by Mike Breen
Two very different traveling music fests will be coming to Riverbend this summer
A pair of interesting local package-tour concerts were announced today for Riverbend's summer season. • On Saturday, July 6, Bob Dylan and his band are headlining the Americanarama Festival of Music when it comes to Riverbend Music Center. Dylan tours a lot, but making this jaunt extra special are the extra special guests — Wilco and My Morning Jacket. Other acts are to be added to round out the fest-like bill (show starts at 5:30 p.m.). Tickets for Americanarama at Riverbend go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster. Tickets range from $30-$80; between April 27-28, fans can buy lawn tickets for the show for just $20 (plus all those sketchy ticket fees). Read more about the tour here.• For local fans of modern Hip Hop, mark your calendars for Aug. 11. That's when the second annual Hip Hop tour, Under the Influence of Music, will be coming to Riverbend. The show is headlined by Wiz Khalifa and A$AP Rocky and will also feature B.o.B., Trinidad Jame$, Joey Bada$$, Pro Era and Berner and more. The Cincinnati stop is the last on the tour, which always makes for a fun time for the performers (and, thus, the audience).Tickets go on sale this Saturday at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster. Click here if you'd like to RSVP for a chance to buy tickets early. Citi card members get access to presale tickets beginning tomorrow at 10 a.m. Riverbend is offering $15 "Early Bird" tickets through April 28. And here is some info on getting a jump on the public on-sale. Here's an interview with the headliners about the tour.
by Blake Hammond
Before I get into to the nitty-gritty of the A$AP Mob, Schoolboy Q and Danny Brown show at Bogart's last night (Oct. 4), I’ve got a couple of bones to pick first. Bogart’s, what the hell is up with searching your patrons 90 times before they're let in? I mean, I know it’s probably scary having blacks, whites, Asians, and Latinos all in the same place, consuming copious amounts of drugs and alcohol, but I thought the presidential campaign event with The National was at The Emery Theatre downtown and not in Corryville. I appreciate your high standards for keeping the venue safe, but next time I go out to smoke a cigarette, trust me when I tell you I’m not going out to get my 9mm.Secondly, Cincinnati Hip Hop heads, what’s up with your lack of punctuality? We finally had an awesome lineup of up-and-coming Hip Hop artists come to one of our bigger venues and you guys can’t show up and support them? I get it, alcohol is expensive at the venues, you can’t do your drugs there and you may have just bought the ticket to see A$AP Rocky. But next time, show up for the openers. Maybe you’ll find a new artist to know and love. Anyways, that’s enough bitching; let’s get down to it. When I first arrived at Bogart’s, it only took until 7:38 p.m. before I got that first aroma of Mary Jane, which not only got more prominent as the night went on but was the perfect precursor to opening act, Danny Brown. Danny Brown started in a timely fashion (right at 8 p.m.; kudos for actually starting on time, dude) but, unfortunately, it was to a sparse crowd. Though the place wasn’t filled, Brown played to the audience like it was a sold-out stadium. In his unfairly short 30-minute performance, Brown blew through 12 songs, including fan favorites like “I Will,” “Piss Test” and “Monopoly,” ignoring the fact a lot of people didn’t know what to make of his abstract approach to hip-hop. With his bottle of Hennessy in hand, Brown closed his tight set with the smoke session banger “Blunt After Blunt," which had most everybody in the crowd, fan or not, sparking up and chanting the chorus. After Brown, member of the Black Hippy Hip Hop group and T.D.E. star Schoolboy Q took the stage. I have been a fan of Schoolboy since I first heard his mixtape, “Habits and Contradictions,” but seeing him live totally change my perspective on him as an artist. He’s got this calm cool on stage and this subtle charm really won me over throughout the set. Surprisingly, his show was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. His heartfelt song “Blessed” made me want to cry, his need for an inhaler halfway through his performance because he is “sicker than a motherfucker” made me laugh, and cuts like “There He Go” and “Nightmare on Figg St.” made me want to do the crip-walk (don’t worry, I didn’t do it, mostly because I don’t know what it is.) Although Q ended on a new, bass heavy club-banger, he promised us it wouldn’t be the last we’ll see of him, quieting the hushed moans and groans from audience members waiting to hear his hits “Hands on the Wheel” and “Brand New Guy,” both of which feature headline act, A$AP Rocky. It became abundantly clear to me that everyone was there to see A$AP after the crowd nearly doubled in size before his performance, especially when I went outside and saw people were still buying tickets (who spends $30 for an hour of music?) Anyhow, I feel a bit torn as I write this because I truly do enjoy A$AP’s music and found his show to be really fun and energetic. But I ended up being really disappointed by a lot of it. Tracks like “Purple Swag” and “Wassup” got the crowd bouncing and were choice show-starting songs, but there was just too many weird fillers awkwardly inserted in his show. Between his obscure pre-recorded spoken word interludes, his “cockiness dance” inspired by D-Generation X wrestler X-Pac, the excruciatingly long time that A$AP Mob was on stage and handing the microphone out to random fans, it just seemed like he was trying to waste time or something. Don’t get me wrong, it was really cool that he referenced my early childhood hero X-Pac, gave the fans a chance to speak (one kid even spit a pretty sick verse when he got the mic) and let his crew get some air-time (A$AP Twelvy killed it, by the way) — it’s just not what I paid to see. But the performance wasn’t all bad. The high energy of his set and appearances by openers Danny Brown and Schoolboy Q gave the show a whole new element. Especially when Q and Rocky were trading verses on “Brand New Guy” and “Hands on the Wheel,” which easily became the highlights of the night. When A$AP Rocky finally took the microphone back from his exponentially less captivating crew (again, minus A$AP Twelvy; think Odd Future but slightly less talented), he brought some “phonk” to the end of his show by playing drug-induced southern style tracks like “Trilla” and “Peso,” steering the entertaining but peculiar night to a close. I thought the concert had a terrific atmosphere and you could tell there was a lot of love between the fans and the showmen, making it a wonderfully intoxicating time for everyone. Now if A$AP Rocky just cut out the filler by playing more of his solo tunes and security at Bogart’s took a couple hits off the chronic (the crowd was smoking and chilled the fuck out), everyone would have had a better time. At one point during the show Rocky said, “It’s OK to dislike things, it doesn’t make you a hater, you’re just human.” This really sums up how I feel about the night; I’m not trying to be a hater, Rock, there’s just room for improvement.
by Blake Hammond
In the Rap game today, Danny Brown — performing at Bogart's tonight with A$AP Rocky and A$AP Mob, plus Schoolboy Q — is a man among boys. Not only is his musical style unmatched in the underground Hip Hop scene but, at 31 years young, Brown was spitting rhymes long before Drake took his first spin in that wheelchair on Degrassi.His road to the Hip Hop elite, however, wasn’t an easy one and his 2011 mixtape, XXX, is the perfect narrative of his hardships. Brown has dealt with the likes of depression (“XXX”), a devotion to drugs (“Die Like a Rockstar”), growing up in a rough neighborhood (“Fields”), a stint in jail (where he read MF Doom lyrics every day) and even an overwhelming obsession with cunnilingus (“I Will”). All of which have come together to shape this microphone maestro’s unique and uber-talented persona. Although Brown’s missing front tooth lends him the resemblance of a homeless guy who spent his last dollars on a pair of skinny jeans, a fresh set of Adidas and haircut from 2002, he is quite possibly the best MC in the game today. His lyrical wordplay, rare vocal tone, wittiness and general Rock & Roll demeanor give Brown a leg-up on any rapper in the field, much akin to the likes of a less convoluted MF Doom or Lil Wayne at his most artistic. Danny Brown is like Hip Hop’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. Save the Craft, Danny Brown — you’re our only hope!Tickets for the "Long Live A$AP Tour" stop at Bogart's tonight are $27 at the door. The show is open to all ages. Here's the official video for XXX cut "Monopoly."