by Deirdre Kaye
Great news, y’all! I made it through another MidPoint without getting raped or mugged. (Getting mugged might not be so bad, though. “No, officer, it was definitely not me who bought Duck Dynasty underwear at Walmart.”) I know you were concerned for my safety.I did MPMF quite a bit differently than I have in years past and I have to say, I think it contributed to it being the best one yet for me.First, I forwent going with friends. I like my friends in small doses and on a couch talking about TV and girlfriends/boyfriends. Trying to coordinate concert plans with them, though, has always been an ordeal. Some of us are more hipster than others. Going it alone sometimes feels slightly sketchy, but mostly I think it helped my experience. I wasn’t forced to stand in any hot, cram packed rooms to see bands I was less-than-thrilled to see.Second, I decided to spend my entire Saturday night in just one venue. I did this for a few reasons: 1) Everyone I wanted to see was in that venue; 2) Cheap parking close-by. Therefore, I spent my Saturday night either pacing around outside the Taft Theatre or swaying back and forth inside the Taft’s Ballroom. And, ya know what? I had a damn good time.The Taft is my favorite venue in town. Whether it’s in the seated portion or down in the basement, it just has an amazing vibe. I love those bright white bulb-lights out front around the marquee. It makes the whole place sparkle. It just looks like you could pick it up and sit it in the middle of Gatsby’s New York City. Downtown Cincy has plenty of art deco touches that I dearly love. However, nothing makes me feel more fancy and more ready for a special night than standing outside the Taft. In addition, the basement Ballroom, where all three of Saturday’s bands performed, has this comfortable, almost sexy darkness to it. You could get into a little bit of trouble in some of those shadowed corners. I wouldn’t judge you if you have. I might be disappointed you never invited me, though.Bear’s Den opened the night and, since I’d seen them recently, I didn’t feel too bad when I spent the better part of their set outside on the phone. It gave me the chance to people watch, which is always a ton of fun at MidPoint. MPMF pulls in a jumbled assortment of people to tramp around downtown with their wristbands. I saw people my parents’ age, dressed rather fancifully, chat with security and then slip down into the basement. I also saw an insane amount of frat guys, plus one very drunk Reds fan and his seriously concerned girlfriend. (I still don’t know why she unleashed her concern to me. But I really hope she finds a new date for next year. Like, maybe someone who won’t put her life in danger?) Oh! And I saw one seriously fabulous drag queen. (I appreciate your use of neon, girlfriend.)Despite missing London’s Bear’s Den, I know they rocked. Not just because I’ve seen them and I love them, but because they still had a line of fans waiting to meet them when the final act went on at midnight. I think Cincinnati fell in love on Saturday. I’m giddy for Bear’s Den and for Cincinnati. Good choice, my friends.I caught Cincinnati’s Bad Veins, though. Of course, I’ve seen them before, but I never mind the chance to see them again. Those two boys can make a ton of noise. Even with a few sound/mixing issues, they still managed to keep the room enthralled. That may have had something to do with Ben Davis’ bellowing into the microphone or climbing to the top of the monitors. I have no musical talent whatsoever and my balance is minimal at best, but I was envious as he stood towering above me with his hands on the ceiling and an entire room of people staring up at him in awe. The Veins are a genuinely good band. Not “good for a local band,” but good enough to root for them to keep gaining fans across the country. Later, I watched Davis stand in the back of the room talking to a couple people for a surprisingly long time. They seemed to devour everything he said. He has dangerous levels of charisma. It was fun to watch.As much as I love Bad Veins and Bear’s Den, I’d spent all weekend eagerly awaiting Daughter’s performance. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t expect many people to show. I guess because I remember when “Daughter” was just Elena Tonra. I slinked my way pretty close to the stage and gaped at Tonra as she charmed the pants off everyone in the room. When it got stuffy a few songs in, I turned around and was speechless by the sheer amount of people that had suddenly come in behind me. It makes sense, though. Jesus. Her voice is beautiful. If you were anywhere else in the city on Saturday night, you messed up. She sent heads to the shoulders of girlfriends and, shockingly enough, most cell phones managed to stay in purses and pockets. It’s not that she wasn’t worth capturing. It’s that she was too captivating for anyone to have any other thoughts other than keeping their eyes glued to her face and their ears filled with her voice. Oh. The bow across the electric guitar was a great (albeit not very new) approach, too. It added a nice eerie feel to Tonra’s already haunting voice.As I left, I had big plans to reflect on the concerts and do a little pre-writing for this review while walking to my car. One of my favorite former co-workers waylaid me, though. So much for avoiding my friends. Cincinnati is too small for that. I didn’t mind too much; I got all the dirt on who had left and who (sadly) was still around. Eventually, I said goodbye to my ex co-worker, wandered away from Taft Theatre’s bright lights and into the ever darkening street. As I meandered, it occurred to me just how much of a feat MPMF is for us. Cincinnati may be a city, but we’re not a very big one. How do we manage to talk so many stellar bands into visiting us every year? How is it possible we have something as beautiful as the Taft? How do we produce such a bounty of awesome local bands? My best friend likes to joke that Ohio has bred more astronauts than any other state. He says it’s because Ohio is awful and space was as far away as they could get. However, I think we’ve bred so many astronauts for the same reason we’ve spawned bands like Walk the Moon and Bad Veins and all of the other great acts playing MPMF and for the same reason we put on such an great festival. We’re small but mighty. We put our hearts into the things and the people we love. Even if they don’t deserve it. (I’m lookin’ at you, Bengals.)
by Mike Breen
The 16th annual Cincinnati music celebration begins airing locally this Saturday
The 2013 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/party late last month at Covington’s Madison Theater was filmed on high-quality video and this Saturday, for the first time in the 16-year history of the CEAs, fans who want to relive the performances and presentations (or those who missed it altogether) will have a chance to watch the show on television. The show includes the short but very sweet live sets from Bad Veins’ Ben Davis, The Dopamines, Gold Shoes, Ricky Nye, Jess Lamb and Culture Queer, as well as an all-star presentation of songs from the Come Play the Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams at Herzog EP put together by the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation. Saturday at 9 p.m., thanks to the Intercommunity Cable Regulatory Commission, the full show will be aired on ICRC TV, available in select communities in the Cincinnati area via Time Warner Cable channel 4. The show will be rebroadcast on the same channel Monday at 8:30 p.m., March 1 at 10 p.m. and March 2 at noon. (Check here — in the column on the left — to see if the broadcast is available in your area.)For those in Cincinnati proper, you can watch the CEAs on Time Warner channel 24 on Feb. 27 and on March 6 at 9 a.m. A Northern Kentucky broadcast is also in the works, as is the ability to watch the program online. Stay tuned to this here music blog for the latest updates. If those air times don’t work for you, you can also purchase a copy on DVD. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about delivery and prices. (Program reference number is 16534.) To relive the ceremony in photos and words, click here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 13, 2013
One of Cincinnati’s finest Indie acts
ever, the brilliant Bad Veins, has split in two. Thankfully for BV fans, this is not the
end of the group.
by Mike Breen
Cincy Indie Pop duo loses drummer; frontman vows to carry on with new lineup
One of Cincinnati's finest Indie acts, the brilliant Bad Veins, has split in two. Last night, BV's singer/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Benjamin Davis took to the group's website to announce that founding member, drummer Sebastien Schultz, has decided to "move on from his time with Bad Veins." Schultz — previously the drummer for local Indie rockers Cathedrals — had been a member of Bad Veins since almost the very beginning; Davis' first Bad Veins show was a solo affair opening for late Cincy duo wil-o-ee. As the pair told me for a 2008 CityBeat cover story, Schutlz was at the show (though he left early) and joined shortly after. He's played on all of BV's releases, including the most recent LP, The Mess We've Made, and toured extensively with Davis for the past five-plus years. Thankfully for BV fans, this is not the end of the group. "The show must go on!" Davis said in his website post, expressing excitement for Bad Veins' future:"I’m going to use this opportunity to do something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and take Bad Veins in a bigger direction, adding others members, bass, keyboard etc. I’ve already received a number of offers from musicians to join but haven’t made any decisions yet. If anyone has any recommendations, hit me up! The plan is to get back on the road this spring!"We had heard rumblings about the split prior to this past Sunday's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. Davis ended up opening the show solo (with taped backing), closing his set with a great, orchestral version of The Muppets' "Rainbow Connection." (The CEA show was filmed and will be airing locally on cable; a special, limited-edition DVD will also be available — stay tuned.)Bad Veins is booked to play an all-ages show presented by the Counter Rhythm Group on Feb. 16 at Rohs Street Cafe in Clifton Heights along with PUBLIC and The Ridges. More info is available here.
Plus news on The Cliftones, School of Rock Mason and two new local bands
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The lineup for this year's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (Jan. 27 at Covington's Madison Theater) will feature a broad genre mix of nominees.
by Mike Breen
A week after The Afghan Whigs played a thrilling homecoming show with fellow local greats Wussy at Bogart's, another pair of local bands making waves are set to play their hometown (or across the river from it). Every time Cincinnati AltPop rockers Walk the Moon come home to play a show, it seems like their star has risen higher. The band is back in town tonight for a sold-out show at Covington's Madison Theater (which is also serving as the two-year anniversary party for the hard-hustling local music promo outlet, The Counter Rhythm Group). Since last here, Walk the Moon's breakthrough single "Anna Sun" continues to get airplay across the globe, while the latest single, "Tightrope" (as heard in those much-played HP commercials) is picking up steam, as well. The group has also been on tour pretty much non-stop, performing all over North America and in Europe (after tonight's show, the group is off for a few days before resuming its headlining tour in Nashville). The band's Unplugged set for MTV also made it to the airwaves (not MTV, of course, but its HD sister, Palladia). Check out the "Tightrope" clip below and a behind the scenes look at the making of it here. Great local Indie Pop duo Bad Veins (fresh off their own cross-country tour dates, with even more coming up starting next week) open, along with L.A.'s Family of the Year. Bad Veins are currently prepping a new music video, as well; a clip for "Kindness" off of the duo's amazing The Mess We've Made Album. Here's a really strong video of the duo performing one of the new album's best tracks, "Don't Run," on the "Off the Avenue" series.If you don't have tickets, you're going to have to do some hunting. As of this afternoon, there wasn't a single ticket available on StubHub for the concert. Click here for more live music events in the Cincinnati area tonight.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 11, 2012
This weekend’s huge Bunbury Music
Festival at Sawyer Point features some of the top-names in Alternative
music. And it also includes several local favorites. Since Bunbury is
drawing music lovers from all over the region, here is a primer on some
of the Greater Cincinnati-based acts performing at the festival.
by Mike Breen
Tropicoso, Bad Veins, Chris Comer Trio, Bluebirds and Triage to rock Square
The summer musical events on Fountain Square are kicking off a little earlier this year. (Blame global warming?) Tonight, local Salsa band Tropicoso kicks off the Salsa on the Square series, which runs each Thursday through Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. As usual, dance instructors will be on hand for tips and pointers. And, like all of the PNC Music Series concerts this summer, it's free. The rest of the PNC Music Series shows — including the Friday "MidPoint Indie Summer" concerts (which are especially strong this year) — begin the week after Memorial Day. Stay tuned for lineup announcements.If it were legal, you could bring a tent and camp out at the Fountain this weekend, because Friday and Saturday also will feature some solid local tunes. Tomorrow (Friday) is "4EG Square," sponsored by the 4EG group that owns nine local clubs (The Pavilion, The Stand, Lackman, etc.). Local Indie sensations Bad Veins is set to perform at the 5-10 p.m. event before taking off for a West Coast tour beginning next Friday. (The band has a live performance on KEXP slated for May 22 at 12:30 p.m. EDT.) DJ Matt Joy will be spinning and there will lots of food and drink specials, plus the promise of 4EG swag. Saturday on the Square you can sip wine and listen to live music from Jazz crews the Chris Comer Trio and Triage, plus Classic Rock/R&B headliners The Bluebirds. The Bella Vite Wine Tasting event offers 24 different wines to sample (at $1 a pop); tasters will then vote for their favorites. The event also runs 5-10 p.m.
by Mike Breen
Bad Veins, Pomegranates, Walk the Moon among "10 Ohio Bands You Should Listen to Now"
Paste magazine's "50 States Project" series singling out some of the best music in all of the states in America today posted its list of Ohio bands. Three Cincinnati acts — Bad Veins (in at No. 1!), Walk the Moon and Pomegranates — made the cut. Here's the rundown of all the bands chosen in Paste's "10 Ohio Bands You Should Listen to Now." 1. Bad Veins (Cincinnati)2. The Black Swans (Columbus)3. Cloud Nothings (Cleveland)4. The Lighthouse and the Whaler (Cleveland)5. Nick Tolford and Company (Columbus)6. Old Hundred (Columbus)7. Phantods (Columbus)8. Pomegranates (Cincinnati)9. Southeast Engine (Athens)10. Walk the Moon (Cincinnati)Listen to a track from each band and read what Paste has to say about Ohio here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Some readers are probably giddy with
excitement over Friday’s holiday (“4/20, dude”), while others are more
anticipating 4/21, otherwise known as Record Store Day. (More than a few
are probably psyched for both and have blocked out the entire weekend
for debauchery and music buying.)