Friday and Saturday, the bi-annual Clifton Heights Music Festival returns to the clubs, bars and restaurants around the University of Cincinnati. The fourth installment is the biggest CHMF yet, with over 80 acts performing everything from Rock, Pop and Indie to Comedy, Hip Hop, Reggae and much more. The fest has become the best way to sample, in a live setting, what the Cincinnati music scene has to offer (with a few regional acts sprinkled in), so if you're a hardcore local music fan or someone who has wondered what the big deal is, your weekend plans are set. Below is the full lineup with links to check out the venues and artists before you head out.
Two highly anticipated concerts this week have been canceled. Last night, I received an emailed press release from the promoters of the Stone Temple Pilots concert at Taft Theatre at 7:24 p.m. announcing the show had been called off due to singer Scott Weiland’s inability to perform (not for the reason you’re thinking — Weiland was suffering from “inflamed vocal chords”). The concert was scheduled to start last night at 7:30 p.m., so that was a close call (especially for fans already at the venue). Today, Live Nation announced that the rare performance by Black Star (featuring modern Hip Hop heroes Mos Def and Talib Kweli) at Bogart’s this Saturday had also been canceled.
On this date in 1972, Les Harvey — guitarist for the Scottish band (which many believed would become huge) Stone the Crows — died on stage when he was electrocuted by a microphone. He reportedly died when he touched the (probably) ungrounded mic and his guitar at the same time during soundcheck (with what many believe were wet hands).
Harvey is a member of the sad club of rockers who died at the age of 27. He's also a member of a smaller club of known musicians who died from electrocution.
Keith Relf, singer for The Yardbirds, died in 1976 at the age of 33 after being electrocuted by an (again) ungrounded electric guitar.
John Rostill was the bassist for the British Pop group that gave Cliff Richard to the world, The Shadows (he was also a member of Zoot Money Quartet alongside future Police guitarist Andy Summers). Rostill was found dead in 1973, electrocuted by a guitar that was (again!) believed to be improperly grounded.
French Pop singer/songwriter Claude Francois — who cowrote the classic Sinatra tune "My Way" and sold over 70 million records in his career — died in 1978 at the age of 39. Francois returned to his Paris abode after recording a BBC special and was standing in a full bathtub when he tried to adjust a light on the wall above the tub. He was electrocuted and died. As far as I know, everything was properly grounded in the bathroom.
Lessons: Bathtubs and electronics don't mix. And always make sure your equipment is grounded before touching anything.
Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing a May 3 birthday include singer/actor Bing Crosby (1903); early Blues musician and slide guitarist Homesick James (1914); late Funk superhero James Brown (1933); Pop star with the Four Seasons, Frankie Valii (1934); bassist for proto-Garage band The Troggs ("Wild Thing"), Pete Staples (1944); Soft Rock superstar Christopher Cross (1951); singer for Nu Metal band Saliva, Josey Scott (1971); singer/guitarist for Indie Rock favorites Interpol, Paul Banks (1978); and Folk legend Pete Seeger (1919).
Seeger — who will be awarded a "Distinguished Service" honor from the American Academy of Arts and Letters on May 16 — popped up in the news recently in a manner befitting the revolutionary singer/songwriter who penned (or co-penned) standards like "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?," "If I Had Hammer" and "Turn, Turn, Turn!" He also popularized the spiritual "We Shall Overcome," which became the Civil Rights Movement's theme song.
Seeger's social consciousness in song was used once again in a powerful way last week when tens of thousands of Norwegians joined together for a marathon singalong of his song, "My Rainbow Race" (the Norwegian version is called "Children of the Rainbow") as a way to protest/heckle admitted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik during his trial for murdering 77 people last summer. Breivek had previously dissed the song because it "brainwashed" children into believing that things like cultural diversity and racial harmony are good. He said, in court, that the song was brought to schools by "cultural Marxists."
"The curriculum is stripped of knowledge relating to the codes of honor that have been so important for Europe for thousands of years,” Breivik said. “They put up these songs and propaganda films to get students to despise their forefathers.”
Here's Lillebjørn Nilsen leading the singalong (he popularized the original Norwegian version).
While making my daily Pitchfork pit-stop, I noticed the site was pimping the latest work by Cincinnati native Pete Ohs, a fresh-faced dude who’s directed crafty music videos for such Indie faves as Wavves, Ghosthustler, Fiery Furnaces and The Unicorns.
“When I’m with You,” a ’50s-influenced piece of fuzzy Surf-Pop by LA-based Best Coast, features a Ronald McDonald clone on what looks like a date with the band’s frontwoman Bethany Costentino. Sunglasses, a bedspread with a pot leaf on it, cats, In-N-Out Burger, a sunny beach and a longhaired guitarist guy are also featured in the sweet, lo-fi video.
It's looking like the historic Emery Theatre on the border of Over-the-Rhine and Downtown is back in business as a full-time functioning venue. Bands like Magnolia Mountain and Pop Empire have been using the Theatre to film music video projects and, next Saturday (April 28), the Emery hosts the "Rock This Town" benefit concert for CityLink, which helps resident "break the cycle of poverty" by providing employment training and other assistance. The event's music will be provided several groups of business people who can play instruments or sing (modeled on the "Suits That Rock" concerts that benefit the Carnegie Arts Center in Covington).
On April 27, the Emery will host a dual album release party/concert in honor of two new releases from the label Ol Kentuck, run by SubPop recording artist and Northern Kentucky native Daniel Martin Moore. One of the albums is a vinyl release of producer/guitarist/composer Ric Hordinski's Arthur's Garden (read more about the album here).
The other is the first release from a duo project consisting of Moore and singer Joan Shelley (pictured) titled Farthest Field. The event will also feature readings from authors Silas House and Marianne Worthington (who wrote one of the most engaging press releases for the album I think I've ever laid eyes on for the duo's debut; click the "Bio" pdf link on this page to read it).
It's a great time to check out the Emery circa 2012 because the concert is also free and open to the public. (Rock this Town's tickets range from $35-$100 — for a great cause, of course.)
Here are two video clips (shot by photographer Michael Wilson with help on the audio side from Pop Empire) promoting the concert, with music from Moore and Shelley's Farthest Field (officially available May 8).
Cincy-based, ukulele-friendly Folk Pop duo Shiny and the Spoon are gearing up for the release of its first full-length album, Ferris Wheel. The record officially drops Aug. 13, when the twosome (Amber Nash and Jordan Neff) hosts a release party at the Southgate House with guests the Rubber Knife Gang, Lisa Walker (of Wussy) and The Hiders. But yesterday, Nash and Neff posted a “teaser” of Wheel on YouTube, featuring a medley of the album’s tracks. Check it out below.
Two Cincinnati acts with strong Irish ties recently announced some good news for the holidays. For Voodoo Loons, the good news is a special gift for fans and a preview of their next album. For Roger Drawdy and the Firestarters, it's the announcement of their nomination for an international music award. For fans of progressive Irish music, it's like Christmas in, well, Christmastime.
It ain't the Oscars, but Cincinnati rockers Foxy Shazam will be making like Bill Conti and providing the music for Spike TV's manly "Guys Choice" awards, which will be telecast on the channel June 9 at 9 p.m. (the show is taping in Culver City, Calif., on June 2).
Foxy will rock between the doling out of awards such as "Holy Grail of Hot," "Most Dangerous Man" (fitting!), "Top Fantasy Leaguer," "Comedy MVP," "Best Fight Scene," "Outstanding Literary Achievement" (seriously, though it's Dick Cheney vs. Tina Fey in the category), "Best Ass Kicker" (alas, no "Best Ass Kisser") and "Top Masturbator" (OK, made that one up).
Joining Foxy on the broadcast will be Adam Sandler, Emma Stone, Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth MacFarlane, Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell and others.You can vote for the awards (and look at photos of half naked women) here.
Foxy, as always, has been relentlessly touring, traveling the world in support of its early 2012 release Church of Rock & Roll on I.R.S. Records. The band is performing at the huge Rock on the Range festival in Columbus this weekend (they play the FYE second stage Friday at 8:30 p.m.). Here's some footage of the band from a recent U.K. stint.
If you happened to have checked out this past Saturday's Beats Summer Concert Series event (the popular Hip Hop/Dance/DJ night presented by Self Diploma every Saturday this summer) on Fountain Square, you probably got a taste of the skills of Cincinnati native Santino Corleon, who performed right before headliner DJ Clockwork.
This week, you have another chance to sample Corleon's goods as the head-turning MC has released his latest track and accompanying music video, "Tats."
Corleon has already become a "name to watch" around the region. Upon returning to Cincinnati after a stint studying (both at college and in the Hip Hop community) in Brooklyn, Corleon stepped up his game and has been invited to perform with artists like Big Sean, Method Man and Redman, J. Cole and Gucci Mane (among other big-timers) and performing at various music festivals around the region. He's also built his buzz up by releasing several widely distributed mixtapes, including his most recent, The Hangover, hosted by DJ E-V (who works with Machine Gun Kelly and Mike Posner) and featured on Hip Hop/mixtape sites like TheOneMic.com, Live Mixtapes and LeakJones.
You can listen and download The Hangover and its predecessor — the more freestyle-oriented Where's the Love? — right here for free through Corleon's site.
Corleon is also giving away free downloads of "Tats," which will be a part of his next full release, Keep the Change. Check the video (directed by Dan Gotti) below, then click here if you'd like your very own download. The track has a cool sparse/ambient quality, with some great, tricky beats and a bass-rumble that could wake the dead. (Note: The track is also pretty non-PC and probably NSFW for most of you reading this at your job, due to language. But if your boss is cool with it, so are we.)
Vice — the cool, ever-emerging media empire that includes a popular, irreverent magazine and record label — and raucous band The Black Lips have curated a mini local music festival set for this Thursday at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. The Lips (who opened for The Raconteurs for that half-local-band’s debut in Cincinnati a few of summers ago at PNC Pavilion) handpicked Cincy acts The Harlequins, Weakness and Sacred Spirits to perform at the free show, which they’ve dubbed “Uncapped Cincinnati”