Free summertime Fountain Square shows feature national headliners and lots of local talent
The first good sign that consistent warmth is on its way is the announcement of the lineup for this year’s MidPoint Indie Summer series at downtown’s Fountain Square. The concerts are part of the Square’s free PNC Summer Music Series, which showcases different types of music (played mostly by local acts) five days a week. (The lineups for the every-Thursday Salsa on the Square shows have also been announced; visit myfountainsquare.com for details.)The eclectic, free Indie Summer shows take place every Friday throughout the summer. This year’s lineup is perhaps the series’ strongest yet, with some higher profile national touring acts and the usual array of top-notch local talent. Here’s the full rundown of Indie Summer shows so far (a few slots are still to be announced): • May 30: WHY?; Yip Deceiver; Bad Boxes; Dark Colour • June 6: Wussy; The Tigerlilies; Honey & Houston; Mason School of Rock• June 13: Betty Who; Vito Emmanuel; Captain Kidd; Pluto Revolts• June 20: Those Darlins; The Harlequins; Those Crosstown Rivals; The Frankl Project • June 27: Moon Taxi; Peridoni; Nevele; Acarya • July 4: Local H; New Strange; Mad Anthony; One Day Steady • July 11: Soledad Brothers; Electric Citizen; Pop Goes the Evil; Grotesque Brooms • July 18: Wesley Bright & the Hi-Lites; DAAP Girls; Mardou • July 25: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah; Public; Danny & His Fantasy• August 1: The Spiders (tribute to David Bowie); Honeyspiders• August 8: Man Man; Injecting Strangers; Ohio Knife; Skeleton Hands• August 15: The Nightbeast (a co-headliner will be announced in July)• August 22: psychodots; Lemon Sky; Tonefarmer; Heavy Hinges • August 29: Islands; The Pass; The Yugos; Joey Cook & The Keepers of the SecretThe Indie Summer series is sponsored by the MidPoint Music Festival, CityBeat’s popular annual music extravaganza, which returns to the clubs and venues of Downtown and Over-the-Rhine Sept. 25-27. (Though all MPMF-worthy, the acts are booked through Fountain Square, not by MidPoint.) There will be a MidPoint booth on Fountain Square every Friday where music fans can find the latest MPMF info and purchase tickets to the three-day festival. A limited amount of discounted early-bird passes for this year’s MPMF are available now at mpmf.cincyticket.com. Nail down your three-day tickets (or VIP Experience tickets) before the prices increase. And be sure to stay tuned to mpmf.com and the fest's various social media accounts for the latest updates.
by Mike Breen
• 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.
Plus, modern day indie label Phratry celebrates nine years, DAAP Girls unveil new video
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Cincinnati-based King Records, a label that helped change the face of popular music in America, turns 70 in September and supporters have a month's worth of festivities to celebrate. Plus, modern day indie label Phratry celebrates its ninth birthday, DAAP Girls unveil "Molly" and MidPoint Indie Summer on Fountain Square ends Friday.
by Mike Breen
Fountain Square's MidPoint Indie Summer concert series ends with locally-bred greats Why? this Friday; MPMF offering exclusive fest ticket deal
The grand finale of the season-long MidPoint Indie Summer concert series is Friday on Fountain Square.
It's always a bittersweet moment — the free series ends for this
summer, but that only means that the MidPoint Music Festival is less
than one month away.
The MidPoint Indie Summer series concludes just in time to
kick off Labor Day weekend this Friday. The show is headlined by
internationally beloved/locally based Why?, which is set to
release its Golden Ticket EP in a few weeks. The EP is the result of
some fan-engaging fun on the group's website.
On the Why? site, frontman Yoni Wolf explains: "We would
write a theme song for one customer who came to the … web store and
bought something every month. Like Mighty Mouse. It would be a song
about that person. We’d read all about them on Facebook and Twitter, and
sometimes even go so far as to contact their significant other to ask
them questions. Then I would write the song on piano and my brother
would take the skeleton of lyrics and piano and turn it into a fully
realized arrangement.” (Read more on Why? here.)(Wolf, by the way, has also been hosting his own very entertaining podcast called The Wandering Wolf (free for download on iTunes and Soundcloud). The show's have been hilarious and insightful, with Wolf chatting with guests like James McNew of Indie Rock legends Yo La Tengo, Cincinnati Hip Hop legend Mr. Dibbs and he and his brother's own father.)Also at the finale, there will be a one-time only special on tickets to the forthcoming MidPoint Music Festival 2013.
Those purchasing tickets in person at the Square Friday can buy
three-day passes for $59 ($10 off) and three-day VIP passes for $149
($20 off). Visit mpmf.com for the latest on the fest and mpmf.cincyticket.com for tickets (if you can’t make it Friday).
Also performing Friday on the Square: Nashville’s Moon Taxi and Cincy’s Vito Emmanuel. Showtime is 8 p.m.
Grayscale Cincinnati reinvents the model for city entertainment spaces
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 14, 2013
When we think about current
resurgence of metropolitan Cincinnati — including the successful renovations of Fountain Square and Washington Park — it
seems that the best approach to building a better town might not be
constructing an altogether new wheel, but rather reinventing it.
by Brian Baker
Cincinnati's The Sundresses expand to a quartet with impressive results
There is an old homily which quite wisely states that if something is operating properly, it might be considered imprudent to attempt a repair. Or, in a slightly less circuitous manner of speaking, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.For well over a decade, the Sundresses have been anything but broken. Brad Schnittger, Jeremy Springer and Makenzie Place have been churning out a visceral pretzel logic version of the Blues with elements of manic Swing, hot foot Jazz, brutal Punk and blistering Indie Rock, heated to the temperature of molten rock and detonated over unsuspecting audiences with an animalistic ferocity. A formula like that is both tremulously volatile and erratically perfect. Why would anyone feel the need to take a wrench to it?Needed or not, a-wrenching they have gone; for the first time in The Sundresses' long history, the tight-knit trio has added a new full fledged member with the hiring of former Dukes Are Dead drummer Dave Reid. The new lineup was unveiled on July 19 for the band's appearance at the MidPoint Indie Summer Series on Fountain Square, and then again a week later when The Sundresses tore through a set at the Mad Love for Mad Anthony benefit at the Southgate House Revival.Rabid fans and casual observers may have differing opinions on how Reid's addition will impact the Sundresses going forward, but one thing is certain; this was anything but a routine lineup decision. Bringing in a permanent drummer changes the group dynamic, eliminates one of the band's most popular and unique live features and may actually set the stage for broader success.After 13 hard fought calendars, the Sundresses have recorded sporadically — a few EPs, a split with Dylan Ewing's 4192, a pair of brilliant studio documents (2003's The Only Tourist in Town, 2008's Barkinghaus) and Off, their scalding and ingeniously marketed 2010 live album — and toured relentlessly, without a great deal of forward progress being notched. The trio has always generated a good deal of extremely positive press, and their string of five trips to Austin for South by Southwest has to stand as some kind of local record.My personal obsession with the Sundresses began at their first SXSW appearance in 2004, which coincided with my first trip to Austin for the festival. As it turned out, the band's gig at the Blender Balcony was only the ninth out-of-town show in their two-year history, and I felt as though I had just witnessed the cosmic birth of a great musical entity. I still feel that way. I drank more than a dipperful of The Sundresses' Kool-Aid that night, and I've been feverishly blathering on about them ever since to anyone who will listen.For whatever reasons, the brass ring of label offers and more tangible measures of success have eluded The Sundresses. At the same time, the trio has remained committed to the cause and continued to pursue their singular vision with an almost psychotic tenacity and zealous passion. And their focused determination may have made it difficult for those of us who love them unconditionally to admit that there was indeed a fundamental issue that may have been blocking their path.From the very start, Brad and Jeremy envisioned and executed one of their most cherished gimmicks, namely their patented guitar/drum switch; at their 2005 SXSW show, Jeremy informed the audience, "You were supposed to close your eyes..." It has long been an admittedly fabulous element of their live presentation, but it may have been so entertainingly original that it became a detriment.The basic issue may be that Brad plays drums with the subtlety and invention of a studied and seasoned beatkeeper and Jeremy plays with the brute force of a blacksmith hammering on an anvil. Both approaches to playing the drums have legitimate advantages and both clearly have a role in shaping the diverse sonic identity that the trio has been trying to define since forming The Sundresses in 2002.Although it may never have been perceived as a problem, the difficulty with rotating drummers is that Makenzie — who learned how to play bass in order to be a part of the band — has had to adjust her groove based on those two very distinct drum styles. In essence, the Sundresses' rhythm section has never really had an opportunity to build a discernible foundation. With Dave behind the kit, that opportunity becomes a reality. Based on the Sundresses' roaring set at the Mad Anthony benefit on July 26, the band's newly established rhythm section has already started paying dividends. Makenzie is now locked into a single percussionist and she and Dave collectively control the band's tempo. Dave has the latitude to incorporate Jeremy's power and Brad's nuance into his singular drum repertoire and Makenzie is learning the joy of shifting gears without changing cars.Relying on primarily new and largely unrecorded material, The Sundresses blazed through an all-too-brief ten song set with a rejuvenated energy that smacked of their early days. Opening with the swinging funky Blues of the brand new "Banker's Blues" and the loping howl of the equally fresh "Whisper Touch," the quartet bounced megawatt riffs through every body and against every conceivable surface in the Revival's sanctuary. They slowed down a shade for a spin through Hank Williams' "Ramblin' Man," and Jeremy's quick documentary on the size of MA guitarist Ringo Jones' manhood before tearing into another relatively new track, "Zap a Deux," but it was all good in the hood regardless of speed or sonic profile. Finishing up with longtime faves "Hey! Hey! Bang! Bang!" and the propulsively jumping "Larry Nixon," the Sundresses gave both a glimpse at the sound of their much-anticipated third studio outing, hopefully coming out before the end of the year, and the direction they'll be taking as a quartet.Perhaps one of the more interesting side effects from The Sundresses' expansion is the fact that Jeremy and Brad are now playing guitar together, which means their distinct stylistic differences are blending and cross-pollinating rather than occupying discernibly different spaces within the set. As they become more acclimated to this arrangement, and as Makenzie and Dave fully tune up the engine they've just rebuilt, it's bound to have an incredible impact on the songs they start writing. As it stands, the songs The Sundresses have already written sound magnificent coming from the newly minted quartet, proving once again that even the best can get better
by Mike Breen
Posted In: Music News
at 02:13 PM | Permalink
Longtime local faves add permanent drummer to lineup, play Fountain Square July 19
One of the finest original bands to call Cincinnati home over the past decade or so has expanded from a trio to a quartet. The Sundresses' dark, dirty, rootsy Rock sound has been delivered by the three core members over the past 11 years, with Jeremy Springer and Brad Schnittger switching off between drums and guitar during sets (both sing). Beginning next Friday, July 19, Springer and Schnittger will provide a double frontmen/guitarist assault with bassist Makenzie Place now teamed in rhythm with new drummer Dave Reid (The Dukes are Dead, Filthy Beast). Springer sent along a video clip of the "new" ’Dresses' second practice with Reid behind the kit. Secrets From The Smithery from The Sundresses on Vimeo.On July 19, Reid will be officially introduced as the band's new drummer at the MidPoint Indie Summer show on Fountain Square. The Sundresses join Wussy and Queen City Radio (featuring members of Turnbull ACs, 500 Miles to Memphis and Denial) on the impressive bill. The show is free and begins at 8 p.m.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 03:52 PM | Permalink
Created Equal cites First Amendment rights for protest
Fountain Square will bear witness on July 11 to an
explicit anti-abortion video as part of a Midwest tour by Created Equal,
a Columbus-based anti-abortion group that describes itself as “a social
action movement seeking to end the greatest human rights injustice of
The “graphic abortion video,” as the group calls it,
utilizes images familiar to anyone who regularly passes by protests outside of Planned
Parenthood clinics: bloodied fetuses, separated fetal limbs and other
images that are meant to link fetuses to defenseless, dismembered
Mark Harrington, executive director of Created Equal, says the display is necessary to grab people’s attention.
“Unfortunately, it’s required. This type of message has to
be strong because of the apathy in our culture to issues like abortion
and injustices like this,” he says.
Abortion-rights advocates have taken steps to stop Created Equal, with some signing a MoveOn.org petition to convince 3CDC, which manages events on Fountain Square, to pull its permit for the event.
“It is time to tell Created Equal that they are not
permitted to show graphic abortion footage on public space,” the
petition reads. “Fountain Square is a family friendly public space and
such footage is not appropriate in this venue. Their viewing date is
Thursday, July 11, 2013, stop this from going forward.”
Harrington says groups like MoveOn.org are attacking his
First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. He argues political
speech, such as his display, is completely protected by the U.S.
“If they wanted to come out and show bloody images of
women who had used coat hangers for abortions … it’s protected under
the First Amendment,” Harrington says. “We would defend their right to
do so. I would never circulate a petition to stop them.”
In general, the U.S. Supreme Court has been supportive of
free speech as long as it’s politically motivated, with the notable
exceptions of sexual content and airwave broadcasts.
Still, the Supreme Court on June 10 refused to consider
overturning an injunction from the Colorado Court of Appeals that’s
preventing an anti-abortion group from displaying graphic images outside
of a Denver church. The Colorado court argued that the images were too
“gruesome” and barred their display in areas where they might disturb
children. Keeping with tradition, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for
declining to hear the case.
For those who are genuinely offended by the graphic nature
of the images and not just obstructing the organization’s anti-abortion
message, Harrington says the message is worth the downsides: “I would urge them to
be equally if not more concerned for the children that are dying and
not simply for their own children, who might be disturbed by this.”
Created Equal is against abortion in most contexts, with
the sole exception of a situation in which the mother’s life is
undoubtedly in danger.
“You do the best you can to save both. When you can’t save both, you got to save one,” Harrington says.
Even then, Harrington says letting miscarriages naturally occur is typically his preferred option.
Thursday’s event will take place less than two weeks after
Gov. John Kasich signed a two-year state budget that limits access to
legal abortions, among other changes to school funding and taxes. CityBeat analyzed the state budget in further detail here.
by Mike Breen
Great homegrown songwriting on display tonight for free on Fountain Square
Tonight's free MidPoint Indie Summer concert on Fountain Square has an element of contemporary local music heritage … and lots of ear-grabbing melody. The show is being headlined by psychodots, one of the most popular (and locally influential) original bands to ever call Cincinnati home. Check the Pop/Rock trio's website here and a clip of the ’dots performing at Redsfest in 2006 below:Cari Clara, the long-running project of Eric Diedrichs — who now lives in Lexington, Ky., but fronted Cincy Pop/Rock faves The Simpletons in the ’00s — plays the middle slot. Check out CityBeat's review of Cari Clara's most recent release, Midnight March, here and the album's "Battle Hymn" below.Midnight March by Cari ClaraThe Ready Stance, featuring former members of wildly popular ’90s act Middlemarch (and former Ass Ponys bassist, Randy Cheek) opens the show at 8 p.m. Check out CityBeat's interview with the band from last spring here. And here is a sample from the group's debut album, Damndest:Free embed music player from ReverbNation.comFor more info, go to myfountainsquare.com.
by Mike Breen
The cross-country “Kings of the Mic” tour is technically an old-school Hip Hop exhibition, but the packaging of these particular artists — most of whom have been and remain vital and relevant today — makes it much more than just a 21st century version of an “oldies” revue.And the fact that the three headlining artists’ classic music still sounds so vital today makes it more than just some nostalgia trip. Headliner LL Cool J was one of Rap’s first superstars and, thanks in part to his acting/hosting career (and also his album releases), he remains a superstar to this day. Public Enemy’s smart, socially and sonically progressive sound remains as fresh today as it did when the group released 1988’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back — one of the greatest albums ever made. Like P.E., De La Soul has remained artistically inventive and the trio’s influence is often underestimated. Rounded out by a pair of even earlier influential performers — Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick — the Kings of the Mic tour’s stop at Riverbend tonight is not just a history lesson, but the best party to start off your summer right. Tonight's concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and tickets range from $18.50-$84.50. • Bluesy, soulful British rockers Leogun return to Cincinnati tonight. The trio — which was scheduled to appear at Cincinnati's MidPoint Music Festival last year but had to cancel due to work visa issues — was influenced by the pure Rock sounds of artists like Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age. But it was an Eagles of Death Metal concert that kickstarted Leogun's career into overdrive. Singer/guitarist Tommy Smith talked his way backstage at the band's London show in 2009, where he met a guy who introduced him to Elton John's Rocket Music Management. The threesome quickly inked a deal with Rocket and then with Yamaha's record label. The band is digging in hard in the States and touring on a consistent basis behind its just-released debut album. Catch Leogun tonight for free at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine at 10 p.m. Here is the band's first single, "Let's Be Friends." • Tonight on Fountain Square is your chance to be a part of a Guinness World Record, as the weekly "Salsa on the Square" event invites dancers far and wide to come out and help set the bar for "Most Salsa Dancers" higher. The event starts at 7 p.m. (instructors are always on hand so don't worry about your lack of Salsa skills) and live music is provided by Grupo Tumbao. Click here for more details. Here are even more live music options in Greater Cincinnati for tonight.