by Mike Breen
Killer triple Indie/New Wave-ish bill at Oakley's 20th Century Theater tonight
A stellar triple bill featuring an Indie fave and a pair of hot up-and-comers takes over Oakley's 20th Century Theater tonight. Tickets still remain, which is kind of ridiculous considering how ridiculously strong the lineup is. Showtime is 8 p.m. and tickets are $20 in advance (here) or $23 at the door.Chicago-based, new-wavey buzz band California Wives released its full-length debut, Art History, on Vagrant in early September to tons of glowing reviews from the likes of Paste, Rolling Stone, Billboard and even Seventeen. The band's video for "Purple" (a promo deal with Sharpie, apparently) debuted during the recent MTV Video Music Awards. Fans of We Are Scientists should approve.Also performing is Diamond Rings, the solo guise of Toronto's John O'Regan. With a look that's part Miley Cyrus with her new ’do and part Ziggy Stardust, Diamond Rings makes catchy Snyth Pop and AltRock. The new Diamond Rings album Free Dimensional will be released through EMI on Oct. 23. Here's the first single from the album, "I'm Just Me." (Read more from CityBeat here.)Canada's Stars headline the night; the group is currently touring behind its new album, The North, which came out Sept. 4 on Dave Matthews' ATO Records. The band came up as buddies of Broken Social Scene; the groups even shared members early on. But with Stars' stunning Set Yourself on Fire, the band really came into its own with an eclectic, rich, buzzing Indie Pop sound that's hard to resist. The new album adds a bit more of an Electro vibe, something gradually built upon over Stars' six album releases. Give a listen to the new album's "The Theory of Relativity" below.
by Blake Hammond
It was the first night of the MidPoint Music Festival on Thursday. This means that for at least the next three days, Cincinnati will be the U.S.’s musical Mecca of sorts. It’s not only a great opportunity for the city but also for the numerous Cincinnati acts that have been struggling and grinding for a chance at real recognition, a chance many are finally awarded this weekend. But as the calamity of festivities began to unfold downtown, The Devil Makes Three was throwing a good ole’ fashioned hootenanny of their own, 15 minutes north in Oakley at the 20th Century Theater. Before I delve into the logistics of how the Santa Cruz natives blew the top off the 20th Century, something must be said about the opening act, John Fullbright. This young man out of Oklahoma is a one-man band in every sense of the phrase. With his acoustic guitar, harmonica, and foot-stomping rhythms, Fullbright attained his own brand of back-porch folk providing the perfect setting for his raspy, southern drawl croon, heavy hitting guitar, and virtuosic harmonica skills. His best song (also his first) is titled, “Gawd Above,” which goes into great detail about how God is a needy asshole, showcased the 24-year-old’s potential, vocally and musically, and really got the crowd revved up for the headlining act, The Devil Makes Three. If you haven’t heard of The Devil Makes Three, they are a three-piece Folk band out of Santa Cruz, California that incorporates Ragtime, Bluegrass, and a Punk Rock attitude in their music. Imagine Johnny Cash getting out of prison, drinking a bottle of “Old Number 7” and going home to have sweet, unprotected sex with June while listening to Dead Kennedys records. Nine-months later, you’d get The Devil Makes Three. Even though The Devil Makes Three is used to playing sold-out shows, the smaller-than-usual crowd didn’t stop them from putting on one of the best concerts I’ve been to in awhile. The second Pete Bernhard, Lucia Torino, and Cooper McBean strummed the first chords of “Beneath the Piano,” to the encore (a cover), “St. James Infirmary,” they had complete and total control of the room, even if it wasn’t at maximum capacity (Thanks, MidPoint!)Part of their great crowd control came from the fact that their set list was meticulously thought out (probably not, but at least it seemed that way). They kept the crowd going with up-tempo fan favorites like “Gracefully Facedown,” “All Hail,” “Statesboro Blues,” “Old Number 7,” and “For Good Again” while still incorporating new slower jams like the blues anthem, “Dragging All Those Chains.”Their best track of the night, however, had to be “Aces and Twos,” for it was not only the height of the hoe-down that was happening in the crowd but was technically perfect and played blindingly faster than the studio version, despite its musical complexities. The last song they played (before the encore) is a tune titled, “Help Yourself,” which had the every patron of the 20th Century Theater doing their booze-induced jigs and solidified the fact that The Devil Makes Three had helped themselves by garnering a wider fan base in the Cincinnati area. Overall, the only think I think could have made this concert better is if they handed out overalls, straw hats and jugs of moonshine at the door. Just keep it in mind for next time, guys.
Aug. 19 • 20th Century Theater
0 Comments · Monday, August 13, 2012
In the past, Chris Robinson
has incorporated his musical influences into his original material the
way an Italian chef works four cloves of garlic into a recipe — with
total pride and absolute confidence in the distinct flavor of the
by Mike Breen
Cincinnati RCA recording artists do a little national TV promo before homecoming gig
One of Cincinnati's most successful bands making waves on a national level, Alt/Dance/Pop quartet Walk the Moon, got a nice extra plug for its sold-out homecoming concert at 20th Century Theater in Oakley a week from today (July 26). As the band prepped to play their money-shot song, the miraculously infectious "Anna Sun," on Conan last night on TBS, during the group's intro, host Conan O'Brien mentioned its hometown gig, Walk the Moon's first Cincy show since the release of its debut album on June 19 (which they celebrated by playing the same song on The Late Show with David Letterman; compare and contrast here). The band played with incredible enthusiasm once again, impressive given how much work the members have put in over the last year-plus. Walk the Moon's members received hearty handshakes from O'Brien after the song, then chatted joyfully with Conan, Andy Richter and Breaking Bad's freshly Emmy-nominated Bryan Cranston as the house band played the show off. Watch the full episode here ("Ronny Sunshine, The Incredibly Helpful Bath Salts Addict" was hilarious). Below is WtM's performance.
June 14 • 20th Century Theater
1 Comment · Monday, June 11, 2012
There are guitar slingers, guitar masters, guitar heroes
and guitar stranglers, and then there are the rare guitar icons, players
who possess a distinctive style that makes them immediately
recognizable after just a few notes. Sonny Landreth is surely among that hallowed group.
June 13 • 20th Century Theater
0 Comments · Monday, June 11, 2012
Given the relative proximity of his Anderson, Ind.,
hometown, Pop singer/songwriter Jon McLaughlin could be considered a
Tri-state talent. As a youngster, McLaughlin learned piano despite his
aversion to lessons, eventually studying music at Anderson University.
At 21, McLaughlin released his debut album, Up Until Now, followed a year later by his eponymous sophomore disc, which he supported by relentlessly touring the Midwest.
May 17 • 20th Century Theatre
0 Comments · Friday, May 11, 2012
Australian Pop/Rock band Men At Work hit me — and many
other music fans around the world — at just the right time. I was 12
when the single “Who Can It Be Now?” exploded onto the charts. I was
intrigued by the group’s quirkiness, but it was singer/guitarist Colin
Hay’s voice that initially drew me in.
April 24 • 20th Century Theatre
0 Comments · Monday, April 16, 2012
Over the Rhine — the
Cincinnati musical duo of husband-and-wife Linford Detweiler and Karin
Bergquist — has a lot for which to thank the Cowboy Junkies. Hopefully they’ll
get a chance to thank the Junkies when the latter is in town for a Tuesday
night gig at 20th Century Theatre. The Junkies are here to celebrate the
completion of an unusual project, The
Nomad Series, four albums in 18 months. The final one, Wilderness — a sensitive look at the needs and impulses that drive
a person’s life — came out last month.
April 12 • 20th Century Theater
0 Comments · Friday, April 6, 2012
Since releasing his Nick Lowe-produced classic debut, Howling Wind, back in 1976, Graham Parker keeps delivering his vintage brand of spiked lyricism and jangly Pop Rock in potent doses. Thirty-plus years into his dynamic, underrated career, Parker still stands tall among his more commercially successful
April 5 • 20th Century Theater
0 Comments · Monday, April 2, 2012
What would you call a
rotating collection of Punk superstars who assemble for an annual
acoustic front porch hootenanny that crisscrosses the country to the
ecstatic response of thousands of their biggest fans? Chuck Ragan calls
it The Revival Tour, while the Phoenix New Times dubbed it “Punk Rock’s answer to the Traveling Wilburys.”