Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way

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MPMF16: Andrew Jackson Jihad

If I let the crazy person in my head run my mouth it would sound similar to this.

I am insecure and judgmental. I wish I didn’t feel as dark about other people. I wish I didn’t see a salmon short guy with an awesome tattoo and feel that he isn’t entitled to it. And I wish I didn’t see the girl in high-waisted acid-washed jeans sporting her plastic-framed glasses with lenses the size of dinner plates feel annoyed. But I do. I would hate that guy with the Kokopelli face tattoo.

We know this to be true
Everything is difficult except what’s in front of you
But it’s complicated even under your nose
Bullshit math equations
Your highs and your lows

And your manic depression
It comes and it goes
Your parasympathetic nervous system reacts
And you’re in fight or flight mode

How’s the world so small when the world is so large?
And what made the world
Could I please speak to who’s in charge?
Everything is real
But it’s also just as fake
From your daughter’s birthday party
To your grandmother’s wake

And your bipolar illness
It comes and it goes
Your parasympathetic nervous system reacts
And you’re in fight or flight mode

I’ve tried to know which words to sing so many times
I tried to know which chord to play
And I tried to make it rhyme
I tried to find the key that all good songs are in
And I tried to find that notes to make that great, resounding din
But there’s a bad man in everyone
No matter who we are
There’s a rapist and a Nazi living in our tiny hearts
Child pornographers and cannibals, and politicians too
There’s someone in your head waiting to fucking strangle you

So here’s to you Mrs. Robinson
People love you more
Oh nevermind
In fucking fact Mrs. Robinson
The world won’t care whether you live or die
In fucking fact Mrs. Robinson
They probably hate to see your stupid face
So here’s to you Mrs. Robinson
You live in an unforgiving place

But we live in a tough place. And we are surrounded by people living on autopilot who are untroubled with how judgmental they are. Does my awareness make me lucky or miserable. Both?

I need constant maintenance to bring my best, which is patience and generosity with others and myself. If I have said unkind words to others they pale at what I have inflicted on myself. Knowing there are others trying to do their best gives me a little more energy to keep trying too. But I’m not trying to not hate. I’m trying to see that everyone has their own burdens. They are just different from mine, but that doesn’t make them any more or less trying.

Nobody knows everything. I certainly don’t. I know I will see AJJ Sunday the 25th at 430pm at the Elliot stage at MPMF.

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Bigger and Better = More Expensive and More Crowded

I know I am a weirdo. This always means that when something I love wants to chase after a wider audience they will stop doing the things I enjoy and start doing things I don’t. And it’s happened with my two favorite music festivals.

I hate most TV. I don’t watch many movies. I don’t follow many popular bands. I am aggravated by almost all media and find the weirdest person in the room to talk to. When TV programmers salivate over all the partially brain dead people they can suck into Kim Kardashian’s latest shenanigans, they are not thinking of me.

And for the most part, I am ok with this. There’s just one thing. I love music. I love indie music specifically. I love walking into a a craft beer soaked 60’s nautical themed venue and seeing a group of people finding themselves onstage. I love seeing them watch the crowd and formulate who they will be as performers. Once a band reaches the arena they are done being a person on stage and are a persona. I am seeing a crafted performance. While this has its place, I don’t have passion for it.

And music at the most micro sense is miles away from the Kardashians. But all of its roads lead there to some degree. The process of a band making it big is to transform their music and themselves into a product. And because I like to see them before they are a product this has me constantly chasing the new.

I have been lucky in the last few years in that I have had not one but two festivals in Cincinnati that have aided my search. Bunbury and MPMF were started and run by people who love music. They loved money less.

And it showed. Prices were low and the music was abundant. Their booking was stacked with new bands or established artists who deserved a better following. Without any huge national acts these fests weren’t plagued by long lines or enormous impersonal stages.

These fests made excellent experinces for people like me. MBAs know that catering to us weirdos won’t bring the army of salmon-shorted bros. I knew when it would come to making money the things I loved would change.

Bunbury was sold to Promowest last year. MPMF was sold to MEMI this spring. They have cut the number and acts and stages. They put up big names. The net result is that I will be a football field away from any of the bands, wait in long lines to pee or eat, and have no place to chill out for a bit between sets because it’s so packed. (Side note: this is part of the reason I skipped Bunbury this year.)

MPMF is changing even more dramatically in that rather than have local music venues host bands all four stages are parking lots. So, rather than give fest goers a little taste of Cincinnati by sending them into our unique bars that serve our own craft beer we are sending people into parking lots to drink bud light.

Had an outside company done this is wouldn’t feel surprised. But the company is a subsidiary of the Cincinnati Symphony. They have a stranglehold on Cincinnati’s large venues, Riverbend, PNC Pavillion, and The Taft. And given that they just killed Promowest’s attempt to get a small venue in The Banks, it follows that MEMI would want to take on Promowest (new owners of Bunbury) head to head in the music festival business.

For an organization the is based in OTR, I cannot fathom how tone deaf moving out of the local venues was. They state that they want to support OTR, but in what way exactly? By showing off our parking lots and a wealth of InBev products? All cities can provide those things.

I used to think The Symphony had some difficulty engaging the community because they weren’t quite getting their potential audience. But now I am thinking they struggle because they simply don’t know us. The board members are disconnected from the most vibrant aspects of the city and fail to program accordingly.

I can accept the festival changing. Everything changes. What I cannot accept is to create a completely standard music festival out of something unique. Something that started in 2001 when no one would go to OTR and supported CBD and OTR businesses when they most needed it. This festival brought people back downtown after the riots. I cannot accept substituting this cookie cutter format and still calling it Midpoint Music Festival. Call it anything you want. Just not MPMF.

What a wonderful time it’s been, these fourteen years of priceless experiences and incredible music. I am so grateful to have been a part of it. I have more memories than I can share, but I will put links up to my past reviews below as well as a couple pics.

I will go to this new festival to check it out. But that is exactly how I think of it, as something new. MPMF is over. The words continue but the spirit is gone. Thank you, thank you, thank you for fourteen amazing years.

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MPMF15 – I Spy

Ok. My schedule… Here we go.


  • 6pm Jr. Jr.  – Indie Craft Village
  • 715pm Big Scary – The Drinkery
  • 815pm The Donkeys – Christian Moerlein
  • 845pm The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers – Lightborne Lot
  • 915pm Purity Ring – Washington Park
  • 10pm The Ridges – Lightborne Lot
  • 1030pm Roadkill Ghost Choir – Mr. Pitiful’s
  • 1045pm toss-up between HEAT/Heartless Bastards – MOTR/Moerlein
  • 1145pm Sarah Jaffe – Mr. Pitiful’s
  • 12am Bully – MOTR
  • 1215am All Them Witches – The Woodward


  • 3pm The Harlequins – Washington Park
  • 515pm Caspian – Washington Park
  • 615pm PRIM – Lightborne Lot
  • 630pm Ride – Washington Park
  • 730pm Culture Queer – LIghtborne Lot
  • 830pm No/No – MOTR
  • 930pm Ggoolldd/Alanna Royale – Maudie’s/Mr. Pitiful’s
  • 10pm Cathedrals – Lightborne Lot
  • 1045pm Sylvan Esso – Moerlein
  • 11pm Strand of Oaks – The Woodward
  • 12am Diet Cig – Maudie’s
  • 1215am Zola Jesus – Taft (BAHHHH WHY??? Between this and Sylvan Esso/Strand of Oaks playing at the same time? Worst conflicts of the fest. This is where not having my bike is a big problem. If you don’t know why I am freaking out, let me elaborate. It’s a 20 minute walk at least between Maudie’s and The Taft. I am guessing that I will have to nix Zola Jesus here.)
  • 1230am Sphynx – The Drinkery


  • 3pm Bones Jugs and Harmony – Indie Craft Villiage
  • 5pm Gran Bel Fisher – Washington Park
  • 615pm Great Peacock – Washington Park
  • 730pm Pokey LaFarge – Washington Park
  • 845pm Iron and Wine – Washington Park
  • 9pm Kid Runner – The Drinkery
  • 945pm Public – The Taft
  • 1030pm The Tuneyards – Moerlein
  • 1145pm Pure Bathing Culture – Mr. Pitiful’s

Bahhhhh!!! this is happening!!!!

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MPMF15 – I Fell Off the Wagon

I failed miserably at posting my recommendations this week. It’s hard  moving to another city and trying to suck every amazing experience out of it as quickly as possible. See other blog posts for more on that topic.

Here’s what I would have recommended this week had I managed to do it.

  • American Wrestlers
  • Caspian
  • Public
  • Roadkill Ghost Choir
  • Ggoolldd
  • Diet Cig
  • Sweet and the Sweet Sweets

Here’s what I have already seen and loved. The only reason these bands didn’t make my must-see is because I have seen them, in some cases multiple times. They are excellent, don’t let the fact that I might skip them for acts I haven’t seen dissuade you from checking them out.

Now all that’s left to do is get my Schedule for the fest sorted. I say that as though this is an easy task. It’s not. Post coming soon.

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MPMF15 Must See – K. Flay

I like Hip Hop. The hostility toward women and glorification of our consumer culture that is often present in the lyrics turns my stomach sour, and I find I can’t continue to listen even when I like the groove and vibe. So, when I find a Hip Hop artist I can get behind, it makes me happy. I give you K. Flay.

I am a sucker for urban environments and their associated visuals, so I loved this video. There’s something barren and beautiful about the concrete landscape that I have learned to love. Maybe it’s just that it stands in contrast to the suburbs I grew-up in, and the rural areas I played and worked in?

Check out K. Flay at MPMF at The Taft Ballroom Sunday Sept. 27 at 11:00.

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MPMF15 Must See – Miracles of Modern Science

“I’ve been so drunk on safety.” Yeah, which is how I am just now living across the country. So, I get those feels Miracles of Modern Science.

I’m excited to see what this performance is liken given the unusual instrumentation of this act. Violin, cello, mandolin, drums and sometimes bass? Why not? I wonder if that drummer ever feels outnumbered by all those string players. See them at Arnold’s at 9:45 Saturday the 26th.

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MPMF2015 Must See – Pure Bathing Culture

OHHHHH SPANDAU BALLET AND COCTEAU TWINS HAVE BEEN REVIVED! Their new incarnation is called Pure Bathing Culture, and seeing them live will enable me to live out a dream… almost. This is horseshoes, so almost counts.

Uncomfortable admission, if I could wave a magic wand and live out a decade as an adult that I am not currently living in it would be the 80’s. Not, you know, the roaring 20’s with stylish flappers and rich in history. Not the 40’s, with all the strife of war, but the US’s unified response to it, plus FDR (while not my favs, as Teddy has that honor, still a very inspiring man). Nope, nope, nope, none of that.

Give me Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, neon clothing, asymmetrical hair cuts that look good on no one, unchecked glorification of consumerism, AIDS, and those hideous straight-leg, high-waist revolting excuses for pants. And now that I got all that out there, I know I am a crazy person. WHO WANTS TO RELIVE RONALD REAGAN? And mind you, as a gay homosexual AIDS was perhaps the worst thing to happen to the gay community (aside from years of institutionalized bigotry and unchecked violence), yet I am still claiming RONALD REAGAN as the worst part of that decade.

Why? Why am I subjecting myself to this? Because music. 80’s pop is my cat nip. I roll around in it irrational and wild-eyed. I was old enough to be aware of what I was missing in that decade. Born in 1976, the early 80’s are fuzzy, but by 1984 I was with it enough to observe the culture, but from a kid’s perspective. And I think that’s the key here. It’s that the 80’s I can conceive of in a way that I can’t decades that I wasn’t alive for, even if as a child.

Which brings me to my dream. I wish I could have been in my late teens or early 20’s in 1980. I want to know what the clubs were like with all the absurd fashion choices and music. I want to see what this music was like when it was played in all the clubs and bars.

Clearly as I have no time machine that won’t happen, but Pure Bathing Culture will get me close. Their stuff drips with neon colors and Flock-Of-Seagulls hair, and I love it. And the fact that they quote Benny Mardones in this song… Cherry meet top of sundae.

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MPMF15 Must See – Sphynx

It would be reasonable to think that I am clustering my recommendations by music genre, but I am not doing so intentionally. This is another electro-pop indie band. Um, it’s worth checking out their YouTube uploads to get a visual on them. They look like what would happen if Lynyrd Skynyrd and Poison had rocker babies.

And they sooo covered this song. And they sooo made this video. I have to see this happen at MPMF Saturday Sept 26, at 12:30 at The Drinkery.

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MPMF15 Must See – Kid Runner

One would think I have had enough indie synth pop; there has been a lot of it for some years now. One would also think that facial tattoos are a bad idea, but that didn’t stop Mike Tyson. Somethings just don’t have an explanation.

These folks are out of Columbus. (Ahem, Ohio against the world!) And this song that’s currently getting all the Spotify love reminds me just a bit of Fitz and The Tantrums. It’s my first intro to them, but I will be looking for them in The Queen City from this point forward, hint hint, Kid Runner.

Will there be dancing at The Drinkery, Sunday Sept. 27 at 9:00. Giddy-up!

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MPMF15 Must See – The Eagle Rock Gospel Singers

Right, so this gospel kick I am on? I blame MPMF for it. The bass groove driving this song and the huge vocals in the chorus? LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I am not a fan of Christian bands slipping Jesus lyrics into their indie rock songs. I always feel a little duped when I notice a stray lyric about grace or mercy. And oddly those are usually the telling words that cause me to scrutinize the lyrics further.

But gospel music is, well, gospel. They can Jesus all they want, and I will gladly vibe to all of it. These guys play at The Lightborne Lot right before The Ridges on Friday, Sept 25, at 8:45. Booking these folks right before The Ridges is an excellent flow. Cheers to you MPMF staff!