Spring in Columbus felt a lot like summer, and things are only getting hotter with the launch of the Alive Summer Music Tour. It’s time for sweat beads, mosquito bites and T-shirts at night. Why wait until ComFest to drink in a park?
Alive’s summer concert series launches Friday at Columbus Commons, the gorgeous Downtown park at the former City Center site. The shiny new Columbus Bicentennial Pavilion stage is humongous, and we’ve rounded up local talent to match: roots-rockers supreme The Spikedrivers, rock ’n’ soul revivalists Nick Tolford & Company and swaggering upstarts Lionel the Jailbird.
Middle West Spirits will be on hand to offer samples of its award-winning local liquors. An array of food trucks will be there, and the bar will be serving. It’s going to be an awesome night in Columbus.
These guys don’t do it all, but it sure feels that way when they’re skipping through genres with ease and expertise. The Spikedrivers are one of the city’s most beloved bands, able to leap from bottom-of-the-bottle country ballads to raging 12-bar blues to heady Wilco-style experimental jams and stick the landing every time. A new album is scheduled to drop in fall or early winter; if it’s anything like their live show, it’s sure to be a roots-rock tour de force.
Nick Tolford & Company
Among the most stirring experiences in Columbus music is hearing Nick Tolford’s voice surge through the microphone for the first time. The burly, bearded white boy in a basketball jersey doubles as this city’s most inspiring soul man. Flanked by his trusty backup singers and a band that’s getting only tighter, Tolford feels like an unstoppable fireball when he’s hunched over his piano, belting it out. They’re headed back to the studio this summer to record the follow-up to 2010 debut “Extraordinary Love.”
Lionel the Jailbird
Usually when your college classmates form a band, you get dragged to the show, you politely applaud and you RSVP “Maybe” on Facebook from then on. (We all know what “Maybe” means.) Not so with Lionel the Jailbird! These OSU and Capital undergrads are the real deal, sharp and fiery enough to transcend the “college party band” tag and pump new life into time-tested blues-rock tricks. Did we mention lead singer Dominique De Biasio plays a mean violin? Lionel’s self-titled debut album is out now.