Artistika: Casual Curious, The Brand New Life, and Hammer No More the Fingers

Mar 2nd, 2012 | By | Category: Entertainment, Sounds

Photo of Hammer No More the Fingers by Katei Cranford

Thursday nights I do my radio show on WUAG from 7-9PM. Afterwards, I generally go home or back to work, too tired to do anything too extravagant. My radio show is a concert preview show, intended to inform Greensboro of local shows and events. One of the shows I happened to be announcing was at Artistika, and it was free (!). I’d never been to Artistika before, but my coworker Rae said she would go with me, so I figured I’d go.

Artistika is a spacious event space located a few doors down from the Mellow Mushroom on Elm Street. It plays host to Electrofunk Fridays and the Gate City Getdown, as well as musical happenings. Thursday night, Casual Curious, The Brand New Life, and Hammer No More the Fingers took the stage. It was definitely an eclectic group of bands – Casual Curious are a dancy powerpop group, The Brand New Life manage to play funk-soul style music without sounding like a jam band, and Hammer No More the Fingers sounds like 90s rock n roll. The show was sponsored by the Mellow Mushroom and Live Original Local, the same group that puts on Tate Street Fest and WalkerFest.

Casual Curious took the stage at 9:15. They have evolved a lot as a band over the past few years, under the leadership of singer T. Lee Gunselman. Originally, Lee was joined by drummer Reed Benjamin (current WUAG production director and drummer of Jenny Besetzt), Alex Barbato on bass, and Isaac Boswell on guitar. From there, Casual Curious became a two piece – Lee had James Crosson join him on drums. After August of 2010, two became five – Pat Brown joined on guitar, Matt Northrup (WUAG music director, bassist of Mutant League, and guitar extraordinaire) on bass, Hunter Allen (who is a total badass to watch play) on drums, and Walter Fancourt (he later played with The Brand New Life) on various woodwinds ranging from saxophone to flute.

Photo of The Brand New Life by Katei Cranford

This was their first show since their return from an east coast tour promoting their new EP, ‘Lungs.’ They started their set with ‘She Song.’ Halfway through their set, Daniel Yount (of the Brand New Life) joined them, playing on a second drum set behind Hunter’s. The last song they played, “Done 4 Good,” had a really cool intro, as well as interesting vocal effects. They were really fun to watch, and had I not been sitting, I probably would’ve been dancing.

After Casual Curious came The Brand New Life. They’re an instrumental world/jazz group and have been around for a few years. Their band consists of eight members: Walter Fancourt (tenor sax, flute), Casey Cranford (alto sax), Seth Barden (bass), Evan Frierson (percussion), Daniel Yount (percussion), Ben Rayle (guitar), Sean Smith (trumpet), and Mamadou Mbengue (talking drum). They’ll be taking themselves down the southeast region for a tour.

Like Casual Curious, they’re a fun band that’s easy to dance to. I’m sure most of the crowd agreed – hardly anyone was standing still. They played songs I recognized from shows I went to two years ago, as well as songs I didn’t know. They finished up their set by 11, and the crowd was sad to see them go.

Lastly came Hammer No More the Fingers. Unlike the other two bands, who reside in Greensboro, they’re from Durham. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to catch their entire set due to my 8 AM class I would be attending the next morning. What I did catch was good – they were a good close to the night with a rock n roll vibe.

While all of these bands played, original films played on a white backdrop. These films were created by UNCG students, and submitted for the Carolina Film and Video Fest, which also happened last weekend. The videos were interesting – especially the stop motion films that went along with the music.

Artistika is definitely a place to check out, whether you like dancing or live music. It’s open Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 PM and 9 PM (respectively) til 2:30 AM.

Casual Curious

The Brand New Life

Hammer No More the Fingers

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