A marquee first lit in 1926 is blazing once more: Providence, RI’s venerable Columbus Theatre Columbus Theatre, which opened when 10¢ matinees were the rage, reopened after extensive renovations in 2012 and has been ramping up its calendar of shows ever since.
Booking is coordinated by a collective that also helms a small recording studio upstairs. So far they’ve brought some heavy-hitters to town — last fall Bonnie Prince Billy, Bill Callahan and Cass McCombs all played in rapid succession — but they’ve also gained a reputation for an eclectic and forward-thinking booking philosophy.
Some upcoming shows that will be worth your while:
TONIGHT, March 22: Rough Francis + Ravi Shavi
ROUGH FRANCIS is a young band with an unusually heavy sense of history. Three of the Burlington, VT-based band’s members — Bobby Jr., Urian and Julian — are the sons of Bobby Hackney Sr., bassist and vocalist of the legendary Detroit proto-punk band DEATH, who crafted a uniquely fiery brand of propulsive rock in the era of MOR disco. (Their amazing story is told in the 2012 doc, “A Band Called Death.” Watch the trailer.)
Although they began as a tribute to Death, the band quickly found their own style — showcased on its rough-and-tumble, gritty debut, “Maximum Soul Power” (Riothouse Records).
Openers RAVI SHAVI kick up a righteous groove too — be sure to show up early!
SUNDAY, March 23: Death Vessel + Purple Ivy Shadows
Joel Thibodeau’s Death Vessel project is as otherwordly and delicate as the moniker suggests. Sometimes the band is just Joel and a rotating cast of guests — but these days the lineup includes Jeffrey Underhill (Honeybunch), Rachel Blumberg (The Decemberists) and singer-songwriter Liz Isenberg.
And be sure to catch a super-rare set from the reunited Purple Ivy Shadows, who released some excellent records on Dark Beloved Cloud and Slow River before calling it quits in the 2002. Do not pass go!
THE COLUMBUS THEATRE | 270 Broadway, Providence, RI 02903
Mar 28: Magik Markers with Pixels
Mar 29: Lonesome Leash with Diane Cluck and Orion Rigel Dommisse
Apr 1: Arc Iris Record Release Show with Sugar Honey Ice Tea + Chris Daltry (The ‘Mericans/Purple Ivy Shadows)
May 10: Sharon van Etten
Purchase tickets at Olympic Records, Armageddon Shop, and at ColumbusTheatre.com.
COLUMBUS MARQUEE SHOT BY ROUGH FRANCIS.