by Mike Breen
123 days ago
Local MCs' collaborative track gets music video, Vevo homepage premiere
This summer, on-the-rise Northern Kentucky-based Hip Hop artist Trademark Aaron released his excellent EP Act Accordingly, which included a bonus track titled "The Best," a collaboration with Cincinnati MC Easy Lantana, the RCA/Polo Grounds Music recording artist who made waves nationally last year with his single, "All Hustle, No Luck." The track about hard work and perseverance now has an accompanying music video. The clip, directed by Franco Mudey and Mark Merkhofer, had its premiere yesterday on the front page of popular video site Vevo. Trademark Aaron's next performance is part of what could very well be the best local Hip Hop show of the year, this Thursday at Over-the-Rhine’s Rhinegeist. Reflection Eternal, renowned Cincinnati-based producer/artist Hi-Tek’s collaboration with legendary MC Talib Kweli, headlines the 8 p.m. concert, marking a rare appearance by the duo. Thursday’s lineup also features Cincinnati heroes Mood, who took Cincy Hip Hop nationwide in the ’90s, Buggs Tha Rocka (who’s prepping a new album release for early December), ClockworkDJ (Mac Miller’s official DJ), Valley High, Aida Chakra and many others. Tickets for the 8 p.m. concert are $20 in advance (through cincyticket.com) or $30 at the door (if there are any tickets remaining). There are also $60 advance VIP tickets available, which include a meet-and-greet with the artists.
by Nick Grever
123 days ago
One thing that I’ve learned on this trip is that the show’s promoter can often set the mood of an entire night. On this tour, we’ve been lucky enough to have several great promoters who know how to run things and take care of a band, which helps lead to a great show.Our night in Milan did not have one of those types of promoters. Hell, to even call him a promoter is an insult to the concept of promotion. Let’s dive in a little bit and discuss just what potential promoters should and shouldn’t do when bands come a’callin.First thing’s first — it’s always helpful to be at the venue by the scheduled get-in time. When bands like us arrive, we’ll generally have some questions for you about our lodging for the night, dinner, load-in and load-out logistics, etc. This is especially pertinent on tours like this due to the fact that we aren’t even from this continent; a little extra handholding is appreciated.What you shouldn’t do is show up at the venue at 9 p.m. when load-in started at 6 p.m. and not even introduce yourself to anyone.Second, please follow the agreed upon terms of the contract and make sure that the obligations you have are completed satisfactorily. On this tour, Valley of the Sun has two major requests in their contract: a hot meal every night (or a 15 Euro buyout) and accommodations after the show. These accommodations have varied from a promoter’s floor to nice hotels.What a promoter shouldn’t do is tell the band that the guy who was supposed to set us up for the night didn’t show up and won’t answer any phone calls. And this definitely shouldn’t happen at 1 a.m. If it does happen, dig into that suit pocket and pull out some Euro to help alleviate the problem. Don’t leave with your girlfriend 10 minutes later and leave said band scrambling to find a place to sleep.Also, the hot meal part of the contract. Now, we aren’t picky — we will eat just about anything you put in front of us. We’ve had all sorts of chow on this trip and most of it has been pretty awesome. When was the last time you had German cuisine made by an actual German national? Believe me when I say I can still taste that schnitzel.What you shouldn’t do is cook up some cheap noodles, throw about a quarter of a can of tomato sauce on it and use that to feed two bands and their crew. Especially when the staff of the venue is clearly seen eating lasagna in the back room. That’s just rude.The point I’m trying to make (yes, there really is a point) is that tour life filled with crazy circumstances that have to be adapted to and overcome. Sometimes things don’t go our way. Seldom does everything go off without a hitch. Rarely — only in Milan so far — have things gone completely down the shitter. But it’s amazing to me just how many moving parts go into a tour and if there’s one rusty cog, it can grind the whole machine to a stop.In Milan, it was a horrid promoter, but it could easily be issues with transportation or miscommunication with management or the booking agents. There are logistical issues like getting the wrong merch at a pickup (which happened in Berlin) or the GPS could lead us astray. It’s amazing to me that it even works at all, to be honest.So the next time you go see an amazing show featuring an out-of-town band — or even some locals — feel free to throw some kudos their way (and buy a shirt). But don’t neglect the guy sitting at the end of the bar who’s looking a little worn out either.P.S. The picture of the delicious food and the hotel both come from our date in Pratteln, Switzerland. Thanks Z7!
by Mike Breen
127 days ago
In early September, Cincinnati major-label act Walk the Moon had its new single, “Shut Up and Dance,” released by RCA Records. The song — which the band performed on Late Night with Seth Myers on Sept. 15 — is slated for inclusion on the band’s next full-length for RCA, the group’s second for the label. The new album is due for release later this year. Today, the “Shut Up and Dance” video was made public. In the press materials for the new clip, frontman Nicholas Petricca says, “Influenced by the plot-driven music videos of the 80s and nerdy visuals of 90s television, our new video for Shut Up and Dance is a trippy story of dork victory. We are the proud mothers and co-directors of this weird throwbacky fantasy, alongside the brilliantly funny Josh Forbes.” There’s also an awesomely awkward dance break from Petricca in the clip. Walk the Moon is currently doing a national tour (with fellow Cincinntians Public opening several dates) that has largely sold out; an announcement of a more extensive spring tour in support of the new album is due in the coming weeks.Check out Mashable’s piece on the new video, in which Petricca picks his favorite ’80s music videos here.
by Nick Grever
129 days ago
Before I left, I had a lot of people ask me just what I’d be doing while on tour. The best answer I could give them was, “I don’t know, sell shirts I guess.”
So, in an effort to give you a better picture of what a day in the life of Valley of the Sun’s illustrious merch guy/tour bitch, I give you a minute-by-minute breakdown of what will most likely be our busiest day on the tour. What transpires is a day with two shows and 10 combined hours on the road and yes, it’s as tiring as it sounds.
6:30 a.m.: Wake up before dawn in Frankfurt and get ready for a five hour drive to Munich. Take a shower in a hotel shower that has no door or curtain while using a shower head has no holder on the wall. Listen to Black Dahlia Murder to wake up.
7:30 a.m.: Make a to-go sandwich at the hotel’s breakfast bar.
7:35 a.m.: Help navigate the van out of a hotel parking garage that it shouldn’t have logically fit in.
7:47 a.m.: Begin a five-hour drive to Munich. Naps are taken by most. Breaking the speed limit is performed by others. Who knew a van could go triple digits?
8:50 a.m.: Pit stop number one: water, coffee and baked good acquired. Knifes and soccer hooligans are ogled.
10:43 a.m.: Pit stop number two: water and coffee are released, drivers are switched.
12:00 p.m.: Arrive at venue, take tour of stage and see backstage area. Find WiFi password and begin to use and abuse venue’s internet connection.
12:45 p.m.: Dig merch out of van for festival’s merchandise display. Freak out when an entire box of shirts cannot be found.
12:47 p.m.: Rejoice when the box of shirts are unearthed.
1:20 p.m.: Begin gear load in.
1:30 p.m.: Realize you’ve learned more gear terminology on this tour than in a decade of attending concerts and hanging out with bands.
1:40 p.m.: Rip an expensive tour banner.
1:52 p.m.: Sit around and surf through Facebook and Instagram while band sound checks.
2:45 p.m.: Check to see if ears are bleeding from sound check volume.
3:00 p.m.: Walk around the venue and people-watch to waste time before show starts.
3:25 p.m.: Set up Nick’s Go Pro cameras around the venue to capture the forthcoming insanity.
3:30 p.m.: Showtime. Festival attendees begin to filter into Valley’s show (Valley is the first band of the day).
4:00 p.m.: A circle pit breaks out for the first time in the band’s history. Horns are thrown liberally.
4:10 p.m.: Remember why Valley of the Sun is my favorite Cincinnati band.
4:15 p.m.: Raid the catering table for a sandwich, pretzel, banana and water. Plan to eat pretzel on the road as a snack.
4:30 p.m.: Settle merch sales with organizers, collect money, pile up CDs, LPs and shirts to load into the van.
4:35 p.m.: Eat pretzel before ever reaching the van.
4:40 p.m.: Call dibs on a festival attendee.
4:50 p.m.: Wait for Ryan to settle up event pay with festival organizers.
5:00 p.m.: On the road again for another five-hour ride to Seigen.
5:05 p.m.: Begin typing hourly breakdown in van to save some time on off day tomorrow and to give my phone a chance to regain some charge.
5:50 p.m.: Pit stop one. Beer from festival is released.
8:25 p.m.: Pit stop two. Water is released and drivers are switched.
10:30 p.m.: Arrive at second venue where bands have already started playing.
10:37 p.m.: Order a pizza at stand outside of venue while we wait for support bands to finish.
11:15 p.m.: Continue eating; this time it is chicken curry in the band apartment.
11:30 p.m.: Final support act has finished. Start mad dash to load gear in from the van to the venue.
11:40 p.m.: Set up last minute merch area in a now desolate bar.
11:43 p.m.: Wait for the band to take the stage.
11:55 p.m.: Sell first bits of merch to those still at the venue. Try to explain that pins are one Euro a piece, not one Euro per handful.
12:30 a.m.: Show starts.
12:50 a.m.: Play Tetris while band is performing and, therefore, no one is looking at merch.
12:55 a.m.: Earn new high score in Tetris.
1:10 a.m.: Band finishes after three encores. A fourth is requested but the band has literally no other songs left to play.
1:15 a.m.: Sell 132 Euro worth of merch in 10 minutes.
1:45 a.m.: Pack up merch once sales dry up.
1:55 a.m.: Pack up van and grab overnight bags.
2:20 a.m.: Prepare for bed after a 20-hour day.
2:25 a.m.: Sleep for 10 hours straight.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned about touring it’s that it’s defined by tons of dead time, punctuated by moments of massive amounts of activity. “Hurry up and wait” is the perfect way to describe it. We rush in the morning to squeeze everyone’s morning routine into a short period of time. Then we spend hours in the van to reach a venue, only to rush to get the van unloaded, merch set out and sound check completed, along with other pre-show rituals. Then we wait for the show to start, followed by the post-show rush to sell merch, load up the van and get to our lodging for the night.
It makes for long days and long nights, with little to no rest. It’s tiring, hectic and stressful and I’m having the time of my life. I could really use an actual shower though, that’s for sure.
by Nick Grever
131 days ago
Remember in my first blog when I said I was worried that I had over packed? Guess what? I over packed.
I’ve been on tour for a week now and these are a few things I’ve learned so far, in no particular order. Hopefully they help you the next time a Rock band drags you across Europe. Or on your next trip to Disneyland.
Backpack space is very important. In my backpack, I originally had a jacket, a neck pillow, my laptop, two books, two magazines and a front pocket full of random paperwork. Now, the jacket is always out and the neck pillow has disappeared because I needed the space for dirty clothes. There simply was no other space for them. Nick, who’s an experienced road warrior (he drum techs for Breaking Benjamin), basically lives out of his backpack, only digging into his carry-on when he needs to swap things in and out.
Everything should have a home. When I packed up for the trip, I was very meticulous and I made sure to check off items when they made it into my bags (traveling puts me on edge). Now that I’m over here, I’ve found it easier to keep track of things when I put them back in the same place every time. Lazily throwing my sunglasses into a pocket only causes me to flip my shit when I can’t find them down the line. And scouring a van while it’s moving at 130 kph is not a fun experience, my friends.
Creature comforts are nice, but not totally important. I brought a lot of reading material thinking this trip would have plenty of van time to catch up on my books. So far, I’ve reached for precisely none of them. I read my two magazines, sure. But one was on the plane and the other was only a day ago. While we still have over two weeks, so that might change, I wish I had used that space for something more important, like more clean socks.
Jeans are amazing and should be respected. I only brought one pair of denim for three weeks on the road. The boys brought two: a live-in pair and a show pair (Rock & Roll is a sweaty affair). Jeans take up a lot of space and, as long as you don’t spill goulash on them or something equally as traumatic, they can last you for a long time in between cleanings. So if you’re ever on a long road trip, do yourself a favor and save some space. One pair is all you need, just Febreze them once or twice and you’re good to go.
Cleanliness on the road can be hard, but don’t skimp. Road butt, swamp ass — call it what you will but sitting for hours on end will do harm to anyone’s rear end. And when showers are not always guaranteed — along with the supply of hot water, wash cloths or towels — then it’s important to keep some stop gaps handy. Baby wipes are like touring gold. They let you wipe down your pits and keep that fresh feeling in between shows and showers. Small bottles of hand cleanser are great too. Touring is dirty business, soap isn’t always on hand and when you’ve got five guys crammed into one van, germs could be disastrous. So toss a bottle in your bag and don’t forget to scrub up from time to time.Leave things at home that you don’t need. This was something I sort of already knew, but I didn’t understand the true extent till we got over here. For example, when I arrived I had my house key, my mail, two keys to my parent’s house, my car key, our tour laminate (geek out moment here: we have tour laminates!) and a few key chains. On Day 1, Arnaud added a van key to that pile. Later I learned that I would usually be keeping track of any apartment or hotel keys we got too. This added up to a key ring that was obnoxiously filled. I sounded like a janitor when I walked around. So I ditched all but the few that I actually need here. My states keys are safely stowed in my backpack and my pants aren’t weighed down with useless crap.
Don’t leave home without a towel. South Park’s Towelie and Douglas Adams were right. I didn’t listen and I’m sorry that I didn’t.
by Nick Grever
134 days ago
Let’s take a moment to talk about Rock venues in the States, shall we? In my mind, there are two distinct types: you either have the nice, well-kept venues that often lack a certain spark that make them truly special or the dives that feel like a Punk Rock haven but smell like a dirty sock filled with cheese. You have to choose between fantastic atmosphere or a bathroom that’s actually been cleaned since The Sex Pistols were the next big thing.
Well, my friends, it seems that you can get the best out of both worlds; you just have to hop the pond and check out European venues. On this trip, I’ve been in an underground hall converted into a bar, a warehouse covered in graffiti and stickers, a youth center filled with murals slapped in the middle of a small town (and next to a church) and a venue in Berlin filled with so many weird and wonderful knick-knacks, I can’t wait to get home and start redecorating a little bit. I wanted to share some pictures and highlights of what we’ve seen so far.
The venue in Freiburg was called The White Rabbit and it was located underground, down several flights of stairs. The entrance was narrow but opened up to a large, cylindrical structure. We guessed that it was used as a bomb shelter or wine storage but the real origin was even more intriguing. It was originally the town’s coal chamber; the building above it had been leveled during the war and had been rebuilt.Hamburg’s venue was the most surprising so far. As a Metal kid through and through, the graffiti and sticker-laden walls of Hafenklang instantly appealed to me. It had an industrial air about it and it felt just dirty enough. The wall adornments actually gave the place an artistic element. Somehow, hundreds — if not thousands — of taggers managed to create a cohesive composition worthy of any modern art museum.Berlin has the honor of housing my favorite club yet. The Bassy Club was full of odd and awesome artifacts. I’m a big fan of weird decorations and this place was absolutely chock full of them. When we walked in, we all went into full tourist mode and started snapping pictures left and right. I now fully intend on finding a cow skull and making him a new light fixture when I make it back to the states.Special kudos goes to Berlin for being an awesome city. We got a few hours to roam around and we ran into some sort of festival and found an awesome “Horror Rock Bar” called Last Cathedral. Sadly, it wasn’t open when we were walking around, so Nick and I had to resort to pulling an Immortal pose in front.CityBeat contributor Nick Grever is currently traveling Europe on tour with Cincinnati Rock band Valley of the Sun. He will be blogging for citybeat.com regularly about the experience.
by Charlie Harmon
137 days ago
researching Bogart’s for the first of these columns, I discovered a place that
used to be its side-stream neighbor. Sudsy Malone’s, which sat just across the
street from Bogart’s until 2008, may be a well-known name to older
Cincinnatians, but to those of my generation I imagine it’s a legend unheard.
those who knew it well referred to it, was more than just a bar or music venue.
It was a laundromat. A gathering place of locals who fancied having a beer and
hearing a tune as their clothes turned over in bubbly cleanliness. And while it
was only open for a fraction of the time many of the big venues around here
have been, it occupies a deep space in the history of Cincinnati and its local
searches and several page scrolls through Google turns up hardly anything on
the former venue. I finally found a memorial Facebook page that further
fascinated me, still only offering a brief and general history but filled with
posts by former loyal patrons reminiscing of great times at the bar, offering
tales of hilarious happenings along with images, videos and old posters to fill
it all in with color.
I wanted to
know more in hopes of giving Sudsy’s its due place in Cincinnati music history.
To understand where it all started and where it went from there, I talked to
Janine Walz, a former managing partner who was around during the
originally owned by John Cioffi and opened in 1986. As I understand it, the
idea was inspired by similar businesses popping up in the region such as Dirty
Dungarees in Columbus. They serve beer, so you can sip some foam while
listening to the groan of washers and dryers, but Dungaree’s was never quite a
bar. They served drinks in more of a refreshment center style. Cioffi’s vision
for Sudsy’s was different.
decision for the name came from a lot of scrawling and scratching by Cioffi and
had a long list of names that they would write down as they were brainstorming,
and then they started crossing names out until it was down to Soapy Tucker’s or
Sudsy Malone’s,” Walz says.
Sharp, the highly adored Renaissance man known for his ballet career in
Cincinnati and who sadly just passed away in September, designed the character
logos. Soapy Tucker was a sort of motherly figure, whereas Sudsy Malone was a true
the face of the place, with his one-eyed look, suds-filled beer and coin-flipping
hand becoming the calling card of the bar’s sign.
walking in the front door guests faced a 40-foot bar.
have competitions to see who could slide a mug full of beer the furthest down
the bar without spilling it,” Walz recalls with a smile.
little round cocktail tables covered with dark blue tablecloths and standard
bar stools. The ceiling undulated with the movement of fans under which each
had a globular light, providing a sort of soft ambiance to the bar.
At the back
of the building sat the laundry area, a brightly lit room where the fluorescent
lights glinted off dozens of top-of-the-line washers and dryers.
some of the bands complaining after a while about the laundry room lights
because they would glow into the bar and kill the mood for the crowd,” Walz
says. “We strung up some Christmas lights and would just turn those on instead
when bands were on stage at night.”
place first opened, however, the stage didn’t exist. Live music had never even
been part of the idea.
only intended to be a laundromat with frosty-mug beer,” Walz says of the
recalls being the second laundry customer when Sudsy’s first opened. She worked
at the Perkins just up Short Vine, and happened to be John Cioffi’s waitress
the day he sat down to get food with the liquor agent that was supposed to be
approving Sudsy’s license.
were finishing lunch he asked me to come a few doors down to talk to him about
a job,” she says. “I figured it was the same distance from home and might pay
better, so I went. Next thing I knew I was hired on as a manager.”
words, she was there from the start. Walz watched the bar being built, and she
knew it when it was just a place for people to wash clothes and have a drink,
the crowd rarely exceeding 10 people.
after the place opened, a local band called The Thangs approached the owners
with the idea to play music. Essentially, they just wanted a place to gig when
nowhere else would let them. After some hesitation, Sudsy’s let them do it, and
much to their surprise the first show was packed with about 100 people. Sudsy’s
wasn’t expecting this, and they completely sold out of every drop of beer they
had stocked at the time.
outrageous success, The Thangs wanted to come back. Before long, music became
the detergent to Sudsy’s suds, responsible for consistently bringing in large
crowds. At first they charged a very minimal cover, mostly so they had
something to give the band, and offered a free soft-drink ticket with entry for
By ’87 they
were charging a $5 cover, although they would still let people in for free if
they had a basket of laundry. This often resulted in washers full of abandoned
clothes the next day, as people brought the clothes to get in and then simply
forgot about them in the excitement of music and merriment. Over time, Sudsy’s
developed a massive collection of forsaken threads.
sparked another for Walz: “I remember this guy that would show up about once
every year driving a station wagon. He would take the clothes people had left
over time and pack every inch of his car, literally. He would do something with
them, I think donate them.”
place continually packed in people like foam to the top of a mug — thanks to
the highly praised booking magic of Dan McCabe (Now of MOTR Pub) — problems
inevitably occurred that now seem laughable. The carpet in the bar area became
so matted and disgusting that it resembled tile, so Walz had it ripped out and
replaced with wood. The men’s bathroom was a story of its own. Widely known as
“Worst Men’s Bathroom,” Walz said she wouldn’t go near it, even almost buying
stainless steel sheets to layer on it so she could just hose it down at night.
point the fire department came in and completely cleared house, although there
wasn’t a single flame or wisp of smoke. The building’s stated capacity was far
under how many people they would pack in, and one night they had to count the
crowd back in, one by one. Eventually they completely stopped the music for a
period of time to get the building up to code.
small size, Sudsy’s brought in now-major acts that were rising at the time —
Beck, Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers — while also helping breed
local acts like The Afghan Whigs and Over The Rhine. Almost all the music was
original, save some special events like Grateful Dead night.
nights they weren’t playing themselves, members of bands could always be found
among the crowd. The music scene at the time was like a circle, made up of
bands and fans that truly appreciated music and enjoyed simply watching people
express themselves creatively. Bands would come out and support other bands.
Non-musicians would out come and support them all.
and celebrities that were too big to play there live in the storybooks.
Popularly known folks like Jackson Browne, "Weird Al" Yankovic and
James Taylor stopped in to wash clothes or use the phone. Kate Pierson (B52s)
and Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders) came by during their Tide protest to pass
out literature in affiliation with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
recalls the afternoon before a Jefferson Airplane concert at Riverbend when the
bar was pretty empty and there were four guys hanging out doing laundry and
drinking a beer. They were worried about their cab not showing up and
frantically trying to figure out how to get to their hotel — so Walz drove
them. Only after dropping them off did she realize the reason the dudes were so
worried about being late.
me the blueprint of the building, and again lit up when she pointed out the
wash sink in the laundry room.
celebrity took a bath in that sink one night,” she says. “I’m pretty sure it
was Marilyn Manson.”
stop-ins aren’t the only “celebrity” claims to fame for Sudsy’s. The bar itself
was given awards throughout the years from Cincinnati’s former alternative
weekly Everybody’s News, from “Best
Looking Staff” to “Best Rock Club,” and even “Best Place to Ditch a Blind
Date.” They were also named the best bar in Ohio in ’93 by Creem magazine, courtesy of The Connells.
all the press, awards and celebrities aside, Walz says what really made the
place special were the local patrons.
like a family, people were loyal,” she says. “They would look out for others,
and for the bands, and would always defend Sudsy’s no matter what. Without the
people, everybody, the people that watched the bands, the bands themselves,
Sudsy’s was nothing.”
would even cater specifically to bands they knew well, for example stocking
extra Hudy Delight when The Thangs would come back because their crowd loved to
also folks she referred to as “family bums”. There was Archie Harrison, a local
homeless man who would help clean at night for a little money. During the days
he would just hang out, always being jolly and telling jokes sharing what
little bit of anything he might have had that day to share.
was Sonny, a good-hearted man who hid behind a hulk of a body. Sonny would
guard the back door, despite never being asked.
one time one of the dryers was broken and the glass wasn’t in there to cover
the hole,” she says. “We had an out of order sign but, you know, I guess it
disappeared. No surprise there. Anyway, we had given him some money to do
laundry and he used that dryer, just picking up the clothes as they fell out of
hole and throwing them right back in. It was hysterical. When we asked him why
he didn’t switch dryers he said he didn’t want to bother us and cause trouble.”
As the Millennium
rolled around, a lot of the core patrons began settling down and showing up
less often. The crime in the area would keep people away, and the decline in
the laundry business lowered their numbers even further. Walz had just put
$12,000 into a new sprinkler system, still trying to keep the building
code-worth, but she, too, was moving toward settling down.
pregnant at that pointm too, and I was just kind of done working in the bar
business,” she says.
with clashes between Walz and McCabe about making money versus booking acts that
would be huge for the scene led to Walz selling the establishment by 2002.
seems that Sudsy’s wasn’t as glorious after that time as it once had been, the
venue remained open until 2008, at which time it closed its doors for good. The
old building at 2626 Vine Street remains a boarded up relic.
One of the
most revealing things Walz said during our talk about Sudsy’s was, “If you were
there, you were part of the reason you are here talking to me today.”
me that I didn’t have to opportunity to be there, but for all those who were, as
well as for the others that might not have known what this place ever was, this
is just a small piece of the big apple pie that was Sudsy Malone’s Rock n’ Roll
Laundry & Bar.
by Nick Grever
When I first met Valley of the Sun, one of the first things Ryan ever said to me was, “So you’re the enemy,” with a huge grin on his face. He was obviously referencing something and was extremely happy that he was finally able to do so.
I didn’t get it.
For those of you as clueless as I was, it’s from Almost Famous, the story of a young boy who gets to live his dream and follow a band on a nationwide tour while writing a story for Rolling Stone. In it, one of the band members continually calls his newfound follower the enemy because he sees everything — the good, the bad, the ugly, the drunken — and he can report on it all.
As I sit on a plane, 53 minutes away from Brussels, I finally get the reference (it doesn’t hurt that I watched Almost Famous for the first time the night before we left). So far I’ve watched Aaron drink wine straight from the bottle, seen Nick blatantly break the “no smoking” rule on international flights and learned just how cutthroat the game of Dibs can be. Ladies: Yes we are staring at you and yes we are claiming each and every one of you. Also, selfies. So many selfies.It’s been pretty calm so far. Seating has been a breeze, Aaron and I prefer aisle, Ryan and Nick are window guys. Our connections have been effortless, leaving plenty of time for piss breaks and pizza runs. The flights were all smooth and filled with enough dibs-worthy frauleins to keep us busy the whole time. Even our luggage was fairly easy to manage. Only two gear bags needed some re-Tetrising, but it was easily corrected.
The trip out of the airport in Brussels was a bit more stressful. We had a hard time corralling our luggage, we couldn’t find our van and Ryan was stopped by an adorable drug dog and his less than adorable handler. But it was all sorted out and we headed out for Desertfest, our first show in Antwerp, Belgium.
The ride was short and we were the first band to arrive. We used our free time to track down some Belgian waffles; Arnaud’s bilingual skills helped us procure food that we actually recognized and pay for said food. We also sorted out usual tour things like reorganizing the van into less of a clusterfuck, catching up with old friends, making introductions to new members and passing out itineraries. Ryan was kind enough to provide us with a day-by-day breakdown of times and locations, all set inside a classy Lisa Frank folder. Because kittens are metal.Merch is being sold by an outside agency, so I get the night to enjoy some of Stoner Rock’s finest acts, like Witch Rider and Truckfighters. I will be in charge of filming the band with Nick’s Go Pro cameras. No guarantee of quality can be made, but considering our mutual state of exhaustion, I think it’ll be forgiven. Tonight’s sure to be an interesting start to tour. We’ve each been given six drink tickets, we’re running on about 30 minutes of sleep apiece and the boys are playing to a sold-out fest with attendees flying in from as far away as Japan. It’s definitely a trial by fire scenario, but I think they’re up to the challenge. They just might need a caffeine injection between now and then.
I think I’m going to wrap it up for today but I want to start a tally here that will hopefully carry on through the tour. We’re up to two Spinal Tap references/situations today. Check back in to see if we can run into any more locked doors later this week!CityBeat contributor Nick Grever is currently traveling Europe on tour with Cincinnati Rock band Valley of the Sun. He will be blogging for citybeat.com regularly about the experience.
by Mike Breen
Cincinnati’s Zebras in Public recently unleashed a new music video for its hard-charging rocker “Blown Away,” a highlight of the band’s 2014 full-length release, Paradise Leg.
Directed by the band’s drummer, Chris Himes, the rumbling music is matched up with footage of the band members zooming around Full Throttle Indoor Karting in Springdale. The fast-paced visuals are a great match for the high-octane nature of the song.
Paradise Leg is currently available through most major online music retailers. Chick here and here for more on Zebras in Public. The band's next local show is Oct. 25 at Longworth's in Mount Adams.
This spring, CityBeat’s Brian Baker spoke with the band about its history and the release of Paradise Leg. Check it out here.
by Mike Breen
Bellevue Bluegrass/Americana festival cancels outdoor events, moves music to Moerlein Taproom
With cool, rainy weather in the forecast, this weekend’s planned Mayesfest Bluegrass & Americana Festival in Bellevue has been cancelled. But with artists traveling into Northern Kentucky for the outdoor, riverside event, and many fans excited for it, organizers have decided to present what they’ve called on their Facebook page a “mini Mayes,” moving the music indoors to Over-the-Rhine’s Christian Moerlein Taproom (1621 Moore St., near the Shell gas station on Liberty), which hosted two stages during the recent MidPoint Music Festival.
The event will now begin at 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and feature a stripped-down but still excellent lineup of local and touring Bluegrass and Americana artists.
Here is the new lineup:
5 p.m. Price Hill Hustle
6:30 p.m. Al Scorch
8 p.m. Morgan O'Kane
9:30 p.m. Henhouse Prowlers
5 p.m. Honey & Houston
6:30 p.m. Jack Grelle
8 p.m. Woody Pines
9:30 p.m. Morgan O'Kane
Visit mayesfest.com or the event’s Facebook page for more info and further updates.