The Cola Concerts series continues its push to make big shows work in a socially distanced environment. Having just hosted a four-night stand from rising bluegrass star Billy Strings, the new occupant at the Columbia Speedway Entertainment Center keeps adding to its increasingly impressive spring calendar.
The latest big get comes in the form of the Indigo Girls. The folk-rock duo of Amy Ray and Emily Saliers — as famed for thoughtful anthems like “Closer to Fine” as for their vocal and active support of various environmental and political causes — will play on May 26.
The group’s next album, “Look Long,” will be their first since 2015, the longest break between albums in their 26-year career. The duo released a non-album single, “Long Ride,” in October, a striding and infectious roots-rock number that catalogs a year of American turmoil — “No job, no medicine / No food to eat / An epidemic of inequality, and a / A pandemic raging” — and encourages its listeners to “Hang on my friend, I know, I get it / It's gonna be a long ride.”
The Indigo Girls concert is the latest instance of Cola Concerts grabbing a name that has previously played downtown rock club The Senate — St. Paul and the Broken Bones hit the Speedway last fall; Shovels & Rope (May 1), Grateful Dead tribute act Dark Star Orchestra (recently announced for June 5 and 6) and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (Sept. 2) are currently on the schedule (though Isbell has likely outgrown The Senate since he played there in 2015, when it was still Music Farm Columbia).
In recent weeks, Cola Concerts also added powerhouse singer-songwriter Grace Potter (April 29) and jam band stalwarts the Disco Biscuits (June 18 and 19) to a spring that already featured Blackberry Smoke and North Mississippi Allstars (April 23), Wynonna Judd (April 25), Mt. Joy (May 15) and, uh, Fox News personality Greg Gutfeld (April 18).
These recent announcements continue a big bounce-back from Cola Concerts’ difficult fall, during which climbing COVID-19 numbers and cold weather only allowed it to get through four of the nine events on its initial slate. Most of those missed dates were postponed until the spring.