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by Mike Breen 03.09.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 01:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Music Tonight: Young Jeezy, Brighton MA and More

Hip Hop star Young Jeezy performs tonight in Corryville, bringing his tour behind the recent Thug Motivation 103: Hustlerz Ambition album to Bogart's for an 8 p.m. show. The Def Jam Records recording artist released his major label debut, Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101, in 2005, spawning the hit single "Soul Survivor," featuring singer Akon. The South Carolina-born, Atlanta-based MC (once a member of the group Boyz n da Hood) put out two more albums — The Inspiration and The Recession (in ’06 and ’08, respectively) — which featured guests from R. Kelly and Keyshia Cole to Nas and Kanye West (their collabo "Put On" was nominated for a Grammy), and he's appeared as a guest himself on singles by Usher ("Love in This Club") and Rihanna ("Hard"). The Thug Motivation masterclass skipped ahead to 103 (perhaps Thug Motivation 102 is audit-only?) and was released late last year after several announced release dates came and went. The album landed at No. 3 on the album charts its first week out (in the midst of holiday shopping fever, making it more impressive).

TM 103 once again features a pretty heady guest list, with cameos by Yo Gotti, Lil Wayne, Freddie Gibbs, Jay-Z, Andre 3000, Jill Scott, Snoop and Ne-Yo, who appears on the most recently released single "Leave You Alone."  Check the video below (NSFW for language, excessive head tattoos and gratuitous product placement for Crown Royal and Ciroc vodka). Tickets for tonight's show are $25 (plus fees). Read more about Jeezy here.


• Indie rockers Brighton MA — neither from Brighton nor Massachusetts — hit MOTR Pub tonight for a free show with great locals The Mighty. The Chicago band was formed by two members of Scotland Yard Gospel Choir upon their departure from that acclaimed Indie Pop ensemble, emerging as a successful and acclaimed unit in its own right not long after. An intense mesh of Folk, Rock and Pop, the band's songs have been used on TV shows (like Gossip Girl and Community) and in a successful Jack Daniels ad campaign last year during the holidays. The band also scored a sweet tour van to take a trip on Route 66 for an extensive promotional web series called "Rock the Route," which was sponsored(-the-hell-out-of) by Red Bull. Earlier this year, the group released a new 7-song EP called Billboard Sun, a warm-up for their second full-length, due later this year. Tonight's show starts around 10 p.m.

Oh, and Brighton, Mass., is the neighborhood in which singer Matt Kerstein was born (in case you were wondering).

Here's the band's "Good Kind of Crazy" (aka "the song from the Jack Daniels commercial"):



• Equal Vision recording artists We Came As Romans (cover models for the April edition of Alternative Press magazine) will rock Covington's Madison Theater tonight with guests Emmure, BlessTheFall, Color Morale and Woe is Me (all on the road together currently as "The Fire and Ice Tour"). Doors open at 6 p.m.; showtime is 7 p.m. Admission to the all ages show is $19. Read more about the Romans here and check out their most recent music video, "Understanding What We've Grown to Be," below.



• Syracuse, NY, native (boo! Go Bearcats!) Martin Sexton comes back to Greater Cincinnati tonight, performing at Oakley's 20th Century Theater "An Evening with …"-syle (meaning no opening act and lots of Martin all night long). The folksy Americana singer/songwriter is known for his fingerstyle guitar playing, skilled songwriting and soulful singing, as well as his "guitar-solo vocals," where he mimics guitar leads, Peter Frampton-style (at the 2006 Jammy Awards at Madison Square Garden, he had a sung-solo sing-off with Frampton — maybe Pete will show tonight?). Read more here.

Tonight's show is at 8 p.m. and admission is $22. Below is the official video for Sexton's title track off of the recent 5-song EP, Fall Like Rain:

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by Mike Breen 12.01.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 01:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Homunculus To Reunite New Year’s Eve Eve

On Dec. 30, progressive local Groove Pop/Rock band Homunculus is getting back together for the first time in four years for a reunion show that, thanks to the recent turn of events at the Southgate House, will serve as the penultimate concert at the famed Newport venue (at least in its current, beloved state). With band members scattered around the country, the show is a true rarity that is likely to be packed considering Homunculus’ regional popularity in the early ’00s (advanced tickets are recommended; click here to get yours). 

Formed in the ’90s in Bloomington, Ind., where members met while going to college (singer/keysman Ben Doepke was the only native Cincinnatian), the band’s successful run lasted eight years and included plenty of touring across the country, which, combined with the magnetic appeal of their music, helped them build a large, supportive grassroots fanbase. The band called it quits in 2004 as other interests pulled them in different directions. Bassist Adam Schoen recently answered a few questions for CityBeat about what the members have been up to, what fans can expect from the show and why they decided to make the event a benefit for The Wellness Community.

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by Leyla Shokoohe 07.13.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, Festivals at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Archer's Paradox Makes Its Own Luck

Meet the newest local band in the Bunbury Music Fest lineup

Archer’s paradox, according to Wikipedia, is the phenomenon whereby "in order to strike the center of the target with an arrow, the arrow must be pointed slightly to the side of the target." 

Archer’s Paradox, the band, according to the two members I spoke with on a hot Thursday — much the same.

“It started about a year ago. I disbanded from a band I was in earlier (with Mia Carruthers, of MTV’s Taking the Stage fame) and Stefan Wright (drummer) and I started making songs in my room by myself,” says project founder, Seth Huff, “and then Cam (Nawaz, synth and backup vocals) started coming over out of nowhere, and we started hanging out and he was like, ‘Hey, those songs are pretty good’, and here we are, a year later, with four other people, having fun.”

Originally conceived as a two-piece consisting of Huff and Nawaz performing live with recorded backing tracks, the duo realized that direction would be “the most boring thing in the world,” says Nawaz, “so we quickly moved past that. And we realized that we have numerous friends who are really good at playing instruments.”

The band was fleshed out with Wright on drums, guitarist Alex Solin, and bassist Mark Wilson.

Working with a five-song EP recorded solely on Huff’s MacBook Pro, Archer’s Paradox has a distinctly DIY vibe. Very calculated in their approach to publicity and performing, Archer’s Paradox only performed its first show this year at Rohs Street Café during the sixth The Heights Music Festival in Clifton.

“We’re all about the DIY thing. That’s kind of like our religion. If we had to pick a religion, it would be DIY,” says Huff, who writes all of Archer’s Paradox material.

More shows followed, and in “a stroke of luck”, as Nawaz says, Archer’s Paradox earned a slot at the inaugural Bunbury Music Festival, held at Sawyer Point today through Sunday. Nawaz details how, while informing friends via text of their latest project and upcoming show, Wright happened to text Ian Bolender, a former bandmate from another band (Ellison), who happened to be an employee of Nederlander Entertainment, which happened to be the company booking Bunbury Music Festival. Bolender responded within 15 minutes with the offer of having Archer’s Paradox play Bunbury.

“We make our own luck,” clarifies Nawaz. “We use every outlet of who we know and every resource to our absolute maximum potential.”

Huff agrees, relaying how other shows have fallen into place just as harmoniously. I point out that maybe instead of finding "luck," Archer’s Paradox has serendipity on their side.

“THAT’S our religion,” Huff jumps in, eagerly. “I take back that thing I said before.” We note the fact that the letters “DIY” are also in ‘serendipity’, and thusly, the band’s definition is fully confirmed.

“Work smart, not hard,” Huff continues. “Observing the way other bands do it, you can learn a lot and make a game plan from that. If you have decent music, you have a really good shot if you learn to use the machine that is the Internet.”

“We knew we didn’t want to take the ‘let’s get signed right away, let’s get distributed’ path before playing anything,” Nawaz chimes in, referencing internet-phenom bands without much substance to back up their product.

“You have to gain the respect of fans and then they’ll actually want to pay for the music,” says Huff.

At this year’s Bunbury Music Festival, Archer’s Paradox will have their biggest chance yet to do just that.

Archer’s Paradox opens up the Landor Stage at Bunbury on Sunday at noon. Listen to them here and check out this clip for the group's song "Patience."


 
 
by Mike Breen 05.25.2012
Posted In: Local Music, Music News, Music Video at 12:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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LISTEN: The National Records Song for 'Game of Thrones'

Cincinnati natives to be featured on second season sountrack album

The Cincinnati natives of hugely popular Brooklyn-based Indie Rock band The National have recorded a song for the upcoming soundtrack for the second season of HBO's critically-acclaimed series, Game of Thrones. The soundtrack is due June 19. The National is the only group featured; the rest of the soundtrack album is the instrumental score, written by Ramin Djawadi and recorded by the Czech Film Orchestra and Choir.

According to Spin, the band members took the words from Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin's 2000 novel, A Storm of Swords. Check it out below.


 
 
by Mike Breen 04.25.2012
Posted In: Music Video, Music History at 07:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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This Date in Music History: April 25

The 10th anniversary of Lisa Lopes' death and the birth of the "Father of Hillbilly Jazz"

On this day in 2002, rapper for the Pop group TLC, Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes died in a traffic accident in the Honduras. The star was allegedly trying to pass a truck, but another vehicle was coming the opposite way when she made her move. To avoid it, Lopes swerved off the road. The Mitsubishi Montero Sport Lopes was driving flipped, hit a couple of trees and threw all four passengers out of the vehicle. Lopes died from head and neck injuries; the other passengers survived.

Left Eye was just a month away from her 31st birthday.

Lopes' casket was engraved with lyrics from the TLC hit "Waterfalls" ("Dreams are hopeless aspirations, in hopes of coming true, believe in yourself, the rest is up to me and you"). Lopes gave an interview to MTV News about her first solo album, 2001's Supernova, in which she described her song/poem "A New Star Is Born," which was dedicated to her late father. In the interview, she said, "That track is dedicated to all those that have loved ones that have passed away. It's saying that there is no such thing as death. We can call it transforming for a lack of better words, but as scientists would say, 'Every atom that was once a star is now in you.' It's in your body. So in the song I pretty much go along with that idea. I don't care what happens or what people think about death, it doesn't matter. We all share the same space."

There are a lot of Left Eye remembrances going on in cyberspace today since its the tenth anniversary of her death. Check out word on a new track — and some remembrances from her former TLC pals — featuring Lopes and Bootleg of the Dayton Family here.

Here's a video tribute to Lopes put together by a fan and set to "A New Star," followed by an earlier different kind of tribute to TLC by Cincinnati's own Afghan Whigs (who just announced their first non-festival reunion date in the U.S., scheduled for October in New York City).





Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers sharing an April 25 birthday include: Jazz/R&B saxophonist Earl Bostic (1913); legendary Jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald (1917); influential Blues guitarist Albert King (1923); wildly successful songwriter and producer (with writing partner Mike Stoller) Jerry Leiber (1933); bassist for Classic Rock band CCR, Stu Cook (1945); singer for Prog band Marillion, Derek William Dick, much better known as Fish (1958); singer for Synth Pop legends Erasure, Andy Bell (1964); original Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery (1965); and the "Father of Hillbilly Jazz," fiddler Vassar Clements (1928).

Clements' improv approach to Bluegrass was a revelation. Putting a Jazz twist on Roots music makes him a spiritual godfather of the whole "Newgrass" movement.

Clements grew up in Florida and taught himself to play violin at the age of 7. When he was 21, he joined Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, recording with them in the early ’50s. Word of Clements' prowess and innovative style traveled and he became an in-demand session player. In 1971, Clements joined John Hartford for the groundbreaking Aereo-plain album, widely considered one of the first "Newgrass" records. Hartford and Clements were joined by Norman Blake, Randy Scruggs and Tut Taylor for the album, which was produced by David Bromberg.

During his 50-year career, Clements would go on to become a crucial part of the progressive Bluegrass movement of the ’70s, including appearances on a couple of other trailblazers — the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken and Old and in the Way, featuring Jerry Garcia, David Grisam, Peter Rowan and John Kahn. By the time he passed in 2005 at the age of 77 (from lung cancer), Clements had played with everyone from Paul McCartney, The Monkees and The Grateful Dead to Stephane Grappeli and Woody Herman.

Here's Clements performing with the Del McCoury Band in 2003.


 
 
by Mike Breen 02.11.2013
 
 
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Ohio Against the World at The Grammys

Akron's Dan Auerbach cleans up at ceremony, including winning for an album featuring one of Cincy's best

Despite Frank Ocean's deft leg-syncing and Taylor Swift's torture-porn-disguised-as-wholesome-circus, Akron, Ohio's Dan Auerbach and The Black Keys were The Grammys' big story last night, winning five trophies, the most of any artist.

While the Keys won the Grammys for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance, Auerbach scored two solo Grammys for his production work, winning the trophy for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) and also winning one for producing Dr. John's Locked Down, the Blues Album winner.

While Grammys for album winners are usually given to the producers, engineers, mastering engineers and artists, hopefully Cincinnati's Brian Olive will also score one for his work on the LP. Auerbach — who has produced albums by both Olive and Cincinnati's Buffalo Killers — enlisted Olive (an original member of Cincinnati's Greenhornes) to work on the Dr. John album. Olive has songwriting credits on every track on Locked Down, and he's also credited with playing guitar, percussion and woodwinds, as well as providing background vocals. (Check out CityBeat's profile of Olive from 2011, about his Auerbach-produced Two of Everything album, here.)

Kudos to Mr. Olive! That's him — the handsome feller with big side-burns playing sax (and a little guitar) in this video for the album's "Revolution."


Check out all the winners from last night's Grammys here, and click here or here for some extra musings about the show.

 
 
by Mike Breen 11.22.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Music Video at 03:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Squeeze the Day for 11/22

Paul Simon, Punch Brothers and Senses Fail, plus This Day in Music featuring Aston "Family Man" Barrett and Michael Hutchence

Music Tonight: Music legend Paul Simon brings his tour behind the recent full-length, So Beautiful or So What, to The Bank of Kentucky Center on Northern Kentucky University's campus in Highland Heights for a 7:30 p.m. concert. The tour also happens to coincide with the even-more-recently-released retrospective compilation, Songwriter, a nice reminder of just how many iconic tunes Simon has crafted, classics like "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Still Crazy After All These Years," "The Sound of Silence," "Graceland" and "The Boxer," to name just a few. (Simon's first four solo albums were also reissued this year.) When Simon's current tour ends early next month, the singer/songwriter will turn his focus to next year's touring plans — a jaunt celebrating the 25th anniversary of his genre-defying smash hit Graceland (an anniversary "box set" — featuring a documentary and the usual array of B-side and outtakes — will also be released). Opening up the show in Northern Ky. tonight is progressive Bluegrass troupe Punch Brothers. The group was formed by mandolinist Chris Thile after his band Nickel Creek called it quits and also features musicians who have worked with Leftover Salmon, Jerry Douglas, Tony Trischka and other modern Bluegrass big-timers. Ticket prices range from about $54 up to around $86. Click here for more. Below, to get warmed up for what will surely be a calm, orderly shopping experience on Black Friday (right?), check out "Getting Ready for Christmas Day," a holiday tune on Simon's new record.

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by Mike Breen 08.29.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video, Music News at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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WATCH: Skeleton Hands' "Oxygen" Music Video

Cincinnati Darkwave duo releases creeping new clip for latest single

In February of this year, Cincinnati area Electronic/Darkwave/Post Punk twosome Skeleton Hands released its stellar full-length album, Gone (read CityBeat's review here). One of the standouts on the LP is the track "Oxygen," which encapsulates everything compelling about the duo's sound — it's dark, danceable and moody, with synth atmospherics, creeping melodies and vocals, electro-bass wobble and shimmery guitar waterfalls. 

Those retro/modern/futuristic urban-gothic sonics are perfectly reflected in the brand new video clip for "Oxygen." The ominous video — written by Thomas Stemrich (Director) and Josh Chiara (Director of Photography) of local band Holy Beast — was shot over three days in Northside and Over-the-Rhine. 

The nutshell synopsis of the video:

"In New Berlin, in the basements of post-industrial mansions, lost youths pray to shrines for nothing and participate in rituals that don’t matter. But tonight, one of New Berlin’s daughters is through with the minutia, ready to dive beneath the insincerity of cult posturing, and finally awaken the beacon of change that swells beneath the city streets. Will this be another lost night in Neverland or will she finally meet the beast of her dreams?"

Stemrich and Chiara have made other music videos, including "Night Drive" for the local act Polar Sky (Polar Sky and Skeleton Hands both record for locally based Racecar Productions). Sharfe says "Night Drive," and now "Oxygen," are unofficially akin to part of a "series," with the Polar Sky clip setting the "New Berlin" tone initially, and the Skeleton Hands' video taking it further.

"In the New Berlin videos, we see Cincinnati through a dystopic lens," Sharfe says. "Prostitutes, cults, deities, people with holes in their torsos. Strange stuff."

Skeleton Hands are currently taking pre-orders for copies of Gone on vinyl. Click here to get in on the action. "Oxygen" will be available as a single this fall through Racecar. The single release will feature remixes, including ones by Kontravoid and the aforementioned Polar Sky.

The duo also returns to the MidPoint Music Festival this year, coming up towards the end of September in various venues around Over-the-Rhine and Downtown. Skeleton Hands is slated to perform at 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27, at MPMF venue Below Zero Lounge (on Walnut Street, next to Emery Theatre). Click here for MPMF tickets (or visit Fountain Square Friday night between 8-11 p.m., where you can buy tickets in person — one night only — for $10-$20 off).

 
 
by Mike Breen 03.23.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Music Video at 01:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
The Joy Formidable

Music Tonight: Joy Formidable, Family Force 5 and More

Lots of MidPoint veterans, Christian Crunk Rock and a Woody Allen co-hort play tonight

Tonight at the 20th Century Theatre in Oakley, two MidPoint Music Festival alumni team up for an 8 p.m. show, opened by Brooklyn duo and Secretly Canadian recording artists Exitmusic. Tickets are $17.

Welsh-bred, London-based AltRock trio The Joy Formidable were one of the big attractions at last year's MPMF, headlining the big tent stage at Grammer's. Like a lot of MPMFers, the band was on the brink of breaking through in the States and has since been doing pretty damn well — the band's current cross-country tour of America kicked off with four sold out shows (Cincy is the eighth stop on the jaunt). The trio is still doing dates in support of last year's debut LP, The Big Roar, which notched a No. 8 chart position on Billboard's Top Heatseekers charts. Here's a clip of the threesome performing its single "Whirring" at South By Southwest last year.



Another trio that played MidPoint (in 2010) holds down the middle slot tonight. Brooklyn's Post Punk/Noisegaze group A Place to Bury Strangers were also a highly anticipated band at the MidPoint at which they performed. Though their show didn't go exactly as planned (playing the Contemporary Arts Center, the band's light display and legendary volume kept knocking the power out during their set), the group still ended up putting on a stellar performance and didn't lose their cool. In this week's CityBeat, Reyan Ali talks to Oliver Ackermann, singer/guitarist for APTBS, about that CAC show and whether he thinks his band's violent, aggressive sound has helped him release any violence or aggression that may lurk within him. Check it out here. The band is currently working on its third full-length.

Check out the clip for "Keep Slipping Away" from APTBS's last album, 2009's Exploding Head:



• Even more MidPoint vets are playing together at downtown's Mainstay Rock Bar tonight. My absolute favorite show at last year's MPMF was a relatively small gathering at the Main Event club featuring tour-pals Vanity Theft (who originally hail from Springboro, Ohio) and Canada's Hunter Valentine. While some of the other MPMF shows might have had better sound or a dazzling light show, these two all-female groups put on a brilliant display of Rock & Roll, with an impassioned Punk drive, slanted Indie Rock riffs and some New Wave/Post Punk undertones. Both groups were funny, charming and incredibly fun to watch and rock out with, even though they were at the tail-end of a massive North American tour. If Sleater Kinney, The Buzzcocks and Blondie got together for a timewarped jam in 1979, it might have sounded like what you'll hear tonight at Mainstay. Like-minded Indy Pop Punk band Neon Love Life opens the show.

Showtime is 9 p.m. Cover is just $5. Here's Vanity Theft's video for the song "Trainwreck":



• I'd never heard of "Christian Crunk Rock" before I started reading about Atlanta's Family Force 5, but it is definitely now in my Top 10 list of all-time favorite favorite genre hybrids, just behind the Dance/Electronic/Emo mesh EmoDM but a few slots ahead of Doom Jazzcore. Like a good Christian band name, there's honesty in their moniker — there are five members, they are certainly a force in AltChristian music circles and the band contains three brothers. The Olds bros (Solomon Jerome, Jacob and Joshua) are the son of Jerome Olds, who was a popular Christian music performer in the ’80s.

FF5 transcended the Christian tag by experiencing success in the mainstream with their first full-length, Business Up Front/Party in the Back, and the group didn't do a lot of the things many Christian acts go through when trying to appeal to a wider chunk of the populace. There were no denials and vagueness about their religious beliefs, nor have they ever gone out of their way to specifically target a Christian audience that might want "The Message" a bit more prominent in FF5's music and at live shows. The band wears crazy, colorful outfits, makes songs about partying and having a good time and has a sound that's a blend of Hip Hop's Crunk stylings (as popularized by Lil Jon), Dance-demanding beats and an Emo-y vibe to the melodies and hooks. It's what EMF would be doing if they came out today.

Fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your opinion of Crunkcore, I suppose), tonight's show in Corryville is an acoustic one. The band's Rise Up! Acoustic Tour invades The 86 Club in Corryville, the youth-friendly club on Short Vine (where Top Cat's used to be) that has been presenting modern Christian acts (as well as others) for the past year. The all-ages show starts at 8:30 p.m. (SameState opens) and tickets are $15.

FF5 is premiering an uplifting documentary film on this tour, screening Isaac Deitz's Vital Sign short about FF5 bassist Joshua Olds' battle with kidney failure during a holiday tour in 2009 that almost killed him. Here's the trailer for the flick:



• Always excellent local Rock foursome Messerly and Ewing are playing tonight at The Avenue Lounge in Covington with a pair of cool special guests. New band Hello Mayday has begun kicking around the local club scene in recent months. The group features a quartet of veteran local players — Brian Halloran (formerly of Clabbergirl) joins ex-Crosley members Paul DeNu (also a Clabbergirl for a spell) and Vince and Joel Knueven in the band. The group is currently working on its first recordings with former Moth and The Virgins guitarist Bobby Gayol. Halloran says they hope to have an album this summer and a teaser EP this spring. Opening things up will be a solo acoustic set from singer/songwriter Kevin Nolan, former frontman for the awesome local group Saving Ray.

The show is free and starts at 10 p.m. Click the arrow below to hear M&E's "Living on Lies" from the recent full-length, Every Bitter Thing.


• Great French Jazz guitarist (and Woody Allen collaborator) Stephane Wremble is at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club downtown tonight for two shows — at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Admission is $15-$20 (and, don't forget, you can now have a great dinner at the Wisp, as well). Read more here. Here's some of Wremble's work on the score for Woody Allen's acclaimed Midnight in Paris:


Click here for even more live music events tonight.

 
 
by Amy Harris 06.28.2013
Posted In: Live Music, Interview, Music Video, New Releases at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Q&A with The Eli Young Band's Chris Thompson

Band in Cincinnati to open tonight's sold-out Kenny Chesney concert at Riverbend

The Eli Young Band brings a taste of Red Dirt music to the forefront of Country music. The band has an upbeat and distinct sound that has caught on quickly on a national scale. EYB saw mild success through the years touring on Jet Black and Jealous and hit a major stride with its most recent album, Life At Best, featuring the hits “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and ACM "Song of the Year," “Crazy Girl.” 

The Eli Young Band has now reached a new height, opening Kenny Chesney’s current tour (which is hitting mostly stadiums). CityBeat was able to catch up with band drummer Chris Thompson to get the band’s feeling on its new found success and life on tour with Kenny. The tour comes to Cincy tonight at Riverbend Music Center for a sold-out stop (the tour moves to Crew Stadium in Columbus on Saturday night). It is truly the most impressive tour in Country music.

CityBeat: How did the tour come about with Kenny Chesney?

Chris Thompson: A lot of people don’t know this but Kenny is really involved in who he picks to go on tour with him. In a lot of other tours, a record label will put someone on the bill or management will partner up with other management to find a tour that works with that kind of artist, but Kenny is super hands-on.

Two years ago at the Academy of Country Music Awards, we were nominated for "Song of the Year" and so was Kenny, and we actually beat him, we won the category. I guess shortly after, there was a text going around from Kenny to his management, “Who are these guys that beat me?” and “I want to find out more about them.” He started getting into our music and shortly after we got the phone call that we were invited to go out on tour with him.

It’s just a huge honor. Like I was saying, he hand picks the folks that are out here on the road with him. It’s the biggest tour in Country music and we are just happy to be here.

CB: I was there the night you guys won the "Song of the Year" award. I was so happy for you guys. I know you have worked very hard over the years. What was the highlight of CMA for the band this year in Nashville?

CT: We were only there for a couple hours really. We flew in that morning and did a signing for two or three hours and then had a couple meetings. Then, we were out of town.

We have been going to CMA Music Fest for seven or eight years now. Back in the day we would stay for three or four days and play a show or two and be able to hang and meet as many people as we could. It seems like more and more nowadays, especially with the tours we have been on and our headlining tours, we are only able to get in for a day and get out.

It is always fun to do the signings because you meet people from all over the country and from all over the world really who love Country music. They are so excited to meet you. They are die hard fans. They bring pictures from five years ago when we met. It’s just cool that Country music does that. We are the only genre of music that has anything like that where fans can go and interact directly with the artists and have one-on-one face time with them.

CB: Tell me a little bit about “Drunk Last Night,” the new single.


CT: I think “Drunk Last Night” is a lyric we can all relate to. When we all first heard the song, we were like, “Yes, this is a song for us."

A lot of people hear a title and automatically think it’s a drinking song. We went through some of that with “Crazy Girl.” A lot of people saw the title and went “Oh, I know what this song is about,” and I think they were wrong.

I think people will find this is not the standard drinking song. It is all about, I hate to sum it up as drunk dialing, but it is kind of like the thought of doing that and alcohol feeding that desire a little bit more than in daily life.
It is also a song that we went in the studio and recorded (and) as soon as we finished the session, we could go out and play (it) live right now because it’s a great track, it’s rocking, it’s in our wheelhouse and we actually did. We started playing it at the very beginning of the Chesney tour before it was even picked as a single. The crowd really seemed to dig it and now here it is, going to be a single. Good stuff.

CB: Do you guys know or do you have a feeling when you have a hit or when you hear a hit presented to you?

CT: Yeah. I think sometimes you hear a song, sometimes people say the song gives them chills and they know that’s the one. Sometimes you get that feeling in your gut. When you hear a song sometimes, you write a lyric and you feel that, it is almost like that feeling of falling in love. Your chest kind of swells.

When multiple people feel that way at the same spot or for the same song, then I don’t know if anybody can guarantee a hit, but you know that it is at least a lyric or a song that people can relate to and I think typically good songs are universal in that sort of way.

CB: I loved your “The Cuss Jar” video — I could buy a house if I implemented that process. I wanted to know if you had bought anything fun with the money?


CT: No, actually I think that era ended. The jar got too full and I think we used that jar for laundry money one day when we stopped somewhere on the road and had a few days off and emptied the whole thing for band and crew’s laundry. Then we got too lazy to keep up with it.

CB: What has been your craziest tour story recently?

CT: I think playing Cowboys Stadium in Dallas on the Chesney tour was probably the craziest thing because we are from Dallas and we have played every tiny bar around the stadium. To just get up on stage at the biggest stadium in America was totally wild. All of our families were there; it was craziness.

CB: That’s such a special moment, I am sure you have plenty of those all the time. Do you do anything special yourself to keep the tour memories? Do you take photos or journals? Some bands blog or journal and do things to keep it fresh.

CT: Yeah, we have been fortunate on this tour, since the beginning of this year, we have had a guy out on the road with us that has started doing social media. Mainly he is taking pictures. Since January, this whole thing has been documented and we really appreciate that.

It is definitely hard for us to get good photos when we are on stage playing, when we are really in the moment, because we are playing, so he is out there doing that. This is the biggest tour we have ever done and just the momentum that this year is building, we are just happy about that.

CB: What does a typical day look like for you?

CT: On the Chesney tour when we are doing stadiums like we are doing today, we will go out and do a tailgating event, at 1 or so in the afternoon, we will all get into some golf carts and we will go out to where all the fans are tailgating and they will bombard us with jello shots and beer bongs and the local foods they have.

We hang out with them for an hour or two then we will start doing radio events where we will play a couple songs acoustic, sitting on our bus or backstage for various winners. Then we will do a meet and greet for about 60-100 people. Then, we will grab a bite to eat around then. Then we hit the stage and rock out for about an hour.

After that, we will go hang out with some radio folks or some friend that are in town and wind down about the time Kenny hits the stage so we can watch him. It’s pretty cool. It’s pretty unreal.

CB: If you could trade places for anyone for about a month, who would it be?

CT: Right now it feels like we are living the dream. I think the four of us are really happy with what is going on in our careers right now. We have had some national success. It feels like we have broken out of being a regional band and it feels like we are on the cusp of something more than that. It’s a great time for Eli Young Band and it is important for us to enjoy this. I probably wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone right now.

CB: What can the fans look for from you guys tonight in Cincinnati?

CT: We try to always bring a high-energy show. We were playing a show last night and there was this older gentleman almost in front row sitting in his chair arms crossed and it looked like he wasn’t really enjoying himself. About halfway through our set he leaned over to his wife and he points at us and he goes, “Those guys are workin’ up there.” Then he smiled real big.

We want to bring that energy. We want to get on stage and have a good time and fire up the crowd. We go on right after Kacey Musgraves. Kacey is real cool and laidback and all that when she does her thing and it’s great. Then we get to come in and kick the audience in the butt a little bit.

During our set we have some new music in there and some cover songs I think gets the crowd up and clapping. After that Eric (Church) comes up and burns it down. Then Kenny Chesney comes out and the place goes nuts.

 
 

 

 

 
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