Free Downtown, Over-the-Rhine Music Series Heat Up

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Although summertime doesn’t officially begin until June 21, the popular free music series at downtown’s Fountain Square and Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park are officially in full swing starting this week.   
by Mike Breen 05.07.2015
Posted In: Live Stream, Local Music at 09:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Free Summer Music in the Parks

This summer brings another wealth of free musical events to Downtown and Over-the-Rhine

Just a couple of decades or so ago, downtown Cincinnati resembled a ghost town in the evenings. Once 5 p.m. rolled around, most downtown workers hopped in their cars and headed home, rarely staying in or visiting the city’s core for any other reason (maybe a concert or sporting event, but that was largely a “parking garage/game/home” process). It’s hard to explain to some younger locals just how much the city has changed since then, with the life and energy brought back to Downtown and nearby Over-the-Rhine over recent years becoming the norm.  There are, of course, numerous reasons for the resurrection of the city’s center, much of which is covered weekly in CityBeat (new restaurants, bars, events and other additions, plus the influx of people deciding to live in the area). Every summer I’m particularly struck by the huge shift the city has made when I attend some of the many free live, outdoor concert options available to the public most days of the week. Seeing hundreds of people from all backgrounds enjoying free music in a variety of genres is yet another thing that should make our city proud of how far we’ve come. Lineups for this summer’s music series on Fountain Square and Washington Park, as well as the relative newcomer, Smale Riverfront Park, have gradually been unveiled over the past few weeks. Below is a list of scheduled events so far. All of the series do a great job of spotlight the enormous local talent in the city, and there are also several concerts featuring national touring acts that would otherwise cost you several dollars for tickets (or at least a cover charge of some sort). Print this out, grab a highlighter and mark your favorites (or, heck, take a chance on something new) and then get ready for another great summer for music lovers in the Queen City. (These are only the weekly music-related happenings; visit myfountainsquare.com, washingtonpark.org and mysmaleriverfrontpark.org for all kinds of other events happening this summer in the spaces.) FOUNTAIN SQUARE Salsa on the Square The long-running Salsa on the Square series gets a jumpstart on the other music series on Fountain Square, kicking off today (and continuing through mid-September, which is also later than the other series). Running 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the concerts feature numerous area Salsa bands, lots of dancing and even some instructors on hand to help you out if you need some tips.  May 7: Son Del Caribe May 14: Tropicoso May 21: Kandela May 28: Clave Son June 4: Stacie Sandoval & Grupo Tumbao June 11: Kentucky Salsa All-Stars June 18: Son Del Caribe June 25: Zumba July 2: Kandela July 9: Clave Son July 16: Stacie Sandoval & Grupo Tumbao July 23: Kentucky Salsa All-Stars July 30: Tropicoso Aug. 6: Stacie Sandoval & Grupo Tumbao Aug. 13: Monk River Aug. 20: Clave Son Aug. 27: Son Del Caribe Sept. 3: Afro-Cuban Cartel Sept. 10: Tropicoso Sept. 17: Latin Beat Project American Roots The American Roots series features a variety of acts that cover the wide spectrum that is Americana music today. Most of the top local Roots acts are performing, while touring artists like American Aquarium, Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, Dale Watson and more will also make appearances. Each night features two performers. Music runs 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. May 26: American Aquarium and Ben Knight and the Welldiggers  June 2: Buffalo Wabs & the Price Hill Hustle and Wild Carrot  June 9: Chicago Farmer and Shiny and the Spoon June 16: Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys and Jeremy Pinnell June 23: The Shook Twins and G. Burton June 30: The Quebe Sisters and Howlin’ Brothers July 7: Dale Watson and Straw Boss July 14: TBA July 21: Quiet Life and Crow Moses July 28: The Brothers Landreth and Josh Eagle and Harvest City Aug. 4: Arlo Mckinley and Wilder Aug. 11: Young Heirlooms and The Hiders Aug. 18: Bulletville and Noah Smith Aug. 25: Elk Creek and Frontier Folk Nebraska Sept. 1: Dallas Moore and Pure Grain Reggae Wednesday  Joining the usual array of some of the finest Reggae bands in the city and region this year for Reggae Wednesday are numerous touring bands, including St. Louis’ Taj Weekes & Adowa, Jamaican natives Yabba Griffiths and Jah Messengers Reggae Bnad and Brooklyn’s New Kingston. Reggae Wednesdays run 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. May 27: Areesaa Iyah & The Eastwind Band June 3:  Taj Weekes & Adowa June 10: Yabba Griffiths & the Traxx Band June 17: Ras Bonghi Reggae All-Stars June 24: Positive Mental Attitude July 1: The Flex Crew July 8: The Ark Band July 15: The Cliftones July 22: Gizzae July 29: Oriel Barry and the Revoluters Aug. 5: New Kingston Aug. 12: Ukombozi  Aug. 19: All Star Jammerz Aug. 26: Jah Messengers Reggae Band Sept. 2: Anthem Reggae Band MidPoint Indie Summer Sponsored by the popular late September MidPoint Music Festival (which, full disclosure, CityBeat runs), this year’s Indie Summer concerts (held each Friday) feature some of the biggest acts in the series’ history, alongside some of the best Rock/Indie/Alt/Electronic bands in Cincy. The Indie Summer shows showcase four acts and begin at 7 p.m. each week. (More artists are to be added to certain dates.) May 29: Surfer Blood; The Yugos; Automagik; Harbour Jun 5: The Mowgli's; One Day Steady; Nevele; Beloved Youth Jun 12: Kopecky; Broncho; Coconut Milk; Near Earth Objects Jun 19: Buffalo Killers; Ohio Knife; Mad Anthony; Go Go Buffalo Jun 26: Sloan; Mother Mother; Old City Jul 3: Red Wanting Blue; Young Heirlooms; Motherfolk; Chris Salyer Jul 10: Saint Motel Jul 17: The Ting Tings; Brick + Mortar; Black Signal Jul 24: Givers; Prim; Even Titles Jul 31: The Whigs; Multimagic; Pop Goes the Evil; The Never Setting Suns Aug 7: Tweens; Leggy; Smut; Shark Week Aug 14: Judah & The Lion; Seabird; Matt Hires; Along the Shore Aug 21: San Fermin; Lemon Sky Aug 28: Wussy; Pike 27; The Perfect Children; JetLab Sep 4:The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die; Injecting Strangers; Moonbeau: Edison Beats by Self Diploma  Local production/promotion crew Self Diploma has always done a fantastic job of bringing in some of the hottest acts on the EDM and Hip Hop circuits, making its Saturday night showcases some of the biggest of all the series. Last year, the group opened things up to other genres and offered audition opportunities to artists of all sort. Though still heavy on DJs, Electronic/Dance music and Hip Hop, this year’s lineup also includes things like Country Pop and live R&B and Funk. Music starts each Saturday at 7 p.m., with the last act going on at 10 p.m. May 30: Alex Angelo; Ezzy; Aprina; Justin Stone June 6: Ja Rule; Trademark Aaron; Diamond Star Russell; Mayo June 13: King Chip; Cameron Grey; Razook; Sarob June 20: Nappy Roots; Packy; Ajax Stacks & Nate Paulson; Alexa Lusader June 27: OnCue; Cato; Rhett Wellington July 4: Ground Up; DJ Kev the Goon; Swah; David Zup July 18: Milk N Cookies; Panzer; Reaux; Button Mashers July 25: Futuristic; Marc Goone; Puck; The Media August 1: No Sleep; DJ Drowsy; CopyCats; Gold Dash August 8: Huey Mack; Kid Quil; Lauren Vanatsky; Kid Slim August 15: Kap Slap; Saranate; RandiFloss August 22: Academy; TJ Hickey; Sh3llz; Benji August 29: JMSN; Oregonia; Tana Matz September 5: The Jane Doze; Gateway; Halogen WASHINGTON PARK Washington Park has stripped back to two weekly music series this year, but both offer plenty of exciting performers.  Bandstand Bluegrass The Bluegrass shows return this year to the centralized gazebo/bandstand stage every Thursday (except Aug. 6, which sees the return of the popular Lumenocity multi-media extravaganza). The “Bluegrass” part of the name is a bit of a misnomer; Bluegrass bands are on the schedule, but so are plenty of other Americana/Country/Roots/Folk acts. I guess alliteration is more fun than bad puns (or maybe Dick Clark’s production company would sue if they went with “Americana Bandstand”). Music starts at 7 p.m. and there are usually two acts per night. This year’s lineup includes an appearance by Country Blues favorite Charlie Parr, diverse Michigan ensemble The Appleseed Collective and a few other national acts. May 28: The Mamadrones June 4: Mustered Courage and Blair Crimmins June 11: Willow Tree Carolers June 18: Jake Book and New Country Rehab June 25: Woody Pines and Barefoot Movement July 2: Casey Campbell and Charlie Parr July 9: Mipso and Railsplitters July 16: The Appleseed Collective and The Tillers July 23: Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle July 30: Red Cedars and Blue Rock Boys August 13: Hu Town Holler and Town Mountain August 20: Mike Oberst and My Brother’s Keepers August 27: Comet Bluegrass All-Stars September 3: Al Scorch & Friends Friday Fusion Fridays at Washington Park, R&B and Jazz acts from all over the country (there are some real legends in this bunch) will provide the sounds for Friday Fusion. The concerts rotate between the Bandstand stage and the Main Stage (across from Music Hall). Music begins at 7 p.m. May 29: Midnight Star (Main Stage) June 5: Dixie Karas Group (Bandstand) June 12: Michel’le (Main Stage) June 19: Eddie Brookshire Quintet (Bandstand) June 26: Hot Magnolias (Bandstand) July 3: Delfeayo & Jason Marsalis (Main Stage) July 10: Zapp Band (Main Stage) July 17: Straight Ahead All-Female Jazz Band (Main Stage) July 24: Tim Warfield Quartet (Main Stage) July 31: Marc Fields Quintet (Main Stage) August 14: Soul Pocket (Main Stage) August 21: Vernon Hairston Trio (Bandstand) August 28: Kathy Wade with the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra (Main Stage) SMALE RIVERFRONT PARK Cocktails and Crown Jewels  Washington Park previously hosted the weekly Crown Jewels of Jazz concerts, but this year the series moves to one of the city’s newer green-space gems, Smale Riverfront Park (near the river and The Banks). Now called Cocktails and Crown Jewels, the concerts are heavy on Jazz acts but also include some R&B, Salsa and the melange of styles crafted by funky party crew The Cincy Brass. Music starts at 7:30 p.m. The concerts take place on the park’s Schmidlapp Event Lawn & Stage most Thursdays throughout the summer. The shows are free but attendees can also pay $25 to enjoy the music from the special VSP Area (with some food and drink included).  May 28: Alex Bugnon June 4: The Cincy Brass June 11: Urban Jazz Coalition  June 25: WOW featuring Tim Warfield and Bobby Floyd July 2: FrenchAxe July 16: Craig Bailey and the Cincy Jazz All-Stars July 23: Orquesta Kandela Aug. 6: Ingrid Woode & the Woode Tribe Orchestra Aug. 13: fo/mo/deep Aug. 27: Sound Body Jazz Orchestra
by Mike Breen 07.11.2012
Posted In: Live Music, Local Music at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Bandstand Bluegrass" Series Starts Tonight

Washington Park Americana music series kicks off with Jake Speed and the Freddies

We previously told you about some of the newly remodeled Washington Park's musical additions, including the "Jazz in the Park" series, curated by Jazz pianist Chris Comer and beginning tomorrow with special guest Napoleon Maddox of Jazz/Hip Hop/experimental group IsWhat?!. Now, the full lineup for the free Wednesday night "Bandstand Bluegrass" series has been revealed. The series kicks off tonight with local Folk/Americana favorites Jake Speed & the Freddies who, like a few other acts on the schedule, aren't really "Bluegrass" (though I guess the name does sounds better than "Bandstand Folk/Roots/Bluegrass/Americana"). Here's the rest of the "Bandstand Bluegrass" performers for this summer. Music runs (on the distinctive "Bandstand" stage) 7-9 p.m. each week and all concerts in the park are free.July 18: The Tillers July 25: The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars Aug. 1: Northern Kentucky Bluegrass Band Aug. 8: Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers Aug. 15: Moonshine Drive Aug. 22: Lagniappe Aug. 29: The Blue Rock Boys