MPMF.17 MIDPOINT MUSIC FEST CINCINNATI
D KEN WEE SES PAS SSES PA V & IP SALE ON W! NO
SING LE TICK -DAY ON ETS WED SALE NES DAY!
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 23
THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
FRIGHTENED RABBIT | FILTHY FRIENDS | VALERIE JUNE | CITIZEN PREOCCUPATIONS | PILE | THE CACTUS BLOSSOMS WILLIAM ELLIOTT WHITMORE | BEDOUINE | WELLES | ADAM TORRES | DYAN
AMPLINE | DAVID LUNING | MAD ANTHONY | VIRGINIA MAN | SWARMING BRANCH | BRAT CURSE KID STARDUST | EVEN TILES | YOUTH YAMADA | LEMON SKY | THE SPEEDBUMPS SATURN BATTERIES | BLOSSOM HALL | RACHEL MOUSIE | LO, THE LOYAL CONSCRIPTS
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 24
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BADBADNOTGOOD | NONAME | DAN DEACON SEUN KUTI & EGYPT 80 | AARON LEE TASJAN | MANDOLIN ORANGE CHARLY BLISS | FLINT EASTWOOD | THE GHOST OF PAUL REVERE URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT | HARBOUR | AMY O.
JEREMY PINNELL | YOUNG HEIRLOOMS | AUTOMAGIK | LEDGES | B.MILES | DANIEL IN STEREO VARSITY | SPHYNX | EDWARD & JANE | BICENTENNIAL BEAR | A DELICATE MOTOR MOONBEAU | CURRENT EVENTS | COASTAL CLUB | THE LONG LOST
SEPTEMBER 23 & 24 | DOWNTOWN CINCINNATI
GET YOUR TICKETS AT TICKETMASTER.COM, THE TAFT THEATRE OR RIVERBEND MUSIC CENTER BOX OFFICES!
Welcome to MPMF.17 Two days of music celebration and discovery return to Over-the-Rhine Sept. 23 –24, 2017 Midpoint Music Festival has developed a reputation as the place to discover contemporary music, find the next big thing and meet your new favorite band. Since 2001, our endeavor has been to embrace today’s emerging artists, all with the same spirit employed by Cincinnati’s celebrated musical pioneers, who always reached for something new. Each fall, the streets of Cincinnati become a music lover’s paradise. This year, the festival is centralized to a location with all stages within one block of each other in downtown Cincinnati. This collection of young creative talent among an architecturally rich urban setting makes MidPoint a one-of-a-kind experience. Showcased performers year after year are those buzzed about in critics’ year-end lists for “Best Album” or “Best New Artist” in publications like Spin, Fader, Pitchfork, NME, Filter and Rolling Stone. Past performers include Band of Horses, Reggie Watts, Bob Mould, Kamasi Washington, Chromeo, The Afghan Whigs, OK Go, The Head and The Heart, The Breeders, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Real
Estate, Tycho, The Raveonettes, Panda Bear, Rubblebucket, Kurt Vile, Kishi Bashi, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors, Speedy Ortiz, Lost in the Trees, Deaf Heaven, Best Coast, The Walkmen, Dinosaur Jr., Tom Tom Club, Ralph Stanley, Andrew Bird, Cut Copy, The Joy Formidable, Okkervil River, Booker T. Jones, Phantogram, Surfer Blood, Caribou, TEEN, Lord Huron, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Cults, Lydia Loveless and Heartless Bastards. Attendance has grown with the buzz of these bands, jumping from 13,500 in 2008 to around 30,000 today. Bands like to play here to reach new fans. Fans like discovering something they’ve not heard before. It’s a win-win! Find a venue map below to see how close everything is. Hoofing it around Cincinnati is no longer an issue due to the consolidation of the stages to one centralized location. We love Cincinnati and the music scene here. We hope you enjoy experiencing all of the showcased talent, both local or otherwise.
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Experience Midpoint music festival Tickets and other information MPMF has been relocated to four stages: the Taft Theatre, the Ballroom at the Taft Theatre, the Cathedral at the Cincinnati Masonic Center and an outdoor stage at Fifth and Broadway streets. For the first time, the entire festival microcosm is within one city block. This change allows for four unique concert experiences at each stage, addresses a ton of logistical concerns, and most importantly, guarantees a safer, more accessible festival experience overall. Thanks for trying something new with us!
PROHIBITED ITEMS One sealed 20-ounce bottle of water and empty plastic bottles and camel backs are allowed. Weapons of any kind
Ticket Options Weekend Passes: $115 VIP Weekend Passes: $225 Single Day Pass Saturday (9/23): $65 Single Day Pass Sunday (9/24): $65
Illegal substances (including narcotics) or drug paraphernalia Aerosol (spray) sun screen or aerosol can of any kind Framed or large backpacks, oversized bags Selfie sticks, monopods, tripods Long lens or detachable lens cameras Chairs
Box Office: The MPMF Box Office will be located onsite near Sycamore and Fifth Sreet. There, staff will take care of all ticketing concerns. Gates: Gates open at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The festival closes around midnight each night.
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VIP: If you want to feel like a superstar, we’ve got you covered. VIP tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, offering an enhanced experience with VIPonly viewing access at each stage, an indoor, air-conditioned VIP-exclusive lounge, a special MPMF.17 laminate and T-shirt, five free drinks each day and an open invitation to Fusian-catered VIP receptions from 4-7 p.m. each day. Gluten-free beer and vegetarian options will be available while supplies last. ATMs: ATMs will be available onsite, but plan ahead! Bringing cash with you will cut down on the amount of time spent in line. Most vendors are cash only. CHILDREN: The festival is all-ages; please bring the next gen of music lovers with you! Ages two and up require tickets. HOTELS: Some hotels that we like include 21c Museum Hotel, the downtown Cincinnati Residence Inn and the Holiday Inn in Covington, Ky.. We also think Airbnb is pretty cool! INFO CENTER: At all entrances, event staff will be standing by to answer your questions, offer high-fives and moral support if necessary. The onsite box office will also be a source to tap for questions and concerns.
PARKING: You’re smart! Plan ahead! There are numerous parking garages within a couple blocks of the festival site and along the streetcar route. Additionally, we suggest sharing a ride with a friend or utilizing services like Red Bike or the Cincinnati Bell Connector. SECURITY: Safety is our absolute No. 1 priority. We have public safety and medical staff on hand. We want everyone to have as much fun as possible within the civic code: Don’t be a jerk to festivalgoers, don’t be a jerk to our staff and don’t attempt to inflict harm on yourself or anyone else. It will get shut down swiftly and justly. SERVICE ANIMALS: Individuals with disabilities shall be permitted to be accompanied by their service dogs in all accessible areas. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual’s disability. Only service animals of the dog variety are allowed. Emotional support animals, comfort animals and therapy dogs are not service animals under Title II and Title III of the ADA. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not considered service animals, either. STREET CLOSURES: Fifth Street will be closed from the east side of Sycamore to the west side of Broadway. ACCESSIBILITY: We are dedicated to making sure MidPoint is accessible to all. This year, the festival is centralized to a location with all stages within one block of each other. Accessible entrance points
and restrooms, paved surfaces and friendly staff willing to lend a hand will contribute to ease of access for all. Please note, the Taft Theatre and Masonic Lodge are historic buildings, built before the time of elevators. Anyone needing assistance in these buildings should alert staff, who will be standing by, happy and willing to assist. Have concerns or questions? Let us know! Email us at email@example.com. WEATHER: Although the majority of acts at the festival will occur indoors, there is an outdoor stage. We have very little control over the weather. It might rain. It might be hot. We apologize in advance for any and all of these conditions. Tune into your favorite local weatherman for the latest updates and be prepared. Please note: umbrellas are not allowed within the ticketed area. We recommend suiting up in a super-chic poncho in case of rain. WRIST BANDS: Tickets will be swapped for wristbands at the gates. BROKEN/LOST WRISTBANDS: If you break your wristband and present it to the onsite box office, they will give you a new wristband and take the broken wristband. If you lose your wristband, they cannot be replaced. No two-day or VIP passes will be sold to replace lost wristbands. REFUNDS OR EXCHANGES: All ticket sales are final. Refunds and exchanges are not allowed after a ticket is purchased. Can’t make it? Give your ticket to a friend as a gift for being so great.
Alcohol from outside the festival site Glass containers Food or beverages from outside the festival site Coolers Skateboards, inline skates, bicycles, carts, Segways, scooters or personal motorized vehicles Large chain or spiked jewelry or clothing Hula hoops Musical instruments Inflatables Stickers Flyers CDs Fireworks or explosives Laser pointers Umbrellas Tents Pets (except for service dogs) Video equipment Drones Professional still cameras and equipment Audio recording equipment
MPMF.17 // SCHEDULE SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
F ifth S treet / S kyline S tage 9:15 p.m.
Walk the Moon (Cincinnati)
Filthy Friends (Seattle; Portland, Ore.)
Dan Deacon (Baltimore, Md.)
Preoccupations (Alberta, Canada)
The New Pornographers (Vancouver, Canada)
Welles (Nashville, Tenn.)
Swarming Branch (Columbus, Ohio)
Daniel in Stereo (Cincinnati)
Lemon Sky (Cincinnati)
Sphynx (Austin, Texas)
The Speedbumps (Akron, Ohio)
Taft T heatre / C entral Parkway Y M CA S tage Broken Social Scene (Toronto, Canada)
BadBadNotGood (Toronto, Canada)
Frightened Rabbit (Glasgow, Scotland)
Bedouine (Los Angeles)
Flint Eastwood (Detroit)
Adam Torres (Austin, Texas)
Ledges (Akron, Ohio)
DYAN (Los Angeles)
B.Miles (Los Angeles)
Saturn Batteries (Cincinnati)
A Delicate Motor (Cincinnati)
Blossom Hall (Cincinnati)
Current Events (Cincinnati)
T he Ballroom at the Taft / S uperior K ia S tage Citizen (Toledo, Ohio/Detroit)
11: 15 p.m.
Aaron Lee Tasjan (Nashville, Tenn.)
Mandolin Orange (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
The Ghost of Paul Revere (Portland, Maine)
Jeremy Pinnell (Burlington, Ky.)
Kid Stardust (Cincinnati)
Young Heirlooms (Cincinnati)
Even Tiles (Cincinnati)
Edward + Jane (Cincinnati)
Lo, The Loyal Conscripts (Cincinnati)
The Long Lost (Chicago)
M asonic Cathedral S tage Valerie June (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (Lagos, Nigeria)
The Cactus Blossoms (Minneapolis, Minn.)
The Urban Renewal Project (Los Angeles)
William Elliott Whitmore (Lee County, Iowa)
Charly Bliss (New York City)
David Luning (San Francisco)
Amy O (Bloomington, Ind.)
Virginia Man (Fredericksburg, Va.)
Youth Yamada (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Bicentennial Bear (Columbus, Ohio)
Rachel Mousie (Cincinnati)
Coastal Club (Cincinnati)
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Mad Anthony (Cincinnati) Brat Curse (Columbus, Ohio)
MPMF.17 // SaturDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 Fifth Street/Skyline Stage 9:15 p.m. The New Pornographers (Vancouver, Canada) Indie Rock/Pop
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In 2000, The New Pornographers’ debut album, Mass Romantic (later declared one of the best Indie Rock albums ever made), yielded the deliriously compelling “Letter to an Occupant” and heralded the beginning of an unbroken 17-year string of recorded excellence. From the hair-raising Roy-Woodmeets-Ray-Davies thump of Twin Cinema and the darkly bracing Challengers to the exquisite New Wave/Synth Pop reinvention/ revisitation of Brill Bruisers and brilliantly transitional Electric Version and Together, the pure-Pop-for-all-people collective has managed to push all the right buttons and amass one of the most consistently satisfying music catalogs in Rock history. The band’s latest, Whiteout Conditions, is a logical extension of Brill Bruisers, with even more electronic texture and pulsations underpinning the New Pornographers’ adrenalized Canadian Invasion Pop/Rock in a hybrid frontman A.C. Newman once described as “Krautrock Fifth Dimension.” You’ll Dig It If You Dig: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame condensed into a single wing. And Krautrock Fifth Dimension. (Brian Baker) 8 p.m. Filthy Friends (Seattle; Portland, Ore.) Pop Rock
What do you get when you combine members of Sleater-Kinney, The Fastbacks,
Young Fresh Fellows, King Crimson and R.E.M.? Filthy Friends answered that question for the masses this year and it’s as entertainingly varied as you’d expect. Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker provides the sublime lead vocals, giving the band’s first full-length effort — the recent Kill Rock Stars release, Invitation — its sense of cohesion, while Peter Buck’s guitar playing remains as identifiable as any other player of the past 40 years outside of The Edge, giving the LP’s tracks a welcoming sense of familiarity. Overall, Invitation is simply a fun jam session of a Rock & Roll album, though incredibly well written and constructed (the precise backing vocals drive home the point that this is not a toss-off — these people are f’ing pros!). Moving from vintage Power Pop and early CBGB’s Art Punk to swaggering Glam Rock and Nuggets-ready Garage Pop, Invitation actually sounds like the musicians are having a great time in the studio making it, which is especially infectious coming from a band of musicians with such an extensive collective history in the biz. YDIIYD: Patti Smith, Sleater-Kinney, R.E.M., the history of melodic Rock & Roll. (Mike Breen) 7 p.m. Preoccupations (Alberta, Canada) Post Punk
The sense of unease in Preoccupations’ shadowy Post Punk is like a scar. After the band Women ended suddenly following an onstage fight (the group’s guitarist died after the split as well), some of the members formed Viet Cong, eventually signing with taste-making indie imprint Jagjaguwar and launching a self-titled album into a seemingly welcoming Indie Rock scene in 2015. When the band started work on a follow-up, the earth was shifting under the members’ feet — longtime relationships ended in the wake of touring behind the debut, every musician had moved to a different city and, after announcing it would change its name from Viet Cong in the wake of mounting protests, the group hadn’t yet settled on the moniker it would use. The disjointed musicians came together in the studio with
a blank slate and used the swirling turmoil to their advantage, injecting it into the dark, absorbing 2016 album Preoccupations, which was also the new band name. YDIIYD: Swans, Interpol, Echo & the Bunnymen, Wire. (MB) 6 p.m. Welles (Nashville, Tenn.) Psych Pop
drummer Lon Leary, and the duo’s experimental approach to writing and recording typically involves an Impossible Missions Force of talented collaborators and the concept that the group’s sound will be determined in the moment of live or studio creation. That said, Swarming Branch’s recently released new album, Surreal Number, represents Graham’s most linear musical execution to date while maintaining an adventurous sense of artistic whimsy, all contained within the concept that synthetic and organic systems can successfully work in tandem. Even with a loose set of applied rules, Surreal Number proves that Swarming Branch is still a freewheeling example of originality within a familiar musical framework. YDIIYD: Dan Bejar’s Destroyer making 8-bit Folk Rock with Beck. (BB)
Jeh Sea Wells’ grandfather gave him a cassette copy of Sgt. Pepper when he was in second grade, and it became a listening obsession for the Arkansas native. The irony in this situation is that the Fab Four’s masterpiece is over twice as old as Wells, yet he effortlessly channels the spirits of The Beatles in their experimental phase (even drifting into “White Album” territory), as well as Nirvana at its angst-ridden best, with discernible shades of David Bowie floating through the mix. Wells’ early work was credited to Jeh Sea Wells, but a couple of years ago, he decided to operate under the band name Welles, which is how his brilliant new five-song EP Codeine is bannered. Whatever name he decides to hang on it, Wells needs to make a couple of full-lengths of this stuff as soon as humanly possible. YDIIYD: Kurt Cobain’s tribute to Sgt. Pepper with “fuck” inserted into every song, literally and figuratively. (BB) 5 p.m. Swarming Branch (Columbus, Ohio) Glam Folk
Swarming Branch is not a band in the conventional sense. The core of the collective is vocalist/guitarist Andrew Graham and
4 p.m. Lemon Sky (Cincinnati) Psych Rock
At the nexus of Prog and Pop and the most classic of Classic Rock, Lemon Sky exists as ephemeral idea and solid structure, as paisley hallucination and tangible reality, as crystalline melodicism and monolithic riffage. In a single song, the Cincinnati quintet can encapsulate the pummeling bravado of Led Zeppelin, the passionate innocence of The Beatles, the intricate head-trip of Pink Floyd and the contemporary heart-punch of Queens of the Stone Age and The Flaming Lips. The exciting thing about Lemon Sky is that its wide-eyed, self-titled first album and emphatically brilliant sophomore release Dos, as good as they both happen to be, are mere hints at the band’s musical potential. A more recent triumph is its unexpected cover of The Beatles’ “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” one of the more potent entries in the Fab Four’s catalog, which Lemon Sky transforms into a soaring, searing sonic marathon of orchestrated guitars and a Viking rhythm section. Valhalla my ass, Lemon Sky is Rock heaven on earth. YDIIYD: The Beatles and Led Zeppelin going full metal crouching tiger with light saber guitars. (BB)
SaturDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 // MPMF.17 3 p.m. The Speedbumps (Akron, Ohio) Indie Folk Rock
After dropping out of Kent State and traveling around playing music for change, singer/ songwriter/guitarist Erik Urycki returned to Northeast Ohio to form a band. Launched in 2007, The Speedbumps developed an acoustic sound informed by a love for both contemporary Roots artists and Indie Rock, releasing its first album in 2013 and earning praise from a variety of outlets. When the band decamped to an isolated cabin to make the follow-up to 2015’s Soil to the Seed, The Speedbumps began a musical transformation sparked by Urycki’s discovery of the joys of the electric guitar and a general desire to shift gears. Released in July, When the Darkness Comes is a more full-bodied and vigorous collection of songs that lean more in the direction of rich, emotive Indie Pop and Rock than Americana, still centered by Urycki’s raspy voice and captivating melodies, but delivered with a renewed sense of energy. YDIIYD: Artists unafraid of drastically reinventing themselves after establishing a successful formula, like Wilco and Radiohead. (MB)
Taft Theatre/Central Parkway YMCA Stage
The Broken Social Scene collective was created by core members Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning just before the turn of the millennium, birthing a project that expands
YDIIYD: The sound of Canadian Indie Rock circa the 21st century. (MB) 8:15 p.m. Frightened Rabbit (Glasgow, Scotland) Indie Rock
Scottish guitarist/vocalist Scott Hutchison found the perfect vehicle for working out his internal struggles when he began writing songs and performing them under the name Frightened Rabbit, his mother’s childhood name for him due to his crippling shyness. His first album, 2006’s Sing the Greys, was essentially a solo album with brother Grant on drums, but they expanded to a trio with guitarist Billy Kennedy for 2008’s The Midnight Organ Fight. Frightened Rabbit’s third album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, scored them an Atlantic Records contract, which spawned the commercial/critical success of 2013’s Pedestrian Verse. Burnt out from the road, Hutchison, Andy Monaghan and Simon Liddell recorded a side project called Owl John before commencing on their amazing fifth album, last year’s Painting of a Panic Attack, with production by The National’s Aaron Dessner. The group was such a hit at last year’s MPMF (the band also apparently had a great experience,
calling MidPoint “brilliant” on its Facebook page), it’s back for the 2017 edition. YDIIYD: Snow Patrol and Travis shooting dice in the Gallagher brothers’ alley. (BB) 7:15 p.m. Bedouine (Los Angeles) Folk/Pop
Azniv Korkejian is truly a citizen of the world. Born in Syria and raised in Saudi Arabia, she later relocated to Boston and Houston before her nomadic existence in America took her through Kentucky, Texas and Georgia, where she earned her degree in sound design. Korkejian settled in L.A. and became a dialogue and music editor for the film industry, but a fortuitous meeting with bassist/producer Gus Seyffert led to her evolution as a singer/songwriter. For her stage identity, Korkejian adopted the name Bedouine, a feminization of the Arabic word for nomad, a fitting description of not only her life’s journey so far, but also her ephemeral style, sound and approach. Bedouine’s self-titled debut is a marvel of atmospherically orchestrated ’60s Folk/Pop that is gently time-machined into the 21st century. YDIIYD: Julee Cruise and Norah Jones sitting in on Nick Drake’s beyond-the-veil music class. (BB) 6:15 p.m. Adam Torres (Austin, Texas) Indie Folk
Singer/songwriter Adam Torres’ life so far has been pretty fascinating, in and out of music. Born in New Mexico and raised in the Cincy exburb West Chester, Torres found his musical footing in Athens, Ohio, where he
performed as a solo artist and as a member of the regionally popular band Southeast Engine. Torres put out his first album, Nostra Nova, DIY-style in 2006, then carried on with his life, still writing music but quitting the band, focusing on college and traveling to Ecuador to do volunteer work. Ending up in Austin, Texas in 2011 for graduate school, Torres later worked on a project to improve the water quality of the Rio Grande River, all the while hearing the music calling him back. Since leaving Athens, Nostra Nova had become a cult favorite, earning a widely praised reissue in 2015 and building up anticipation for Pearls to Swine, Torres’ debut album for the respected Fat Possum label, a year later. Now entrenched in the latest unexpected phase in his life, Torres kicked off 2017 with the EP I Came to Sing the Song, then headed out on the road for new adventures, playing shows all over the world. YDIIYD: Neutral Milk Hotel, Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver. (MB) 5:15 p.m. DYAN (Los Angeles) Indie/Electronic Pop
Indie Pop trio DYAN came together when the film-scoring duo Alexis & Sam (whose work can be heard in various feature films and TV shows like Animal Kingdom and Sesame Street) decided to write a more traditional song to use over the main title sequence of a movie they were scoring. Inspired, Alexis Marsh (singer/guitarist/bassist) began writing more songs, eventually decamping to Cincinnati to form an album. Dan Dorff Jr. (once a regular presence in the Cincinnati music scene who went on to work with Jim James and Ray LaMontagne) joined Marsh while recording in Louisville, Ky., adding drums and piano. Marsh’s scoring partner Sam Jones (guitarist/synths) came in during the album’s mixing, marking the first time the three members of DYAN worked together. The trio’s sparse but warm, visceral mix of synths and electronics with enchanting melodies and textural guitars and cello exhibited on DYAN’s 2016 debut, Looking for Knives, hit a nerve, garnering attention from popular music blogs and traditional music-press outlets while
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9:45 p.m. Broken Social Scene (Toronto, Canada) Indie Rock
and contracts depending on which of its 20-plus members are involved at the time. The rotating cast features primarily Canadian singers and musicians, many of whom are involved in their own bands, some of which have experienced major success — Amy Millan and Emily Haines of Indie faves Stars and Metric (respectively) are original members of the BSS family, as is breakthrough singer/ songwriter Leslie Feist. Those vocalists and the 12 other artists involved at the start of BSS returned for the latest album, Hug of Thunder, the project’s first since 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record. Despite the many contributors, Drew and Canning have always done a good job of keeping BSS albums focused — the band’s music is certainly its own entity, regardless of who’s involved — while live shows (which also utilize the revolving-door policy) can feature more than a dozen musicians, adding an extra sense of jubilance to the proceedings.
MPMF.17 // SaturDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 notching 500,000 spins of the title track on Spotify in just its first month available (it’s now nearing 1.8 million streams). YDIIYD: Sylvan Esso, Purity Ring, The xx. (MB) 4:15 p.m. Saturn Batteries (Cincinnati) Indie Pop/Rock
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From its beginning seven years ago, Saturn Batteries has been the sonic equivalent of the story of five blind men describing an elephant based on its disparate body parts. With guitarist/vocalist Brad Gibson at the helm, a rotating collective of band members created a broadly familiar yet ephemerally unclassifiable body of work and a solid reputation as an energetic, powerful and versatile live act. Saturn Batteries’ two EPs, 2013’s Ever Been in Love? and 2014’s Real Far East, offered up spritely Indie Pop with a beautifully dark streak that hinted at early New Wave/Pop/Punk elements refracted through a modern Midwestern sensibility. The arrival of former Gold Shoes guitarist/ vocalist Archie Niebuhr added yet another layer of emotional and musical complexity to Saturn Batteries’ already tangled definition of itself. The band has evidently been working on a full-length debut for the past few years, and hopes run high that this year will yield the fruit of that labor. YDIIYD: The Cure if they’d been born 35 years later as a Pop band in the Midwest with no eyeliner or hairspray. (BB) 3:15 p.m. Blossom Hall (Cincinnati) Indie Rock
A couple of years ago, keyboardist/vocalist Nancy Paraskevopoulos and guitarist/ vocalist Phil Cotter (welcome back?) began writing odd little Pop-goes-the-Garage songs that didn’t really fit into the context of their respective groups at the time. Equal parts ’80s New Wave, ’90s AltRock and contemporary jitter Pop, Paraskevopoulos and Cotter’s outlet project became Blossom Hall. Initially practiced as a duo, an impending show necessitated a call to drummer/ friend Charlie Schefft, who filled in for the gig and never left. The trio has posted a few of their live performances on YouTube and recently released its first official single, the reflective yet propulsive “Easy to Want to Die,” inspired by Paraskevopoulos’ neardrowning experience. A full Blossom Hall album is in the works; hopefully, additional material will require no further brushes with death for inspiration. YDIIYD: The quiet insistence of Belle and Sebastian, the loud insistence of Blondie. (BB)
The Ballroom at the Taft/ Superior Kia Stage 11: 15 p.m. Citizen (Toledo, Ohio/Detroit) Emo/Hardcore
Citizen formed while its members were still in high school; a few short years later, the band was signed to Punk/Hardcore label Run for Cover Records. It’s debut fulllength, 2013’s Youth, and its melodic mix of Hardcore and Emo sounds raised the band’s profile, as did a persistent touring schedule, which included dates with The Wonder Years and Modern Baseball, as well as a stint on the Warped Tour. As one might expect from a band that got its start so young, as the musicians’ skills sharpened, Citizen’s sound has evolved: 2015’s breakthrough album Everybody is Going to Heaven was even more informed by Grunge, Emo and other AltRock influences (even Shoegaze and Post Punk) and helped expand the group’s listenership. The band’s popularity continues to rise, assisted by sweet gigs like an opening slot on this
summer’s AFI/Circa Survive tour of theaters, amphitheaters and arenas, setting the stage for the October release of Citizen’s third album, As You Please.
7:45 p.m. Ampline (Cincinnati) Post Punk/Post Rock
YDIIYD: Title Fight, Alkaline Trio, Superheaven. (MB) 9 p.m. Pile (Boston) Indie Rock
In 2007, Pile was created by young singer/ guitarist Rick Maguire as a solo project. Within a couple of years, Pile evolved into a powerhouse four-piece band, becoming heroes of Boston’s music scene (particularly among fellow musicians) before expanding its loyal fan base by regularly taking its fervent, visceral live show on extensive tours across the U.S. and Europe. Pile’s legend is also built on the oscillating dynamics of its music — while certain traits (unanticipated structures, tension, emotional directness and intensity) seem inherent, new elements and angles of Pile are revealed with each album release. The band’s explorations and Maguire’s expansive framing have led the music through the realms of Post Punk, Hardcore, Noise, Folk, Prog, Punk, Indie Rock and beyond. Even given those standards, Pile’s fifth album, this year’s A Hairshirt of Purpose, is a fairly drastic tonal shift, with more of a focus on melody and much of the bombast and complexity replaced by fluidity and introspection. The songs retain Pile’s unconventional slant, but the expansiveness is more in the scope of the lens than in the winding, twisting roadmap. As usual, the results of Pile’s latest redirection are revelatory.
Ampline’s roots go back nearly two decades. The band began as a quartet but shed members over the years, eventually leaving founding bassist Kevin Schmidt, who soldiered on with guitarist Mike Montgomery and drummer Rick McCarty to become one of the loudest, most powerful and most intricately arranged juggernauts in this or any city. Originally all-instrumental but developing a vocal component over time, the past 16 years have seen Ampline release four incredible albums of anthemic Punk/Prog, marked by Jazz-tinged time signatures and arena Rock bombast, and become a live act with an almost feral intensity. The trio’s fifth album (and first new album in seven years), Passion Relapse, is slated for release in January 2018 and is cause for the kind of celebration reserved for astronauts returning from the moon. You can prepare for the idea of Ampline, but the reality will blow your mind every time. YDIIYD: Volume you can touch, invention you can hear, music you can taste. (BB) 6:45 p.m. Mad Anthony (Cincinnati) Rock
YDIIYD: At the Drive In and The Jesus Lizard switching bodies with Failure and Built to Spill. (MB) Mad Anthony’s Ringo Jones and Adam Flaig wield two guitars as loud as Krakatoa’s megaton hissy fit, and Marc Sherlock hits the drums with an impact that has to be measured in velocity and foot-pounds per square inch. And through it all, Jones howls like an enraged mutant singing into the exhaust fan of a jet engine at full thrust,
SaturDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 // MPMF.17 defiantly remaining audible over the din. Mad Anthony’s live shows and catalog over the past decade have earned the band a zealous and righteous fan base, but its latest project, the yearlong Mad Anthology, is insanity on a massive scale. Built on its wellexecuted plan to write and record a song a week, alone and with numerous brilliant friends, for 12 calendar months, the band released the results online weekly. With that stone successfully pushed up a steep hill, the only thing crazier would be to release the results in physical form. Meet crazier: Mad Anthology: Volume One, a collection of highlights from the series, is on track for a vinyl and CD release, with plans in the works for further volumes getting hard-copy runs. I’ll have what they’re having, in a much smaller dose. YDIIYD: Throw five pounds of nuts and bolts in a musical blender, garnish with guitars and drums, serve scalding hot. (BB) 5:45 p.m. Brat Curse (Columbus, Ohio) Pop/Punk
YDIIYD: The raised-in-Ohio Buzzcocks taking Manhattan with Dinosaur Jr. (BB)
into Even Tiles with the release of 2013’s The Lower Tangent, a six-track EP that garnered critical acclaim and high expectations for the future. The band, with a few personnel changes along the way, has been a fixture at subsequent MidPoint showcases and other events ever since. Even Tiles’ website bio promises an imminent update, which we can only hope is the band’s subliminal message that new recordings may be on the horizon.
Masonic Cathedral Stage 10 p.m. Valerie June (Brooklyn, N.Y.) Folk/Soul/Country
YDIIYD: Broken Social Scene meets Clem Snide meets Deerhunter meets your soul. (BB) Powerful vocalist Chrissy von Savoye and imaginative guitarist Drew James met when they were both living in New Jersey trying to play music. The seeds of Kid Stardust were in the ground after that meeting, but the pair decided that the high cost of living in Jersey wasn’t particularly conducive to their Rock & Roll dreams and ultimately decided to relocate to Cincinnati, where they hooked up with bassist Ryan Hickman and drummer Rick Henry and were embraced by the local music community. A debut EP, last year’s Something Like This But Better, offered a great representation of Kid Stardust’s expressive, from-the-gut Indie Rock. The complete lack of gimmicks and pretense allows the band’s music to exist without a timestamp — it’s a sound that would have been just as enthralling had it existed in peak-CBGB’s New York, the pre-spotlight Seattle of the late ’80s or the Strokes-ruled turn-of-the-millennium NYC scene. YDIIYD: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Gits, early Pretenders, Bully. (MB) 3:45 p.m. Even Tiles (Cincinnati) Indie Rock
2:45 p.m. Lo, The Loyal Conscripts (Cincinnati) Prog/Post Rock
Orchestrating a sound that dramatically maneuvers between a shimmer and a roar, Lo, The Loyal Conscripts’ music brings together cerebral intricacy, wild-eyed exploration and feverish intensity, exploiting and balancing the tension and harmony of its arrangements. Formed from the ashes of Cincinnati band If I Ever, Lo, the Loyal Conscripts initially featured a vocalist and released 2015’s Remember to Breathe, but ultimately the musicians decided to go the all-instrumental route and allow their heavy Post Rock to speak for itself. This summer, guitarist Daniel Whitford and drummer Ryan Braun (joined by bassist Tyler Stemmer for its MPMF performance) announced plans to take a break from live shows in order to write and refocus, with MidPoint serving as their last show for the time being.
Without ever hearing a note of music by acclaimed singer/songwriter Valerie June, just knowing that the Tennessee native’s first major-label album, 2013’s Pushin’ Against a Stone, was produced by and cowritten with The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach — and that June has collaborated with the Old Crow Medicine Show and opened for Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Norah Jones and Jake Bugg — would be enough to draw a crowd to her shows. But it turns out June is as versatile and sharp as a Swiss army knife and blessed with a talent that stretches the boundaries of human measurement. Her new album, The Order of Time, is a thing of interstellar beauty and an exquisite joy; the perfect synthesis of everything Valerie June has done better than well to this point. YDIIYD: Sturgill Simpson and Nikki Lane having a music baby and raising her up to take over the family business. (BB) 8:30 p.m. The Cactus Blossoms (Minneapolis, Minn.) Americana/Country
YDIIYD: Russian Circles, Rosetta, Mouth of the Architect. (MB)
Former Atriums/Die Pilot vocalist/guitarist/ songwriter Justin White tried several band projects before going solo with songs that could either be performed alone with loops and pedals or with a complete band. From there, White assembled Justin WW and the Inner Ocean, which ultimately evolved
Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum formed The Cactus Blossoms after a childhood of Beatles fandom and the discovery of classic and obscure Country music and early Rock & Roll. After self-releasing a few albums (beginning with their 2011 eponymous debut), an appearance on
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There was a time not terribly long ago that Dayton, Ohio’s Astro Fang was one of the most popular Indie Rock bands from the Gem City whose name didn’t include the words “guided” or “by” or “voices.” The band’s unexpected breakup was triggered by the relocation to Columbus, Ohio of guitarist/vocalist Brian Baker (what a virile, talented, handsome name he has). Joined by Astro Fang drummer/vocalist Chris Mengerink and new bassist Justin Baker, the equally adrenalized and potently hormonal Brat Curse took shape and soon took Columbus by similarly electrified storm. The band’s self-titled debut was a contemporary blaze of ’70s British Punk cross-pollinated with ’80s Midwest Pop/Rock. With the arrival of guitarist Joe Camerlengo, Brat Curse’s imminent new album promises more and better of the same.
4:45 p.m. Kid Stardust (Cincinnati) Indie Rock
MPMF.17 // SaturDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 Prairie Home Companion and extensive touring, the breaks came head-spinningly fast: Americana sensation JD McPherson’s offered to produce their first widely available album, 2016’s acclaimed You’re Dreaming, and David Lynch’s production company invited them to be involved in an episode (or more) of the director’s reboot of Twin Peaks. Classic Country with a modern twist doesn’t come any better than The Cactus Blossoms.
6 p.m. David Luning (San Francisco) Folk/Americana/Country
YDIIYD: The Louvins, the Delmores and the Everlys interpreted by Dwight Yoakam. (BB)
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7:15 p.m. William Elliott Whitmore (Lee County, Iowa) Roots Folk
Many musicians have day jobs that they toil away at when they’re not writing, recording and touring, but William Elliott Whitmore’s working alter ego is slightly more complicated than that — he’s a farmer in Iowa and has to schedule all of his musical activities around planting/growing/harvesting cycles. Over the past two decades, Whitmore has managed to turn out eight stellar examples of his Folk/AltCountry craft by adapting the same basic principles of farming taught to him by his father: Care for your creations in the brief time you have to tend to them and diversify to maintain healthy growth. Whitmore’s last album, 2015’s Radium Death, found the acoustic singer/songwriter plugging in and playing electrically (mixed in with his proven stripped-down approach) for the first time in his recorded career with fairly stunning results. Like every good Folk artist, the power of the songs themselves is Whitmore’s primary concern, and regardless of the nature of their presentation, his material worms its way into the listener’s head, heart and soul in equal measure and with equal force. YDIIYD: The social and musical traditions of a whole lot of Guthries, and the translations of Cincinnati’s own (and now New York’s) Josh Eagle. (BB)
David Luning didn’t find his calling particularly late in life, but he was introduced to the medium of his calling surprisingly late, especially considering how well suited he proved to be for it. While at Berklee College of Music in Boston studying film scoring, Luning says friends played him some Folk/Americana music and it was the first time he’d every really listened to anything from the genre. But considering the music was by songwriting legend John Prine, perhaps that lightning-bolt moment when Luning changed course and decided to become a Folk/Americana troubadour isn’t a complete shock. He dropped out of school and retreated to California, developing a Country-flavored sound and releasing his debut album, Just Drop On By, in 2012. Luning’s risk seemed to be pay off, with the album drawing critical praise (including a co-sign from superstar Keith Urban) and leading to extensive touring, film and TV song placements and a profile-raising audition on American Idol. Earlier this year, Luning released his highly polished followup, Restless. YDIIYD: The Steel Wheels, The Honey cutters, Jim Lauderdale. (MB) 5 p.m. Virginia Man (Fredericksburg, Va.) Indie Folk Rock
The last time a band made serious inroads with a grassroots fan-building effort on Southeastern college campuses, it was a little outfit known as the Dave Matthews
Band. The latest group to work that angle is Virginia Man, a talented quintet that wears its home-state pride in its name. The big difference is that Virginia Man was born in the firestorm of the social media age, which has fast-tracked its exposure, leading to a fairly quick 250,000 spins on Spotify for its debut single, last summer’s “Paper Shields.” Virginia Man was still keen to hit the road and earn its audience the old-fashioned way, but with the modern twist of capitalizing on the exposure with a 21st-century crowdfunding campaign that raised over $8,000 for the band to record Let Us Be, Virginia Man’s debut EP from earlier this year. YDIIYD: Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers with a few less men on a dead man’s chest. (BB) 4 p.m. Youth Yamada (Brooklyn, N.Y.) Indie Pop/Rock
Born in Philadelphia, singer/songwriter Youth Yamada grew up in Japan, developing his musical skills and a deep love of The Beatles — he claims to be able to sing and play the basic instrumental parts for every one of the more than 200 songs The Beatles released. Forming the band The World Chocolate in Tokyo, Yamada recorded and released albums and toured Japan before moving to New York in 2009 and putting his skills to work in The Meetles, a Classic Rock cover band that, of course, plays a lot of Beatles. Funneling his classics-informed talent into a solo career, Youth Yamada’s album debut, this year’s Acoustic Safari, makes for a satisfying and entertaining listen, with Yamada expertly translating the melodic and musical spirit of The Beatles and other ’60s Pop icons into his upbeat acoustic stroll. His slightly loose grasp on English creates a vague lyrical haze, but it adds an offbeat charm to the album that just makes you want to keep listening. YDIIYD: Jonathan Richman playing The Beatles, The Beatles playing Jonathan Richman. (MB)
3 p.m. Rachel Mousie (Cincinnati) Indie Pop
Inspired by the artistry of performers like Nina Simone, Norah Jones and Radiohead, Cincinnati native Rachel Mousie started writing and performing music when she was in college at Ohio University. Since then, her R&B, Pop and Jazz-influenced original songs have been featured on a pair of albums and she has become a regular performer all over her hometown area. For live shows, Mousie developed a setup that incorporates a looping station, allowing her to layer her vocals in the moment and also craft percussion sounds on the spot, creating a unique new dimension to her songs. With the technique becoming a part of her songwriting process and creative identity, Mousie entered the studio with co-producer Michael Ronstadt (who also provided strings) to record her third album, Talk to Your Babies, which is set for release in early October. YDIIYD: The way songwriters like Imogen Heap and KT Tunstall use looping vocals to add an otherworldly aura to their songs. (MB)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 // MPMF.17 Fifth Street/Skyline Stage 9:15 p.m. Walk the Moon (Cincinnati) AltPop Rock
In 2010, Cincinnati’s Walk the Moon played a high-energy club show at the MidPoint Music Festival for a small but enthusiastic crowd of no more than 50 people. This year, Walk the Moon triumphantly returns to its hometown festival as headliners and superstars, rocketed into the mainstream music world with its single “Shut Up and Dance” off of its 2014 RCA Records release, Talking is Hard. With its engulfing live show and mix of earworm melodies, passionate vocals, echoing, U2-like guitars and danceinducing rhythms, the Cincinnati foursome isn’t likely to fall into “one-hit wonder” obscurity, something its consistently highon-the-poster festival bookings and loyal hardcore fan base seem to confirm. The band is revving up for the release of its third major-label album — due in November and advanced by the single “One Foot” — meaning hometown fans should get a little dose of Walk the Moon’s future during its MPMF performance.
8 p.m. Dan Deacon (Baltimore, Md.) Electronic/Indie Rock
There was a time when Dan Deacon lived hand-to-mouth, sleeping in his van
YDIIYD: Music that is orchestral and classical and synthy and blippy and all the other dwarves at Snow White’s rave. (Brian Baker) 7 p.m. Harbour (Cincinnati) AltRock/Pop
YDIIYD: Bad Suns, Colony House, Bleachers, Young the Giant. (MB) 6 p.m. Automagik (Cincinnati) AltRock
YDIIYD: Owl City produced by Jimmy Eats World. (BB) Greater Cincinnati altrockers Automagik came together in 2010 with a sharp, dynamic sound drenched in a gush of kinetic energy, catchy hooks, insistent grooves and an overall sense of fun and offbeat humor that combine for one of the more crowd-engaging live shows in the region. After a couple of self-issued releases, Automagik teamed with well-distributed indie label Old Flame Records for 2015’s Dark Daze EP, which spawned write-ups from national outlets like Consequence of Sound and Interview Magazine. Regular touring and appearances at festivals like Bunbury and South by Southwest have also helped Automagik spread its joyous Pop Rock playfulness to a broadening audience. Last summer the band released The Road, a four-song EP issued as a limited-edition cassette. YDIIYD: Cage the Elephant, Foxy Shazam, Weezer. (MB)
If you are looking for the next band out of Cincinnati with the potential to take on the Pop charts and follow in the footsteps of Walk the Moon, don’t sleep on Harbour, which was formed in 2014 by five friends in nearby Lebandon, Ohio. With its warm and infectious AltRock sound, the group has amassed a rabidly dedicated area following that has helped them sell out hometown shows. Harbour’s monster hooks and sonic charisma are primed for wider attention, something the members are trying to hasten with performances at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York and a touring radius that has extended to numerous college campuses around the country. This summer, Harbour hosted its own music festival to celebrate the release of its latest full-length, Heatwave.
Chimusoro has recorded and released his debut 4 Years EP, energized a couple of pretty big crowds at consecutive Bunbury Music Festivals, had a bit of a hit with 2015’s giddy “Lipstain” and earned a well-deserved nomination in the Alternative/Indie category at the last Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremonies. DiS has released a series of singles since the EP came out, including the new “Fool Me Once” — hopefully there’s a full album’s worth of Daniel in Stereo on its way in the near future. The world needs a full measure of his brand of happy in the worst way right now.
5 p.m. Daniel in Stereo (Cincinnati) Indie Rock
Mary Tyler Moore wasn’t alone in her ability to turn the world on with her smile. Daniel Chimusoro, better known to various and sundry as Daniel in Stereo, has a megawatt grin that could very easily power a small Midwestern city during a power outage and an infectious musical presentation that matches it step for bounding step.
4 p.m. Sphynx (Austin, Texas) Dance/Pop/Electronic
If you are in the groove to move at MidPoint, let Sphynx be your full-service disco (lightup dance floor not included… probably). The MPMF veterans’ entertaining live show and deeply funky, playfully retro ElectroPop sound made them one of the more popular live entities in Austin, Texas — one of the biggest music towns in the world — before the musicians decided to take their glammed-up show on the road, sprinkling clubs and festivals across the country with Sphynx magic dust. To crank up the party vibes, the group is known to pull out an ironic crowd-pleasing cover song or two, but after spending much of 2016 writing and recording new material, the current focus is on the new jams featured on the recently released Golden Garden album and a companion EP, Spacecamp. Still, you’ll never know if Sphynx would have played Steve Perry’s “Foolish Heart” at MPMF if you don’t yell it out. YDIIYD: Chromeo, MGMT, Daft Punk, Jamiroquai. (MB)
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You’ll Dig It If You Dig: ’80s influences like The Police and Talking Heads mixed with a Modern Rock verve, contemporary Pop charm and timeless passion. (Mike Breen)
and doing his avant DIY Electronic set in seedy clubs, basements and abandoned warehouses; in other words, anywhere. While an electro-acoustic/computer music composition student at SUNY Purchase, Deacon self-released instrumental and experimental Electronic recordings. But in 2007, he dropped his first widely available album, Spiderman of the Rings, and it was an immediate sensation, hitting the Top 25 of traditionally snarky Pitchfork’s Top 50 albums of the year (2009’s Bromst was similarly lauded). Over the subsequent decade, Deacon has moved toward analog synths, live instrumentation and vocal manipulation with equally stunning results, particularly on 2012’s politically charged America and 2015’s triumphant Glass Riffer. The 10th-anniversary release of Spiderman is a revelationm, and so is Deacon’s interactive live show, which is a lot like driving a car — pay attention and be engaged and involved every second or you’ll crash. Don’t forget your mosh pit belt.
MPMF.17 // SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 3 p.m. Moonbeau (Cincinnati) Indie/SynthPop
Back when he was in the eighth grade, The Yugos’ vocalist/guitarist Christian Gough began exorcising his ElectroPop/New Wave jones with Moonbeau, a dead-perfect evocation of ’80s Synth Pop avatars like A Flock of Seagulls, Modern English and New Order. In the present tense, Gough — working side by side with vocalist Claire Muenchen and drummer Alex Murphy-White — hits all the right highlights of a bygone era, but with a completely fresh and contemporary passion and energy. Until recently, the band had only posted a number of demos and live videos of its work, but the recent release of Moonbeau’s first fully produced single, “Are We in Love Yet?,” was the first step toward a full-length album next year through Old Flame Records. Make no mistake, “Are We in Love Yet?” could be Moonbeau’s Walk the Moon moment and, by the way, the answer is, “Yes, we are most definitely in love with Moonbeau.”
all the spotting characteristics of Jazz, its hairpin tonal shifts from pleasant melodicism to discordant abrasion earn the group the often-abused Avant Garde designation. In BadBadNotGood’s case, its freeform flights of fancy are never merely noise for noise’s sake, but rather an exploration of boundaries that allows the musicians to fearlessly stray from known paths with the surety that they will either find their way back or blaze a new trail in the process. All of this is heightened by the collective’s use of Electronic and, more grippingly, Hip Hop elements within the Jazz framework — if it can work with American history on Broadway, it can work anywhere — which has led to collaborations with Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean and Ghostface Killah. Since 2010, BadBadNotGood’s members have developed a telepathic synchronicity, as evidenced on its album releases, which have included interpretations of songs by My Bloody Valentine, A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West and other unexpected artists, as well as original material. The band is a marvel of deconstruction, reinvention and refinement, where tradition is both honored and ignored. YDIIYD: Can and Weather Report playing John Coltrane’s songbook upside down and backward. (Brian Baker) 8:15 p.m. Noname (Chicago) Hip Hop
YDIIYD: Synth Pop introduced by Martha Quinn, then and now. (BB)
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Taft Theatre/Central Parkway YMCA Stage 9:45 p.m. BadBadNotGood (Toronto, Canada) Jazz/Hip Hop
To define BadBadNotGood in any definitive fashion is to unfairly relegate it to a constraining musical singularity that wouldn’t adequately describe the ensemble in any event. While the quartet clearly fits
Since her first release, last summer’s Telefone, Noname has become one of the most acclaimed musical acts in independent music. But the buzz around the unsigned artist started before Telefone made it on numerous outlets’ “Best of 2016” lists. Making a name for herself in Chicago as a slam poet, Noname’s collaborations with Hip Hop artists drew wider attention, particularly her work with friend Chance the Rapper, with whom she appeared on Saturday Night Live late last year. The imaginative Telefone more than lived up to the promise of her guest appearances. Draped in an atmospheric, low-key Soul/Funk sound, Noname’s musical vocal delivery and the
thoughtful, creative poetry of her lyrics — which gracefully move between introspective reflection and inspection and social commentary — earn her a high-ranking position among the current wave of artists (Chance included) who are taking Hip Hop to new and exciting places, both musically and lyrically.
6:15 p.m. Ledges (Akron, Ohio) Indie Rock
YDIIYD: The musical and socially awake spirit of Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo delivered with the heart and soul of a poet. (MB) 7:15 p.m. Flint Eastwood (Detroit) Indie Rock
Flint Eastwood, the recording/performing identity of the brilliant Jax Anderson, began as an amazing Indie Dance Pop outfit that utilized Surf Rock as well as spaghettiwestern soundtracks as an undercurrent, a sound that ran through 2012’s debut EP, Late Night in Bolo Ties. On its follow-up, 2015’s Small Victories, the band became more reflective of Anderson’s solo aspirations and signaled a new phase in Flint Eastwood’s creative evolution. Her latest EP, Broke Royalty, is an extension of the shift on Small Victories toward more orchestration and a more expansive and atmospheric sonic canvas, tagged with a message of empowerment and unity. The EP’s first single, “Queen,” starts with a bombastic fanfare and offers the potent lyric, “I’m a queen not a soldier, relentless and chosen, I’m fighting a war tonight.” Sign up. Flint Eastwood needs you.
Akron, Ohio might seem an unlikely musical hotbed to the uninitiated, but the onetime rubber capital of the world was key in shaping the sound of Alternative Rock, giving the world DEVO and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Current arena-fillers/Akronites The Black Keys were the latest reminder to the masses that Akron has an active music scene, but a powerful contender to represent the city’s current music-makers is Ledges, a very promising Indie Rock trio potentially on the verge of a big breakthrough. Though first emerging in 2014 with an EP release, Ledges underwent a reinvention of sorts over the next two years, developing not only the storyline that would become the basis for the trio’s debut fulllength album, the just-released Homecoming, but also a richer, soaring sound with an alluring emotional depth and atmospheric layers that craftily incorporate elements of “Alternative” music from the ’80s into the dreamy soundscape. The band’s latest music also has a magnetic Pop pull to it that, mixed with the emotional relatability of the lyrics and vocals, could take Ledges’ music well beyond Akron’s city limits. YDIIYD: Smallpools, The Neighbourhood, The 1975. (MB) 5:15 p.m. B.Miles (Los Angeles) Electronic Pop
YDIIYD: Kate Bush taking over LCD Soundsystem. (BB)
The moody, dreamlike sounds of L.A.-based singer B.Miles caught on almost as soon as it caught some ears. In 2015, she released
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 // MPMF.17 a three-song EP, the result of an extended recording session with some friends, which instantly became a music-blog favorite and shot to the top of Spotify’s viral charts in four countries. The EP’s “Salt” — which became the theme song for the Netflix Spanish-language show Las Chicas Del Cable — has earned more than nine million plays on Spotify. B.Miles’ soulful, seductive voice wraps around chilled beats and airy electronics to even greater effect on her latest release, a much-anticipated self-titled EP that was released to even greater fanfare in March. With a four-piece backing band, she has hypnotized crowds with only a select few shows since the EP’s release, making her MPMF appearance a rare treat. YDIIYD: Vocals that evoke smoky vocal sculptors Sade and Billie Holiday twisted through a 21st-century Trip Hop filter. (MB) 4:15 p.m. A Delicate Motor (Cincinnati) Avant Indie Pop
YDIIYD: Ambient Indie Rock with Jazz and Electronic undercurrents, orchestrated by improvisational deliberation. (BB)
With persistent shows around Greater Cincinnati over the past couple of years with a wide variety of local and touring bands, Current Events has been able to showcase its music in front of a diverse cross-section of local music fans, building its own following along the way. The ability to gracefully slot into almost any Indie or Alternative Rock lineup comes down to the quartet’s music (and the fact that the band plays it incredibly well), which was shaped by the varied tastes and influences each member brought to the group. On its EPs and singles released since 2015, you can hear the trace of Post Hardcore and Post Punk in the creative rhythmic thrust, while the stellar guitar work recalls everything from Post Rock to Prog. Current Events’ solid vocals, melodies and lyrics tie everything together, delivered with the kind of earnestness and honesty that are the hallmarks of the Emo sound.
gun for bands like Everest, Alberta Cross and Semi Precious Weapons? Any and every time, sport. With his band, the exquisitely named Madison Square Gardeners, or on his own as a solo act, Tasjan lights it up even more, writing and performing material that stands shoulder to shoulder with the giants of Folk/Rock storytelling (Arlo Guthrie, John Prine, Todd Snider, Guy Clark, Steve Goodman, etc.). Throw in the fact that Tasjan might be one of the most gifted and versatile guitar slingers in Nashville or anywhere, and that his solo works — Crooked River Burning, In the Blazes and the shiver-inducing Silver Tears — show him to be a multifaceted purveyor of freewheeling Honky Tonk, reflective Country Rock, free-range Folk and anything else that will serve his songs well. There aren’t many true originals anymore, but Aaron Lee Tasjan is two or three of them. YDIIYD: The combined musical histories of Nashville and Memphis stitched together in a lightning-animated Nudie suit. (BB) 7:45 p.m. Mandolin Orange (Chapel Hill, N.C.) Folk/Americana/Country
YDIIYD: Jimmy Eat World, Copeland, Joyce Manor. (MB)
The Ballroom at the Taft/ Superior Kia Stage 9 p.m. Aaron Lee Tasjan (Nashville, Tenn.) Folk/Rock/Alt.Country
As a well-traveled sideman, Aaron Lee Tasjan has conclusively proven there is absolutely nothing that is beyond his ability. Second guitar for the New York Dolls? Done. Regular touring six-stringer for Kevn Kinney’s Drivin’ N Cryin’? Let’s go. Hired
After meeting at a Bluegrass jam session, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin pooled their talents to form Mandolin Orange in 2009; both musicians sing (and create stunning harmonies) and each is a gifted multi-instrumentalist. After a few years of touring and self-releasing material, Mandolin Orange’s well-constructed and expertly played blend of Folk, Country, Bluegrass and Pop caught the attention of Yep Roc Records, home to fellow young Roots music bright lights like Aoife O’Donovan and The Stray Birds. The duo (which tours and records with a backing band) has built a large following in the Americana scene with impassioned live shows and Yep Roc albums like 2015’s Such Jubilee. Last year’s Blindfaller was Mandolin Orange’s crowning artistic achievement, with critics praising Marlin’s sharpened songwriting skills and the duo’s ability to sound contemporary while retaining the vintage, timeless aura of its influences.
YDIIYD: Once-in-a-lifetime, born-to-betogether Folk music pairings from Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons to Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. (MB) 6:45 p.m. The Ghost of Paul Revere (Portland, Maine) Americana/Folk/Bluegrass
In the relatively short time since its 2011 debut show, The Ghost of Paul Revere has earned a press kit full of accolades, including “Best in Maine” at 2014’s New England Music Awards, and amassed an increasingly fervent fan base with a pair of EPs and its 2015 full-length debut, Believe. But it’s with electrifying live shows that The Ghost of Paul Revere has made the most significant impact, making its acclaimed debut at the Newport Folk Festival in 2015 and opening for (and generating favorable comparisons to) the likes of The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show. Last year, The Ghost of Paul Revere took a short break from the road to record its new full-length album, slated for release later this year, but now the band members are back in the van, plying their hair-raising hybrid of Folk, Gospel, Bluegrass and rootsy Americana and featuring gorgeous sibling harmonies without the potentially messy sibling connections. The Ghost of Paul Revere will keep riding to spread the message that Roots music is alive and well in the new millennium. YDIIYD: Church and a post-service party with the Avetts and the McCourys. (BB)
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Adam Petersen is one of Cincinnati’s true musical originals. A classically trained pianist, Peterson adapts his skills in the practical sense by teaching piano and chorus, but he applies his musical aspirations and inspirations in a lateral-not-literal manner by way of his sonic alter ego, A Delicate Motor. Utilizing a variety of keyboard and percussion instruments, direct and ethereal expressions of his vocal presence and the technological voodoo of looping, Peterson/ ADM builds soundscapes that are rooted in and yet manage to transcend traditional structures and executions. With its latest album, Fellover My Own, A Delicate Motor turned into more of a band, with local musicians lending guitar, bass and drums to the tracks in the service of compositions that challenge the Indie Rock form more often than they conform to them. To support the album, Petersen enlisted different local players to form a new group to play live shows.
3:15 p.m. Current Events (Cincinnati) Indie Rock
MPMF.17 // SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 5:45 p.m. Jeremy Pinnell (Burlington, Ky.) Country/Honky Tonk
After packing his résumé with plenty of Rock, Punk and Folk bullet points, guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Pinnell took a break from music to get his head straight. When he returned, he was drawn to the Country sounds that he and old friend Cameron Cochran had explored together as teenagers, and in short order he formed the Honky Tonk crew the 55’s, which became a strong Cincinnati-area draw. Boosted by his otherworldly voice and deep, rich songwriting talent, Pinnell’s debut solo album, OH/KY, was hailed as a triumph in local, regional and national media. After lots of grueling coast-to-coast, pole-to-pole road work, Pinnell finally returned to the studio for his amazing sophomore effort, Ties of Blood and Affection, where he attempts to resolve the darkly emotional issues he addressed on OH/KY. YDIIYD: Classic Country and Honky Tonk indelibly tattooed with the images of a hard but well-lived life. (BB)
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4:45 p.m. Young Heirlooms (Cincinnati) Folk Pop/Americana
Music festivals have been good to Young Heirlooms. With their beautiful contemporary spin on Folk music and compelling, intimate, shut-everyone-up-instantly live performances, the band has been a regular highlight at past MidPoint Music Festivals. Christopher Robinson (guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Kelly Fine (vocals, guitar, mandolin) formed the band in 2010 after initially
meeting at a music festival in Dayton, Ohio. And after releasing a self-titled debut album in 2013, the six-member group quickly became a favorite locally, earning regular bookings — yes, including festival gigs — as well as airplay on beloved Northern Kentucky radio station WNKU. Young Heirlooms are currently getting ready for the release of its follow-up album, The Hammer, the first glimpse of which was the sublime single “Bury Me with My Hammer,” which shimmers like an Indie Folk version of Fleetwood Mac. The track was issued on vinyl this summer with a cover of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young classic “Ohio” on the B-side. But first, another music festival and another chance for Young Heirlooms to shine. YDIIYD: The Lone Bellow, The Head and the Heart, Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty. (MB) 3:45 p.m. Edward + Jane (Cincinnati) Folk/Americana
There is a pretty good chance that if you attend an Edward + Jane show, you are going to leave with new friends — namely, the musicians in the band. Placing the highest value in family and friends (even using the band name “Family and Friends” for a spell), Edward + Jane is a Folk music collective founded by Timothy Carpenter and Emilie Creutzinger in Chattanooga, Tenn. Like an antidote to the technology-enabled isolation of our times, Edward + Jane have taken their music across North America with the mission of connecting and engaging with listeners to inspire them with music. After releasing their debut EP, As Family We Gather, and getting married, Carpenter and Creutzinger relocated to Cincinnati, bringing Edward + Jane’s base of operations along with them. YDIIYD: The Head and the Heart, pre-avantgarde Bon Iver, The Lone Bellow. (MB)
2:45 p.m. The Long Lost (Chicago) Indie Folk/Americana
People tend to focus on New York’s Bleeker Street as the center of the Folk universe, but let’s not forget the healthy scene in Chicago. Look at all the greats that have passed through the Old Town School of Folk Music, like John Prine, Roger McGuinn, Steve Goodman, Andrew Bird and Blues legend Big Bill Broonzy, who taught there. Given that lineage, it’s no surprise when amazing Folk groups like The Long Lost emerge from the city. Fronted by the close-knit harmonies of impossiblyyoung-to-be-this-good Katie Burke and Andi Avalos and backed by the compelling skills of bassist Kevin McMahon and pianist Steve Ashum, The Long Lost merges Folk’s tradition with Indie Rock’s passion to create a familiar-yet-singular sound. The Long Lost’s new EP, Don’t Wait Up For Me, is a tantalizing glimpse at a long but certainly not lost future. YDIIYD: Unplugged Haim (minus one), The Lumineers, The Civil Wars, The Head and the Heart. (BB)
Masonic Cathedral Stage 10 p.m. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (Lagos, Nigeria) Afrobeat
There may be no single figure in contemporary African music more revered that Afrobeat founder and legend Fela Kuti; in the face of government oppression and imprisonment, he forged and championed an exciting new sound with his band Afrika
70 that became a symbol of freedom’s ever-vigilant battle against tyranny. When Fela died in 1997, his youngest son Seun stepped into his father’s nearly unfillable void to lead Egypt 80 at the age of 14. Seun, who had already been performing with Egypt 80 for several years, has continued to honor his father’s musical legacy by performing Afrika 70 studio material that Fela never played live and pushing Egypt 80 to even greater heights by evolving the Afrobeat sound — the group’s 2011 album, From Africa with Fury: Rise, was co-produced by Brian Eno — and remaining committed to his activist father’s social, cultural and political causes. YDIIYD: Soul, Jazz and Psych Rock from the original continent. (BB) 8:30 p.m. The Urban Renewal Project (Los Angeles) Soul/Hip Hop/Jazz/Dance
Rotating L.A. collective The Urban Renewal Project is a big band with the brass section to prove it. But, though you’ll hear some remnants of classic Big Band Jazz in some of its horn charts, the 13-piece URP swings with the high-octave groove of Funk and Hip Hop, creating an expansive and bombastic fusion of sound that straddles multiple eras. Formed in 2010 by saxophonist R.W. Enoch and rapper Elmer Demond, the group became an in-demand club attraction on the West Coast with its adrenalized live show, reworking everything from Jazz standards to Pop hits to cool selections like Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” After moving toward original material and recording with guest rappers and singers from all genres, URP is looking to expand its national profile with the September release of 21st Century Ghost, which includes a feature from NYC Hip Hop heroes Camp Lo and is the first release on Fastrac Records, a new imprint from respected Jazz reissue label Resonance Records. YDIIYD: The Count Basie Orchestra if it had come up on the Modern Funk scene alongside The Motet and Snarky Puppy and Basie was deep into old-school Hip Hop. (MB)
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 24 // MPMF.17 7:15 p.m. Charly Bliss (New York City) Indie Rock/Pop
she acknowledges are therapeutic vehicles for dealing with difficult issues in her life. Last year’s Arrow, for instance, was O’s reaction to the tragic death of a friend, but it also served as an inspiration for her to concentrate even harder on her music, which resulted in the release of Elastic a little over a year later. YDIIYD: Sleater-Kinney obsessed with Cheap Trick. (BB). 5 p.m. Varsity (Chicago) Indie Rock/Pop
New York quartet Charly Bliss has been together for five years, played hundreds of well-received gigs and put out an EP, 2015’s Soft Serve, and the just-released 10-track, 30-minute full-length Guppy. But the band’s inherent chemistry goes deeper than that — lead vocalist Eva Hendricks and guitarist Spencer Fox met at a Tokyo Police Club show when they were 15; Fox and bassist Dan Shure met at summer camp; Hendricks and Shure dated as teenagers; and Eva and drummer/brother Sam Hendricks have that DNA thing. It all comes together in a boiling pot of Pop melodicism and Rock adrenaline, as sticky and sweet as a fresh piece of bubblegum and as infectious as the best possible communicable disease (Skittles pox?). There might be nothing better right now than a dose of Charly Bliss. YDIIYD: The thought of Liz Phair and Juliana Hatfield putting together a Letters to Cleo tribute band. (BB) 6 p.m. Amy O (Bloomington, Ind.) Indie Pop/Rock
YDIIYD: Finally getting that late-night campfire kiss from a new love at the end of the perfect beachside vacation. (MB)
YDIIYD: Bear-on-bear action, to a soundtrack that reveres Cheap Trick, The Hold Steady and The New Pornographers. (BB) Much like Alice’s Restaurant, you can get anything you like in Chicago. Enter Varsity, a versatile and bouncy quintet exuding an infectious melodicism and ass-shaking energy that blends contemporary Indie Rock with bubbly Synth Pop, whipping both into a frothy meringue. Varsity’s first two releases, 2013’s Thanks for Nothing EP and 2015’s eponymous mini-album, were followed by a year’s worth of online digital singles that exhibited the band’s expansive range and stylistic depth, earning them a notice as one of the 10 “Under-the-Radar Chicago Releases of 2015” in Chicago paper RedEye. Not to shabby for a band that’s been around for about four years. What will Varsity do for an encore? Just about anything.
4 p.m. Bicentennial Bear (Columbus, Ohio) Indie Rock
One of several hundred recent bands to sport an ursine presence in its name,
3 p.m. Coastal Club (Cincinnati) Indie Pop
Land-locked Cincinnatians who dream of living in a beachside setting can find some solace in the local music scene. Assume Cincy band The Harlequins’ refrain “Midwest is the best coast” as your motto, hang out at local-music venue Northside Yacht Club and become the biggest fan of Queen City bands whose music evokes images of chilling by the ocean, including Harbour, Coconut Milk and Coastal Club, a Pop Rock quartet that claims fond memories of hanging on the beach not only led to its ironic name (the group was briefly called Local Waves), but also informs its sound and songwriting. Formed just last year, Coastal Club has been pimping its smooth, warm and highly melodic take on Indie Rock in local clubs, releasing an eponymous EP this past spring that crisply showcases the foursome’s animated rhythms, swirling guitar trickles and spirited hooks.
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YDIIYD: Katrina and the Waves if the Waves were Vampire Weekend. (BB)
Elastic is the perfect title for Amy Oelsner’s latest album. The Arkansas native taught herself to play guitar and write songs, has lived all over the East Coast and Midwest, attended college, worked at a variety of jobs and self-released or indie-released nine albums. Amy O’s early work was solo-based, but since moving to Bloomington, Ind. she’s assembled a crack band to translate her exuberant yet introspective songs, which
Bicentennial Bear is the only one (to my knowledge) able or willing to use the appellation Bi Bear as a shorthand reference. From just up the road in Ohio’s capitol, Bicentennial Bear also comes frontloaded with lots of local/regional cred — the quintet has opened shows for R. Ring, Ampline and erstwhile GBV collaborator Jason Narducy’s new band, Split Single, and the group actually did one of its album release shows — for its last full-length, 2015’s Doubt & Distortion — at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Ky. But the band’s greatest claim to fame may well be the unsubstantiated rumor that their 2010 holiday single, “All I Want for Christmas is an Afghan Whigs Reunion,” might have jump started the very event it was wishboning. That’s enough to recommend Bicentennial Bear’s MPMF performance in the strongest possible terms.
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Midpoint Music Festival September 23-24, 2017