Due to the abundance of submissions/competitors this year, the Cincy Blues Society is expanding its annual “Cincy Blues Challenge” (now in its 12th year) to two days. The winners of the Challenge get to represent Cincinnati at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, while organizers will pick other artists from the competitions to perform at this summer’s Cincy Blues Fest.
The first day of the contest is Sunday at Germania Park in Colerain Township (site of previous Challenges), with music beginning at noon. Day 1 is dedicated to artists competing in the “Band” category. Admission is $15 (or you can join the Blues Society at the entrance gate and get in free); kids younger than 16 get in free with a paying adult. The lineup is still massive, with 25 groups performing, including Kelly Red and the Hammerheads, Tempted Souls, Voodoo Puppet, The Doug Hart Band, Miss Lissa & Company, The Blue Birds, Mudpies, The Blues Merchants, Conrail Saints and many more.
The solo performers and duos, normally a part of the big Germania Park event, will now compete May 27 at Mansion Hill Tavern in Newport. Music for the “Solo/Duo Challenge” starts at 7 p.m. and admission is $7 ($5 for Society members). Duking it out for solo/duo honors are Leo Clarke, Bad Bob Logsdon & Larry Bloomfield, Chris Yakopcic, Bob Dellaposta, Wild Mountain Berries and others.
For full details, go to cincyblues.org.
New Local Releases
• Indie foursome The Western releases its debut self-titled EP in conjunction with a show at Downtown club Mainstay this Saturday.
The well-produced EP showcases the band’s versatile, catchy sound, which veers from the textured modern/ vintage approach of Camera Obscura or She & Him to more punchy, driving songs. The musicians are air-tight and vocalists Leigh Ann Shivener wonderfully showcases her soulful, expressive pipes, proving to be one of the better lead singers in the area. Opener Charlie Hustle also has some new material to unveil — the band is making the tracks “Monkey Paw” and “Bull” available digitally at charliehustle.bandcamp.com on Saturday. Local group Where They Landed is also on Saturday’s bill. Showtime is 10 p.m. and cover is $5. (www.myspace.com/thewesternohio, thecharliehustle.com)
• Pop/Rock foursome The Flight Station will perform at the just-opened Covington club Radiodown (located just behind The Mad Hatter) Friday in honor of its new EP, Prepare for Impact. The EP is the band’s first effort for Cleveland’s Arcatek/Crushtone Music label and features the slick production work of Jim Wirt, who has worked with major label acts like Incubus, Jack’s Mannequin, Fiona Apple and Hoobastank. (Wirt also founded Crushtone.) With a crisp, powerful sound and big, hooky choruses, don’t be surprised if The Flight Station follows in Wirt’s pervious clients’ footsteps. Friday’s show kicks off at 7 p.m. and also features the band’s new labelmates, Anafair. Admission is $10 in advance (tickets are available at cincyticket.com) or $12 at the door and that will also get you a copy of the new disc. (www.theflightstationmusic.com)
• Masterful Indie Pop troupe The Minor Leagues are releasing their first DVD this Saturday with a free show at Northside Tavern. The band will screen a music video (included on the DVD) for its song “Travel Agent” at the show, which features special guests The Sleeping Sea and Chicago groups Midstates & the Choir of Ghosts and Panda Riot. The DVD — titled Leave The Lies Lie — also includes additional material the band collaborated on with local video artist Chris Collins (www. iamchriscollins.com). (www.minorleaguesmusic.com)
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