Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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Sidewalk Chalk and Eclipse Movement Make White People Dance Afool at The Woodward

All horns all the time, that’s what I want in many live music situations. Sidewalk Chalk and Eclipse Movement nail that requirement. If there’s rapping that isn’t disparaging to women, that’s also a big plus.

I like hip hop. I like the beats. I like rapping. I don’t mind trite lyrics. But as a bearer of lady parts, I can’t put my dollars into something that’s disparaging to women. Sidewalk Chalk’s and Eclipse Movement’s cerebral, positive lyrics are an oasis in a desert of lady objectification.

Eclipse Movement performing at The Woodward Theater

Eclipse Movement driving the beats.

Eclipse Movement opened for Sidewalk Chalk at The Woodward Theater. I haven’t seen them play in a year and a half; I was overdue to check in with them. The musicians in this band are highly skilled. It shows in the face-melting guitar solo that closed out the last song of their set. It shows in their dynamic and textural range. They tore into quoting “Immigrant Song”; it was a shockingly perfect interlude.

Eclipse Movement performing at The Woodward Theater

There’s a keytar. That equals immediate awesome.

Eclipse Movement performing at The Woodward Theater

Eclipse Movement was an excellent opener for Sidewalk Chalk.

Eclipse Movement performing at The Woodward Theater

Who doesn’t like horns? And carpets.

Sidewalk Chalk regularly brings huge energy to their shows, but last night was exceptional as I had a bird’s eye view of the crowd.  Beardy white men clad in ugly sweaters shook what God gave them in each and every awkward way possible; they did so with such enthusiasm and joy that permanent grinning was the only possible response. When Sidewalk Chalk finished off “Us, Them” chanting that we must better love each other, the crowd gleefully joined. It was a joyous 60 minutes that I will cherish.

Sidewalk Chalk perfomring at the Woodward Theater

Get ready!

Sidewalk Chalk performing

There might have been some hands in the air.

Sidewalk Chalk performing at The Woodward Theater

The plane! The plane!

Sidewalk Chalk horns at full tilt!

Sidewalk Chalk horns at full tilt!

Can I take a moment to enthuse about The Woodward? The Woodward Theater is nailing it’s infancy. At 4 months old, they have stellar bookings coming up. Cloud Nothings and Will Butler (member of Arcade Fire) booked as part of the Music Now Festival. The Church, a band with one of my favorite early 90’s hits “Under The Milky Way”, will come all the way from Australia to play in humble Cincinnati. The Antlers were just announced for this May. Rubblebucket, one of the bands I missed at MPMF2014 due to the venue being at capacity is coming up in April. Tonight, while the Woodward hosts The Harlequins and The Yugos, a mere 20 paces away, MOTR will host The Ready Stance and The Locals. All these shows are under twenty bucks, and in a venue where there’s a view of the stage nearly everywhere. Oh, and I can walk to it from my house. Basically, this is perfect.


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James Brown Would be Proud: The Almight Get Down and Sidewalk Chalk

Spring has arrived. Unlike most other northern cities, Cincinnatians hide away in the winter. The first whispers of spring brings everyone out of their hibernation. People turn up to the places they will be from once again.

This was the context for the show last night. The Almighty Get Down opened for Sidewalk Chalk. I knew what I was in for with Sidewalk Chalk. I saw them at Midpoint Music Festival last year. They got a bit of an unfortunate time slot, at 5pm before many of the festival goers were out and about. They sounded great, so when I saw them slated to return to the Queen City, I made note.

I wasn’t disappointed. They sounded stellar and just as tight as I remembered. I admit that I often don’t like hip hop. The lyrics are lacking, and some producer has just nicked hooks from other musicians and packaged them up in predictable ways. But this. This is something else. It’s melodic and thoughtful. There’s a reference to To Kill a Mocking Bird in this song. In the words of Capital Cities, it’s good shit.

The surprise was The Almighty Get Down. They tore down the house with funk that James Brown would approve of. Really fantastic show. Their stage presence coupled with their tight sound just rolled over the audience in shimmering waves. It’s as though they brought all their energy to bear on this one tiny stage in OTR for just an hour or so. Really, that show was just fantastic to watch.

It was a great night for live music. It was a great night for photography. It was a great night.

The Almighty Get Down packed Motr.

The Almighty Get Down packed Motr.

Preach

Preach

The stage at Motr is tiny. I don't know how they packed so many horns on there.

The stage at Motr is tiny. I don’t know how they packed so many horns on there.

I'm afraid I didn't get as close to Sidewalk Chalk. But they sounded excellent.

I’m afraid I didn’t get as close to Sidewalk Chalk. But they sounded excellent.

The weather was splendid. Everyone was out. The patio outside was just as packed as this bar room. Even the basement had full tables.

The weather was splendid. Everyone was out. The patio outside was just as packed as this bar room. Even the basement had full tables.