by Mike Breen
Would you pay to see your favorite musicians if the money went to your least favorite politician?
What's your favorite musical group/artist of all time? Got it? Good.Who are you voting for this upcoming election for President of the United States? Got it? Good.Now let's say that favorite artist of yours was coming to Cincinnati to perform. Let's say it's a remarkably intimate show with limited tickets. And let's say you've got a friend who can get you a ticket to purchase. Let's say it's $35. But here's the catch — your favorite group or solo artist is making their concert a fundraiser for the guy you REALLY don't want to be President. Do you suck it up and pay the admission/donation for a chance to see a once-in-a-lifetime concert? Maybe make a bigger donation to your guy's campaign? Or do you refuse to do anything that may, in even the smallest way, affect the outcome of … well, possibly American history. Cincinnati-bred/Brooklyn-based band The National has just announced a special last-minute pair of shows in Ohio next week, including a show at the revitalized Emery Theatre in Over-the-Rhine on Oct. 4 (they play the Newport Music Hall in Columbus on Oct. 3). The concert — which comes a few weeks before the band headlines the Freedom to Love Now! marriage equality-supporting concert in New York City — is a benefit for "Gottavote: Ohio," President Barack Obama's campaign to get Ohioans registered and voting. The band will also reportedly play a private fundraising function in Cincinnati for Obama right after the Emery show. Searching around for ticket info (details have yet to be announced; we'll update this post when they are), I came across the event's page at Last.fm, where an apparent big National fan left the post's sole comment: "Obama fundraiser...What a moral dilemma…"As a hardcore lefty and big National fan, I personally have no dilemma in this situation, but I sympathize with the commenter. What if The National had a change of heart since last performing for Obama in Cincinnati (a huge, free outdoor show on Fountain Square with The Breeders in 2008) and the members were disillusioned by the President's first-term actions (or inaction), built up impressive balances in their bank accounts and decided the best way to protect America (and their money) was to go out and do whatever they could to get Mitt Romney elected. Would you still go? "Shut up and sing" is an oft used saying for people who think politics and music have no business being in bed together. But if the artist shuts up and sings, but just so happens to give your admission fee to a politician you despise, what do you do?Personally, I stay home and wait until the artist's next show. Luckily for me, deciding not to go to a Mitt Romney concert/benefit featuring Kid Rock, The Oak Ridge Boys and Hank Williams, Jr., is not a hard choice in the slightest.
by Mike Breen
The countdown to the 11th annual MidPoint Music Festival reaches 12 days
MPMF news and musings: The official MidPoint Music Festival guide (on the streets of Greater Cincinnati until Wednesday, then resurfacing when it's MPMF-time) included a few feature stories this year about some of the festival's bonus features and additions. Read Leyla Shokoohe's interview with MPMF main-man, CityBeat's own Dan McCabe, about the fest's dedication to Over-the-Rhine and new MPMF venues Washington Park and the Emery Theatre here. And now, with the countdown down to just 12 days, here are our daily MidPoint Music Festival 2012 picks …BIG SHOTGrizzly Bear (Brooklyn, NY)Indie Art PopWhen this year’s initial MPMF performers were announced, eclectic Brooklyn crew Grizzly Bear was by far the name that seemed to most excite fest-goers. The group’s eccentric mix of artsy arrangements, organic psychedelia and boundless experimentalism has been earning the fans an ever-increasing and loyal fanbase since their lysergic debut release in 2004. Though continually adventurous, the band’s sound has grown and matured with the size of its following — 2009’s Veckatimest debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s album chart and seemingly made every single music critic in the world’s “Top 10 Best” list that year. Expect an even bigger response from critics and fans when Grizzly Bear finally unleashes the much-anticipated new release, Shields, released just prior to the band’s MPMF stop. There’s a very good chance one of MPMF.12’s biggest acts will be sporting a Top 10 album by the time they get to Washington Park (an MPMF first). You'll Dig It If You Dig: Brian Wilson at his “off-the-meds” creative peak, listening to an “AM Gold” Soft Rock compilation and a Kraut Rock comp after drinking gallons of psychedelic mushroom tea.Grizzly Bear headlines the Washington Park stage on Friday, Sept. 28 at 8:30 p.m. The band performed the lead-off track from its new Shields album, "Sleeping Ute," on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night. Take a look/listen: SLEEPER PICKRich Aucoin (Halifax, CAN)Electro PopOn his enthralling 2011 full-length, We’re All Dying to Live, Canadian musician Rich Aucoin decided he’d invite Canada to record with him. As a result, the album features over 500 musicians, whose teaming on Aucoin’s dynamic, funky and craftily constructed tracks makes Dying to Live sound like the Electro Disco party of the century. But it’s not just a mindless exercise in dancefloor stereotypes — there’s depth and nuance to Aucoin’s songwriting and layering that might not be noticeable initially. Unlike a lot of Dance acts, Aucoin’s music isn’t disposable fun — it’s essential and commands repeated listens. Dig: ’80s Synth Pop, ’70s Disco, of Montreal, 4AD artists, Chic and Duran Duran in art school together.Rich Aucoin performs at Below Zero Lounge on Thursday, Sept. 27, at 11 p.m. Here is the hour-long film created to sync up with We're All Dying to Live (plus, of course, the full album for a free preview listen). Rich Aucoin - We're All Dying To Live :: Public Publication EP / Over The Top! LP from Sonic Entertainment Group on Vimeo.LOCAL LOCK PICKEclipse (Cincinnati, OH)Hip Hop/Jazz/Funk/FusionWhat happens when a bunch of studied Jazz musicians get funky with a couple of top-notch Hip Hop MCs? Eclipse happens. The Cincinnati septet has one of the best live shows in town, turning unsuspecting crowds into a sweaty mass of humanity thanks to their persistent groove and old-school Hip Hop party-starting. The band’s Around the World album was at the top of CityBeat’s list of the best local albums of 2011. With peerless MCs Jibri and Daddie Rich laying down rich verses and gripping hooks, the band roams around in the tight arrangements, touching on classic Funk, modern Alternative Rock, Progressive Rock, Latin rhythms and Jazz like some sort of dance-friendly aural collage. Dig: An epic Jurassic 5, The Roots, Miles Davis, James Brown and King Crimson mash-up.Eclipse performs Friday, Sept. 28, at 11 p.m. at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club. Here's a great video featurette put together by Chuck Land and Landman Productions, with audio recorded by Alex Lusht of Mind Ignition.Click here for full MPMF details via the official MidPoint site.
Newly renovated OTR historical landmarks offer function, charm to MPMF.12
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Dan McCabe’s been keeping a close eye on the
transformation of Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park since last October. MidPoint Music Festival’s executive producer talks about the park and the renovated Emery Theatre becoming a part of the increasingly OTR-supportive fest.
by Jac Kern
Appalachian Festival, 4EGsquare, Mother's Day happenings and more
Experience the rich tradition of mountain culture, music, craftsmanship and food this weekend at the 43rd annual Appalachian Festival at Coney Island. Bluegrass music fills the air as visitors enjoy dancing and storytelling, taste classic country fare and browse hand-crafted gifts, jewelry, housewares and more. The popular spring fest runs all day through 9 p.m. tonight, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $8, $4 seniors, $2 children. Tonight, Frugal Friday tickets are $1-$4. Parking is $6.Four Entertainment Group (4EG) is the driving force behind nine of the most popular bars and restaurants in the area. While it would be difficult to drink at each location in one night (and possibly damaging to the liver), 4EG is bringing all of their venues to Fountain Square tonight. Try specialty cocktails, beers, wine and signature dishes from aliveOne, Keystone Hyde Park, Keystone Covington, The Lackman, The Stand, Mount Adams Pavilion, The Righteous Room, The Sandbar and Tap & Go as you get down to music from DJ Matt Joy and Bad Veins. Head down to the square from 5-10 p.m. and if you're on Foursquare, be sure to check in — the mayor of these venues will receive a prize.Thanks to The Requiem Project, the historic Emery Theatre is back in action and hosting concerts, productions and other events. Saturday, the Emery hosts the world premiere of Cincinnati playwright Catie O’Keefe's Welcome Home: The Waddie Welcome Story. The one-night-only production follows a Savannah, Ga. man with cerebral palsy whose determination to live independently with the support of his community inspired a popular book. This show marks the first theatrical show in the space in several years. Catch it at 2 or 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.On second Saturdays, Northside is the place to be. Celebrate the eclectic neighborhood and support local businesses by visiting some of the dozens of participating galleries, shops, restaurants and bars. Visitors will enjoy extended hours, drink and food specials, sales and unique promotions at places like Nvision, Mayday, Take the Cake, C&D, Tantrum, Skincraft and many more. Find a full list of participating businesses here.Still not sure how to treat your mom on Mother's Day? Our dining guru Anne Mitchell has some tasty advice here. Besides the aforementioned Appalachian Festival, there are plenty of options for yo momma this weekend. The International Butterfly Show at Krohn Conservatory is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and moms are welcome free of charge Sunday. Rabbit Hash is a magical little place, and if your mom loves peaceful river views, quirky antiques, live music and country culture, it's the place to take her Sunday! Austin Jazz-twang group The Love Leighs perform at Rabbit Hash's General Store from 6-8 p.m. Maybe mama's a sports fan? Take her to see The Reds take on The Nationals Sunday at GABP. Get tickets here.Check out Stage Door for this weekend's theater offerings, our music blog for a live show lineup and our To Do page for more events, art shows, performances and more this weekend.
by Mike Breen
Cool 'One Shot Music Video' project continues with Cincy duo Over the Rhine
We've written a bit in the past about the new film-meets-music "One Shot Music Video" series, beautifully shot, black-and-white short films of various local musical acts shot at the historic Emery Theatre (which is back in action as a functional venue this weekend). Shot by world renowned photographer Michael Wilson with audio help from the musical duo Pop Empire, the clips are filmed in one continuous take (thus the name). The project has started to take shape and is on a roll now. Pop Empire's Cameron Cochran reports that the series is now named for the venue — "The Emery Sessions" — and will be comprised of footage from 10 artists, all shot at the theater. It's a great way to not only spotlight local music, but also show off the theater in a great light.Wilson and Pop Empire have completed a couple of videos for Daniel Martin Moore for the first of the series. The second in the series is Over the Rhine (longtime compadres of Wilson's, who has shot OTR album covers and promo shots — including the one above — since the band's very beginning). OTR is familiar with the surroundings; the band played the "preview party" hosted by The Requiem Project which re-introduced the 100-year-old theater to locals late last year.Here's a clip of Over the Rhine's Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist performing "The Laugh of Recognition" from the twosome's latest album, The Long Surrender. (Click over to local blog Each Note Secure to check out another clip from the project.)Cochran also runs the all-free, all-digital "record label" The Recording Label, which has issued stellar recordings by The Kickaways, Vacation, Sacred Spirits and Pop Empire. He says working on "The Emery Sessions" inspired him to give the label a more local-specific name. The Recording Label is now called Cincinnati Recording Service. Click here for the new site.And here are a few words from Cochran on the Sessions and the label:If we are consuming light then sound is accompanied by sight. Many musical performers understand this concept and will incorporate a visual component to their audio performance. The idea behind the "One Shot Music Video" is to approach music from the opposite direction. The audience approaches the music from a visual perspective first because whether they know it or not the first performance they see is the photographer's. It is the photographer's eye that navigates them through the musical performance. The hidden live performance is the one done with the camera.The Emery Theatre was the perfect place to begin our exploration of this relationship between listening and watching live musical performances. Each musician we have recorded and that we are going to record have a love for this amazing space and understands what the Emery Theatre means to our great city of Cincinnati. It is perhaps our own experiences working in this theatre and the pride that has developed for our hometown of Cincinnati that inspired us to change the name of The Recording Label to Cincinnati Recording Service. This name change is also a tip of the hat to another person who loved his city as well as the power that American music has to bring people together, Memphis' very own Sam Philips.
by Mike Breen
Historic theater hosts 'Rock This Town' benefit and album release parties next weekend
It's looking like the historic Emery Theatre on the border of Over-the-Rhine and Downtown is back in business as a full-time functioning venue. Bands like Magnolia Mountain and Pop Empire have been using the Theatre to film music video projects and, next Saturday (April 28), the Emery hosts the "Rock This Town" benefit concert for CityLink, which helps resident "break the cycle of poverty" by providing employment training and other assistance. The event's music will be provided several groups of business people who can play instruments or sing (modeled on the "Suits That Rock" concerts that benefit the Carnegie Arts Center in Covington). On April 27, the Emery will host a dual album release party/concert in honor of two new releases from the label Ol Kentuck, run by SubPop recording artist and Northern Kentucky native Daniel Martin Moore. One of the albums is a vinyl release of producer/guitarist/composer Ric Hordinski's Arthur's Garden (read more about the album here). The other is the first release from a duo project consisting of Moore and singer Joan Shelley (pictured) titled Farthest Field. The event will also feature readings from authors Silas House and Marianne Worthington (who wrote one of the most engaging press releases for the album I think I've ever laid eyes on for the duo's debut; click the "Bio" pdf link on this page to read it). It's a great time to check out the Emery circa 2012 because the concert is also free and open to the public. (Rock this Town's tickets range from $35-$100 — for a great cause, of course.)Here are two video clips (shot by photographer Michael Wilson with help on the audio side from Pop Empire) promoting the concert, with music from Moore and Shelley's Farthest Field (officially available May 8).
A research project gives rise to a film about Cincinnati’s thriving arts scene
2 Comments · Tuesday, April 3, 2012
“I’ve seen the future,” Prince sang back in 1989 on the soundtrack to Tim Burton’s Batman, “and it will be …” Gotham City was on the cusp of change; a
hero had arrived on the scene to usher in the new. Cincinnati has been
waiting, always on the verge of its own bankable opportunity to step
into the future as a lively and engaged urban market. Every city needs a hero.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 26, 2008
On Nov. 23, CityBeat brought the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards to the Emery Theatre for what turned out to be the best show in the program's 12-year history. Bootsy Collins and a large band of James Brown cohorts tore the roof off right away with an opening tribute to the Godfather of Soul, part of a big celebration of Cincy's King Records' legacy.