Columbia, Missouri, the medium-size city located in the north part of the state about midway between Kansas City and St. Louis, is the home of the mighty Mizzou. But the University of Missouri is not the only institute of higher learning in town; Columbia is also home to Stephens College, Bryan University and the Columbia College of Missouri. And the student bodies at these schools all have one thing in common: they’re studying in a place that offers plenty to do when it’s time to unwind. When it comes to music, “CoMo” definitely rates an A+. Here’s the scoop.
Like many college towns, Columbia has a significant amount of homegrown talent playing original material. Some of the best:
Richard the Lionhearted – This long-running CoMo band’s new six-song E.P. “Two-Bit Strangers” is full of haunting psych-rock that sounds a little like the Meat Puppets scoring an imaginary spaghetti western. Grab a free download from RTL’s Bandcamp page.
Enemy Airship – This band is full of surprises; “To the Old” is slow, full of regret and a bit shoe-gazey but “Contrails” is appropriately bright and looking to the heavens. Hear those and four more on the band’s latest effort, “The Slow Suggestive.”
The Flood Brothers – Move over Black Keys; this duo loves the blues and they’re not afraid to rave it up every chance they get, like on “Black Crow Pie,” “Milk and Honey” and the boot-stompin’ “Shake Like the Devil.”
Jack Grelle and the Johnson Family – Grelle has a voice that fans of John Prine will be quite comfortable with; on the group’s latest self-titled effort Grelle sings of mournful situations to spare acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo and pedal steel backing.
The Hooten Hallers – Here’s another duo rooted in the blues; “Leave Me Alone” rocks like a boozy George Thorogood jam session and “Old Baby Blues” is slow and smoldering but “Baby” and “Sticks and Stones” are irresistible get-up-and-dance-like-crazy boogies.
The Blue Note – This is the place to catch nationally-known acts; Dawes, Citizen Cope, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and White Panda all have upcoming shows here.
Mojo’s – Lots of local acts play here but you can also catch national acts like Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Rival Sons, Valient Thorr and Iris Dement at this most favorite of CoMo hang-outs.
Roxy’s – Live music and dance parties alternate here but the cheap shots are on hand every night.
The Bridge – Where else can you catch the Collegiate Shag Brass Band?
Nash Vegas – Ready to do some honky-tonkin’? Then you’re in the right place.
THE RECORD STORE
Hitt Records – Located above the ever-popular Uprise Bakery and Little Ragtag Cinema, here’s an easy to find place with lots of hard to find records.
The Roots 'n Blues 'n BBQ Festival – Taking place on September 20-22 in Stephen’s Lake Park, this festival has a stellar lineup featuring the Black Crowes, Johnny Winter, Steve Earle, Mavis Staples, Bela Fleck, John Hiatt, Blues Traveler, Dale Watson and many more.
For more information on Columbia, Missouri, visit the Columbia Convention and Visitor's Bureau website.