It’s not every day that I get to cover a double release show, but that’s exactly what brought me to The Shrunken Head on Saturday night. Columbus powerhouse The Turbos were back home to release their single ‘Murica  while Miller and The Hunks were releasing the second part of their ambitious “And Jeff” project. We were on hand when they released Part 1 in September 2017, and were ready to see what the group had in the wings for Part 2.

The group was playing as a five-piece for this special occasion, with guitarist Alex Headings joining the usual quartet of Sir Jon Leonard on guitar, the Lotion King Josiah Ogden on bass, Ethan “Pigpen” Joseph on drums and the charismatic Colin Miller leading the group on synths and vocals.

Despite the light snow and slick roads, The Shrunken Head was packed to the brim just an hour after the doors opened. Of course, you already knew it was going to be a steamy night between the two headliners, but before all of that took place we were all treated to the funky neo-soul sound of The A.M. Soul Society. They provided heavy doses of bass guitar and bumping drums and put everyone around me in the mood for more fantastic grooves.

The Hunks brought the entire crowd to the front of the stage. Miller screamed with giddy excitement before the band launched into Gravity, which Miller admitted was probably his favorite song that he had written for the band. It starts slow but the trio of strings and Joseph behind the kit drive it forward before the bridge, where the entire Shrunken Head was shaking for the sonic force the band was producing.

The unmistakable bass-line and gritty scream from Miller announced that it was time for Wicked Tongue, the band’s first single from the Part 1 EP. The song hit its crescendo as Leonard launched an ascendant solo that would rival almost any other guitarist in the city. Needless to say, these were the two best songs the band could have chosen to start their set with.

After that, it was time to dive into Part 2 of the “And Jeff” series. The keys beeped and blipped as Joseph smashed his cymbals on Need To Know, while Leonard took the lead on singing the second verse. The song didn’t feature the same punch as the previous two, but it was a straight-forward rock song with another intense guitar solo. Next was Sex Ain’t Love, a funkier number driven by the synthesizers and Miller’s urging the crowd to sing along during the chorus and bridge. Every time he held his hand out and beckoned the crowd to sing, the bar was filled with hundreds of voices chanting along.

Leonard and Ogden changed places and exchanged instruments for I Don’t Care, a dirtier number which had the Lotion King on vocals. The vocals were a bit cloudier on this track, and despite being behind the other three, Headings could be seen jumping around and screaming along in the shadows.

My favorite song of the night was Sided System, which saw Leonard and Ogden take their respective instruments back and Miller move to the front of the stage to sing. It was the darkest song of the set, but that didn’t stop the front-man from getting every hand in the crowd raised as we all sang “I believe, I believe in me and you.” It was definitely inspiring to see all of the hands raised around me.

Waste Your Time was a unique number, with a slower tempo that focused more on Joseph’s work on the skins more than the stringed instruments. Again the vocals seemed a little bit behind the music, but it did not seem to detract from the crowds enjoyment. At the end of the song, saxophonist Sean Beadles took the stage in a banana costume for the sexually charged Meat You Again. It’s a sultry number that saw the crowd swaying again, in love with the idea of the song and the sounds the band was producing.  It was absolutely unexpected but entirely compelling.

Last but certainly not least was Catman’s Electric Voyage, off of the Hunks’ first release “Purely Sexual.” It was their heaviest offering, putting a bow on the versatility that the group had shown throughout the night. It was a flawless bookend, showing that a band can end a show with just as much energy as they began. The raucous crowd around me surged forward and roared as the final notes were polished off.

Not to be outdone, The Turbos kept the energy flowing and the crowd moving as they debuted their new single ‘Murica. Lead singer Alex D kept things socially conscious as the guitars bounced around and the bass kept things clean all the way through. It’s a great song that forces you to think about the way things are changing in our country. If you’ve never seen The Turbos perform, you’re missing out on one of the more fun shows around town.

Both of the main attractions were on their game the entire night, and members from both groups could be seen supporting all of the acts who played that evening, including the final act Courtney from Work, who didn’t even start until well after midnight. It was a great showcase for the rock genre in Columbus, and you can believe these bands will deliver nothing less the next time you see them on a bill.

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Setlist

  1. Gravity
  2. Wicked Tongue
  3. Need to Know*
  4. Sex Ain’t Love*
  5. I Don’t Care*
  6. Sided System*
  7. Waste Your Time*
  8. Meat You Again*
  9. Catman’s Electric Voyage (aka Pose to Decompose)

*denotes song from And Jeff, Part 2