THAT’S A WRAP:
FROM PAGE 35
Boston Spaceships, at the Southgate House Thursday, a five-piece Indie Rock band from Cleveland called Scrimshaw was crammed into a corner at downtown restaurant Buddakhan’s Classic Rock Café, playing some intense, visceral Afghan Whigs-inspired sounds that sucked in a few of the small but faithful crowd (including, of course, the obligatory drunk couple stumbling around the front of the “stage” in an effort to “dance”).
This scene repeated itself all weekend — popular bands drew massive crowds and less popular ones drew well, too (every venue was at or near capacity the whole weekend), bringing their A-games so perhaps they could do the same next year. Not that there weren’t complaints. Non-U.S.
bands like Lonely China Day (from China) and The Mocks (from Mexico) received mixed reactions. On Thursday especially, time slots had to be shifted around due to lastsecond cancellations, meaning fans were waiting around certain venues for bands that weren’t showing up and other artists had to play earlier, confusing the matter even more. At the Subway, the amazing Punk Funk trio The Read played a short, blazing set almost an hour early, due to a car wreck on the way to the fest by Columbus’ Blastronauts (they’re OK; their van is totaled). A small crowd saw The Read deliver another typically intense set, but most of their fans showed up at 10 p.m., missing them by about a half hour. Suggestion for next year: Sandwich boards outside every venue with the updated schedule posted. Maybe smoke signals? Saturday night, the Know Theatre grew more and more packed in anticipation of a “secret show” at midnight.
Superb Hip Hop artists Yoshi (Ann Arbor) and God Made Me Funky (Canada) kept the venue hopping. Even Funk legend Bootsy Collins stopped by. When Radio 4 was announced as the secret band from the stage, there was a mix of “Who?” murmurs and instant recognition. Even those disappointed that the secret wasn’t quite special enough had to admit that Radio 4’s Go-Go/Gang of Four/Clash-like take on Funk and Dance music was a great way to close out the fest.
But the highlights definitely outweighed the lowlights.
For our complete day-by-day coverage of the festival (including reviews and photos), go to blogs.citybeat.com/spill_it/ and head to citybeat.com (click the “Maximum MidPoint” story) for nearly 1000 photos from the event.
Without further ado, here’s this year’s edition of the MPMFYs, spotlighting some of the best moments from MidPoint’s seventh year.
Best Immigration Reform Commentary
It was quick and cute, but The Mocks — an Electronic duo featuring a bassist, laptop beats and singer Ely Mock — introduced themselves as “from Mexico,” and then Ely added with a smirk, “We come in peace.” Don’t worry, Ely — you’re always welcome in Cincinnati (Butler County might be a different matter).
Best Pre-Fest Press
Despite some internal worries about being a media outlet trying to get the attention of other media competitors, Cincinnati’s TV, blog and print media were fantastically supportive of the festival. All four local TV networks did coverage and even our fellow weekly paper, Cin Weekly, did a giant spread previewing the event. But the best sign that CityBeat is going in the right direction with MidPoint? Over at the Neus Subjex message boards — the most snotty, Punk Rock message boards in the land — a thread was started that was titled, “MidPoint actually decent.” We have officially arrived (even if someone did humorlessly say that the festival was “like the Mad Frog exploded all over Cincinnati”).
Best Nightlife Juxtaposition
Because of the deficiency of live music venues in downtown Cincinnati, several unexpected clubs took a chance on MidPoint At the Inner Peace Center, the smell of incense made for some nice aroma therapy throughout the event, while Javier’s provided delicious burrito relief. But at dance club The Lodge and party-bar Cadillac Ranch, the clubs’ regulars made for some bizarre culture clashes. At the Ranch, a bachelorette party (complete with giant inflatable penis) gathered around the club’s mechanical bull, while bands from as far away as Israel did their best to ignore the mayhem just a few feet away. Alas, it was all quite peaceful and both clubs should be commended for supporting the event.
Best Place to Escape
The “black box” theater at the Aronoff Center, as it was often refered, was properly nicknamed. A small black box with a stage. When the lights went down and artists like Wussy, The Purrs, Why? and Headlights played, the back of the crowd was lost in the darkness. Someone could have been making a hydrogen bomb in the back of that place and no one would have known.
Best Marathon Set
Bob Pollard loves the Southgate House (his favorite venue in the country!) and he always brings the Rock when he plays there. Despite debuting a brand new band, Boston Spaceships, he still managed a two-hour-plus show that lived up to the Guided by Voices legacy (he even played a couple of GBV faves for the faithful at the end). Why this didn’t sell out, I’ll never know.
Best Improvised ’80s Cover
Knoxville MPMF vets The Rockwells were impressive at the New Stage Collective on Thursday night. The band — known for their perfect Pop Rock and slaying sense of humor — were setting up their gear when Men at Work’s “Overkill” came over the P.A. One by one, the members started playing along, ending with a full chorus before returning to soundchecking