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The best kept secret in music


"Show Previews: Comfest Setlist"

This weekend marks the 34th year of Comfest, the extravaganza of music and performing arts that takes over Goodale Park for three days each June.

Comfest is a coveted gig for local bands, a chance to be heard by the great majority of Columbusites who don’t make it out to clubs the rest of the year. And for those attending, it’s an opportunity to see a wide variety of music in one weekend without having to hit every venue in town.

Still, with six stages and nearly 200 acts performing, it’s impossible to take it all in. So the Alive music staff has highlighted a selection of performers you won’t want to miss. Enjoy!

Off-Ramp Stage
Friday, June 24, 9 p.m.

Belying their moniker, Dan and Mark Spurgeon and Steve and Pat McGann first began playing as Greenhorn more than a decade ago. After some years apart, the pairs of brothers regrouped and released their first album, a self-titled record that came out in April. The album is simply stunning, taking turns between boiling slabs of gritty rock and tempering things back to a simmer. It’s a well-balanced blend of visceral fireworks that never lets up.

While the band has slimmed down from full Marshall stacks to half-stacks, their on-stage intensity hasn’t diminished one iota. It will be a wonder if the Off-Ramp tent is still standing when they’re done.

—Stephen Slaybaugh

- Columbus Alive


1. "The Dreamer" "Sassafrass Tea" - Bumped by Karaoke Compilation - Datapanik - CD
2. "The Progress" b/w "A Bit of Real Sadness" - Datapanik - 7" single
3. "Conversations with Myself" b/w "Callous" - Datapanik/Anyway - 7" single
4. "Shell (cow version)" - Cowtown Volume 1 EP - Anyway - 7" EP
5. "Through the Thick of It" b/w "Chastity" - Anyway - 7" single
6. "Leadhead" - For Your Ears Only compilation - Eardrop - CD
7. "Lover's Song" b/w "Liar's Song" - 3 Beads of Sweat - 7" single
8. "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" - Why Do You Think They Call It Pop? - Pop Narcotic Compilation - 2-10" EPs
8. "Live at WMBR" - Lord Baltimore Records - CD/EP
9. "Greenhorn" s/t - Lord Baltimore Records- CD


Feeling a bit camera shy


If you had the time, and I the inclination, I’d hold your hand and walk you through the 16-year history of this band. But I’m not so inclined regardless of whether you have the time or not. Besides, that information is available elsewhere. Buy the book. Look it up online. Whatever. This thing here is more about where they are now.

I’m going to drop a few names so those of you who look for that crap need read no further. Guitars like Television crossed with Crazy Horse. Rhythm draws comparisons to Zeppelin-esque heavy and My Bloody Valentine density. Jayhawks meet Queens of the Stone Age. Hank Williams, Sr. crossed with Helmet. OK?

Greenhorn returned to making music in earnest two years ago under the name, the Renaissance Doves, though they’ve since abandoned that moniker. They started recording what’s become their first full-length release ever some time ago and completed it in April of 2005. They returned to using the name Greenhorn for both the disc’s title and for the band’s name just in time for its release, much to the pleasure of the marketing focus groups the band had spent most of their hard-earned money hiring. The focus groups approved of the name change by a nearly unanimous 143-2.

Pat McGann is still the best rock drummer around and handles the time for this little combo. He is made all the better since he’s joined by the heaviest brother a man could have, Steven McGann, on the low notes. Not to be outdone and with the competitive rivalry only two sets of brothers could muster, Mark and Dan Spurgeon bring their own noise to the outfit. Whether it be echo-saturated skronk or piano melody, the Spurgeon brothers add the extra flavors that make up the fluffier layers of the Greenhorn parfait ('cause everybody likes parfait, right?).