Alive Summer Music Tour at Rumba Cafe

  • Bonneville
  • Dolfish
  • The Receiver
  • The Kyle Sowashes
  • The Spruce Campbells
From the July 26, 2012 edition

As July prepares to round the corner into August, the Alive Summer Music Tour surges forward with our third Columbus music showcase of the season. Join us Friday at Rumba Cafe for a set of musicians at the intersection of catchy and quirky.

We’ve assembled energetic and engaging performers from various corners of the indie-rock tradition — warbling whispers, throat-shredding shouts and numerous points in between, each deployed with style, smarts and an innate sense of what makes music fun.

The generous distillers from Middle West Spirits will be back on hand with specialized cocktails that benefit the Columbus Music Co-op. So come drink, be merry and sing along.


Like most “overnight” success stories, Bonneville has been perfecting their craft for much longer than most people realize. Although the ace pop-rock combo has existed since 1999, the members just recently began touring far and wide and capturing the imagination of Columbus listeners.

All that buildup is paying off, both in terms of quality (last year’s “Amy’s House” and recent single “Feel It” are pure distilled radio bliss) and quantity (they’ve been playing in front of huge crowds lately). No other band in Columbus seems quite so primed for stardom; see them in a tiny venue like Rumba while you still can.

The Kyle Sowashes

While some bands try on different looks as freely and carelessly as teenage girls set loose in a department store, The Kyle Sowashes keep doing the same thing and getting better and better at it.

Thus, recent LP “Somebody” picks up where “Nobody” left off. Sowash continues to cast witty, self-deprecating insights into coarse but compulsively memorable melodies, all backed by gravelly guitar blasts and slugged-out rhythms. His band keeps growing in nuance with each release, but always in the context of basement-show bombast and hearty lung-bursts that hit like bricks.

Get ready to raise your glass and ramp up your pulse when they take the stage.

The Spruce Campbells

Few bands match an expansive psychedelic vision with songs so tightly constructed and singable. The Spruce Campbells are a band that thinks big and actually follows through with grand gestures.

That’s why they completed their “Bipolar Coordinates” project, a series of six EPs collected into a sprawling whole and released last month.

It’s also why mastermind Jason Matthew Kusowski has complemented his sonic endeavors with a microbrewing hobby-turned-business that’s picking up momentum perhaps even more quickly than his music. (Spruce Campbell Brewing will have its Vowl Kolsch IPA on tap Friday at Rumba.)

Still, even teetotalers will get their fix when the band plays Friday’s showcase.

The Receiver

Few bands conjure moody majesty as well as The Receiver, and even fewer in such singular fashion. Crystalline vocals and brooding, brainy rhythms coalesce into monstrous climaxes that sound like mankind’s hypothetical battle against cyborg invaders, or at least make captivating theater out of the wars that rage inside.

Their synth-heavy prog behemoth has only become more expansive and distinct in the years since brothers Casey and Jesse Cooper began building upon Casey’s music school thesis in 2005. The addition of multi-instrumentalist Sean Gardner in recent years stepped their live show into another echelon. Recording for a third album begins next month.


Though Max Sollisch began Dolfish as an outlet for quick bursts of echo-laden country jangle, the solo project has become a venue for all manner of singer-songwriter revelry. His many modes will be on display with his debut LP for Afternoon Records later this year.

But Sollisch’s songs are accessible now via mesmerizing performances like the one that will kick off Friday’s showcase. His lyrics and melodies have grown more deft with time, but the plumb line in his various projects has always been his unmistakable voice, a quivering squawk worthy of cult heroes and cartoon characters. It’s a polarizing instrument, but one with undeniable power.