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Friday, May 29, 2009

Troika Music Festival Benefit Tonight

This just in via Facebook, with thanks for the tip to Triangle drummer James Hepler..

The 5th annual Pin Projekt fund raiser for the Troika Music Festival will take place on May 29th, 2009 at the Pinhook on 117 W. Main Street in Durham. The event features an auction of used bowling pins that local artists, musicians, and craftspeople have turned into painted or carved pieces of decorative and functional art. This year’s event features the work of over a dozen artists, including Shirle Hale-Koslowski, Wendy Spitzer, and Triangle favorite Jodi Hoover (

Viewing and cocktails begin at 6:30 p.m. with the auction at 8:00 p.m. There is a $5 cover charge that will be collected at the door.

Cocktail hors d'oeuvres are being provided by several amazing local restaurants:Alivia's, Amelia's, Chamas Brazilian Steakhouse, The James Joyce, Piazza Italia, Piedmont, Pop's Backdoor Pizza, Revolutions, and Six Plates.

Music will be provided by Cool John Ferguson beginning at 10:00 pm. Cool John and his band will be among the first blues acts to play at the Pinhook, which is one of Durham’s newest venues. Cool John has collaborated with many well-known artists, including Taj Mahal, Kenny Wayne Shepard, and BB King.

All proceeds from the Pin Projekt benefit the Troika Music Festival, which is a three-day, Durham-based festival featuring local and regional bands happening November 5th-7th, 2009.

“We're lucky to host this one of a kind event in its 5th year. The auction is an important fundraiser for us, but more than that, it's an opportunity to host an art event affordable for many. If you have not attended a Pin Projekt, make this your year!” says Chair Melissa Thomas.
More information is available at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ponytail Trots Through Town This Week

Ponytail is pretty much my "hometown band"! I grew up near Baltimore and my sister went to Maryland Institute College of Art, which is where Ponytail got started, a class project formed by teacher Jeremy Sigler. The band has exploded onto the indie scene, with their trademark primal energy and experimental punk sound. They are in the midst of their first tour as a headlining act, supporting their second release, "Ice Cream Spiritual", and now... KAAAPOW!!! They will be here in Chapel Hill at Local 506 on Sunday, May 24th. On, the reviewer of their SXSW show awarded the band "most original sound".

I had the chance to do an e-mail Q&A with the Ponytail's Dustin Wong, who was kind enough to take a break from the sonic mayhem to give us these answers:

I see from your various blogs that you have seen a lot of the world lately! How is the tour going so far?

The tour is going great! we brought along our friend to help with the tour and he's really adding an awesome layer of vibes to the whole journey.

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you on tour?

Well, last night in Lawrence, Kansas I was sitting outside with a few talking and this huge ultimate fighting style dude started picking fights with the crowd outside the venue. He said something about wanting everybody's nuts and he took off his shirt and flexed his muscles. That's not the strangest thing that has happened but it happened and it was bizarre.

Do you foresee quitting your day jobs as artists to become full-time artists, only much louder?

That sounds cool, but probably won't get any louder...

It sounds to me like your music is very jam based, improvisational. How do you approach writing?

When we write we do normally start with a simple idea and jam it out until everyone in the band is satisfied once we have a part we work around that part. Normally if we have something it begins in the middle and we build part that come prior and after. At the end all the parts kinda fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Tell us a bit about your visual art. It looks like you definitely have a hand in putting together your album artwork, yes?

I did mostly video work but did my share of drawings and paintings. We all contributed to the album art work. It was a pretty long process of us starting threads of images through email. I suggested to use Ken's artwork from when he was in high school and it seemed to fit well. After that everything kinda came into place!

Ponytail started as a quintet, but rumor has it that during a particularly intense solo, your bassist exploded. OK, I just made that up, but you now play without a bassist. Are you sticking with the quartet for now?

Yeah we're going to stick with 4 for now. Our fifth member was a keyboardist actually and he is an explosion! A really good guy.

I really enjoyed your laundromat video. How did that come about?

Pitchfork TV suggested and they were looking for laundromats everywhere in Brooklyn and Queens. It was a really fun time!

Who are your various influences, both musically and otherwise?

I like The Beach Boys and The Ventures. I love surrealism and Buddhism.

We look forward to seeing you in Chapel Hill! Will you say hi to all of my Balmer homies for me?


Many thanks to Dustin from Ponytail for taking the time to blog with us today. You can check out their latest release, "Ice Cream Spritual", and see them at Local 506 on May 24th.