by Mike Breen
31 days ago
• Mega Monster Metal superstars GWAR return to Bogart’s in Corryville tonight for a 7:30 p.m., all-ages show. “Earth’s only openly extra-terrestrial rock band” formed in the mid-’80s, developed an over-the-top live show that makes a KISS concert look like a children’s Halloween party (with B-movie horror film theatrics that look straight outta Troma) and have become one of America’s great cult bands.
The group continues to churn out albums that unveil the mythology behind GWAR, the latest being this year’s Battle Maximus. What’s it about? Oh, you know, usual GWAR stuff:
“GWAR's Battle Maximus features twelve brand new tracks that not only honor their departed ally, but tells the story of GWAR's latest struggle against what may be their greatest enemy yet — the insidious "Mr. Perfect", who has travelled through time itself to steal the power of GWAR — the power of immortality, and use this power to mutate the human race into his twisted vision of what the "perfect" human should be. Once again GWAR finds themselves as the only thing standing between the human race and the latest super-powered shithead bent on the destruction of GWAR and the enslavement of their worshippers.”
GWAR front-alien Oderus Urungus recently showed that he does have a softer(ish) side. Here he is reading Goodnight Moon for the children of the galaxy. In his own way, of course (i.e. it’s NSFW):
• On the other end of the sonic spectrum, Over-the-Rhine’s MOTR Pub welcomes Chicago’s lilting, folksy ensemble The Horse’s Ha to the club for a free show tonight. The band was formed in 2002 by Janet Bean, member of great Chicago acts Freakwater and Eleventh Dream Day, and James Elkington, guitarist (and drummer) for various acts, including Jon Langford’s band Skull Orchard. The group’s gorgeous slant on American and British Folk, laced with pointed harmonies and exquisite cello, has been showcased on just a pair of albums, including this summer’s Waterdrawn.
Fans of talented acoustic guitarists will appreciate Elkington’s playing; he recorded a duo album of acoustic fingerstyle guitar pieces with Nathan Salsburg called Avos in 2011. Salsburg is opening tonight free MOTR show at around 10 p.m.
Here’s a taste of the Ha’s most recent album:
Click here for more live music options tonight in Greater Cincinnati.
by Mike Breen
37 days ago
Cincinnati Rock crew returns tonight after a six year absence with a new lineup and sound
Greater Cincinnati Rock band Pike 27 was a staple on the local club circuit in the early-to-mid-’00s, playing sweaty, raucous live shows to a dedicated following (headlining and opening for the likes of Dave Alvin and Chuck Prophet) and releasing the acclaimed full-length, Falling Down Hard, in 2001. But in 2007, frontman/guitarist/singer/songwriter Dave Purcell left Cincinnati for Northern Ohio, taking a job as a sociology professor at Kent State.
This past summer, Purcell returned to Cincinnati and resurrected Pike 27 with a new lineup. Returning to his role as Pike 27's bassist is Sean Rhiney, formerly of Clabbergirl (in which Purcell played rhythm guitar) and co-founder of the MidPoint Music Festival. New to Pike are guitarist Mike Fair (Wojo, Mike Fair & the Adventure Seekers) and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Dave Killen, a professor at Cincinnati State.
The “new” Pike 27 has moved away from the Americana/Roots Rock style it was known for, a reflection of the new songs Purcell has written for the band. (The group is also reviving some older material for its upcoming live shows.) Purcell says that while working on the new songs, the members have remarked that the material is more in line with artists like Robyn Hitchcock, The Kinks, Graham Parker and Grant Lee Buffalo — still smart, catchy and rockin’, but with the twang dialed back.
"How do you pin down REM, Elvis Costello or Glen Hansard?" Purcell says of Pike 27’s less easily categorizable style. "We hope to land in there somewhere — jangly, smart, sometimes noisy, joyful. Good to raise a pint to."
The band makes its official like debut tonight at MOTR Pub, opening the free show headlined by Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion (click here for more on the duo). Pike kicks things off at 10 p.m.
by Mike Breen
41 days ago
New York City Ska legends The Toasters were the bridge
from the late ’70s 2 Tone Records-fueled Ska revival in the U.K. to the one that
brought Ska into the American mainstream in the ’90s. Easily one of the most
influential Ska acts of all time, The Toasters were formed in 1981 by
Robert “Bucket” Hingley, a U.K. native (and the group’s lone constant
member) who had just moved to The States, taking inspiration from the 2 Tone Ska
being created in his homeland (The Beat, The Specials, The
The Toasters, in turn, helped inspire multitudes of Ska bands to
form, something that ultimately led to the development of so-called Ska
Punk. Having a hard time finding a label, Hingley formed his own, Moon
Ska Records, which grew to become the major American Ska indie
imprint, releasing music (via albums or the label’s popular
compilations) by The Slackers, Dance Hall Crashers, Mustard Plug, Less
Than Jake and No Doubt, among many others. The Moon label was a road-map
to quality American Ska when the music was more underground; the imprint,
which was artist- and consumer-friendly (like Punk label Dischord, Moon
always kept prices low), experienced its greatest success during the
’90s Ska boom, but when the music fell out of mainstream favor, the
label faded away. Hingley moved to Spain,
where he formed another label, Megalith, to continue releasing Toasters albums.
The Toasters were the cool elder statesmen of the Ska
scene and they’ve survived the fickleness of musical trends and an
ever-changing music industry for over 30 years now by doing things on their own terms and keeping true to their vision.
The Toasters play a free show tonight at MOTR Pub in
Over-the-Rhine. Northern Kentucky’s great Ska/Reggae/Punk ensemble
Newport Secret Six opens the show around 9 p.m.
Click here for more live music options in Greater Cincinnati tonight.
by Mike Breen
44 days ago
• Nashville’s Escondido came together quickly but very naturally. The project of Jessica
Maros and Tyler James (a solo artist who has also toured as pianist for
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) got its start in James’ home
studio when he was recording an artist with whom both were friends.
During a recording break, Maros, a Vancouver native and successful
clothing/jewelry designer, was casually playing a song in the studio,
James hit “record,” added some light ornamentation and, essentially,
Escondido was born. That night, the two decided to make an album.
Fittingly, the album — Esondido’s debut, titled The Ghost of Escondido
— was recorded live in just one day with a handful of talented
Nashville friends/musicians, even though it sounds incredibly cohesive,
full-bodied and organic.
The making of the full-length, released at the start of
this year, was driven by the spirit of Ennio Morricone, the legendary
spaghetti western soundtrack genius, and that desert-sunset atmosphere
meshes beautifully with the band’s mix of Indie Rock, Pop and Country.
The end result is mesmerizing, a hazy, dreamy collection of haunted,
mysterious soundscapery and spine-tingling harmonies and vocals, making
the band reminiscent of a slightly twangier, more dynamic and grounded
Mazzy Star. Along with garnering a wide-range of supporters, from the
tastemakers at KCRW to the writers at Vogue, The Ghost of Escondido also made a fan out of eccentric filmmaker/artist/writer/musician David Lynch, who wrote about his love for the band in Mojo magazine.
Here’s the music video for Escondido’s “Black Roses.”
The duo (fleshed out by a full touring band) performs a
free show tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine. New York City’s Indie
Pop/Garage Rock group Unicycle Loves You opens the show at 10 p.m.
• Tonight at Covington’s Madison Theater is a good chance
to hear what a “Jam Band” sounds like in 2013, as several groups join
forces for an all-ages, 8 p.m. show. Or, rather, you’ll hear how almost
no two “Jam Bands” sound alike anymore, making the Grateful
Dead-mimicking cliches about the scene completely outdated. Today, the
“Jam” tag has less real meaning than ever, with the groups earning the
descriptor exploring a huge range of styles. Jam Bands now often share
little more than a tendency to improvise.
Headliners Dopapod epitomize the diversity of the modern
Jam scene with their progressive blend of Electronic music, Jazz, Rock,
Soul, Funk and various other styles. The Brooklyn, N.Y., group released
its third studio album, Redivider, late last year, introducing
fans to a Dopapod first — vocals (previously, the band was all
instrumental). Read Brian Baker’s preview of the show for CityBeat here.
The support lineup for Dopapod is a varied collection of
mostly local bands that reflect the same kind of sonic adventurousness
as the headliners, though, of course, each bringing their own slant —
Ethosine, Nevele, Us Today, Freeform Connection, Peridoni, Aliver Hall
and Blue Moon Soup. Tickets are $15 at the door.
• Though they never reaped the full rewards and commercial
success that some bands that came after them did, Michigan’s Mustard
Plug was one of the early guiding forces behind the ’90s Punk Ska
explosion. The band put out its first album, Skapocalypse Now!,
on cassette in 1992 and moved up to third-wave Ska’s version of 2 Tone
Records, NYC’s Moon Records, for its second full-length, kicking off two
decades of hardcore international touring.
Mustard Plug later joined the roster of Hopeless Records,
which would go on to become one of the top independent Punk labels in
the country. While the vast majority of Ska Punk bands from the ’90s
either moved on to another style of music or imploded after the “craze”
died down, Mustard Plug continues to write new songs, put out new music
and tour on a regular basis, its loyal cult of fans proving that, while
you won’t hear it on the radio anymore, there is still an audience
hungry for Ska Punk done well. Mustard Plug has been operating D.I.Y.
since parting ways with Hopeless; a new album (the band’s first since
2007’s In Black and White) is reportedly finished and due soon thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Mustard Plug plays a free show tonight at Northside Tavern. Opening is Cincinnati’s Elysian Souls.
• October is coming to an end,
which means Rocktober is also almost over and Rocktober on the Square, a
new every-Friday concert series at downtown’s Fountain Square, is
winding down as well. Today at 5 p.m., the final Rocktober on the Square
show starts with a set from great, rootsy singer/songwriter Josh Eagle.
In the 6 p.m. slot is singer/songwriter Mike Oberst of
popular Cincy Folk group The Tillers, who are heading overseas for their
first ever U.K. tour, playing Nov. 1-16 throughout England, Scotland
and Ireland as support for Pokey LaFarge.
The always fantastic 500 Miles to Memphis closes out
Rocktober at 7 p.m. It’s the rowdy, rootsy rockers’ last local show of
the year; the 500MTM fellas are taking a break from performing to go
back into the studio to finish their next album.
Rocktober on the Square is a free event. Click here for more info.
<p class="p1">• Don’t forget — the One More Girl on a Stage benefit
concerts continue today after last night’s kickoff at various venues in
Over-the-Rhine. The OMG fest takes over the Southgate House Revival in
Newport for a “whole house” show tonight. Here are complete
<p class="p2"><i>Click here for even more live music options tonight in Greater Cincinnati. </i></p></body></html>• Don’t forget — the One More Girl on a Stage benefit concerts continue
today after last night’s kickoff at various venues in Over-the-Rhine.
The OMG fest takes over the Southgate House Revival in Newport for a
“whole house” show tonight starting at 7 p.m. Go here for complete details.Click here for even more live music options in Greater Cincinnati tonight.
by Mike Breen
47 days ago
• The first time I saw Neko Case was a complete accident. I
was in Chicago around the most recent turn of the century and went to
see Indie Rock singer/songwriter Edith Frost at the small (but popular)
club Lounge Ax and Case and her “Boyfriends,” as her backing band was
then called (really Canadian Roots rockers The Sadies), opened the show
with a great set. Though I’d heard of Case, seeing her live was
revelatory — the singer/songwriter (also part of Canadian Pop collective
The New Pornographers) has one of the most soulful, mesmerizing voices
in music today and, once I’d heard it, I was hooked for life. Case’s
transcendent pipes are only comparable to legends like Patsy Cline
(though Jenny Lewis has made quite the solo career aping Case).
Working in a folksy musical realm (though not tethered to
any specific style), Case has yet to release a bad album, though her
latest for Anti- Records, the recent The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You,
has received mixed reviews (likely more indicative of a press corps
bored with her astonishing consistency than the actual album itself,
which is excellent). I’ve seen Case numerous times since that happy
accident in Chicago — including dates at Chicago’s Metro and at
Newport’s Southgate House — and I’ve never left in any other state
Case comes back to the Cincinnati area tonight for a show
at downtown’s Taft Theatre (her largest local appearance yet) with
special guest and fellow red-headed singer/songwriter Karen Elson.
Tickets are still available for $35 at the door.
Check out Jason Gargano's feature story on Case from this
week's CityBeat. Here's the "lyric video" for The Worse Things Get track
"Night Still Comes."
• Over the past two decades, Built to Spill has become a legendary cult band, remaining a solid concert draw across the nation and
releasing some of the most brilliant guitar-driven Indie Rock albums of
the ’90s and ’00s. Led by singer/guitarist Doug Martsch, BtS formed in
Boise, Idaho, in the early ’90s, and worked with a lot of Pacific
Northwest musical institutions on its way up. In 1995, as the major
labels were winding down their signing frenzy in the wake of Nirvana's
huge success (signing seemingly every band even loosely associated with
the words "Seattle" or "Grunge"), Built to Spill inked with Warner
Brothers Records, which has released six stellar albums by the band
since 1997, including the crew's masterful debut for the label, Perfect
From Now On, and 2009's There is No Enemy, the group's most recent album.
Like label mates The Flaming Lips, BtS has been the rare
band that has sold consistently enough to remain signed to a major label
for well over a decade thanks to the consistent quality of its work,
heavy touring and an incredibly dedicated following. It's refreshing to
see a big-time label stay so loyal to a group that will probably never
sell a million copies and even more probably won't ever have a big hit
single. (Despite rumors, BtS is not breaking up; a new album is in the
works and expected by the end of 2014.)
Built to Spill performs tonight at Newport, Ky.'s
Southgate House Revival with guests Slam Dunk and Genders. Showtime is
8:30 p.m. and tickets are $25 at the door.
by Mike Breen
48 days ago
Ohio Dream Pop/Rock group strangewave performs tonight at The Comet in Northside. J. Trenton Crace and Katrina Eresman formed the compelling group in Dayton not long ago and released their ear-grabbing full-length debut, Pop Noir, earlier this year. It's a fantastic first effort full of hypnotic songs that hover in the same realm as classic Shoegaze, Mazzy Star, Blonde Redhead and Lush, with the diversity from track to track keeping the listener drawn in and mesmerized from start to finish. The twosome is joined by a drummer and bassist for live shows.Opening the free show at 10 p.m. is Seattle Indie Rock/Soul trio Garage Voice, which claims heavy influence from Gospel music and Memphis Soul and has a Garage Rock spirit, thought its songs are far less derivative and predictable that most other groups given that tag. The soulful sounds of the band — which are laced with cool Hammond Organ stabs, soundscapes and grooves — have something of an atmospheric Psych Pop vibe at times (making them a good fit with strangewave), but ignite into dirty Blues and Rock & Roll outbursts with little to no notice. Get a taste of Garage Voice's latest album, Amenin, below.AMENIN by Garage VoiceClick here for more live music options in Greater Cincinnati tonight.
AFI comes back from its longest break with its darkest album, Burials
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 9, 2013
AFI’s first new album in four years, Burials, continues the band’s fascinating sonic evolution and is the group's darkest effort yet.
Plus, King Records Month continues and more
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Bluegrass for Babies, featuring local artists Wild Carrot and Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, returns to Sawyer Point Saturday to raise money for the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Plus, King Records Month continues, CityBeat hosts a pre-MidPoint Music Festival party, Jerry's Little Band turns 20 and Abiyah Presents Hip Hop @
The Comet presents a special "open mic" edition.
Garage Soul troupe Barrence Whitfield and the Savages’ Cincinnati ties lead to this weekend’s two-night stand
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 18, 2013
R&B/Soul/Garage band Barrence Whitfield and the Savages celebrate their recent Bloodshot Records release and pay tribute to King Records with two shows at MOTR Pub this weekend.
85 days ago
Red-hot Blues guitarist is headed to Riverbend for a show with his all-star power trio, The Rides
Kenny Wayne Shepherd has brought a youthful side to American Blues music ever since the great success of his first album, Ledbetter Heights,
which went platinum and reached No. 1 on the Blues charts. He was just
17 at the time of the album's release and has gone on to put out several
more successful Rock/Blues albums with his Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band,
featuring Cincinnati's Noah Hunt on lead vocals.
Shepherd has developed a new exciting project called The
Rides with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Stephen Stills and Barry
Goldberg, a veteran musician who formed The Electric Flag with Mike
Bloomfield in the late ’60s and has written and produced many classics. The Rides are performing at the Ohio River
Throwdown, a new Roots music festival, this Saturday at Riverbend Music
Center, playing alongside other acts like Tedeschi Trucks Band, JJ Grey
and the Mofro, Los Lobos and many other artists. CityBeat chatted with
Shepherd recently about his new project.
CityBeat: I saw behind the scenes videos
of The Rides recording in the studio together. What was your favorite
experience being in the studio with the other two guys?
Kenny Wayne Shepherd: Well, the whole thing was a
really good experience. Everybody had a really great time doing the
record. It’s just very interesting. You look back over the course
Stephen's career, and Barry as well, and these guys have made some
really tremendous records in their time. They have also been on so many
albums and done this for so many years that they have accumulated a vast
wealth of knowledge of how to do things in the studio. For me, even
though I have had my recording career for 20 years now, I still consider
myself to be like a sponge, just trying to soak up as much information
as I can. I learned a lot from those guys and it was a really good time.
CB: Where did the name of the band actually originate?
KWS: We were putting our heads together. It went on
for two weeks. One of the hardest things to do is to come up with a
band name, at least it can be one of the most challenging things to do. A
lot of the reasons why it is so hard to do nowadays is because almost
every name has been used. Everything we came up with, we would go back
home and I would look it up online and do a Google search and someone
would have that name and we would start over again.
We spent a lot of the time in the studio between
recordings … Stephen and I are both big car guys, I mean we love cars.
Stephen and his wife have some of the most incredible cars you could
hope to own. I have a pretty cool collection myself. We spent a good bit
of time talking about cars and driving and stuff like that. As we were
exploring name options for the band, one day we were at Stephen's house
and I had driven my 1964 Dodge to his house and we were walking out to
the driveway to leave and he just looked at my car and said, “You know
we should be called 'The Rides.' ” I was like, “Yeah. That’s cool.” I
went home and checked and couldn’t find anybody with that name. So here
CB: What is your favorite car you have?
KWS: I don’t know. I would say right now my 1969
Dodge Charger, and I think it is one of the most beautiful, one of the
most visually stunning cars that was ever designed. Probably that one is
CB: I have listened to the new album and I really, really love it. What is your favorite song to play on the new album?
KWS: I go through phases when I do a new record
like, “Right now this is my favorite song …” and then a few months from
now a different one is my favorite one. Currently my favorite is “Can’t
Get Enough,” the title track. That song is a great representation of
this band and what we are about. It is one of the songs we wrote
together. It has great, heavy guitars. It has got really, good lyrics.
Even the vocal is nice and raspy and bluesy. There are lots of dynamics
to that song and I think it is just really a great representation of who
we are as a group.
CB: Typically you are touring with your band by yourself. What was it like splitting singing duties with Stephen?
KWS: I split singing duties, to a degree, in my own
band. I have Noah Hunt, who is from Cincinnati, he has been my lead
vocalist for 17 years. But over the past few years of my career, I have
stepped up here and there to the microphone when I wanted to, and on the
last record we recorded, Noah and I sang a lot of songs together. I
have kind of started to integrate that idea into my own band even though
I tend to let Noah sing most of the songs because he has such an
incredible voice and it enables me more to focus more on my guitar
playing. There is certainly, in this band, more vocal responsibility for
me. I really wanted to do it. It is pretty cool. Like being around
Stephen, who is so well known for his singing and vocals, it has been
inspiring to me to step up to the microphone and sing more.
CB: I thought I saw Noah at the Peter Frampton show in Cincinnati.
KWS: He was there. He went to the show because we
had just been on the road with Peter over the past two months, we had
done some shows with him. Noah wanted to go hang out and see everybody
when they came through town so he went.
CB: What is the favorite guitar you have ever played?
KWS: The one I am most attached to is my 1961 Stratocaster. It is the first Strat I ever got.
When you are a guitar player you hear this story about how
there is this one guitar that is your soulmate. There is one guitar out
there that was built for you. You know it the minute you pick it up and
start playing it. Some guys go their entire lives trying to find it. I
found this guitar when I was just 15 years old. The minute I picked it
up, it fit me like a glove. I did everything I could to get it, I
couldn’t afford it at the time, then later on, the following year, it
was in Los Angeles at the Guitar Center. Then I came back a year later
and it was still there. I still didn’t have the money to afford it, but I
decided I wasn’t leaving the store without it. I told my Dad, he was
like “We gotta go.” I’m like, “I’m not leaving without this guitar.”
Between him, the guy at my record company, my A&R guy, my music
attorney, they decide they would split the cost up on their credit cards
as long as I agreed to pay them back. I did. That guitar has been with
me ever since. It has toured the world with me and been on every record I
have ever done. It is just my baby.
CB: That is a great story. I have
interviewed so many guitar players and nobody has talked to me about
their soulmate guitar before.
KWS: Yeah, well, it really is. I don’t know about
those guys but there is a bond between me and that instrument. I feel
like all guitar players have their go-to instrument and there should be a
really solid connection between them and the instrument.
CB: Social media has become invaluable
with marketing music and musicians. When you are on the internet, in
general, where do you spend most of your time?
KWS: I am a creature of habit and repetition when
it comes to browsing the web. I have a couple of sites I look at every
day. I go online and get my daily dose of the news. I usually go to AOL,
because half of their stories report the news and the other half are
like looking at a tabloid magazine. They have some really weird stuff
they put up there.
I have a couple car enthusiast websites, like there is a
website called Moparts.org which is for all Mopart Car enthusiasts. I
love the Dodge/Chrysler/Plymouth brands, so I am a Mopart guy.
There are a couple guitar pages that I go onto to see what
is going on in the world of guitar. I check in, there is a page called
thegearpage.net, then I go to the Fender Forums and Fender.com.
I am also obsessed with the new Tesla Electric cars. I
have been browsing their forums a lot educating myself on their
technology and stuff. I am kind of a geek when it comes to cars and all
CB: Can you tell us what the fans can expect from The Rides' live show in Cincinnati?
KWS: We just rehearsed, we just had four days to
rehearse for this tour and none of us had played any of these songs
since we recorded the album back in December. So I guess with my
schedule with my band and Stephen and his band, we had a very narrow
window of opportunity to prepare for this tour.
We are basically going to do the album and throw in a few
songs from my catalog and Stephen's catalog and stuff that Barry wrote
that other people recorded. The whole goal is to be loose and have a
good time and just play music together. They’ll hear a little bit of my
stuff, a little bit of Steven’s stuff, a little bit of Barry’s stiff,
then they’ll hear the whole (Rides) record.