Had I heard last years Awkward Breeds LP without knowing anything about the people who created it, I would not have guessed that Columbus, Ohio four-piece The Sidekicks had such strong ties to the punk / hardcore world. The DIY group plays basements and house shows, releases split 7″ singles with bands like Tiger’s Jaw, makes the annual pilgrimage to Gainesville, Florida for Fest, and are generally scuzzy and raw performers. The album, on the other hand – polished production, total hooks, very poppy and infectious, connecting the dots between Weezer, The Replacements and Elvis Costello. (That split actually has a fantastic cover of the latter’s “Angel’s Wanna Wear My Red Shoes.”)
The band is currently on a late summer tour with Philly’s Hop Along – the two were also tourmates this spring on a run of European dates. Tonight they make their way through Philly to play the First Unitarian Church, and I swapped emails with singer-guitarist Steve Ciolek about Columbus, new music and The Sidekicks’ place in the punk rock world.
The Key: Tell me about the Columbus scene. The only other current band I know from there is the folk-ish group Saintseneca, which is also very DIY but with a totally different sound. Is there much cross-pollination between the different DIY players? Does OSU wind up being a hub?
Steve Ciolek: Columbus is great, there’s really a lot of different little scenes depending on what you’re into. But yeah, we definitely have existed more in the house-show DIY scene there until more recently when we’ve been playing a couple clubs and stuff. I’ve been playing with Saintseneca for the past couple years (as have a lot of other Columbus folks intermittently), so you’d be right about the cross-pollination. Our band has also had various players in the underground scene fill in at shows for us (including Saintseneca members actually). It’s pretty awesome how many different bands include members of other bands too. Ryan (Starinsky, bassist) plays in a band called Nasty Habit with the drummer of Tin Armor, and there’s lots of bands that offshoot from the pop punk band Delay, intermingling with all sorts of folks. OSU keeps things fresh and keeps the punk scene from being too samey and jaded. Continue reading →