The most wonderful time of the year has arrived. October is better known as Rocktober around these parts due to the seasonal influx of touring shows, local record release events, cool fall festivals, major national album releases and general music saturation.
Alive celebrates the season with our annual fall concert, Rocktoberfest. The third annual (totally free!) installment goes down Friday at The Bluestone. Yuengling will be on tap, funny people Justin Golak and Laura Sanders will be on the mic and a lineup of awesome Columbus musicians will be on stage. Here’s a closer look at the performers you’ll be enjoying Friday.
roeVy (1 a.m.)
When duo roeVy closed out Alive’s Bands to Watch showcase in January 2010, they were already a budding power in the Midwest EDM landscape. The DJ/VJ duo’s monthly Dig! parties at Circus were immersive experiences — sensory bombardments that made you feel like you were in the presence of rock stars.
Almost three years later, they actually are rock stars, or at least they’re on their way — signed to nationally prominent Sex Cult Records, remixing Booka Shade for Dim Mak Records, throttling every music festival lucky enough to secure their services. They’ll headline this one in triumphant fashion.
The Regrettes (12 a.m.)
Sometimes bands struggle long and hard to make a mark in their hometown. And sometimes The Regrettes happens instead. From the moment this throwback soul combo debuted last December, they were the talk of Columbus.
And for good reason. Dual lead singers Meghan Alexandra Hutchinson and Lizzy Morris are positively magnetic, and their backing band of seasoned Columbus rockers ably channels the ghosts of Stax, Motown and Chess. Before they release highly anticipated debut album “Don’t Talk Back” later this fall, they’ll bring Rocktoberfest into its home stretch.
J. Rawls and P. Blackk (11 p.m.)
It was the most phenomenal news a Columbus hip-hop head could conceive: J. Rawls, the dean of Ohio rap producers, was handling the beats for an entire album by young microphone genius P. Blackk. “Contemporary Nostalgia,” they’d call it. (Get it?)
Though the pair has been in and out of Rawls’ studio for months, they’ve rarely performed these concoctions on stage together. But if lead single “Don’t Do It” is any indication, when Rawls and Blackk converge midway through Rocktoberfest, it’s bound to be a furious flurry of horn-blasting breakbeats and deft, charismatic lyrics.
Connections (10 p.m.)
At its core, the late, great Columbus rock band 84 Nash was defined by Kevin Elliott wailing and flailing over Andy Hampel’s scrappy, pop-minded guitar attack. After a one-off Nash reunion last year, Elliott and Hampel have reconvened under a new name, now with assistance from Elliott’s brother Adam (Times New Viking) on drums, guitarist Dave Capaldi (El Jesus de Magico) and bassist Philip Kim (Swarming Branch).
It’s a dream combination, and in forthcoming debut album “Private Airplane,” it’s yielded the kind of ramshackle pop goldmine that’s defined Ohio underground rock for decades. They’ll be an ideal shot in the arm as Rocktoberfest ramps up.
Saintseneca (9 p.m.)
Though Saintseneca exists primarily in an underground realm of house shows and Tumblr accounts, the homespun folk band makes immensely approachable, deeply affecting music. Regardless of who’s lining up with Zac Little (now the only remaining original member), the band is marked by floorboard-clattering rhythms and sweet, searing harmonies that could blow the roof off.
They’re one of our city’s greatest treasures, and their opening set Friday should launch Rocktoberfest with a bang.