Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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Bunbury 2015 Must See: Father John Misty

This is going to get weird. Watch this and listen to the lyrics.

I had to fall in love with Jeff Buckley’s cover of “Hallelujah” before I could wrap my brain around Leonard Cohen. Cohen’s style felt unapproachable to this punk kid. His songs were way too slow and employed way too many instruments for me to relate to them. Once my musical pallet was attuned to Cohen, I fell in love with him. But my warm-up to him took years. I will follow a similar process with Father John Misty. My age and experience has only gifted me the good sense to see him now anticipating my future love.

Yeah. Right? I’m not going to say this show will be fun, exactly. I think it will be something worth seeing. Any man that writes “save me white Jesus” in a song is worth watching. Father John Misty plays at 4 on Friday of Bunbury 2015.


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Bunbury 2015 Must See: Twenty One Pilots

This band isn’t exactly in my wheelhouse. But when I saw them at Bunbury a couple of years back their performance was really entertaining. When they took the stage the pianist launched off the top of his upright piano. The piano thudded to the stage; stage hands scurried to the rescue. But Twenty One Pilots didn’t miss a beat. Later in the show the drummer passed a platform to the crowd and set-up his kit there and played. Regardless of how you feel about the music, you will be entertained.


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Bunbury 2015 Must See: Shakey Graves

Americana seems to be a thing right now. Slickly produced well manicured bands with banjos and mandolins abound. Hey there Mumford and Sons and Lumineers. I’m sure the lack of banjo on Mumford’s most recent release will be the cause of much consternation.

American folk music has such a rich history. It’s been a tool for telling stories, sharing misery, and speaking out against systemic oppression. All these bearded pretty bands feel hollow when I consider the history of the product they are hustling.

But then there’s really gorgeous music happening just out of the spot light. Shakey Graves lives in this space. His voice is captivating.

I am curious to see his one-man performance. Typically, solo performances aren’t dynamic enough to hold my attention for long. But I love being proven wrong.

Shakey Graves performs at Bunbury 2015 Sunday at 530.


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Bunbury 2015 Must See: Wussy

Wussy is a great local band. I often miss our local acts at fests because I have many opportunities to see them outside fests, and when I must choose between something I love but have regular access to and something unknown that I don’t have regular access to, I pick novelty. Wussy kicks off the fest on Friday at 2, and has no competition for the first half of their set, so I am guaranteed to catch part of their performance. I can’t think of a better start to a great weekend.

If you are traveling for Bunbury, here’s what you need to know. Wussy has been praised by Rolling Stone and SPIN. Their albums have achieved critical success in spite of Wussy’s sparse touring. The band members all have day jobs, and getting out of town for tours is a challenge. But here in Cincinnati, we’re lucky. We have them all to ourselves. If you want a little taste of the Cincinnati indie music scene, don’t miss this band.

Check out their performance on KEXP:

All the feels that I have about discovering music lives in this song. A voice comes through the speakers and grabs hold of your soul whispering that you aren’t alone. This unexpected connection wrenches hope and joy out of what can otherwise feel a mundane existence. NOTE: this is a subset of the video above.

Wussy – Teenage Wasteland:

(Verse)
Do you remember the moment? You finally did something about it.
When the kick of the drum lined up with the beat of your heart
Stuck in the corn with only a transistor radio
Making paths with the soundwaves and echoing Oh Babyloh-oh-oh-on(Chorus)
Yeah, we heard your beat real loud and clear on the last one
And we were pulling for you a thousand times a day
And it don’t take much to sound like a sleeping prophet
When your misery sounds so much like oh, so far away
Too far away, too far away

(Verse)
Do you remember the night you finally heard something about it?
When the kick of the drum went off like artillary fire
And if you’re wondering, man, oh yeah, say that it got to us
The shackles nd the (???) would scream like ohr, yeah yeah yeah

(Chorus)
Yeah, we heard you clear, real loud and clear on the last one
I must have listened to you a thousand times a day
And for one short breath, it sounds like the world is ending
It’s floating in space, but then it (???) so far aways
So far away, so far away

(Chorus)
Heard you loud and clear on the last one
We were potting for you a thousand times in a day
And it don’t take much to sound like a sleeping prophet
When your misery sounds so much like oh, so far away
Too far away, too far away

Wussy plays at Bunbury 2015 at 2pm on Friday.
If you wanna see my past experiences at Wussy’s shows check my past blogs out:


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Bunbury 2015 Must See: Old Crow Medicine Show

The context matters when I am introduced to music. Much like a first impression, it’s like nicotine in walls. They never quite leave. They only fade, but never quite disappear.

I worked at a bar for some years; it was sort of place that wait staff would gather to drink away their nightly tips from midnight to last call. At mealtimes it was a wholesome family environment. In the wee hours of the morning, people were drowning their loneliness and making small an steady steps to heart failure and lung cancer.

I was introduced to “Wagon Wheel” in those wee hours of the morning. Fatigue was nipping at my heels while I struggled to find humor in jokes only funny to those three shots in. Inevitably, “Wagon Wheel” was the center of a “Crazy Hand of Poker” and “Ants Marching” sonic shit sandwich. And so, Old Crow Medicine Show got shoved into the malice-filled corner of my brain reserved for people who wear patchouli and like jam bands.

Regardless of my past impressions, I researched Old Crow Medicine Show as I have all the other bands in the Bunbury line-up. I was surprised to find that they are legit. I am delighted to be wrong. Now, my only concern is all the people turning up to see them that only know “Wagon Wheel” and will most likely be wearing patchouli.

Old Crow Medicine Show plays on Saturday of Bunbury 2015.


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Bunbury 2015 Must See: The Decemberists

I love this band. I saw them some years back, and got the added bonus of seeing The Head and the Heart as openers. At the time, I believe that Jenny Conlee, pianist among other instruments in The Decemberists, had recently been diagnosed with cancer. The show was subdued, and Conlee was absent. There seemed to be a pall over the band. Regardless, their technical execution was flawless. They just seemed disengaged from the audience.

Since then, Conlee’s cancer has gone into remission. I am curious to see the band now; the change in context might affect the band’s performance. I am hoping for a little more engagement this time around.

I love these songs. I love them so hard.

The Decemberists play on Saturday at Bunbury 2015.


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Bunbury 2015 Must See: The Front Bottoms

“When ever I am alone or feeling lonely I pretend I can play the drums inside my head… I am alone only half of the time and the other half I am only hiding.” – “Legit Tattoo Gun” – The Front Bottoms

Words fail when expressing why music resonates. My initial attraction to The Front Bottoms was due to the vocalist’s similarities to the lead vocalist in The Thermals. The Thermals sound is more traditionally punk than The Front Bottoms, but the sincerity in the lyrics crosses the differences in sound.

There’s a thread that runs between The Front Bottoms and the early 2000’s emo bands like The Get Up Kids and Saves the Day. It seems that the only appropriate way to enjoy this band is screaming the lyrics to the songs along with them. And that’s exactly how I intend on enjoying them.

The Front Bottoms play on Sunday at Bunbury 2015.


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Bunbury 2015 Must See: The Black Keys

I love The Black Keys. I love that they are died in the wool Akron boys. I love their raw blues sound.

I saw them at the Madison some years back. The venue is small and sweaty and remains nicotine stained despite years of being smoke free. It was my ideal setting to see them. I was doubtful I would enjoy seeing them two years following at US Bank Arena. I couldn’t conceive of their sound translating well to that cavernous venue. I was surprised.

I also saw The Black Keys at Lollapalooza years and years ago. They were unknown at the time, and played bright and early. The crowd was patiently staking out their spots for Nine Inch Nails, and barely engaged. The sound was awful.

I am ready to have that unfortunate fest experience erased from my mind. This context will be different simply because The Keys are successful enough to headline a fest. Here’s to my second experience with the Black Keys.

Black Keys “Lonely Boy”


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Magnolia Sons and The Church

I fell behind. It happens. But in the interests of catching up, I am just going to share these shots and offer little to no commentary on these shows. Magnolia Sons were at The Drinkery, and The Church was at The Woodward Theater. Both shows were really spectacular in different ways.

Magnolia Sons

Magnolia Sons

Magnolia Sons

Magnolia Sons

Magnolia Sons

Magnolia Sons

Magnolia Sons

Magnolia Sons

The Church

The Church

The Church

The Church

The Church

The Church