Plus, the good music fest vibes keep going with Bend in the River Art & Music Festival and Friendship Music Festival
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Downtown's Mainstay Rock Bar closes its doors after
five and a half years of supporting local music. This weekend, they say
farewell with free shows featuring The Dopamines, Zebras in Public, Lemon Sky, Pluto Revolts, Cincinnati Royals and many others. Plus, the music festival buzz doesn't have to end after last weekend's big MidPoint Music Festival. This weekend, check out the Bend in the River Art & Music Festival in Price Hill and the Friendship Music Festival in Indiana.
by Nick Grever
118 days ago
Remembering the downtown live music club as it prepares for its final weekend
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Mainstay Rock Bar will be celebrating its final weekend before closing its doors after five and a half years in operation. As I prepared to write about the closure of my favorite local bar, I struggled to figure out just how to voice my sadness. I’m still not entirely sure how but I did think of a ton of stories that exemplify why Mainstay was so special to me.
I started going to Mainstay back in college before it was even Mainstay. It was called The Poison Room and my friends and I used to go to their weekly ’80s dance night. My memories of those nights are fond (if a bit hazy), but I was too new to the scene for the closure to upset me too much. When the location reopened with a new moniker and a makeover, I was happy to have another place that catered to my musical tastes. But it took some time for my love of Mainstay to truly grow.
Looking back, the closures of the original Southgate House and Mad Hatter in Northern Kentucky are what sparked my connection to Mainstay. With two of my normal haunts gone in the space of months, I needed another place to go and Mainstay was at the top of a fairly short list. I started only going for shows, but the bar soon lived up to its name. It transitioned from just a music venue to a reliable fallback to my first choice. Need a good burger? Mainstay. Want to sing some karaoke? Mainstay. Interested in hearing some Rock & Roll? Mainstay. Do you prefer bartenders that actually know what they’re talking about? Mainstay.
Of course, a major part of Mainstay Rock Bar’s appeal to me was that middle word — the “Rock.” Mainstay has been host to some of the best local and regional bands the area has to offer. In recent years, the selection of bands and performances has also become more and more eclectic. There are few bars that can host a Hip Hop show one night, a burlesque performance the next and a Surf Rock show to round out the weekend. Mainstay has proven time and time again that its dedication to the local music scene is genuine by taking the time to champion bands on the rise and hosting all sorts of community events like the ubiquitous Midpoint Music Festival. And they’ve done it all without charging a cover on any shows save the biggest of the big. If you wanted to take a chance on a new band or genre, Mainstay was the place to go. At least you had a fantastic beer selection to console you if you didn’t like what you heard.
For all of my wild and crazy memories, the ones I have of my time with the staff are the fondest. Memories like an interview being derailed when the entire band and I took a minute to stare at the hot new bartender (sorry Becky, hopefully Mangrenade and I tipped you well that night). Or pulling the curtain for Dandelion Death with Scary. Or riding Chris’s knee scooter to the bathroom, weaving in between a busy Friday night crowd. Or the little things, like Lena taking the time to listen to my post-breakup moaning and buying me a “girl’s suck” shot when it was all said and done. The staff (past and present) of Mainstay consists of an insane bunch of people who love the music, love the atmosphere and know how to have a good time. And that attitude coursed through the entire venue night after night. To be a part of it at any point in time was intoxicating. To be welcomed in as a friend and included in the shenanigans was humbling.
As I became more of a fixture of the establishment, the more I grew to know the staff and feel accepted. I’ve frequently called Mainstay my Heavy Metal Cheers; it’s the only bar in Cincinnati where I can walk in and be greeted with a handshake or high five and see my favorite beer and shot sitting on the bar.
As I reach the end of this article, I still don’t know how to say just what Mainstay means to me. It’s where I sang dozens of Danzig songs, watched hundreds of bands take the stage, spent several birthdays and drowned far too many brain cells. There isn’t a place in Cincinnati quite like Mainstay and its closing will leave a pretty big hole in my heart. But I wanted to say thank you for the five and a half years of memories and raise a glass – full of Jameson, of course – to the people that made that place so special.
For your final weekend, I’ll be sitting at the bar, enjoying a shot and a brew at Mainstay — where everybody knows your name… or at least your favorite drink.
Plus, the Tunes & Blooms concert series begins and Mainstay Rock Bar turns 5
0 Comments · Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Local Folk Metal band Winterhymn launches crowd-funding campaign to help with its upcoming national tour, while Chamber/Folk/Indie foursome The Happy Maladies goes to its fans for help with a pair of ambitious recording projects. Plus, Mainstay Rock Bar celebrates its fifth birthday and the Cincinnati Zoo's free Tunes & Blooms concerts begin.
by Mike Breen
Downtown live, original music-friendly club celebrates fourth anniversary with week of free shows
Mainstay Rock Bar has indeed become a mainstay in the
blossoming downtown entertainment district. It’s officially been four
years since the venue (at 301 Fifth St.) opened, hosting regular shows
by local acts, primarily of the “original artists” variety. This week,
the club is celebrating its four-year anniversary with a string of free
events, including several quality local Rock shows.
Tonight, the excellent Reggae group The Cliftones (check out their latest single here) perform a free show, while Black Signal takes over the stage Thursday night. On Friday, catch thrilling newcomers Lemon Sky and Founding Fathers, then go back Saturday for the triple bill of The Guild of Calamitous Intent, Halvsies and Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners for "Best New Artist" of 2013, DAAP GIrls.
All shows this week are free and start at 10 p.m. For more info on the club and upcoming events, click here or here.
Plus, BoyMeetsWorld and Radio Rescue host dual release party and Mainstay Rock Bar turns 4
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Cincinnati Folk duo Young Heirlooms celebrate their 9-months-in-the-making debut album, while Pop Rock bands BoyMeetsWorld and Radio Rescue present a dual release party at Madison Theater and Mainstay Rock Bar celebrates its fourth anniversary with a series of free local music shows.
by Mike Breen
Seventh annual local music fest takes over Mainstay Friday and Saturday
Locally based independent label Grasshopper Juice Records has been presenting the Adjust Your Eyes Music & Art Festival, an annual showcase of local visual art and some of the label’s artists (plus other Grasshopper-friendly acts from Cincy and around the region), since 2006. Along with showcasing some of the city’s most creative original music makers, the event has raised thousands of dollars for organizations like American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen For The Cure and Friends for Chris Walker (in support of the beloved late local bassist). After a 2011 festival at Newport’s Southgate House (now Thompson House), the AYE fest (presented in conjunction with Far-I-Rome Productions and sponsor Soap Floats Recording) moves to downtown’s Mainstay Rock Bar for this weekend’s two-day blowout, once again spotlighting a diverse cross-section of musical styles and approaches.The event runs tonight and tomorrow from 7 p.m.-2 a.m. and will feature more than 30 acts on both of the venue’s stages throughout both nights, as well as art installations prepared by BUNK News. Admission each night is $7. Here's the full schedule for tonight and tomorrow's AYE merriment. Click on each act's name for a link to more info and music samples.FRIDAY First Floor Stage:8:30 p.m. Red Beard’s Revenge9:30 p.m. Majestic Man10:30 p.m. Dinosaurs and Thunder11:30 p.m. The Harlequins12:30 a.m. SHADOWRAPTR1:30 a.m. Lemon SkySecond Floor Stage:8 p.m. Greg Zoller9 p.m. Bull Dancer10 p.m. Gorges11 p.m. The MJ’s Blues12 a.m. Andy Cook & The Wanderloons1 a.m. Meth Girlfriend Andy Cook and the Wanderloons - My Life as a Rabbit from Kevin Monnier on Vimeo.SATURDAYFirst Floor Stage:8:30 p.m. The Stratfords9:30 p.m. Damn It To Hell10:30 p.m. Department Store Alligators11:30 p.m. Pharaoh Loosey12:30 a.m. Shotski1:30 a.m. Crazy Legs<a href="http://shotski.bandcamp.com/album/your-world">Your World by Shotski</a>Second Floor Stage:8 p.m. Rachel Mousie9 p.m. Cowgirl10 p.m. Sassy Molasses11 p.m. West Ghost12 a.m. Founding Fathers1 a.m. "Mystery Band"
by Jac Kern
SmartTalk ConnectedConcversations continues its women's speaker series tonight with Kara DioGuardi. You might recognize DioGuardi from her short time as a judge on American Idol Seasons 8-9, but you've definitely heard her work as a writer and producer with some of the biggest Pop stars of the past decade. DioGuardi has been nominated for a Grammy and won countless other music awards for her work with Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias and Santana. Tonight, she'll speak on "Surviving Life, Love and American Idol" at 7:30 p.m. at the Aronoff Center. Past speakers for the series include Arianna Huffington and Tim Gunn (the only male speaker of the series' history. He's a honorary lady.) Find some last-minute tickets here.If you miss Turntable Tuesdays at Clifton's Golden Lions Lounge, dust off your disco balls, because John O'Bryant and Hilly Kenkel are back! The duo who presented the weeknight dance party on Ludlow Avenue have relocated downtown. Now Mainstay Rock Bar will be the place to for weeknight partiers, 10 p.m.-1 a.m. on Thursdays. Most of us haven't even thought about prom for years, but for high schoolers, the dance season is upon them. Any girl can attest to the importance of a perfect dress, but for many local young women, purchasing one is not financially possible. Kenzie's Closet takes gently worn dresses (many of us wear a prom dress just once) and make them available for disadvantaged girls in Greater Cincinnati. Principals, social workers and counselors refer these students to Kenzie's Closet, where the girls are able to browse tons of gorgeous gowns – and pick one free of charge. Tonight, Downtown's PLAY hosts a fundraiser for the organization. Just bring $10 or a formal dress, (shoes, bags and accessories are important, too!) and enjoy specialty drinks, specials, prize raffles and more from 7-10 p.m. tonight. It's an excellent opportunity to help young girls in need and make room in your closet. Important People is a diverse collective of area writers that strives to bring together others through creative expression at organized events. Tonight's Important People Forget Their Lines is a night of staged works of poetry, theater and other performances. Forget Their Lines is an investigation of the stage as an environment for exposing human impulses like anxiety, absurdity, self-deprecation and vulnerability. Come to Museum Gallery-Gallery Museum in the Brighton Arts District from 7-9 p.m. tonight to check it out. Read more about Important People and tonight's performers here.Martinis and manicures might sound a bit messy (I can't go without smudging wet polish while I'm sober), but not when professionals are involved! Oriental Wok in Hyde Park hosts a pampering session tonight: mini-manicure appointments, two cocktails and mani-friendly appetizers for $35. All proceeds go to the Red Cross to benefit local victims of recent tornadoes. Order some tasty dinner to go when you're done. Go here to RSVP.If you happen to see a little more PDA than usual, it's because today is the first national make-out session. Officially headquartered on Fountain Square (though all are encouraged to participate in any public space), the event was created by an area man to replace commercial "love" holidays like Valentine's Day with real, public signs of affection. Like smooching. Events on the square have been going all day, including live music, speed dating and vendors. Acoustic music runs 'til 4 p.m., followed by DJ tunes. Another speed dating session will take place 5-6 p.m., so if you don't have a partner to lock lips with, maybe you'll find one! Luxe Nightclub hosts the after-party. At least stop by for some free condoms. More info here.Find more arts, theater and comedy events on our To Do page, and follow our music blog for nightly shows.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Molly Wellmann's research into classic cocktails from the 1700s through the 1950s, as well as the great chefs she works with, inspire her craft cocktails made with her own handmade bitters, liqueurs, juices and simple syrups. Lately, the completely self-taught mixologist and bartender has been making the rounds at private parties and events all over town.
Visually charged, spooky, pensive local Rock band acts it out live
0 Comments · Monday, June 14, 2010
Spawned out of a Radiohead tribute show two years ago, The Guild of Calamitous Intent was born. Their vivid emotion pushes the structure. Intense drum parts creep in to bang-bang-shake things up, and then the mood settles into rich guitar riffs. The songs are long, around seven minutes each, but the multiple crescendos maintain a high suspense level.