Afroman Performs at the Hideaway

Co-written by Aaron Bumgarner and Cathryn English

Afroman, famous for songs like “Because I Got High,” regularly rolls through southeast Lafayette. Last Friday, we finally made it to a show. The Hideaway is a bit of a dive, tucked behind Lafayette’s worst Pizza Hut. Our only expectation for the night was to hear “Because I Got High”. We saw no reason set the bar any higher.

Each attendee got a copy of the new Afroman album, Marijuana Music. A quick internet search turns up the fact that he has released at least 28 albums. Still, Afroman has just one hit song, originally popularized by the Howard Stern Show. “Because I Got High” was an international hit. He embraces his lack of success with grace, even performing a song titled “One Hit Wonder”.

10576835_548319375314013_1546409453_nThe first perfomer (missed his name) sounded bad at the back of the bar, so we grabbed a drink and got closer. Still bad. Next up was PLOT, a local hip hop group with a small following. The third act was the Insomniacs, who brought a large and devoted crowd.

At some point during PLOT, Afroman entered the building. His afro was immaculate, he smelled nice, and he wore a shiny short-sleeve turquoise suit, obviously custom tailored. He was happy to converse with fans, and asked us for requests. We couldn’t tell if he genuinely expected the crowd to be familiar with his huge body of work. We bought him a shot of SoCo to change the subject.

Wish you were here.
Wish you were here.

10728554_548319055314045_672761767_nThe crowd had thinned once Afroman took the stage, but he got a wild response. We were both surprised by his deep, soulful voice and his commanding stage presence. Even more exciting were the numerous times Afroman busted out his double neck guitar. Though impressed with his skills, we were greatly disappointed that he never touched the upper 12-string neck.

Mid-set, Afroman took a quick intermission from the music to tell several vulgar and mediocre jokes. Shortly after a pilled-out townie was punched in the face by woman with only one arm, the crowd dwindled to us, a pregnant couple, three frat boys, and a very short Vietnam veteran shaking his cane to the beat. Unfazed, Afroman maintained his level of showmanship until the end. We left the bar listening to his new CD on the way to Jimmy John’s, and both agreed that Afroman is best experienced live.


The Map Collective Revisited: Your Favorite Place Downtown


About 10 months ago, we put out a post about using Google Maps to collectively map what you like most about our town.

In partnership with The City of Lafayette’s Economic Development Department, we’re relaunching and re-asking for more of your input on this topic.

The City will be collecting and using this information for a 3-day Project for Public Spaces ‘Placemaking Workshop’ October 6th, 7th and 8th . Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is an internationally recognized, nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.


View The Map Collective: Your Favorite Place in Town in a larger map

What should I write about?

Ever had an idea for Downtown that didn’t make any sense? Write about that.

Want a zip-line from Triple XXX to Sgt. Preston’s? Let us know.

Want to hold an outdoor movie series featuring your all-time favorite martial art’s movies? I’d go to that.

How do I participate?

1) Log into a Google account — any Google account — to edit the map.

2) Click where it says “View The Map Collective: Your Favorite Place in Town in a larger map” above.

3) Click the orange “Edit” button.

4) Some tools will pop up at the top of the map window. You will see a hand, a blue marker, and a squiggly line. Select the blue marker, and drag it to where you want to leave a point on the map. A window will pop up looking for text. Tell the story in the window! Tell us all about it!

  • What happened here?
  • Why is this place awesome?
  • What makes it special?
  • Who makes it special?
  • What should other visitors look for?
  • Please limit your contributions to public spaces, and don’t include your poor grandmother’s address. I’m sure her pie is lovely.

The squiggly line gives you the option of adding a path to the map. Want to draw a line along the Wabash Heritage Trail? Need to draw a line from Columbian Park to Frozen Custard? Knock your socks off.

5) If you want to give it a funny or custom marker, click on the marker in the text box, and it will give you the option to choose amongst Google’s options or even to upload your own.

Please feel free to play, edit, contribute, and explore.


Slayter Slammer! Tomorrow Night.

“Fall Concert 2014 (Presented by PSUB, PSG, SCC, and RHA) featuring Walk The Moon and special guests Mike Mains and The Branches! On Slayter Hill, September 12th at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free! Bring your friends and come out and enjoy our 3rd annual Fall Concert on Slayter Hill.  Joining us this year are VH1 You Oughta Know Artist Walk The Moon.  Walk The Moon is an Indie Rock band based out of Cincinnati, Ohio and are currently on tour with Panic! At The Disco.  Known for their chart topping songs “Anna Sun” and “Tightrope”, Walk The Moon have played large festivals such as Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo and have had numerous appearances on Late Night shows. Walk The Moon is excited to play a show at Purdue, so come check it out!”


WEDNESDAY: Art in the Park Season Finale

Lafayette Parks and Recreation hosted the 1st annual “Art in the Park” summer art and music series this year, a free family event held in Lafayette’s historic Columbian Park. Located on the recently fancified Memorial Island in the center of the Columbian Park pond area, Art in the Park features local artists, musicians and food trucks. It’s kind of like a mid-week mini-Mosey (without the drunken shenanigans) but with a focus on the arts and on family entertainment. It’s a great regular Wednesday evening event, one where you can take the kids, get a snack, play on a gorgeous playground, and catch a live music show in one fell swoop.

I asked Parks Coordinator Alex Dewitt what the Parks Department wanted to see when they started this free event. “[We] wanted to bring families together outdoors, inspire creativity in children and build an appreciation for local arts and culture,” she said. Early in the season, the Parks Department decided to clean up the old Memorial Island area, and discovered that under all the old craggy shrubbery were networks of lovely old rock gardens and flower beds. They revived the old gardens with new landscaping, generally cleaning up the island and stage area. It’s a handsome venue today. This was definitely a goal for the Parks team. But most importantly, Dewitt said, “we wanted to provide a safe, beautiful environment for the community to come together” and appreciate the arts.

On a personal note, it was great to see city-sanctioned events held in this public space. Growing up in Lafayette in the 80s, Columbian Park was kind of a dead area in town, but after years of development and imagination, Columbian Park is a clean, vibrant community hub again. Folks wandered in and out of the event area with kids big and small, tapped a foot to music, got some shaved ice from the Kona Ice truck, or a taco from the Lkora truck. On the nights I was there, my family saw a special 1960’s cover set from local cool kids Popular Ego, and on another night, a vibrant and smooth session from Clive Caribe. Folks like artist Stacy Bogan and the sublime crafters from Blue Monday were out selling their wares. Really, it is a stellar way to spend a Wednesday evening over the summer.

Art in the Park’s season finale is happening this week, and the Parks team plans to end the inaugural season with high fives all around, more great bands, and more great art and food vendors. Get out there and support the local arts.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014, from 6:30-8:30pm
Cost: FREE
Memorial Island Stage, Columbian Park
Featuring: Traveling, Broke, and Out of Gas & The Prannies

Follow Art in the Park on Facebook to stay current on future information and dates.

Big Latch On Lafayette, 2014


Celebrating Big Latch On 2012 in Lafayette. Photo by Alexis Roberts.
Celebrating Big Latch On 2012 in Lafayette. Photo by Alexis Roberts.

For the third year in a row, mothers and children in the Greater Lafayette area will be joining a worldwide record-setting event called Big Latch On. Part of World Breastfeeding Week, Big Latch On is a  simultaneous breastfeeding event to promote breastfeeding awareness and the development of support networks for breastfeeding mothers. Local experts will be on hand to answer questions.

Big Latch On started in New Zealand in 2005 and has since become a global tradition. The global record for Big Latch On currently stands at 14,536. Local and international organizers hope to break that record again this year.

In addition to building a personal support network, women have the opportunity to learn about their legal rights. Indiana law has a specific provision permitting breastfeeding anywhere a woman has a legal right to be. In addition, breastfeeding women have rights regarding expression and storage of milk while at work.

This year, Big Latch On will be observed locally on Saturday, August 2. Participants are asked to arrive around 10 AM in order to be ready for the official breastfeeding count that will take place at precisely 10:30. Space for Greater Lafayette’s observation of Big Latch On is being provided by the West Lafayette Public Library.

RSVP on Facebook or contact Angie Cotton for more information.


The Vallures

The Vallures’ girl group sound enlivens Purdue Summer Concert Series

The weather was unseasonably cool on the evening of July 23 but Bloomington’s The Vallures helped heat things up with one of the best performances on Purdue University campus in years.

The girl (and a couple dudes) group offered an electric, high-energy set for Purdue’s Summer Concert series, a July event put on by Purdue Student Union Board for the last several years.

The atmosphere was a little different to what The Vallures are used to when they visit Greater Lafayette. Previous appearances had the band at the Knickerbocker Saloon and other late night, downtown bar venues. At Purdue, the band led by vocalist Jes Franco (never to be confused with the late B-movie/sleaze director Jess Franco), guitarist Meredith Hubbell, drummer Dani Graf, keyboardist Libby Sherer, and Laura Wanner on brass, auxiliary percussion and dynamic energy performed outside while the sun was shining. Trees blocked some of the stage view and a pretty sedate but attentive and appreciative crowd filled the front lawn of the Purdue Memorial Union. Burgers were grilled nearby while only a handful of folks and a few little kids got up and rocked out during the second half of The Vallures’ show.

As most know by now, The Vallures have mined Motown, Phil Spector and other ‘60s music to decent regional success. At Purdue, the band took on classics like Betty Everett’s “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s in His Kiss),” “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes, “Party Lights” by Claudia Clark and the original Gloria Jones version of “Tainted Love.” Other tunes included Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” the Dion hit “Runaround Sue” and the band’s traditional closer/wedding reception staple “Shout” by the Isley Brothers. However, The Vallures are much tighter and proficient since their last Lafayette visits a couple years ago. Hubbell and Graf were powerhouses at their respective instruments and could hang with any player in original bands.

Speaking of original, The Vallures have started sprinkling in original tunes into their sets. “Surf Song” and “Dance! Before the Police Come!” were mixed in and have a soulful sound that would appeal to fans of the Daptone discography.

Dressed in matching black and white stripe dresses (the male bassist and saxophone player also donned black and white), The Vallures were dynamite and at a higher level than they’ve ever been. The band was a great get for the Purdue Summer Concert series. Last week, local singer-songwriter Briagha McTavish made her series debut and next week will feature Lafayette heavy hitter Michael Kelsey, who will take the stage at 5:30 p.m. July 30 to wrap up the series.

Opening Wednesday’s show was Mark Cooper of Green Room Rockers backed by White Vinyl Sky’s Bobby Egan on guitar and Alex Mason on drums. Cooper revealed the local band mash-up had only two practices before the show. The trio sounded great performing GRR and WVS tunes and a healthy dose of covers, including Ginuwine’s down and dirty “My Pony.” With the majority of the audience over 50-years-old, the nazty tune that mentions “Juices flowing down your thigh” and “Till I reach your ponytail” made me want to go like this, but it was still funny, catchy and appreciated.

Hopefully the 2015 edition of the Purdue Summer Concert Series will look to regionally successful acts like The Vallures to compliment the local talent. It gives the longstanding event more flavor.


Mind of Miller’s eclectic sound shows growth, exploration for young musicians

What’s in the Mind of Miller?

Quite a bit, it turns out. The new band led by LD Miller, former harmonica wunderkind now 20-year-old multi-instrumentalist, and Blake Watts, who has quickly inserted himself as the top young drummer in the scene, combine elements of funk, blues, rock, psychedelic and even EDM for a unique sound.

Miller still brings out the harmonica, but when he does, a pedal board and an arsenal of effects creates more of a tripped out sound than his family band blues-rock licks from the last several years. Miller has gone light years beyond a mini John Popper.

Yes, Miller is still a growing musician and this project is quite the showcase for what the youngest of the Miller brood has been interested in musically.

During the July 18 set at the Knickerbocker Saloon, Miller, sporting an afro and funky unbuttoned shirt, transitioned from bass, guitar, keyboards, harmonica, sequencer and sampler fueled by a laptop of beats. Most tunes were instrumental except for a moody, slower number or two that offered distorted vocals from Miller.

The young crowd was timid at first at first — taking in the wall of sound created by just two dudes —  but dozens soon rose out of their seats and came up to the stage to shake it.

LD Miller
LD Miller

As longtime fans can attest, Mind of Miller is far removed from the Clayton Miller Band/The Millers/Miller acts that have been top draws in Greater Lafayette (and beyond) for about 15 years. I first interviewed LD when he was about 7-years-old and have watched him grow from a polite little kid to a precocious preteen to an adolescent who somehow balanced family, school, national talk shows, reality TV, national touring and living in Las Vegas to now a young adult exploring styles of music that is aimed at his peers.

Miller couldn’t achieve his sound without Watts, however. On this night, Watts was a monster. On some tunes, his organic beats mixed with Miller’s electric creations but the best were where Watts was let loose. The young man who also backs The Prannies showed just enough flash to raise eyebrows but not too much to distract from the songs. Watts was fresh from the Big Drum Bonanza in Los Angeles and was especially on fire at this show.

Miller and Watts have not yet scratched the surface of their respective talents, but Mind of Miller is a good avenue for their musical journeys.

Blake Watts
Blake Watts

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