One of, if not the, coolest youth outreach programs in the region is the "Hip Hop Youth Arts Center" Elementz on Central Parkway, which gives local kids a consistent outlet to explore their creativity and learn about the arts. The center is now 7 years old and tonight at 6 p.m. the founders are hosting an anniversary party featuring performances by several artists affiliated with Elementz. Admission is just $3.
The people behind the non-profit center recently began sending out video press releases to keep everyone in the loop on their happenings. Below is a clip about this evening's birthday celebration, followed by Elementz's winter video newsletter, which includes footage from various performances and workshops from the past few months, as well as an interview about politics with local DJ Hi Tek.
There's also a special, surprise announcement about Elementz at the end of the winter newsletter clip. The center is preparing to move to the old Media Bridges headquarters on Race St. (across from SCPA) now that Media Bridges is relocating to the WCET building around the corner. (The new Media Bridges is slated to be reopened in its new space on May 3.)
For more on Elementz, visit its website here.
Fox 19, in conjunction with the Red Cross, is airing a telethon all day today in an effort to raise money for the victims of the devastating tornadoes that recently blew through the area. The event — dubbed the "Road to Recovery Telethon" — runs until 11 p.m. tonight (and kicked off at 4 a.m. this morning). Click here if you'd like to donate online.
If you want to check out some live music and help those same victims, you have some opportunities this weekend. Saturday at the Newport Syndicate, local "Party Rock" cover band DV8 will provide the tunes for an 8:30 p.m. benefit. Tickets are $15 at the door and all proceeds (and any additional donations) will go to the Matthew 25 Ministries, which has been helping with relief efforts (as it so often does). Click here for more info.
On Sunday, several area musicians join forces for a benefit for Northern Kentucky victims at Duck Creek Country Club, just across the river from the Old Coney amusement park and Riverbend, in Cold Spring, Ky. The show features a mix of Roots, Blues, Country and Rock artists from the area, including The Tempers, Straw Boss, The Perfect Children, Stickey Honey, Muleshine, Wendy Oakley & The Posse, Mudpies, Dave Hawkins and several others. Music starts at noon. Raffles and other opportunities to give will be available.
If you know of other benefits for area tornado victims, please post below.
Head to Northside's Mayday tonight to check out the first installment of a new monthly music series showcasing brand new bands from the Greater Cincinnati area. The "Unsung" night will go down the first Wednesday of each month. For tonight's first Unsung, the featured act is Formerly Ghosts.
The trio — Sebastien Hue, Pyn Wayne and Jimmy Shivers — says, "Sonic Youth, Gary Busey and John Wayne-Gacy did not have a three-headed love child, but if they did, it would be Formerly Ghosts," which should be more than enough to get you to Mayday around 9 p.m. for the band's free performance.
The Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati falls on the same weekend as two other big regional music fests, one 100 miles to our south and the other about 300 miles northwest of the Queen City. Like Bunbury, the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago and the 10th annual Forecastle fest are happening July 13-15.
In theory, the proximity (geographically and time-wise) should lead to some crossover, as artists from one event might run their tour route to the other cities to score some of those big festival performance fees. (MidPoint's 2011 fest in Cincy, for example, shared some acts with the somewhat nearby Pygmalion Music Festival in Urbana-Champaign, Ill.) But so far that hasn't happened with Bunbury, which seems to be focusing on more mainstream "Alternative" artists, as opposed to Pitchfork's more esoteric lineup and Forecastle's endearing mishmash of styles.
Louisville's Forecastle previously announced that hometown heroes My Morning Jacket would be curating the event and performing. This morning organizers announced that joining them will be Dubstep superstar Bassnectar and Dad Rock champs Wilco, plus Andrew Bird, Girl Talk, Atmosphere, Neko Case, Sleigh Bells, A-Trak, Dean Wareham (playing Galaxie 500 songs), Galactic, Clutch, Flying Lotus, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Mike Doughty, Real Estate, Deer Tick, Charles Bradley, JEFF the Brotherhood and Cincinnati's Walk the Moon, among others. Click here for ticket info and the the full lineup so far.
Meanwhile, here is who Pitchfork announced yesterday for this year's event in Chicago's Union Park: Vampire Weekend, Feist, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Hot Chip, AraabMUZIK, A$AP Rocky, The Field, Liturgy, Kendrick Lamar, Grimes, Cloud Nothings, Tim Hecker and Willis Earl Beal. Thirty more artists will be announced later.
Pitchfork tickets go on sale next Friday, March 9, at noon via the Pitchfork fest's site here.
So if you could go to any of the three festivals, based on the info available so far (and not counting travel costs and lodging arrangements) which one would you attend — Cincinnati's, Louisville's or Chicago's?
Though it feels like it was only yesterday that we cleaned up the final beer cup from MidPoint Music Festival's wildly successful 10th anniversary event last September, submissions to perform at MPMF.12 open tomorrow. This year's MidPoint is set to return to various venues in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood Sept. 27-29. The early submission deadline is March 31; submission fees go up after that and will be accepted until the drop-dead deadline date, May 11.
After last year's success — 185 acts across 18 stages performing for 23,000 music lovers — competition for slots is expected to be higher than ever. Be sure to get yourself in the mix early.
The Afghan Whigs first show in America in 13 years takes place Sept. 22 in Asbury Park, NJ, heading up a killer lineup at the I'll Be Your Mirror fest, presented by All Tomorrow's Parties. The fest is being curated by ATP and the Whigs' frontman Greg Dulli, whose first selections for the other acts on the bill was released last week. Dulli's picks: comedian Louis C.K., The Roots, Jose Gonzalez, Mark Lanegan, The Dirty Three, The Antlers, The Dirtbombs, Sharon Van Etten, Emeralds, Vetiver, Quinton and Miss Pussy Cat, Charles Bradley, Reigning Sound, a DJ set from The Roots' ?uestlove and Scrawl, the Whigs' Columbus-based pals (might Scrawl singer Marcy Mays reprise her vocal turn on the Whigs' classic, "My Curse"?). The show will also feature bands like Autolux, Hot Snakes and The Make-Up, part of the lineup chosen by ATP.
Greg Dulli gave Spin an interview and a little insight into the band's decision to get back together. In the interview, Dulli jokes about doing a set of all new songs at the reunion shows ("Oh, we're playing all new material," he says. "No old songs, just new stuff we’ve come up with. Wouldn’t that be amazing?") and says he finally got the bug to reunite after hanging out with bassist John Curley (who still lives in Cincy) and guitarist Rick McCullom (who is in Minneapolis). He also said when they first got together to rehearse, right before Thanksgiving last year, "the hair on the back of my neck stood up."
Read the full Spin interview here.
The article says Dulli was "cagey" about revealing
whether or not the band would do any other shows in the U.S. (the band is
doing four dates in Europe beginning with the May 27 I'll Be Your
Mirror festival in London). But in another just-published interview — with the great music site The Quietus — Dulli said the band will probably do "at least" another 20 shows in addition to the five announced. (Fingers-crossed, Cincinnatians!)
Check out The Quietus interview here.
The Afghan Whigs' also have a spiffy new website with lots of archival videos, a cool "This Date in Whigs History"-type feed and a lot of other info on the band. Visit the site here.
UPDATE: This morning, the Whigs site announced that the band has added six more shows to their reunion itinerary — all in Europe. But that means still 14 or so more to go, right?
Two items of importance came down the wire recently relating to upcoming concerts in Cincinnati.
• This summer's three-day Bunbury Music Festival along the riverfront previously announced headliners for each day (Jane's Addiction, Death Cab for Cutie and Weezer) and today organizers gave us three more names. The Airborne Toxic Event is now set to play July 13 before Jane's, Manchester Orchestra will play July 14 and Gym Class Heroes (pictured) is set for the closing day of the fest, July 15. From a purely commercial standpoint, this thing is going to be huge. Each act announced so far is top-tier enough to headline its own large show and all receive regular airplay on "Modern Rock" radio (if not Top 40). I'd get your tickets early if you are hoping to attend. Passes for the inaugural Bunbury fest are $46 for one day or $93 for all three days. Click here to purchase.
• If you don't have tickets for The Black Keys show at U.S. Bank Arena this Friday, start thinking about cyber scalpers (sorry, "online ticket brokers") because the show has officially sold out. Friday's concert is the first date on the Keys' first ever headlining arena tour, which includes a few other sold-out shows along the route, including a Madison Square Garden one that sold every ticket in 15 minutes. I think that officially makes them "Arena Rock" stars. And damn popular ones at that. Not bad for a little Blues/Rock duo from Akron, Ohio.
Greater Cincinnati has an exceptionally large contingency headed to Austin, Tex., in a few weeks for the big music industry showcase/conference South By Southwest. As in the past, CityBeat will have troops on the ground covering everything Cincinnati at SXSW, with regular dispatches and more. But before any vans/RVs/tourbusses leave the driveway and start heading south, there are a few send-off events involving our local SXSW reps, beginning this evening with a special happy-hour party featuring music by The Seedy Seeds. The fun starts at 5:30 p.m. at downtown's Mainstay and runs until 8 p.m. (Hang around afterwards to catch two of Cincinnati's more eclectic DJs, DJ Empirical and KFrey, at 10 p.m., as they spin for the club's Turntable Thursday night). There is a $10 cover/donation for the SxCincy gathering.
The Seedy Seeds are, unsurprisingly, playing the festival again this year, but today's happy-hour event will help introduce many locals to another entity heading to SXSW. The sponsors of the happy hour, technology-focused "venture development organization" CincyTech, will be in Texas and helping out fellow Cincinnatians by securing space in downtown Austin they've dubbed @SxCincy Haus, designed "for members of the Cincinnati community to recharge themselves and their devices" and "hang out, get some work done or just rest up." CincyTech is also hosting chats each day at 4 p.m., featuring different topics and guests from Cincinnati. The tech company is also presenting a party at SXSW with Cincinnati beer and chili, plus "the opportunity to mingle with Cincy's consumer branding and marketing experts." CincyTech representatives will be on hand at Mainstay tonight to explain everything.
The All Night Party licensing/promo group is co-sponsoring today's happy hour and also going to Austin, hosting its first-ever showcase at SXSW. More details to come. ANP, CincyTech and The Seedy Seeds are just three local groups (musical or otherwise) heading to the festival. Stay tuned to our blogs for updates and news on who's going and other "bon voyage" parties/benefits in Greater Cincinnati leading up to their departure.
The Seedy Seeds unveiled another excellent music video earlier this month. Check out the playfully animated clip for "Telephone the Constrictor":
If you're a hardcore devotee of the creative Electronic Dance Music (EDM) scene exploding across the world right now, the place you'll most want to be tonight isn't your favorite dance club, but a movie theater. That's because the intriguing documentary film Re:Generation Music Project is premiering simultaneously in theaters across the country, including locally at the AMC theaters at Newport on the Levee and the Rave theaters in Florence, Ky. Showtime is 8 p.m. (Click here to buy advance tickets for tonight's screening or the encore ones Feb. 23.)
The film's premise is quite clever and not what you might expect from a documentary seemingly about the state of contemporary Electronic music. While five of today's most popular producers/DJs — Skrillex, The Crystal Method, Mark Ronson, DJ Premier and Pretty Lights — are at the heart of the movie, it really sounds like it is more about the inherent mongrel nature of music in general and how all music evolves organically through hybridization.
Acclaimed documentarian Amir Bar Lev directed the film, which follows the five featured artists as they prepare to write and record a new track with someone renowned for their work in a decidedly different field of study. Subtitled "5 DJs Turn the Table of the History of Music," Lev takes viewers along as recent Grammy winner Skrillex teams up with members of Rock band The Doors, The Crystal Method head to Detroit to collaborate with Motown legends Martha Reeves of The Vandellas and The Funk Brothers, Ronson gets down on some New Orleans Jazz with Trombone Shorty (as well as Mos Def, Erykah Badu, The Dap Kings and Zigaboo Medeliste), DJ Premier goes Classical with the Berklee Symphony Orchestra and Pretty Lights explores Bluegrass with Ralph Stanley (and LeAnn Rimes).
By exploding genre and generational barriers, Re:Generation makes a great point about the development of music in society. While Stanley and Pretty Lights' Derek Vincent Smith are a half a century apart in terms of age, they share the common ground of being artists and creators, which makes them able to "get" what the other is doing on a unique level that often only artists can access. The new generation of Electronic Dance Music artists are also perfect to focus in on, since the younger musicians of today (especially in electronic music) feed off of invention and seem willing to experiment with any source. As long as it services the song, who cares where it's placed in the iTunes store?
Here's a clip from the film featuring Skrillex and his legendary collaborators, The Doors.
I may be imagining it (the eternal optimist that I am), but it seems like ever since the Southgate House locked its doors at the end of 2011, many in the local booking world stepped up their game instantly. Though it's only been just over a month, it certainly doesn't feel as if the Greater Cincinnati concert market has been gutted by the loss of that one great club. And with several spots slated to open later this year (new venues from the brains behind the Southgate and Mad Hatter, plus whatever happens to the actual Southgate House building), it only looks to be getting better.
More good news on that front came out at the start of this week. On Feb. 10, an unexpected, big-time venue entered the mix — or rather, increased its presence in it. Downtown’s gorgeous Taft Theatre already this year announced some concerts by more “mid-level” groups like Trampled By Turtles and JJ Grey & Mofro, cult faves and Southgate alumni. Now, the Taft and promoter Music & Events Management Inc. are opening a new venue-within-a-venue that will allow the Taft to book artists who have outgrown small clubs but aren't quite ready for the big room.
The Ballroom at the Taft — located in the theater’s lower level — was designed to be, according to the press release, “a showcase style club venue that will play host to a variety of live entertainment events spanning all types of styles and genres.”