The first 17 acts for 2013’s MidPoint Music Festival — coming up Sept. 26-28 at venues throughout Over-the-Rhine (plus a few Downtown) — were announced on May 3, boasting great names like The Breeders, Cody ChesnuTT, Foxygen and The Head and the Heart.
Now we have another handful of artists heading to MPMF confirmed.
Occupying this year’s “pioneer” role is Shuggie Otis, who, after a few low-profile decades (not by choice; he insists he’s never “retired”), is back in the spotlight and touring in support of Legacy Recordings’ 2013 re-issue of Inspiration Information and the compilation Wings of Love (packaged as a double album). Otis is probably known best in the mainstream for his song “Strawberry Letter 23,” which was covered and turned into a hit by Brothers Johnson. Otis’ guitar prowess is also well known to fans and music scholars — the son of R&B pioneer Johnny Otis, The Rolling Stones reportedly asked him to join the band in the mid-’70s (he declined).
Though his career didn’t reach the heights supporters like B.B. King and Frank Zappa thought his talents deserved, Otis developed a big cult following thanks to crate-diggers and the rise of Acid Jazz (featuring tinges of Shuggie’s deft Psych Soul). Though Otis has often been unjustly overlooked, his influence (on artists like Prince and Lenny Kravitz, plus a whole new breed) is undeniable.
Also performing at this year’s fest is a younger cult hero, Kurt Vile. The critically acclaimed Vile makes trippy, lo-fi Rock for the esteemed Matador label. This year’s MPMF will also see the return of Dream Pop hero Trevor Powers, better known as Youth Lagoon. Though lumped in with the “Chillwave” crowd, Powers’ latest, this year’s Wondrous Bughouse, is much more expansive and deeper than his debut. Youth Lagoon performed at 2011’s MPMF.
The rest of the artists added to MPMF.13’s lineup: Wild Cub, On An On, Baths, Murder By Death, Bleached, Saturday Looks Good To Me, Sam Fermin, Secret Colours, Nat Baldwin, The Shilohs and Birds of Chicago.
Visit the music blog at citybeat.com for more details (and song samples) from each of the MPMF performers (and also, possibly, another big booking that couldn’t be confirmed by press time).
Weekly Free Concerts Begin
Fountain Square and Washington Park, the two hot, outdoor, 3CDC-run gathering spots in Downtown and Over-the-Rhine (respectively) begin their summer outdoor concert series this week. Both outdoor venues will feature regular themed music nights on a weekly basis until the end of summer. Most events begin at 7 p.m., but visit the parks’ respective sites to make sure.
At the relatively new Washington Park (which was remodeled and featured regular music for the first time last year), the summer series begins Wednesday for the first of the weekly Crown Jewels of Jazz nights; Mike Wade and the Jazz Ambassadors open things up. Thursdays at the Park will be Bandstand Bluegrass night, which kicks off this week with The Tillers. Friday Flow, the weekly R&B/Soul/Funk night at Washington Park, kicks off this Friday at 7:10 p.m. with a group of young people from the Elementz youth center, followed by Jon Schuyler and PJ Morton. Visit washingtonpark.org for more info.
Fountain Square started its PNC Summer Music Series with American Roots night on May 28. The series features various Roots/Americana acts all summer; visit this Tuesday (June 4) to catch The Kentucky Struts and The Turkeys. Wednesdays see the return of Salsa on the Square, featuring dancing, dance lessons and live music from area Salsa groups. Son Del Caribe opens things up this week.
Every Friday on the Square, the MidPoint Indie Summer series (sponsored by the MidPoint Music Festival and featuring a mix of local faves and touring artists) returns. Opening the series are Cincinnati Indie Pop greats Pomegranates … or, as they will be known officially from this show forward, Healing Power. Cincy Indie Pop rockers The Yugos will put out their latest release at the show, while the great Never Setting Suns open.
The incredibly popular “Beats” night, presented by local promo group Self Diploma every Saturday, begins this week with great Cincy Hip Hop acts The Natives, Olu and Puck, plus Electronic/Dance star Chuck Inglish. For more information, visit myfountainsquare.com.
The entire Washington Park/Fountain Square lineups can be found at the music blog of citybeat.com, where you can also read this week about Koala Fires, a new local music radio show and more.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: firstname.lastname@example.org, @CityBeatMusic and on Facebook here.