That chill in the air and that ringing in your ears can only mean it’s time for the return of Alive’s fall music celebration, Rocktoberfest. This year the event moves to The Bluestone, where we’ll be partying all night long to some of Columbus’ coolest sounds. An array of food trucks and many local organizations will be on hand, too, and everyone who attends gets a free copy of Alive’s latest local music compilation.
Music begins at 8 p.m. sharp, so arrive early and rock all night!
The Floorwalkers (12:10 a.m.)
The Floorwalkers are Columbus elite. Their bluesy take on pop music is among the most adaptable in town, slyly explorative without sacrificing a shred of accessibility. The versatile rockers become a common denominator among so many subsets of the local scene because they’re great at what they do, and they do a lot.
In the year since they released first proper full-length “The Natural Road,” they’ve ascended only to greater notoriety, playing the Lincoln Theater with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra and headlining the Newport late last month. Oh, and they’re headlining Rocktoberfest, of course.
Way Yes (11:20 p.m.)
Watching Way Yes refine their cartoonish combo of world music, laptop pop and twee has been a fun adventure, but the trio’s appeal stems just as much from the familiar — exploring the ups and (mostly) downs of the daily grind, from domestic dessert squabbles to so-called friends who won’t call back.
They’ve struck a chord outside Columbus, too; last month they signed to Lefse Records, home of rising underground music powers Neon Indian and Youth Lagoon. Before leaving for a fall East Coast tour, they’ll debut their video for new single “Automail” at Rocktoberfest.
Freaky Franz (10:30 p.m.)
When we interviewed Franz Lyons last spring upon the release of his debut mixtape “The Freaky Tales,” he made no bones about what kind of rapper he is: “It’s not like rap with a message. It’s that real ‘go to the bar and hang out if you’re trying to dance on somebody’ music.”
Lyons’ foul-mouthed bangers are among the most booming club tracks to emerge from this city in some time, which only makes sense because he came up in a world of skateboards and hardcore punk. His beats hit almost as hard as his commanding holler.
Lo-Pan (9:40 p.m.)
No vocalist in Columbus wails like Jeff Martin, and few kick up a storm with the ferocity his Lo-Pan bandmates bring to the table. Lots of bands are this loud; not many are this good.
Neither do most acts pay their dues with such diligence as this Columbus foursome. Their tireless touring helped them build a fierce regional audience and land a deal with heavy-hitting Detroit label Small Stone Records, which released Lo-Pan’s latest slab of melodic destruction, “Salvador,” earlier this year.
The Wet Darlings (8:50 p.m.)
Bill Patterson has been writing songs his whole life, but they never quite zinged like they do now that Jenny Lute is belting them out. Replete with the airtight rhythm section of Joe Patterson and Aaron Bishara, The Wet Darlings are one of the city’s most infectious pop-rock combos, able to slay Zeppelin riffs and unfurl sweet-tongued power ballads with equal facility.
The Town Monster (8 p.m.)
When The Town Monster released debut album “Autumn People” last year, Alive compared the Columbus rockers’ rise to “Revenge of the Nerds.” We didn’t realize just how sweet that revenge would be.
Since then, the trio-turned-quartet has been on a tear. They released a new EP each month — then took them all off the internet last summer. They released a badass animated Christmas special. Their song “One Thousand Wolves” got lots of CD101 spins.
The new music just keeps coming. Rocktoberfest will be your first chance to pick up an EP featuring The Town Monster’s new single “Bela Lugosi.”
Cornelius Jackson (1 a.m.)
Though he claims he’d rather be a professional skateboarder, the DJ born CJ Townsend has already racked up quite the resume in the music business — resident DJ at Sweatin’, beat-dropper for Fly.Union and Freaky Franz, one-half of rising Moombahton duo Cassius Slay — and his Rolodex is getting thicker all the time thanks to friendships with influential figures like New York DJ Sammy Bananas.
Before any of that, he got his start playing cool songs for people to dance to at the club, which is exactly what he’ll be doing to close out our party.
Nina West (emcee)
Rocktoberfest will be extra fabulous this year thanks to Nina West holding down host duties. West brings so much vitality to the stage that there’s no chance Rocktoberfest will be a drag.