Music Tonight: At 5 p.m. today at Sawyer Point along the riverfront, the gates open for the 19th annual Cincy Blues Fest, the Cincy Blues Society’s signature event and benefit for the Blues in the Schools musical education/outreach program. The two-day event has earned a reputation in local/regional Blues circles as one of the best in the Midwest, but not because organizers bring in a cavalcade of big-time household names to perform each year. The event is well-managed, in an idyllic setting and creatively programmed, showcasing a diverse collection of established and emerging acts on the modern Blues circuit that represent an ample range of styles and approaches that might surprise many music fans who don't know Blues' history and impact or who’ve dismissed the storied genre of American music as being too inflexibly stuck in tradition.
The themed lineups on the Arches sidestage, one of Cincy Blues Fest’s most unique features, also cleverly offers an educational peek at the roots, influence and evolution Blues. Saturday’s Boogie Woogie “Hall of Fame” Stage annually presents pianists from around the world who carry the torch for the early Blues form, while the Arches’ Friday rosters have been built around themes that usually represent Blues-anchored offshoots and variations through time. Previously, the stage has celebrated the early ’70s Ludlow Garage scene in Cincinnati (the Blues was strong in much of that youthful, psychedelic Rock & Roll) and locally-based King Records, which released a revolutionary mix of R&B, Country and Rock & Roll records, all genres touched by Blues influence. This year, Rockabilly — sort of the missing link between Blues and Rock & Roll — is the theme. Tonight’s Rockabilly Stage lineup includes locals Straw Boss, Stardevils and The Wastewheelers and is capped off at 10:30 p.m. with a set from Crazy Joe and his Mad River Outlaws, the Enon, Ohio, band that has developed an international following.
Click here for 19 reasons why you should attend the 19th Cincy Blues Fest and here for the full schedule, including the rosters for Friday and Saturday’s Main Stage and St. Vincent DePaul Local Stage. Tickets are $15 for each day, or you can purchase a pass for both days today at the gate for $25.
Here’s a clip of Kansas-based Telarc recording artists Moreland & Arbuckle, which plays the main stage today at 7 p.m.
• Indie faves Cold War Kids perform at the Madison Theater tonight with A Lull and Belle Histoire. The Long Beach, Calif., band’s angular, jittery Blues-tinged sound has morphed into a more polished brand of anthemic Modern Rock, most evident on last year’s Mine Is Yours, which early fans were split over, though it likely brought them many new ones. Here’s CityBeat’s preview of tonight’s 8 p.m., all-ages show and below is the clip for Cold War Kids’ breakthrough single, “Hang Me Up To Dry.” Tickets are $18.
• Bob Dylan is back in Ohio! The music icon performs at intimate outdoor amphitheater Fraze Pavilion in Kettering (very near Dayton) with young Americana act Carolina Chocolate Drops opening the show at 7:30 p.m. Dylan is legendarily hit or miss in concert, but if he’s “hit,” it’s worth the risk. Tickets range from $45-$68.50. Wanna hear something really disturbing? There are tickets still available to see Dylan, but Fraze’s show this Sunday with sappy Australian Soft Pop band Air Supply has been sold out for a while.
• Free music on Fountain Square tonight! The MidPoint Indie Summer Series continues this evening at 7 p.m. with hard-touring, critically-lauded Indie Rock band These United States headlining. Cincy rockers The Ready Stance and orchestral Indie/Folk act The Ridges (from Athens, Ohio) round out the bill. Check out These United States recent music video for their tune “Water & Wheat.”
(Leave your suggestions/promote yourself or your favorites by telling everyone about your favorite music event recommendations for the day in the comments below.)
Momentous Happenings in Music History for Aug. 5
On this day in 1967, Pink Floyd’s debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, was released. Those who only know the mega-selling, arena-filling Classic Rock Pink Floyd behind Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall probably wouldn’t even recognize the Pink Floyd on Piper, a Pschedelic Pop music milestone largely written by frontman Syd Barrett, who famously melted down and left the band before they became superstars. Interestingly, Piper was recorded in Abbey Road studios around the same time The Beatles were making their psychedelic masterwork, Sgt. Pepper.
Born This Day: Musical folks born Aug. 5 include the drummer from Jazz/Fusion pioneers Weather Report, Airto Moreira (1941); successful songwriter Jimmy Webb (1946); eccentric frontman for ’80s one-hit-wonders Dead Or Alive, Pete Burns (1959); Bela Fleck and the Flecktones saxophonist Jeff Coffin (1965); singer in the P. Diddy/MTV-created group Danity Kane, Dawn Richard (1983); and guitarist for influential Punk band Germs, Pat Smear (1959).
The affable Smear’s career didn’t die when singer Darby Crash did, from a heroin overdose in 1980. Smear (born Georg Ruthenberg) probably never would have imagined that about 15 years after the Germs’ fate was sealed, he’d be playing packed arenas full of screaming fans with one of the biggest bands ever. Classic Punk fan Kurt Cobain called Smear in 1993 when he wanted another guitar player for live shows — Smear’s first gig with Nirvana was on Saturday Night Live and he also appears on the band’s famed MTV Unplugged album/video. Then, when Smear’s second band ended due to a heroin overdose, he probably didn’t think, “That’s OK, I’m sure I’ll find another band that sells a gazillion records and plays stadiums soon enough.” Amazingly, that’s what happened when Smear joined his Nirvana bandmate Dave Grohl’s Foo Fighters, where the former Punk guitarist has been (off and on) since 1994.
Cheer to Pat. Here’s some Germs (that’s a young Smear at the start of the video), then a Nirvana clip with Smear.