Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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MidPoint Music Festival 2014: Saturday In Review

Post-MPMF depression. I have it. It’s a thing. Writing this up was my last task to close out the weekend, and I have procrastinated it. This reminds me of how facing January felt after Christmas when I was a kid. An occasion that I look forward to all year passes so quickly, and I’m left was wonderful memories and building anticipation for another year. This is a wonderful problem to have. Having such a wonderful experience that a little bout of depression sets in now that it’s over. On the bright side, I am seeing Chvrches tonight. I have a number of introspective things to say about the festival, but I think I need to let those simmer for a while longer. In the meantime, here’s what happened and some pictures.

Here’s what I planned to do on Saturday.

230 Modoc – Washington Park
345 Public – Washington Park
5 Empires – Washington Park
630 OK Go – Washington Park
715 Ancient Warfare – Moerlein Tap Room
830 Coves – Moerlein Tap Room
845 – The Nepotist – Mainstay Rock Bar
930 Ex Hex – The Know
930 Ravonettes Moerlein Tap Room
945 Low Cut Connie – Midpoint Midway
1030 Speedy Ortiz – The Know
1115 The Tontons – Mainstay Rock Bar
1145 EMA – The Know
1145 Gardens and Villa – Memorial Hall
1215 Milagres – The Drinkery
1230 Ex-Cult – Moerlein Tap Room

I missed Modoc, because I went to the sessions at the Herzog studio and saw Mustered Courage. I was hoping to leave there early enough to catch the end of Modoc, but no luck there. I missed Ancient Warfare, Low Cut Connie, EMA and Ex-Cult. I missed almost all of those because I enjoyed the conflicting acts too much to leave them. I was surprised by how much I liked The Ravonettes and Coves. And damn, The Tontons are now on my do-not-miss list. I will have more to say about the fest in a week or two after the post-mpmf blues leaves me.

Empires

Empires

OK Go

OK Go

OK Go and Confetti!!

OK Go and Confetti!!

Ex Hex

Ex Hex

Coves

Coves

The Tontons

The Tontons

Milagres

Milagres

 

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Midpoint Music Fest: Friday In Review

Yesterday was wonderful. I have many things to write about it, but I have to go out for more shooting in about 30 minutes. So, I will need to save my introspection for later date.

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

5 Yugos – MP Midway
6 Joseph Arthur – Washington Park
6 Real Estate – MP Midway (I will split my time between these two bands in the 6 o’clock hour)
715 Wussy – Washington Park (If for some reason I am not feeling Wussy, and this is very unlikely, Bully – Christian Moerlein Tap Room)
815 Drowners – Christian Moerlein
830 The Afghan Wigs – Washington Park (will arrive just a bit late)
930 Tycho – Christian Moerlein
930 The Locals – MOTR (Alternate, if I don’t connect with Tycho)
10 Fort Wilson Riot – The Know
1030 Shivering Timbers – Mr Pitiful’s
11 All Them Witches – The Drinkery
1145 Rubblebucket – The Know
1230 Miniature Tigers – Mainstay Rock Bar

Shockingly enough, nearly all of that did happen. The only thing I missed was Rubblebucket. By the time I got to The Know, they were at capacity upstairs. I waited for a bit, but decided to skip out to Holy Ghost Tent Revival. My friends were in for the Rubblebucket show and said it was awesome. I was most surprised by The Afghan Wigs and Tycho. I haven’t seen The Wigs play in at least ten years. Those guys are sounding amazing. Greg Dulli managed to be powerful and vulnerable simultaneously. I am so happy I checked them out again. Tycho is all instrumental music, and I was unsure of what the live experience would be like. Wow, that show was a shocker. They were just incredible.

Normally, I would share any disappointments, but I have none to share. Every band I saw yesterday put up good to outstanding performances. On to the pictures!

 

Real Estate playing Midpoint Midway. This venue is free, giving everyone access to great music.

Real Estate playing Midpoint Midway. This venue is free, giving everyone access to great music.

Real Estate had a great turn out. Lots of children, dogs, and collective art projects.

Real Estate had a great turn out. Lots of children, dogs, and collective art projects.

There's a mirror installation on the Midway. It's a totally cool way to engage with perspective.

There’s a mirror installation on the Midway. It’s a totally cool way to engage with perspective.

The Drowners were outstanding.

The Drowners were outstanding.

Fort Wilson Riot were a fun listen.

Fort Wilson Riot were a fun listen.

I like Shivering Timbers so much that I saw them twice yesterday.

I like Shivering Timbers so much that I saw them twice yesterday.

The Locals rocking out Motr.

The Locals rocking out Motr.

Oh Wussy, I love you so much.

Oh Wussy, I love you so much.

All Them Witches!

All Them Witches!

All Them Witches packed The Drinkery.

All Them Witches packed The Drinkery.

Afghan Wigs filled Washington Park.

Afghan Wigs filled Washington Park.

Greg Dulli, part-time drummer.

Greg Dulli, part-time drummer.

 


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Midpoint Music Festival 2013 in Review: Friday

Welcome to my Midpoint Music Festival 2013 Review, the Friday edition. If you missed my last blog regarding MPMF, and would like an overview of what MPMF is read this blog post and then come back to this one.

Here’s what my agenda was at the beginning of the night. I was particularly excited for Youth Lagoon, Murder By Death, and The Head And The Heart.

5:30 Izzy And The Catastrophics at MPMF Midway
6:00 American Royalty at Washington Park
7:00 Black Owls at Grammer’s
7:15 Youth Lagoon at Washington Park
8:45 The Head And The Heart at Washington Park
9:30 Warpaint at Grammer’s
10:00 Saturday Looks Good To Me at Know Theater
11:30 Kishi Bashi at CAC
12:00 Murder By Death at Taft
12:30 Sugar Baron at Main Event

I turned up to Izzy, but found that that show had been cancelled. They ended up playing at 6:15 at a different venue. They also filled in for The Whiskey Gentry at their 12:30am slot on Saturday at Japp’s Annex. I was bummed about The Whiskey Gentry cancelling. I didn’t end up seeing Izzy at either of those times. I’ve seen Izzy several times; they are good performers. But with so many options, I wanted to see something new, so I skipped them.

American Royalty sounded good, but their performance wasn’t anything worth discussing. I skipped the Black Owls in favor of Youth Lagoon. The Black Owls are excellent, but like Izzy I’ve seen them several times. Plus, they will be playing Northside Tavern in December, and I will see them there.

Youth Lagoon. Words fail me here. I really like their records. I found the vocalist unpleasant live. Both his appearance and singing weren’t what I was expecting. I know full well his appearance shouldn’t matter. The music is the only thing that should matter. But in a live setting what the band looks like is part of the experience. I’m disgusted with myself for feeling this strongly about about his appearance. Even if I set his appearance aside, his warbling was unpleasant, and I suppose this is a good enough reason to pass on any future concerts. I listed to the album again, and I think there were two problems with this show. First, I am certain that Trevor Powers’s voice has so much reverb on it on the albums it takes the shrill edge off his vocals. As an aside, I think I noticed the same problem with Baths’s singer on Thursday. Second, like MGMT at Bunbury, I’m pretty sure the audience really could have been absent and the show wouldn’t have varied in the least. I hate it when artists do this. (I had to look up grammar rules around possessives just now. Writing is hard.)

I saw The Head And The Heart open for The Decemberists. They were stellar then; they were stellar at this festival. They sound great. They are fun performers. According to my less-than-scientific observation, they packed Washington Park more so than any other act in the fest. Since I had seen them before, I had planned on leaving their show for Warpaint after they played “Down in the Valley”. It’s my favorite song on that album. I’m pretty sure the chord progression that’s most attractive to me is used in at least one other song that I know well, and this might explain my immediate attraction to this tune. I’ve been puzzling over where it’s from for weeks. As They wound up their final song, I thought I was out of luck. I was so pleased when they played it as the final song of their encore.

The Head And The Heart at Washington Park. They were very sweet. They said they were excited that it's still summer in Cincinnati, because it's apparently already winter in Seattle.

The Head And The Heart at Washington Park. They were very sweet. They said they were excited that it’s still summer in Cincinnati, because it’s apparently already winter in Seattle.

I’ve been seeing live shows for more than 20 years, and this typically gives me a spidey sense of what a band will do live after hearing their record. Some recordings smell like studio creations that don’t fare well live. I suspected as much of Warpaint. I’m please to say I couldn’t have been more wrong. These women sounded excellent. I would absolutely see them again.

Warpaint at Grammer's Stage.

Warpaint at Grammer’s Stage.

I literally only saw half a song of Saturday Looks Good To Me, as they finished their set just as I arrived. I was a bit mesmerized by Warpaint and couldn’t pull myself away. Since I was already at the Know Theater I went up stairs to check out San Fermin. It was PACKED. Just getting in the door and out of the stairway was difficult, let alone get a glimpse of the stage. What I saw and heard was great. I’m not sure how much 30 seconds of listening is worth. I headed to Kishi Bashi.

The Contemporary Arts Center is an appropriate venue for this fest, but the room that they put the bands in is tiny. I think this venue is a train wreck of humans for at least one show of this fest consistently from year to year. This year’s train wreck of humans happened at Kishi Bashi. There were lines to get in. The venue was full and on a 1 in 1 out policy. Since I am a veteran of this fest, I’ve come to expect this. To say that the line of people waiting to get in were impatient is being kind. Although, in their defense the people working the venue weren’t communicating with the crowd. And if I were a first-timer I probably would have been frustrated too. Murder By Death was on my must see list, so I left the line at the CAC for the Taft; my friends who remained in line, got in about 5 minutes. Not bad. They also reported that Kishi Bashi said he’s returning to Cincinnati this year. Great! I will see him then.

Turns out I made a great decision in leaving the CAC. Murder By Death started early! These guys are from Bloomington IN, so I have no idea why I have missed them until now. They play Cincinnati regularly. First, the sound at the Taft was outstanding all weekend, so Murder By Death was no exception. Second, Murder By Death sounded great and put on a great performance. My friend Amanda summarized their sound in this way: it’s like Soundgarden and Morphine had a hillbilly baby. That sums them up nicely. I’m looking forward to the next time they turn up in Cincinnati. In the meantime, here’s my favorite song of theirs, which they played at the show.

Murder By Death at The Taft

Murder By Death at The Taft

Finally, I headed to Sugar Baron at the Main Event. This is the only venue that was consistently poor in terms of sound quality. I think Sugar Baron would be great in a different setting. I only caught a few songs, but what I did hear had over-amplified drums and indistinguishable vocals. I would give them another try in a different setting.

I was excited to find my way home. I was exhausted and very happy with my music experience. It was dawning on me that this years line-up might be the best to date in terms of the quality of the bands booked.