In honor of our Cool Issue and fall preview, we wanted to take a look at some of the local-music-centric things happening in the pre-winter months. As it turns out, a theme this year could be “The Comeback,” as several artists (some from way back and others from more recently) and a late ’90s/early ’00s festival return to not just bask in their former glory, but to also take the projects to a new level.
• Last weekend at Silverton’s Play by Play, pioneering Cincinnati Hip Hop trio Mood returned to the local stage after a lengthy hiatus while each member worked on different projects and solo albums. The group was one of a select few local Hip Hop acts to score a big-time record contract in the ’90s, releasing music on wide-reaching indie label, TVT Records (which has played home to artists like Nine Inch Nails, Guided By Voices, Ying Yang Twins and Lil Jon). The group helped launch the career of its producer DJ Hi-Tek, now a prolific, super-in-demand producer and solo artist. Mood’s forthcoming album, Hall of Fame, will reportedly feature production by Mood member Jahson as well as DJ Lethal, onetime turntablist for Limp Bizkit and House of Pain. No word on a release date just yet, but keep an eye out and ear on wannabattle.com and myspace.com/moodhiphop for new music and album and show news.
• The Customs, probably the key early Garage/Punk band formed in Cincinnati (with an international following thanks to the numerous covers done of the group’s song “Long Gone”), reunited last year when Shake It Records celebrated the 30th anniversary of the release of the band’s first singles (some of the first ever recordings issued by Shake It).
Really Long Gone was an extension of Shake It’s 1997 customs compilation (Real Long Gone), this time featuring even more bonus material. The rebirth of that album is now getting yet another outlet, as Get Hip Records — one of the key Garage labels in the world — prepares to release a vinyl version of the latest incarnation of the collection. The band is planning to reunite again to celebrate the vinyl edition — on Oct. 9, the band will be joined by Get Hip’s influential The Cynics and local disciples The Long Gones. (myspace.com/thecustoms)
• The Popopolis music festival, an annual celebration of local, regional and national Pop/Rock bands, was started in 1998 at Newport’s Southgate House without many expectations. But it immediately developed into one of the more popular “package fest” shows in the area. (Full disclosure: I was a co-founder of the event.) The festival — which ended with the 2002 Popopolis — spotlighted the big-shots and up-and-comers from Cincinnati’s strong Pop/Rock scene and also attracted national headliners like Nada Surf and Superdrag. On Oct. 2 and 3, Fountain Square’s Bill Donabedian (a co-creator of the MidPoint Music Festival) is bringing back Popopolis, turning it into a two-day, outdoor concert, with Friday focused on some of the original performers (many of whom will reunite for one night only) and Saturday offering the best of today’s melodic Rock and Indie music practitioners. Those reuniting for Friday’s Popopolis include the original lineups of Saving Ray, Clabbergirl, Rockets to Mars and Throneberry, one of the more successful Cincinnati bands of the ’90s (the band ended before Popopolis, but singer/guitarist Jason Arbenz did perform at the event acoustically). Saturday will be headlined by national wave-makers Bad Veins (the duo’s first Fountain Square show since its hugely successful CD release party there earlier this summer) and feature sets by State Song, The Seedy Seeds, Wussy and several others. (myfountainsquare.com)
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