Tonight's installment of the free "American Roots" concert series on Fountain Square — which generally hosts weekly Tuesday performances by some of the best of the rich local Americana music scene — serves as a preview of the upcoming third annual BrownGrass Festival in Rabbit Hash, Ky.
The benefit is headed up by veteran musician David Rhodes Brown, who started the event three years ago as a way to help raise money for local radio outlet WNKU (the name is taken from the title of Brown's most recent solo album, Browngrass & Wildflowers, some proceeds from which also went to WNKU).
BrownGrass 2012 takes place July 21 and features a stellar lineup of local and regional acts, including DRB and his BrownGrass Band, The Tadcasters, Magnolia Mountain, The Leo Clarke Band, Greg Schramm & the Radio King Cowboys, Blame Bersch, Mack West, Kelly Thomas & the Fabulous Pickups, Beth Farmer, Davey O, Dan F. Hill and many others. The festival runs from noon-11 p.m. along the riverfront in Rabbit Hash. (Read about the first and second year of Browngrass here and here).
On Fountain Square tonight, BrownGrass Fest participants Ruthie & Grace Lincoln perform at 8:30 p.m. followed by Brown and his BrownGrass Band, as a preview of the fest. (The fun starts at 7 p.m. with some World Choir Games festivities.)
For complete details on the BrownGrass Festival 2012, visit the official website here.
Here's a nice video overview of last year's BrownGrass and some audio samples from Brown's solo effort.
The inaugural Bunbury Music Festival — three days of top-shelf Alternative music at Cincinnati's riverfront Sawyer Point Park — is just three days away. All this week, CityBeat's music blog will be featuring samples from some of our "sleeper picks" for the fest, artists who some may not be as familiar with as they are Weezer or Death Cab for Cutie or Jane's Addiction.
Our next "sleeper" is Alberta Cross, performing Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on the Globili Stage.
Alberta Cross is the brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Petter Ericson Stakee and bassist/vocalist Terry Wolfers, British expatriates now based in Brooklyn. The duo, fleshed out by a variety of rotating personnel, started the band six years ago and quickly secured some impressive gigs; in 2008, the band opened for Oasis on its massive UK tour and, in 2009, the year of their full-length debut Broken Side of Time, Alberta Cross played the festival trifecta: Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.
Stakee’s tremulous voice has been favorably compared to Jim James and Neil Young, a perfect complement to the band’s expansive Pop/Rock vibe that suggests a confluence of The Verve, Smashing Pumpkins and Brian Wilson. Songs of Patience, the anticipated sophomore album from Alberta Cross (the band’s name is an as-yet unrevealed anagram), will be released next week; advance notice hints that it could be among the year’s best.
Click here for the full stream of Songs of Patience (via Rolling Stone) or check out the album's first track, "Magnolia," below.
The inaugural Bunbury Music Festival — three days of top-shelf Alternative music at Cincinnati's riverfront Sawyer Point Park — is just four days away. All this week, CityBeat's music blog will be featuring samples from some of our "sleeper picks" for the fest, artists who some may not be as familiar with as they are Weezer or Death Cab for Cutie or Jane's Addiction.
Our next "sleeper" is Imagine Dragons, performing Saturday at 5:15 p.m. on the Bud Light Stage.
Founded in Las Vegas four years ago by primary songwriter Dan Reynolds, Imagine Dragons went through a variety of permutations before settling on the current line-up (guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, drummer Daniel Platzman). Since 2009, Imagine Dragons has turned out a quartet of impressive EPs, including the just-released Continued Silence, featuring the YouTube sensation “It’s Time,” all of which is a preview for the fall release of the band’s debut full-length, Night Visions. A quick spin through Continued Silence — the band’s first work for Interscope since signing last year and, like the new album, produced by renowned British Hop Hop boardsman Alex Da Kid — is like panning in a creek bedded with gold nuggets; glints of Coldplay, Everclear, Train and any number of other chart-topping Pop icons, but with a discernibly beat-driven Indie edge. As epic as Homerian poetry set to a U2 soundtrack and as intimate as a candlelight dinner in the Nevada desert.
The inaugural Bunbury Music Festival — three days of top-shelf Alternative music at Cincinnati's riverfront Sawyer Point Park — is just four days away. All this week, CityBeat's music blog will be featuring samples from some of our "sleeper picks" for the fest, artists who some may not be as familiar with as they are Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie or Jane's Addiction.
Our first "sleeper" is 1,2,3, performing Saturday at 2:15 p.m. on the Bud Light Stage.
Pittsburgh duo 1,2,3 (they go “full band” for live shows) took off fairly quickly, earning accolades in the U.K. that led to live shows abroad, all within a year of forming. One listen to the band’s debut LP for Frenchkiss Records, last year’s New Heaven, should make it clear why — 1,2,3’s songs hook listeners instantly with an uncanny sense of melody that suggests a lifetime of absorbing the magical Pop of the masters, from Bacharach and Nilsson to The Kinks and of Montreal. Add in Nic Snyder’s soulful and elastic voice and a dynamic backdrop of odd atmospherics, off-kilter beats and unexpected sounds and you have one of the more perfectly original Pop bands in America today.
Here's the band's music video for the track "Work":
Like every Friday, a great place to start your evening is Fountain Square, as the free MidPoint Indie Summer concert series continues with headliner Lydia Loveless. Loveless is an Ohio native who performed fairly regularly in the Cincinnati area (and elsewhere around the region) before she caught the attention of AltCountry/Modern Roots music institution Bloodshot Records with her natural blend of classic Country influences and more contemporary Rock flavors. Her debut for the label, Indestructible Machine was released last year and Loveless was one of the more buzzed-about names at last year's MidPoint Music Festival (even making the cover of CityBeat the week of the event. Loveless is currently working on new material.
Northern Ohio Roots/Blues artist Patrick Sweany and Cincinnati rockers The Ready Stance (check out our recent interview here) warm things up for Loveless starting at 7 p.m.
• Christopher Dexter Greenspan — better known as Bay Area Electronic artist oOoOO — brings his spectral beats and melodies to Northside's Mayday tonight for a 9 p.m. show with guests Fogger and Skeleton Hands. Admission is $12.
Greenspan's hypnotic, slanted mix of Chillwave and ethereal Trip Hop — at times sounding a little like Icelandic electronic act múm or a ghostly, gauzy version of M83 — was most recently showcased on oOoOO's second EP, Our Loving Is Hurting Us, which includes spacey vocals from singer Butterclock (as well as Greenspan's own voice, which delivers melodies slathered in a glaze of effects).
Here's the new EP track "Break Yr Heart."
• Former local musician GD Mills once again brings his raucous Minneapolis Garage Punk group Fuck Knights back to his former stomping grounds, performing a free show tonight at MOTR Pub with Muddy Udders, Children of the Emerald Fire and Martin Luther and the Kings. Showtime is 10 p.m.
How are Fuck Nights like Batman? Click here to find out.
Here's a clip of the Knights playing live last year (that's Mills singing and playing drums).
South Carolina’s Trevor Hall doesn’t make the kind of music you might expect to come from a native of the American south. Instead, Hall’s music has a Reggae streak, similar to the kind of tunes he may have heard growing up in the beach community of Hilton Head or later at the arts school he attended in California.
If you like Jack Johnson and Colbie Caillat and enjoy grooving to Bob Marley on occasion, Hall’s releases would fit nicely in your CD (or iTunes) collection. His newest album, Everything Everytime Everywhere, highlights everything that’s great about Hall’s music, with 12 tracks of summery, beach-y Pop with undertones of contemporary and classic Reggae.
Unlike Caillat and Johnson, Hall focuses on more than just sappy love songs. The love Hall is most willing to write and sing about is love for yourself and the world around you. Hall, who travels to India almost yearly to spend time in an ashram that houses underprivileged children, lives up to Marley’s “One Love” message better that most of his musical contemporaries. Everything even features snippets of sounds from an Indian street corner and a song introduction by one of the young girls from the ashram.
Hall has performed with Matisyahu, Jimmy Cliff and The Wailers, and is currently headlining his own tour. He plays on the Taft Theatre's Ballroom stage tonight with Justin Young and Pete Dressman. Tickets are $17.
Tonight's free MidPoint Indie Summer concert on Fountain Square is a bit different than most of the shows in the series. Not only is the bill all-local, it also represents three of the finest "Pop Rock" entities to ever emerge from the Queen City.
Despite sharing a knack for writing incredibly memorable songs exploding with irrepressible hooks, each group has its own distinctive sound and draws from varying classic Pop/Rock influences from throughout time, from The Beatles to Todd Rundgren to The Buzzcocks.
The Tigerlilies kicks things off at 7 p.m. The quartet has had a remarkable run over the past 23 years, despite the occasional upheaval — the group's lead guitarist slot occasionally seemed to reach "Spinal Tap drummer" proportions, but the ’Lilies balance that out by having the remarkable ability to enlist some truly amazing players who each have brought something unique to the group.
Current six-slinger Brendan Bogosian is no exception; the guitarist's (formerly of local bands like Cash Flagg and The Woos) expressive, serpentine style of playing has weaved its way into (and added new wrinkles to the sound of) The Tigerlilies' deft brand of early Punk/Post Punk inspired Power Pop seamlessly. The band is currently working on its next album, which they hope to have out this fall.
Next up (at about 8:15 p.m.) is the Roger Klug Power Trio, fronted (go figure!) by singer/songwriter/guitarist Roger Klug and featuring the great rhythm section of Mike Tittel on drums and Jamie Criswell on bass.
Klug (former member of popular locals The Willies) has amassed an impressive discography since his mid-’90s solo debut, Mama Mama ich bin in dem La La Land, a garage-y display of Klug's clever, instinctive songcraft, and the highly addictive follow-up, Toxic and 15 Other Love Songs. Those albums help Klug build a following amongst Power Pop die-hards, and not just local ones. His records found a widespread cult following thanks to distribution from modern Power Pop juggernaut Not Lame Records and breathlessly positive press from pretty much any critic who took the time to listen to a song.
After the ambitious (and creatively successful) Where Has the Music Gone?: The Lost Recordings of Clem Comstock in 1999 — a concept album featuring alleged "lost recordings" in a variety of vintage Pop styles (and credited to various made-up artist names) — Klug seemingly disappeared, putting out no new Roger Klug material for a decade and popping up only occasionally for area live shows. But in 2010, Klug fans were treated to an all-new LP, More Help for Your Nerves, which (somewhat amazingly) features some of his best tunes yet.
Closing out the live-concert primer on Cincinnati's catchiest homegrown music from the past four decades is, fittingly, popular trio psychodots (starting around 9:30 p.m.). The ’Dots are genuine local music legends whose origins date back to the ’70s when a quartet of graduates from Toledo's Sylvania High School — Rob Fetters, Bob Nyswonger, Chris Arduser and Tom Toth — moved to Cincinnati and, with a few adjustments in the lineup over time, went on to become one of the Queen City's most beloved bands, the raisins.
Local sensations of epic proportions, the raisins built up a huge (and hugely loyal) fan base in the city's clubs and, with its self-titled LP, scored a regional hit with the unforgettable, somewhat "New Wave-ish" "Fear Is Never Boring." If CityBeat ever does "Best Cincinnati Songs of All-Time," "Fear" is a lock for the No. 1 slot. There will be no debate.
Following the raisins' split in the mid-’80s, Arduser rejoined Fetters and Nyswonger — as well as the producer of that debut LP, globally acclaimed Covington native Adrian Belew — in The Bears, which spread Cincinnati's best kept secret well beyond city limits with a pair of well-distributed albums so strong they were like the Midwest's own Beatles. By the end of the ’80s, The Bears had split as Belew began investing more time in his solo and other outside work.
Perhaps sensing the end was near, Arduser, Fetters and Nyswonger (among about a bazillion other musical projects) began performing as a trio in 1988. The three masterful musicians officially became psychodots in 1991 when they released their self-titled album. The ’dots picked up where they had left off with the raisins and Bears and returned to their status as one of the city's most reliable original music draws.
Psychodots went on indefinite hiatus in the mid-’90s as the trio's members continued to explore a variety of projects (from the Arduser-fronted Graveblankets to Fetters' solo work to Nyswonger's jobs in Bucket and many other local units). While remaining prolific individually, the band seems to have found a way to balance all of their projects better; both The Bears and psychodots have returned to action for live shows and even new releases. (The raisins have also reteamed for a few one-off shows.)
The ’dots' live activity has been especially spare, limited usually to a couple of special shows a year around Thanksgiving time. But, along with tonight's appearance on Fountain Square, the trio seems ready for at least a little increased activity. After the Indie Summer show was announced, the psychodots were added as opening act for Cheap Trick's concert at the Taft Theatre next week, July 6.
If you're one of tonight's three performers' fans, you're likely well aware of their histories. But if you're unfamiliar with any or all of tonight's acts, be sure to be on the Square by 7 p.m. for a free musical retrospective of Cincy Pop at its finest. (Fun fact: Arduser, Nyswonger and Fetters — with The Bears — and The Tigerlilies were performers at the very first Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in the mid-’90s.)
Don't be a-scared of a little heat; there's lots of live music to be heard out there today in the Cincinnati area. Should you choose an outdoor event, be sure to hydrate, sunscreen up and try not to complain too much.
You can work up a sweat in the comfort of AC at Covington's Madison Theater tonight. Successful local EDM/DJ/Dance promoters Next Era and Dub Collective present producer and recording artist Big Chocolate, a self-described "small white dude with the big name" who has risen quickly in the world of Electronic music. He'll have the Madison hopping with his blend of Dubstep, Drum and Bass and Electro, with a little help from like-minded support acts Krowd Khemistry, Lady Bandit and Project Rain.
Big Chocolate is also a prolific video blogger; check out his "Daily Vlog" channel on YouTube here.
Showtime for the all-ages show is 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.
• If you like a little "live Rock band" in your Electro mix, head to Corryville's Mad Frog tonight for a performance by Ithaca, NY-based group Jimkata. The band has a sound that's a mix of catchy modern Pop Rock with an ’80s lean via big hooks, danceable rhythms and ornamental synths. Showtime is 10 p.m.
• The popular Spirit Song music festival returns to Kings Island starting today. The three-day event has become one of the biggest Contemporary Christian music festivals in the Midwest and this year's lineup might be the strongest yet. The lineup includes a lot of "crossover" acts (like tonight's headliners Switchfoot) and artists mostly only known to CCM fans. Local Rock group Mosteller joins the biggies for today's Spirit Song opener. The concert welcomes all ages and begins at 4 p.m. Tickets are $48.99 (if you're planning on going multiple days, you can find bargains with multiday passes).
Before you go, be sure to ask yourself "HWJH?" ("How Would Jesus Hydrate?"). Hint: He wouldn't be turning that precious water into wine today!
• Also worth a good sweat is the free "Salsa on the Square" series at 7 p.m. today on Fountain Square. Today's featured Salsa music-makers: Son Del Caribe. As always, dance instructors will be on hand to assist you if you dance more like Franklin Delano Roosevelt than Franklin Diaz!
• Rock band Collective Soul, which had a string of hits in the late ’90s/early ’00s, performs "An Evening With …" style tonight at Bogart's.
From the press release: "The band plans to make each night unforgettable. In addition to Dosage, they will perform other songs from a catalog that has sold over 10 million albums worldwide and produced seven #1 radio hits during their nearly 20-year career. Those in attendance can expect to hear 'Shine,' 'December,' 'The World I Know,' 'Where The River Flows' and many others."
Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $20.25-$28.
Todd Snider & the Burnouts return to Cincinnati tonight for a hump-day show at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley with special guest Rosi Golan.
Snider is one of the more acclaimed songwriters of his time, earning early support from high-profile fans like John Prine and Jimmy Buffett. Releasing high quality albums since 1994, Snider continues to dazzle with his well-crafted songs and engaging lyrics (perhaps his most notable talent).
This year Snider released two new albums within a couple months of each other. The first, March’s Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables, was an embedded, sign-o-the-times album that featured an “Occupy” anthem, “New York Banker,” and other sharp-yet-everyday observations of current society. The most recent release was a tribute to a like-minded forefather; the Don Was-produced Time As We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker featured guests ranging from platinum-selling Country star Kix Brooks to young Americana critic’s darling, Amy LaVere.
Showtime is 8 p.m. This is a seated show; tickets range from $18-$25, depending on where you sit.
Here is a video for Golan's "Underneath A Beating Heart" (which premiered earlier this month on Perez Hilton's site) followed by audio for Sinder's great "New York Banker."
• The Clifton Cultural Arts Center on Clifton Ave. has been presenting free, fun, family-friendly live music on its front lawn since The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars kicked off the "Wednesdays on the Green" series earlier this month. Tonight, the incomparable Tracy Walker performs her soulful Folk/Pop/Rock at the free, 7 p.m. event. Click here to check out the rest of the summer schedule, then listen to Tracy sing below — and shiver that good kind of shiver — to get you in the mood. (Get more Tracy Walker here.)
• Also on the free tip, Lucky 7 (led by former Zionites frontdude Lucky Spaulding and featuring his bro Seven Spaulding, guitarist Chris Madine and bassist Michael VanHorn) is the featured band on Fountain Square for this evening's 7 p.m. "Reggae Wednesday" concert. (Check out some tunes from the R&B/Reggae crew here.)
• And down at Yeatman's Cove (next to Sawyer Point), Party in the Park returns with one of Cincy's most favoritest cover bands ever, the always fun Rusty Griswolds 3 Day Rule. Party in the Park starts at 5 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m.
Click here for more live music options tonight in Greater Cincinnati.
Northern Kentucky native and genuine guitar god Adrian Belew returns to the area tonight for a show with The Crimson ProjeKct at the Taft Theatre. Belew is spending half his summer on the road with the ProjeKct — a King Crimson offshoot that also includes KC’s Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto, plus Markus Reuter, Julie Slick and Tobias Ralph — touring as opener for modern-day Prog Rock legends Dream Theater. The ProjeKct set lists so far on the tour have been all King Crimson, primarily from Belew's initial period with the group ("Elephant Talk," "Thela Hun Ginjeet") and the ’90s KC period when Mastelotto joined the fold ("B'Boom," "THRAK"), but they've also been doing the title track from KC's 1974 album, Red.
In August, Belew, Levin and Mastelotto will be going to camp in the Catskills. The second annual “Three Of A Perfect Pair Music Camp” — which will include workshops, story sharing, hangouts and lots of music-playing — takes place Aug. 20-24 (visit threeofaperfectpair.com for full details or check out the video overview below).
But first things first — Belew and The Crimson ProjeKct perform tonight at the Taft at 7:30 p.m., followed by Dream Theater. Tickets are $27.50-$53.
Here's a clip from 1982 of Crimson performing another song the ProjeKct has been playing on its current jaunt.
• The name Marsalis is a quality-ensurer in Jazz. So many family members have made a name in music, the Marsalis family tree is a full branch of the general American Jazz family tree.
Esteemed trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis is the brother of famed trumpeter/historian Wynton, modern sax icon Branford and respected drummer-turned-vibraphonist Jason, and son of Louisiana Music Hall of Famer Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Together, the musical family received the NEA Jazz Masters Award in 2011.
Of course, the Marsalis' individual achievements are still wildly impressive outside of the context of the family's accomplishments. Delfeayo has released a handful of acclaimed albums since the ’90s, including 2011's Sweet Thunder: Duke and Shak, but his greatest contribution to Jazz may be his work in production. Handling the boards on over 100 albums over the years, Delfeayo helped steer recorded Jazz back to a more acoustic mindset, eschewing tech "advancements" like the "dreaded direct bass" for the ambiance of early, classic Jazz sessions.
The Delfeayo Marsalis Sextet (with saxman and clarinetist Victor Goines) begins a two-night stand (with shows at 7 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.) tonight at downtown's Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Admission is just $15 ($10 for students with ID).
Here's a clip of Delfeayo with his pops, performing "Sultry Serenade."