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Techno funk artist J.WAIL aims to have a whale of a time in Columbus concert

Courtesy of Jonah Lipsky

From performing in the parking lots outside Phish’s 2009 tour venues before and after its shows, J.WAIL is set to park in Columbus for the first time this week.

The techno funk artist is scheduled to perform 11:45 p.m. Friday at Woodlands Tavern.

Prior to launching his career in 2005, J.WAIL was known just by his real name, Jonah Lipsky, as a musician performing with his jam-band J.A.W.S., short for Jonah and the Anti-Whalers. Lipsky said when he decided to go solo, he changed his name to J.WAIL in recognition of how often he heard his name connected to the story “Jonah and the Whale.”

Though his name and music have evolved, Lipsky said he attempts to hold on to some of his musical roots.

“We’re still trying to have some of that jam influence,” Lipsky said.

Lipsky has been able to keep that influence by incorporating guitar into his music. His songs “TEKKI” and “Lickable Mango Junction” feature guitar use and electronic sounds.

Lipsky said when performing live, some of his songs are more “produced,” which means he sticks to the recorded version closely in the live setting. He said, however, he prefers improvising other tracks in his collection that leave room to do so for live performances.

“On some of our other songs … there’s nothing that says it’s going to be this many measures,” Lipsky said.

Lipsky’s most recent album, “Lazers n’ Flowers,” was released on Feb. 21, and is free to download.

Lipsky said his biggest musical influence was the band Phish, which he accompanied on a 2009 tour, although he never shared the stage with them.

With a stage, portable generator and about 10,000 stickers, Lipsky followed Phish’s tour and performed in the parking lots of the same venues after it finished its set. Lipsky said there were times when he performed both before and after Phish played. He recalled playing until the sun came up at one venue.

Lipsky’s Friday show will be his first in Columbus.

Erica Blosser, Lipsky’s publicist, runs the lights during his shows and said she has yet to get tired of his music.

“It builds such plateaus,” said Blosser, who also runs a music business with Lipsky called Bridging the Music, LLC. “It just builds this anticipation inside of you … it never ends.”

Paul Painter, who is in charge of booking at Woodlands Tavern, said the show is scheduled to begin at 11:45 p.m., with pop band Teen Fiction taking the stage before J.WAIL, who goes on around midnight. Painter also said the venue is looking forward to having Lipsky perform.

But for Lipsky, being there won’t just mean he’s performing.

“I don’t even feel like it’s a performance,” Lipsky said. “It’s the art that I make.”

Tickets are $5 at the door.


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction and clarification: 

Correction: May 30, 2012

An earlier version of this story stated the show is scheduled to begin at 11 p.m. with a pop band named Teen Fiction. In fact, J.WAIL is scheduled to perform at 11:45 p.m. after Teen Fiction performs 9 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Clarification: May 30, 2012

An earlier version of this story stated that J.WAIL, whose real name is Jonah Lipsky, is a Colorado musician. In fact, he is from North Carolina but currently lives in Colorado.

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