WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Deirdre Kaye 09.30.2013
Posted In: Live Music, MidPoint Music Festival, Reviews at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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MPMF Day 3: Anchoring Down at the Taft

Great news, y’all! I made it through another MidPoint without getting raped or mugged. (Getting mugged might not be so bad, though. “No, officer, it was definitely not me who bought Duck Dynasty underwear at Walmart.”) I know you were concerned for my safety.I did MPMF quite a bit differently than I have in years past and I have to say, I think it contributed to it being the best one yet for me.First, I forwent going with friends. I like my friends in small doses and on a couch talking about TV and girlfriends/boyfriends. Trying to coordinate concert plans with them, though, has always been an ordeal. Some of us are more hipster than others.  Going it alone sometimes feels slightly sketchy, but mostly I think it helped my experience. I wasn’t forced to stand in any hot, cram packed rooms to see bands I was less-than-thrilled to see.Second, I decided to spend my entire Saturday night in just one venue. I did this for a few reasons: 1) Everyone I wanted to see was in that venue; 2) Cheap parking close-by. Therefore, I spent my Saturday night either pacing around outside the Taft Theatre or swaying back and forth inside the Taft’s Ballroom. And, ya know what? I had a damn good time.The Taft is my favorite venue in town. Whether it’s in the seated portion or down in the basement, it just has an amazing vibe. I love those bright white bulb-lights out front around the marquee. It makes the whole place sparkle. It just looks like you could pick it up and sit it in the middle of Gatsby’s New York City. Downtown Cincy has plenty of art deco touches that I dearly love. However, nothing makes me feel more fancy and more ready for a special night than standing outside the Taft. In addition, the basement Ballroom, where all three of Saturday’s bands performed, has this comfortable, almost sexy darkness to it. You could get into a little bit of trouble in some of those shadowed corners. I wouldn’t judge you if you have. I might be disappointed you never invited me, though.Bear’s Den opened the night and, since I’d seen them recently, I didn’t feel too bad when I spent the better part of their set outside on the phone. It gave me the chance to people watch, which is always a ton of fun at MidPoint. MPMF pulls in a jumbled assortment of people to tramp around downtown with their wristbands. I saw people my parents’ age, dressed rather fancifully, chat with security and then slip down into the basement. I also saw an insane amount of frat guys, plus one very drunk Reds fan and his seriously concerned girlfriend. (I still don’t know why she unleashed her concern to me. But I really hope she finds a new date for next year. Like, maybe someone who won’t put her life in danger?) Oh! And I saw one seriously fabulous drag queen. (I appreciate your use of neon, girlfriend.)Despite missing London’s Bear’s Den, I know they rocked. Not just because I’ve seen them and I love them, but because they still had a line of fans waiting to meet them when the final act went on at midnight. I think Cincinnati fell in love on Saturday. I’m giddy for Bear’s Den and for Cincinnati. Good choice, my friends.I caught Cincinnati’s Bad Veins, though. Of course, I’ve seen them before, but I never mind the chance to see them again. Those two boys can make a ton of noise. Even with a few sound/mixing issues, they still managed to keep the room enthralled. That may have had something to do with Ben Davis’ bellowing into the microphone or climbing to the top of the monitors. I have no musical talent whatsoever and my balance is minimal at best, but I was envious as he stood towering above me with his hands on the ceiling and an entire room of people staring up at him in awe. The Veins are a genuinely good band. Not “good for a local band,” but good enough to root for them to keep gaining fans across the country. Later, I watched Davis stand in the back of the room talking to a couple people for a surprisingly long time. They seemed to devour everything he said. He has dangerous levels of charisma. It was fun to watch.As much as I love Bad Veins and Bear’s Den, I’d spent all weekend eagerly awaiting Daughter’s performance. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t expect many people to show. I guess because I remember when “Daughter” was just Elena Tonra. I slinked my way pretty close to the stage and gaped at Tonra as she charmed the pants off everyone in the room. When it got stuffy a few songs in, I turned around and was speechless by the sheer amount of people that had suddenly come in behind me. It makes sense, though. Jesus. Her voice is beautiful. If you were anywhere else in the city on Saturday night, you messed up. She sent heads to the shoulders of girlfriends and, shockingly enough, most cell phones managed to stay in purses and pockets. It’s not that she wasn’t worth capturing. It’s that she was too captivating for anyone to have any other thoughts other than keeping their eyes glued to her face and their ears filled with her voice. Oh. The bow across the electric guitar was a great (albeit not very new) approach, too. It added a nice eerie feel to Tonra’s already haunting voice.As I left, I had big plans to reflect on the concerts and do a little pre-writing for this review while walking to my car. One of my favorite former co-workers waylaid me, though. So much for avoiding my friends. Cincinnati is too small for that. I didn’t mind too much; I got all the dirt on who had left and who (sadly) was still around. Eventually, I said goodbye to my ex co-worker, wandered away from Taft Theatre’s bright lights and into the ever darkening street.  As I meandered, it occurred to me just how much of a feat MPMF is for us. Cincinnati may be a city, but we’re not a very big one. How do we manage to talk so many stellar bands into visiting us every year? How is it possible we have something as beautiful as the Taft? How do we produce such a bounty of awesome local bands? My best friend likes to joke that Ohio has bred more astronauts than any other state. He says it’s because Ohio is awful and space was as far away as they could get. However, I think we’ve bred so many astronauts for the same reason we’ve spawned bands like Walk the Moon and Bad Veins and all of the other great acts playing MPMF and for the same reason we put on such an great festival. We’re small but mighty. We put our hearts into the things and the people we love. Even if they don’t deserve it. (I’m lookin’ at you, Bengals.)
 
 

Long Time Coming

Aly Spaltro searches for catharsis and a spot of her own as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 21, 2013
As Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Aly Spaltro is currently earning attention for raw, poignant tunes that glow with gusto — both as wandering, relatively skeletal acoustic-rooted numbers and feisty, forceful electric-propelled tunes. In either instance, she decorates her songs with imagistic, compellingly detailed and often innocuous lyrics about troubled relationships and scattered trepidations.  

Coliseum

June 12 • Ballroom at the Taft Theatre

0 Comments · Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The music video for Coliseum’s “Bad Will” — one of many addictively visceral tracks on the band’s just-released fourth album, Sister Faith — is shot in vérité-style black and white as   

Melvins

May 29 • Taft Theatre

1 Comment · Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Everybody Loves Sausages, the 21st (or so) recording in the Melvins’ improbable 30-year existence, features 13 cover songs that, according to founder/frontdude Buzz Osborne, “will give people a peek into the kind of things that influence us musically.”     

Lyle Lovett and His Acoustic Group

May 9 • Taft Theatre

0 Comments · Tuesday, May 7, 2013
While his music is uniquely stylized, Lyle Lovett was Americana before Americana music was cool. When he appears at the Taft Theater this week, he will be with his all-star Acoustic Group, playing cuts off his new album, Release Me, and more.   

This Mule Still Kicks

Warren Haynes and Gov’t Mule return to shake the rafters at the Taft Theatre

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Unlike many groups who may draw a “music lesson” crowd that tends to sit on its hands and complain when somebody dares to stand up and trance up, Mule audiences rock it from note one. The band’s upcoming gig at the Taft Theatre this weekend should be no exception.  

Ryan Bingham

March 27 • Taft Theatre

0 Comments · Monday, March 25, 2013
As the old adage says, “preparation meets opportunity” is often the path to success in the music world. However, a little luck doesn’t hurt, either. When you talk about the career of Ryan Bingham, all of the above is true.     

Moving Up With Grace

From jam band frontwoman to chart star, Grace Potter and her band keep focus on their craft

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 9, 2013
 In 2010, after years of work in on the jam band circuit, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals pushed their way into the mainstream with their eponymous third album for Hollywood Records and the hit single, “Paris (Ooh La La).” With their latest album, The Lion The Beast The Beat, Potter and her team seem to have their sights set on taking things to an even higher level.  

Langhorne Slim & the Law

Jan. 11 • Taft Theatre

0 Comments · Monday, January 7, 2013
At age 14, Sean Scolnick started writing his first songs, penning Nirvana-inspired missives about authority, school and “stuff that a lot of 14-year-old kids probably write about.” Now in his early 30s, Scolnick doesn't employ those subjects as inspiration anymore. Listening to his story-heavy goulash of Folk and AltCountry reveals nary any traces of Cobain and Co. at all.   

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