by Charlie Harmon
Posted In: Music History
at 01:23 PM | Permalink
the never-so-clean music venue that sits along the construction-ridden stretch
of pavement known as Short Vine, goes back far beyond any concert you may have
seen there in the past several decades. It holds a rich history dating back
more than a century, although this isn’t so easily apparent now.Live Nation,
a national live-events company that promotes acts and operates a large list of
venues around the country, took over Bogart’s in 1999 in a deal with
Nederlander Entertainment, who was operating the venue at the time.One of the
myriad changes they have made over the years has been a revamp of the old
website, molding it to the standard format they use for all their venues, which
in a way deemphasizes the historical significance of the place. I’d think the
wrinkled timeline of the building might be a point of interest, but I suppose
concert-goers are more concerned with getting tickets to collectively bob heads
in a loud room than the age-old energy of that very room.Here’s what
you may not know about Bogart’s.
hasn’t always been Bogart’s. Built in 1890, it was originally called the
Nordland Plaza Nickelodeon and, fitting with popular entertainment of the
period, it was a vaudeville theater.Imagine
this: lights illuminate figures flying through the air, turning and twisting as
they clutch their trapeze over the small stage. They complete a routine and the
room is filled with a crowd-hushing roar, followed by the entrance of a
ringmaster rearing a lion up to full height right in front of your eyes. He
leads it in circles, keeping it calm and cool, before leading it back offstage
to allow a magician to come out, accompanied side-stage by two comedic
cross-gender impersonators, hooting and howling as the illusionist pulls a hair
out of his hat or cuts a man in half. The show ends with a small orchestra
playinga classical piece to guide three dancers
across the platform.This was
“vaudeville,” fringe American entertainment named after the creation of Sargent’s Great Vaudeville Company in Louisville. It’s fascinating to wonder
what wild things we could have seen at the Nordland Plaza in the early 20th century.As technology
developed, folks apparently grew less accustomed to leaving their houses for
public, live entertainment, and TV took over the world of entertaining. The
theater succumbed to the competition from the television industry and
transformed into a German film theater in the mid-1950s under the same name.Some time
later it reverted back to live entertainment, becoming a restaurant theater
with the new name Inner Circle. This nightclub was far from the talk of the
town, slowly spiraling into failure until a man named Al Porkolab and two
partners bought the building.They named
it Bogart’s, which was short for Bogart’s Café Americain, a reference to the
movie Casablanca, apparently one of
Pokolab’s favorites. In its earliest days it followed the movie as a theme,
decorating with tropical trees and offering food with the ambiance of tuxedoed
servers and a lounge band. The venue only sat a few hundred people at this
point, and the restaurant-club followed Inner Circle down a fissure to failure
in just months.At this
point Porkolab took over, buying out his partners and extensively remodeling
the building, turning it into a nightclub that featured local, national and
international music acts. It opened as such in 1982.It remained
open in this state, still housing only several hundred people, for a decade.
During that time it garnered a little heat, specifically from Cincinnati Mayor
Charles Luken in 1985, who wanted the place shut down due to the neighborhood
havoc that would ensue after the late-night dance parties the club would host
from 2-6 a.m. on Sundays.The
building underwent another round of renovations in 1993 that turned the few
hundred seats into 1,500, the current capacity of the venue. With the larger volume,
the venue began bringing in acts that were too big for a small bar or club but
wouldn’t get booked by a big-time venue.Many bands
you know now that would sell out a huge venue played Bogart’s in their proving
days. To name a few, acts such as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, Slayer and
Pearl Jam (who, as a matter of fact, is coming in October to play US Bank Arena)
impressed crowds on that intimate stage.In ’97,
Nederlander took over operations, leading us back to the highly reputed
ownership by Live Nation, who according to their short paragraph of history on
the site, “continues the tradition of quality live entertainment that has been [the venue's] forte since the building was built.”Check out
the upcoming shows at this old vaudeville hall:
Taking Back SundaySept. 12:
Paul WellerSept. 16:
August Alsina: Testimony LiveSept. 19: Nick Carter and Jordan KnightSept. 20:
Blacklight College PartySept. 26:
MatisyahuGo here for Bogart's photos throughout the years.
by Jake Grieco
a closed off street in Northside, behind yesterday's Rock N’ Roll Carnival, band
members of Leggy distribute the last of their cigarettes evenly amongst each other.
three-piece “art-rock-influenced-punk-pop” band (download their EP Cavity Castle for free here and come up with your own
interpretation) consisting of Véronique Allaer on
guitar, Kirsten Bladh on bass and Chris Campbell on drums are fresh off
their residency at The Comet. Allaer writes the lyrics, and cites musicians
such as St. Vincent and Lana Del Ray as her influences. This is evident in the track “Sweet Teeth,” with its inherent sexy-yet-sassy,
tragic-yet-empowered lyricism. Allaer’s pouty voice
is one of the quintessential elements that make Leggy, well, Leggy. If Audrey Horne (from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks) ever
wanted to be a rock star, she would make a band like Leggy.
a band is given a Comet residency, they commit to playing once a week for a month,
and get to pick the other bands that play on their bill.
a DIY band, or for any aspiring musicians, a regular gig at a popular
music bar is a pretty big deal. So how does a band get a residency? For Leggy all
they had to do was drink enough alcohol.
“Do you know about Fogger Nights at Rake’s End?” Bladh asks. “We
got way too drunk. It was like 2:30 a.m. so we went over to the Ice Cream
Factory and drank with our friend who works at The Comet and eventually we were
like, ‘Hey, we should have a residency at The Comet,’ and he was like, ‘Totally.’”
A night of drinking might have
been the catalyst for the residency, but Leggy’s résumé speaks for itself.
They’re getting widespread attention internationally, and
playing with acts like Ghost Wolves and Paul Collins and even playing in The
Northside Rock N’ Roll carnival tonight.
With each success, it’s hard to find a new way to progress
forward, and — bar selling out Great American Ballpark — Leggy has accomplished a
lot in our little corner of Ohio. So now they are headed out into the world —
specifically, across the Midwest. Leggy’s next move is to go on tour and they say they’ll walk
the Midwest if they have to — and they might have to.
“The biggest issue is not booking shows, it’s figuring out how to
get there,” Allaer says. “A friend of ours was going to let us use his van, but
he hurt his back so now he needs it and none of us are 25.”
In case you forgot or don’t know, a person isn’t legally allowed
to rent a car until they are 25. Every member of Leggy is 24, and the tour
“We are trying to contact our 25-year-old friends,” Bladh says.
Regardless the transportation, Leggy is a band that treats
successes like stepping stones and ambition is more valuable than gasoline and
shitty vans. July 4th, coincidentally, is a day Allaer will always remember as
her wake up call for creating a successful band.
years ago today, I was wasted and fell off a three-story building and broke my
hip. I basically could have died, and it made me reevaluate my priorities,” she says.
by Jac Kern
Leap Day means different things to everyone (like those with rare Feb. 29 birthdays), but we suggest spending this extra day exploring all the fun events our city has to offer. Or this:Do you love the true storytelling style of This American Life and live groups like The Moth and Cincinnati's True Theater? Head down to Below Zero Lounge tonight for Teilen (German for "to share"), a local storytelling night. In honor of Leap Day, tonight's theme will be "leaping out." Enjoy a variety of true stories told without notes, and feel free to share your own five-minute anecdote. Storytelling is one of the oldest human traditions and it's still a great way to connect with others. Doors open at 6 p.m.; the free event starts at 7. Find details here.Sexy Time Live Band Karaoke continues its weekly mission to make us all feel like Rock Stars. Become a frontman (or woman!), if only for three minutes. Karaoke kicks off at 9 p.m. in Northside Tavern's back room. Check out the group's Facebook page for details and an extensive song selection (start rehearsing now!).The Lackman hosts a party to introduce new Six Point Brewery beers tonight, featuring Sweet Action (barley and hops), Bengali Tiger IPA (bitter hops and sweet malt) and Resin Double IPA (just delicious). Reps will be on hand for all questions. The tasting event runs 4-6 p.m. Find more info here.Find more To Do suggestions, like theater productions and art shows, here. Check out Mike Breen's blog for tonight's live music happenings. And a head's up: Our Swizzle bar guide came out today (purty, ain't it?) and if reading that doesn't make you want to grab a cocktail at one of many amazing local watering holes, nothing will! Celebrate the issue with us tomorrow at PLAY downtown. Guests can expect free cocktails and food from Bolly Bears and FUSIAN, live music from Pop Empire, a fabulous Flashbox photo booth and tons of giveaways. And when I say giveaways, I don't just mean movie passes and shot glasses (though there will be plenty of those) — one lucky partier will walk away with two passes to Bonnaroo! If you miss this, you cray. RSVP here.
by Mike Breen
Cheyenne Marie Mize at MOTR, plus Today in Music with OutKast and a James Dean musical tribute
Music Tonight: Louisville Indie/Folk singer/songwriter Cheyenne Marie Mize has been on a fast track in the music biz over the past year. A member of a couple of rootsy acts in the rich Louisville music scene, once she broke out on her own, she began to draw increased attention for her lovely, ethereal sound. Last year when Mize performed in town, she was on the verge of releasing a new EP, but it was delayed … for good reason. Mize had inked a deal with Yep Rock Records (home to Nick Lowe, Liam Finn, Fountains of Wayne, John Doe and Paul Weller) and that EP, We Don't Need, became her first release for the label. Just released Jan. 24, We Don't Need fleshes out Mize's wispy sound (particularly with some creative rhythmic additives), but that dreamy, ghostly soul still hovers above each of the five songs. Click here to read more about Mize then head to MOTR Pub tonight to catch her free show (with special guest Margaret Darling of The Seedy Seeds). Below, enjoy a session Mize did recently for LaundroMatinee.com.
by Mike Breen
New episodes of the popular live music program begin this coming Monday
After a year off in 2011, the great live music/interview program Studio 89 on Northern Kentucky's WNKU (89.7 FM; wnku.org) returns this Monday. The season kicks off with Hadden Sayers, a Texas-born/now Columbus-based Blues artist, and this year's series once again features a mix of local, regional and national artists who represent the variety of music played on the station (from Roots, Blues and Americana to Indie, Rock and beyond). The show airs Monday nights through April 30 at 7 p.m. Listeners are also able to attend the performance in the studio, but seats are limited (and dibs go to WNKU members). Reservations can me made at noon on the Tuesday before the session you'd like to check out (keep an eye on the station's website for more info). And check below for the full lineup and video previews for this year's Studio 89 (click the artists' names for more info).
by Mike Breen
Bluesday Tuesdays at Arnold's, plus Today In Music featuring Tom Jones, The Who, My Morning Jacket and the Forecastle Festival
Music Tonight: This Friday and Saturday, the Cincy Blues Society is presenting its annual Winter Blues Fest in its new location — four venues (the old Harry's Pizza space, the old R&B Cafe spot, The Drinkery and Below Zero) in Over-the-Rhine (after several years in Northern Kentucky). If you want to get in the mood, tonight at Arnold's you can check out the Cincy Blues Society's new every-Tuesday "Bluesday Tuesdays" series, featuring various Blues artists from the area. Tonight's performer is eclectic veteran writer/guitarist John Redell (who has played with such groups as Voodoo Blues, The Flock and Shepherd's Pi). Showtime is 7 p.m. and there is no admission charge. (Click here for more on the Blues Fest.)
by Amy Harris
Alt/Funk/R&B/Rock crew Fitz and the Tantrums is one of hottest buzz bands in the land right now. The group’s debut record from last year, Pickin’ Up the Pieces, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Heatseeker chart and its song “Money Grabber” became an activist anthem for the Occupy Wall Street movement across America. CityBeat spoke with frontman Michael Fitzpatrick recently, in advance of the band's show this weekend at the Super Bowl Village in Indy. Fitz and the Tantrums performs tonight at 7 p.m. The show is free. (Click here for details.)
by Amy Harris
Anthrax are innovators of the sound of today’s Hard Rock and Metal landscape. The band recently released its 10th studio album, Worship Music, a return to the band’s early sound thanks to the re-emergence of lead vocalist Joey Belladonna. CityBeat caught up with Belladonna and guitarist Rob Caggiano before their show earlier this week in Louisville at Expo 5 to talk about the direction of the band and what got them to where they are today. Anthrax performs in Cincinnati this Saturday at Bogart's.
by Mike Breen
Mack West Trio in Northside, plus Gerry and the Pacemakers, Jools Holland and Bon Iver
Music Tonight: It's a slow night for touring acts, but a good one to catch a few local acts in a more laid-back-Tuesday-evening atmosphere. For example — Zach Mechlem of local "Alt-Western" group Mack West (pictured; Zach is second from the front) plays a free show at the Northside Tavern tonight with a pair of bandmates (officially, it's being billed as the Mack West Trio). Mack West's latest album, The Goodnight Trail, was one of the best local releases of 2011 and the best showcase yet of Mack West's unique, evocative spin on American Roots music. Mack West tunes have been used on History Channel's American Pickers, Discovery Channel's Auction Kings and in a commercial for AMC's The Man With No Name mini-series. Check out the title track from The Goodnight Trail below and read my review from when it was released here. Mechlem performs around 10 p.m. in the Tavern's front room.
by Mike Breen
The Dig and The Ready Stance at MOTR, plus Today in Music with Van Halen and Frankie Knuckles
Music Tonight: MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine hosts a solid Indie Rock double bill tonight (made extra appealing by MOTR's "never a cover charge" policy) as "buzz band" The Dig swings through for a show with Cincinnati's The Ready Stance. Featuring a couple of former members of onetime local music heroes Middlemarch, The Ready Stance is coming into the home stretch with its debut album, Damndest. The band currently has its sights set on a March/April release for its debut (check the group's site here for the latest). The Dig began in New York City's Lower East Side just four years ago; not long after forming, they were selling out shows in the Big Apple. After a couple years touring the States non-stop (with the likes of The Walkmen, The Antlers, The Editors and even a few bands whose moniker doesn't begin with a "the"), The Dig issued its debut, Electric Toys, in 2010; by the end of that year, the album would appear on numerous "Best Of" lists by critics far and wide. The Dig's follow-up is due very soon, so you'll likely hear a few newer songs at tonight's show. Check out Brian Baker's preview of tonight's show from this week's CityBeat here and then dig The Dig's video for Electric Toys track "You're Already Gone" below.