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Laura Stevenson and the Cans, Joe Fletcher to visit Columbus fresh from South by Southwest festival

Courtesy of Dave Gaiwacke

A 200-person cafe is a drastic switch from playing for a mass of blurry faces at a festival, but two artists fresh out of South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, will return to a more intimate setting in Columbus.

Laura Stevenson and the Cans is scheduled to play at Rumba Café on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Joe Fletcher is scheduled to be the opening act. 

The smaller show size might be more comfortable for both artists. 

“Sometimes I feel more energized from a smaller show,” said Laura Stevenson, lead singer for Laura Stevenson and the Cans. “It’s better than a sea of faces.”

Fletcher agreed, noting the more intimate setting of a smaller venue. 

“(SXSW) is the fantasy land,” Fletcher said. “Rumba Café-type places are what I do all the time, all year long.”

The venue is familiar territory for Fletcher, an Americana singer. He played at Rumba Café on Feb. 5 with Brown Bird. 

Todd Dugan, managing partner at Rumba Café, said Fletcher contacted him about returning to the venue on his way through Columbus. 

“He kind of fit what I was looking for, for the Laura Stevenson show,” Dugan said. “Rumba is a type of room he does well.” 

But Fletcher isn’t alone in his familiarity with the city. 

The members of Laura Stevenson and the Cans are looking forward to returning for the food.

“We sample the local cuisine,” Stevenson said. For Columbus, the members plan on heading to Skyline Chili. 

“We do enjoy Skyline quite a bit,” she said. 

Fletcher also plans to hit a specific restaurant: Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace.

“I have a favorite hot dog place I am looking forward to getting back to,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher’s setup will differ from Stevenson’s, as his usual band will not accompany him at Rumba Café

“I’ll play acoustic guitar and sing. That’s it,” Fletcher said. 

For his SXSW performance, he played with a backing band, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons. 

Before beginning her own band, Stevenson toured with Bomb the Music Industry, a punk-ska rock band. While she carries over influences from her previous band, the punk style is not as prevalent in her current music. 

“I think we have a lot of punk influences, but it doesn’t clearly come out in the music,” Stevenson said.

The influences are there, but are not audible, she said, and Laura Stevenson and the Cans have taken on a more indie-pop style. 

“We experiment with different genres and make it our own,” she said. 

Both Laura Stevenson and the Cans and Joe Fletcher are scheduled to release new albums in the next few months. Stevenson said her album “Wheel” is scheduled to drop on April 23, and Fletcher said his album is scheduled to release in June.

Stevenson said the band will play new songs off “Wheel” at Rumba Café

For the newest album though, Stevenson said the band is thinking of dropping “and the Cans” off the group name. The Cans band name began as the name for Stevenson’s backing band for whoever “can” play at the time. 

“We are in a transitional period,” Stevenson said, and the band is no longer in its ragtag beginning phase. 

Stevenson said the band is becoming more serious, and because the lineup is steadier, the backing band name is less necessary. 

Tickets are available online for $10 through Vendini.

The Rumba Café is located at 2507 Summit St.

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