by Reyan Ali
Japanese Punk/Pop icons perform tonight at the Ballroom at the Taft
Irony is not a concept usually shared by international cultures. Case in point: cats. The
Western (internet) world shows its adoration for felines by churning
out pointless LOLcat YouTube video after LOLcat YouTube video, gilding
this love with a patina of wink-wink jokeyness, as if to say, "Sure, we
obsess over and anthropomorphize these cute beasts that don't do very
much, but since we're making a gag out of it, it's OK to openly enjoy
it. This is how we've earned our pass."Japan's Shonen Knife, on
the other hand, has willingly dedicated an entire song to the same
animals while keeping a straight face — a move that would definitely
earn mockery if they were an American band.
The 31-year-old Pop-Punk trio's "I Am a Cat" off 1993's Let's Knife
is an autumnal, simple tune where the narrator steps into an astral
"timeless zone" and finds a cat's whiskers and ears. After attaching
them to herself, she observes, "In a moment, I become a sweet little
cat/And I dance on a flying saucer." It's silly and a bit dumb,
of course, but the total absence of irony —especially since this comes
from an underground Rock outfit — is a true gift. Shonen Knife has long
championed frivolous music about frivolous subjects, and the trio’s
childlike earnestness yields great charm.With that being said,
it's somewhat surprising that Kurt Cobain of all folks supported Shonen;
but, hey, even the guy who wrote "Rape Me" needed some relief from pain
and aggression, too (see: heroin addiction). Shonen Knife's tour behind its new album, Pop Tune, comes to the Ballroom space inside the Taft Theatre downtown tonight. Showtime is 8:30 p.m.; doors open at 7:30 p.m. Opening the show is red-headed sibling rockers White Mystery (from Chicago) and Cincinnati greats The Harlequins. Tickets are $13.Here's the video for the title track off of Shonen Knife's new LP.
Aug. 20 • Taft Theatre
0 Comments · Monday, August 13, 2012
Irony is not a concept usually shared by international cultures. Case in point: cats.
Night Beats blaze their own trail by following a few already blazed
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Carving your own upward path in the
perpetually congested music biz is an intimidating enough prospect on
its own. Yet Danny Lee — the driving force behind Seatlle Psych Rock trio Night Beats — has
opted to one-up this great dare: He wants not just to create his band’s
own fanbase but also his own scene. Kinda. Maybe.
July 27 • Taft Theatre
0 Comments · Monday, July 23, 2012
Meth, liquor, hitchhiking, cheating and, of course,
angels are just a few of the topics about which Old Crow Medicine Show
enjoys singing. It sounds like a bad play on the topics of Country
music, but it works for them — especially when you add in the banjo and
that big ol’ bass.
July 5 • Ballroom at the Taft Theatre
0 Comments · Monday, July 2, 2012
South Carolina’s Trevor Hall
doesn’t make the kind of music you might expect to come from a native of
the American South. Instead, Hall’s music has a Reggae streak, the kind
of tunes he may have heard growing up in the beach community of Hilton
Head or later at the arts school he attended in California. If you like Jack Johnson and
Colbie Caillat and enjoy grooving to Bob Marley on occasion, Hall’s
releases would fit nicely in your collection.
by Deirdre Kaye
Up-and-coming Pop/Reggae singer/songwriter plays Ballroom at the Taft
South Carolina’s Trevor Hall doesn’t make the kind of music you might expect to come from a native of the American south. Instead, Hall’s music has a Reggae streak, similar to the kind of tunes he may have heard growing up in the beach community of Hilton Head or later at the arts school he attended in California.If you like Jack Johnson and Colbie Caillat and enjoy grooving to Bob Marley on occasion, Hall’s releases would fit nicely in your CD (or iTunes) collection. His newest album, Everything Everytime Everywhere, highlights everything that’s great about Hall’s music, with 12 tracks of summery, beach-y Pop with undertones of contemporary and classic Reggae.Unlike Caillat and Johnson, Hall focuses on more than just sappy love songs. The love Hall is most willing to write and sing about is love for yourself and the world around you. Hall, who travels to India almost yearly to spend time in an ashram that houses underprivileged children, lives up to Marley’s “One Love” message better that most of his musical contemporaries. Everything even features snippets of sounds from an Indian street corner and a song introduction by one of the young girls from the ashram.Hall has performed with Matisyahu, Jimmy Cliff and The Wailers, and is currently headlining his own tour. He plays on the Taft Theatre's Ballroom stage tonight with Justin Young and Pete Dressman. Tickets are $17.
June 29 • Ballroom at the Taft Theatre
0 Comments · Monday, June 25, 2012
Any band with decent musical
aptitude and a passion for the days of sheet music stores, phosphates
and the Charleston can churn out covers of songs gleaned from thrift
shop 78s and attract a sizable, loyal audience. The real gift is
taking that Hot Jazz/Country Blues/Ragtime/Western Swing inspiration
and translating it into original and completely contemporary songs;
Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three possess that gift.
by Deirdre Kaye
Posted In: Live Music
at 02:17 PM | Permalink
Oh, Cincinnatians! Wednesday night, when you filed into the Ballroom at the Taft (Theatre), loudly and drunkenly declaring your love for Dawes, I knew I’d never been more proud of you in all my life. (Except you, Guy Who Tried to Vomit Back into His Beer Can like a sorority girl MacGyver. Know your limits, dude.) You filled the basement with your singing and your cheers and, whether you saw it or not, left four California boys looking pretty giddy in your presence. While I still think some of you have some fairly bad taste in music, I now officially consider everyone in the room on Wednesday to be the new loves of my life.That includes Dawes and Sara (and Sean) Watkins, too. They deserved every ounce of love that you gave them. This was not a massive and disconnected arena show; this was just some gig in Will Taft’s basement. But Dawes rocked out in a very big way. For every beer-induced bellow you made, a little more of the musicians' hearts seemed to shine through. There was no phoning it in, no signs of fatigue after a long year of touring (for Dawes) and no amateur hour when Sara Watkins started off the night. The only downfall was knowing that it would end and that, as good as Dawes’ albums are, they would forever pale in comparison to their live show. It was that good. It was the kind of concert where you walk out knowing you will never miss another one of their concerts. The kind of night that leads to going home and staring at their tour schedule and your bank account, trying to decide if you can make it to another show on this round of touring. They’re the kind of band that flings out so much energy in their set that, come 4 a.m., you’re still lying in bed, wide awake and humming “Fire Away.” In other words: Holy Shit. Dawes is amazing.Which is surprising, honestly, since at first glimpse, no one in Dawes looks like a Rock star. Lead singer and guitar player, Taylor Goldsmith, with messy brown hair and just slightly too short pants, looks more like a philosophy professor straight out of the ‘70s. You know — the one who gets all the girls and invites the best students back to his apartment to get high. His brother, Griffin, has a massive mane of blonde curls and a face like every other one of your little brother’s friends. But he attacks the drums, has an awesome voice and great facial expressions. Behind the crazy organ/piano set up is Tay Strathairn, working like a mad scientist and bouncing from one machine to the other. Meanwhile, Dawes' bassist, Wylie Gelber, comes complete with that trademark bass player “chill”-ness. He’s cool. Basically, they’re just your average guys. They’d fit in just as easily in Cincinnati as they do in Los Angeles. On stage, though, they are far from average. They are amazing. They can turn a basement into a ballroom and a gig into a "show."Vintage Rock hasn’t sounded so good since it was just Rock. In total, the guys played over a dozen songs. Included on the set-list were their more popular hits, like “When My Times Comes” and “Time Spent in Los Angeles.” They also played a few new (and oh-so-awesome) songs that may or may not make it onto their new album.I could gush for another 600 words, but instead I’ll end with this: Go see Dawes. Get in your car right now and drive to whatever city they’re playing next. Squeeze in close and wait to be awed. Wait for that moment, a couple songs in, when your cheeks hurt because you can’t stop smiling. Wait until Taylor Goldsmith dedicates “When My Time Comes” to the “first-timers” and then scream along. Go see Dawes and fall in love with good music.
June 6 • Ballroom at the Taft Theatre
0 Comments · Monday, June 4, 2012
At least twice recently, Rolling Stone has referred to someone’s sound as “Laurel Canyon.” If you were born after the late ’70s and don’t have a soft spot for Neil Young and his friends, you
May 11 • Ballroom at Taft Theatre
0 Comments · Monday, May 7, 2012
Long before Jack and Meg White made it fashionable, Scott
Lucas and Joe Daniels made serious waves as Indie Rock duo Local H. Anything’s possible at a Local H show; tickets for their 2007 morning
gig at Cellular Field were available only by finding Lucas on the street
and addressing him, “Attention all planets of the Solar Federation, we
have assumed control.” The countdown is on.