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by mbreen 05.27.2011
Posted In: Local Music, Live Music, Festivals at 09:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Taste of Local Music: Sunday Recommendations

This holiday weekend is shaping up to be a scorcher, so be sure to add sweatbands to your “things to bring to Taste of Cincinnati” list (along with your Tums and earplugs). Below are some local music suggestions for Sunday's Taste.

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by Brian Baker 09.27.2013
sarah laubacher_shuggie

MPMF Day 1: The Best Thursday Night Ever?

Last night was a glorious night for music and glorious music was made. Combinations don't get much better than that. Things didn't start so well, though; a quick e-mail on Wednesday revealed that, for a variety of reasons, my friend Matthew Fenton wouldn't be making his annual pilgrimage from Chicago to our fair festival. And then the drive down I-75 was infuriatingly stop-and-go for no apparent reason, which had me grinding my teeth all the way downtown.

Every molecule of that dour energy was dissipated with the first show of the night as Cody ChesnuTT hit the Washington Park stage like a hydrogen bomb of positive vibration. 

ChesnuTT's MidPoint appearance was also his Cincinnati debut and the sizable crowd that showed up to witness it was completely enthralled with his potent blend of Neo Soul, Reggae, Jazz and Pop.

ChesnuTT doesn't dress the part of Soul crooner; graphic T-shirt covered in cassettes, red cardigan, black sweats and an army helmet. The helmet is an odd sartorial choice, but ChesnuTT has explained that he's "fighting to keep the soul alive." Not the musical genre, but the spiritual essence at the center of all human beings. That's a pretty big mission for a singer/songwriter to assign himself, but last night's performance proved that ChesnuTT is more than up to the task. 

Drawing strictly from last year's gorgeous Landing on a Hundred (he no longer does any songs from 2002's The Headphone Masterpiece, feeling that he's moved beyond the events in his life that inspired that album), ChesnuTT blew any trace of negativity into the stratosphere and replaced it with a rock-solid groove (courtesy of his absolutely stellar band) and a message of pure love. Not Barry White let's-ease-them-panties-down love, but love of self, love of mankind, love of life, which should ultimately lead to unconditional love for one other person.

Not that ChesnuTT doesn't recognize the world's dysfunction. In his brilliant "Everybody's Brother," he sings, "I used to smoke crack back in the day/I used to gamble rent money and lose/I used to dog nice ladies, used to swindle friends/But now I'm teaching kids in Sunday school and I'm not turning back." On the album, the song thumps along on a hearty Funk beat, but on stage, ChesnuTT delivers that opening verse with a sermon-like intonation, and the band swells around him with Gospel fervor and Soul intensity.

No matter what vibe ChesnuTT is channeling at any particular point in the show, he is a master showman, imploring the audience to join him, engaging them to become an integral part of the proceedings. And when he sings, when he digs deep into his creative core and unleashes his soul though his vocal cords, sweet mother of all that's holy, he sounds like the reincarnation of Marvin Gaye, the little brother that Stevie Wonder didn't know he had and the lost Marley sibling all rolled into one otherworldly package. Anyone who was not smiling at the end of Cody ChesnuTT's performance last night is damaged beyond the help of therapy and psychoactive drugs. Please come back to see us again soon, Cody. If Foxygen's slot is still open, Saturday night would be just fine. (Editor’s note: Cincy’s fantastic Wussy has claimed Foxygen’s Washington Park slot tomorrow.)

After Cody ChesnuTT's splendorous opening, it was Blues/Rock legend Shuggie Otis' turn to lead the Washington Park congregation, which he did in scorching style. Otis was barely in his teens when he started playing guitar with his father, R&B icon Johnny Otis, ultimately leading to session work with Al Kooper and Frank Zappa when he was just 16, and his 1970 debut solo album, Here Comes Shuggie Otis, at 17. And while Shuggie has laid low for long stretches in his nearly 50-year career, his current resurgence is sweet vindication for those periods when an indifferent music industry ignored his virtuosic brilliance, forcing Shuggie to turn away from the industry.

Shuggie's set started a little hesitantly as he acclimated to the stage set-up; at one point, he jokingly asked, "Can somebody show me how to work this shit?" Somebody did and he was off, peeling off incendiary riffs and razor sharp runs with a casual intensity. The set's sole slow spot was a new song called "Special," that sounded like Shuggie copying the numerous Pop artists who have copied him, but he followed it with a blazing version of "Me and My Woman" that erupted from the stage like a volcano and oozed through the assembled multitude with the heat and inevitability of the resultant lava flow. Once he and his stellar band got going, Shuggie Otis provided a transcendent moment in MidPoint history, the redemptive return of an astonishing talent that should never have gone away in the first place.

Only one thing could have dragged me away from the hair-raising, slack-jawed wonder of Shuggie Otis, and that's the triumphant return of Cincinnati’s Mad Anthony. Since the July van accident that could have been the band's literal epitaph, drummer Marc Sherlock was restrained by a neck brace and an order against all relatively physical activity. Outside of a little rhythmic tapping to keep his chops up, Sherlock was virtually drumless for three months, while guitarists Ringo Jones and Adam Flaig hit the road for some acoustic dates to keep the rent money coming, then set off for its first cross-country tour, which culminated with last night’s homecoming.

And so Mad Anthony took the triangular stage at The Drinkery, their first show with their full current lineup since the accident that nearly cost them everything. Jones and Flaig brought plenty of their patented frenzy to their acoustic gigs, but they've clearly missed their hypertalented timekeeper, which was evident from the visceral fury that permeated every note of last night's show. Sherlock couldn't have looked any happier; with every roll, every cymbal crash, every massive kick, his smile was a permanent fixture, and Jones and Flaig responded with a tumultuous joy that was a palpable presence in the room.

At a normal Mad Anthony show, the trio storms into an audience's frontal lobe with incomprehensible power. If The Stooges ate Black Sabbath and shit out three perfectly formed babies the next day that grew up and absorbed Punk, Pop and Rock influences like a bar towel, then wrung out those influences into shot glasses and downed them one liquor/beer/sweat/adrenaline slug, that would be Mad Anthony. Last night's return to The Drinkery was all that amplified to the third power. Naturally, they finished with "We Love This Fucking City." Naturally, this fucking city loves Mad Anthony. It's worked out so far.

After the major nut-kick of Mad Anthony, I tooled down to Arnold's to catch some Beatlesque sweetness courtesy of Canada’s The Shilohs. They were really quite good, and I definitely wanted to hear more of them, but they seemed intent on a mid-tempo set in the key of "If I Fell," and I wasn't quite in the mood for that. So I headed back to The Drinkery to catch locals Frontier Folk Nebraska's set.

After Mad Anthony's blistering presentation, I chatted up Kelly Thomas for a few minutes outside The Drinkery, and she had noted that Frontier Folk Nebraska was veering in a decidedly more electric direction, rather a shift from their traditional acoustic roots. When The Shilos didn't pan out for me, I decided to witness FFN's electric evolution for myself. Good decision.

The new FFN is plugged in and ready to whip any ass in the house. Imagine a world where The Ass Ponys channel Crazy Horse and the Bottle Rockets and Uncle Tupelo and you'll be close to the barely restrained muscle emanating from the new Frontier Folk Nebraska. All of this was evident on the band's eponymous 2011 album, but it's magnified to an incredible scale in the live setting. FFN recently lost founding bassist Steve Oder to a graduate program, which could have seriously altered the band's chemistry, but new bassist Matthew McCormick seems to have settled in nicely, alternating between a pulsing beat and runs that emulate lead solos, forming a slinky rhythm section with drummer Nathan Wagner. Meanwhile, frontman Michael Hensley and Travis Talbert create a tandem guitar attack that perfectly balances nuance and power. I liked where FFN was and I love where they are.

After FFN, I found my car and took a drive down to the Mainstay to catch London's blazing Rock power trio Leogun. Vocalist/guitarist Tommy Smith is a revelation, a genetic hybrid of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page in one electrified body, wringing sounds from his guitar that invoke all the greatest '70s translators of the Blues while maintaining a firm stance in the 21st century. Anchored by the thunderous rhythm section of bassist Matt Johnson and drummer Mike Lloyd, as slippery and as solid as Entwistle and Moon, Leogun swaggers and swings with retro inspiration and contemporary energy. They peeled through a set filled with tracks from their phenomenal debut, By the Reins, but one of the highlights was their completely unexpected and timber-rattling take on Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie." Not sure when they'll be back, but I'll be there when they return.


• Music editor Mike Breen informed me that publisher Dan Bockrath was going to be making with the beers this year, but I had no idea he would begin his hop blitzkrieg so quickly and voluminously. Dan found me in the crowd at the start of Cody ChesnuTT's set and put a beer in my hand immediately. And just as I finished that first one, Dan reappeared at my side with yet another, claiming, "I feel so good I had to double down." After this MidPoint, I may be able to build a new wing onto the Beer Buying Hall of Fame with Dan's empties alone. You are a god that walks among men, Dan Bockrath, and I hope to see you every night this weekend.

• During Cody's lovely and moving "Love is More Than a Wedding Day," he announced that it might be a good time to dance with the one you love. I looked at Dan, Dan looked at me, but we dismissed the idea. It is a testament to Cody's soulful presentation that I actually considered it, though.

• Years ago, my good buddy Troy paid me the ultimate compliment when he spotted me at a show. He clapped me on the shoulder and said, "I know I'm at the right show when you're at it." The very same could be said for the ubiquitous King Slice. His appearance at a show is like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Follow him and see where he goes next. That's where the party will likely be the best.

• Also ran into Magnolia Mountain's Mark Utley, who's in the teeth of planning the next Music for the Mountains benefit show. The second MFTM disc is chock full of traditional goodness and the album and the concert will raise funds to help eliminate the mining practice of mountaintop removal. As Mark noted, "Nature gives women the ability to forget about the pain of childbirth so they'll ready to do it again. That's how it was for me with this concert." The pain is always worth it, man (says the guy who's not feeling the pain) … good luck and God speed.

• And on my way out of Shuggie Otis, I chanced upon Jim Blase, co-owner of Shake It Records and quite simply one of the finest human beings I've had the pleasure to and good fortune to know.

• Lots of folks turned out for Mad Anthony's return, including Kelly Thomas, who was an architect of two benefit shows to help the boys get back on their feet (and who is actually collaborating with the band on some new songs, which should be awesome). Also in attendance was former MA bassist Dave Markey, and his ebullient mom, who may have been the biggest fan in the room; I'm pretty sure she knew the words to every song. It was a beautiful thing.

• Jim Blase was also hanging out at the Frontier Folk Nebraska show, obviously showing support for Travis, who still puts in some time behind the Shake It counter. I was about to head over to say hello again but ran into old friend Danny Rupe, who I never get to see anymore except at random and all to infrequent MidPoint shows. He put my digits and e-mail add into his Jetsons phone, so maybe I'll hear from him with a little more timeliness now.

• Slice, The Black Owls' Brandon Losacker, Dave Markey and Ringo Jones were all hanging at the Leogun extravaganza. I was looking for my Class X compatriot Eddy Mullet, who had designs on the show, but I didn't see him so his plans must have changed. God, I hope it wasn't a kidney stone; that's what derailed his Bunbury experience. After the show, I had a quick chat with Tommy and Matt from the band as they were packing up to go, and then Ringo and I closed the Mainstay, as he regaled me with tales of Mad Anthony, and promises that their new material is the best they've ever done. I know they'll prove it when the time comes.

by Mike Breen 08.10.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Festivals at 09:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

20th Annual Cincy Blues Fest Starts TONIGHT

Popular Blues showcase returns to Sawyer Point for weekend of Blues you can use

By all accounts (from people who actually attended or performed), last month’s huge Bunbury Music Festival was one of the best-run fests of its kind this area has ever seen. Organizer Bill Donabedian no doubt scored some tips from the operators of the big annual Blues celebration, the volunteer-driven Cincy Blues Fest, which has been doing the “well-run music festival” thing at Sawyer Point Park along the riverfront for many years now.

This weekend, the Cincy Blues Fest — one of the finest Blues events in the Midwest — returns to Sawyer Point to celebrate its 20th anniversary. That's a remarkable two decades of providing Greater Cincinnati live music lovers with some of the finest Blues being made locally, regionally and nationally, a rare and impressive achievement for any music festival.

This year’s main stage national headliners are especially strong — Webb Wilder on Friday and Duke Robillard on Saturday — but the Cincy Blues Fest always has a ton of interesting and engaging artists performing throughout the fest’s multiple stages.

Aside from the lineup featuring a few higher quality headliners than the past couple of years (like Robillard, Wilder, Trampled Under Foot, Super Chikan, Sista Monica, etc.), this year’s 20th anniversary celebration isn’t really being overblown, likely because the Cincy Blues Society and the army of volunteers that work the fest always do such an amazing job running the event; it’s already quite special, no matter what birthday the fest is celebrating. 

One of my favorite elements of the Blues Fest is its undying support for our local players and singers. This year, Cincy Blues Challenge winners Chris Yakopcic and the Noah Wotherspoon Band have main-stage slots (they’ll also go to Memphis this winter to compete for Cincinnati in the International Blues Challenge). Yakopcic performs at 5:45 p.m. Friday, while Wotherspoon and Co. play at the same time Saturday (following a band of students associated with the Blues in the Schools program, for which the fest raises money). 

The three side stages — always creatively programmed — have a heavy local presence. Friday, visit the “Blues: The Next Generation” stage for sets by younger area acts like the Wade Baker Trio, Brian Keith Wallen Band, Scotty Bratcher and (again!) Noah Wotherspoon and his band. The “Next Gen” stage starts at 5:15 p.m. Saturday.

Friday "The Next Generation of Blues" stage lineup

5:15 p.m. Wade Baker Trio

p.m. Jellico Motel

p.m. Brian Keith Wallen Band

p.m. Carson Diersing Band

p.m. Scotty Bratcher

10:40 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band

As the name suggests, the St. Vincent DePaul Local Stage is chock full of local talent. Friday, the stage features Bad Men on a Mission, Them Bones, the Doug Hart Band, Leroy Ellington’s Blues Band and Blue Sacrifice.

Saturday, catch the Blue Birds Big Band, the Gradual Taylor Band, the Leo Clarke Band, The Juice, Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project and Balderdash.

Friday St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage lineup

5:45-6:45 p.m. Bad Men on a Mission

p.m. Them Bones

p.m. Doug Hart Band

p.m. Leroy Ellington’s Blues Band

10:45pm-12:00 a.m. Blue Sacrifice

Saturday St. Vincent De Paul Local Stage lineup
p.m. Blue Birds Big Band

p.m. The Gradual Taylor Band

p.m. The Leo Clarke Band

p.m. The Juice

p.m. Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project

p.m.  Balderdash

And perhaps the fest’s most notable and renowned side stage, the unique Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame Stage, on Saturday will feature appearances by Jimmy Rogers, Todd Hepburn, Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues and Ricky Nye, plus players from across the planet. The Boogie Woogie stage closes out with a “grand finale jam” just before midnight.

Saturday Boogie Woogie Piano Hall of Fame Stage lineup

4:30 p.m. Jimmy Rogers

5:10 p.m. Todd Hepburn

5:50 p.m. Liz Pennock & Dr. Blues

6:50 p.m. Ricky Nye

7:40 p.m. Mark Braun

8:30 p.m. Rob Rio

9:20 p.m. Cynthia Girtley

10:10 p.m. Bob Seeley

11:00 p.m. Fabrice Eulry

11:50 p.m. Grand Finale Jam

Here are the lineups for the Budweiser Main Stage this weekend:

Friday Budweiser Main Stage lineup
5:45-6:45 p.m. Chris Yakopcic

7:00-8:15 p.m. Super Chikan

8:30-10:00 p.m. Sista Monica

10:15-11:45 p.m. Webb Wilder

Saturday Budweiser Main Stage lineup

5:00-5:30 p.m. Blues in the School (BITS) Band

5:45-6:45 p.m. Noah Wotherspoon Band

7:00-8:15 p.m. Southern Hospitality

8:30-10:00 p.m. Trampled Under Foot

10:15-11:45 p.m. Duke Robillard

Tickets are $20 each day (two-day passes are available Friday at the gates for $30), or grab yours early through brownpapertickets.com for a $5 discount. Or you can join the Cincy Blues Society (cincyblues.org), the creators and managers of Cincy Blues Fest, to receive an even deeper discount.

Be sure to pick up a copy of this week's CityBeat, which includes a pull-out guide for the Cincy Blues Fest, with artist bios, schedules and more. For further ticket info, updates, details on the new Cincy Blues Fest mobile app and much more, visit cincybluesfest.org.

by Leyla Shokoohe 08.10.2011
Posted In: Festivals, Live Music, Music Video at 03:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Leyla at Lolla: Lollapalooza 2011 Day 2

Lollapalooza Day 2 dawned bright and early — I woke up a tad late, having burned the midnight oil too long the night before.

Rule No. 2 of Lollapalooza: Get enough sleep. Always. Especially if you’ll be walking every-the-heck-where.

I had been invited to an after-party Friday night, sponsored by Belvedere Vodka, at the W Chicago City Center downtown. I went in my sweaty Lolla regalia, and was rewarded with performances by Two Door Cinema Club and Fitz and the Tantrums.

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by Amy Harris 07.19.2011
Posted In: Live Music, Festivals at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mayhem Fest Preview with Machine Head

Machine Head has given us six studio albums with the seventh upcoming in September called Unto the Locusts (listen to the first single, "Locust," below). The band has headlined every Metal festival across the country and has been inspiring up and coming Metal bands for years. CityBeat caught up with lead singer Robb Flynn to preview this week’s Mayhem Festival, which hits Riverbend this Wednesday. Flynn discussed the path that Machine Head has taken to get to its place among Metal's elite, the group's craziest fans and the band's new album.

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by Mike Breen 04.18.2012

Virtual2pacalypse Now? When Jokes Come Alive

Was the hologram 2Pac a glimpse into the future of "live" music?

It's always a baffling moment for me when one of the things many of us have joked about happening in the future actually happens in the future.

"One day we'll just talk to the TV to change channels," we'd say, goofing around as we maneuvered the broomstick taped to the channel changer dial on (yes, ON) the television set so we wouldn't have to get off the couch to change it (more) manually.

"Wouldn't it be cool if, like, we could go see Kajagoogoo in Cleveland this weekend, but just broadcast to us in the garage so we can chug Milwaukee's Best and do Whip-Its while we watched it?" we'd say, knowing Mom would let us borrow the station wagon to go see the New Wave megastars in Cleveland when pigs can fly or we can carry around all the books in the library in our pockets!

Yeah, like that'll happen. But only because Kajagoogoo broke up years ago (and it did NOT end well). Last weekend, I was able to watch several artists perform at Coachella live, as it happened, while laying on my couch. Not naked, but also not sweating or getting run into constantly by some wasted "raver" in a purple Adidas jumpsuit shouting "Play 'Our House!'" while I'm trying to watch Madness.

I don't think the latest watershed the-silly-future-is-now moment — Tupac Shakur appearing at Coachella in hologram form alongside Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre — was part of the live broadcast through YouTube. But enough people have seen footage of it now that it has become a super-high trending topic on our digital future-boxes with the interweb and the series of tubes and whatnot.

I've been a bit shocked that the gimmick has elicited way more "OMG" responses that "WTF" ones. It is a neato technological trick and certainly warrants a lots of "Well I'll be"-type responses, but I've been bewildered that most of the commentary has been in the range of "tearful amazement" and "pure awe." This is based on some serious Twitter research, which has revealed how people like Katy Perry ("I think I might have cried when I saw Tupac") and Rihanna ("#IWASTHERE #STORY4myGrandKidz") reacted. I can only assume the "little people" feel the same way and are equally impressed.

If you somehow haven't seen it, take a gander:

I've made jokes in print about things like a "Hip Hopera," using it as something beyond the realm of possibility because it would be so cheesy and ridiculous. It's happened numerous times since. Never that successfully, because, you know, it's a Hip Hopera.

I've used the dead-musician-
hologram gag similarly — a far-fetched concept to play upon the ridiculous rate of technological advancement today and the greed of the music biz that might one day enable all the great dead artists of our time to be brought back to life as holograms and go on tour. Older artists could go out as their vintage selves — The Rolling Stones circa Beggars Banquet or Wu-Tang Clan circa Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (… and EVERYONE shows up). "Bands" could do multinational shows simultaneously. And the only people really getting paid to tour would be the A/V geeks hired to run the equipment.

It's such a bizarre concept; it's not supposed to ever actually come true. That's the kind of thing that makes jokes dated. And it's why The Jetsons still holds up. Robot maids — that shit's hilarious!

As dazzled as everyone seems to be by the projection of a dead rapper fake-performing (even shouting out "Coachella," though, to be fair, they could have cobbled that together from a sample from when Tupac used to play Frisbee Golf there on spring break), could there actually be a market for a hologram act to "tour"? (Note: Yes, I realize the Tupac at Coachella wasn't actually a "hologram," so shut it.)

Promoters, apparently, are going to find out if reports are true that Hologram2Pac might go on tour with Dr. Dre. Since the ghost cameo was the talk of the entire festival, Dre and Co. probably started planning it immediately. Especially after Shakur's mother gave her permission for the Coachella use and was reportedly amazed by how it came off.

That could be a fun special effect as part of someone else's act, but could it ever go to the next level? Will there ever be a tour reliant on a holographic headliner? Would people pay to see that? I'm not equating a DJ concert with a film projection of a dead person, but put, say, hologram Elvis on Daft Punk's stage — with Daft Punk — and would it double or triple the usual Daft Punk draw on tour?

I don't know if "The 1969 Beatles on Tour" or "Eddie Van Halen and His Fabulous Rotating Hologram Singers" would find an audience at this point. But I'm constantly amazed by what people love. Reality TV? Now That's What I Call Music compilations? Karaoke? Bon Iver? Every sitcom on CBS? We can do better.

If you would have told me while I was listening to 2Pac's All Eyez On Me album in 1996 (and, honestly, trying to figure out why so many considered the man a genius) that one day within the next two decades a dead Shakur would be the talk of some huge festival ("It's like that Lollapalooza thing, ’cept it don't travel"), I would have spit Milwaukee's Best out of my nose. (Yeah, I didn't mature much.)

I've watched as the concert experience — the actual, go-some-place-type of concert experience — has evolved in the past 20 years. The most talked about today is the phenomenon involving young people fiddling with their phones instead of "not paying attention" to the concert. I was, like many, annoyed/befuddled by the perceived lack of focus, but I realized something while watching Paul McCartney's Cincinnati concert at Great American Ballpark last summer that has helped me take a deep breath and just accept it.

Everyone enjoys music — listening to it, watching it performed, absorbing it — in different ways.

It was especially evident at the McCartney show because so many people had deep connections to the music being played, but they showed it — or expressed it — in different ways. I was intensely attentive and a bit internally emotional. I didn't talk a lot. My epiphany came when my girlfriend spoke to me while Sir Paul was introducing the next song. I could not imagine how insane someone must be to TALK while PAUL FREAKIN' MCCARTNEY WAS TALKING?!

And then I realized how stupid that was. My way of experiencing the show was different than hers or from the hammered 60-something couple dancing with their eyes shut or the beaming kids with their parents or the teen with the smartphone tweeting. They all had fun. And they'll all remember it (and those who don't as well will have photos to help).

So if Hologram2Pac is the next wave of live concert entertainment, I probably won't go to any of those concerts, but I won't make fun of people who do. Well, maybe just a little. Mostly because I won't be able to stop thinking about the early Saturday Night Live "fake commercial" promoting a concert residency, not long after Elvis died, starring Elvis' coat. That's one old music biz joke that hasn't come true. Yet. (Though EP did "tour" as video footage on big screens backed by a live band. And it did pretty damn well, from what I remember.)

Elvis Presley's Coat from Walter Williams on Vimeo

My recommendation is to do as I do, frustrated concertgoers. Accept our new hologram superstars. You never know — they might some day come to life and the world will be ruled by hologram images of great pop cultural icons originally crafted for beer commercials and personal appearances at car dealerships.

President Sinatra, I supported you all along.

(And now that I've made a joke about it, it has about a 600 percent better chance of happening.)
by Alex L. Weber 07.15.2009
Posted In: Live Music, Festivals at 03:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

It's (Almost) Time to Praise the Lord Again

Duke Energy Center isn’t the first place that comes to mind when the words “sacred space” are uttered, but evidently God don’t give a damn (sorry — dang) about the venue, just so long as you’re singin’, praisin’ and believin’. The big building formerly known as the Convention Center is the site of the 42nd Annual Gospel Music Workshop of America National Convention.

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by Mike Breen 02.21.2014
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music, Festivals at 07:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bunbury Music Festival Makes Lineup Announcement

Flaming Lips, Foxy Shazam and more announced for Cincinnati music fest this summer

Last night, music fans at venues in four cities around the region (Newport, Columbus, Indianapolis and Lexington) got a sneak peek at some of the artists slated to appear at this year’s Bunbury Music Festival, which returns to Cincinnati’s riverfront parks July 11-13. 

Last night, fans at the launch events tweeted out some of the lineup as it was announced (and some smart ass started a fast-spreading rumor that Vampire Weekend was playing; they are not). This morning, the lineup was released to the general public. It was previously announced that Fall Out Boy, Paramore and New Politics would be bringing their summer tour to Bunbury; those groups are scheduled to play the fest on July 12. 

Here are the local and national artists that will be joining them at Bunbury’s third annual event (an additional headliner will be announced soon):

The Flaming Lips

Young the Giant

Fitz and the Tantrums

Veruca Salt

ZZ Ward

Holy Ghost!


Heartless Bastards

Foxy Shazam

Andrew W.K. 

Robert DeLong 


Mystery Skulls

Wild Cub

Morning Parade

Kishi Bashi

Bear Hands

The Orwells

Red Wanting Blue



The Lighthouse and the Whaler

Hundred Waters

Fly Golden Eagle

Meg Myers

The Pass

Jesse Thomas

Jane Decker

Lamps and Voids

The Monument

Family and Friends

James Gilmore


Molly Sullivan


Kelly Thomas


Let It Happen

Black Owls

Kopecky Family Band

Syd Arthur

Bad Suns

G.Miles and the Hitmen

Brent James & the Vintage Youth

The Fanged Robot

Marc Scibilia 

The Upset Victory

Royal Teeth

The Bonesetters

J. Roddy Walston & The Business


Pluto Revolts

X Ambassadors 

Lily & Madeleine

Brick + Mortar

The Yugos


The Ceremonies

Kim Taylor

Young Heirlooms

Hunter Hunted


Yellow Paper Planes

The Easthills

Night Riots

Big Fresh

Lydia Loveless

Austin Livingood

Aaron Lee Tasjan

Eva Ross

Russell Howard

Here Among the Mountains

Crass Mammoth

Bronze Radio Return

Daniel in Stereo

Today is the last day to buy Bunbury tickets at their current rate; the prices increase at midnight. Right now, $130 gets you a three-day pass ($325 if you’d like the VIP experience) and one-day tickets are $55. 

by Mike Breen 06.26.2012

Twenty More Acts Announced for MidPoint 2012

MPMF.12 to include Andrew Bird, The Walkmen, Ralph Stanley, The Antlers and more

Several local acts have been notified in recent weeks that they have been chosen to perform at this fall’s MidPoint Music Festival. Organizers today revealed its second wave of national acts that will join them at the Sept. 27-29 fest — Andrew Bird, Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys (revealed a couple of weeks ago at a MidPoint Indie Summer concert), The Walkmen, The Antlers, Hospitality, Rich Aucion, Stepdad, Eternal Summers, White Arrows, Dirty Bourbon River Show, Hume, Sidewalk Chalk, Holy Ghost Tent Revival, Kitten, F. Strokes, Wooden Wand, Hundred Waters, Golden Boy, Tim Easton and Army Navy.

Keep up to date with the latest MPMF news at mpmf.com and this here music blog at citybeat.com. Early Bird All Music Access and Loyalty Presale passes are sold out. A limited number of All Music Access Passes ($69) and VIP Passes presented by CVG ($169) now on sale. Washington Park Day Tripper passes will be available soon. Get your tickets now at CincyTicket.com.

Check out news songs from The Antlers and (previously announced MPMF band) Grizzly Bear at NPR here.

Here's the latest music video from The Walkmen, for their tune "Heaven."

And here's a recent CNN piece on Andrew Bird.

by Amy Harris 07.14.2010
Posted In: Festivals at 02:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Bamboozle Recap

All Time Low is an American pop punk band from Baltimore, Maryland, formed in 2003. The band consists of vocalist and rhythm guitarist Alexander Gaskarth, lead guitarist and backing vocalist Jack Barakat, bassist and back vocalist Zachary Merrick, and drummer Rian Dawson. Formed while still in high school, All Time Low started out covering pop punk bands such as Green Day and Blink-182.

In late March 2010, All Time Low began recording their fourth studio album with producers John Fields and Matt Squire. It will be the band's first album released through Interscope Records.

I caught up with Alex after Bamboozle to discuss the band’s controversies this summer and their upcoming album.

CB: I have read that the band was named for a New Found Glory song, “Head on Collision.” Can you tell me the story about it?
It was right when we were starting the band, we had a list of terrible, terrible band names and we didn’t pick any of them. We ended up taking a line from the song that caught our ear and went with it.

CB: I recently spent some time photographing them and they were great guys.
Yeah they are good dudes.

CB: You have started recording your next album. When can we expect it?
As of right now we are shooting for an early 2011 release. We are about halfway finished with it and we need to figure out what to call it and go through all the steps to get it out.

CB: Can you talk about any of the new songs that you are excited about?
We are excited about them all and it doesn’t make sense to go into specifics because it is too early.

CB: You have recently had some controversy with Six Flags on this tour. Are you past it?
We’re past it. We had an issue there and Six Flags security didn’t handle a situation well. They didn’t like the fact that I voiced my opinion about it and have asked us never to come back, which is fine with me since I never want to step foot in there again.

CB: Is it that one or all Six Flags?
All Six Flags

CB: I’ve seen you a couple times and I see all these young girls at your show and they are crazy about you guys. A lot of them are really young, how do you stay out of trouble with the fans?
What do you mean?

CB: Well, they are obviously not 18.
We are not really in the business of having relations with our fans so I am not sure it is a problem.

CB: I photograph bands all the time and people usually think rap concerts are dangerous, but I swear that your shows have the most dangerous fans with the screaming little girls.
They are violent little kids and they are our fans. We love them.

CB: Who would be your dream band to go on tour with?
I would love to tour with Weezer and Blink 182 would also be an obvious choice.

CB: What has been your craziest Bamboozle tour story?
A negative one would be the Six Flags incident. We also got pretty crazy on Jack’s birthday and I destroyed several TV’s in the hotel. I lived the life of a rock star for a night which was a lot of fun.

CB: What did Jack do?
Jack was right alongside with me. It was his birthday and everyone was together.

CB: Who would be your favorite Indie band?
I don’t know. Phoenix is really good and Silversun Pickups are pretty sweet.

CB: Fill in the blank. I can’t go to sleep unless I …

CB: What is up next for the band?
We are going back to California to finish the album and then we are going overseas to do some festivals in Japan and do a show in Malaysia. We’ll be back in the US in the fall for a tour.


Boys Like Girls is a pop punk band from Andover, Massachusetts who gained mainstream recognition when they released their self-titled debut album Boys Like Girls. The group was formed in the final months of 2005, when vocalist Martin Johnson wrote a handful of songs he wanted to record. He recruited bassist Bryan Donahue and drummer John Keefe. Keefe brought along lead guitarist Paul DiGiovanni.

Boys Like Girls officially released their second album, Love Drunk, on September 8, 2009 and has been touring all year to support it. "Two Is Better Than One," featuring female country singer Taylor Swift was released off Love Drunk as the fourth single. Before performing in Cincinnati, the band and local radio had a contest where the winner from a local high school was chosen to sing Taylor Swift’s part in “Two Is Better Than One” live onstage at Riverbend with the band during Bamboozle.

I caught up with John and Bryan before their set at Bamboozle to discuss the tour and their recent trip performing on the Miss USA pageant.

CB: How has it been on the tour so far?
We have been having a great time with a bunch friends hanging out and playing music all day. Good times to start the summer.
Every day is like the 4th of July. Lots of grilling and basketball every day and hanging with friends.

CB: What has been your biggest life change since you had your big hits?
Just being on the road non-stop is the biggest change. It is weird when we go home.
When we go home it is awkward and it is hard to get into a routine. Doing laundry and grocery shopping is weird.

CB: What is the story behind the song, “The Great Escape?”
It is a story about getting out of high school and going to pursue other things.
Taking the next step in your life. New job, new career, going to college, whatever the big change is in your life and how you are taking the next steps.

CB: What is your favorite song to perform live?
It changes all the time. Playing a hit song like starting the set with “Love Drunk” is awesome.

CB: It is the best feeling when they sing along, right?
Yes, it is so awesome.

CB: You recently performed on the Miss USA pageant. What was that experience like?
It was a dream, come true.
Like kids in a candy store with the most beautiful women in the United States. We showed up the day before for rehearsal and they actually had to separate us from the girls. We were introducing ourselves to be polite and someone came up and told us to leave them alone. We were bummed.

CB: What is the biggest pet peave on the road?
We all pretty much get along, maybe someone being late and we are waiting when we need to be somewhere.
A messy bus is bad, four, five, six guys with all their crap everywhere. It gets bad and we have to clean it up. It gets clausterphobic. A clear house means a clear mind.

CB: What has been your most memorable moment so far as a band?
Nothing that trumps anything else. We’ll always remember the first time we hear our songs on the radio. We were all together when we heard “The Great Escape” on the radio. Martin was driving the van and we started screaming .We thought he was going to flip the van. Basically, anything we do together as a band is memorable.

CB: Who were your biggest musical influences?
It is across the board. Aerosmith and Nirvana were big influences.
My dad was a bass player and he turned me on to a lot of really great music. I had to use his equipment when I started at 12 years old since I couldn’t buy my own stuff. My dad walked me through how to fix a string. I thought I had broke the bass and he calmed me down and said it was just a string and walked me through it. He bought me a lot of great music and was my biggest influence.

CB: I recently saw a band called “The Trouble with Boys” and they are really young kids who rock out. I am always amazed at how supportive their families are with their music. I guess your parents were pretty supportive along the way.
In the beginning they weren’t, but they are now. It took awhile for them to understand that I wasn’t going to college and that I was going to pursue music. They are very proud now. Parents are usually proud no matter what their kids do though.

CB: Who are your favorite Indie bands?
Great Big Planes and Cady Groves are on the tour and I have been checking them out.
I was just handed a CD that is pretty cool called, “Colors.” I feel like it is summer and I should have more new music.

CB: What do you like to listen to in the summer?
I like the classics. I am a big Joe Walsh fan. It is funny because I hate the Eagles, but I am in a big Joe Walsh phase right now.


Cady Groves is a 20 year old Oklahoma native who is touring with the Bamboozle Roadshow this summer. She is a multi-talented singer songwriter who has recently signed to RCA records.

I caught up with Cady after her set to discuss her current EP, The Life of a Pirate and what is up next for her as she forms her full band and begins recording her next album.

CB: You are the only girl on the tour. How has that been going?
I love it. The cool thing about being the different person is being the different person. Every other band can sort of mesh together. I am the girl and the outsider and that is fine with me. Everyone wants to be a gentleman and help me out.

CB: When you date, do you prefer to date musicians?
I try to be professional. I am not promiscuous at all. I was in a relationship with a musician before all of this happened, but we are just friends now. I could date a fan. I could date anyone. I just really need to have a connection with the person. I really like to be in love though.

CB: You write all your own music about personal experiences. What is your writing process?
I have a really weird writing process. I have an entire melody in my head with no music to it before I hum it to a guitar. I can hear it in my head. I usually sing all the time into a recorder. I write songs all the time. I actually made up one today.

CB: What is it about?
It is about my loyalty to people and how it sometimes gets me hurt.

CB: You were recently at SxSW. Do you have any crazy stories from there?
I got pretty crazy one night when I shouldn’t have. I am usually a stay at home person, but I had fun one night. It was a good night. I think some guy wrote I love Cady Groves on his chest but that is not that crazy.

CB: What is up next for you?
We have 2 weeks left in the tour and then I have 3 weeks off after that when I will be forming my full band. We will practice and meet lots of producers. Right before this tour I signed with RCA so I haven’t had a chance to hang out with them and get everything started. I will go to NYC, LA and Nashville to get started with them. After that I will be going back out on tour with Stereo Skyline on the “Stuck on Repeat” tour.

CB: Will you be coming back through the area?
Yes I think we will.

CB: I like the album title. Is there a story behind the pirate?
It kind of goes along with my life experiences. I have been on my own for awhile. I had a really bad habit of moving around. It is a bad habit that I am trying to break. I would live somewhere for a few months like in my car or on someone’s couch. I would get two jobs and try to make myself be complacent, but once I was, I would just leave. I would get up in the middle of the night and just drive 24 hours and start over. When you think about it, it is a horrible thing to do. It was making life a lot harder and more complicated than it needed to be. It was the life of a pirate. I kept leaving and living in my car. Just moving around.

CB: How long ago was it?
It was a couple years ago.

CB: So you were right out of high school?
No, I graduated high school super early when I was 16 and went to college.

CB: Where did you go to college?
I actually went to culinary school in Vegas. I love it and I think I want to move back there.

CB: Who would be your dream collaboration?
I want to collaborate with Alanis Morissette. I want my album with RCA to be half as good as “Jagged Little Pill.” I was the youngest of 7 kids. I was really shy and was 4 years old when my mom bought the CD the day it came out. We would ride in this huge van. I was always quiet as a kid. I had long curly hair and I would hide under the seat of the van and then I would just come out from under a chair and sing the whole album. My Mom thought it was the funniest thing. I still will pop in the CD and sing it at the top of my lungs.


Great Big Planes is a new Indie band on the scene from Tom Rivers, NJ. The band played their first show last Sept, 2009. Their self-titled album is currently available and features the song “Lost One.”

The band consists of Josh Moran- Lead Vocals/Guitar, Patrick Campion- Lead Guitar, and Chad Sabo on Bass and Acoustic Guitar. I caught up with the band after their set at Bamboozle on their bus to talk about their experiences on their first national tour.

CB: You recently came back from Vegas, any crazy stories out there?
Why don’t you take this one since you were the big winner?
I won a little bit of money so we had a party at the Hard Rock in a villa.

CB: With the money?
No, we were with all the bands from the tour. It was fun for everyone to get together.

CB: It doesn’t sound that crazy?
It was crazy. We had Playmates there. We had a poolside cabana. It was like a Hangover suite.

CB: Anytime playmates are involved it is a good time.

CB: Who is your dream band to tour with?
All of us probably have the same answer. I guess Radiohead is a big one for all of us.
I like Billy Joel a lot. It is not the same genre but I like him a lot.

CB: What is your favorite Indie Band?
No one really right now. I love Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Radiohead, Third Eye Blind, and The Verve.
We are into the 90’s stuff right now.

CB: I like the song “Lost One.” What is the story behind it? Where did it come from?
I was kind of going through a transition phase in my life. I didn’t know where I was headed. I was coming out of a tumultuous relationship. It is about letting go and trying to find a place to call home.

CB: What is your favorite song to perform live?
It is not one of my own. It is “High and Dry” by Radiohead.

CB: You guys just got started last year. What is the biggest thing that has changed in your life since you started out?
The bus really. We have never had this luxury before.
This is our first tour and going National.
It is the first time we have toured with bands outside our scene. Hanson has been on part of the tour and they have been great. People automatically only think of them as “MmmBop,” but their new album is out and it is awesome. You should check it out. They have changed so much and are super talented.

CB: Finish the sentence I can’t go to sleep unless I’ve…
I watch Sports Center and make sure I know the scores of my favorite teams.
I have to take off my socks before going to bed and sleep barefoot.
Not naked, just no socks?
No, not naked just barefoot.
I can’t go to sleep unless I’ve shot the air assault gun outside. Last night we were shooting Third Eye Blind.

Check out Great Big Planes at http://www.myspace.com/greatbigplanes


LMFAO is a Grammy-nominated electro-hip hop group from Los Angeles, California that consists of DJ/rappers Redfoo (Stefan Gordy) and Sky Blu (Skyler Gordy). Both artists are related to Berry Gordy; Redfoo is the son of the Motown Records founder and Sky Blu is his nephew.

Their first single was titled "I'm in Miami Bitch” which peaked at #51 on the Billboard Hot 100. LMFAO also provided the opening theme to Kourtney and Khloé Take Miami and Jersey Shore. They last visited Ohio on tour with the Black Eyed Peas in early 2010.

I sat down with the two of them for an interview backstage at Bamboozle to discuss the tour and the upcoming album.

CB: You guys grew up really close to the recording industry. Did it give you an idea what to expect in the business?
You know maybe on the business side, but not as far as touring. When we grew up our family was out of the business. The touring is new with things like being on the bus. We have adjusted really well. Now the bus is now like our home.

CB: What is your favorite track to perform live?
The songs are like tools that will help you out in any situation.

CB: They make me smile.
Smile tools.
When you are at a party you have to play "Shots" to get the party started. Toward the end of the party you may want to say something nice to a girl so you may play, “Scream My Name.”

CB: It is like a progession through the night. Like a soundtrack.
After "Shots" you would play, “Get Crazy.” They are like tools. So when we perform and we want to talk to the sexy ladies we sing “Scream My Name.”

CB: Craziest tour story with the Black Eyed Peas?
Will got stuck one time up in the air during their performance.
Did you guys rescue him?
I was going to, but I didn’t want to put my drink down. The stage hands took care of him.

CB: You are working on a new album. When can we expect it?
The new album is in the works. We are finally getting some momentum on it. Hopefully it will be out around November.

CB: Do you write your own stuff?
Yes we have a lot of concepts that we are working on. It is a process to lay out the tracks. We have a studio on the bus and one at our house now in LA.

CB: You guys live together- roomies?
Yes, we actually have a lot of houses and a lot of girlfriends.

CB: What are your party rules?
You have to bring some Nachos.
: Nachos are girls that are “Not Yours,” not your ex, not your current girl, they are like pot luck. You have to take a shot when you walk in. You have to have a TBR- Take Back Room. It can be a bathroom but that can cause problems. These are the party rules.

CB: Who were your musical influences?
Rick James
JB- James Brown
Red Hot Chilis

CB: What do you wish you knew five years ago that you know now?
I wish I knew to put more stock into Apple.
I wish I had read this book Going Against the Grain. It talks about how grains are not good for you. It is a revolutionary book. It explains how they are not edible in nature. I just stopped eating grains and lost 25 lbs in a month.

CB: Not just carbs
No, you can have carbs like fruit and potatoes, just no grains like bread, pasta or anything made with corn. We even switched alcohol. Ciroc has grapes and Petron is a plant so they are approved.
It is funny because in “Shots” those were the two we named.