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by Mike Breen 07.20.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Festivals, Interview at 04:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with The Devil Wears Prada

Dayton Metalcore group preps for return to Ohio with the Mayhem festival

The Devil Wears Prada is a true "area band makes good" story. The Dayton-born group is steamrolling through the landscape of Metal all over the world. In the band's short history, TDWP has released four albums while keeping up one of the most active tour schedules around. The group's latest album, Dead Throne, from last year reached the top of the US Indie charts and they are showing no signs of slowing down, joining the likes of Slipknot, Slayer, and Motorhead on the latest Mayhem package tour, which comes to Riverbend next Tuesday (July 24).

CityBeat caught up with lead singer Mike Hranica in person prior to the band's show at Bogart's this past winter, and with rhythm guitarist Jeremy DePoyster by phone just this week to preview the group's return to Ohio. They both are very proud of their Midwestern roots, what it has meant to the band’s success and how it has let the members keep their Christian values at the forefront of their music.

CityBeat: I have been listening to your new album this week Dead Throne to get ready for the show. First, I wanted to ask you about one of the songs on it. I guess the song that speaks to me the most was “Mammoth.” Can you tell me the story behind that song and a little bit about it?

Mike Hranica: “Mammoth” was an interesting song. When we went into recording the record, there were only two songs that didn’t have vocals yet. One being “Chicago,” one being “Mammoth” and I wrote them as we were working on the record. When we took “Mammoth” into pre-production, Adam D, who produced the record, totally re-arranged it and it turned out to be one of our favorite songs as well and a favorite of the fans. Lyrically, it was the second to last song I wrote for the record, so I wanted it to be this recap of everything this record deals with, all the issues from idolatry to love loss and all this and tying obviously God into it. That is the idea of the full circle which runs throughout the song and that is the general concept of it.

CB: You mentioned Adam D from Killswitch. What was your favorite part of working with him on the album?

MH: I liked all of it. He is extravagant, personality-wise, and professionally I see him his as very simply a mastermind. I think he absolutely smashes it. I loved what he did with the music, what he did vocally with me, and I loved eating lobster with him every day.

CB: You recorded it somewhere up north right?

MH: Yes, in Western Massachusetts.

CB: You guys grew up here in Dayton. This is a local show for the band. How do you think growing up here in the Midwest influenced the music?

MH: You really see it everywhere, internationally and throughout the states. Music is obviously huge to all cliques, all generations, and all sorts of youths as far as going to school in the groups or the segregations, the cliques of people all have their music. Music is very important to someone young and growing up and I know that really translated to us. I think the Midwest has a big part in it because there is not much else to do. Like anyone else there was BMX and skateboarding and sports and what not, but it seems like a lot of young folks in the Midwest just want to play guitar and go to shows and I know that was the members that make up this band.

Jeremy DePoyster: There are so many bands that are doing similar kinds of things to what we are doing now. When we grew up, especially in Cincinnati, there was an actual Hardcore scene of music and it was bizarre to be playing with them as kids with keyboards and singing and all this stuff. We were this kind of and oddball band and it was exciting because we were just a bunch of kids and into that stuff. It forced us to try and do the best we could and to really have no promise of anything. It was all local. Between Cincinnati and Dayton and Indianapolis and all these places we played growing up, it’s just the Midwest vibe. That’s why I live in Chicago now instead of the West Coast. I like the feeling here. I feel like it is really down to Earth. My wife is from Cincinnati and so we grew up together. It makes you more humble. You don’t have the arrogance that comes with it a lot of times.

CB: So you were in the school band?

MH: Dan and James were. I think those two were the only ones in school bands.

CB: I downloaded “Zombie Slay” last night and played that on the iPad for the first time. I was just curious about you guys getting into gaming and the comic books and how did that all come about and why did you choose to go down that path?

MH: When we did the EP, it was like a weird concept, it is a non-serious concept that we are going to take seriously and with that I think it would be really stupid to not do things in addition to zombie t-shirts and zombie hoodies. We wanted to go outside of that. The comic book was something that came to us right away as well as the game. Unfortunately, it just took a long time to get the game together. It was just stuff we wanted to do.

CB: Do you draw?

MH: Chris draws. The dude that did all the illustrations, actually Kevin Mellon who did the comic book illustrations worked with us on the app as well. We were just curious to get into the app world, the iTunes world, being a bunch of Apple nerds. The game was definitely an awesome first step for us and we are excited to see what else we can do with outside the box marketing products and just giving fans something a little bit different to maintain curiosity and just have a little bit of fun.

CB: What is your favorite game to play, other than Zombie Slay of course?

MH: I have been playing a lot of Zombie Slay. We just did Australia before this tour which is a lot of long flights and I was playing a lot of Zombie Slay. Otherwise, I go in and out. I have an iPad as well and I play games on that. I am not that big of an Angry Birds fan. Everyone is definitely on Angry Birds. I like Veggie Samurai, I play that a lot. Sadly I play a lot of Solitaire on my iPod, like my classic iPod.

CB: What are you guys most looking forward to with the Mayhem Festival?

JD: So many things. We have tried to come a long way as a band. That is always the goal. We have tried to really fine tune the art and harness the sound in the show and all that good stuff. I think that being on the Festival is kind of the next step in the direction of shying away from the Dubstep nonsense, you know, silly autotune wave of things that are happening and get back to Metal which is what we like and what we love and why we write the stuff we do. Slipknot, Slayer, Motorhead and Anthrax are amazing. You can’t beat that stuff. We have wanted to do the tour for a long time but as soon as those names came up, we were like, “Yes. Now. Put us on it.”

CB: You guys have never really compromised your Christian values and you have always had that kind of a theme through your lyrics but you have started touring with more mainstream Metal bands like White Chapel and the bands you just named. There is not always a Christian atmosphere. I cover a lot of Metal music. How do you handle it or does it bother you guys at all?

JD: It doesn’t really bother us. Even one of the guys from Slayer is Catholic. I think it is more of a vibe thing for them more than anything in a lot of those bands. I don’t really feel like it is that big of a deal. Some people sing about politics and some people sing about satanic issues and some people sing about love and all different kinds of things. This is just what we sing about.

I don’t think it really has a whole lot to do with music. I listen to Slayer and I listen to Slipknot and bands whose values have nothing to do with mine but I can still enjoy it and listen to it and have a good time with it. I think that is the vibe we try to bring in. We are pretty respectful dudes.

We generally tour, 99% of the time with secular bands, and we really don’t have a problem with it. I guess we just hope that people will give us a chance which is why it is fun to get out on a tour like this and be able to play in front of people that might have a pre-established opinion on who we are and what we do based on the fact we are a Christian band. They see it and go, “Oh wow. I had no idea it was like that.” It’s kind of cool.

MH: It really is no big deal. We never, ever set out to only tour with Christian bands. We just wanted to, it was always about playing to as many people as possible. The funny thing is, backstage it never really matters what you believe because everyone gets along fine. We get along with For Today really well, both being Christian bands and being people, Christians, normal people. That’s how I think of ourselves, just normal dudes and Christians.

And we both get along with White Chapel just as well, who don’t have the same sort of belief system, but it doesn’t matter at all because we are here to perform what we made and explore the music we have created and that may sound like it degrades your beliefs but it doesn’t. It’s just how it is touring. If anybody really has a big problem with Christians being on the tour, they are the standouts, and not to be too blunt, they are usually pretty ignorant people. We get along with everyone and we have been touring with non-Christian bands since we started and some of our absolute best friends are non-Christian bands.

CB: I was just curious because White Chapel is almost the extreme opposite of what you guys play and lyrically. How did that tour come about or how did you hook up with them?

MH: The first time we toured with White Chapel was early in 2008. I had went and saw them at a show some of my friends were playing and I had been listening to their EP that was out and was “This is the heaviest thing I know of right now.” We are happy to have them on tour early that year and it was smooth sailing. They were “We’re a little bit nervous” and we were “We’re a little bit nervous.” And it was whatever and we just play music together. We just announced a South America tour for next year which White Chapel is on again. When we see them, it is always, “When are we touring together?” It’s awesome to have them back and it is awesome to have all good people on the tour, definitely White Chapel included.

CB: I think there is a misconception about Metal in general. I interview everybody at Rock on the Range and every festival. I have never met anyone that was disrespectful or not nice or who didn’t get along. I think it is a misconception in general.

MH: It really is. There are Metal bands that take the whole evil thing literally, mayhem and these other things. For the most part it is evil music and it needs evil lyrics and that is what they make. They are not killing and raping women in ditches so what does it really matter?

CB: You recently released a video for “Vengeance.” Can you tell me the story behind that song and the video itself?

JD: It’s just a live video from our DVD shoot that we did. We put it out to get the message out of that and spark interest. We put a lot into our live show. Actually we filmed that DVD and that video I think four days before the Cincinnati show. We really just wanted to capture what that tour was in a permanent format so people could see it, not like in a Youtube quality video and stuff. That video is kind of like promoting that and getting it out there. It is one of the more relatable songs that we have off the record.

CB: The DVD you are referring to is Dead and Alive. I know you did a lot of the behind the scenes shooting and editing. Are you a photographer or videographer? Is that kind of a hobby?

JD: It is just something I just started doing as a hobby and a side thing. Then it just gradually turned more and more into something where I was doing every single one of the tours a video for us. Something really important to us is making sure that everything that goes out there with our name on it is coming from us and not from a giant business, corporation behind us but intimately from us. So with the video stuff and most of the photos we put up, we shoot and produce and come out from us.

I feel like the bands that I like and respect the most are the ones that put effort into it instead of writing the songs and handing it in and going, “OK, do what you will with this.” Even with the merchandise designs and the website design, Mike has a massive, large hand in creating. We just want everything that has our name on it to come from us. Being able to do the video stuff ourselves is a really big help in that.

CB: I have seen you guys a couple times play and you have major crowd surfing. The fans really get into your shows. Is there ever any worry about injury or anything crazy happening at the shows?

JD: Yeah, but I guess it just comes with the territory. We grew up going to small shows and hardcore shows in the Dayton and Cincinnati scene which was not a calm, passive scene to grow up in. We are kind of used to it, teeth are all messed up, my face kicked in at a show as a kid and that is what we are used to. There are usually ambulances that come. I think it is pretty easy to be able to tell the areas where you won’t get hurt and the ones where you might get hurt. I think it is a do-it-at-your-own-risk kind of deal. It is part of the style of music and hopefully no one gets too hurt.

CB: What was your highlight of the last tour you were on?

JD: We have done a couple tours. Our fall tour was probably the most exciting one we have done so far. We got to bring massive production out and put on a big show. We just did a small club tour in the U.K. which was real cool and intimate. We did a secondary market tour in the Spring which was really cool because we got to do some “off the beaten path” markets which do a little bit better for us. The people are just more passionate than they are in the big city. We went to South America which was insane as it always is down there. It is a totally different world than it is here. The shows were great. I think it has been an exciting good six months for us.

Really the highlight will be this summer with the Mayhem Fest.

CB: What is the best guitar solo of all time?

JD: Really, I like a lot of the Judas Priest stuff. “Painkiller” solo is pretty up there for me. There is just an emotion that comes from that, that is pretty awesome.

 
 
by Mike Breen 02.18.2015
 
 
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Artist Submissions Open for 2015 MidPoint Music Festival

Fall fest puts out call to artists interested in performing at 14th annual event

Musical acts interested in being considered for a showcase slot at the 14th annual MidPoint Music Festival (scheduled for Sept. 24-26 in various venues around Downtown and Over-the-Rhine) can begin submitting today.

The festival — owned and operated by CityBeat — has announced a new partner for facilitating submissions, switching from Sonicbids to the locally-based CloudPressKit. The move will save artists some money — the submission fee for MPMF 2015 is $15 (through Sonicbids, it was $25, plus a Sonicbids membership) — and CloudPressKit is described as more “artist friendly.”

Click here for MPMF submission details. MPMF.com has a Q&A with the fest's head honcho, Dan McCabe, about the application process that answers a lot of questions submitters may have (other questions can be directed to info@mpmf.com). Applications are being accepted through May 17. 

 
 
by Deirdre Kaye 07.16.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Festivals, Music Video at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Bunburied Alive … and Lovin' It

Reflections on the final day of the inaugural Bunbury Music Festival

I’ve been to more festivals than I care to recall, but they mostly pale in comparison to Bunbury’s inaugural weekend. The planners of the three-day Cincinnati festival scored awesome bands for a first-year festival and the location couldn’t have been more spectacular, stretching from Sawyer Point to Yeatman's Cove along the riverfront.

Bonnaroo sucks because there are hardly any trees and therefore no shade — it’s like spending a weekend on the sun. While the fairly awesome, Memphis in May offers a similar riverside locale, but it’s also missing the shade and it fails to take full advantage of its riverfront property.

The Bunbury planners nailed it. Not only does Sawyer Point offer plenty of tree-covered walkways between stages, but also grassy knolls, flushing toilets and a great breeze.

And the Landor Stage! Whatever genius said, “Let’s put a stage at the base of the Serpentine Wall,” deserves a raise. The river and Big Mac Bridge were excellent backdrops for the bands lucky enough to play there and a great way to show off some of Cincy's charm to festival goers from afar. I saw Good Old War perform to a packed … "wall," and it was by far the coolest and most laidback of the shows I caught. Watching everyone lounge around on the huge concrete steps while listening to the trio play music and goof off was a great break from the shuffling and shifting crowds just a few feet behind us. The band's drummer did a pretty great impersonation of Harry Belafonte and sang “Day-o” for us, which worked well with the sunny sky and chilled-out vibes on the wall. Even better was how loud the crowd got when he sang, “Daylight come and me wanna go home.” Hardly anyone knew the rest of the words, but they had fun pretending. Good Old War was probably my favorite performance and Landor Stage was definitely my favorite place to hang out.

Another great way Bunbury made sure to represent the Cincinnati spirit was with tons of local food and beer. Not only did they have the big names, like Skyline and LaRosa’s, but they also brought in places like Taste of Belgium and beer from Hudy. (Sure, some UDF or Graeter’s would have also been nice, but it was only the first year.)

Speaking of food, I was overwhelmed by the lack of food I saw on the ground, neither dropped nor regurgitated. Cincinnati did an excellent job at keeping their park clean, even when they flooded it with feet. I was super proud (and relieved) to not have to step over any up-chucked chilli on my way various jaunts from one end of the park to the other.

And that’s a trek I made quite a few times, too. From The Tillers to Good Old War and then back to the far end to see Bad Veins, I spent a good deal of my Sunday slipping through the crowds to get from one end of the point to the other as quickly as possible. 

It was worth it, though, especially for The Tillers!

I own The Tillers’ first two albums, but I’d only seen them once before, at one of their usual spots — Northside Tavern. It was a night where they went on late and I happened to be with more introverted friends. It was a good show, but it lacked the oomph I experienced at Bunbury. Those boys were made to play in the sunshine and trees, that’s for sure. And Cincinnati made sure to show love to their hometown band. Hopefully, Mike, Sean and Aaron picked, bowed and bellowed their ways into some new hearts, as well. Their show sealed the deal on The Tillers being one of the many reasons why I love Cincinnati. We’re the kind of people where their kind of music can be properly loved and respected for exactly what it is and never expected to be anything more.

Those were the highlights of my day, but I’d say the whole experience was a good one. Musically, there were really only two downsides to the fest and they were both pretty personal. To begin with, I think Neon Trees really lose their appeal in the daylight. They are everything that’s glowing, neon or flashing. They sing songs that, when sung along to, require sassy facial expressions and overly dramatized hand gestures. These are things that are best done in the dark.

I also wasn’t thrilled with Death Cab for Cutie, though I know I’m in the minority on that one. Here’s the thing, though:  “I Will Possess Your Heart” is really freaking creepy and “I Will Follow You into the Dark” is the exact opposite of the kind of love I want. I’m fairly certain anyone who’s ever been the person least committed to a relationship will understand my sentiment.

Still. Those things were minor. Most important is that Sunday was a good day and Bunbury, in my summation, was a huge success.

Writer’s note: There were a few things I thought worth mentioning but not worthy of the effort of a more fluid insertion into the above review. I’d like to add the following whimsy, as long as I won’t be sacked. Otherwise, just leave it off. (Editor's note: These are hilarious. You get a raise — two free movie passes next week!)

• Apparently making cut-offs from Mom jeans is a fashion trend. I reject this.
• Next year I’d like to rent a boat and spend one afternoon experiencing Bunbury from the river with the rest of the freeloaders.
• Seriously. I’m really proud of you for not puking in public.
• To the lady in the wheelchair with her legs stuck directly out in front of her: Are you sure you couldn’t find an even less convenient position in which to ride? (Editor's note: This may be offensive; see me.)
• I saw a New Kids on the Block tattoo and I still have no idea how I feel about it.
• Can we try to get an ice company to sponsor a stage next year? I really hate my beverage lukewarm.
• I’d still prefer a festival that took place in December or January. (Name suggestions: Bit Nipple-y Concert Series and Freeze Your Balls Off Fest)

Click here for our photo gallery by Jesse Fox featuring over 150 shots from Bunbury weekend. And keep checking the music blog for more post-game coverage. Sorry for the delay — r tender li'l brains got a bit frieded dis weakened.
 
 
by Mike Breen 08.02.2013
 
 
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PREVIEW: Cincy Blues Fest 2013

The Cincy Blues Fest returns for its 21st annual event this weekend

This weekend, the Cincy Blues Fest — presented annually by the Cincy Blues Society — returns for its 21st year, a remarkable accomplishment for a music festival of any sort. The festival kicks off tonight and continues tomorrow at Sawyer Point along the riverfront.

The weekend features two main stage acts with serious ties to Cincinnati’s Blues past. Educator, author, DJ, singer and harmonica player Steven Tracy returns to Cincy to play the main stage on tonight at 7 p.m. with his band the Crawling Kingsnakes. A Walnut Hills High School graduate, Tracy worked with local Blues icons like Pigmeat Jarrett and Big Joe Duskin, becoming a part of the scene he’d later dig deeper into in the 1993 book, Going to Cincinnati: A History of the Blues in the Queen City. His writing career is extensive — Tracy has written dozens of album liner notes and edited/wrote/intro-ed several other books on a variety of subjects. Today, Tracy is a professor of Afro-American Studies at University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Saturday at 6 p.m. on the fest’s main stage, Stacy Mitchhart and his band are slated to perform. Mitchhart grew up in Cincinnati and spent time playing music on the East and West Coasts before returning to his hometown in the early 1990s and forming Stacy Mitchhart and Blues-U-Can-Use, a staple on the local Blues scene for a few years. After a move to Nashville, Tenn., in the mid-’90s, Mitchhart’s musical career really took off. His albums have been widely acclaimed and done well commercially — his 2011 release, Live from B.B. King’s, debuted at No. 6 on the Billboard Blues charts — and he’s received high-praise for his showmanship and remarkable Blues voice. In 2008, Mitchhart was the subject of the well-received documentary NashVegas Blues. 

Here is tonight's main stage schedule:

5:45-6:45 p.m. Dave Muskett

7:00-8:15 p.m. Steve Tracy & the Crawling Kingsnakes

8:30-10 p.m. Reba Russell Band

10:15-11:45 p.m. Watermelon Slim & the Workers

And here's the lineup for the Main Stage tomorrow:

4:15-4:45 p.m. Blues in the Schools (BITS) Band

5-5:45 p.m. The Juice

6-7 p.m. Stacy Mitchhart Band

7:15-8:30 p.m.  Nikki Hill

8:45-10:00 p.m. Honey Island Swamp Band

10:15-11:45 p.m. Ana Popovic (all the way from Serbia!)

Some of the coolest things at the Cincy Blues Fest can be found on the “specialty” stages — a “specialty” of the fest — which this year includes a “Women of the Blues” stage on Friday, headlined by national act EG Knight and also featuring locals Rio & The Ramblers, The Juice and Tempted Souls Band. 

Here is the "Women of the Blues" stage ((aka the Arches stage) schedule for tonight :

5:45-7 p.m. Rio & the Ramblers

7:15-8:30 p.m. The Juice

8:45-10:00 p.m. Tempted Souls Band

10:15-11:45 p.m. EG Kight

Saturday sees the return of the “Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame Piano Stage,” featuring an international cast of top-shelf Boogie Woogie pianists, including local favorite Ricky Nye and former locals (now Florida-based) Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues. The house band for the Boogie Woogie stage is Johnny Vidacovich (drums), George Bedard (guitar) and Chris Douglas (bass).

Saturday's Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame stage (aka Arches stage) lineup:

4:30 p.m. Ben Levin

5 p.m. Ari Borger

5:40 p.m. Ricky Nye

6:20 p.m. Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues

7:10 p.m. Bruce Katz

7:50 p.m. Al Hill

8:30 p.m. Axel Zwingenberger & Lila Ammons

9:10 p.m. Joshua Paxton

10 p.m. David Vest

10:40 p.m. Bob Seeley

11:20 p.m. Chris Conz

The Blues Fest again presents the St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage on both days of the event, always an excellent snapshot of the current local Blues scene. 

Friday's St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage schedule: 

5:45-6:45 p.m. Thomas Long & Blue Sacrifice

7-8 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band

8:15-9:15 p.m. Ralph & the Rhythm Hounds

9:30-10:30 p.m. Brad Hatfield Band

10:45 p.m.-12 a.m. G Miles & the Hitmen

Saturday's St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage lineup:

4:30-5:30 p.m. The Blue Birds Big Band

5:45-6:45 p.m. Jay Jesse Johnson Band

7-8 p.m. The SoulFixers

8:15-9:15 p.m. Doug Hart Band

9:30-10:30 p.m. Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project

10:45 p.m.-12 a.m. Leroy Ellington Blues Band

Here is a map of the Blues Fest grounds:

Tickets are $15 for Friday, $20 for Saturday or $25 for a two-day pass (tickets can be purchased at the gates or here). Visit cincybluesfest.org for everything else you need to know about the festival. 

 
 
by Leyla Shokoohe 08.12.2011
Posted In: Festivals, Reviews, Live Music at 01:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Leyla at Lolla: Lollapalooza 2011 Day 3

How did 48 hours of exciting live music draw to a close so fast? I woke up Sunday morning with the slightly wistful feel that my whirlwind weekend would soon be over, but I quickly shook that and rushed to the “L” to get downtown for the final day of Lollapalooza 2011.

Due to my persistent caffeine addiction, I was late to Grant Park. I missed The Joy Formidable (though luckily we can all see them at the MidPoint Music Festival on Sept. 22), as well as Titus Andronicus and Fences, all bands I wanted to give a good go. I guess that’s what YouTube, Soundcloud, Facebook, MySpace, etc. are for.

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by mbreen 02.26.2013
 
 
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Early-Bird MidPoint Music Fest Passes on Sale Friday

MPMF also accepting artist submissions at a discount until Friday

For a limited time (while supplies last, as they say), seriously discounted tickets for the MidPoint Music Festival — which returns to the clubs and venues of Over-the-Rhine/Downtown Sept. 26-28 — will be made available starting this Friday at 10 a.m.

During this “Loyalty Presale,” three-day “All Music Access” passes can be purchased through mpmf.cincyticket.com (the site will be live for the public tomorrow) for just $49 (they’ll be $20 more come MPMF time). They are expected to sell out fast, so get ’em while you can. For those wanting a VIP MPMF experience, the popular VIP passes will also be available Friday for $129 ($40 off the normal price). The VIP tickets get you priority admission to all shows, access to catered VIP-only events and other goodies. (Last year’s VIP passes sold out before the fest.)

In other MPMF news, if you are a musician/performer interested in being considered for a showcase slot at the festival, submissions are now being accepted via Sonicbids. The submission fee is just $20 until this Friday; after that it goes up to $25. (Those without a Sonicbids account can submit to MPMF and receive a two-week free trial of the service.)

Stay tuned to MPMF.com and this blog for the latest updates on MidPoint.

 
 
by Ric Hickey 06.14.2010
Posted In: Festivals, Live Music at 12:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Bonnaroo 2010: Getting There

(Editor's Note: For the 2010 Bonnaroo music festival in Manchester, Tenn., CityBeat dispatched a team to cover the event. ’Roo vet Ric Hickey returned, joined by newcomers Adam Sievering and photographer Chuck Madden. We'll be rolling out their reports here over the next several days. Here is Hickey's first dispatch.)

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by Amy Harris 05.17.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Festivals, Interview at 03:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with Black Stone Cherry

Kentuckians headed to Columbus for Rock on the Range fest

Black Stone Cherry is a Kentucky-based band that combines its Southern roots with hints of Metal. Last time we spoke with the band, BSC had just released its third studio album, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, which the group continues to tour behind this summer. BSC have been featured on major tours with Theory of a Deadman, Alter Bridge and Nickelback and recently headlined a European tour.

CityBeat was able to speak with the band’s rhythm guitar player Ben Wells to preview Black Stone Cherry's upcoming performance at Columbus' Rock on the Range, where they will be taking the Main Stage this Sunday.

CityBeat: Last year, I spoke with Chris and he talked about how you guys love to go to Europe and how the fans embrace you in there. I know you just got off a European Tour. What was the highlight of that tour for you guys?

Ben Wells: We did shows in Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, and 14 shows in the U.K. and every single one was sold out. It was a pretty big accomplishment since we have been over there several tours and this was the first time we had one as big as it was. We just felt really good about that and they gave us a tour plaque to hang on our walls. That was pretty neat.

CB: Are there any bands you are looking forward to seeing at Rock on the Range this year?

BW: I know we are looking forward to seeing Rob Zombie. We really enjoy his show and we are good friends with John 5, who plays guitar for them. I can’t remember who else is playing that day, but I am sure there are tons of bands that we are looking forward to seeing.

CB: I think Marilyn Manson is that day too?

BW: I’m not a huge fan of his but I do like Rob Zombie.

CB: “In My Blood” is out right now and has blown up everywhere and the video has a story of a soldier coming home from war. Can you tell me the story behind “In My Blood”?



BW: It was the last song we wrote for the album and pretty much it is a song we wrote about our lives and what we do. We leave things and people we love, go out on the road and do the things we love. Not only in our career do we do this but also military, professional athletes, fishermen, truck drivers, people like that every single day they have to leave their families. We wanted to write a song that kind of came from our perspective, kind of like our “Ramblin Man.” We made the video for it and thought it came across great. People really got the idea and the vibe of the song once they saw the video.
 
CB: I know your family has ties to the Kentucky Headhunters. Have you guys thought about doing collaborations with them?

BW:  We have live before, nothing on CD yet. I wouldn’t say it’s completely out of the question but we have played several shows together. Usually when we do, one band ends up on the other band’s stage falling in together.

CB: No formal plans?

BW: Right, not yet anyway.

CB: What are your summer touring plans?

BW: We are out right now with Chickenfoot until June 10 and then we come home and we leave for Europe on June 20th for about three and a half weeks. Then we get back in the middle of July and are doing some US festivals. So really, staying busy, trying to hit as many shows as we can.

CB: What has been the best part about being around Chickenfoot?

BW: The tour actually starts tomorrow with them. We have been out for about five days now just doing some festivals and playing our own shows. We pick up with Chickenfoot tomorrow but we have heard great things. We have never played with them before but we are excited about it.

CB: There have been a lot of changes at Roadrunner Records, your record label. I know the CEO and founder stepped down recently. Has the band seen any changes?

BW: We haven’t personally yet because we haven’t been around everybody yet. I know we had some good friends lose their jobs. I hope the label knows what they are doing because they let go a lot of great people overseas and in America go, so we’ll see if they know what they are doing.

CB: What would be your dream piece of gear to own if you could from any time in history? What piece of gear would you like to play?

BW: Any guitar that Elvis Pressley owned would be fine with me.

CB: I’m sure you could find one. I recently just saw one in New Orleans.

BW: Yeah, but I can’t afford that though.

CB: What has been your greatest rock star moment?

BW: I really don’t know. We had some pretty cool moments playing some pretty big festivals in front of 60,000 people or more, getting to meet some of the guys in Aerosmith, getting to do some certain things. I’d say anytime that somebody comes up to tell us how much the bands means to them. That’s a pretty good feeling and is a pretty special moment because it really lets you know what you do is appreciated by someone.
 
 
by Ric Hickey 06.14.2011
Posted In: Reviews, Live Music, Festivals at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Live from Bonnaroo 2011, Part 4

The Bonnaroo Whirlwind kicks into high gear on Saturday afternoon. Today it was hardly half past twelve when Black Joe Lewis & the Honey Bears ripped the Other Tent in half with 60 minutes of high fructose Funk and Gospel that had the surrounding throng speaking in tongues.

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by Mike Breen 10.02.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Festivals at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Another Music Fest-Filled Weekend Awaits

Local music lovers have three music festivals to choose from this weekend

Those jonesing for more music fest goodness after last weekend’s spectacular MidPoint Music Festival have some great options this weekend. Bluegrass fans should be especially excited for a couple of them.

The Bend in the River Art & Music Festival debuts this Saturday and Sunday in Lower Price Hill (2104 St. Michael St., next to The Sanctuary: Center for Education and the Arts). The festival/fundraiser runs 5-11 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday with the goal of bringing the community together (and showcasing it to others) and raising money for the Community Matters (cmcincy.org) and Education Matters (emcincy.org) organizations. 


Along with food trucks and booths, beer from MadTree Brewing and Rhinegeist and a variety of vendors and artists showing their wares, local musical acts from a variety of genres will provide live music. Tim Caudill, Pike 27, Blue Caboose, Under New Order, The Part-Time Gentlemen and Ohio Knife perform Saturday, while Wild Carrot, Sibling Rivalry, Matthew Schneider and Phoenix (the local Rock cover band, not the internationally famous French Indie Pop group) play Sunday.


Admission to the Bend in the River Art & Music Festival is $7 or $10 for a two-day pass (Lower Price Hill residents receive a coupon to attend for free).


For more information on “Bend Fest” and the cause, visit facebook.com/bendfest and cmcincy.org.


• The DevouGrass Festival presents its first-ever event Saturday at the Devou Park Bandshell (1700 Montague Road, Covington). The family friendly event runs noon-dusk, and while there is no admission charge (even free parking is available throughout the park), organizers are asking for donations to the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky


Along with food trucks, other vendors, various children’s activities and performances by Circus Mojo and kids’ fave Joel the Singing Librarian, DevouGrass will also feature sets by area Roots/Bluegrass outfits Blue Caboose (noon), Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers (3 p.m.), Hickory Robot (3 p.m.) and the Downtown County Band (6 p.m.). 


For complete festival info, visit devougrass.com


• The Versailles State Park Bluegrass Festival returns with a new location and name: the Friendship Music Festival at the Old Mill Campground in Friendship, Ind. (facebook.com/oldmillcampground), which hosts the very popular Whispering Beard Folk Festival annually and is only about an hour drive southwest of Cincinnati. Despite moving from the state park and changing the moniker, the fest will continue to spotlight some of the region’s finest Bluegrass and Roots music practitioners. 


On Saturday, the music starts at noon with a lineup featuring Mamadrones, Common Ground, Rural Route 2, Lee Sexton with John Haywood and Brett Ratliff, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, The Tillers and Bradford Lee Folk & the Bluegrass Playboys. The music picks back up Sunday at 11 a.m. with Mt. Pleasant String Band, followed by James White & Deer Tick, Blue Mafia, Whipstitch Sallies, Rattlesnakin’ Daddies and Tony Holt and the Wildwood Valley Boys. 


Weekend passes for the Friendship Music Festival are $10; one-day passes are $5. Camping is available. Visit friendshipmusicfestival.com for full details. 

 
 

 

 

 
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