really south. Yikes. And my journey for the perfect “Emma” song continues. Regardless, the show he played at The B-Side that night can pretty much just be described as “cozy” in the absolute best sense of the word. When you don’t want to wake up because your bed is at its peak comfort level and you’re exactly where you’re suppose to be and you aren’t moving for anything or anyone—that cozy! Instead of finishing guns blazin’ and guitar-playin’, Buckner sang his last verse straight-up acapella. It was so, so good, and I couldn’t imagine another show in town, or really anywhere, ending that same way and being as great as that finale was. Woo, buddy.
Mike Doughty played here at the end of July and that little jammer sold out. Out, out, out! People loved that guy. And I loved all the people loving on that guy. He’s a very cryptic, middle-aged man—wouldn’t answer some audience Q’s and didn’t stray from the setlist he already had in his mind. (It was a great setlist.) At the time, I honestly thought “What the hell, guy?” but looking back, I kind of love MD for that now. He didn’t care about much other than playing the music he liked to play for the people who liked to hear it. I think we (at OLG) heard some of the nicest things about The B-Side after that show. “Such a great show! Loved it so much! Matt Kelley you’re the f#!*ing best!” — all true. Every night is a good night at The B-Side, no matter what happens. Also, creating the poster gave me a couple hand cramps. Worth it.
Up next: The Ike Reilly Assassination! I’ve been talking a lot about all the shows that preceded this one and I feel like I need to tone it down and get to the point. I could go on and on about how excited I was for this show. I was seeing IRA for the first time after reading all the things I’ve read about how important IRA was to the people who are important to me—it was special! We listen to IRA around OLG a lot. Jake is actually playing Born on Fire as I type this. I realize I’m sounding redundant saying that all these shows are so great, but they just are. And I want as many people to experience that as possible. Speaking of Jake, he created the poster for this show, and per usual… (I typed a lot of expletives, just now, to describe how good it was and figured I should be more refined)… the poster was phenomenal. You can check it on the left and see what I mean. And all those mini posters in the background, those are all IRA song titles, reaffirming the fact that Jacob Sauer Is. The. Man. I think he did that poster in no more than 2 hours, too? Fact: I just checked OLG’s time-tracking system, and it actually says he completed it in “1.35” hours. Seriously, Jake? The man, I tell ya….
Anyway! The IRA show rocked. I was especially glad he played Hip Hop Thighs—that song title and subsequent lyrics are just… funny as hell. I’m partial to things that make me laugh, and I’m pretty sure Ike was the funniest person to come through Fort Wayne this summer. The stories I’ve heard and almost heard about Ike Reilly are some of the best, and that’s what you get at shows like these—stories! All kinds of ‘em.
On-topic side note: IRA had a new roadie with them for tour this summer who happened to keep a blog about all of his adventures. Make sure you check it out. The blog, “Came Here As a Faker,” was named after a line in one of IRA’s songs, Put a Little Love in It. “Came here as a faker / and you’re leaving as a fan,” which is such a good line in regards to a lot of B-Side attendees—namely me. Shout out to Lloyd Chatfield III (LCIII) for the good reads throughout the tour and for referring to MK as “Matt of Lucky Ten.” I’ll never let him forget it. But it’s more like “Matt of Lucky Fifteen” this year.
It doesn’t stop there! We still have half a year to work with at The B-Side! At the end of this month—Friday, August 28th—Mandolin Orange is back at The B! MO holds a special place in this gal’s heart, having been the first group I ever saw perform here. They have a great new song called, Old Ties and Companions, with a line that reads “old man give me endless time / never let these ties sever / heaven knows in all this foolin’ around / these times won’t last forever.” If that line doesn’t accurately portray my thoughts on everything B-Side related that I just mentioned, then I’ve failed here. The first time I heard it, I was blown-the-!$*%-away. You’ll have to give it a listen. The show sold itself, but making the poster was fun anyway. Flowers are even prettier when hung upside-down, dried and thrown in the shape of a mandolin, y’all.
Not only have we had some of the greatest musical acts this side of I-69 this summer, we’ve also had a handful of community events in our space. Neighborlink’s “Night Moves 5K,” dAnce.Kontemporary, and Vertical Leap all held their own events at The B-Side with a handful of OLG’ers attending—and loving—every single one. I wasn’t the first one to finish the 5K, but I wasn’t the last! And even if I was the last, I wouldn’t care. Got some free Jimmy John’s out of it. And beer.
I can’t even comment on the 2015 OLG Summer Roadtrip we just took to Columbus, OH, on Monday night (08/10/15) as a team to see Brandon Flowers because I’m still not over how great it was to calmly collect my thoughts in a comprehensive way. To summarize the entire trip in the short but sugary-sweet words of B-Flow—and so many other people who didn’t sing/speak to it quite as well as he does—“Dreams come true.”
Thanks for readin’,