by Nick Grever
A local-music community favorite, Ironfest VI offers another two nights packed with great, diverse music
Greater Cincinnati is now home to several major music events. Summer festivals like Bunbury and Midpoint capture a lot of the public interest and fill downtown for days at a time. But for fans like me who prefer their music with a bit more bite, there’s really only one fest in the area that matters — Ironfest. The two-day event, now in its sixth year, is held at Newport’s Southgate House Revival to honor the late “Iron” Mike Davidson, a local musician whose passing inspired the festival’s creation. I may have gone to a Midpoint show or two this year (Jameson makes memories hazy), Ironfest is the one event that I truly look forward.
The founder of Ironfest, John Gerhardt, created the show to raise money for Davidson’s family and he is steadfast in his goal. Tickets for the event are $5 online or $10 at the door for each night, and I suspect that price will stay the same for years to come. With over 50 bands on the bill, the price-to-band ratio obviously can’t be beat, and that’s just how Gerhardt likes it. The low-price mantra even carries over to the merch. An Ironfest shirt will set you back $5 and items like hoodies and hats are also reasonably priced. Even the pizza that’s brought in to help soak up the booze is free, with only a donation requested.
While the fundraising tradition that built Ironfest continues, the festival itself has grown immensely over the last few years. Gerhardt works all year to bring together local and regional talent to fill the house’s three stages, and this year’s lineup was the most eclectic and vast group of bands fans have seen yet. Groups came from Cleveland, Dayton, Chicago and Boston to be a part of this year’s Ironfest, and the genre mix was as wild as ever.
The majority of the bands fell into the heavier genres of Rock & Roll, Punk or Metal, but this year saw Industrial music (Chicago’s Hide), an experimental string music (Kate Wakefield) and Electronica (Black Signal) represented, amongst many other styles. To say that a fest has a little bit of everything is an advertising trope nowadays, but having this kind of diversity in one house over a two-day period is pretty damn impressive. Especially when walking from one room to the other provided massive swings in sound each time you transitioned. The lineup was spread out in such a way that if you truly wanted to see every band (a daunting task to be sure), you could give each group at least some of your time.
As music journalist, Ironfest makes my job easy. With so many great bands onstage at once, there’s bound to be some that I haven’t heard or a young band who’s just starting out. Buying several CDs in one night may hurt my wallet, but my ears couldn’t be happier. Thanks Hide, Good English, Tiger Sex and The Skulx for all making one hell of a first impression on a grizzled veteran (which is a fancy way of saying the drunk guy whose neck is sore from head-banging this weekend).
That isn’t to say that returning bands were slouches this weekend either. There were a ton of amazing performances, but a few are worth a special mention. Valley of the Sun played its first show in months in Southgate House’s Lounge and promptly blew eardrums with a six-song set that featured three new tracks from the band’s upcoming release. The Honeyspiders released its highly-anticipated debut album in conjunction with their Ironfest appearance and offered something special for fans of the Harrison brothers’ previous band when they were joined onstage by former Banderas guitarist Jesse Ramsey (in town playing with his new band, Punching Moses) to perform an old Banderas track to round out the set.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dirty elephant in the room. With Mainstay Rock Bar’s closing late last year, Cincinnati filth mongers Dandelion Death no longer had a place to hold its yearly show. So when the group were added to this year’s Ironfest lineup, there’s was much rejoicing. When the band took the stage to close out Saturday night in the Sanctuary, the room was full of people who had no idea what they were in for. But those of us who did got to see a Dandelion Death at its most ridiculous, with a stage large enough for the band and its female companions to actually fit on. While Mainstay’s center stage pole was sorely missed, it didn’t hinder any of the ridiculous Metal that only Dandelion Death can get away with.
While Ironfest may be built on a very Metal foundation, for many, it is about more than the music — it’s about community. For anyone plugged into Cincinnati’s Rock scene, Ironfest is akin to a high-school reunion, except everyone’s drunk and people are actually having fun. The sheer number of musicians in the house leads to tons of Rock & Roll run-ins with longtime friends. At times, it’s hard to go outside for a smoke or grab a drink at the bar because walking the 20 feet to either location involves stopping, saying hi to an old friend and catching up. By now, my friends know to just abandon me if I stop on the way to a destination; I’ll catch up eventually.
Ironfest started as a way for one friend to honor the life and memory of a fallen buddy and, at its core, that is what Ironfest still is. But in the past six years, Ironfest has grown into a massive beast that many music fans eagerly look forward to year after year. Those that knew “Iron” Mike speak of the man with nothing but the upmost respect and fondness. His passing truly rocked those who knew him and Ironfest’s origination becomes obvious if you hear just one of his friends speak about his legacy. While I never knew the man, every year I thank him, because his memory spawns an amazing event full of amazing bands and people, and personally brings me so much joy. So cheers to you, Mike; I may not have known you, but I really wish that I did.
by Mike Breen
Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel Band bring their tour behind their debut studio album, the recently released Intensity Ghost, to The Comet in Northside tonight. Heart of Palm and Public Housing open the free 10 p.m. show.Forsyth, who co-founded the experimental group peeesseye in New York around the turn of the century, is an acclaimed guitarist known for his exploratory approach and compelling skills. He fell in love with the music of Television in high school and ultimately ended up taking lessons from that legendary band’s Richard Lloyd. You can hear the influence of Television particularly in his work with Solar Motel Band (which was formed based on the guitarist’s acclaimed Solar Motel album from last year). Many critics have described Forsyth’s most recent all-instrumental music as a cross between Television and The Grateful Dead; Forsyth (now based in Philly) discovered the Dead while immersed in the New York experimental music scene and was immediately drawn to it, so it’s a fair comparison. Overall, it’s very engaging, hypnotic stuff.
• Tonight and tomorrow sees the return of Ironfest, a huge two-night benefit concert in honor of late local music supporter and musician Iron Mike Davidson. This marks the fifth edition of the event since Davidson passed away in 2010.
Ironfest V, which continues to raise funds for Davidson’s family, takes over Newport’s Southgate House Revival both nights with a lineup stacked with local talent largely (but not entirely) from the worlds of Punk and Hard Rock. Friday’s lineup includes Mad Anthony, Martin Luther and the Kings, Kill City, Vampire Weekend at Bernie’s, Sweet Ray Laurel, Valley of the Sun, Lockland Brakes, Lohed, Subsets, Mala in Se, Black Signal and many more. Saturday at Ironfest, catch The Dopamines, Moonbow, Mudpies, We are Hex, Honeyspiders, Oxboard Drain, 500 Miles to Memphis, The Blue Rock Boys, Draculas, Ethicist, Cadaver Dogs and several others.
Click here for the full lineups.
Tickets each night are $5 in advance (available at ticketfly.com) or $10 at the door. Showtime is 7 p.m. both nights.
• Tuvan throat singing string band Huun Huur Tu performs Saturday night at Parrish Auditorium on the Hamilton campus of Miami University.
Derek Halsey explains the unique music in his preview of the show for this week’s CityBeat (read the full preview here).
Tuvan throat singing describes the wild-sounding songs created by musicians in the southern Siberian and Mongolian Steppe region of Central Asia who, for want of a better explanation, use their throats as if they were a didgeridoo.
Not only does it sound cool — creating multiple notes at the same time using nothing but the human voice — but historically it was a way for humans to communicate over the vast plains in that part of the world, with different styles being created to represent different tribes.
Saturday’s show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 (there are discount for seniors, students and “youth”) and can be purchased in advance here.
• Cincinnati Blues crew The Whiskey Shambles host a release show at Over-the-Rhine’s The Drinkery in honor of their debut album, Loose Change for a Broken Man. The show is a benefit for the Save the Animals Foundation (where drummer Aaron Tyree volunteers). A $5 donation is requested at the door but you can be a jerk and not pay it; it’s technically a free show. JetLab opens things up at 9 p.m. and members of local choirs MUSE and Young Professionals Choral Collective are slated to make guest appearances with the Shambles.
CityBeat’s Brian Baker spoke with the band about their origins and the new release for this week’s issue. Brian describes the album and band’s sound like this:
While Loose Change exudes a contemporary vibe, the album bears the diverse hallmarks of the best ‘70s Blues Rock albums. Like Led Zeppelin, Cream and Free before them, The Whiskey Shambles channels first generation Blues subsets like Delta, Piedmont and Hill Country, combined with the members’ unique individual experiences to conjure an edgy, atmospheric vision of 21st century Blues.
Click here to read the full feature story.
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• One of Cincinnati’s best bands, The Hiders, celebrate the release of their amazing new album Totem Saturday at Northside Tavern. The show is free. Singer/songwriter Ali Edwards (former bandmate of The Hiders’ frontman Billy Alletzhauser in Ruby Vileos) opens at 10 p.m.
Click here for a full review of the great Totem. You can sample a few tracks here at The Hiders’ official site (click the “Melody” tab, then choose “Totem”).
• Unique Cincinnati Americana group The Tadcasters have released a new EP and on Saturday they’re playing Stanley’s Pub in celebration. The show features two other Roots acts that have recently issued new material — La Grange, Texas, Folk/Rock/Roots act The Youngest (supporting the new album Feral Road) and Oliver Oak, an Indie Folk sextet from Columbus, Ohio (supporting its new Sleepless Wilds release). Showtime is 9 p.m. and there’s a small cover charge at the door. Here is “Chaingang” from The Tadcaster’s excellent new five-song EP:
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• Sunday at the Southgate House Revival, friends of veteran local musician David Rhodes Brown are throwing a party in honor of his remarkable 50 years of playing music in the area. The multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter has been a part of numerous local acts in his half-century of service, coming into regional notoriety in the early ’80s with his long-running Rockabilly/Roots band The Warsaw Falcons (who will reunite and close out Sunday’s event) and going on to play with notable Greater Cincinnati groups like The StarDevils, Magnolia Mountain and numerous others. In 2010, Brown released his guest-laden solo album Browngrass & Wildflowers, and he’s played lap steel guitar with the popular Punk Pop/Roots Rock band 500 Miles to Memphis for the past several years.
Many of Brown’s friends and current/former bandmates will perform some of his songs at the event, including Ryan Mallot, Mark Utley, Wilder, Todd Lipscomb, Gregory Burton, Elle Crash and Pike 27. More friends and bandmates (including CityBeat’s own Brian Baker and should-be Hamilton Country Commissioner Jim Tarbell) will also give Brown the “roast” treatment at the party.Click here for more details
Showtime is 7 p.m. and admission is just $5.
Click here for more live music options this weekend and feel free to plug other shows in the comments.
Plus, friends celebrate David Rhodes Brown's 50th anniversary in music and the two-day Ironfest returns
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 12, 2014
One of Cincinnati’s musical treasures, The Hiders, returns this week with another spectacular album, Totem. Plus, several friends, peers and bandmates join forces to celebrate David Rhodes Brown's 50th anniversary of performing music and Ironfest V takes over Southgate House Revival on Friday and Saturday with stellar lineups for a good cause.
by Mike Breen
• Ironfest, the multi-act concert event started by friends of late local music booster “Iron” Mike Davidson to benefit his daughter, is set for its third annual event tonight and Saturday at the new Southgate House Revival in Newport. Each night features a staggering amount of solid local bands from a variety of genres. Tonight, catch Mad Anthony, State Song, Switchblade Syndicate, The Shanks, Goddamn Gravity, The New Void, Billy Wallace and the Virginia Blues, Vito Emmanuel, Jeremy Pinnell and the 55’s, Arlo McKinley and the Lonesome Sound, Chiva Knievel, Total Dudes, A Juliet Bender, Smoke Signals, Rising Shotgun, DC Project and Dead August. Performing for Night 2 tomorrow are The Dopamines, Moonbow, Honeyspiders, Red Soul Rising, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Another Tragedy, The Tammy Whynots, 500 Miles to Memphis, The Sound Museum, SHIVS, Kelly Steward and the Restless Kind, The Mudpies, Martin Luther and the Kings, The Perfect Children, Buenos Crotches, Sticky Honey, The Andyman Hopkins Band and Queen City Radio, a very promising new group featuring Dan Mecher, former frontman for Turnbull ACs and Denial, former 500 Miles to Memphis bassist Jeff Snyder, longtime 500 Miles frontman Ryan Malott and Kevin
Finkelmeier of Pete Dressman and the Soul Unified Nation and Denial fame.Tickets are just $5 each night and music starts at 7 p.m. Click here and here for more info.• One of Cincinnati’s most popular bands, Rumpke Mountain Boys, celebrate the release of their new album with a series of release parties in the region, kicking off tonight at Inner Circle (the former Annie’s location). Following the Cincinnati date, the Boys will perform for their growing fan bases in Lexington, Ky., Bloomington, Ind., Columbus, Ohio, and Cleveland, Ohio. The group’s new official full-length is titled Trashgrass, the name the members have given their eclectic, jammy, sometime trippy brand of Bluegrass. The band has all the markings of a standard Bluegrass troupe — mandolin, banjo, upright bass, acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies — but the members’ varied influences (they cite Grateful Dead, Ralph Stanley, Tom Waits and Jimmy Cliff among their key inspirations) make the end result its own organic, spontaneous beast. The seven-time Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners for Best Bluegrass act have performed at numerous festivals, shared the stage with artists like Ralph Stanley, Keller Williams, Yonder Mountain String Band and Del McCoury, and Vince Herman — a pioneer of the Rumpkes’ jammy take on Bluegrass with Leftover Salmon — called them “a party waiting to happen.” Rumpke Mountain Boys perform tonight with the excellent local Reggae crew The Cliftones. The show starts at 9 p.m. and admission is $10 (or $12 for those ages 18-20). Visit rumpke.ning.com for more on the band.The Rumpkes are probably one of the more documented bands in the area thanks to their allowance/encouragement of fans to record their live shows. Here's a video from this past March of the group performing the Folk/Jazz/Blues standard "Make Me A Pallet on Your Floor" at ekoostik hookah's springtime music fest in central Ohio.• Strong local Rock/Pop act Majestic Man celebrates the release of its debut full-length, Manatee, this Friday at Mayday in Northside. Local bands The FrontRunners and Plastic Inevitables open the free show at 10 p.m. Manatee is loaded with melodic, well-written songs, but the varied groove the band manipulates throughout the album is just as distinct and magnetic. Be it the Jazz slink of “Someday,” the dubby sway of “Bodysnatcher” or the angled Funk of “Age of No Reason,” the music is rhythmically fascinating. The dazzling guitar playing and superb vocals add cohesion to Manatee, an album that shows Majestic Man to be one of the more gifted newer groups in the Cincinnati area. To preview and/or purchase Manatee, visit majesticman.bandcamp.com. Here's the new album track "Spanish":Spanish by Majestic Man• This past spring, prolific artist Jon Langford came to Cincinnati to open an exhibit of his visual artwork and perform a free concert with his group Skull Orchard at Over-the-Rhine club MOTR Pub. At the time, Langford spoke to CityBeat contributor Steve Rosen about his range of artistic endeavors. “I have to do a lot of things,” he said. “I find it essential, honestly — spiritually and economically.” (Read the full interview with Langford here.)Just prior to the springtime Cincy visit, Langford had come off a Midwest tour with perhaps his best known band outside of his first one — British Punk legends, The Mekons — Waco Brothers, the AltCountry outfit he records with for Bloodshot Records. Langford must’ve enjoyed his time in Cincinnati because tonight he's bringing the Wacos to MOTR Pub for a 10 p.m. show, one of only a trio of appearances currently scheduled for the group. The Brothers are bringing with them Paul Burch, the Nashville singer/songwriter with whom the band collaborated on this year’s Great Chicago Fire LP. The Chicago band Cannonball is also on the bill. Here's a fan-shot video of Burch and the Wacos from earlier this year. Click here for even more live music events in Greater Cincinnati tonight.
This week in new Cincy-spawned releases, Ironfest returns and Blues meets the big top
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Local acts Rumpke Mountain Boys, Majestic Man, Jetset Getset and Noah Wotherspoon & Jessi Bair promote new albums this week. Plus, Ironfest presents its annual benefit concert for the daughter of the late Mike Davidson and The Medicine Men and Cheryl Renee bring Blues and R&B to the circus.
New space for Southgate House set to open Friday
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 3, 2012
After hosting their last, bittersweet
blowout concert at the Southgate House just across from Newport on the
Levee on Dec. 31, the Raleigh family, which operated the venue for years
and brought it to regional (and national) acclaim w, is ready to open their new venue in Newport this weekend.