John Prine’s Intimate House of Strombo Performance: Concert Review

By Maisie Sheidlower

Everything about the first five minutes of the House of Strombo performance, streamed on CBC music, made clear that it was recorded at a time before now. Quick shots to the stand-up bassist’s hands revealed them to be gloveless. Pans to the grinning faces of the audience revealed them to be maskless. Wider shots of the venue staff revealed them to be flirtily nudging each other — partaking in the physical contact many of us have been deprived of for so long now. And, in the center of it all, John Prine, who as of this week is another privilege Corona has dictated we must go without. 

Continue reading “John Prine’s Intimate House of Strombo Performance: Concert Review”

Vegging Out with Slampson’s Noah Hellman (House Show Preview)

By Maisie Sheidlower

Noah Hellman is a man of few words, and many demands. He agreed to partake in the following interview on the grounds that it could happen on his bed, and that I bring a “huge” bag of chips, a bag of fruit snacks, and a large soda. Reclining on his flannel bedspread, Hellman — already Cheez-Its dusted — began describing Slampson, the four-man band for which he is a keyboardist. It is, I learned, a “screwaround group where nothing really matters.” The ensemble, which includes Owen Frankel (bass and vocals), Noah Sherman (drums), and Benjamin Byrd (guitar), will perform at Miles Gilbert’s house on March 14th, where Hellman informs us that they will “probably open around 10pm.” He’s not sure about the address. 

Continue reading “Vegging Out with Slampson’s Noah Hellman (House Show Preview)”

The Bad Boys of Blues: Concert Review

By Maisie Sheidlower

The self-proclaimed “vintage Cleveland establishment” has two sections: a wine bar and a dive bar. Though each space has its own entrance, some patrons opt to walk beyond the twee singer crooning in the wine bar to access the dive bar, which is decorated not unlike a dorm room. Jack Daniels labels and crude paintings of Jimi Hendrix clutter wall space not taken up with fairy lights and sports jerseys. This is The Brother’s Lounge.  

The bar boasts nightly performances, and February 13th offered up The Bad Boys of Blues. The group ascended the stage, and wished a vague “happy birthday” before launching into Fire on the Bayou by The Meters. Mike Barrick, donning a top hat that looked like it had been hit with a mallet, gave a fun yet overindulgent bass solo before goateed, greasy poney-tailed drummer Jim Wall took a turn. Luke Pernicci then slightly pursed his lips as he shredded his blue and white guitar, gently shaking the instrument to indicate the notes he wanted us to nod our heads to. 

Continue reading “The Bad Boys of Blues: Concert Review”

Sheik Yerbouti: Album Review

By Maisie Sheidlower

Frank Zappa’s Sheik Yerbouti opens with his provocative, gravelly voice calling me “baby” and reminding me of the time we spent inside each other. A masterful lyricist and musician, Zappa can make any character the sexiest, most abhorrent person I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning about, and any riff the most gut-wrenchingly beautiful piece of music I’ve ever had the misfortune to discover. 

I dub this 71-minute collection, released March 3rd, 1979 by Zappa Records, an “after album,” meant to be listened to once a task has been completed. Turn on Sheik Yerbouti post-breakup, post-blunt, or post-barbershop. It’s an album to grieve with, to feel connected to, and to be flattered by, but it does require a level of concentration that Zappa veterans are familiar with. I worry that as background music, listeners might miss, for example, David Ocker’s jovial clarinet, or the flawless yet flippant one-liners in the instrumental songs (my favorite, found in the titular “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango,” being “Why don’t you take it down to C-Sharp, Ernie?” — a quip directed to saxophonist Ernie Watts).

Continue reading “Sheik Yerbouti: Album Review”