Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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MPMF15 Must See – Zola Jesus

Shimmering, rich vocals backed by dark expansive synth beats and lyrics to burn; this is what Zola Jesus brings. The kid in me that was captivated by Bauhaus, Souxie and the Banshees, and Kate Bush is crushing hard on this music. The fact that I still return to these artists more than twenty years later speaks to the void that they left.

Put on your black eyeliner and black boots. Moody goth dancing is going to happen at 1215 in the Taft Ballroom on Sept 26 at Midpoint Music Festival. See you there.


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MPMF15 Must See – Sylvan Esso

And here it is. My favorite song discovered in my MPMF15 listening.

I love this song so hard I want to marry it. That might be an exaggeration. That song would be difficult to cuddle with.

I am not often a fan of seeing electronic music performed live. Watching people work at computers isn’t a compelling visual for me. As one of my photographer friends said at Bunbury this year, “What’s pleasing to the ears is not necessarily pleasing to the eye.” And no better phrase can sum up my thoughts on seeing DJs or any other performer doing things with technology.

But I am curious to see what Amelia Meath makes of her vocal performance along side producer, Nick Sanborn. The duo come together in the most acoustically pleasing way with Meath’s vocals floating across time by laying the past on top of Sanborn’s modern beats. The contrast is alluring. If you love Portishead, this performance is a must.

Join me at Sylvan Esso on Saturday Sept. 26th at the Christian Moerlein stage at 1045.


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MPMF15 Must See – Strand of Oaks

I climbed a mountain today. On the way down the mountain I saw a woman carrying what appeared to be a swaddled baby in her arms. The climb was strenuous. My first thought was – what the hell is happening here?

That was also my thought when I listened to TImothy Showalter’s, the dude behind Strand of Oaks, top four songs on Spotify. “Goshen 97” gives “Summer of ’69” a run in terms of a nostalgic anthem for all things about making music and being young. “Shut In” is dripping with big Bruce Springsteen feels. “JM” is all Iron and Wine goes electric that morphs into dark, pulsing rock. “HEAL” is a synthed-out Orgy/Bauhaus baby. See for yourself.

You will have to go to Spotify for the others. But that should be enough for you to pick up what I’m throwing down. So, back to my thought, what the hell is going on here? I don’t have an answer to that question. But I do know that I want to see this guy. I’m curious to see how the show holds together with music that is running across the board. Plus, Showalter’s lyrics are punching me right in the feels.

I do know what the hell was going on with the woman headed up the mountain with a baby. She wasn’t holding a baby. She had her jacket wrapped up in her arms and was cradling it, which killed my curiosity immediately. Maybe I never what to know what the hell is going on with Strand of Oaks and just enjoy it.


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Midpoint Music Festival 2015

This is always the sequence of emotions I experience with the MPMF line-up. Every. Year. EVERY. STINKING. YEAR. SINCE 2005.

  1. I am disappointed because I am thinking of all the indie acts that are on tour that weren’t booked.
  2. I am slightly disturbed by how few of the bands I recognize considering how much indie rock I listen to.
  3. I wonder if the fest has gotten smaller. (This has been true some years. At some point the fest had close to 300 bands. Last year the fest had just under 150. This year it’s just over 100. Net, this is a year where the fest got smaller.)
  4. I start listening.
  5. I notice a few things I like.
  6. I listen A LOT.
  7. I realize that I like most of the acts.
  8. I listen even more.
  9. I start to get excited to see a lot of this live.
  10. I literally listen to the MPMF playlist for weeks on end
  11. I notice the variety of music represented in the line-up.
  12. I start to love a bunch of the acts.
  13. I can’t wait for the fest.
  14. I am certain the fest will be spectacular. (This typically happens in early September.)

I am on step 14, and I haven’t written a single blog entry about what I am going to see. In my defense, I did just move across the country. So, it’s not like I was just playing video games and time got away from me.

I have a little less than three weeks until MPMF15 kicks off. My goal is to blog daily from now until then about what I’m pumped about seeing. And go!

Here’s the Spotify playlist that I made for MPMF15. Have a listen if you wish.

You wanna see past MPMF pictures and such? I have you covered.
MPMF14 – Saturday
MPMF14 – Friday
MPMF14 – Thursday
MPMF13 – Saturday
MPMF13 – Friday
MPMF13 – Thursday


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Midpoint Music Festival 2015: Music’s Holy Days Are Coming

It’s a little late to start browsing Midpoint’s line-up. With around 150 bands to check out, time is critical. I put together a Spotify playlist, set it to shuffle, and heard the first sweet sounds of MPMF15. And sweet they are. While I appreciate Bunbury, The bookings that MPMF snags are on a whole more to my liking. And after months of Bunbury prep, it feels soooo good to be back home. Add the playlist if you are so inclined. More to come.