Do you love bikes? Do you like helping those in need? Then we have the perfect place for you to visit, and to help.
Cola Town Bike Collective (CTBC) is a community bike shop whose mission is “to educate and empower the community by providing a welcoming space to learn about bicycle repair, engage in maintenance practices, and promote safe operation through outreach and advocacy activities.” They help spread their good natured mission throughout Columbia with their bicycle repair network, which provides accessible and free-to-use bike repair stands throughout the Midlands, as well as The Reliable Transportation Initiative.
For every bike they sell, they donate back to the community. Every paid repair equals five free or low cost repairs for someone in need. In a sense, what you give them, they return to the community tenfold. This program ensures that nobody is without a good pair of wheels to help them get to where they need to be. Access to bikes helps those experiencing homeless achieve a more stable living situation than if they were on their feet all day.
Their mission is a valiant one, and unfortunately, now this shop needs your help. They’re in danger of losing their space, as the building is being sold, which puts all the progress they’ve made to better our community at risk. Recently, Freeway’s talented rock band, the Midnight Monarchs, performed at their #SaveOurShop campaign to raise money and awareness to the shop and the circumstances they’ve found themselves in. Big thanks to Will Brennan of Columbia’s City Council for having us!
Everybody deserves a mode of transportation, because without it, getting ahead in life is that much tougher. CTBC gives them a leg up. Or rather, a pedal up.
If you wish to help them out, or just want to donate to a great cause, visit their website and help them save their shop. They’re currently 30k away from their goal in their efforts to buy the location and get necessary repairs done on the building, and anything you can provide helps.
Over the weekend, on August 19th, Charleston-based band Homemade Haircuts released their debut album Sun Showers. They celebrated its release—and the coinciding birthday of drummer and Freeway teacher Blake Hunter—by performing downtown in Columbia’s New Brookland Tavern, with three opening bands who absolutely knocked it out of the park, keeping the energy high the entire night with performance after epic performance.
First up was Clay Dixon and The Piccadillies, a folk-indie band from Gainesville, Florida, who came to Columbia while on a mini-tour. They opened with a cover of Hozier’s Like Real People Do, setting the tone before performing the first of their many great original songs that just kept raising the bar. The lead singer was definitely a crowd-pleaser, charismatic and kind, telling the backstory of each eclectic song they played. With the surprising and wicked use of a banjo and cello came songs such as Vice and The Warlock Witch of Armageddon that are guaranteed to worm—no pun intended—their way into your mind for weeks after hearing them for the first time. This band is geeky and colorful, and every member was a joy to interact with. What more could you ask from your next favorite band? Their EP, Live From My Home, is available on Spotify and YouTube.
Following the Piccadillies is an indie-rock band also based out of Charleston, Whitehall, The Band. From the very first song they played, it was obvious that their eccentric and pulsing music was going to rock the tavern. Every member made the stage their own, moving around in the way only dedicated rockers do, headbanging and swinging long hair around. They filled every inch of the space with life, matching the crowd’s high-energy with their own ten-fold. It’s obvious that every member is in love with their experimental and loud jamming songs that will leave your ears ringing and head spinning in the best way possible. And if that wasn’t cool enough, they’ll be going on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls. Yes, THE Goo Goo Dolls. Be sure to check out their album Ocean Fiction and their latest EP Garden Song, also on Spotify.
The final opener of the night was Paisley and the Birdwalkers based in South Carolina, with the frontwoman being Freeway’s very own awesome teacher Paisley Marie Suttlemyre. This all-girl band absolutely dominated the stage with their killer vocals, lovely harmonies, and fun fairy lights decorating the drum set. They seamlessly mixed multiple genres together—country, folk, pop, indie, rock, probably every other one— into a lively and killer rendition of their creative and dynamic original songs, including my personal favorite Solar Flare, a powerful ballad of female power. They kept the crowd’s energy up even as the night and drinks waned down, readying the stage for Homemade Haircuts. Even though they played last, they cemented a spot into the memory of all the listeners for many months to come. Check out their singles, Solar Flare and Hide from the Rain, on Spotify.
And finally, for the reason we’re here: the homies themselves, Homemade Haircuts. Paisley returned to the stage as the bassist, and this band took the lull of the late Friday night and ramped the energy all the way back to a thousand. Heavy and fast drums, killer guitars, and creative lyrics, the performance was a celebration of Sun Showers and all bands that played before them. At one point the lead singer of the Picaddillies hopped on stage to assist on a song with a tambourine. Voices were hoarse from all the well-deserved cheering and singing. They played every song on their new album before ending the night with their most popular song, Fairy Tale, as a thrilling finisher.
Overall, the night was one to remember. Every single band that played that night was amazing, the musicians were kind on and off the stage, and they deserve every ounce of praise that can be given.
Stream Sun Showers on Spotify, and support all these other bands!
Join our Rockbands as they kick off the town of Blythewood’s Independence Day celebrations in Doko Park! The bands will be performing all afternoon leading up to Blythewood’s celebration later in the evening.