Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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MPMF16: Saturday Schedule

Friday was a day full of music. And the best thing about today is that there are two more days left. Here’s what I am seeing today… Assuming I consume enough coffee to keep me on my feet.

115-145 Ryan Fine & The Media – WNKU Stage
130-200 Orachards – Central Parkway Stage
300-330 Lucky Chops – Skyline Stage
315-343 By Light We Loom – WNKU Stage
415-445 Lucy Dacus – WNKU Stage
430-500 MULTIMAGIC – Central Parkway YMCA Stage
515-600 Oh Pep! – WNKU Stage
530-615 – Bob Mould – Central Parkway YMCA Stage
645-730 Carseat Headrest – WNKU Stage
700-745 Frightened Rabbit – Central Parkway Stage
745-830 Reggie Watts – Skyline Stage
815-915 The Mountain Goats – WNKU Stage
830-930 Wolf Parade – Central Parkway YMCA
930-1100 JJ Grey & Mofro – Skyline Stage

 


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MPMF16: Friday Schedule

It’s that time. That time where I determine what awesomeness I will see. Two things to note here. Leggy and Royal Holland are local acts. And they are great. If you aren’t from around here make time to see them. I’m already preparing my cold brew to survive this.

315-345 HOOPS – WNKU Stage
400-430 Injecting Strangers – Skyline Stage
445-515 Royal Holland – Eli’s BBQ Stage
515-600 Ona – WNKU Stage
530-615 PUBLIC – Central Parkway YMCA Stage
615-700 The James Hunter Six – Skyline Stage
645-715 Leggy – Eli’s BBQ Stage
700-745 Cereus Bright – Central Parkway Stage
730-830 Antibalas – Skyline Stage
830-930 Tokyo Police Club – Central Parkway YMCA Stage
930-1100 Future Islands – Slyline Stage


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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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MPMF16: The Mountain Goats

I am going to stick you in the eye with a foreign object. – The Mountain Goats “Foreign Objects”

This is the year for lyrics. Frank Turner is in my list because of his words. Reggie Watts is in my list because of his snark. The Mountain Goats are in my list because I think my friends have said many of these things about themselves or me.

But The Mountain Goats also muster the same satisfied grin from me that is reserved to They Might Be Giants. Only John Darnielle, writer in all senses, is more personal in his lyrical subject matter. “Istanbul” is a rollicking good time, but it doesn’t express the unreasonable optimism that strikes just after losing your job and your girlfriend.

There’s no real point to cynicism.  The whoomp whoomp baritone saxophone says we all know we’re horrible, but let’s try to have a party anyway. “Ba, ba da da, ba ba ba da, foreign object.”

The Mountain Goats play Saturday Sept. 24th at 815pm at the WNKU stage. I will be there. I will sing like I’m seventeen and will poke you in the eye.


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MPMF16: Bob Mould

I found Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade in the late 80’s and thought what the f*ck is this? Like most moody teens I was listening to The Cure, Depeche Mode, The Smiths, and The Pixies with a little splash of what was happening on pop radio. “Never Gonna Give You Up” was in the top ten for 1998. That should tell you all you need to know. In this context, I ran across this.

Because it sounded like little else at the time Hüsker Dü stuck with me. I followed Bob Mould when he formed Sugar in the early 90’s. FUEL became one of my most listed to cassette tapes. It dropped the year I graduated high school and carried me into my first couple years of college. Listening to it now still gives me the nostalgia warm fuzzies.

And this is mostly why I will be watching Bob Mould at MPMF. The first listens I have given his new stuff have been good. But my inner eighteen year old wants to see the shows I didn’t make more than twenty years ago.


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MPMF16: Future Islands

It’s a day at the beach. An industrial waste land of a beach in Baltimore. And all I want to know is Omar coming with them?

“Come at the king, you best not miss.” – Omar Little, The Wire

Just disregard all of that except the beach part. Baltimore is lovely dynamic city, and there’s no way we will get to see Omar Little at MPMF. But the synth-pop sounds of Future Islands will.

But more than the sounds there’s this performance. I am curious to see how Harrington delivers in person. If this is any indicator this might be my first cannot miss band.


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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.

Friday

  • 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

Saturday

  • 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

Sunday

  • 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.