Received the following missive from a Critic Crony following a show attended earlier this week:
Is it the talent pool or the environs that yield a lot of flame-outs among Columbus-area bands? I couldn't tell you. What I do know is there was a confounding cross section of local music diggers unaccounted for last Wednesday night (Nov. 7) when one of our very own -- Bucktown Kickback -- came back to Columbus to share some songs at the unfortunately named House of Crave in the Arena District. Over the last four or five years, I'd seen this band, which I describe as a blend of Americana, rock and bluegrass with a dash of jam band on the side, several times. I'd lost track of them over the last year or so, and surmised they had gone the way of any number of local bands that fade away. But in September I was at the Canal Street Tavern in Dayton to see Todd Snider, when between sets the bar's owner announced some upcoming gigs, Bucktown Kickback "from Nashville" among them. Say what? Had some local pickers and grinners actually taken it on the road? And to Nashville, no less? The Internet confirmed this. Bucktown Kickback was operating out of "Music City," and lo and behold, they were returning to Columbus to play a $5 show as part of the House of Crave's "Jam Band Wednesdays." A buddy and I determined we must check it out, in particular to show support for some artists who were making strides toward "making it." You wouldn't believe our disappointment when we arrived at about 8:45 for an 8 p.m. show and stared into the darkness that is the Arena District sans a hockey or football game to stir activity. Empty parking lots, no lines at the door, no people milling. We had to double check with the ticket booth attendant to make sure the show was still a go. It was, but the House of Crave was similarly despressing. No more than 12 or 15 people hunkered in front of the stage, with no dancing or other signs of revelry once the music started. What didn't disappoint, however, was the band. The boys of Bucktown kicked back and played on. They offered old familiar tunes, and a number of new ones from a recently released second album. The band also showed me why it has risen above the local fray and, at least for now, is getting gigs while paying dues throughout the South. Most of the audience members -- who appeared to be family of the band and either too young or too old to stay at a bar until midnight on a Wednesday -- split at the set break. But like true pros, Bucktown played an even more inspired second set to a room of five people. On they went, not missing a beat. It's just too bad a whole region of music fans missed them.