14. At the risk of getting too wordy, I’ve decided to do a list to keep myself under control. (Insert reader’s furious clapping here.) Why? Because people love lists. And I love lists. I’ve noticed that band members particularly love lists. Set lists, lists of things they need to take to the show, lists, lists, lists. So in the spirit of Rock & Roll and lists, here is my list. Wait, the list has already started. Stay with me.
13. Enter Javier’s Mexican Restaurant and you will of course notice the distinct smell of Mexican food, but then it gets a little strange—all around, there are random trees and plants with multicolored Christmas lights on them. Sort of like a Mexican rainbow Christmas with Alternative Rock in the background. Sort of confusing, but yet, weirdly inviting.
12. At Javier’s, I caught Broderick’s last two songs. Solid AltRock with sweet vocals, and the last song rocked with true gutsy spirit, but between the candlelit tables and the guitar player who reminded me of an ex-boyfriend, I was a little shifty here. Although I was digging the four hot men in the crowd wearing black suits, I had more fun singing along to “Bobby McGee,” which was playing in between sets. For a second, I thought my body had been beamed into a karaoke bar, but then thank God I realized I was at someone else’s show. Distracted, I caught a few songs of Texans-turned-Bostonians Cassavettes, then moved on.
11. If you’re the “rough crowd” type, bust your butt over to the Grammer’s outdoor scene. We got the smell, the smoke, the plastic cups, the outdoor rock, and even the muddy, Woodstockish ground. It’s dark and dirty and perfect for the rowdy ones. There I saw Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Sound was great and the band sounded ultra-pro, and although the style wasn’t my cup of tea (actually, I prefer coffee), and I admit I tend to veer toward melancholy moody Rock, I still threw my personal taste out the window. Wait, there were no windows. So I threw my personal taste out of the tent, because I think this is a great band that exhibits every bit of its “Southern style” of Rock. If you think I’m being elusive, well I am.
10. While you’re at Grammer’s head on outside and talk to Joe, the guy at the gate or the Channel 5 News. Your pick. I did. They were both equally entertaining.
9. I kept seeing this random, tall, thin guy with long hair smoking a cigarette. He had a tan, short jacket on and the longest legs and black jeans. Who are you? Wait a minute, that describes like 30 people I saw. Not to mention the two buses full of frat guys and sorority girls wearing caveman/cavewoman outfits. What was up with that? Kooky. Two guys were about to get in a fist fight over riding the same bus, I think. I’m not sure, but they were really mad. And right at that moment, I was super glad I wasn’t wearing the tiger suit I had planned on wearing earlier.
8. Anyway, head into the dungeon. The red room, the zebra-striped, tiny table lamps. Mr. Pitiful's. The most hilarious bar name ever I think. Probably not, but close. Very inviting. Anyway, here, I caught a few songs of local band Cash Flagg’s nasty garage Rock. Cash Flagg is always fun. No posing here, no acting, no egos. It’s clear they just love their Rock & Roll. Always a treat.
7. Took a Scion Streetcar shuttle back to the Inner Peace Center. In the car, I talked with my driver, Eli, and for some reason we got on the topic of Anderson Township and houses and the Eastside/Westside thing. As with all Cincinnati people it seems, we had some past history and connections in common. Funny how that works. Hey, the roots are deep here. And sometimes that can be a real bear, or fun times, depending.
6. When I hopped out of the Scion, I saw Yusef Quotah from You, You’re Awesome. I don’t think he knew who I was at first. And then I wasn’t sure if it was him either. And then he came to and said hello. Whew. We talked a little about animation, which I know nothing about, and I mentioned a picture of a legohead that I saw recently, because I was really trying to impress him. I’ll have to come up with something else in the future. I don’t think it worked. Any ideas? Come on, people, I need some serious help here.
5. At Inner Peace, I saw the Kinetic Stereokids, from Flint, Mich. I knew I would dig this shit as soon as I saw them setting up—custom made graffiti/stickered drum kit, baggy pants and white v-neck T’s, and the singer had duct tape on his tan corduroys. A four-piece, these guys were definitely one of my faves for the night. And The Inner Peace Center is one of my faves for ambiance—everything from peace to dueling bartenders (jokingly having contests to see who could sell the most shots). If I wanted to get drunk and not get in a fight or a breakup, but rather, become one and whole as a human party being, this would def be the place to go.
4. That was getting too long, so I will continue kissing the Kinetic Stereokids’ ass here. So their sound embraced the full “industrial” feel, although the bassist should stick to playing bass—he told a joke that had something to do with tampons and vampires, and no one laughed. But he fucking kicked it on bass, and he and the drummer were the driving force in this band. Outstanding rhythm section here. With keys, guitar, weird sounds and a highly danceable beat, they had me grooving out. Seemed like they didn’t know where they were going, and sometimes they weren’t together, and then they were. You get the drift. Echoes of Funk, Hardcore Punk, Hip Hop, mixed with striking vocals. In between the jamming, I wanted to hear more vocals. More vocals! Check them out. Their presence is engaging, and they’ll make you move.
The Way Downs
3. Gotta love the seediness at The Subway. Underground, low-lit, a big brick column cutting up the view of the stage. In here, I spotted Bad Veins’ Sebastien Schultz sneaking around. The Way Downs played here and they were definitely my number one pick of the night. These cats were originally from here, but singer Lee Gallagher moved to San Fran I heard through the grapevine. He’s been in a gazillion local bands, and I’m sure he’s rocking out with somebody in Cal, but one thing is for sure—he and Phil Day (guitar) are a perfect match. Watching Gallagher, you get the sense of an effortless, talented Rock singer—he’s not afraid to show his glam and dance like a slinky cat. And that voice. Unbelievably strong voice. What presence, and so natural. Whenever I see them, I scratch my head, amazed that I’m watching them in a small bar. Made my night, I tell ya.
2. Between the rain and my ingenious disguise, I was able to do some honest observing and no one really recognized me. Wait, actually, I wasn’t in disguise. I was wearing my usual everyday getup. Hmmm. Sad. L Joking, I actually did see some new and old friends. Some of these people I seem to only see at MidPoint, which makes it like a fun reunion. My Midpoint fam.
1. I was happy to see that many braved the tricky weather, and I’m ready for tonight! This time, I will try a new non-disguise, and I haven’t picked my Midpoint “voice crush” for this year yet, which is a tradition, but I’ll let you know when I have it nailed down. It’ll be hard to steer me away from Lee Gallagher or Erika Wennerstrom on that one, but those two are givens, so I’ll have to pick a third crush. Ah, the stress of being a writer.