by Mike Breen
It's MidPoint Music Festival week! If you need some
guidance as you create your MPMF itinerary (which you can build and keep
track of through the live.mpmf.com app), we'll be showcasing some
of the Critic's Picks from our official MidPoint guide (which will be
available throughout the fest). While most of attendees are likely very
familiar with some of the bigger headlining acts of the fest, these
suggestions focus on some of the great acts beyond the top-of-the-poster
ones. Remember — MPMF is about discovery. (And if you find yourself
with a blank spot on your schedule, any of Cincinnati's homegrown talent
playing MPMF are a sure bet.)
Here are some recommendations for this Thursday. Click
here to check out the entire official guide, which has write-ups on all
150 or so MPMF acts. Tickets are still available here.
8 p.m. @ Arnold's
Old Hundred (Columbus, Ohio)
Indie Folk Rock
In 2012, Columbus’ Old Hundred was listed as one of “10 Ohio Bands You Should Listen to Now” by Paste Magazine.
If you didn’t heed that advice at the time, you should do yourself a
favor and do so immediately. Along with scoring slots at regional fests
and playing with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Phosphorescent and
Cake, the group has put out a pair of full-lengths and two EP releases,
including this year’s remarkable I Don’t Want to Die. The EP
shows the unpredictable diversity of Old Hundred, opening with the
sweeping Folk instrumental “Catamount I” before moving into gritty,
melodic Indie Rock of “I’ll Be There (When You Die),” the beautiful
harmony-laden “I Don’t Want to Die” and “Catamount II,” which begins
with haunting Art Folk minimalism and builds into a noisy cacophony that
could’ve been composed by Explosions in the Sky.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Fleet Foxes, Wilco, Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses. (Mike Breen)
Don't Want to Die by Old Hundred
10:30 p.m. @ The Drinkery
Alpha Consumer (Minneapolis)
Considering Minneapolis’ storied history,
Alpha Consumer has created a cultishly devoted fan base among one of
the most sophisticated and discerning music audiences on the planet. The
trio has also made fans within its peer group, collaborating with
Andrew Bird, Bon Iver and Brother Ali, while maintaining a unique
musical perspective of herky jerky New Wave as filtered through a
melodic Pop prism that fractures its light into individual rays of New
York Punk, Psych Folk and contemporary Indie Rock. Alpha Consumer’s last
full-length, 2011’s Kick Drugs Out of America, was a blast of Indie oddballery, but the group’s recently released Meat shows a great deal more subtlety and musical growth toward the melodic heart and soul that was evident on its predecessor.
YDIIYD: Ray Davies, Paul Westerberg and Ween in the front row of a Devo concert. (Brian Baker)
10:30 p.m. @ Know Theater (Main Stage)
Fathers is a band with branches in
Chicago but deep roots in the Cincinnati scene. Its members played
previously in such Cincy stalwarts as Enlou, All The Day Holiday and
Cathedrals. It should be noted that Fathers sound virtually nothing like
any of those bands, but instead carves out its own niche somewhere
between ’70s Easy Listening and more modern, propulsive Indie Rock.
Nearly every song demonstrates a mastery of the delicate art of dynamic
and mood. Of course, that being said, the band says its live show is
akin to “an out-of-control bus with a bomb strapped to the bottom that
will blow if the driver slows down.” So come prepared for anything.
YDIIYD: Fleetwood Mac with vocals recorded in the My Morning Jacket reverb silo. (Ben Walpole)
10 p.m. @ Know Theater (Second Stage)
Violent Mae (Hartford, Conn.)
Indie Jazz Rock
As their bio reads, vocalist/guitarist
Becky Kessler and drummer Floyd Kellogg were supposed to work on her
solo album together, not form a band. Kessler moved from Outer Banks,
N.C., to work on an organic farm in Connecticut, where she met Kellogg.
The result of their work together is last year’s self-titled debut,
influenced by noisy bands Sonic Youth and Pixies, but also possessing
notes of Jazz icon Charles Mingus and a sprinkling of Jeff Buckley’s
Folk Gospel. On the upbeat melancholy of “Hole in My Heart,” Kessler
sings about heartache in her raspy voice that’s in the ilk of Heartless
Bastards’ Erika Wennerstrom. This winter they went method and recorded
the song “Man in the Country” in an abandoned mining cave.
YDDIYD: The Heartless Bastards, Jeff Buckley without the high notes, New England in the fall, cave dwellers. (Garin Pirnia)
10:45 p.m. @ Mainstay Rock Bar
The Infatuations (Detroit)
The high-energy Soul style of The
Infatuations has made them a favorite in their hometown scene, which is
saying a lot when you realize their hometown scene gave birth to Motown
and scores of bands known for amazing live shows (MC5, The White
Stripes, etc.). The group recently scored five Detroit Music Awards (out
of 14 nominations) including Outstanding Live Performance. The
Infatuations bring the party for its live shows and their recorded work
captures that sweaty, dance-demanding vibe perfectly. This year, the
group released its first full-length, Detroit Block Party, 11 tracks of high-octane R&B that’s almost as fun to listen to as it is to experience in concert. Almost.
YDIIYD: Motown, Stax, Marvin, Curtis, Otis. (MB)
Midnight @ MOTR Pub
Nikki Lane (Nashville, Tenn.)
With her unabashed bluster, Lane’s songs
about jilted lovers and walks of shame generate either foot stomping or
pensive swaying. (Note: She’s nothing like another Nashville “Country”
artist who likes to write songs about exes, Taylor Swift.) Lane grew up
in Greenville, S.C., then spent some time in NYC before settling in
Music City, where she opened up a vintage store called High Class
Hillbilly. That led to meeting and collaborating with Black Key Dan
Auerbach, who produced her sophomore record, All or Nothin’. On
songs “Man Up” and “You Can’t Treat Me Like That,” she lets those men
know she’s the boss, all while never losing that alluring rhythm.
YDIIYD: Strong vintage female Country artists like Wanda Jackson and Loretta Lynn and newer country artists like Lydia Loveless. (GP)
10:30 p.m. @ Mr. Pitiful's
Steelism (Nashville, Tenn.)
Led by guitarist Jeremy Fetzer and pedal
steel player Spencer Cullum, Steelism is a wide-ranging instrumental
band that takes from Surf rock greats, classical soundtrack composers
and vintage Soul music and creates its own distinct and completely
engrossing sound. You can use Santo & Johnny — the pedal
steel/guitar twosome that had a hit with the mesmerizing “Sleepwalk” —
as a starting point, simply because it is a provocative instrumental hit
using the same instrument motif, but Steelism takes the concept to
levels that duo only dreamed of. They can pull off gorgeous Country
balladry, Krautrock weirdness, rollicking Rock & Roll boogie,
R&B smoothness with equal grace, managing to have its own strong
musical identity craft cohesiveness in the face of such disparate
inspiration. And no, you get swept up enough that you won’t once wonder,
“Would this sound better with singing?” In this case, singing would be
YDIIYD: The Ventures, Esquivel, Ennio Morricone. (MB)
10:45 p.m. @ Ballroom at the Taft Theater
Barrence Whitfield and the Savages (Boston)
Barrence Whitfield is the kind of
performer that the word “frontman” was devised to define who they are
and yet doesn’t go nearly far enough in describing what they do.
Whitfield is a human tornado of Soul and Rock, a witheringly energetic
gene splice of Wilson Pickett, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Arthur
Alexander, with moves and grooves that would sprain Richard Simmons’
optic nerve. And around him are the Savages, a musical Special Forces
unit that storms stages with blitzkrieg passion and unhinged abandon.
And we’ll let Boston claim them, because the band started there three
decades ago, but we all know that half the Savages hail from the Queen
City (ex-Customs/DMZ/Lyres guitarist Peter Greenberg,
ex-Customs/Auburnaires keyboardist Jim Cole, ex-Pearlene drummer Andy
Jody) and their last two comeback albums — 2011’s Savage Kings and 2013’s Dig Thy Savage Soul
— were recorded with John Curley at Ultrasuede (and Savage Kings was
released on Shake It, so there). But the band will be happy to tell you
that it doesn’t matter where they’re from, it matters where they’re
headed. And the best you can do to get ready is strap your ass on tight;
Barrence Whitfield and the Savages might just rock it off.
YDIIYD: Little Richard mentors The Dictators, Wilson Pickett gives them a metric ton of Soul. (BB)
Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
The Corner Man Later with Jools Holland from TKA on Vimeo.
by Mike Breen
Ohio Chamber Folk ensemble makes promo video in support of Memorial Hall performance
Over the past few years, Athens, Ohio’s Indie Folk troupe The Ridges have become a regular presence at Cincinnati area clubs, building up a nice local following. They’ve also become fairly regular participants in the MidPoint Music Festival (which returns starting this Thursday to the clubs and venues of Downtown/Over-the-Rhine) and they always provide fest-highlight-worthy performances. The band is returning to MPMF 2014 for its third visit to the festival, opening up the night at new MPMF venue Memorial Hall Saturday at 9:15 p.m. and rounding out a great bill that also includes anticipated MPMF sets by Saintseneca and Gardens & Villa. The Ridges (who’ve done several dates in the past year with Kishi Bashi, one of last year’s big MPMF breakthrough acts) often craft cool promo videos for their shows, particularly for bigger events like MPMF. The band’s video previewing its appearance at this year’s MidPoint was recently shot from the stage at Memorial Hall, giving a good look at the gorgeous venue for those who’ve never seen it.
“It’s always one of our favorite shows,” Ridges singer/songwriter/guitarist Victor Rasgaitis says about playing MidPoint. “The atmosphere is perfectly inspiring and the crowds are so incredibly receptive — we're lucky to have such an awesome festival here in Ohio.”
Tickets for MPMF are available here. For more on The Ridges, visit theridgesmusic.com.
by Mike Breen
Before opening MidPoint Friday next week, local Indie rockers reveal a live video of their recent single
On their most recent tour, excellent Northern Kentucky Indie Rock band The Yugos stopped by Toledo, Ohio’s SixtyTen Recording Studio to record its latest single, “Follow You,” as part of the facility’s “SixtyTen Sessions” video series.The studio version of the single, released earlier this summer, can be streamed/downloaded here.One week from the day, The Yugos will be opening up MidPoint Music Festival’s Friday festivities. The band plays at 5 p.m. Friday on the MidPoint Midway stage, right before another of the fest’s most anticipated acts, Real Estate, performs. The Midway stage is free and open to the public (no tickets/passes required), thanks to stage sponsor P&G. It’s also an all-ages show.Click here to hear more from The Yugos, and here to check out more sessions from SixtyTen.
by Mike Breen
The 2014 MPMF guide features performer previews, Midway attraction info and more
Be sure to grab a copy of this week’s edition of CityBeat to check out the official guide for the 2014 MidPoint Music Festival, which kicks off two weeks from today. You can also view the guide online here.
The guide once again features short previews of all 150-plus artists performing at MPMF, as well as info on other attractions at the fest, including the MidPoint Midway, transportation options, ArtWorks’ “Ink Your Love” project, a MidPoint visitor's guide (with info on restaurants, bars and more around the MPMF route) and much more.
NOTE: There are some conflicting ticket prices listed in the guide for the stage at Washington Park. Refer to the Ticket and Box Office Info page (page 5) and below for the correct information. We apologize for our error.
Washington Park (All ages)
• Thursday: Chromeo, The Range
$27 advance; $30 at gate.
Gates at 5 p.m.; show starts at 6 p.m.
• Friday: The Afghan Whigs, Wussy, Joseph Arthur:
$27 advance; $30 at gate.
Gates at 5 p.m.; show starts at 6 p.m.
• Saturday: OK Go, Empires, Public, Modoc
$20 advance; $25 at gate.
Gates at 1 p.m.; show starts at 2 p.m.
Visit mpmf.cincyticket.com to purchase three-day passes, VIP tickets (only a few remain), single day tickets and tickets for the Washington Park shows in advance. And be sure to grab the smartphone app at live.mpmf.com, on which you can customize your schedule and read MPMF-related Twitter and Instagram posts. And you can listen to most of the performing artists via the Spotify playlist below:
by Mike Breen
Prices for three-day MPMF passes go up after Labor Day
Three-day “All Music Access” tickets for the 13th annual MidPoint Music Festival remain one of the best music fest deals in the country. But if you wait until after Monday to get yours, you’ll have to pay a little more. On Tuesday, prices for the three-day passes will increase from $69 to $79. It’ll still be a great deal with the $10 bump, but you like to save money, right? Click here to get your tickets, which will get you into all of the shows throughout the three-day affair (barring shows that reach capacity by the time you get there).The festival returns in less that a month, running Sept. 25-27 on multiple stages throughout Downtown and Over-the-Rhine and featuring more than 150 performers from all over the world. MPMF (which is owned and operated by CityBeat) has added a few acts over the past few weeks. Artists added to the lineup in just this past week include Nashville’s Mary Bragg, Columbus, Ohio’s Old Hundred, Stockholm, Sweden’s Baskery, returning MPMF faves Sol Cat (from Nashville), Louisiana’s Baby Bee and L.A. Pop band machineheart. You can keep track of further schedule changes at MPMF.com, as well as on the festival’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.To check out some tunes from this year’s crop of MPMF artists, click below for a 10-and-a-half-hour Spotify playlist.
Plus, Thompson House offers pre-/post-fireworks live music and ticket prices for the MidPoint Music Festival increase Tuesday
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Cincinnati rockers Mad Anthony celebrate their first release since last summer's near-fatal van accident, Sank for Days. Plus, the Thompson House in Newport offers live music before and after the Labor Day fireworks show on the river and prices for three-day passes to the MidPoint Music Festival increase Tuesday.
by Mike Breen
Real Estate and others to perform on the free MidPoint Midway stage
Thanks to an assist from sponsor P&G, one of the more anticipated MidPoint Music Festival performances this year will be a special free “happy hour” concert.
Brooklyn Indie Rock group Real Estate will perform on the Midway stage the Friday of the fest (Sept. 26) at 6 p.m. Cincinnati faves The Yugos will kick the special event off at 5 p.m., with Arkansas’ Knox Hamilton, Nashville’s Colony House and others playing after Real Estate.The MidPoint Midway is the hub of various activities that runs along a blocked off portion of 12th Street in Over-the-Rhine (between Walnut and Vine streets). The strip has featured the popular “Box Truck Carnival” (the ArtWorks-helmed project will be replaced with a new project this year) and will again have lots of food and other cool/fun vendors. The Midway’s stage is free and open to music fans of all ages. On Thursday, Sept. 25, the outdoor stage will feature excellent local acts Automagik, Black Owls and Pike 27, plus Columbus, Ohio’s Indigo Wild. On Saturday, Sept. 27, the stage will host Cincinnati’s The Ready Stance, as well as Bailiff, Alex G, Low Cut Connie and Magnolia Sons. Music on the MidPoint Midway begins at 5 p.m. Sept. 25-26, and 6 p.m. on Sept. 27. For those who want to catch more than just the freebies, MPMF tickets are available here. The three-day, all-music-access passes are currently just $69; the price goes up to $79 after Sept. 1.
Plus, MidPoint announces its full schedule and the It's Commonly Jazz series begins
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Northern Kentucky-based Hip Hop artists celebrates the release of his new EP, Act Accordingly, Saturday during the Beats by Self-Diploma concert on Fountain Square, the MidPoint Music Festival announces its full schedule and the free It's Commonly Jazz series kicks off with William Menefield this Thursday.
by Mike Breen
Late September fest adds new venues, more all-ages opportunities
This morning, the full schedule (with a few exceptions) for this year's MidPoint Music Festival, which returns to Cincy Sept. 25-27, was announced. You can start building your itinerary now here. This year's MPMF will remain centered around venues in the Over-the-Rhine and neighboring Downtown areas. A few new venues were announced — Memorial Hall, next to Music Hall, will be participating this year, as will the Christian Moerlein Brewery, which will feature showcases on a large outdoor stage (replacing the big-tent parking lot stage at Grammer's) and an indoor stage. MPMF 2014 will also offer under-drinking-age music lovers more opportunities to explore the festival than ever. The outdoor Moerlein Brewery stage, Memorial Hall, The Ballroom at the Taft Theatre, the MidPoint Midway, Washington Park and the Contemporary Arts Center will all be open to fans of all ages. Below is the full press release. Tickets are available now at mpmf.cincyticket.com. Stay tuned to MPMF.com (and corresponding social media pages) for the latest schedule additions and more.CINCINNATI, Ohio (August 6, 2014) — The long wait is over. Fans eager to see what artists are playing atMidPoint Music Festival will now find a full schedule online at MPMF.com. Approximately 150 acts from sevencountries, 57 cities, and across the tri-state region will perform in Cincinnati USA, September 25–27, 2014.For weeks now, festival organizers have been leaking some bands and details via social media, but venueand showcase times have been kept under wraps until today. All-access passes are on sale at mpmf.com forwhat is arguably the best music festival value in the nation.“We’ve always offered a wide array of music styles, but this year’s lineup has really developed into somethingspecial and diverse,” said Dan McCabe, creative director. “I think fans would be hard pressed to find anotherfestival that can give you a bigger bang for your buck.”Experience live music for three daysThe 13th annual festival will present three exciting days of live music on 14 stages in the Over-the-Rhine and Downtown neighborhoods. While the event maintains its status as a primary showcase for emerging independent talent, there’s no denying that this year’s edition has raised the bar in booking established artists.Cincinnati-music fans should take note that MidPoint welcomes one the most acclaimed local bands to break out in the 90s, The Afghan Whigs, who have stormed back better than ever with their first studio album in the past 16 years. MidPoint will be the only regional appearance for the band during their current world tour.MidPoint will also be the tour kickoff for Chromeo, the “funk lordz” from Toronto, who are contending for the song of the summer with their single Jealous (I ain’t with it). Washington Park should expect a dance party with the band’s huge lightshow. Consequence of Sound called them a “must-see live show for any festival.”Additionally, the festival will host some well-established names from the indie-music world over the past decade, including OK Go, The Raveonettes, Panda Bear, Sun Kil Moon and Joseph Arthur. Bands like Real Estate, St. Paul & the Broken Bones and Jessica Lea Mayfield are newer, but no less widely known.Longtime MidPoint fans might also notice a wider array of music styles. The lineup still features a healthyamount of pop and indie rock, but organizers have listened to fans’ suggestions, adding more:Country Nikki Lane, Margo & the Price Tags, Bulletville;Folk Lost in the Trees, Mutual Benefit, Woody Pines, Honey Locust, The Ridges;R&B St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Magnolia Sons, The Almighty Get Down;Blues Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, No Sinner, Left Lane Cruiser;Heavy Metal Deafheaven, Liturgy; as well as more dance-oriented sounds likeHip-hop/EDM Tycho, Dessa, WHY?, Body Language, and Parallels.Experience new venues for young and oldFestival venues continue to evolve with great new, larger stages at Memorial Hall and Christian Moerlein Brewery. Younger fans will able see more showcases than ever with all-ages stages at the Contemporary Arts Center, Taft Ballroom, Memorial Hall, the MidPoint Midway, Christian Moerlein Outdoor Stage and Washington Park. In fact, children under 10 years of age can attend our Washington Park showcases for free with a paying adult. With afternoon music programmed for Washington Park on Saturday that could be just what the doctor ordered for parents who seldom get out to concerts.Experience a unique festival atmosphereSince 2001, MidPoint's goal has been to help you discover your new favorite band. Our embrace of today'semerging artists is born of the same spirit employed by Cincinnati's celebrated musical pioneers, who alwaysreached for something new. This festival isn’t as much about the flavor-of-the-month, but rather atastemaker’s event where the bands performing will be what people are talking about next year.For three days, fans can walk easily between venues dotted throughout beautiful, resurgent Over-the-Rhine.This collection of young creative talent amongst an architecturally rich urban setting makes MidPoint a one-ofa-kind experience. Unlike some festivals on a farm or a huge fielded area that could be anywhere, MidPointcarries the heart of our city with intimate performances in smaller clubs and theaters. We think Cincinnati isone of the best music cities in the world. With MidPoint showcasing bands and our city’s center, we areputting our best foot forward towards showing this is a great place to live, work and play.Everything is on an upswing in Over-the-Rhine and Downtown Cincinnati and we expect the fans to not justenjoy the music, but the wonderfully reimagined Washington Park, our handsome German-heritage buildingsand all of the newer hip restaurants, cafés and hi-tech companies that are making this one of the hottestregions of the Midwest.Experience food and fun on the MidwayWe realize that not everyone can afford to attend a music festival, so we’ve tried to make a small part of itaccessible to everyone with our outdoor MidPoint Midway. All of the music programmed here is free, thanksin part to the help of festival sponsor P&G.The Midway takes up about two blocks on 12th Street in Over-the-Rhine. Fans at the Midway can find festivalessentials such as food and beer trucks, various vendors and the return of the artistic installations coordinatedwith the help of ArtWorks. (More on that in the coming weeks.)MidPoint’s box office is also at the Midway, where fans will purchase All-Access, VIP, or single-day passes.Bicycles encouragedIt is fairly easy to hop from show to show, but with 10 venues in Over-the-Rhine and four located downtown,not every showcase will be a quick walk. But it is a quick bike ride. Festival organizers will continue to partnerwith the City of Cincinnati to place a number of bike racks in strategic locations. We encourage everyone tosave their feet for the dance floor and bring their bike to get to those must-see bands faster.MidPoint Music Festival highlights to look for:Thursday September 25Chromeo; Panda Bear; St. Paul & the Broken Bones; Sun Kil Moon; Lost in the Trees; and Nikki LaneFriday September 26The Afghan Whigs; Tycho; Real Estate; Wussy; WHY?; Dessa; Rubblebucket; and Jessica Lea MayfieldSaturday September 27OK Go; The Raveonettes; Deafheaven; Empires; EMA; Earth; Saintseneca; and Speedy OrtizCincinnati USA represent:Automagik; Black Owls; Bulletville; Culture Queer; Darlene; Fathers; Fists of Love; Heavy Hinges; Honey &Houston; Honeyspiders; Injecting Strangers; Leggy; Molly Sullivan; Old City; Prim; Public; Smasherman; StateSong; The Afghan Whigs; The Almighty Get Down; The Ready Stance; Us, Today; WHY?; and WussyA full performance schedule is now online at MPMF.com/festival. All artists are subject to change withoutnotice. Schedule updates and further festival news will be available at MPMF.com, on Facebook and Twitter.2014 MIDPOINT MUSIC FESTIVAL VENUESArnolds Bar & Grill210 East Eighth StreetChristian Moerlein Brewery1621 Moore Street (2 stages)Contemporary Arts Center44 East Sixth Street (all ages)Bioré Stage at Know Theatre1120 Jackson Street (2 stages)Mainstay Rock Bar301 West Fifth StreetMemorial Hall1225 Elm Street (all ages)Midpoint Midway Presented by P>welfth Street, between Vine & Walnut (all ages)MOTR Pub1345 Main StreetMr. Pitiful’s1323 Main StreetTaft Ballroom317 East Fifth Street (all ages)The Drinkery1150 Main StreetWashington Park Presented by Dewey’s Pizza1230 Elm Street (all ages)TICKETS ON SALE AT MPMF.COMAll-Access Pass $69 ($79 after September 1)VIP Pass $179Single-Day Pass $40 (Limited quantities)All venues will offer the option of À la carte pricing at the door, which covers that night at that venue.Entry into any MidPoint venue is subject to legal capacity limits. All-Access Pass holders get admission to allMidPoint showcases, all three days. VIP pass holders get an enhanced experience with the ability to skiplines with priority admission, plus they receive access to catered VIP reception events each evening, withcomplimentary food and beverages. An exclusive VIP viewing area is included at the Washington Park stage.
Friday • Fountain Square
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Man Man’s greatest sonic attributes could
also be considered its most significant liabilities, particularly by
labels looking to hitch their wagons to a commercial cash cow. And
although Man Man has somehow managed to infiltrate the mainstream to a
small degree with adjustments to their core sound, the band (which
fluctuates from duo to trio to beyond) has retreated only slightly from
its home on the musical fringe.