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by Mike Breen 10.23.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Music News at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (27)
 
 
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Smartphones Piss Off Neko Case

Acclaimed singer/songwriter's Taft Theatre show last night got a bit contentious

So what the heck happened at the concert by the always dazzling Neko Case at the Taft Theatre last night? Case's biggest show ever in the Cincinnati area was musically solid, but didn't go as smoothly as planned thanks to flared tempers, the proliferation of smartphone cameras and some angry and/or obnoxious audience members. It's safe to say that you can add Case to the increasingly growing list of performers who are losing their patience with omnipresent smartphone use at concerts.

Case is fairly prolific with her Twitter account, but her tweets from yesterday showed no clear indication of the kerfuffle. Earlier in the day, she praised Iris Book Cafe for their hospitality and good grub and, post-show, she tweeted "Thank you, Cincinnati, you are kind folks," followed by some heart symbols. (Sarcasm?)

CityBeat contributor Keith Klenowski was there to photograph the show (not on his phone; he was credentialed) and says the problems started during the second song of the night, when Case stopped the show and asked everyone to stop taking photos with their phones because the flashes were bothering her. Things calmed down, people seemed to oblige and the show picked up again.

Several songs later, according to Klenowski, Case stopped the show again and appeared to be talking to a fan near the front of the stage about putting their phone away. Case made a comment about happily refunding tickets, adding, "Just put away the cameras. It isn't going to kill you, but it might kill me" and "You can boo and call me a spoiled Rock star. I am." Case claimed there were signs about cameras posted around the venue, though Klenowski says he didn't see any.

Case's reaction was met with a mix of cheers and boos; some people got really bent out of shape about her protestation. "I (saw) people put on their coats and walk out," Klenowski says. "One guy (flipped) her the bird and storms out."

He says that not long after the second stoppage, a woman came down the aisle towards the stage and took a photo before immediately being escorted out by security. Before the band returned for an encore, Klenowski says he saw another skirmish that involved a man arguing with security as he was being kicked out.
 
"Neko looked tired and even admitted at the start that it was time to wake up or something like that," Klenowski says, adding that the singer was apologetic to the non-heckling/non-photo-taking fans throughout the show and at the end of the night. "I got her frustration, but I have never seen anyone threaten to leave and stop a show because of it." 

Click here for Keith's photos from Case's Taft Theatre performance.

 
 
by Mike Breen 11.21.2013
Posted In: Music News, Live Music, Local Music at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)
 
 
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Touring Musician Arrested for Peeing in Mason

Stepdad’s Nathan K. returns to Cincinnati next month for a legal defense fundraiser

One week ago today, on Nov. 14, the fun and increasingly acclaimed Michigan-based Electro Pop band Stepdad was bringing its nearly two-month, nationwide tour to a close and was set to perform at Cincinnati’s MOTR Pub. The band had a great fall tour; outside of some trouble with its tour van, things had gone smoothly until that point. With a few final shows on the tour after the Cincinnati date in their home state, the band members were heading into the homestretch and returning home triumphantly. 


Then one of them them got arrested. Stepdad had played Pittsburgh the night before its MOTR date, driving through the night and grabbing a room at the Super 8 motel in Cincy exburb Mason, Ohio, (north of the city and near the Kings Island amusement park, where the Brady Bunch once frolicked) to get some rest. Early in the morning of Nov. 14, Stepdad’s Nathan John Klages — a multi-instrumentalist and also a solo singer/songwriter who works under the name Nathan K. — was arrested at the motel, charged with public indecency and “obstruction official business,” according to the police report. Klages got arrested for doing something many, many men have done — taking a piss outside. He was booked into the Warren County Jail. The look on his face in the above mugshot is one of understandable confusion, probably a little anger and definitely a lot of fatigue after working all night and then traveling. 


Fortunately, according to a press release from MOTR, Klages was fined and released just prior to showtime and Stepdad was able to fulfill the date. But because sometimes you gotta go when you gotta go (especially when traveling in a van for hours), Klages now has to deal with the financial fall out of the fines and the cost of traveling back to town for court.

MOTR’s people and Klages aren’t saying much more about the arrest, or his defense, on the advice of his lawyers, so the facts surrounding the great pee incident and exactly what happened — did he or didn’t he? — are currently vague, outside of what was in the police report (which wasn’t much). 

MOTR Pub is stepping up to lend a hand to Nathan K., welcoming him back to Cincinnati on December 17 to perform his compelling Indie Folk and raise some cash for his legal defense. The Nathan K. Legal Defense Fundraiser will start at 9 p.m. that Tuesday and the club is asking for “fans of Stepdad, and fans of blind justice, and fans of rock 'n' roll, and fans of Nathan K. to attend the show and join us in throwing a fiver or a ten-spot in Nathan K.'s hat to offset his debts and to make something good of the bad.”  

You can also help Klages out, of course, by purchasing some music from him. Here is his Bandcamp page and official site. Below is the title track from his most recent release, last year’s Dishes album; click on the player for a free download sample (on the page, hit “Buy Now” and simply put “0” in the price field). Dishes also includes a track called “Criminal,” oddly enough, that features the opening lines, “I’m not a criminal though I've killed people in my dreams/And I've never had to steal/Though I've been known to dine with thieves/And to tell the truth they're just like me.” Anyone who’s had to pee outside out of necessity is just like Nathan. Though most of us don’t get shackled and tossed in a cell for it.


Below is MOTR Pub’s full press release about the incident and benefit:
Those souls in attendance at MOTR Pub for the November 14 show by underground pop superstars STEPDAD won't soon forget it. Neither will Stepdad's NATHAN K. He might never forget it -- because of a very wrong reason.


The evening before the show, the band, which hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was staying at a motel in Mason, Ohio. It was there where Nathan K. was arrested for -- allegedly -- urinating in the great outdoors. Nathan was subsequently charged with public indecency and taken to the Warren County Jail, where his arms and legs were placed in shackles and he was placed in a cell.


He was fined, processed, and eventually released just before showtime, so as to avert what would have been the compounded injustice of having to cancel the show. 


Taking into account the advice of the legal defense, we will say nothing about the charge levied against Nathan. However, Nathan is saddled with fines and travel expenses related to this episode. He must return from Michigan to Southwest Ohio on Tuesday, December 17 to face the judge, and we, at MOTR Pub, want to help.


Nathan has agreed to play a set at MOTR Pub on Tuesday, December 17 at 9 p.m. We are asking fans of Stepdad, and fans of blind justice, and fans of rock 'n' roll, and fans of Nathan K. to attend the show and join us in throwing a fiver or a ten-spot in Nathan K.'s hat to offset his debts and to make something good of the bad. 

 
 
by Amy Harris 07.19.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Music News, Music History, Interview at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)
 
 
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Q&A with Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

Legendar rocker to perform 'Thick as a Brick' and more at PNC Pavilion Saturday

Jethro Tull's unique sound — which eloquently combines Rock, Blues, and Classical music — continues to outlast Father Time and thrill legions of dedicated fans. Leader/singer/Rock flautist extraordinaire Ian Anderson performs the classic Tull album Thick as a Brick (and more, including Thick as a Brick II) at Riverbend's PNC Pavilion Saturday night at 8 p.m., continuing the legacy of Tull’s self-proclaimed “music for grown-ups.” 

CityBeat was able to speak with Anderson this week about protests, social issues and his thoughts on performance art. 

CityBeat: Why did decide to bring the flute to Rock music?

Ian Anderson: When I was a young aspiring guitar player in my late teens I became aware of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Richard Blackmore, who were the hot-shot guitar players down in London, and I decided maybe I should switch from guitar and find something else to play. The shiny precision of the flute, the ergonomics, the design, the manufacture — it’s kind of like a Swiss watch. It appeals to my sense of physics and engineering. For a particularly good reason, other than the way it looks, I decided I would give that a go. I learned to play it by trying to imitate the lines I played on guitar — solos and rifts. So I became the flute player in a Blues band and I was the only flute player in a Blues band, which gave me the difference that helped Jethro Tull stand out from the crowd.

CB: One of my favorites on Thick as a Brick II is “Adrift and Dumbfounded.” Can you tell me a little bit of the story behind that song or how it came about?

IA: Having been picketed a couple nights ago in Kansas City by the Westboro Church, the “Godhatesfags.com” people … I am seen as a fag-hyphen-enabler according to that unworthy organization. I don’t think I am a homosexual, but I am a supporter of gay rights and a lot of my friends and people close to me are gay people and I find that the prejudices and difficulties faced by young people, particularly in post-puberty, where they are sometimes questioning their gender and their physiology because some people are just born that way … so, it is a difficult time for relationships with parents and for society around you. 

It’s difficult now. Back in the ’60s, it was really scary. So at the time when homosexuality wasn’t just a predilection but an actual crime, punishable by the courts by incarceration, being gay was a difficult position for any young person to be in, so I decided I would write a parent’s perspective of what that may be like — to lose a child through lack of communication and understanding with the parental, to lose that child to drugs and to, essentially, male prostitution. 

That is an extreme scenario but it happens out there in the world. These are issues that face society today. These are issues that have faced society throughout the history of mankind. These days I suppose we are more able to talk about it and to examine the possibilities themselves. I always have to think when I was 15 years old and a little unsure of myself, maybe that could have happened to me. I try to use some of my personal history with my parents, with the lack of communication, particular on matters of sex. I try to extrapolate a little on my own limited experiences in that world.

CB: The Westboro Baptist Church never ceases to amaze me. How did you handle it that day?

IA: I was rather hoping to see them in the flesh. Unfortunately, I had my spies out. I had my spies out to try to keep an eye out because I tried to get a photograph opportunity with these people. Unfortunately, at the time, I guess they showed up when the audience was coming in or going out. When the audience is coming in, I am busy in my dressing room changing and tuning up my guitar. Afterwards, I am busy changing again and packing up my instruments. Unfortunately, I did not get to see them. That is very disappointing. I was really hoping to have the opportunity to have a nice smiling photograph with them and their evil representatives.

CB: Why did you choose this tour to play the Thick as a Brick albums in their entireties?

IA: When you are planning any kind of stage show, your first obligation is to keep it on a level that will engage people and keep it interesting for them and present them with a lengthy piece of musical work with a 15-minute intermission. You have to put your thinking cap on and try to construct everything to keep the audience with you, especially if you are playing a lot of music (with) which the audience is unfamiliar, you have got to make it work the first time around. It is not the result of hearing it many times so you have to make it a piece of working entertainment. 

It seems to be successful because I have yet to see, when I go onto the second half of the show, any empty seats as a result of people leaving at halftime. Normally people stay until the end of the show and they seem to follow the momentum of the whole show. You get a personal sense of achievement when you present a large amount of relatively unknown music and you keep people engaged and enjoying the stage. 

I don’t think many bands would attempt to do that. I can afford to do it because, a) I am prepared to take more risks musically and, b) I am really kind of doing it for me more than I am doing it for the audience anyway. I have always been a musician who has gone out there to make myself happy. You have to really have your own personal goals you achieve every night in performance. Primarily, I will say, it is nice you folks are here as well, but if you weren’t here, I would be doing this anyway. I am just doing this for fun.

CB: You have seen music change in the way it is recorded over many decades. Do you think it sounds better or worse today?

IA: Music has evolved in the terms of recording techniques over a period of about 60 years, hugely. It goes back to the early stages of monophonic and stereophonic tape recorders, which is what it was when I was a teenager. 

When it got to the mid-’60s, it was becoming possible to create the simplest multi-track recordings, usually using two-track recorders, but bouncing back between the two to get a four-track sound. The very first Beatles recordings were made that way. By the time they got to Sgt. Pepper, they were recording with four-track and shortly on the heels of that came eight-track. 

The first album I recorded was done on eight-track in 1968. That quickly evolved into 16-track and then to the most often used standard of 24-track, which continued through the late ’80s and even in some cases into the ’90s. 

Frankly, the digital age really came about not in the ’80s or the ’90s but in the last 10 years, because that technology began to support 24-bit audio recording, which effectively mimics the human hearing to detect the difference between that and the original audio signal. We have 24-bit 96k recording, which is essentially all we need. We don’t need to advance upon that standard. We’d have to grow new ears before we could benefit any further resolution of earlier technology. 

It is the same thing as when cameras hit the 10 mega-pixel mark … essentially equal (to) the very best film quality of film cameras in the last 50 or 60 or 70 years. We have now fairly commonly cameras that will deliver resolutions of 24 megapixels, which will be essentially much better quality you or my eye could fully appreciate. 

We are there with audio and visual. We have now reached, during these last four or five years, human physiology would have to change for us to benefit from any increase of the resolution of the technology we are working with now. It is as good as it needs to be. We are there. We are done. We have reached the limit in terms of audio recording and digital recording.

CB: Was there a single incident that changed how you approached music?

IA: Well, I suppose a single incident was the first moment I played notes on a musical instrument, because I was aware as a small child of music as church music and music of Big Band Wartime Jazz, which my Father played on 78-rpm records. 

It wasn’t until I was 9 years old and I acquired for a couple of dollars a plastic Elvis Presley ukulele and I strummed my first simple chord on the ukulele. At that point, even though the instrument was a rubbish piece, I could actually strum some little chords and sing along with it, and that was the magic moment of making music the first time. 

I suppose that was the single most important moment of discovering music. There are a lot of people who never learn to play anything on a musical instrument and I feel like they are missing out on something. But some of them might be bungee jumpers and they feel like I am missing out on something, because I haven’t thrown myself off a bridge attached to a long piece of elastic.

CB: What is your ideal day look like these days?

IA: It depends if I’m on tour. My ideal day is to wake up around 7 a.m. and be driving rather than flying and getting to another city, another hotel by lunchtime, finding a Red Lobster or McCormack & Schmidt and (eating) some seafood or that sort for lunch and then having a rest and getting my e-mails in the afternoon before going to sound check. 

That’s kind of normal practice. If I am at home, I wake up a little earlier, usually around 6:30 a.m. and I usually, again because of working in different time zones, it’s a good time to check e-mails from last night, generally prepare, shower, play with the cats, let the dogs out. If it’s the weekends, I have to go and feed the chickens. 

In my ideal world, it would be a mixture of sitting at my office desk, playing a little bit of music and having a little bit of time to walk around the garden and sit and talk to my cats.

CB: What is the biggest difference in touring in 2013 versus 1970?

IA: The biggest difference is you can take a little stress (out) as you are touring easily because of more organization. Twenty years ago and 40 years ago, travel was a lot more disorganized that it is today. We can now be planning the next tour while we are doing this one. 

Later today and tomorrow morning when I have a little time off, I shall be booking some internal U.S. flights for the next tour, looking at the various cities and suggesting to my U.S. travel agent some hotels I would like to get quotes on. Generally speaking, doing that planning exercise, when it comes to doing the tour itself, hopefully everything is in place. Everybody knows where everybody will be on most hours on most days. 

You can take the stress out of things these days, where it was not so easy many years ago. We had to employ tour managers and people to carry our bags and people to herd us like sheep through airports. These days, people have their virtual boarding pass, which they can collect online from the booking reference code, which was on the tour itinerary, and they can print out their own boarding pass and head straight to the gate. I think things are easier these days, not because of the level of security we face now that we didn’t face 40 years ago, even 20 years ago. That makes lines a little more stressful and perhaps a little longer in the course of the day. We allow for two hours at airports from flight times to be safe these days, not knowing how long security queues may be or what indignities we may have to suffer to keep ourselves safe from the bad guys.

CB: Do you have any fond or crazy Cincinnati tour memories from the past?

IA: Probably with a Holiday Inn, Hilton or a Marriott or two. My bonds tend to be with what my particular life throws at me. The airport, even after all these years, is strangely familiar. I have been tracking the evolution of the airport from the late ’70s — when we were accosted by the children of God, doing their evangelical work, trying to hand out bibles and stuff — all the way to today. Airports quite often have that sense of déjà vu, even that nostalgic memory for me — certain hotels, certain venues of course, iconic venues we still play today. 

CB: What was your favorite live performance ever?

IA: It is probably the show in an American venue near Washington D.C. called Wolf Trap. It is my favorite because it is the one I am going to be doing tomorrow and the one I have to focus on and prepare for. 

Past shows are in the past. I don’t dwell on those. I don’t have favorites. I don’t have preferences, except for a couple iconic venues, as I suggested. My favorite show is the one I am about to go out and attempt to do because I always have to think it could be my last. Walking on stage is not a God-given right; it is a privilege to be able to step out there into the spotlight another time. I just take each show as they come. My next show is always the best show of my life.

CB: What can the fans expect here in Cincinnati this weekend?

IA: They can expect all they like, but it won’t vary one iota in delivery to them. Their expectation may be many and may be varied, but we try to make a point of emphasis to play Brick 1 and then Brick 2, then a long call of classic repertoire. 

We have a very tightly organized show. If anybody starts shouting out during the quiet moments of the show, they will be studiously ignored. I don’t even have time to admonish them. It happened to me last night when I came on stage, I was astonished to hear two female voices shouting at me in one of the spoken words sections with a delivery of theatrical passion. You wouldn’t be considered cultured to be shouting and whistling during a Shakespeare play — please don’t shout and whistle during the performance of mine because I am here to do the work. You are here to listen and if you don’t like it get up and leave. Don’t start interrupting me. 

Once in a while you get a drunkard out there that gets to shout at your band, but it happens so rarely these days and it strikes me as so being incredibly curious. I think our audiences do understand this is not a regular Rock show but a theatrical presentation (for which) they have to sit and let me do the work. That’s what I am there for. I may be 66 years old but I am there to do a man’s work for two and a half hours, where you can sit back and, if necessary, bring yourself a comfy cushion and maybe a sandwich because it is a long show.

 
 
by mbreen 04.18.2011
Posted In: Music News, Local Music at 01:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)
 
 
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Local Musician Shot, Killed By Police

David Hebert was the man shot and killed last night in Northside by police. But most who knew him wouldn’t recognize the name. Hebert, a beloved, longtime local musician and local music supporter, is far better known by his nickname, Bones. An expressive drummer, in the ’90s he was the rhythmic foundation for local bands like AMF and Shoot the Gift, as well as other Rock and Punk bands.

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by Mike Breen 10.24.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music News, Music Video at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music Tonight: The Toasters

Legendary NYC Ska group brings 30th anniversary tour to Cincy for free show

American Ska legends The Toasters perform a free show tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. Showtime is 10 p.m. and — sorry, kids — you must be 21 or older to get in.

The band was one of the leading inspirations behind the "third-wave" Ska explosion of the ’90s, but the band actually began 30 years ago, influenced by the 2-Tone Ska movement in the U.K. The Toasters blend of NYC Rock and 2-Tone made them cult heroes in the Ska underground, as did the band's D.I.Y. approach; founding member (the sole one in the current lineup) Robert "Bucket" Hingley formed the influential Moon Ska Records in 1983 to release his own albums, as well as those by acts like Mustard Plug, The Slackers and Hepcat. The label's various compilations also gave a boost to up-and-coming, non-Moon acts like Less Than Jake and No Doubt.

Here's The Toasters' first music video, for the tune "Radiation Skank" off of the band's debut release, 1985's Recriminations EP (which was produced by British singer/songwriter Joe Jackson; he is to The Toasters what Elvis Costello was to The Specials).



And here is "Modern World America" off The Toasters' 2002 release, Enemy of the System.



 
 
by mbreen 01.27.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Music News, CEAs at 10:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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Cincinnati Entertainment Awards: The Winners

The winners from tonight's epic CEA blowout at the Madison Theater

It was another epic Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony tonight at the Madison Theater, as a full house celebrated some of the best Greater Cincinnati music has to offer. And drank. A lot.

The show went off great, with some excellent live performances from nominees and lots of fun from new host Ted Clark. I'll have more on the CEA show tomorrow (the afterparty is still in full effect as I type this), but gotta give props to CityBeat's own Jac Kern, who provided one of the funniest moments in CEA history before presenting the CEA for Hip Hop. Beyonce ain't got nothing on you, Jac!

More tomorrow (fear not — the show will actually be broadcast on cable this year; details coming soon), but, in the meantime, here's who won what at tonight's ceremony. Wussy — which has been on a serious roll since releasing the fantastic Strawberry near the end of 2011 (it made the cut-off for this year's awards, since the album came out around the same time as the last CEAs) — had the best night, taking home both the Artist of the Year and Album of the Year CEAs.

Congrats to all of the nominees and winners and everyone who showed up to party. Y'all are crazy.

1 Country - Mason James

2 Jazz - Blue Wisp Big Band

3 Singer/Songwriter - Kelly Thomas
4 World Music/Reggae - The Cliftones
5 Metal - Pulse8

6 Blues - Ricky Nye
7 Alternative/Indie - The Seedy Seeds
8 Hip Hop - Gold Shoes
9 Folk/Americana - The Tillers

10 Rock - Buffalo Killers

11 Bluegrass - Rumpke Mountain Boys

12 Electronic - You, You're Awesome

13 Live Act - 500 Miles to Memphis

14 Hard Rock - Chakras

15 R&B/Soul/Funk - The Cincy Brass

16 Punk - Switchblade Syndicate


17 Best new Artist – DAAP Girls

18 Album of the year - Wussy's Strawberry
19 Artists of the year - Wussy
 
 
by mbreen 01.08.2010
Posted In: Music News, Local Music at 10:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Things Heat Up for Foxy Shazam

The hard work local experimental Rock/Soul/Pop/Prog/Glam oddballs Foxy Shazam have put in on the road the past couple of years is starting to pay off big time. Recent Foxy news includes everything from the impending release of the band’s major-label debut for Sire Records to gigging with Courtney Love in the U.K. to collaborations with Rock legend Meat Loaf.

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by Mildred C. Fallen 10.11.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Music News at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)
 
 
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R.I.P. Skandal Da Ruckus Man

Remembering the late local Hip Hop champ Marcus Mitchell

EDITOR’S NOTE: Marcus Mitchell, aka local Hip Hop artist and inspiration Skandal Da Ruckus Man, passed away this week after a battle with leukemia. In tribute, here is an interview with Marcus from March 2005, written by CityBeat contributor Mildred C. Fallen, from our archives. Check next week’s issue of CityBeat for more remembrances of the fallen Cincinnati music supahero.

To dub Marcus D. Mitchell a “big man” doesn’t necessarily state the obvious. In some cultures, “big man” also translates as a local personality who speaks on behalf of his people, commences rituals and parleys with other “big men.” And facing foes, big men fight for honor.

In 2000, Mitchell, better known as Skandal (or Skandal Da Ruckus Man), flew to New York to freestyle on BET’s 106 and Park and contended with other unsigned MCs on HBO’s Blaze Battle. Today, the self-described juggernaut of Supapowers has been reincarnated as an industry ghost writer and producer after someone attempted to rob him of his ambition last spring.

While he was away, thieves carted away his studio equipment and masters. Although his property never resurfaced, he feels he knew the thief’s motive.

“Damn monkeys!” he declares, still affected. “Whoever stole it was doing it to get at me personally, because they didn’t touch anything else in the house, not even money. It was Easter Sunday, at that! Man, they know they goin’ to hell!”

Depressed and unable to produce tracks or record vocals, Skandal bounced back after supportive colleagues bartered their efforts.

“A lot of cats just saw the opportunity (to barter) and was like, ‘You ain’t got no equipment? Man, I been wantin' to do beats with you for years,’ ” he says.

Producers Fame and DJ Scott pitched in and donated many of the tracks heard on Vet Game, his first in a series of mixtape compilations to be distributed through the internet. Presented by Hall of Justice Entertainment and co-sponsored by Supapowers cohorts CJ the Cynic and Da Kid, Vet Game tongue-lashes antagonists, reprimands local radio and guides listeners of a tour of the Queen City, pointing out its idiosyncrasies.

Rounding out the compilation are appearances from Trina Holidai and Michelle Hollis, Piakan, Science, Donte (of Mood), Hi-Tek and J-Wiz.

“As far as the bangers, look for ‘Get Stole On’ and ‘Spell My Name Right,’ both produced by DJ Scott. ‘The Wrong Nigga’ talks about the break-in on Easter, when I was at Mom’s gate eating a plate,” he says. Thunderous vocals set violators straight as they detonate: “Y’all ain’t do nothin’ but put Skan/Back to ’96 with the hunger pangs.”

Reloading, “The Big Payback” unflinchingly fires direct hits at local black radio and venue promoters for lack of support. On the other hand, he shouts out Big Kap of New York’s influential station, Hot 97, for giving “For the Queen” 30 spins in a week, and says the exposure opened doors for him to sell songs to other artists, which subsidized his upcoming CD, Vigilante World.

“People don’t understand; you’ve got to invest in yourself before that big record deal comes,” he explains.

“For the Queen” traces Skandal’s roots back to Woodward High School “Bomb Show” performances and huddling in rhyme-ciphers against out-of-towners on Fountain Square.

“Before all the fightin’ and shootin’ started, we defended this city against all outsiders,” he says. “It was like something out of the movie Highlander.

“(Cincinnati) always had a beast,” he continues, naming warriors who fell into obscurity. “Regan used to be the most feared in a MC battle; he passed the torch to me and Clips (J-Wiz). Now Ill Poetic is the beast.”

“I used to really, really admire (Skandal),” says Ill Poetic, a solo artist and half of the duo Definition. He met Skandal following the Blaze Battle. “He was battling at Top Cat’s and I was amazed that Zone (the other half of Definition) knew him. He was just one of those people I kept hearing about.”

Although the HBO Blaze Battle episodes are available on DVD, Skandal laments, “Ain’t no honor in battling anymore, so now songwriting is where it’s at. There’s money in it. Cats who are known for their battle rep often aren’t known for making hit records.”

Skandal hopes his upcoming release, Vigilante World, will change that.

“I got the formula,” he says. “The problem is that nobody is rockin’ the (Hip Hop) heads and the streets at the same time. There’s nothing wrong with making good music that people who don’t make music can jam to.”

Having hosted local battles, he observes that today too many MCs lack originality and rely on trading insults to win battles.

“(There) was a time when you could murder ‘em with style,” he says. “Now, you only get response from the crowd when you say a punch-line, which is what I don’t like about battling anymore."

Skandal cites crowd-judged battles and MCs who deliver pre-written raps as the demise of the art form. He also emphasizes that styles differ from region to region.

“A lot of New York rappers spit written (verses) in battles and call it a ‘freestyle.’ And in the Midwest we call freestyling right off the top of the head,” he explains. “We used to listen to the New York style, not knowin’ they was spittin’ writtens in a freestyle, and we thought New York was just ‘cold wit’ it’ off the head.”

But since New York MCs assumed the precedent for battling, Skandal says he and his friends used New York as a benchmark in the beginning until they crafted their own niche.

Endearingly, he refers to his friends Supapowers as “stand-up guys I’d take a bullet for.” But of everyone, his mother is his best friend.

“She gives me an insight to things that you can only get from experience. I’m a true mama’s boy and if anybody got anything to say about it, come holla at me,” he says.

His weightiest ambition is to appeal to the female market and he’s slimming down because he feels that MCs like Notorious B.I.G., Big Punisher and Heavy D were merely lucky to be seen as sexy.

“They were rarities,” Skandal says. “When you’re fat, I don’t give a fuck, people are biased. I wanna have the whole package, not just the skills. I wanna have the whole market on lock.”

 
 
by Mike Breen 04.30.2013
 
 
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Friday 'Indie Summer' Concert Series Announced

Free Friday concerts return to Fountain Square starting May 31

The lineups for 2013's PNC Summer Music Series on Fountain Square — featuring live music from different genres for free throughout the summer — have been coming out gradually. We're happy to announce the lineup so far for the Friday night "Indie Summer" shows (presented by CityBeat and the MidPoint Music Festival).

Look for the rest of the finalized lineups — for American Roots Tuesdays, Reggae Wednesdays, Salsa Thursdays, Saturday's popular Beats night (with Hip Hop, Dance and Electronica) and the acoustic-music-meets-wine-tastings "Sunday in the Grove" — later this week. Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine is also again presenting regular music programming this year, with Jazz on Wednesday, Bluegrass and Roots music on Thursday and R&B/Soul/Hip Hop on Fridays, plus a new Tuesday night feature, Dance Under the Stars, featuring dance lessons in a variety of styles.

The bad news? The Indie Summer shows kick-off on May 31 with the final show by fantastic Cincinnati Indie Pop band Pomegranates. The good news? It will also be the first show by Healing Power, Pomegranates' new name. The opener will also serve as a "release party" for great local Indie crew The Yugos. Christian altrockers Seabird will also use their Indie Summer show to celebrate the release of a new album, the band's first independent release after a couple of albums on Credential Recordings/Universal Music Group. Northern Kentucky rockers Dept. Store Alligators will also put out their new release in conjunction with their Aug. 16 appearance with Belle Histoire.

Local restaurant/club chain 4EG will host "Happy Hour" parties on Fridays as well, featuring various local DJs and drink specials from 5-8 p.m.
Indie Summer concerts are open to fans of all ages and run from 8-11 p.m. all summer on the Square. Click here for details.

May 31: Pomegranates/Healing Power; The Yugos; The Never Setting Suns

June 7: We Were Promised Jetpacks; Tweens; Public

June 14: Seabird; Mike Mains & The Branches; TBA

June 21: Loudmouth; The Dopamines; The Lockland Brakes; BoyMeetsWorld

June 28: Psychodots; Cari Clara; The Ready Stance

July 5: Margot & the Nuclear So & So's and Matt Pond with Matrimony

July 12: Plumb; more TBA

July 19: Wussy; Queen City Radio; TBA

July 26: Brian Olive and Man Halen with The Tongue & Lips

Aug. 2: The Seedy Seeds with The Guitars and the student band from Mason's School of Rock

Aug. 9: Archers Paradox; (headliner to be announced on June 2)

Aug. 16: Belle Histoire; Dept. Store Alligators; TBA

Aug. 23: Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors; Green Light Morning; TBA

Aug. 30: Why? with Vito Emmanuel and TBA

 
 
by Amy Harris 07.26.2013
Posted In: Live Stream, Interview, Music News, Music History at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)
 
 
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Q&A with Ann Wilson of Heart

Freshly-inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers play Riverbend Saturday

Heart introduced a fresh, rebellious sound in the early 1970s when a particular voice was truly needed. That timeless voice belonged to singer Ann Wilson. In a time when the female frontwoman was just gaining steam, Heart found their identity in theirs. To this day Wilson embodies the band’s sound and message. She helped make it possible for generations of others to find their voice in Rock & Roll.

The band's legacy was celebrated on a grand scale this year when Ann, her sister, guitarist Nancy Wilson, and the rest of the Heart family were inducted into the 2013 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the likes of fellow legendary groups Rush and Public Enemy. 

CityBeat had the privilege of speaking with the legendary vocalist in advance of Heart's performance Saturday at Riverbend Music Center. Audiences can anticipate hearing classics like “Barracuda” and "Crazy on You," as well as fresh music off of the 2012 album Fanatic, which nicely continues the Heart legacy. Don’t miss the finale with Jason Bonham (opening the show with his Led Zeppelin tribute) joining them on stage. 

CityBeat: What was the highlight of your Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction this year?

Ann Wilson: The highlight of my (RRHOF) induction this year was standing beside Nancy at the podium. That was a feeling of great pride I will never forget.

CB: What is the most number of days you have gone without playing music?

AW: I have gone months sometimes without playing a guitar, but never a day goes by where I don't sing.

CB: What does your ideal day look like these days?

AW: Sleep in late, have a great pilates/yoga workout, hang out with my kids and their kids, cook dinner, meditate, sleep with my dog nearby.

CB: If you could trade places with someone for a month who would it be and why?

AW: I guess I couldn't do that. I don't envy anyone else that much!

CB: You have seen music recording formats change from vinyl and 8-track to cassette, CD and MP3 through the years. Do you feel like music sounds better or worse with the use of technology?

AW: Music definitely sounds worse to my ears because of digital technology. There is a hard, brittle sound to it. Analog music sounded warmer and deeper, though maybe not as " perfect." Auto-Tune makes me crazy because it removes all individuality from a person's voice. Everyone ends up sounding anonymous. The imperfections are where the soul is, I say leave them in. Leave in the humanity.

CB: How did the latest tour come about with Jason Bonham? Any favorite tour stories from the current tour?

AW: Many people saw the Kennedy Center Honors show on TV or YouTube and loved the tribute to Led Zeppelin. The management was listening and everyone agreed it would be a beautiful idea. We've only done two weeks so far, and it's been amazing. No train wrecks yet!

CB: Do you journal or take photos over the years with special tour memories. How do you document your stories and memories?

AW: We record every night and have photographers on sight. Occasionally I will blog, but I am usually pretty wound up after a show. Maybe this will be the year I take up a journal. A person can't count on their memory forever!!

CB: Does it ever get tough being on the road with family? How have you handled it for so many years?

AW: Yes, the road is rough. Traveling and performing together takes a lot out of you and sometimes things do get emotional. We are lucky to have each other for support. I don't know how I would have made it all these years without Nancy's love, strength and sense of humor!

CB: Are you working on new music while on the road?

AW: My head is full of new songs at the moment.

CB: What can fans looks forward to when the tour hits Cincinnati?

AW: The show in Cincinnati will open with Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, Next will be the heart show, after which there will be a finale consisting of about 30 minutes of Zeppelin songs with Jason Bonham and (Bonham's guitarist) Tony Catania joining in.


 
 

 

 

 
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