STAGES: February (& More)

by Ryan Dawes

◗ King Creole’s Bayou Boogie

Saturday, February 16 / Bloomington Convention Center / 6 pm / $60

This Mardi Gras-themed event will feature a performance by Curtis Jackson’s Motown Review, which will serve as soundtrack to the shell-crushing ecstasy of a massive crawfish boil.  Other Cajun, Creole, and Yankee dietary delights will be served compliments of local restaurants.  The event will benefit the Bloomington Independent Restaurant Association and the Monroe County Chapter of the American Red Cross to support their work with victims of disasters, military families, and emergency response and preparedness.  Tickets can be purchased at or at the door.

◗ Soup Bowl Benefit

Sunday, February 17 / Monroe County Convention Center / 5 pm / $25

Benefiting the Hoosier Hills Food Bank, which collects and distributes food for local NPO’s, the Soup Bowl offers ticket holders their choice of hundreds of handmade ceramic bowls made by area artists, along with soup and bread donated by local restaurants and bakeries.  The idea for the Soup Bowl Benefit was first conceived by local artist Carrie Newcomer and music attorney Robert Meitus, who participated in a similar event while on tour.  Since then, the benefit has helped HHFB buy trucks and refrigerators and feed families across Monroe and 6 other counties.  Musical entertainment will be provided by Another Round (formerly Straight No Chaser) and the old-time folk outfit, The Monks.

◗ Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three with Al Scorch

Thursday, February 21 / The Bishop / 9 pm / $10

Lotus World Music Fest alumni Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three conjure spirits of the historic South with a glowing brand of  rag-time, western swing, and country blues. The sweaty, humid feat is achieved with Pokey’s brilliant guitar-picking and crooning voice stacked charmingly atop guitjo, double bass, kazoo, and harmonica. Chicago’s own banjo shredding Al Scorch will pre-heat the Bishop with his old-soul narratives supported by a bluegrassy, gospelish folk that is often penetrated by a youthful post-punk recklessness, lending more emotion to the work. Each act alone would be worth the same door price.

Pokey LaFarge & The South City Three

◗ The School for Scandal

Friday & Saturday, February 22 & 23; Tuesday, February 26 through Friday, March 1 / Ruth N. Halls Theatre / 7:30 pm / $10-25

Set in London in the 1770’s (when it was also written), this theatrical comedy by Richard Brinsley Sheridan is about the repercussions of the age-old practice of gossip. We see this play out as Lady Sneerwell plots to wreak social havoc by spreading unfounded rumors of a love-affair so that she may pluck what she wants from the wreckage, that being the affection of a married man. After more lies, backstabbing, bribery, and the arrival of a rich uncle in disguise, Sneerwell’s plot unravels in a way that illustrates just how “tale-bearers are as bad as the tale-makers.” Tickets are available at the IU Auditorium box office or at the Lee Norvelle Center box office in-person, which opens one hour before the show.

◗ Dragon Wagon

Friday, March 1 / Max’s Place / 10 pm / Free

With a fiddle player who was trained the tradition of Celtic violin and later toured with a death metal-bluegrass hybrid outfit, DW is a bluegrass folk-rock band, but obviously not without a diverse array of other influences. The band is based in Ann Arbor, MI and has been playing together since 2008.  Legend has it that percussionist Fritz McGirr was once hired by Guinness Brewing Company to rap about beer and play the Bodhrán (double-sided, hand held frame drum with goat skin). DW mandolin player Troy Stanley Radikin confirms this.  Donations for admission will be accepted.

◗ Spamalot

Wednesday, March 6 / Indiana University Auditorium / 8 pm / $38-62

“Bring out your dead!” Created by the writers of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and The Life of Brian, Spamalot is the Broadway version of the former.  After entertaining more than 2 million people and grossing more than $175 million in its first year, Spamalot was awarded a Tony for Best Musical in 2005. So enthused by the first year’s success, that 1,789 Monty Python fans amassed to form the “World’s Largest Coconut Orchestra” in Shubert Alley in Manhattan. Since then, the production has toured through Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Europe, and Australia.  If you’re not dead yet, you can find tickets at the IU Auditorium Box Office, located just south of the main entrance.

◗ Unknown Mortal Orchestra with Foxygen, Wampire

Friday, March 8 / The Bluebird / 9 pm / $12

Led by Ruban Nielson formerly of New Zealand, UMO creates a guitar-driven psychedelic pop with strains of funk and garage rock influenced by solitude and liver-punishing life on the road. His high-pitched, emotionally charged vocals combined with fuzzy distortion sound like a mix of Elliott Smith, Jimi Hendrix, and a new 21st Century bleakness that didn’t exist before. Sharing similar threads of psychedelia (not to mention the local labelship of Jagjaguar), Foxygen will precede UMO on stage, sporting surprising song structure that illustrates admirable instrument and genre diversity, amounting to a very entertaining and thoughtful experimental pop.

◗ Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Monday, March 18 / Indiana University Auditorium / 8 pm / $38-60

As one of the most recognized cellists in the world, Yo-Yo Ma directs and performs in the Silk Road Ensemble, which is part of a broader educational initiative called the Silk Road Project and includes performers from nearly 20 countries, playing instruments unique to their countries. For example, you can hear a kamancheh (bowed instrument with silk or metal strings) from Iran, a shakuhachi (end-blown flute) from Japan, or an erhu (double stringed fiddle with a python-skinned sound box) from China, just to name a few. Altogether, the Ensemble boasts both an enormous fleet of symphonic sound as well as illuminates individual instruments solo.

The Ryder, February 2013