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Columbus, Ohio, United States | SELF

Columbus, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop




"Alive Summer Music Tour at Rumba Cafe"

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. - Columbus Alive

"Concert Review + Photography"

Portugal. The Man (Portland, OR), The Lonely Forest (Anacortes, WA), Bonneville (Columbus, OH)
April 25, 2012
Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH

Each year, the Jagermeister Music Tour snakes its way through the US. This year, up and coming alternative act The Lonely Forest (previously reviewed on Mezzic) was lucky enough to be chosen as the direct support for Portugal. The Man. The four piece band played a set that was earnest, humble, and genuine. They seemed genuinely glad to be there, and performed in an atypical arrangement, with frontman John Van Deusen holding down the fort on guitar stage right, albeit half-blocked from view from a set of turntables (not his – more on that later). The ironically hopeful “Woe Is Me (I’m Ruined)” opened their set, followed quickly by their best known hit “Turn Off This Song and Go Outside.” At this point the continuity between the live performances and recorded music became apparent. Pulling off vocals that sound the same live as recorded is rare! The drummer (who bears resemblance of a skinnier version of LOST actor Jorge Garcia) had an opportunity to show off during the diverse “Tunnels,” and Van Deusen’s sheepish introduction of “a song about Coyotes” elevated the audiences already joyous mood.

Portugal. The Man played a long set, with light globes filling the panorama of the stage area to enhance the already trippy atmosphere created by the haze created by stage smoke and no-shame pot smokers in the pit. Their musicianship and banter, along with their impeccable falsetto vocals especially shone.

Columbus’ own Bonneville opened this date of the tour, looking like they stepped out of the movie “That Thing You Do!” Where’s Tom Hanks when you need him? Anyway, this group was full of energy, and plainly has the potential to break out of the Columbus scene in the next few years. They’ve been requested frequently on local alternative station CD101, making the afternoon’s top request show among the genre heavyweights. Oh, and Ryan Pitts is a great frontman!

One last thing – whoever organized this tour should not place a mediocre DJ who only mixes cliché alternative hits and oldies between sets, whose set-up also limits stage visibility on a tour like this. Please and thank you.


There’s something wonderfully familiar about the music that quintet Bonneville makes. One full listen of their latest release Amy’s House in my headphones had me recalling fond moments of a youth spent outside by the grill in a town where the only good radio station played classic rock. I would run around my home until dark as the radio played, falling in love with sixties British music and jangly, earnest folk the same way an entire generation had thirty plus years before me. The DJ, probably named Wolfman or The Wizard, picked a masterful playlist of tunes that I would go on to hear millions of times, showcasing a period in time where even the most serious and proficient of bands were just as unafraid to be happy in their songs as they were to challenge the system or social notion.

Perhaps it’s an overall sign of the times, but today’s Rock and Roll is permeating with doom and gloom. Our favorite musicians are rarely seen smiling, the carefree attitudes of those who paved the way for them dropped in favor of constantly making some grand artistic statement. Somewhere along the line it became cool to be miserable and daring to dislike everything. Songs about real life and everyday human emotion are criticized for not seeing the bigger picture or speaking with a broader voice. Things got really rough in the world and we responded resoundingly by all becoming assholes. But from the opening lines of “Go Getter”, the first track on Amy’s House (and one of our picks for Spring’s Seasons of Spoonfeed compilation), it was clear to me that Bonneville had formulated a different response; like the little bit of light peeking through the blinds in a pitch black room. To put it in their words, “it’s going to get better”.

It’s a positive and straightforward proclamation that might be hard for many to swallow had the band not delivered it so sweetly. Such is the case with a lot of the lyrics on the album, which might fall flat in their simplicity on paper (“If You Were My Girl”, “The Uniform”), but are saved in context by earwhig melodies and arrangements that will burrow into your brain for days to come. They aren’t necessarily songs that will make you think, but damned if you won’t be inclined to sing along at the top of your lungs.

Amy’s House is steeped in nostalgia of all sorts, but not to the point that it’s fueled entirely by it. Bonneville tastefully wears its influences on its sleeves on stand out tracks like “Come On, Come On”, a song that I could see succeeding as a single on many radio formats that transitions wonderfully from Brit Rock and Strokes reminiscent verses into a bonafide chorus that wouldn’t feel out of place on a Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers album, and “Only One”, which found me imagining the band as a Temptations like group in matching suits doing synchronized dance moves and snapping their fingers while singing in gorgeous, pristine harmony. “Time” is also a good example of the band’s appreciation for the past, as well as the scope and variety of the group’s tastes, and might be my favorite of the bunch, a fast paced and urgent track that begins with a Clash-like explosion of guitars and segues into a vocal performance and melody that brought to mind Elliot Smith singing for The Kinks.

That’s not to say the album is a time capsule. Songs like “Perfect Crime” and the title track “Amy’s House” are progressive spins on the classic rooted sound that the band establishes on the record, songs that succeed more in pleading their case to be emulated than they do in emulating others. “Amy’s House” in particular shines, summing up in five minutes what the band does well and where they might go with their music in the future. It starts out sparse and then builds into an epic, harmony laced ending that will undoubtedly be a staple of their live show for years to come if it isn’t already. The titular track also showcases Bonneville’s impressive skill set when it comes to the members’ respective instruments, prov - Spoon Feed Columbus

"Watershed and Bonneville"

The enthusiasm with which bands like Willie Phoenix, Miranda Sound, and Watershed attacked the brittle veneer of grunge (and, later, post-grunge) helped cement Columbus as the bastion of independent music that is it now, long before Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg even had his bar mitzvah. It was they, with the help of the fledgling-but-untethered radio station CD 101.1 (now 102.5), that paved the way for the rock ’n’ roll renaissance we’ll dance to until the Mayans take us, they who kicked away the goads of Top 40 schlock and unshackled the creativity of our Midwestern musicians. And then they were gone, or mostly gone … but their influence lingered. Maybe it soaked into some of those bar floors like spilled beer, and up through the soles of the new rockers treading those floors – like quick-sparking Bonneville, whose powerful pop hooks and earnest lyrics bear an eerie similarity, for those listening with the right ears. – DSL

To me the phrase “making it” is the rock-n-roll equivalent of a lightning flash in the night sky – it indeed happens but only to far away people in presumably more interesting climates.

It’s a useless way to judge yourself but ultimately what a band is measured by – remembered by. And, if the weight of the expectation is too great, crushed by.

Every band wants to “make it,” but writing songs and playing shows like you want to be bigger than the moment – especially around these parts – is a cardinal sin punishable by pages and pages of snarky Internet thread posts. So when a band manages to break out, get signed – to “make it,” as it were – and retain its credibility … it’s noteworthy.

And when a young band bursts on to the scene with a polished sound wrapped around an obvious goal of making it big while still being embraced by those who have been playing for years in the scene … that, too, is worth mentioning.

I personally can’t think of two better bands that embody this notion more than Watershed and Bonneville.

The first time I saw Watershed was sometime around 2002. Still drunk on the Americana wine (thank you Wilco), I was late to the Watershed bandwagon, but a minute into their first song I decided that these guys were legit, that they were going to make it and if they didn’t, well then, something was wrong with America. Their show was so incredibly energetic, complete with scissor kicks and big rock star poses. And those hooks, those glorious power-pop hooks made me want to jump up and down, wave my fists and sing along to the glory that is topical antiseptics via motherly wisdom. These guys played every show like they meant it, like the moment was never going to be bigger than them. They were humble while being stars and their personalities on stage were as infectious as their hooks. They say that Nirvana killed hair bands: well, for me, Watershed slayed the Americana giant and reintroduced me to rock ‘n’ roll anthems and fist-pumping power chords.

I saw Bonneville for the first time almost exactly 10 years later. My band was on a bill with them and since I had never heard them (or of them), it could only mean that they weren’t that good. After watching them mill around on stage I thought only two things: 1) I hope they’re not a ska band and 2) I REALLY hope they’re not a ska band. Friends, they were no ska band. What they were and are is a power pop band, a Teenage Fanclub/Nick Lowe bastard son. And much like Watershed ten years before, they have a certain sound and swagger in their live shows that make them seem ready to take on audiences well beyond Columbus. And don’t be fooled by their youth. Lest you think they’re not aware of what they are doing and where they want to be, I would suggest buying their album Amy’s House, paying particular attention to the lyrics in “The Uniform.”

The Columbus musical family tree has many interesting branches – punk, country, Americana, hip-hop and pop among others. Watershed and Bonneville fit squarely in that pop category and to me they j - (614) Magazine

"Bonneville Aims to become driving force in Columbus music scene"

Bonneville has been trying to break into the Columbus music scene since its members started college at Ohio State more than a decade ago, and it is finally getting the recognition it was seeking.
“We have been working at it for a while, and it’s not easy to try and break through, but we are just going to keep doing it because we love it,” singer Ryan Pitts said.
The band’s latest single, “Feel It,” was voted No. 1 on the CD101 Five Spot May 1.
“That song sums it up, in my opinion, the direction we are going and the attitude just in general of our band musically right now,” guitarist David Miklos said.
With lyrics such as “In every heart / There plays a beat / That plays inside of all of us,” the message of “Feel It” is about music, movement and the band’s connection, Pitts said.
“It is sort of about the inherent feeling inside most humans,” Pitts said. “When you hear rhythm, you just want to move and it can’t be explained.”
Drummer Nick Frye said seeing this inherent feeling is easy when the band plays “Feel It.”
“There is a video on YouTube of us playing that song for the first time at Skully’s, and you can see the audience really well there, and sure enough, people were dancing and getting into it,” Frye said.
The band opened for a Portugal. The Man concert at Newport Music Hall April 25 to a sold-out crowd.
“It was a dream come true,” Pitts said.
A few of the band members said 2012 has been a year of milestones. Since January, Bonneville has played with local bands such as Phantods, Ghost Shirt, The Receiver and Two Cow Garage. It has also created connections with CD101, which makes for greater opportunities to play more shows, Frye said.
“I think that it is a good time for music, and I think that we are lucky to be part of a time where people can appreciate everything,” Miklos said.
Miklos said the band’s live performances are intense but fun.
“It’s melodic and fun, we try to write fun music,” Miklos said. “We want people to have as much fun as we do playing for them.”
Inspiration comes in many forms for Bonneville, including from bands such as Wilco, Spoon and Reptar, but doesn’t play to just one kind of music.
“I try to write songs about life experiences obviously, or just feelings,” Pitts said. “It’s rock, it’s pop, it’s alternative,”
Bonneville produced several albums before college, but it considers the 2010 album “Drawing Maps” its first.
Its latest release, “Amy’s House,” was released in December and was written when Pitts was living in a girl named Amy’s basement.
“‘Amy’s House’ was different for us because we actually tracked it live, and we had never done that before,” Frye said.
“Come On Come On” off “Amy’s House” has been played on CD101.
“It’s like a sarcastic song, like when a girl tells you something, and you are like, ‘Come on, seriously,’” Pitts said.
Miklos said he thinks “Come On Come On” is becoming a “big single” for the band.
“Amy’s House” was originally meant to be an EP, but the band had more than three songs it wanted to use on the album.
“We just had trouble just leaving it at three songs,” Frye said. “The main thing that we added that created the style of ‘Amy’s House’ was that we included more piano in it.”
Synth player Daniel Pritchard, a 2011 OSU alumnus in photography and high school friend of the band, recently joined the group.
“We all grew up in Dayton, so it is not hard to find people that we would like to play with,” Frye said.
Frye and Miklos have known each other since they were in first grade, when they were arch (or art) nemeses.
“We were actually rivals because he was good at art and I was pretty good at art too, so I would always see our stuff hanging up and be like, ‘That Nick Frye,’” Miklos said with a laugh.
They met Pitts when they started jamming in middle school. Pitts was writing his own material and the other guys invited him to join the band.
“We have been best friends ever since,” Pitts said.
The band members said fans should expect to hear n - The Lantern

"The Other Paper"

Local buzz band Bonneville follows; Wooten said he was impressed by Bonneville’s recent opening slot with Portugal. The Man.
“You see a lot of bands get those big shows, and they’re not as seasoned,” he said. “Bonneville didn’t have any downtime between songs: just song after song, no dead space. It was impressive.” - The Other Paper

"Sensory Overload"

Before there was “OK Computer,” there was “Pablo Honey.” Before there was “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” there was “A.M.” Perhaps someday folks will remember “Amy’s House,” the new album from Columbus quartet Bonneville, as a precursor to some eventual masterpiece.
In the meantime, the album offers merits of its own, which were apparent when the band played Woodlands Tavern last Thursday not long after a two-week tour.
Bonneville makes music just about as straightforward as it comes. It’s vanilla, but it’s a rich, delicious vanilla. Slow-churned.
They’ve clearly spent long hours dissecting great pop through the ages and appropriating what makes a song stick — humongous melodies, driving rhythms, minute details. As always with bands like this, The Beatles are heavy in the mix. I hear The New Pornographers’ high-fructose power-pop and Ben Folds Five’s quirky piano rock in there too, especially when they break out in sighing harmonies and fey “na na nas.”
Lest they neglect arena rock tropes, Bonneville’s “The Uniform” could pass for a Boston B-side. They got the audience to clap along one time. Their mullet-clad drummer even sang lead vocals on one song!
“Time” was not a Pink Floyd cover, nor Hootie and the Blowfish. However, they did present their rendition of The Black Keys’ new “Lonely Boy” — 40 percent less swagger, but a respectable take nonetheless and proof positive that they’re still students of pop DNA.
Speaking of covers: The lead guitarist (whose casual attire suggested he missed his bandmates’ memo about ties and vests) also teased the opening riff from Paul Simon’s “You Can Cal Me Al,” which would have been a more fitting tribute for such a straight-laced ensemble.
Song titles like “Come On Come On” and “If You Were My Girl” indicate that Bonneville is not bursting through any walls lyrically either, but holy hell, are both those songs catchy.
As hinted above, listening to this band transports me to the early works of Wilco and Radiohead, groups that eventually got bored of playing it straight and ended up experimenting their way to timeless classics. Bonneville might be content to graze familiar pastures forever, and I wouldn’t begrudge them that. But I’m curious about what might happen if musicians with such a firm grasp on pop pyrotechnics branched out into unknown realms. - Columbus Alive


Amy's House 2011



In 6th grade Nick and David started playing music together; by 7th grade Ryan and Kevin were added and Bonneville was Born. Twelve years later, the four best friends make up the most promising band in Columbus. Their new single "Feel It" was released April 28th and has been the most requested song on CD101fm since. With show offers from Central Ohio to the east coast, the future is bright for this young group. Over the last six months, Bonneville has become one of Columbus, Ohio's hottest bands, playing with bands such as Walk The Moon, Portugal. The Man, Electric Guest, The Lonely Forest, and The Features. Their high energy show and melodic, driving, indie-rock keeps the fans dancing and coming back for more.

"when a young band bursts on to the scene with a polished sound wrapped around an obvious goal of making it big while still being embraced by those who have been playing for years in the scene … that, too, is worth mentioning. I personally can’t think of two better bands that embody this notion more than Watershed and Bonneville"
-(614) Magazine

"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 when you still can.
-Chris Deville, Columbus Alive

"This group was full of energy, and plainly has the potential to break out of the Columbus scene in the next few years. They’ve been requested frequently on local alternative station CD101, making the afternoon’s top request show among the genre heavyweights. Oh, and Ryan Pitts is a great frontman!"