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Mark Kozelek teams up with Petra Haden and wistfully drifts through decades of memories and deep-rooted friendships on Joey Always Smiled

Photo courtesy of Caldo Verde Records

Joey Always Smiled, Mark Kozelek’s spiritual follow-up to his compellingly mellow self-titled release last year, finds the singer-songwriter reminiscing about formative adolescent memories and contrasting them with his more recent activities. Like listening to a folk rock radio station, the narratives Kozelek includes on this album, announced way back in February, span the 70s, 80s, 90s and today during the collab’s hour-plus runtime, as he deciphers which people and events most shaped the journey to his present self. Continue reading Mark Kozelek teams up with Petra Haden and wistfully drifts through decades of memories and deep-rooted friendships on Joey Always Smiled

Nelsonville to host and sponsor 20th Annual Ohio Smoked Meat & BBQ Fest


Barbecue competitors and connoisseurs will travel to Nelsonville this weekend to flood the streets with the aromas of slow-cooked pork, ribs, brisket and chicken. And that’s not to mention the sweet sauces and peppery rubs.

“When you get that many teams, cookers and smoke, it smells delicious,” John Gambill, a pitmaster of Historic BBQ based in Lebanon, said. “People say they smell it driving past Nelsonville.”

The Ohio Smoked Meat and Barbecue Festival will start at 8 a.m. Friday, when teams begin to set up, and will run until 3 p.m. Saturday, when the winners are presented with their awards on the main stage of Elks Lodge, according to the event’s website. Vendors will sell food after 5 p.m. Friday and after noon Saturday.

In its 20th year, 40 teams are scheduled to participate in several meat-specific competitions and the lauded “Grand Champion” title. The festival is among the bigger barbecue competitions in Ohio, Paul Grant of Slippery Pete’s BBQ from Wadsworth, said.

Hocking College and the Inn at Hocking College hosted the event for the first 11 years of its existence before the Nelsonville Area Chamber of Commerce took on the responsibility of organizing the event in 2008.

Last year, Historic BBQ picked up first place in the brisket competition. Gambill said the team likes to cook at low temperatures using smoke as a complementary flavor. Evoking natural flavors of meat, especially chicken, also garners them compliments from the public, Gambill said.

“The community supports the festival and does a good job of running it,” he said

Nelsonvilles’ Public Square and the surrounding pavement closed to traffic will serve as the location for the smoky gathering. There is no admission fee.

Grant said the competition draws talented and top teams from around the region and throughout the country.

“A lot of teams stay awake the entire night,” Grant said. “For an Ohio contest to be holding 40-plus teams is saying something.”

Gambill noted the atmosphere of the festival has shifted and refined over the years.

“There used to be a lot of people there for the party and only a few serious cookers and now there’s more serious cookers than partiers,” Gambill said. “It’s a tough weekend, and there are a lot of talented teams.”

He said the event acts as a precursor to the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational held in Lynchburg, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, and Nelsonville offers an opportunity to get one last cook in before an event of such magnitude.

The Ohio Smoked Meat & BBQ Festival is set to award $10,000 in prizes on Saturday to the top teams that reach the podium.

The festival is Kansas City Barbecue Society certified, and local reps will be in attendance.

Along with Gambill, Grant also praised the festival’s historic setup in town.

“Nelsonville is a great host and sponsor,” Grant said. “The organizers are some of the best around and a lot of people look forward to the competition.”

If You Go

What: Ohio Smoked Meat & BBQ Festival

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Nelsonville Public Square

Admission: Free, food for sale

Weekender Briefs: Weekend events include Soulja Boy performance, annual fiber fair


Just as Parents Weekend is a tradition at Ohio University, so is the weekend after when students don’t have to chauffeur mom and dad around. Instead, they could spend their energy at one of the many shows, festivals and sporting events taking place over the weekend.

Two festival-like events are happening this weekend, although they do not have much crossover: Riverfest II ft. Soulja Boy and the annual Athens Area Fiber Faire. Riverfest II will be held at the River Gate Apartments featuring several DJs and performers, including Soulja Boy whose mantra-heavy hit “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” stirred up the feet of a generation. Tickets to the festival cost $20 and are available online or at The Shack on Court Street.

The third annual Athens Area Fiber Faire, where focus rests more on hands instead of feet, offers an opportunity to purchase fiber-related products like yarn and attend several classes in the “fiber art” scheduled over two days at the Athens Community Center.

If You Go:


What: 3 Girls Rock Into A Bar

Where: Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium

When: 8 p.m., Friday

Admission: $10 general admission

What: Ohio Hockey vs. Kent State

Where: Bird Arena

When: 7:30 p.m., Friday

Admission: $5 for students, $7 for non-students


What: Strictly Hip Hop with DJ plate a shrimp

Where: Casa Nueva, 6 W. State St.

When: 10 pm., Saturday

Admission: Free

What: Ohio Hockey vs. Kent State

Where: Bird Arena

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday

Admission: $5 for students, $7 for non-students

What: Diana Chittester and The Summoners

Where: Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday

Admission: $5 in advance, $7 general admissions

What: Riverfest II ft. Soulja Boy

Where: River Gate Apartments, 10 Rufus St.

When: 2 p.m., Saturday

Admissions: Tickets available for $20

What: “Druid Rocks Out for Harambe”

Where: Smiling Skull Saloon, 108 W. Union St.

When: 9 p.m., Saturday

Admission: $3 cover

What: Acoustic Jazz Night with John Horne

Where: Athens Uncorked, 14 Station St.

When: 8 p.m., Saturday

Admission: Free

If students are looking for music this weekend, they’re especially in luck if fans of metal or hip-hop.

Watch Them Rot, Beyond the Abyss, T.F.U. and Monocle will play in the Casa Cantina at 10 p.m. on Friday. On the other side of town, Athens rock band Druid will perform at The Smiling Skull Saloon at 9 p.m. on Saturday. Both shows will have a $3 cover charge.

Mission Man, a hip hop artist from Oxford, will perform an “upbeat and dancey” set at Donkey Coffee & Espresso this Saturday at 8 p.m. with Hong Kong Rubber Bands opening. In addition, DJ plate a shrimp will be cutting “old school, true school and golden era hip hop” in a live mix at Strictly Hip Hop held in the Casa Cantina at 10 p.m. on Saturday.

OU’s Stage Door Series will present two shows this weekend. Country-twinged rockers 3 Girls Rock Into A Bar will play at 8 p.m. on Friday and Diana Chittester & The Summoners will give an acoustic performance at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Both events will be held in the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. The former costs is $10 while the latter is $5 in advance and $7 at the door.

Sporting events are light this weekend as both the football and volleyball team are playing away games. However, Ohio Hockey will play Kent State at 7:30 on Friday and again on Saturday at Bird Arena. Ohio Women’s Soccer also has a few matches this weekend: one against Western Michigan at 4 p.m. on Friday and another against Northern Illinois University at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

If You Go:

What: Watch Them Rot, Beyond the Abyss, Monocle, T.F.U.

Where: Casa Nueva, 4 W. State St.

When: 10 p.m., Friday

Admission: $3 cover

There will likely be shredding at Casa Nueva on Friday. The restaurant is hosting four bands that play in the styles of metal, punk and alternative rock. Athens metal outfit Watch Them Rot, West Virginia’s metal visitors Beyond the Abyss, Athens punk group T.F.U. and Dayton-based alternative rock band Monocle will take the stage Saturday in the Casa Cantina. There’s a $3 cover charge. The show is 18 years and older.

If You Go:

What: Mission Man (Hip-hop), Hong Kong Rubber Bands

Where: Donkey Coffee & Espresso, 17 W. Washington St.

When: 8 p.m.

Admission: $5 cover

Mission Man will take the stage at Donkey Coffee this Saturday night. Mission Man, a moniker taken by rapper Gary Milholland in 1996, performs upbeat hip hop songs such as “Extra” and “Love, Funk and Soul.” Milholland often plays those two songs in sequence. He said they make for a “good transition, are upbeat and try to make you smile.” Hong Kong Rubber Bands will open for Milholland.

“I loved rapping ever since I started,” he said. “Making an impact on people’s lives still gives me purpose.”

Mission Man’s shows are usually upbeat and dancey but he said he might incorporate some slower numbers this Saturday.

If You Go:

What: Athens Area Fiber Faire

Where: Athens Community Center, 701 E. State St.

When: 10 a.m., Saturday; 12 p.m., Sunday

Admission: Classes are $10 to $30

This Saturday and Sunday, the Athens Community Center will host the third Annual Fiber Faire. The faire presents an opportunity to learn about and purchase fiber-based products such as yarn, roving and other supplies. According to organizers, the event is held in the support of “fiber arts” including knitting, crocheting and weaving in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Some classes at the faire include “Yarn Voyage for Knitting and Design” and “The Versatile Mitered Square.” The cost classes range from $10 to $30 but the majority are $20.

A full schedule of classes, along with a list of vendors, can be found on the event’s website.


Hillel to host Jewish funk band from Pittsburgh at The Union on Thursday


Traditional songs from a cultural heritage can be updated for a modern audience and still retain their original qualities — mainly, the ability to make people dance.

In the spirit of breathing new life into old musical customs, Chillent plans to “funk up” The Union Bar & Grill Thursday at 9 p.m. with their blend of funk and traditional Jewish songs. The show is free and is for anyone 18 years and older.

Chillent, who are based in Pittsburgh, have been playing together for around two years, harmonica player Sruli Broocker said. The band’s name is derived from “cholent,” a Jewish stew traditionally served during the Sabbath.

Shua Hoexter, who plays saxophone and sings in the band, said the group is not a klezmer band in the classic sense, but it is klezmer-influenced.

Klezmer is a Jewish musical tradition that comes from Eastern Europe. The klezmorim, musicians who perform klezmer, would typically play dance music at weddings and celebrations. The klezmer style later fused with American jazz, a genre not far from Chillent’s brand of funk.

“(Our style) is a combination of who we are musically and personally,” Hoexter said.

Chillent plays both traditional songs of the Jewish faith and more contemporary funk numbers during their sets, although the energy and style often stay consistent.

“We take it both directions,” Broocker said. “Sometimes we start with a traditional melody and turn it into a reggae groove or jazz or blues.” He said the opposite order occurs, as well.

Some of the band’s original songs like “Catch Me If I Fall” and “Narrow Bridge” contain lyrics with religious themes but not all of the pieces played by them have a Jewish connection, Brooker said.

He said Chillent are also known to “rap with the audience, play funky stuff and dance a lot.”

In their hometown of the Steel City, Chillent often plays shows at the James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy on the North side.

“The secular Pittsburgh scene actually noticed us before the Jewish music scene did,” Broocker said.

Hillel at Ohio University, the OU Performing Arts & Concert Series and the Campus Involvement Center collaborated in making Thursday’s show possible. Last year, the three organizations collaborated to host comedian Julie Goldman in Baker Center Theater. Thursday will be the first time they will host a band together.

Lauren Goldberg, the associate director of Hillel, said the goal of the collaboration is to hold “culturally relevant programs incorporating Jewish performers and acts that expand beyond the Jewish community.”

Hillel has not put on a show like this “for a few years,” she said.

“Everybody is so excited The Union bar is back open and we want to celebrate its reopening,” Goldberg said.

She expects the music to be “warm, fun and wonderful” and unlike music found traditionally in Athens.

“We’re excited to check out the scene and see what people think,” Brooker said.



Yonatan Gat to communicate ‘organic,’ ‘improvised’ sounds with The D-Rays and Slackluster at The Union


Yonatan Gat says shows are a collaboration between band and audience. The audience influences the vibe and musical choices and the band plays accordingly.

Gat and his trio will feed off the audience’s nonverbal cues at The Union on Wednesday night with their Middle East and Africa-tinged psych rock. Two Ohio bands, The D-Rays and Slackluster, complete the night’s three-act bill.

Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased in advance, according to the Facebook event.The show starts at 9 p.m. and is for ages 18 and older.

Gat emphasized the importance of organic improvisation in his live performances, allowing for musical flexibility. With little material preplanned, an improvised approach allows for unexpected grooves and jams, exclusive to a single show.

“You turn off your mind with improvisation, which is almost like a hallucinogenic drug,” he said. “The music seeps out organically.”

Gat first emerged in the public eye as the guitarist for Tel Aviv punk band Monotonix, whose live shows ranged from chaotic to unpredictable. Along with Brazilian bassist Sergio Sayeg and drummer Gal Lazer, Gat now administers a more developed style of rock, melting together jazz, world music and punk.

“The clearest way to express what I want to is not always the simplest,” Gat said. “The music I’m playing right now is closer to my spirit.”

He said his music is partly related to the themes of interconnectedness and unity.

For his Physical Copy EP, Gat worked with producer Steve Albini, who had previously produced for bands like Nirvana and Pixies. Gat said Albini is “perfect” for the role.

He is planning to release another album in 2017, his first since 2015’s Director, but most of the details for this new record are still unclear.

Although Gat’s music has a psychedelic flair to it, he does not prefer playing a psych tune over something more Miles Davis-inspired.

“Psychedelic is one of the broadest term that sort of means weird,” Gat said. “That’s why there are psychedelic bands everywhere. Our genre is our own.”

The band The D-Rays, based in Athens, is also set to play at Wednesday’s show.

“We have seen Yonatan Gat play several times and they put on a tremendous show,” Missy Pence, the guitarist for The D-Rays, said in an email. “The D-Rays are happy to be in the bill with them.”

She added that The D-Rays’ sets are tight, energetic and efficient. The band plays a combination of surf and garage rock.

Gat and his trio played a set at Nelsonville Music Festival earlier this year and also joined in on Mac Demarco playing Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”However, this will be the first time the three musicians have taken to an Athens’ dance floor.