• The amazing, Hip Hop-oriented youth center Elementz has relocated from Central Parkway to 1100 Race St., right across from the new SCPA building. This Friday, from 6-9 p.m., Elementz is hosting a “welcoming reception” to show off the new headquarters and allow members of the community a chance to learn more about the center’s expanding mission. Visit www.facebook.com/ElementzHipHop to RSVP and www.elementz.org for more on the youth center.
• Freekbot, the local Electronic/Funk/Dance duo featuring local funkateer Chris Sherman (aka Freekbass) and award-winning turntablist/producer Tobe Donohue (Tobotius), has not played a ton of local shows, spending a lot of time on the road as a touring unit instead. But that changes starting this week when the duo begins a Wednesday residency at MVP Bar & Grill in Silverton (formerly Play By Play). Each week, the musicians will be joined by a different artist to “give things a different flavor,” says Sherman. For this week’s inaugural event — dubbed “Full Spectrum Wednesdays” — Yusef Quotah from You, You’re Awesome and Brian Olive’s band sits in on keys. On May 23, longtime Jazz saxophonist Randy Villars (currently touring with Bootsy Collins) is the special guest. In June, Sherman says they’ll have a different DJ or band open the shows as well. (www.facebook.com/freekbot)
• This week, MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine begins hosting a series of free speaking engagements by Jim Tarbell, a longtime friend to the local arts and music scene (from his days at Ludlow Garage through his time on City Council).
For the next three Sundays, Tarbell will discuss different “Cincinnati music neighborhoods” from over the years. This Sunday’s debut event is hosted by local Bluegrass legend Katie Laur and the discussion will center around Over-the-Rhine as a music hub. On May 20, veteran musician David Rhodes Brown and Tarbell will discuss the “uptown” music scene, including Ludlow Garage and other places in and around the Clifton area. Blues pianist Ricky Nye hosts the third talk on May 27. The pair will discuss the OTR scene again, but this time focusing on the ’50s and ’60s. Each talk starts at 2 p.m. and the hosts will perform a set at the conclusion of the conversation. For more info, visit www.motrpub.com.
UPDATE: The Tarbell talks have been pushed back a week. Visit www.motrpub.com for the new schedule.
• Tone House Music, the much-needed new music store in Northside (at 4040 Hamilton Ave.), has started hosting the “Cincinnati Songwriter Round,” an every-Thursday event featuring some of the top singer/songwriters in the area. The music begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free. Tone House is “B.Y.O.B.,” so if you wanna drink, swing by the pony keg beforehand. Tone House Music was recently opened for business by local musician Tim Seiwert (drummer with for algernon and The Newbees). The store sells instruments and accessories (including picks, sticks and strings), something the hip, artsy neighborhood has been strangely lacking. Tone House also provides repairs, consignment sales, PA rental and lessons. Seiwert began hosting live music in the store last month. Friday, The Newbees will perform a free “stripped-down” show, while Paul Gibby and Tom Schneider play Jazz Saturday. This Thursday, the songwriter’s round is hosted by Andyman Hopkins and features writer/performers David Faul (Terminal Union), Dylan Speeg (Buckra) and Carole Walker (formerly of Heavy Weather and The Walker Project). (www.facebook.com/tonehousenorthside)
• Tickets for the first Afghan Whigs concert in 13 years go on sale this Friday through ticketmaster.com. The band is kicking off its (so far) primarily European reunion tour dates with a May 23 show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. For those who can’t make the trip, you will be able to watch the band’s first TV appearance in more than a decade the night before — the Whigs are scheduled to play Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on May 22. Keep an eye on theafghanwhigs.com for (hopefully!) more U.S. dates. The two other North American dates so far are at Chicago’s Lollapalooza and New Jersey’s All Tomorrow’s Parties.
• Contemporary Jazz singer/musician/composer Philip Baker presents a release celebration in honor of his new album, Higher & Higher, this Friday at The Greenwich in Walnut Hills. Baker calls his sound “Life Music” and seeks to inspire people, hoping everyone who hears his music “will walk away stress free … and full of passion for life.” Get your uplift on Friday at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $5 (or free if you purchase the album). Baker’s band for the night features Bruce Menefield, Mark Williams, John Stripling, Steve Richardson and Samuel Baker. You can sample the album at reverbnation.com/philipbaker.
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