by Mike Breen
Local band The Ohms' fest near Oxford showcases eclectic lineup of artists from Ohio and beyond
Cincinnati crew The Ohms have built an impressive career over the past decade-plus, starting out in the ’00s as a popular draw on the “Jam band” circuit as Four Ohms, before shifting gears and developing a surprisingly unique twist on the Rock-meets-Reggae hybridization, a pairing that everyone from Eric Clapton, The Clash and The Police to modern players like No Doubt, The Aggrolites and Matisyahu has flirted with and/or embraced since the ’70s. Changing the band name to simply The Ohms a few years back (and garnering some national industry attention), the now stripped-down three-piece is in top fighting shape, sounding better than ever, as their recently released second album, Press On, proves beyond a shadow of a spliff. They’re a lean, mean skankin’ machine with a fresh coat of Modern Rock paint glazed atop. Press On succeeds through careful and crafty, yet very natural-feeling, mixology — the Rock and Reggae elements never get in each other’s way, feel forced or fight for space in The Ohms’ groove-driven mix, a testament to the musicians’ abilities as arrangers and writers. The title track, for example, sounds like a perfectly natural jam session between Green Day and Rancid. A minute into the track, the Punk/Pop-like drive drops to a head-bobbing flow of buoyant, vintage Reggae rhythms, ’70s-styled songcraft and Ska horns. The album continues with that basic blueprint throughout, but few tracks are predictable and there are variations galore. “Vampire” is a voodoo strut that explodes into a huge, engulfing chorus, while elsewhere the band tinkers with the full range of Reggae sounds, styles and approaches (from Roots to Ska to Dub, grunting toasting to full-voiced, highly melodic melodies) and welds them together with the musicians’ excellent grasp of Classic Rock and top-notch musicianship.Reggae and Ska remain two of the more maligned genres in music (usually unfairly … and it always comes back around), but The Ohms have such an addictive energy, even the most hardened “Pfft — Reggae sucks” protestor won’t be able to resist bobbing along to the contagious beats and rhythm. Fresh on the heels of the release of Press On, The Ohms have been focused on this weekend's big Ohmstead music festival at Hannon’s Camp America (hannonscampamerica.com) near Oxford. Ohmstead is now entering its 11th year, which certainly puts the event amongst some of the longest running artist-built festivals of its kind in the region. For this weekend’s (Friday and Saturday, plus a little Sunday morning/afternoon action) Ohmstead blowout, The Ohms have joined forces with Wham Bam Thank You Jam fest to help manage and operate a big “Ohmstead Wham Bam Thank You Jam” conglomo-fest, which once again features an impressively diverse lineup of inventive music makers, mostly from across Ohio. The multi-act festival — with The Ohms performing both nights, as has become tradition — presents everything from progressive Psychedelic Jam Rock (Cincy’s Mr. Brown’s Mysterious Sounds), Kent, Ohio-based Ambient/Electronic/Industrial musician Pyrosonic, smooth acoustic guitarist Brian Henke (from Bay Village, Ohio) and fellow Reggae squad Soul Rebels (from straight outta Yellow Springs), promising Cincy Alt/Psych/Garage/Rock foursome Lemon Sky, retro-tinged local rockers Tattered Roots, popular touring “Hippie-Hop Jam Rock” outfit Boogie Matrix (Toledo) and Northern Ohio Jam band Aliver Hall, which showcases former Four Ohms member Alex Hall on guitar and vocals. Other artists slated to appear include Dayton-based Phish tribute band Oh Kee Pa, Dayton Funk rockers Magic Jackson, Oxford area Blues band Bad Men on a Mission and Nigerian-born/Cincy-based AfroBeat champ Baoku Moses. Here is the most recent 2012 Wham Bam Thank U Jam and Ohmstead lineup (with "city of origin"), posted by the WhamBam folks (who add that attendees should check the info booth because times will "likely change"): Friday3pm - Trench Foot - Dayton, Ohio4pm - Tony Herdman and Tracy Sax - Kettering, Ohio5pm - Gild the Lily - Dayton, Ohio6pm - Mr. Brown’s Mysterious Sounds - Cincinnati, Ohio7pm - Brown Street Breakdown - Dayton, Ohio8pm - Tattered Roots - Cincinnati, Ohio9pm - Subterranean House Band - Dayton, Ohio10pm - Prophets Mire - Dayton, Ohio11pm - Magic Jackson - Dayton, Ohio12:30am - The Ohms - Cincinnati, Ohio2:30am - Pyrosonic - Kent, Ohio Saturday (in the Barn)10am - Brian Henke - Bay Village, OhioNoon - Andyman Hopkins Band - Cincinnati, Ohio1pm - Bad Men on a Mission - College Corner, Ohio2pm - Soul Rebels - Yellow Springs, Ohio3pm - Elementree Presents - Cincinnati, Ohio4pm - Nine False Suns - Dayton, Ohio5pm - M 8 7 - Dayton, OhioSaturday (Wham & Bam Stages)6pm - S O L - Piqua, Ohio7pm - Happy Lemmy - Birmingham, Alabama8pm - Lemon Sky - Cincinnati, OhioFire Celebration Ceremony - at Dusk / Sunset - in Middle Earth9pm - Aliver Hall - Akron, Ohio10pm - Oh Kee Pa (Phish trib) - Dayton, Ohio11:30pm - Boogie Matrix - Toledo, Ohio1am - The Ohms - Cincinnati, Ohio2:30am - Baoku & the Image Afro Beat Band - Cincinnati, Ohio2:30am - Pyrosonic - Kent, Ohio - In the Barn!Sunday (in the Barn)10am - Tracy Sax Therapy - Kettering, OhioNoon - Steev Inglish - London, England1pm - The Finders - Cincinnati, Ohio2pm - Troll - Cincinnati, OhioThree-day passes are only $35. Visit whambamthankujam.com for info on how/where to buy tickets, the full rundown of performer links and a list of the various on-site vendors, plus perks like “Ohio’s Largest Fire Sculpture” and camping opportunities. For even more details, as well as info on The Ohms’ new Press On release, visit www.ohmsmusic.com. Here's a sample of the new material. <a href="http://ohmsmusic.bandcamp.com/album/press-on">Press On by The Ohms</a>
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Several Cincinnati-based artists and institutions are up for Ohio Hip Hop Awards, an annual event that honors the statewide Hip Hop community, culminating in a music conference/awards ceremony Sept. 17-19 in Cleveland. The event spotlights everything from MCs, DJs, break-dancers and graffiti artists to labels, radio, venues and promoters.
Sept. 4 • Blue Wisp Jazz Club
0 Comments · Monday, August 30, 2010
Cincinnati-based African musician Baoku Moses presents his fourth "Cincy Unity Jam" Saturday, organized as a means to "bring people together to celebrate peace in unity through music and art." The wildly eclectic lineup includes the Chris Comer Trio, iolite, The Electric Generals, Drew Lewis, Tri-Ur, Bonkers, Black Silk Quartet and Baoku's Ensemble for Peace.
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Organizers for Sunday's "Help for Haiti" benefit at Oakley's 20th Century Theatre put together a show in just a few days, and the massive and diverse roster of performers shows just how quick to help local artists are when an important cause comes up. The 6 p.m. concert will have Them Bones featuring Cheryl Renee, Freekbass, Kathy Wade, Kevin Fox, Sonny Moorman, Scotty Anderson, Phil DeGreg Trio, Steve Schmidt, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Robin Lacy and DeZydeco and many more acts. Suggested donation is $20. Proceeds go to the Red Cross.