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.
This weekend brings the uniquely “underground” Ubahn Fest to downtown Cincinnati. The two-day music festival (its name a play on the German word for underground rapid transit systems) features a mix of Electronic music, DJs and Hip Hop artists, including many local and regional performers. Ubahn is a collaboration between the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, branding/”social intelligence” agency AGAR and Self Diploma, one of the leading independent event promoters in the region, presenting the popular every-Saturday music series on Fountain Square during the summer (among other events).
While Cincinnati has its share of music fests, this is a rare one that focuses on EDM and Hip Hop. Even more unique is the festival’s setting. Ubahn takes place in the tunnels of the vacant Riverfront Transit Center, located beneath Second Street and running between the Bengals stadium and Broadway. For fest-goers, the entrance is at 220 Central Ave., between Pete Rose Way and Third Street.
Along with the local/regional talent, Ubahn features two huge acts to top the bill each night. Friday’s headliner is A-Trak, one of the leading DJs/turntablists around, working frequently with Kanye West, doing production work and remixes for an array of artists, forming the popular duo Duck Sauce with Armand Van Helden, collaborating with the likes of Travis Barker, Jay-Z and Danny Brown and co-founding the esteemed Electronic/Hip Hop label, Fool’s Gold. A-Trak was featured on the cover of Billboard’s 2012 Dance music issue alongside Skrillex and Diplo.
Here is a clip featuring footage from A-Trak’s huge Bonnaroo set this year:
Saturday’s headliner is singer/songwriter/producer Mike Posner, who has built a large following with his memorable brand of eclectic Electro Pop. Posner has also found success working with a wide range of artists — everyone from Big Sean and 2 Chainz to Justin Bieber and Big Time Rush — as a producer, songwriter and/or guest artist. Posner’s much anticipated new album, Pages, is due next year.
Here’s the clip for Posner’s 2013 single, “The Way It Used to Be”:
DJs, EDM and Hip Hop artists from across the region joining A-Trak for Friday’s festivities include DJ Davey C, DJ Prism, The Animal Crackers, Erik Barnum, The Natives, Sh3llz, Eazy El Loco, DJ Vizion, Panzer, Disco Joe, DJ Worldpeace, DJ Fursur and Briz-Rain.
Cincinnati’s Puck also appears at Ubahn on Friday. The MC released a music video for his track “Outside” last month:
Another local MC performing Friday is Trademark Aaron, who kicked off the summer with a great new EP, For the People. More recently, Aaron posted the short film made to accompany a new track called “Shake,” featuring Sleep of 2 Man Cypher (Sleep performs Saturday at Ubahn):
Saturday’s lineup is rounded out by local and regional acts like Cal Scruby, K.M.F., CJ Townsend, Those Guys, Big Cam, DJ Donkis, DJ Magnificent, DJ Drowsy, Sleep, Nuk, Nick Youngerman and PRJR.
Cincy “new wave Hip Hop” act Valley High will also appear at Ubahn on Saturday. Here is their recent video release for the track “8 Ball”:
And here’s a recent track from local progressive Electronicists Black Signal called “Sai Pei.” The trio is also playing Ubahn on Saturday:
Another local Saturday performer is Hip Hop artist Buggs Tha Rocka who recently announced that modern Hip Hop legend Talib Kweli will executive produce his next album. Before that, Buggs will release a new mixtape next month. The MC recently posted the freestyle track “Gold Bars in Tha Safe,” which you can listen to and download below:
Happy Memorial Day! The popular annual food-fest Taste of Cincinnati ends today (Monday), your last chance to hear some solid local music and eat some excellent local grub (at least until the next downtown street event). Today’s musical offerings kick off on a bittersweet note. At 1 p.m., the Katie Reider Spirit of Music Award will be given posthumously to longtime local bassist and music scene presence Chris Walker, who passed away last year after battling injuries sustained in a serious car accident in 2007.
Hinder is a wildly successful Oklahoma Hard Rock comprised of members Austin Winkler (lead vocalist), Joe “Blower” Garvey (lead guitarist), Mark King (rhythm guitarist), Mike Rodden (bassist) and Cody Hanson (drummer). The band blew up in 2005 with the release of its debut studio album Extreme Behavior, which featured popular hits “Get Stoned” and “Lips of an Angel.”
The band is climbing the charts again with the single “What Ya Gonna Do” off their third studio album, All American Nightmare. CityBeat caught up with the band prior to their performance at RockFest in Cadott, Wisc.They had time to discuss the new album and the festival life. The band will be rocking the entire summer hitting rock festivals all across the country.
CityBeat: You’re out here in the metropolis of Wisconsin. What did you guys do last night?
Austin: We played a show in Indiana.
CB: So you were on the bus last night?
CB: Is this your first time at RockFest?
Austin: I don’t think so. I think we’ve played this before in 2007.
Blower: I know we’ve played this venue.
Austin: We played with Three Doors Down in ’07.
CB: What can we expect today from the set?
Austin: Rain and Lots of wetness.
Cody: We’re going to get the chicks wet tonight.
Mark: God is doing it for us.
CB: That’s the line of the day. You guys were just at Rock on the Range. What was your craziest Rock on the Range story?
Mike: I think I pissed myself that night.
CB: Any particular reason?
Mark: I don’t remember why because I was blacked out but I definitely woke up with some wet pants.
Cody: Shit I was so hammered that night, I might have pissed your pants.
Austin: I got so high, I didn’t know where the phone was.
CB: Did you guys go to Rocklahoma after that or did you just go on tour?
Austin: Yeah, we did Rocklahoma for the first time. That was pretty awesome. It was about time too because we are from there.
CB: I love the new album. It was one of my favorites that I listened to prep for Rock on the Range. I’ve been listening to it ever since. What’s your favorite tracks to play live on the album?
Mark: “Two Sides of Me” is one of my favorites to play live. It’s a good little rocker.
Austin: “What You Gonna Do” is one of my favorites to play recently.
CB: It’s catchy. I can say it with you.
Mike: Tell that to radio.
CB: It’s all over the radio. I’ve been in traffic coming into this place for a day and I think I heard it three times today. I think they got the memo that you were here. You guys have toured with some huge bands. Are there any other bands that you would like to tour with or play with?
Austin: I want to play with the Rolling Stones.That would be awesome.
CB: You guys did Aerosmith for a few dates right?
Austin: That was badass.
Mike: I’d like to play with The Doors, if that was possible.
CB: I had a question about “Striptease.” Any particular strippers or clubs that inspired that song?
Austin: I think it’s a lot of the bullshit that’s being shoved down people’s throats these days.
Cody: It’s more about a few of the pop artists and you can throw some reality stars in there.
Mike: Yeah, it’s kind of like they belong more in a strip club than they do on the radio or TV. That’s about how much talent they have.
Mark: Dude Ke$ha is talented, alright.
CB: In more ways than one right?
Cody: I doubt that. I did just see a picture of her online yesterday with her holding her tits and a big wad of nut underneath.
Group: Are you kidding me?
CB: Are we sure it was her?
Cody: Yeah, or it was some nasty bitch that looked just like her.
CB: So what has been the highlight of 2011 for you guys so far?
Mike: I don’t think we have any super-big highlights.
Austin: The fact we have our third record out is pretty awesome. Being well-received by our fans, I think that’s pretty badass.
Mike: We might just make a highlight tonight.
CB: I have to tell you. I was here last night and Rob Zombie made a highlight.
Cody: What did he do?
CB: The stage, as you know is two-tiered. He said, “Everybody is too far away. Come up on the stage.” So all the girls came up on the stage with them for four songs. He said, “If you behave. Don’t fuck it up.” Next thing you know I am running onto the stage and at John 5’s feet. So I think that shocked the security and the venue for a minute. So you guys can try it. Nobody got hurt.
Mark: They are a lot braver than us.
Blower: A lot more scary looking too.
CB: Any regrets over the years?
Mike: Yeah, we have lots of those. We have a whole bag of them.
Cody: We have tons of regrets and mistakes we have made over the years. Especially when you first start out being a band. You are green and you let outside people have a little too much control and make some bad decisions for you. If we could go back, we would probably have a lot more money.
CB: Do you guys all still live in Oklahoma.
Austin: I don’t. I live in California.
Cody: But the rest of us do.
CB: How often do you get home?
Cody: We just came from home. We have been home for quite a bit on this cycle. It’s been a little more relaxed. We’re out on this run for like seven weeks. So it’s good to be out.
CB: Do you guys prefer to play festivals like this and Rock on the Range or your own shows where you have your own, obviously your fan base is here too, but when you have your own shows, you know who is there?
Austin: Either way, we bring the same show. I guess sometimes when we play like Rock on the Range, we only get a certain amount of time. We come in and play 40 or 45 minutes, that kind of sucks. I wish we could play longer. Other than that, we bring the same show no matter what.
Mike: It’s kind of cool too, to have a break from the same tour every night and have a few festivals stuck in there because the lineup is different, there are different bands at all the festivals. So it’s cool to get a change from the everyday show.
CB: Anybody you are looking forward to seeing today?
Blower: I’ve never seen Kid Rock so I am pretty stoked about that.
CB: You guys are touring with the new album. Have you started working on any new music yet?
Austin: Not necessarily recording in the studio but we are always coming up with ideas and stuff on the road. We kind of never really stop writing.
CB: What’s your process? Do you guys do it together or separately?
Austin: Usually me and Cody will sit down with acoustic guitars and write the nutshell of the song and bring it to the rest of the guys and they put their thing on it.
CB: How does the feedback session go?
Mike: Pretty straight forward.
CB: You guys have been together forever so you can take it right?
CB: You guys had a ton of songs to pick from for this album?
Cody: We’re hoping to be able to recycle some of those and use some for the next record. There are some really great songs that didn’t make it. Hopefully we’ll pick some of them out for the next one.
Louisville's giant Forecastle music festival, taking place July 12-14 (the same weekend as Cincinnati's Bunbury Music Festival), today announced its preliminary lineup. Headliners include Avett Brothers, The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Animal Collective, Jim James, Crow Medicine Show, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Big Boi, Matt & Kim and Alabama Shakes. The festival is held annually at Louisville's Waterfront Park, though this year there will be special "off site" late night shows.
Below is the full lineup. For tickets (which go on sale Wednesday at noon) and complete information, click here.
The Black Keys
The String Cheese Incident
The Avett Brothers
The Flaming Lips
Old Crow Medicine Show
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
The Forecastle Incident (with special guests)
Young the Giant
Matt & Kim
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
The Joy Formidable
Kurt Vile & The Violators
Toro y Moi
Bob Mould Band
El-P & Killer Mike
Shovels & Rope
Alasdair Roberts & Friends
The 23 String Band
A Lion Named Roar
MPMF news and musings: Three-day wristbands are running low (get 'em here now, quick-like). If you miss your chance (or are broke like me), there are ways to win freebies. (It's the luck of the draw, so don't bank on it, but definitely worth a shot!)
The fine folks at local club conglomerate 4EG (which operates The Pavilion, The Lackman, Keystone, Righteous Room and several other bars around town) is giving away 10 MPMF 3-day passes. Click here for details. And seek out the CityBeat booth at Oktoberfest this weekend, harass our employees and sign up for s chance to win a pair of fancy-schmancy VIP tickets. (You can find the official Oktoberfest guide in the CityBeat on streets right now.)
And now, with the countdown down to just seven days, here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks …
Laetitia Sadier (France)
Fans of French Post Rock favorites Stereolab need no introduction to Laetitia Sadier. She was the co-founder of Stereolab and also founded Monade in the mid ’90s. Along the way, she was also a frequent collaborator, working with everyone from The High Llamas and Blur to Common and Mouse on Mars. In 2010, Sadier went solo, releasing The Trip on Stereolab’s U.S. label, Drag City Records. This summer, she followed up the record with Silencio, a dynamic album that runs from lush, orchestrated pieces to quirkier electronic Pop to warm Tropicalia, all driven by Sadier’s trademark sensual coo.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Nico, Jane Birkin, Stereolab. (Mike Breen)
Laetitia Sadier performs at the Contemporary Arts Center on Thursday, Sept. 27, 11 p.m. Here's her new video for the Silencio tune "Find Me the Pulse of The Universe."
Denney and the Jets (Nashville, TN)
Denney and the Jets may be one of Nashville’s most mysterious bands. A Google search reveals almost no biographical information about them, just plenty of references to the quote on their Tumblr page. (“One warm night in July an angel came to me and said, ‘There is nothing I can do for you. Nashville is dead and so is Rock ’N Roll.’ ”), which brings up an interesting question: Do you need to know anything/everything about a band to enjoy their music? As far as Chris Denney and his Jets are concerned, the answer would seem to be a resounding “Hell no.”
UPDATE: Since the official guide went to press, we dug up (i.e. got a press release with) info on the group. From their PR:
Frontman Chris Denney began writing songs in the Spring of 2008, recruiting Wes Traylor (Natural Child), and Jake and Jamin Orrall (of JEFF The Brotherhood) to be the very first of his Jets. After each member parted ways to pursue their own individual careers, Chris signed on Daniel Pujol (eponymously of PUJUOL) and Joe Scala. After Pujol's departure, Denneysolidified the lineup by adding longtime friend Sean Cotton on lead guitar, Joe's little brother Evan Scala and most recently bringing in Ric Alessio on keys and sax. Denney and The Jets have turned songwriting into a full realized communal process and have grown in to one of the South's finest.
After releasing a 7" single and EP (a limited Cassette only release) on JEFF The Brotherhood's Infinity Cat Recordings, the band returns with their new 5-song Self-Titled EP on Miami, FL-based label Limited Fanfare Records -- Recorded in the Spring of 2012 with Producer/Engineer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes, The Parting Gifts) -- with "Close The Blinds" recorded at Cleft Music by Nashville legend, Loney Hutchins. The result is an insanely fiery batch of tunes that Nashville Cream calls "[Straight-up rock and roll music] — not bastardized, compromised, corrupted or contaminated."
Dig: Bob Dylan and Paul Westerberg get drunk on bathtub gin and listen to Chuck Berry and the Beach Boys. (Brian Baker)
Denney and the Jets play MidPoint on Saturday, Sept. 29, at 11 p.m. at the Cincinnati Club. Dig the vintage swagger on this track, "Fun Girls."
LOCAL LOCK PICK
Jody Stapleton and the Generals (Cincinnati, OH)
Jody Stapleton has always had an ear for the past and a finger on today's pulse. With the Stapletons a decade ago, Stapleton made Psych-fueled Garage Rock that sounded vaguely phase shifted from another time and yet completely fresh, a talent that earned them CEA awards for Best New Act and Rock Band of the Year in 2001 and 2003 respectively. With his new outfit, Jody Stapleton and the Generals, Stapleton is similarly tapped into bygone days, this time the sunshine-on-your-shoulder days of '70s AM radio Pop, combined with a modern sensibility and approach.
Dig: Paul Westerberg listening to a transistor radio tuned permanently to 1973. (BB)
Jody and the Generals perform Thursday, Sept. 27, at Main Event, 11 p.m.. Here's a few tunes from the band's recent debut release.
Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.
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?
Alex: 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.
Alex: Yeah they are good dudes.
CB: You have started recording your next album. When can we expect it?
Alex: 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?
Alex: 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?
Alex: 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?
Alex: 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?
Alex: What do you mean?
CB: Well, they are obviously not 18.
Alex: 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.
Alex: 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?
Alex: 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?
Alex: 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?
Alex: Jack was right alongside with me. It was his birthday and everyone was together.
CB: Who would be your favorite Indie band?
Alex: 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?
Alex: 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?
John: We have been having a great time with a bunch friends hanging out and playing music all day. Good times to start the summer.
Bryan: 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?
John: Just being on the road non-stop is the biggest change. It is weird when we go home.
Bryan: 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?”
John: It is a story about getting out of high school and going to pursue other things.
Bryan: 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?
John: 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?
John: Yes, it is so awesome.
CB: You recently performed on the Miss USA pageant. What was that experience like?
John: It was a dream, come true.
Bryan: 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?
John: We all pretty much get along, maybe someone being late and we are waiting when we need to be somewhere.
Bryan: 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?
Bryan: 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?
John: It is across the board. Aerosmith and Nirvana were big influences.
Bryan: 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.
Bryan: 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?
John: Great Big Planes and Cady Groves are on the tour and I have been checking them out.
Bryan: 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?
Bryan: 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?
Cady: 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?
Cady: 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?
Cady: 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?
Cady: 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?
Cady: 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?
Cady: 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?
Cady: Yes I think we will.
CB: I like the album title. Is there a story behind the pirate?
Cady: 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?
Cady: It was a couple years ago.
CB: So you were right out of high school?
Cady: No, I graduated high school super early when I was 16 and went to college.
CB: Where did you go to college?
Cady: 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?
Cady: 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
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?
Chad: Why don’t you take this one since you were the big winner?
Josh: I won a little bit of money so we had a party at the Hard Rock in a villa.
CB: With the money?
Josh: 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?
Chad: 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?
Patrick: All of us probably have the same answer. I guess Radiohead is a big one for all of us.
Chad: 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?
Josh: No one really right now. I love Smashing Pumpkins, Led Zeppelin, The Cure, Radiohead, Third Eye Blind, and The Verve.
Chad: 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?
Josh: 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?
Josh: 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?
Patrick: The bus really. We have never had this luxury before.
Chad: This is our first tour and going National.
Josh: 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…
Chad: I watch Sports Center and make sure I know the scores of my favorite teams.
Patrick: I have to take off my socks before going to bed and sleep barefoot.
Josh: Not naked, just no socks?
Patrick: No, not naked just barefoot.
Josh: 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?
RF: 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?
RF: The songs are like tools that will help you out in any situation.
CB: They make me smile.
SB: Smile tools.
RF: 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.
RF: 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?
SB: Will got stuck one time up in the air during their performance.
CB: Did you guys rescue him?
SB: 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?
RF: 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?
RF: 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?
RF: Yes, we actually have a lot of houses and a lot of girlfriends.
CB: What are your party rules?
RF: You have to bring some Nachos.
SB: 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?
RF: Rick James
RF: JB- James Brown
SB: Red Hot Chilis
CB: What do you wish you knew five years ago that you know now?
SB: I wish I knew to put more stock into Apple.
RF: 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
RF: 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.
SB: It is funny because in “Shots” those were the two we named.
Tonight's installment of the free "American Roots" concert series on Fountain Square — which generally hosts weekly Tuesday performances by some of the best of the rich local Americana music scene — serves as a preview of the upcoming third annual BrownGrass Festival in Rabbit Hash, Ky.
The benefit is headed up by veteran musician David Rhodes Brown, who started the event three years ago as a way to help raise money for local radio outlet WNKU (the name is taken from the title of Brown's most recent solo album, Browngrass & Wildflowers, some proceeds from which also went to WNKU).
BrownGrass 2012 takes place July 21 and features a stellar lineup of local and regional acts, including DRB and his BrownGrass Band, The Tadcasters, Magnolia Mountain, The Leo Clarke Band, Greg Schramm & the Radio King Cowboys, Blame Bersch, Mack West, Kelly Thomas & the Fabulous Pickups, Beth Farmer, Davey O, Dan F. Hill and many others. The festival runs from noon-11 p.m. along the riverfront in Rabbit Hash. (Read about the first and second year of Browngrass here and here).
On Fountain Square tonight, BrownGrass Fest participants Ruthie & Grace Lincoln perform at 8:30 p.m. followed by Brown and his BrownGrass Band, as a preview of the fest. (The fun starts at 7 p.m. with some World Choir Games festivities.)
For complete details on the BrownGrass Festival 2012, visit the official website here.
Here's a nice video overview of last year's BrownGrass and some audio samples from Brown's solo effort.