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Now one of the world’s biggest Rock bands, the members of The National come back to their hometown to host this week’s Homecoming and MusicNOW festivals CINCINNATI’S NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY | APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2018 | FREE


Taft T he

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| C I T Y B E AT. C O M


The Blaguards

are Back!!!

Check our website for this week’s deals!

May 19th

2:30 PM & 7:30 PM This two-man show is a bubbling stew of humor with a dash of poignancy to sharpen the flavor NY Times A grand crowd pleaser whenever performed, with the sense of stretching out a story, of building image upon image and verbal pattern upon verbal pattern to create folk art out of colloquial language - Chicago Reader “A Couple of Blaguards”; is a theatrical event that will find a place in the heart of every audience member –

Tickets available online at or by calling the Box Office at


35th Annual Spring Concert


May 19 • 2pm & 7pm Memorial Hall



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Celebrate with MUSE!


Program includes commissions and arrangements created for MUSE over the past 35 years, Enduring Spirit Award presentation honor honoring the late Maureen Wood, and premiere of a new piece performed with Siri Imani, local poet and activ activist from the band Triiibe.

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Worst Week Ever! BY DA N N Y C R O S S

Cranley Drops Phone in Hot Tub (NOT TOILET)

Most people have been there — just doing your business in the morning, catching up on Instagram stories when suddenly the cell phone — keeper of passwords and storer of nudes and incriminating text messages — slips from one’s grasp and splashes into the toilet bowl. A similar water-damage-related incident became front-page news this week when Mayor John Cranley announced that anyone hoping to see text messages from the week preceding his attempt to oust City Manager Harry Black will have to use their imagination, cuz his iPhone from that time is now incapacitated: He dropped it into a hot tub at his gym. Cranley’s spokesperson relayed the message after conservative anti-tax group COAST sued city council members over a text chain related to the Cranley-Black drama, which

Made-Up Reasons Not to Buy Real Cars USA Today last week published a list of the 15 worst-selling cars in America based on the average number of days it took to move the pieces of crap off dealership lots. The following is the actual list with madeup reasons the cars suck. 15. Buick Envision — Buicks are for followers, not leaders. 14. Cadillac ATS — Looks like someone tried too hard to make a Camry. 13. Cadillac XTS — Same thing as the ATS but with an X. 12. Buick Cascada — People hate this kind of shit. 11. Hyundai Genesis — Looks expensive even though it’s a Hyundai. 10. Cadillac CTS — Same thing as the XTS but with a C. 9. Buick LaCrosse — Sexist commercials.

7. Buick Regal — Misogynist commercials. 6. Toyota Yaris — People can tell it’s slow by how inexpensive it is. 5. Nissan Quest — People with minivans don’t go on quests anymore.

2. Dodge Dart — Seems like the type of car your dad flipped in the ’70s. 1. Buick Verano — Sounds like an STD.

Ohio Congressman Says People Gave Him Lots of Money, Support

Casual followers of this country’s broken democracy might not be familiar with Ohio’s lesser-known congresspersons, many of whom represent gerrymandered districts and push for legislation that only a minority of their constituents support. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci is one such official, and he despises big government so much he’s campaigning for the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown in November. (Campaign slogan: “Six Years in the Senate, a Lifetime of Health Care.”) Renacci is basically like the rest of us except that he has a net worth of $35 million, which made it easy to kick about $4 million into his senate campaign and tell

The Democratic National Committee filed what NPR has described as an “attention-grabbing” lawsuit against Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign over that stuff they all did to get Trump elected. The lawsuit, which faces legal obstacles because Russia has its own laws, details the same theory about Russia and WikiLeaks colluding with the Trump campaign that is currently being investigated by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller. The suit states that “the conspiracy constituted an act of previously unimaginable treachery” and asks judges who read any part of it in public to do so in a Shakespearean voice and maintain consistent eye contact with viewers. Legal analysts have suggested that the suit could help protect the Mueller investigation but they really don’t know for sure. A Trump spokesperson called the collusion claim bogus and released a statement referring to the Democratic party as “desperate, dysfunctional and nearly insolvent,” which was funny enough to actually add credibility to a president willing to lie about how many tacos he can eat in one sitting.

Wells Fargo to Pay Back Some of the Money It Stole

Banks used to be an essential part of society, the place where everyone’s money was safe and little kids could get suckers shot into their cars through giant tubes. Today, banks are basically known for making mass money without actually giving their customers anything and for crashing the economy once and probably again sometime soon. So, it was no surprise to learn last week that the Consumer Financial Bureau hit Wells Fargo with a $1 billion fine — its largest ever — for the various ways it has charged consumers too much on mortgage and car loans in recent years. Wells Fargo apologized to the people it bilked and also its stockholders, who saw the cash moved off the company’s firstquarter balance sheet, leaving only a net income of $4.7 billion. Wells Fargo asked investors to continue to support the company through this difficult time of getting caught, noting that the Fed thinks its business strategy “prioritizes its own growth at the expense of risk management,” which is generally good for investors.

the all-new



3. Volkswagen CC — Dumb name. Should have been called Jackrabbit.

Most people are familiar with how shitty the Reds have been so far this year, a predictable turn of events for a team whose Opening Day parade occurred on the fourth day of baseball season (one longtime fan says he isn’t going to the game on his birthday because of it). Even the most righteous and expletive-laden argument couldn’t save manager Bryan Price’s job after the team started the year 3-13, as he was shit-canned and paid to go home to Arizona and watch the Reds get crushed on TV instead of in person. Price was best known for being a good pitching coach and epic foul-mouthed complainer but a very average manager whose teams would have made even a hall-of-famer like Joe Torre look like an idiot (“Let’s win this thing, meat! Get me Quackenbush!”). Former bigleague manager and front office guy Jim Riggleman took over, promptly losing his first three games wearing the tight pants for the Reds and continuing the unenviable task of figuring out where to bat his superfast guys who can’t get on base.

Democrats Sue Russia, WikiLeaks Over Some Old Shit

Read us on your phone when you’re at the bar by yourself.


4. Chrysler 200 — Everyone assumes there’s a 400 or 600 that is better.

Reds Manager Joins City Manager in the Place Where People Go While Getting Paid Not to Work

everyone how he Bernie Sanders-ed $4.5 million in campaign contributions since January. Before the Cleveland Plain Dealer did the math to determine that Renacci hadn’t really raised shit, his campaign released a fairly misleading statement touting the “wave of support from voters and conservative leaders” and the time Renacci caught the world’s largest catfish but threw it back before his fishing buddy could see because he wasn’t hungry anymore.

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8. Jeep Patriot — Reminds people of George Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner.

pretty much turned up nothing other than P.G. Sittenfeld using proper grammar and Wendell Young calling the Cran-Man a liar. But Cranley spokeswoman Holly Stutz Smith later amended the time period of the splash-down from “sometime in March” to “early-February,” which begs the question: Does it make more sense that Cranley would forget the rare instance of a workout worthy of hot-tub recovery or the time he dropped his phone in the toilet during an otherwise typical morning poo? Cincinnatians may never know, as the mayor finally found a fifth vote to fire Black, who resigned prior to a special Saturday morning meeting when the four dissenting votes were to be cast from their respective homes, probably also in the bathroom.




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NEWS Mayor John Cranley and acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney outside Cincinnati’s Emergency Communications Center. PH OTO: NIC K SWARTSELL

Call Center Controversy Kyle Plush’s death appears to have been a multi-faceted tragedy that leaves lingering questions and an ousted city manager in its wake BY N I C K SWA R T S E L L


going from 80 dispatchers in 2016 to 93 this year, and it is on pace to fill all positions by December. CPD Lt. Col. Terri Theetge told council that the center has a 70 percent retention rate and that industry standard is around 50 percent. “I don’t believe there is anything in city government that is a barrier,” Theetge said of the shortages. “I think it’s the job itself and the stress and the reputation it has in getting the right people to apply.” Call center workers, who generally make between $53,000 and $59,000 a year, voted via their union to work mostly 12-hour shifts, Theetge said. Councilman Wendell Young wondered if that’s too much. CPD Capt. Jim Gramke, the current head of the ECC, is reaching out to other call centers across the country to determine best practices for shift lengths and other staffing issues, according to Theetge. Technical limitations may have also played a role in the Plush tragedy. Black said ECC employees and management are still adjusting to new technology introduced over the last year and a half. “The center is at a juncture of the transformation process where we’ve implemented new technologies over the past 12 to 16 months,” Black told council. “That CONTINUES ON PAGE 09


in favor of Black’s departure, the latter’s fate was sealed. “The dysfunction at City Hall clearly needs to end, and we have to be fully focused on fixing the issues with our 911 system,” Landsman said in a statement. “The manager is not fully focused on this, and we continue to be distracted by the ongoing saga surrounding the manager and mayor.” There will be multiple investigations into the situation at the call center. During the emergency council meeting on April 17, then-manager Black said the city will launch what is called a “sentinel event” review, which is often used in the medical field. CPD and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters will also launch their own investigations. Among the questions remaining: Did the ECC’s staffing shortage play a role in Plush’s death? Were equipment shortcomings responsible? Or, as a recently dismissed Cincinnati Police assistant chief and a former ECC worker who is suing the city allege, are the problems due to a hostile work environment? The center isn’t at its full complement of employees due to difficulty finding the right hires for the high-stress job, officials say; it’s currently down about a dozen employees. But the staffing has improved,


A dozen memos from the city manager and others stretching back to 2014 detail the call center’s staffing shortages and technology issues, which led to outright outages of the city’s 911 service, among other problems. Mayor John Cranley and several council members said they were unaware of the severity of the issues, despite receiving the memos. “We have never heard that before,” Cranley said of the staffing shortages. “I was unaware that we had these deficits.” The emergency meeting was designed to get to the bottom of what role the call center played in Plush’s death. But by the end, it was clear that there are still numerous unknowns. The lack of certainty, however, didn’t stop the removal of City Manager Harry Black, which Mayor John Cranley has been seeking for more than a month. On April 19, Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman announced he would vote in support of dismissing Black, citing the call center as the reason. Black resigned shortly before a vote to fire him April 21. Previously, Landsman had been one of five holdouts in an ongoing stalemate between Black and Cranley, who asked the city manager to resign March 9. When Black refused, council was required to approve his ouster. With Landsman’s vote

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ixteen-year-old Kyle Plush went into his van the afternoon of April 10 to get some sports equipment and never came out alive. His suffocation after the van’s thirdrow seat tipped over on him has rippled through Cincinnati, sparking a long, anguished Cincinnati City Council meeting last week and seemingly providing the last straw leading to the exit of Cincinnati’s embattled city manager. Plush called 911 twice while he was pinned under the van’s bench seat, presumably using his phone’s voice-activation feature. But Cincinnati Police officers didn’t find him when responding to his initial call — possibly because they never exited their cruiser — and a Hamilton County Sheriff’s deputy on the scene also couldn’t locate him. Plush’s death has left a number of questions: Did he die due in part to continued dysfunction at the city’s emergency call center, where understaffing and management issues have been the subject of a dozen city memos over the past few years? Or was it simply the result of a very unfortunate series of events? On April 17, council held a marathon five-hour emergency meeting to discuss problems with the city’s Emergency Communications Center (ECC).



Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black Resigns BY N I C K SWA R T S EL L

Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black resigned effective noon April 21, just before a Cincinnati City Council vote to remove him from the job. Black, who has been locked in a bitter battle with Mayor John Cranley since the mayor asked him to resign March 9, released a brief memo outlining his resignation moments before the vote. That memo ends by leaving open the possibility of legal action by Black. “It has been my pleasure serving as city manager,” Black wrote, praising the city’s “many amenities” and public workforce. “I have made this decision based on the reality that the work environment has become very hostile, and as such untenable. Therefore, it is in my best interest to extricate myself, in that this hostility is unlikely to cease. In resigning, I am not surrendering any of my legal rights.” Black has protested his treatment at the hands of Cranley. His supporters on council and among African-American groups like the local NAACP say he’s being forced out for firing Cincinnati Police Chief Dave Bailey, whom CPD Chief Eliot Isaac accused of insubordination. Prior to Cranley’s request that Black resign, the city manager said a small “rogue element” within CPD was working to undermine the chief and the city’s Collaborative

Agreement police reforms. Cranley, however, says that his request that Black resign came after years of complaints about intimidation and retaliation against city employees by the city manager. The disagreement led to a big fight between council and the mayor over whether Black should leave and how much he should receive if he does. Initially, Black would have gotten nothing if he resigned. The agreement today awards Black the standard severance package he would have gotten if he had been fired. Per Black’s contract, he will get eight months salary and benefits — a severance package worth about $274,000. That’s less than an earlier settlement Black and Cranley had agreed upon worth $423,000 in pay and benefits. City Council declined to approve that package. Five members of council present at the April 21 special meeting voted to accept his resignation. Four — Tamaya Dennard, Chris Seelbach, P.G. Sittenfeld and Wendell Young — were absent from the proceedings. They had previously voted against a severance package for Black. Assistant City Manager Patrick Duhaney will be acting city manager until a replacement can be found, a process that Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman said will be collaborative.

City Manager Harry Black and Mayor John Cranley PH OTO: NIC K SWARTSELL

Landsman was the fifth vote needed to oust Black from his position. He said yesterday that his decision to switch his vote was based on Black’s response to the death of teenager Kyle Plush, who called 911 twice while trapped in a van. The 16-year-old suffocated after officers could not locate him.

“I think when you have a level of dysfunction and chaos like we’ve had over the past few weeks, it’s on all of us, myself included,” Landsman said. “But obviously the situation between the manager and mayor was a huge part of it.” Some, including his opponents on council, have offered pointed criticism of Cranley’s handling of the situation. But the mayor defended his actions and his tone over the length of the fight between himself and Black, saying he was trying to protect city workers he says Black intimidated. “I’m a work in progress, so I will always strive for greater cooperation and collaboration with city council,” Cranley said. “But let me be clear, I was standing up for city workers against retaliation that was ongoing, even this week. I think the actions had to be taken for the good of the city.”

FC Cincinnati Stadium Fallout Hits West End Community Council BY N I C K SWA R T S EL L



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The battle over an FC Cincinnati stadium in the West End has triggered turbulence within the neighborhood’s community council.


Tension was high as the West End Community Council (WECC) met on April 17. The community council’s president, Keith Blake, faces potential impeachment over his role in a contentious effort to present a community benefits agreement (CBA) to the soccer team. Blake signed a version of that agreement April 16 as FCC President Jeff Berding looked on, a move that angered WECC members opposed to the team’s stadium in the neighborhood. They say the CBA isn’t valid because only the WECC’s executive board has seen it. Blake says that the agreement was just to keep the council at the bargaining table, and that the council’s general body will still need to ratify it.

Not all West End residents or community council members are against the project. Chris Griffin, who works with the neighborhood’s Little Senators youth sports league, was at the meeting. He’s for the stadium. Griffin pointed out that, after Cincinnati City Council passed an ordinance approving stadium infrastructure funds, the community council could get left by the wayside if a CBA isn’t approved. But the CBA in question “doesn’t represent us,” community council general body member Marsha Reece said. Reece, the president of the Liberty Street Apartments Residents’ Association, tore up her copy of the draft CBA Blake signed as she lit into the executive board. Reece says that she and other residents didn’t approve any work on a CBA, and didn’t get the chance to provide input for the latest version.

“We need to tear this up and start over,” said Earnestine Hill, another community council general body member, before tearing hers up as well.

asks for an affordable housing trust fund, neighborhood-wide free WiFi, rent-free storefronts for local businesses, workforce inclusion and more.

In March, the WECC general body voted 50-10 against FCC putting a stadium in their neighborhood. But they also voted in favor of participating in a CBA should the stadium come anyway.

At least two members of the committee, however, say the meeting should never have happened and that the CBA was rushed through ahead of what was then an FCC-identified March 31 site selection deadline.

Afterward, community council members signed up for an adhoc committee to draw up a CBA and Blake organized a meeting of that committee. At the time, FCC had indicated it was moving on from the West End. But Blake said he reached out to the team to see if there was any interest in seeing a CBA. The team asked what the committee could come up with.

That deadline came and went. Afterward, prospects for the West End stadium began to look more likely.

The committee on March 26 presented that document, which made detailed and substantial

Cincinnati City Council signed a $35 million infrastructure package to support the stadium in the West End. One stipulation — FCC must sign a CBA with a “broadly representative group” of residents in the West End. That could be — but doesn’t have to be — the community council, sources in City Hall say. The agreement Blake signed

April 16 with FCC isn’t the one the ad-hoc committee made. It’s a more modest ask Blake and other members of the WECC’s executive committee drew up along with Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor and attorney John Curp, who was recommended to the board by Keating Muething & Klekamp, a firm representing FCC. Several residents signed a petition to impeach Blake on the grounds that he hasn’t conducted meetings in an orderly fashion and acted improperly by convening the ad-hoc committee before a stadium in the West End was a done deal. A five-member committee headed by a neutral party will consider Blake’s impeachment. That committee’s deliberations will take no more than 30 days, per the council’s bylaws. The committee will then present its findings to the general body, which will vote on whether to remove Blake from his office.

“There’s no reason Uber should have more specificity than our emergency response system,” Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld said.

standard, though CPD officers Brian Brazile and Edsel Osborn were dispatched in four minutes instead of the usual two minutes. Body camera footage shows neither exited their cruiser. The officers cleared that call, meaning they had completed their search for Plush, 11 minutes after dispatch. Recordings from the officers’ run indicate they thought the call may have been a prank. “I think somebody’s playing pranks,” one of the two officers said over police radio later. “It was something about they were locked in a vehicle across from the school, we never found anything. But we’ll respond and see what else we can find.” The second call was rockier. Dispatcher Amber Smith says she couldn’t hear Plush very well, or at all at times, during that call, though he is audible in recordings. In the recording, Plush tells Smith he is in a gold Honda Odyssey, information Smith says she didn’t hear and which she did not pass on to officers. Smith was on administrative leave following Plush’s death but has since returned in a non-dispatch role. The council meeting presided over by Cranley ally Smitherman also heard


technology is still taking hold. It’s state of the art, competitive with industry best practices, but the team is still making adjustments.” But that will take more people, according to some within the call center. Jennifer King, a systems analyst at the ECC, said she has repeatedly asked for more staff to help with the adjustment to the new systems, but hasn’t received it. During the April 17 emergency meeting, Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman read a report from the city’s vendor for the call center’s computers that said they were not down that day, contrary to a dispatcher’s claims. Questions about the precision with which dispatchers can locate cell phone callers also revealed that the technology available isn’t always very helpful. Calls bounce around cell phone towers, according to city officials, not over the internet via an app, and the call center can’t pinpoint you the way an Uber drive can. “There’s no reason Uber should have more specificity than our emergency response system,” Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld said. What about human error? An internal investigation found that the first call made by Plush was mostly

testimony from a trio of former call center officials at the center of controversies around City Manager Black. Cranley wanted Black out of his role as city manager due in part to a convoluted series of events involving former CPD Assistant Chief Dave Bailey (who was fired earlier this year); Elizabeth Christenson, a former staffer who did mapping for the ECC; and CPD Capt. Jeff Butler, who sued the city and Black over a promotion he didn’t get last year and who is named in another gender discrimination lawsuit against the city. Christenson quit her job at the ECC and filed a lawsuit against the city alleging mismanagement last year. The three say that internal tension and mismanagement within the call center have made it dysfunctional. “I started getting AFSCME and CODE (public union) employees coming into

my office asking for my help,” Bailey says, pointing to “climate issues” the he alleges hobbled the ECC. Bailey says an earlier arrangement in which the city’s police and fire departments split management of the ECC seemed to work well and recommended returning to that arrangement. The testimony from Black’s foes during the emergency meeting was tense, but not as contentious as what came later. Plush’s family stormed out of the meeting near its end after comments from Cincinnati City Councilman Young, who suggested that Plush’s death was the result of a perfect storm of bad situations. “You know what, stop this right here,” Plush’s uncle yelled after Young said that no amount of money would make the family feel better and that it may be no one is to blame. “This is the most insensitive thing I’ve ever heard. You guys were doing wonderful until this guy started talking… You have crossed the line.” The family then walked out, leaving council stunned. Young has since apologized. Meanwhile, investigations into the failures that may have led to Plush’s death will continue. CPD Chief Eliot Isaac said he expects the department’s probe to be done in roughly 10 days. Other inquiries could take longer, however.

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Bringing It All Back

aron Dessner of The National succinctly explains what’s so unusual about the concurrent Homecoming and MusicNOW festivals occurring in Cincinnati this weekend. “I can’t think of anything like this, with sister festivals co-existing like this,” he says. “It’s an interesting idea to have a larger capacity festival (Homecoming) serving to support and house this smaller arts festival (MusicNOW). So you might see your favorite band play their songs on the stage, but then you can go see an experimental music show or other things.” Both festivals are outgrowths of The National, the internationally acclaimed band founded in Brooklyn in 1999 by five native Cincinnatians: guitarist/keyboardist/songwriter Aaron and his twin brother/guitarist Bryce, vocalist/ lyricist Matt Berninger, bassist Scott Devendorf and drummer Bryan Devendorf, Scott’s brother. MusicNOW — the “smaller arts festival” to which Aaron refers — was started in Cincinnati in 2006 by Bryce, also an active Classical composer in addition to playing guitar with the band. The event was seen as an opportunity for Bryce to present and collaborate with artists who like to try new things. MusicNOW has featured such Rock, Classical, World music and singer/songwriter experimentalists as Sufjan Stevens, Joanna Newsom, Grizzly Bear, Steve Reich, Bang on a Can All Stars, Kronos Quartet and Tinariwen. The National has twice performed at MusicNOW, which, while most closely associated with Over-the-Rhine venue Memorial Hall, had been held at Music Hall and Taft Theatre under the aegis of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 2014-17. The larger festival, the debuting Homecoming, is something dramatically new and different — for both the band members and Cincinnati. It occurs Saturday and Sunday on two outdoor stages in Smale Riverfront Park. The National headlines each night with different sets, joined by critically praised PHOTO: GRAHAM MACINDOE featured acts from the Indie Rock world like Feist, Father John Misty, Future Islands, The Breeders, Moses Sumney, Alvvays and others. The band expects 8,000-10,000 people at Homecoming each day. MusicNOW, by contrast, will mostly be held this weekend at the 300-seat Harriet Tubman Theater in the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, near Smale. (There is a Friday night MusicNOW concert at the Cincinnati Masonic Center, next to downtown’s Taft Theatre.) But lest you think Homecoming is reducing MusicNOW to an afterthought, think again. It’s really MusicNOW that is driving Homecoming. “There were months we were really CONTINUES ON PAGE 18



on the fence about it,” Bryce says of how to balance the two events. “I am sensitive to keeping the identity of the (MusicNOW) festival, with a focus on really intimate music. So it was important to me to have available the Freedom Center theater, right adjacent to the park and functioning as a third stage for the festival. A lot of MusicNOW programming is happening there. That was a key component.” Plus, Bryce says, he’d been wanting to expand MusicNOW for some time. This is his chance. “To be honest, I’d thought of doing things outdoors at Washington Park in the past, given its proximity to Music Hall,” he says. “But it seemed tricky to pull off for space reasons.” When Smale Riverfront Park opened in 2015, it presented a new opportunity for something larger. Aaron sees Homecoming as a way to bring the full band into the plans. “MusicNOW has been a very powerful, creative generator for us to try something new, try to work with someone you haven’t worked with or play with other musicians who don’t know your songs,” he says. “That’s led to some amazing things over the years. But at the same time, The National has grown into whatever it’s grown into, and we want to play for our fans. For us to play a larger concert as part of MusicNOW, and to bring in a bunch of our friends to do that, felt like a great opportunity.” None of The National lives in Brooklyn anymore — Bryce is in Paris, Aaron in upstate New York, Berninger in Los Angeles, Scott Devendorf on Long Island and his brother Bryan in Cincinnati, where he’s been since 2013. So the idea of a musical gathering at a place that all could call home had appeal. “The fact we’re all from the same place is definitely one of the reasons our band

“The fact we’re all from the same place is definitely one of the reasons our band has continued,” Berninger says. “We feel lucky we’re still together, and we assume Cincinnati is part of that.”

has continued,” Berninger says. “Having drunk the same water and being of similar background, we get each other. We feel lucky we’re still together, and we assume Cincinnati is part of that.” While Bryce says that Bryan’s residence here was one reason for doing the Homecoming festival, the drummer isn’t so sure. “I wish I could take credit for it, but no,” Bryan says. “I’ve always lobbied to play shows here, but it never occurred to me we could expand or add to MusicNOW in any meaningful way. But as soon as the idea was floated, we went, ‘Oh yeah, it makes perfect sense.’ Bunbury (the large outdoor Rock festival held in June at Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove) is great and we’ve played (it), but it’s skewing younger and is a broader thing. We wanted to do our niche Art Rock, for lack of a better term.” Bryan also feels like the event could help Cincinnati grow its reputation as a destination city for live music. “You’ve got to compete with the Louisvilles and Nashvilles of the world and move up,” he says. “Niche,” by the way, doesn’t really define The National’s musical appeal anymore, if it ever did. The band’s popularity has grown considerably, especially following last year’s release of the Sleep Well Beast album. It won a Best Alternative Album Grammy, reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart and hit the top spot on the trade magazine’s Alternative and Rock charts. Its success is one reason the band needs a larger venue to play outdoors. At the same time, Bryan explains, the band craves “destination shows” as a way of beating the tedium of touring.

“We like to do things that are not a straight show or straight tour,’’ he says. Already, The National has something similar to Homecoming planned Sept. 29-30 for Queens, N.Y.’s Forest Hills Stadium, a 14,000-seat outdoor venue. Called There’s No Leaving New York, the recently announced event will also feature two different shows by The National, plus sets from Future Islands, Jason Isbell, Cat Power, Cigarettes After Sex and others. Another thing making Homecoming special is The National’s festival-closing Sunday show that features a rare full performance of its breakthrough album, 2007’s Boxer Boxer, which contained the anthem “Fake Empire.” This is only the second time for it to be played in its entirety live and the band members say it will also be the last. The first time was last November in Brussels; the performance was recorded and issued as a limited-edition vinyl release last week for Record Store Day. “It’s bit of radical programming,” Bryce says. “Even when we (originally) released it, we never played the whole thing live because we couldn’t, really. There are some difficult things to pull off.” Berninger says Boxer was in many ways


Liar which featured elements of everything from Bounce to Liar, Noise Rock.

April 28-29 at Smale Riverfront Park

2:30 p.m. LANZ (East Stage) Multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Lanz is a member of Beirut and a touring member of both Sufjan Stevens’ band and The National. Though trombone is the instrument for which he is most known, he is also an active composer and the singer/ songwriter behind LANZ, making intriguing Indie/Art Pop reflective of formative influences like Sebadoh, Pixies, Brian Eno and Syd Barrett. LANZ’s latest album, the superb HoferHofer lanz II, was released earlier this month.



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1 p.m. “Electric/Garcia/Haven Counterpoints” featuring Bryce & Aaron Dessner (East Stage) This Homecoming kick-off performance with the twin Dessner brothers from The National includes versions of “Electric Counterpoint,” a piece composed for guitar (and “tape”) by minimalist legend Steve Reich, and “Garcia Counterpoint,” Bryce’s solo contribution to the 2016 charity Grateful Dead tribute compilation put together by the brothers which took Reich’s approach to a transcribed Jerry Garcia guitar solo. 1:45 p.m. Spank Rock (West Stage) Just as you can call The National a Rock band and Mouse on Mars an Electronic act, Spank Rock is a Hip Hop artist, but his exploratory creative nature makes such categorization potentially deceptive. Inspired by hyped club music, Rap

a landmark album for The National. “It was the first time people really started paying attention to us,” he says. “So it means a lot to us and it means a lot to fans. And it’s fun to do — a fun way to change the whole carpet underneath us when we perform.” Boxer’s “Fake Empire” is a song that has resonated, grown and changed with time. In 2008, it became a symbol for hope and a call to change as Barack Obama, who the band supported by playing live events, successfully campaigned for the presidency, using the song as the backdrop for a campaign video. Now “Fake Empire” means something closer to what Berninger had in mind when he originally conceived it. “That song was written in frustration when George (W.) Bush was president,” he says. “It felt like people were not actually making choices based on reason and common sense. So ‘Fake Empire’ was about the bluster of how we represent ourselves as America (with) all our ideals. It felt like we were fooling ourselves back then. All of that still totally applies, and feels like it’s become more and more accentuated. It feels even more fake in many ways.” Looking at Homecoming/MusicNOW as an overall arts festival, there are plenty of special events and collaborations beyond the individual Indie acts playing outdoor sets. Among them: • The special MusicNOW Opening Night Celebration concert Friday at the Cincinnati Masonic Center. The event includes German electronic duo Mouse on Mars playing its new album, Dimension People, in its entirety. Also at Opening Night, Bryce and Aaron Dessner will play together as Red Bird Hollow (named after a trail in Indian Hill). Sam Amidon and Lisa Hannigan will be guests for both sets. • The New Music ensemble Eighth Blackbird provides live music for Cincinnati Ballet’s Bold Moves program Thursday through Sunday at the Aronoff

Lord Huron P H O T O : I A N H O L L I D AY

and Art Rock, the Baltimore-born/Philly-based Naeem Juwan broke through with 2006’s cult classic YoYoYoYoYo, but his deconstruction of the genre’s architecture was more obvious on 2011’s Everything Is Boring and Everyone Is a Fucking

3:15 p.m. Lord Huron (West Stage) Lord Huron comes to Homecoming a week after releasing what many are anticipating will be the L.A.-based band’s breakthrough, Vide Noir Noir, its major-label debut album on Republic Records. Not that singer/songwriter Ben Schneider’s project needed a ton of help grabbing attention; Lord Huron’s upcoming shows in large venues across the country have been selling out well in advance. Famed producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Tame Impala, MGMT) helped Schneider realize his expansive vision for Vide Noir Noir, which


Center for the Arts. The highlight is New York Ballet star Justin Peck dancing to his own choreography for Bryce Dessner’s Murder Ballades, which consist of seven instrumental ballads in the Folk music tradition. • MusicNOW is a presenter of a 7:30 p.m. Friday Black Box Performance Series concert at downtown’s Contemporary Arts Center. Signals for Immediate Music features Ofir Klemperer, the Israelborn, Cincinnati-based composer and improviser. • Icelandic singer Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir is a featured performer in the multi-screen music video by Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors, which is currently on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum. As part of MusicNOW, the former frontperson of múm will give free noon performances at the museum on Saturday and Sunday. • At 2 p.m. Saturday at the Freedom Center, Ireland’s dynamic New Music group Crash Ensemble will perform the 2008

chamber piece Schnee (Snow) by the ethereally minimalist Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen. At 4 p.m. Saturday, Crash Ensemble will be joined at the Freedom Center by percussionist/multi-instrumentalist and composer Tyshawn Sorey, who received a 2017 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. (Sorey will also give a 6 p.m. Saturday performance with his trio.) At noon on Sunday at the Freedom Center, Crash Ensemble cellist Kate Ellis plays with Björk-influenced violinist Yuki Numata Resnick, and at 5 p.m. Sunday, Crash Ensemble performs with Irish singer/songwriter Lisa Hannigan. • At 12:30 p.m. Sunday at the CAC, Scottish photographer Graham Macindoe will be in conversation with Scott Devendorf and Matt Berninger about his images of The National working on Sleep Well Beast. An exhibition of his work will be at the museum Thursday through May 27. • Eighth Blackbird’s 2 p.m. Sunday MusicNOW concert at the Freedom Center will feature a collaboration with singer/

songwriter Will Oldham on composer Frederic Rzewski’s riveting, politically minded “Coming Together,” and another with Bryce Dessner on an interpretation of compositions by the late African-American Minimalist composer Julius Eastman. (Read more about “Coming Together” on page 23.) • Bryan Devendorf selected Cincinnati percussionist Ben Sloan as festival artist-in-residence, and the two will perform together with A Delicate Motor at 4 p.m. Sunday as part of Homecoming. “He’s writing music specifically for the performance,” Bryan says of Sloan, adding the music will become available on a new streaming site in several months. • Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra members will perform American composer Andrew Norman’s “The Companion Guide to Rome” at the Freedom Center on Sunday at 7 p.m. Indie Rock, Classical, Jazz, Hip Hop, Avant Folk, Electronic music, dance, museum exhibits — the only thing that

seems to be missing is theater. If things go well this weekend, don’t be surprised to see it at MusicNOW next year. “To be honest, I’ve always had this dream that MusicNOW could evolve into something like a small Edinburgh (International) Festival,” Bryce says. “I think the city has such strong institutions, like the symphony, the ballet, Cincinnati Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Center and (the University of Cincinnati’s music school) CCM, not to mention all the amazing venues. It’s rare for a city that size to have institutions of that caliber. “So that’s the direction I’ve been wanting the event to go in for some time. We’re trying it this year and we’ll see how it goes.” Homecoming runs Saturday and Sunday; MusicNOW runs Friday through Sunday. For Homecoming info: For MusicNOW:

Relix said is Lord Huron’s “trippiest and most exciting music yet.”




5 p.m. The Breeders (West Stage) While helping to build the template for modern Indie Rock with Pixies, Dayton, Ohio’s Kim Deal formed The Breeders as an outpost for her unused songwriting. Though lineups shifted, when Pixies dissolved in ’93, Deal had The Breeders’ “classic lineup” in place (sister Kelley Deal, Jim Macpherson and Josephine Wiggs) and released Last Splash, one the ’90s’ seminal AltRock albums. The Breeders’ membership went back in flux for several years, but in 2012, the Last Splash musicians returned and this March the group released the CONTINUES ON PAGE 21 well-received album All Nerve.

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4:15 p.m. Sam Amidon with Sam Gendel (East Stage) Singer/songwriter Sam Amidon brings an avant-garde sensibility to Folk music. Initially, Amidon rearranged tradition and public domain Folk songs, adding unexpected shades and instrumentation, but last year he emerged with his first album made entirely of original material. On The Following Mountain, Amidon comes off like an artist with a Nick Drake voice and a Sun Ra mindset, with the stream-of-conscious arrangements augmented by scattered percussion, freeform Jazz drums and skronking sax riffing from Sam Gendel, with whom he reteamed for his latest release, 3 Songs for J/H.


HOMECOMING The Powerhouse Promoter Behind




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es, this weekend’s outdoor Homecoming festival wouldn’t be happening unless The National — the artful Indie Rock band with a worldwide following — wanted to do something special in the hometown that most of its members left long ago. Or, for that matter, if the group’s guitarist Bryce Dessner — also a busy Classical composer — hadn’t started his own MusicNOW festival here in 2006 to bring together the kind of new, often-collaborative and sometimes experimental music of all types that he personally likes. (MusicNOW, a nonprofit organization with an educational component, is organizationally separate from Homecoming, although there is much overlap.) But Homecoming isn’t just an isolated Cincinnati thing. It’s part of something much bigger happening in the concert/ festival business here and internationally. And Ashley Capps, the Knoxville, Tenn.based festival producer behind AC Entertainment is right in the middle of it all. AC Entertainment is the founder and co-producer of Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival and producer of Louisville’s Forecastle festival, among others. AC also produces more than 1,000 concerts per year at various venues, and manages five clubs and theaters in Knoxville and Chattanooga. Live Nation bought it in 2016, but Capps continues to run it. “Homecoming is a collaboration with The National — they are our partners on it,” Capps says. “And they certainly crafted — we crafted together — the vision for it. It presents a really tasty lineup of some of the most exciting Rock artists of our time. But it’s more or less a Rock festival. It’s a for-profit, a business endeavor. Although we always regard our business endeavors as artistic endeavors as well.” (AC is also managing the concurrent MusicNOW this year.) Bonnaroo and Forecastle are large outdoor festivals with a seemingly endless array of acts, including many superstars, and can appeal to just about anyone. The four-day Bonnaroo, which started in 2002, occurs June 7-10 this year and will have Eminem, The Killers and Muse as headliners and more than 100 other acts. Capps is proud of his big festivals. But he also has been developing smaller events, sometimes quite arty. He calls them “boutique festivals.” “Some are a very similar size to what we’re doing this year with Homecoming,” he says. “Moon River in Chattanooga is very similar in scale, as is High Water in Charleston. And Homecoming shares with

them a certain curatorial approach, in that its focus — its core — is an artistic vision.” In the case of Homecoming, the curators are the members of The National. For High Water, which occurred April 21-22, it’s Americana husband-and-wife duo Shovels & Rope. The artists behind Moon River, set for Sept. 8-9, are Drew and Ellie Holcomb (also husband-and-wife Americana artists). “We’re working with them to craft a distinct musical vision that we hope (provides) a unique experience for fans, one that stands apart from many other festivals that have a more generalized approach,” Capps says. Capps believes The National in particular is a good act to sponsor and curate a boutique music festival. “Those guys are natural collaborators,” he says. “They have a very broad range of interests and passions to bring to the experience. Their network of interests and things they can bring to a festival experience is remarkable. That makes them very powerful collaborators in terms of creating a really awesome experience.” Capps readily acknowledges the tremendous growth in the festival market in the U.S. “It’s been exciting to see,” he says, “and it’s exciting to be in the forefront of that with Bonnaroo and then (other) festivals. I love the festival experience and I feel there are opportunities in it. “But, you know, there is always a danger when things start looking too much alike,” Capps continues. “So the big challenge in the festival world these days for me is creating unique experiences. That’s where I think we’re going to see more and more growth in the festival sphere.” Indeed, what he says is borne out by reading Paste Magazine’s recent “Guide to America’s Best Music Festivals of 2018,” which breaks them down by the huge “Multi-Genre” children of Bonnaroo and California’s Coachella, and then the more specialized, niche ones dedicated to Indie Rock, Hip Hop, R&B, Folk Rock and Jam music. (Under Indie Rock, it touts both Homecoming and the Aug. 10-11 “psych-minded” Bellwether Music Festival in Waynesville, Ohio, the new venture by Bunbury Music Festival founder Bill Donabedian. The multi-genre Bunbury, now run by Columbus-based PromoWest Productions, is set for June 1-3 at Cincinnati’s Sawyer Point/Yeatman’s Cove.) Paste doesn’t have a specific category for artist-curated festivals, but it could. Besides the ones Capps is supporting, there are such events as Wisconsin’s Eaux Claires, which Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon

Ashley Capps P H O T O : C O U R T E S Y A C E N T E R TA I N M E N T

co-curates with National guitarist Aaron Dessner (they also have a side music project called Big Red Machine). Wilco has its Solid Sound festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, and Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine has its own Nowhere Else Festival, described as an “extended musical family reunion,” set for Memorial Day weekend at its farm in Highland County. And there are others. “Festivals need new ideas,” Capps says. “I use food as an analogy — different restaurants have different goals, and as a consequence offer a different product to the consumer. So a chain restaurant is a great example of something that appeals to a wide range, and delivers a consistency across the board no matter where you live. And there’s a value in that. “People obviously respond to that, but a whole segment of the population is looking for a different experience — the unique restaurant, the chefs who do something unexpected. It’s a totally different scale of the experience. It’s of tremendous value and it’s what turns me on personally. I’m much more interested in the unique and distinctive than in the broader.” Capps has especially shown his connoisseur, gourmet tastes in music.

For many years, he ran a Knoxville club called Ella Guru, named after a song by the unclassifiable music visionary Captain Beefheart. He also has a deep love for the experimental side of Classical music. He has developed his connections with Bryce Dessner by creating the avant-garde Big Ears Festival in Knoxville. (It occurred this year March 22-25.) It started in 2009 with Philip Glass, Antony and the Johnsons, Pauline Oliveros, Negativland, Neil Hamburger and others, and like MusicNOW, it is now run as a nonprofit. “I launched Big Ears without really knowing about MusicNOW,” Capps says. “But after the first year, I got a call from Janice Cowperthwaite (managing director of the Kronos Quartet), who said, ‘Do you know Bryce Dessner? You two should know each other; you’re on a similar wavelength.’ “We met shortly after that and had this very freewheeling exchange of ideas. I brought Bryce in to co-curate Big Ears in 2010, and it was a huge leap forward. So we’ve become friends, and we share ideas and enthusiasm all the time. And I’ve certainly been to MusicNOW on several occasions.” Last year, Capps helped with the management of MusicNOW, with an eye toward growing the impact of The National’s contributions to the Cincinnati arts scene. “We started with baby steps last year,” Capps says. “(Bryce) has so much going on all over the world at this point, and he’s looking for someone who understands his ideas and can help translate them into reality. And I’m rather busy myself, so it’s taken us awhile to really get things going. This year is a big step forward in that regard.” Whatever the cards hold for Homecoming, MusicNOW is continuing with high hopes for the future. “I think you’ll continue to see MusicNOW unfold in some very exciting ways,” Capps predicts. “It’s always been a beautifully focused and wonderful event, and the potential for what it can offer to the cultural scene in the U.S. and Cincinnati is tremendous.”


6 p.m. Mouse on Mars (East Stage) Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma’s 11-album discography as Mouse on Mars has borrowed ingredients from EDM, IDM, ElectroPop, Ambient, Post Rock, Dub, Krautrock, Jazz, Classical and any number of other genres to create a feast of blissfully unclassifiable avant-garde music. The chronic collaborators from Germany’s just-released Dimensional People is as inventive and imaginative as anything Mouse on Mars has done in the past 25 years and includes guests like Justin Vernon, Zach Condon and Homecoming artists Spank Rock and The National’s Aaron and Bryce Dessner. 7 p.m. Father John Misty (West Stage) Josh Tillman (better known as Father John Misty) has a knack for grabbing headlines with his sly, wry sense of humor. Meta satire and music-press trolling aside, his alluring stage presence and compelling, timeless Folk and Rock songs are what have made him an Indie superstar; 2015’s breakthrough I Love You, Honeybear is one of the best albums of the decade. Misty recently announced his followup to last year’s acclaimed Pure Comedy; God’s Favorite Customer is due June 1 on Sub Pop Records.

Clockwise from above: Mouse on Mars, Moses Sumney and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith.

8 p.m. Julien Baker (East Stage) Just a couple of years ago, Memphis singer/songwriter Julien Baker put her debut album out on Bandcamp. Her grippingly intimate, emotive and hypnotically atmospheric music garnered attention immediately, leading to one of 2017’s bestreviewed albums and her debut for indie label giant Matador, Turn Out the Lights.


Moses Sumney’s transcendent falsetto voice and dreamily majestic music with his 2017 breakout Aromanticism, which elegantly showcased his slanted, impassioned Indie/Soul/Folk/R&B fusion. Critics have also praised Sumney’s live shows, passionate and intense affairs during which the singer layers vocal loops and is accompanied by percussion, guitar, keys and violin.

9 p.m. The National (West Stage) The reason Homecoming is happening. Since its self-titled album debut in 2001, The National has become one of the biggest American Rock bands in the world. The group (which won its first Grammy this year for its latest album, Sleep Well Beast) is now headlining arenas and stadiums and has worked its way up to the top of big music festivals across the globe, while also presenting National-curated fests like Homecoming and September’s There’s No Leaving New York at Forest Hills Stadium.


1 p.m. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith (West Stage) Electronic artist Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith released her debut in 2012 after graduating from Berklee College of Music. Her ambient soundscapes caught the attention of the Western Vinyl label, which has released her past three albums. Last year’s The Kid was her most accessible yet; a concept album tracing human emotional development through four stages, Smith’s more pronounced song structuring and the way she folded organic sounds into the snyth-laden layers earned it high praise from outlets like NPR and Pitchfork.

6 p.m. Moses Sumney (East Stage) Though he’d released a pair of EPs since 2014 and collaborated with artists like Solange and Beck, most discovered

9 p.m. The National perform Boxer (West Stage) Your Homecoming hosts and curators present an extremely rare full performance of the 2007 album, Boxer Boxer, a landmark moment for The National, when their popularity in the States began to soar. Boxer includes National classics like “Mistaken for Strangers” and “Fake Empire.” Visit for tickets and complete info on Homecoming. MusicNOW performances at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (near Smale) are free for Homecoming ticket holders.


5 p.m. Future Islands (West Stage) Toiling away in the studio and on the road since 2006, Baltimore’s Future Islands climbed up the indie label ladder before landing on the legendary 4AD imprint (also home to The National) for 2014’s Singles. That album’s unusual and imaginative Art Rock/Post Punk/New Wave/SynthPop concoctions caught fire and subsequent releases — as well as the band’s enchantingly eccentric and powerful live presence — have helped Future Islands achieve and sustain its status as a go-to music festival act at Alt events everywhere. In early April, Future Islands released their fifth album, The Far Field.

8 p.m. Alvvays (East Stage) Dynamic Dream Pop band Alvvays came together in Toronto in 2011 and recorded a self-titled debut full-length two years later. As word spread online (and via cassettes passed around to stir interest), Alvvays scored record deals in Canada, Europe and the U.S. (Polyvinyl). Within a month of its release in 2014, Alvvays was No. 1 on the CMJ charts and the band was invited to giant fests like Coachella and Glastonbury. Sophomore album Antisocialites was released last September and earned “best of the year” nods from NME, The Guardian and others.


3 p.m. Big Thief (West Stage) Operating with a vast palette of Indie Rock shades and hues that is captivating in its cohesion, Brooklyn Indie Rock group Big Thief issued its first album, Masterpiece, in 2016 through respected label Saddle Creek. On the debut and its equally effective 2017 follow-up, Capacity Capacity, Big Thief’s music can alternately bring to mind everything from R.E.M. and Liz Phair to Cat Power and Courtney Barnett, but it’s the musicians’ songwriting

4 p.m. Ben Sloan, Artist-in-Residence, with A Delicate Motor and Bryan Devendorf (East Stage) A graduate of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Cincinnati’s esteemed College-Conservatory of Music, drummer/percussionist Ben Sloan has been involved in community projects like the MYCincinnati youth orchestra, and he was the guiding force behind Price Hill’s public “Percussion Park.” In Indie music, Sloan has toured with Why?, played in his own group, Lazy Heart, and joined local musician Adam Petersen when he turned his A Delicate Motor solo project into a full band to make the album Fellover My Own. ADM recently signed a deal with SofaBurn Records to re-release the amazing full-length to a wider audience later this year.

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2 p.m. Lisa Hannigan (East Stage) Irish Indie Folk singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Lisa Hannigan’s first solo album, 2008’ss Sea Sew Sew, was an instant success, earning praise from The New York Times and leading to a Mercury Prize nomination and record deal with ATO. After a hiatus brought on by writer’s block, Hannigan teamed up with The National’s Aaron Dessner for her third album, 2016’s At Swim, which showcased the breadth of her talent, blending haunting lushness with occasional experimental sounds.

and arrangements that make the group stand out as one of the more promising Indie acts in America.

7 p.m. Feist (West Stage) Leslie Feist broke through in a big way in her native Canada after her 2004 major-label debut Let It Die, scoring a pair of Junos and a platinum record. While also receiving attention internationally, it was with 2007’s The Reminder that she transitioned from Indie Pop star to Pop star, earning a Top 10 hit in the U.S. with “1234.” Since then, Feist has retained her loyal fanbase and almost unanimous critical acclaim, as well as her collaborative Indie spirit. Besides maintaining her longtime membership in Indie Rock ensemble Broken Social Scene, Feist has worked with Grizzly Bear, Wilco, Jarvis Cocker and The Muppets. Last year saw the release of her fifth album, Pleasure.










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STUFF TO DO Ongoing Shows VISUAL ART: Swing House Contemporary Arts Center, Downtown (through Sept. 2) ONSTAGE: Ada & The Engine Know Theatre, OTR (through May 12)


ONSTAGE: Treasure Island brings swashbuckling family-friendly fare to the stage at the Playhouse in the Park. See Curtain Call on page 22.

ART: Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China is now on view at the Cincinnati Art Museum. See feature on page 21.


MUSIC: Erykah Badu headlines the Cincinnati Funk Fest with Yasiin Bey, Talib Kweli, Hi Tek, Kameron Corvet and Speed Walton. See Sound Advice on page 32. EVENT: Louder Than A Bomb teen poetry slam finals take place at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. See feature on page 24. MUSIC: Vinyl Theatre plays Bogart’s. See Sound Advice on page 33.


MUSIC: The National brings the new Homecoming fest — featuring the likes of Father John Misty, Feist, The Breeders, Lord Huron and Julien Baker — to Cincinnati to complement the established MusicNOW. See cover story on page 11. ART: Visionaries + Voices Double Vision Fundraiser Cincinnati’s beloved artist Pam Kravetz and Visionaries + Voices Board Chair Dan Muenzer will emcee and host this Visionaries + Voices fundraiser. V+V’s Double Vision features collaboratively created artwork, which will be auctioned off in real time, allowing prospective collectors to purchase original artwork from V+V artists who have been thoughtfully paired with established regional artists such as Tony Becker, Robert McFate and Carmel Buckley. Tickets, which benefit the local arts nonprofit, include

complimentary drinks and Catch-a-Fire pizza, a pop-up shop featuring works by V+V artists and musical accompaniment by MYCincinnati. 6:30-10 p.m. Friday. $65. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, — MARIA SEDA-REEDER EVENT: Art After Dark: Terracotta Army Celebrate the arrival of TerTer racotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China at Art After Dark. The ticketed and hotly anticipated exhibit features 120 objects, including terracotta warrior figures, arms, armor, leather and gold works, jade ornaments, ceramics and more dating from China’s Pre-Qin period (770–221 BC) to the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC). The after-hours party includes access to the exhibit (for free), live music, traditional Chinese performances every hour, Chinese art-making

opportunities, themed cocktails and food for purchase from Oriental Wok. 5-9 p.m. Friday. Free admission. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, — MAIJA ZUMMO EVENT: DAAPfashion 2018: The Show Are you high fashion in a local way? Or just into supporting Cincinnati creativity? You’re in luck: The University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning School is hosting its 67th-annual DAAP fashion show Saturday. “See the Rec Center transformed into a venue that rivals New York, Paris and Milan” the online event page teases. With a live DJ, more than 300 original designs making their way down a 92-foot catwalk and a free afterparty, the internationally acclaimed show is the end-of-the-year

highlight for DAAP fashion students. The school’s 48 graduating seniors present their capstone collections at the show. If the $60 price tag runs a little steep this season, look into the “Reality Rehearsal Experience” happening Thursday night for $15. 7:30-11 p.m. Friday. $60-$150 VIP. University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center, 2820 Bearcat Way, Clifton, — MCKENZIE ESKRIDGE  EVENT: International Steampunk Symposium Fascinated by the culture and industry of the Victorian Age? Have a taste for Electro-Swing music? Looking to break in that new top hat and pair of goggles? If you often daydream about travelling back to the late-1800s, a ticket to the International Steampunk Symposium just might be the time machine that makes your wish come CONTINUES ON PAGE 18


MUSIC: Calexico brings its

COMEDY: Chris Franjola “I’ve always been a fan of stand-up comedy, but I wasn’t a crazy over-the-top funny kid,” says Chris Franjola. That changed when he turned 16. “I just started to understand it more and went out and did open mics on Long Island; Long Island is a very good comedy town. I don’t really know why that is, but a lot of good comedians come from there. Maybe it’s the colliding of cultures that make it funny.” It could also be that it is one of the country’s largest suburban enclaves. “Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Rosie O’Donnell, Kevin James — all from Long Island.” However, it was a comedian from Indiana that was Franjola’s biggest inspiration. “I started very early on watching Late Night with David Letterman on NBC back in the old days,” he says. “I started researching how he got into being a stand-up comedian, his work at the Comedy Store and all that.” Through Sunday. $12$15. Liberty Funny Bone, 7518 Bales St., Liberty Township, liberty.funnybone. com. — P.F. WILSON



MUSIC: Songwriter David Dondero plays the Southgate House Revival. See Sound Advice on page 32

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ONSTAGE: His Eye is on the Sparrow Ethel Waters was born in 1896 into terrible poverty as the daughter of an abused 12-year-old girl. She found her way out of a bleak childhood through music and acting talent, but she had to battle through horrific racial prejudices. She overcame countless tribulations — including a reputation of being difficult — to become a legendary singer, actress and performer. Torie Wiggins will portray Waters’ inspiring story at Ensemble Theatre, with musical accompaniment by Scot Woolley. Waters was a vaudeville star, a memorable Jazz and Blues singer, a Broadway pioneer and an Oscar-nominated actress — and a fixture with the Billy Graham crusade. Through May 19. $28-$44. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, — RICK PENDER

latest collection of cinematic songs to the Woodward Theater. See interview on page 30.



true. Bring your family, your cosplay and your creative energy to Ramada Plaza, where you’ll be able to participate in the Steampunk Olympiad, headbang to the Steampunk Metal stylings of AUTOMATON and sit in on some legitimately informative classes that range from “Edgar Allan Poe: Separating Man from Myth” to “Envisioning a Better Steam Society Revisited: Social Issues & Steampunk.” 4-11 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. $15-$65. Ramada Plaza, 11320 Chester Road, Sharonville, — JUDE NOEL EVENT: West Side Story: Film with Orchestra The Cincinnati Pops joins the worldwide celebration of legendary American composer Leonard Bernstein’s 100 birthday this weekend with three special screenings of West Side Story. Bernstein provided Story music for the Broadway

Sharks-and-Jets Romeo and Juliet adaptation, along with other big-time shows like Peter Pan, Wonderful Town and On the Waterfront. The Pops, led by conductor John Morris Russell, is set to perform every note from the Oscar-winning film as it plays on the big screen above the stage in Music Hall. 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday. $25-$115. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, — MCKENZIE ESKRIDGE 


EVENT: Cincy Furbowl Dressing up as an anthropomorphic animal is a wild time in its own right. Couple that with a few lanes worth of hardcore bowling action, and you have the formula for an unforgettable night. Whether or not you own a fursuit, the Cincinnati Furbowl is your chance to engage with the local furry community while scoring spares and noshing on nachos. Ten bucks will earn you unlimited games,

and a $2 suggested donation will help cover snacks and the cost of the Fursuit Lounge. 7-10 p.m. Saturday. $12. Western Bowl Strike & Spare, 6383 Glenway Ave, Western Hills, facebook. com/cincyfurbowl. — JUDE NOEL EVENT: BB Riverboats Infinity War Experience This is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most ambitious crossover, presented by an equally ambitious crossover of Newport on the Levee mainstays. Organized especially for families, this exclusive combo offer from AMC Theaters and BB Riverboats kicks off with a private screening of Avengers: Infinity War at AMC Newport on the Levee, followed by a kid-friendly lunch cruise courtesy of BB. Cosplaying isn’t mandatory, but it is encouraged: This is the perfect opportunity for your family to transform into its own legion of crime-fighting superhumans. 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturday. $40-$50. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat




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EVENT: Watercolor at Skeleton Root Winery Looking for a relaxing segue into the weekend? Local watercolor artist Joya Logue is hosting a workshop at The Skeleton Root winery in Over-theRhine Thursday night. No experience necessary, the class welcomes all levels of artistry and will provide supplies that participants are free to take home, including watercolor paper, brushes, booklets and beyond. Logue, whose work has been featured in Elle Home Décor India, Vogue Japan and Real Simple, will focus on still-life painting and monochromatic scenery. This grown-up art class takes the wine-and-artnight concept to the next level with this local artist and locally made craft wines. 6-8 p.m. Thursday. $40. The Skeleton Root, 38 W. McMicken Ave., Over-the-Rhine, — MCKENZIE ESKRIDGE 




EVENT: Stand Against Racism Rally The YWCA of Greater Cincinnati is hosting its third-annual Stand Against Racism Rally on Friday and it seems the whole town is in on it. In addition to speakers, information booths from local organizations and a photo booth, the event also marks the official launch of the Cincinnati Regional Coalition Against Hate, “a nonpartisan alliance of organizations committed to being vigilant of and opposing hate activity.” Partners include RefugeeConnnect of Greater Cincinnati, Urban Appalachian Community Coalition, Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati and many more. The rally officially starts at 11:30 a.m., and onstage storytelling and awards begin at noon. 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Friday. Free. Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown, — MCKENZIE ESKRIDGE 

Row, Newport, Ky., bbriver — JUDE NOEL


MUSIC: Eighth Blackbird and Will Oldham perform New Music composer Frederic Rzewski’s powerful “Coming Together.” See feature on page 23.



EVENT: Bike Month KickOff Party May is Bike Month and Cincinnati celebrates in a big way with an entire 31 days devoted to cycling culture, activism and more. Expect happy hours, group rides, bike-themed film screenings and events for all skill levels. The festivities kick off on Tuesday at Rhinegeist with free pizza(!) and information about all planned Bike Month events, like the series of Brewvolution brewery rides, bike maintenance workshops, a Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure screening at the Esquire, commuter basics classes, mountain biking 101 and more. Find events and more details at 7-9:30 p.m. Tuesday. Free. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Overthe-Rhine, queencitybike. — MAIJA ZUMMO


EVENT: Drag Brunch: Spring Queening Brunch gets a fierce upgrade at Metropole with the restaurant’s Drag Brunch series. These Sunday morning parties include food and a show. Local drag queens, including Amaya Sexton, will take the “stage” to stomp it out while guests enjoy spring cocktails before a familystyle brunch. Costumes are encouraged. 11:30 a.m. Sunday. $35. Metropole, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, RSVP to 513-578-6660, — MAIJA ZUMMO


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EVENT: Battle of Hogwarts Anniversary Week The Rook OTR boardgame bar is hosting a 20th-anniversary celebration to commemorate the Battle of Hogwarts, which took place May 2, 1998 in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Daily activities start on Sunday with a game of Telestrations and Sorcerer’s Stone trivia. Progressive trivia takes place throughout the week, following the book series (seven books, seven days of trivia) with Chamber of Secrets trivia on Monday, Prisoner of Azkaban trivia on Tuesday, etc. Other events include wizarding world lessons, chess, Muggles Against Humanity, a costume contest (11

p.m. May 5) and more. It all culminates on May 6 with a grand prize winner who will get a trip to Orlando. Tickets are required for trivia and include a raffle ticket to enter to win the trip to Florida. Through May 6. $5 trivia. The Rook OTR, 1115 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook. com/therookotr. — MAIJA com/therookotr ZUMMO




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Featuring food and drink from Axis Alley, Bakersfield, Chart House, Game Works, Keystone Bar & Grill, Mitchell's Fish Market, Montoya’s, Old 52 Winery, Sammy's Craft Burgers and Beer . . . and more to be announced!


ARTS & CULTURE Unearth a Legacy at CAM The Terracotta Army exhibit conveys an ancient emperor’s ambitions for a modern world BY K AT H Y S C H WA R T Z


Terracotta Army installation view PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER

The terracotta general — one of only nine found so far — stands before visitors with cool confidence. His hands once rested before him upon a sword. Though he’s now missing his weapon, his outstretched index finger is enough to signal that he’s in charge. Next to him, a mid-ranking officer wears a hint of an assured smile. A pair of archers — one kneeling, the other standing — are portraits in the art of being focused. A cavalry horse is also deserving of fine detail. Its face is as expressive as a human’s. Its brow is furrowed as if in deep thought. Its ears are alert; nostrils flared. Both its tail and mane appear to be immaculately braided. “I’m so glad we got a horse,” Sung says with smile. It’s one of the standouts in an exhibit that was assured of being a hit the moment it was announced. With this blockbuster show, Sung knows that the Cincinnati Art Museum just added to its own legacy. Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China is on view through Aug. 12 at the Cincinnati Art Museum (953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams). Timed tickets required: $8-$16; free for members; free to all 5-8 p.m. Thursdays and 5-9 p.m. Final Fridays. Info:


than 10 of the warriors and horses to travel outside the country in any single exhibition for longer than a year. In our region, Columbus, Dayton and Indianapolis have hosted statues previously. The Cincinnati Art Museum arranged its display with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond. Representatives there say more than 204,000 people toured the exhibit from mid-November 2017 to mid-March. Word of mouth is also sure to draw Cincinnatians in what could be record-setting droves. CAM spokeswoman Jill Dunne, who accompanied Sung and others from Cincinnati and Richmond to China earlier this year, said seeing the rows and rows of soldiers lined up in trenches at the vast mausoleum site gave her chills and a sense of scale. But, a museum exhibit offers intimacy, especially the chance to see the detail on the warriors’ faces. No two are alike. Sung attributes the unique features of each soldier to Chinese cosmology, or the study of the yin and the yang and the belief in an inherent system of complementary and competing virtues. Depicting a person realistically is more than just trying to reproduce exactly how he looks on the surface. It’s a matter of capturing a personality. “Overall, this person has to match his role, his biography,” Sung says. “You have to have some dignity. You have to have that presence.”


6-foot-tall human statues. But she also applies the term to smaller works in the exhibition, such as a gold tiger ornament barely 2-inches wide with an impressive set of bared teeth. The message seems to be that this animal native to China will fight to the death to defend it. Sung also marvels over the detail — the segmented body, the half-closed eyes, the raised head, the tail horn — on a similarly sized bronze silkworm, which has long been an important creature in the nation’s economy. He was a ruthless leader, but in his quest for power and immortality, Qin Shihuang also took the best that a fragmented China had to offer and made it even better. “His unification efforts continued to shape the following 2,000 years,” Sung says. Yet his burial site was basically forgotten for nearly two millennia. In 1974, the accidental discovery of the necropolis by villagers digging a well near Xi’an in Shaanxi Province would be hailed as the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century. Historians estimate that 720,000 workers spent nearly 40 years creating the underground city for Qin Shihuang. In addition to the warriors, it houses statues of entertainers for the afterlife, plus a replica of a garden pond with birds. As excavation continues at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, where conservationists piece together a huge puzzle of terracotta shards, China allows no more

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ou-mei Sung, curator of Asian art at the Cincinnati Art Museum, knows what the big draw is for the next four months: Ten legendary earthenware warriors from ancient China are on display in our city for the first time. The life-size figures are the undeniable stars of Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China, a 120-piece exhibition at the CAM. Yet Sung is also hoping that visitors winding their way through the galleries will appreciate that roughly 2,200 years ago, the leader known as Qin Shihuang established the foundation of the modern Far East powerhouse that we recognize today. That is his most important legacy. In 246 BC, the future emperor was known as Ying Zheng, then the 13-yearold king of Qin, one of the seven Warring States. Already thinking of the afterlife, he immediately ordered the creation of an 8,000-figure Terracotta Army of men and horses to guard the expansive, 38-squaremile mausoleum complex where his tomb would be. But this lasting contribution to world culture was just beginning. Once the Qin defeated all the other states by 221 BC, Ying Zheng declared himself emperor of a new, unified China and set about standardizing systems of government, writing, currency and measurement. Before he died in 210 BC, he had also ordered construction of a nationwide network of roads and work on what would become the Great Wall. In Terracotta Army Army, two sections of art and artifacts — coins, decorative household items, roof tiles, bells and other ritual objects of the courts — from other tombs and excavation sites illustrate the ingenuity and diversity that existed throughout China before the establishment of the Qin state in 770 BC, as well as during the rise of the emperor. Before sizing up the self-assured countenance of the exhibit’s Terracotta Army general, Sung wants you to feel the spirit of an entire people. The curator uses the word “presence” when talking about the realistic facial features and poses of the




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Cultivating Young Theater Audiences BY R I C K PEN D ER

The first full-fledged theater production I ever attended was a community theater staging of Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon, the story of a magical town in Scotland that appears from the mists just once each century. My grandfather, a British immigrant, took me to see the show in a school auditorium in my northeast Ohio hometown. I was 6 years old, and I loved it. (During high school, I played roles in several productions in that same auditorium.) Taking a kid to a theater performance can have a profound effect on them, often instilling an enthusiasm that continues through adulthood. Since 1924, the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati has presented shows that afford kids a taste of live performance. Busloads of youngsters regularly fill the 2,200-seat Taft Theatre on outings to downtown Cincinnati for shows with professional performers in productions that are about 70 minutes long, designed to fit the attention spans of young audiences. The company’s recent production of Mary Poppins JR. had 10 school performances, some of which were signed for the hearing impaired or adjusted to be sensory friendly for children on the autism spectrum. The show also presented seven weekend performances open to the public — each season the Children’s Theatre strives to reach 200,000 people in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region. Although this show has passed, more are on the horizon, including the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s production of Treasure Island (Thursday-May 19). “It’s been a priority for me that the Playhouse offer some multigenerational fare every season, in addition to A Christmas Carol,” says Artistic Director Blake Robison. “Bringing these stories to life onstage allows families to enjoy the theatrical experience together. When a kid is 8, 9 or 10 years old and able to sit through a full-length play, we want to provide that opportunity.” The show has been adapted for the stage by veteran playwright Ken Ludwig. (His scripts have been presented during several recent Playhouse seasons, including The Three Musketeers in 2012 and Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery in 2017.) Treasure Island features all the memorable events and colorful characters of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic 1883 novel about young Jim Hawkins and his adventure with pirate captain Long John Silver. Robison adds that the swashbuckling Treasure Island, which he’s directing on the Playhouse’s Marx mainstage, is “a story of a young boy growing up and finding his moral beacon. These are things we want for all our children. Jim does them under extraordinary circumstances.” Robison also promises “funny dialogue and awesome sword fights.” If you’re looking for additional family-friendly shows, keep your eye on

Treasure Island promotional photo PH OTO: TO NY ARR AS MITH /ARR AS MITH & A S S O C I AT E S

Cincinnati Landmark Productions at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts (Oklahoma! Oklahoma! wraps up there this weekend) and the Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre. The latter’s family-friendly Summer Classics Season opens with a production of the 1960 Elvis-inspired show Bye Bye Birdie (May 2-27). It’s followed in June by the more recent musical, Once on This Island, about a peasant girl on a tropical island who uses the power of love to bring people of different social classes together. (Its composer, Stephen Flaherty, is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s CollegeConservatory of Music.) The Covedale is also the venue for Cincinnati Young People’s Theatre, which has staged shows for 36 years with teenaged actors and stagehands. This summer’s show is Meredith Willson’s The Music Man (July 26-Aug. 5), a classic hit about a boys’ band in River City, Iowa. The show is a great choice for all members of the family — raucous, amusing and tuneful. Another option for kids are some of the touring productions presented by Broadway in Cincinnati. I recently attended the opening night of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and II, a show that entertained numerous kids with the story about children in 19th-century Siam “getting to know you.” Disney’s Aladdin, the 2014 stage musical based on the 1992 animated film, will be at the Aronoff from May 29-June 10. Next fall, a good choice would be Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Oct. 23-Nov. 4, also at the Aronoff. Finally, keep an eye out for community theater and high school productions near where you live. They’re just the ticket for affordable outings that kids, parents and grandparents are sure to enjoy. Contact Rick Pender:


Eighth Blackbird Rediscovers a Classic BY S T E V EN R O S EN

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| C I T Y B E AT. C O M

You may not have heard of Frederic Rzeinvited to play an outdoor Celebrate wski, the American-born New Music comBrooklyn concert in 2015 and considered poser and pianist whose work often has a doing “Coming Together” — now-departed strong political bent. He’s 80 and hardly a founding member and violinist Matt household name. Albert had written an arrangement for But, if you attend Eighth Blackbird’s a 2000 album called fred, featuring the and Will Oldham’s MusicNOW performusic of Rzewski. Eighth Blackbird had mance of Rzewski’s “Coming Together” at gotten to know Rzewski’s music when 2 p.m. Sunday, you won’t soon forget it. they were graduate students at University Spare and haunting, it consists of pianist of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Lisa Kaplan setting an ominous tone, as Music in the late 1990s. others provide repetitive and minimalist “Then it occurred to me, ‘I’ll bet Will percussion, strings and woodwinds for the Oldham would be totally into this. I’m adventurous Americana singer-songwriter Oldham to intone a short passage repeatedly. It goes, in part: “I think the combination of age and the greater coming together/ is responsible for the speed of the passing time/ it’s six months now and i can tell you truthfully/ few periods in my life have passed so quickly./ i am in excellent physical and emotional health./ there are doubtless subtle surprises ahead/ but i feel secure and ready.” As the piece continues, Eighth Blackbird with Will Oldham at a Chicago performance with the players in the Chicago-based New P H O T O : N AT H A N K E AY / M C A C H I C A G O Music ensemble building in intensity, Oldham repeats the full passage and seems to be going to ask him,’ ” Kaplan says. “He’s losing control, becoming manic, turning exactly the type of person interested in fanatical. The piece leaves you shaken — as doing those projects.” if you’ve witnessed a personal tragedy. Since then, Eighth Blackbird and OldAnd it is, really. The words were in a ham have had steady requests to do “Comletter written in May 1971 by Sam Melville, ing Together” live — although their indian anti-Vietnam War radical sentenced vidual schedules are busy. They performed to prison for his role in bombing governit for the 10th time together last weekend in ment institutions, while he was at New Los Angeles. “It has just evolved into a very York’s Attica State Prison. In September of nice venture for him, and it’s musically that year, he was one of 43 people killed evolved, too,” Kaplan says. They have also at the infamous Attica riot/rebellion. just recorded some of Oldham’s songs for Rzewski wrote “Coming Together” not long release on Bryce and Aaron Dessner’s new afterward. record label, she says. While there certainly have been But there are reasons that go beyond performances of the piece since the Oldham’s presence for why their perforcomposer wrote it, Eighth Blackbird’s mance of “Coming Together” is resonating ones with Oldham have brought it to a with audiences. “I’ve always read the text much wider audience. It’s starting to take as trying to make sense of a world that its place next to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s doesn’t make sense,” she says. “Those lines Going On” and the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme end up being so ironic. Shelter” as a musical work that defines its “The way Rzewski set the text, it’s about troubled times. somebody who feels very much in control. And there are Cincinnati — and But by the end, he feels very much out of MusicNOW — roots in its improbable rise. control — no matter how hard they’ve When Eighth Blackbird was performing tried to deal with their existence, they at the 2014 festival, Kaplan saw Oldham, haven’t been able to cope. I guess it’s just another guest that year, do a memorable like the current political climate, where it’s singer-songwriter set at Music Hall. “I have like, ‘How is it possible this person is really known Will’s music for a very long time, president of the United States?’ So I’ve but I had never seen him live,” she says. “I always read it as something very current. It was kind of blown away.” seems to me to be the struggle of one man Eighth Blackbird subsequently was and, ultimately, of mankind.”




Save the date october 11th, 2018

5:30-8:30 Pm New Riff Distillery



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Newport, Ky


Teen Poetry Becomes ‘Louder Than A Bomb’ BY L E Y L A S H O KO O H E

Like time, poetry doesn’t stand still. Influenced by changes in music, literature, dance and performance art, poetry slams — theatrical readings of participants’ work — came along in the 1980s. And they have since become part of every city’s cultural scene, especially popular among students. The finals for Cincinnati’s Louder Than A Bomb spoken word slam take place in the Harriet Tubman Theater at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center at 5:30 p.m. Friday. This particular poetry program, founded in Chicago in 2001, is in its fourth year here and students from many local high schools and organizations are participating, including Walnut Hills, DePaul Cristo Rey, Western Hills and Aiken high schools. Semi-finals were held March 17 in the auditorium of the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP.) This poetry event was initially conceived post-9/11 by the organization Young Chicago Authors as a place for Chicago teenagers to congregate and express themselves through the medium of poetry. Sean Keating-Crawford, who joined UC’s Taft Research Center — dedicated to funding humanities scholarships — as program manager in 2013, learned about Louder when he attended the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2014. He and Taft Center Director Adrian Parr have explored different possibilities of actively engaging community members in the humanities and thought Louder would be a great fit. “This has a feel of expressiveness, of giving voice to the younger generation that is typically ostracized, typically put to the side in this contemporary day, age, politics and what have you,” Keating-Crawford says. “As a humanities center, we really like the idea of trying to bring that kind of event to Cincinnati.” The Cincinnati organizers for Louder are the Taft Research Center and the nonprofit Elementz, whose “Hip Hop, Respect, Community” programming includes a Voices of Freedom spoken word program. Schools are brought into the Louder fold through active recruitment by the two organizations. Throughout the academic year, Elementz hosts a series of workshops, guest speakers and opportunities for teenagers interested in Louder to become better acquainted with spoken word, writing, poetry and performance. A mandatory event for participants, called Crossing the Street, is hosted at Elementz’s Over-theRhine center in February. And the center recently hired Jamie-Lee Morris to function as lead organizer of Louder, as well as to work on other educational initiatives. “The whole journey in itself is so exciting, to see kids express themselves through poetry at this age,” Morris says. “(They’re developing) social emotional skills, and a lot of that is happening without us even

saying anything. I’m excited to be cultivating a program that is allowing that process to happen.” Subject matter explored by participants runs the full emotional gamut, from bullying to sexual orientation to trauma — nothing is off-limits. Before students get to the performance stage, though, they need to know how to get their words on paper. That’s where coaches like Manuel Iris come into play. An English teacher at DePaul Cristo Rey (and recently named Cincinnati’s 2018 Poet Laureate), he and fellow teacher Pat Brennan are Louder coaches. “This competition and the act of writing

Crowd watches “Louder” semi-finals at UC-DAAP. P H O T O : R A S H A A LY

poetry are a way to give them a voice to tell their story,” Iris says. “They find that everything can be a source of beauty. Their struggles are really a human struggle — this is going to help them, but also it’s going to help others.” DePaul Cristo Rey senior Adiah Coffey, one of Iris’ students and a longtime Louder participant, echoes this sentiment. “It is so empowering to know that people are hearing what I’m saying, and I get these three minutes up on stage where I can say nearly anything I want and they’ll try to understand,” she says. “There’s this camaraderie between the poets; we all know how much it takes.” Students learn the difference between what Iris calls a “page poem” and a “stage poem” — meaning, some poems are better suited for performance aloud. Coffey has been participating in Louder since she was a freshman and is now captain of the six-student poetry team at DePaul Cristo Rey. “It’s caught fire,” she says. “The poetry team is almost as well-known or popular as the basketball team. It’s created a big sense of camaraderie within our school.” Free tickets for Friday’s Louder Than A Bomb finals are available at For more information, visit


After ‘Hedwig,’ Ensemble’s 2018-19 Shows BY R I C K PEN D ER

Todd Almond in Ensemble’s 2003 Hedwig PH OTO: SA N DY U N D ERWO O D


Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is located at 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. More info:


series of plays with African-American characters living in the Motor City. (ETC staged Detroit Detroit ’67 ’67 in 2015.) This regional premiere tells the story of a tightly knit group of employees facing the bureaucracy in one of Detroit’s last-standing auto plants during the 2008 Recession. As the power dynamics shift between blue- and whitecollar workers, how far over the lines will people go to survive? The Wolves Wolves (June 1-29, 2019) – Sarah DeLappe’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist is about a team of fierce, elite teenage soccer players in the hunt for a national championship. During pre-game warm-ups, the girls stretch the rules as conversations ricochet from Harry Potter to hangovers to the oncoming demands of adult life. As the final game of their so-far undefeated season approaches, will pressures on or off the field prevent them from reaching their goal? A ferocious and timely play, The Wolves explores the aggression and teamWolves work of sports and adolescence. Then, in the weeks prior to Halloween, Bruce Cromer, a familiar and popular performer for ETC most recently seen in An Iliad and The Legend of Georgia McBride, will perform a hauntingly funny solo show: Conor McPherson’s St. Nicholas (Oct. 12-28). The 2018-19 subscribers can purchase tickets to this special performance event now. Subscriptions to ETC’s 2018-19 season are on sale. Single tickets for the upcoming season go on sale to the general public on July 30.

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The Ensemble Theatre’s 2017-18 season is coming to a very tuneful close — the regional premiere of His Eye Is on the Sparrow, a musical about Jazz/Blues Sparrow singer Ethel Waters, runs through May 19. After that comes the long-awaited revival of the Rock musical Hedwig & the Angry Inch, featuring Todd Almond, who also starred in the Ensemble’s 2001 and 2003 productions of it. Hedwig is onstage from June 5-July 1. Looking beyond, to the company’s second season in its refurbished and expanded Over-the-Rhine home, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati will present seven productions, most of them regional premieres. Six shows will constitute the subscription season, opening Sept. 1 and continuing until June 29, 2019. A two-week “bonus” production for Halloween featuring local stage veteran Bruce Cromer is slated for October. Here’s a closer look: Fly By Night (Sept. 1-29) – The season begins with a darkly comic Rock-fable musical by Kim Rosenstock that D. Lynn Meyers, Ensemble’s producing artistic director, calls “captivating, charming and a little bittersweet.” A gypsy prophecy propels melancholy sandwich-maker Harold and a pair of bewitching sisters through a star-crossed journey of love and connection. Featuring a catchy score and inventive storytelling, this story of young love culminates during the Northeast blackout of 1965 as a tale about finding light in a world beset by darkness. Alice in Wonderland (Nov. 29-Dec. 30) – It’s a reprise of another popular ETC fairy tale musical by Joseph McDonough and David Kisor. The theater previously presented this show in 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2012. Ripcord (Jan. 19-Feb. 16, 2019) – Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire’s 2015 play gets its regional premiere at ETC. A sunny room on an upper floor is prime real estate in the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility, so when cantankerous Abby is forced to share her quarters with happygo-lucky Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the infuriatingly chipper woman by any means necessary. A seemingly harmless bet between the women quickly escalates into a high-flying, dangerous game of one-upmanship. A Doll’s House, Part 2 (March 2-30, 2019) – Another regional premiere, Lucas Hnath’s wildly inventive American comedy kicks off the New Year. A 2017 Broadway hit, it was nominated for eight Tonys, including Best Play. The script is Hnath’s hypothesis about what happens 15 years after Nora Helmer, the central character in Henrik Ibsen’s iconic 1879 classic, slammed the door on her marriage and left her husband and children behind. Skeleton Crew Crew (April 13-May 11, 2019) – Dominique Morisseau’s play is the third installment in her “Detroit Trilogy”




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Hyde Park’s Unwind: Flights, Light Bites and the Perfect Patio


Plus more favorite local wine bars R E V I E W BY PA M A M I TC H EL L


Build your own flight from Unwind’s dozens of white, red and sparkling options. PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER


C I T Y B E AT. C O M Postmark isn’t a wine bar; it’s a whitetablecloth restaurant with a small bar. But they warrant a shout-out for their knack of making wine such a fun part of dinner. With two knowledgeable sommeliers on staff, there’s always someone to ask for suggestions. Most of my interactions have been with Steven Elbrecht, whose enthusiasm for everything on the list is highly contagious. 3410 Telford St., Clifton, Clifton/Northside has its own wine place with the addition of The Hamilton just over a year ago. The renovated, historic building makes a unique atmosphere for enjoying a small selection of glass pours or sharing a bottle from the retail shelves (plus a fairly modest $10 corkage fee). A variety of shareable plates and good cocktails round out the offerings. 4029 Hamilton Ave., Northside,


white, red or sparkling options — and that’s what most of us did. I went with a French sparkling rosé, two lighter white wines and one “big red.” My favorites were one of the whites, a California chenin blanc and the red, a luscious petite sirah from California. My friends especially liked the red Burgundy and a Russian River Valley chardonnay. The service slowed down after our last two friends came in weary from a traffic jam, and one complained that it took too long to get his drinks. I wrote it off to the packed house that had materialized on an unexpectedly pleasant evening after a too-long winter. We did enjoy a few small plates. I’d especially Unwind recommend the warm Wine Bar & artichoke dip, pleasantly Light Fare garlicky with truffle oil and topped with browned 3435 Michigan Ave., bread crumbs and parmeHyde Park, 513san cheese. It came with a 321-9463, unwindfew slices of baguette (and we would have welcomed HOURS: 5-11 p.m. a few more). Monday; 4-11 p.m. All of the food is either Tuesday-Wednesday; Glendale Square features vegetarian or vegan (the 4 p.m.-midnight outdoor tables and deliowners are vegan). With Thursday; 4 p.m.-1:15 cious food to accompany choices such as crostini, a.m. Friday-Saturday. whatever glass pours flatbread, warm olives, they’re featuring. The cheeses and a hummus small menu changes sampler, along with a few frequently and usually desserts, there’s enough includes a flatbread, salad, maybe a burger for a light meal — or at least some satisfyand pasta or risotto. 23 Village Square, ing bites to accompany your wine. Glendale, Other Outstanding Although it’s an entirely different layout, Corkopolis in the heart of downtown can Wine-Oriented Establishments be just as lively as the patio at Unwind. As Amid the crazy fun on Vine Street in Overmuch a wine shop as a wine bar, Corkopothe-Rhine, 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab lis excels with a large inventory and very manages to offer a relatively civilized oasis knowledgeable staff. Bonus: good cocktails where you can hang out with friends — or and craft beer appease any non-wine comyour laptop — and enjoy excellent coffee or, panions, and the cheeseboard is excellent. more to the point, sample lovingly curated 640 Main St., Downtown, three-pour flights of sparkling, white or One of the newest places has become red wines from all over the world. I’ve a worthy wine destination in the Incline found some gems here, and you also can District in Price Hill. Somm Wine Bar buy bottles of your favorites to take home. offers a large patio with tables and 1215 Vine St., OTR, lounge chairs, live music on Fridays and As the only suburban choice on this list, weekday specials. You’ll find a lot of food Piccolo Wine Room somehow manages choices — from the light fare you expect to have a more Euro feel than most of at a wine bar to several more substantial the urban places. This charming spot on entrées. 3105 Price Ave., East Price Hill,

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nwind may not be Cincinnati’s oldest wine bar, but after almost six years in business, it’s definitely in the running. The expansive indoor and outdoor space around the corner from Hyde Park Square has fused an upscalecasual ambiance with a wide selection of New World and Old World wines and small plates that complement the drinks. Partners Derek Beekman and Victor Abler opened Unwind in 2012 after scouting many wine bars on travels to the West Coast and Europe. They wanted to create a place that truly focused on wine, and they thought Hyde Park Square — in the heart of a neighborhood that appreciates wine — was the right fit for their concept. “The boutique shops work so well with our boutique wine list,” Beekman says. Beekman is the hands-on half of the partnership and you’ll likely run into him most evenings, seating guests and making sure the operation runs smoothly. I’d never been to Unwind in warm weather to experience the outdoor patio. The interior rooms are quite cozy, and I had enjoyed the comfortable chairs and inviting fireplace on cool nights in fall and winter. This time I went with a group of friends on what happened to be the first truly warm evening of the spring. We arrived during Unwind’s nightly happy hour (4-7 p.m.), which brings in a good crowd even during less-beautiful weather. Luckily I had made a reservation because the patio was slammed and a large after-work group had taken over most of the interior. Our table wasn’t quite ready but only two of my party had arrived in time for the reservation anyway, so we waited until the table became available and my people drifted in. Beekman got us set up outdoors around a mostly shaded grouping of chairs and sofas with a short center table. The deal at happy hour consists of a $2 discount on glasses of wine — regular prices range from about $9-$15 — and $2 off most of the food items (regularly priced $9-$14). There’s also a wine flight of the day, which consisted of three ounces each of four Spanish wines ($20) during our visit. You can create your own flights of four pours from the entire list, at half the listed price. Regular pours are six ounces; flight pours are three. It’s so much fun to try four different wines of your choice — from dozens of



Read us on your phone instead of talking to your friends at brunch. the all-new



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Spring Brews and Taproom Parties BY G A R I N PI R N I A

Despite inclement weather sabotaging attempts to patio-drink so far this spring, local breweries have been reintroducing their seasonal beers. Streetside brought back the sexy and colorful Raspberry Beret Berliner weisse, and Urban Artifact resurrected the summery Keypunch, a gose brewed with tart key limes. Brink revamped their Tropical Wheat by adding blackberries, mangos and pineapples. And Moerlein’s Braxton’s Kentucky Home barrel-aged mint julep beer Strawberry Pig cream ale is back on tap and in cans. P H O T O : P R O V I D E D B Y B R A X T O N B R E W I N G C O M PA N Y Cinco De Mayo, America’s favorite culturally appropriated and eat food from Sartre. (Read more about drinking holiday, and the Kentucky Derby Homecoming and MusicNOW on page 11.) both fall on May 5 (think of all the crossover • On May 3, Braxton and OTR cheese potential!). Streetside and Grainworks shop The Rhined come together for a night will both throw (separate) Cinco de Mayo of beer and cheese pairings (no beer cheese, fiestas, and Braxton will host their annual though). For $30, cheeseheads can sample Derby party, featuring bourbon-barrel-aged five cheeses and five Braxton beers in Brax BraxKentucky Home mint julep ale. ton’s upstairs event space, The Loft. New Beers • On May 4, aka May the Fourth Be With • Little Miami Brewing, which opened earYou, Darkness Brewing will celebrate nerds’ lier this year in Milford, just released their favorite holiday with “all things Star Wars.” first stout. High Plains Drifter is brewed Fans are encouraged to cosplay and indulge with mesquite honey and prickly pear juice. in a tribute beer release. They also released Misty Mountain IPA, • Urban Artifact — which just turned brewed with “a truckload of hops.” three — does a parfait tapping every • April 26 is National Pretzel Day, so Saturday at noon. A build-your-own yogurt Listermann will release The Works, a sweet parfait bar pairs with a weekly parfait beer. stout brewed with chocolate, peanut butter, So far, they’ve tapped a cherry-lime parfait cinnamon and marshmallows. Try it at the and a sour/hoppy guava parfait, which used taproom with a pretzel from Brezel OTR. Post Card IPA as its base. • On April 28, MadTree will release the • Sprouts and Stouts will take place May first two cans in their quarterly Senso11-12 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Covingrium Series. Heroes, a double dry-hopped ton. May 11 features the sprouts part, with a unfiltered IPA, will complement Voyagers, a plant sale during the day. May 12 will focus Berliner weisse brewed with real peach and on an all-day music festival. Five bands apricot purées. The four-packs ($17.50) and will play alongside a garden mart featuring a limited amount of draft pours will only be beers from Rhinegeist, Platform, Darkness, available at MadTree’s taproom. Wooden Cask and Braxton. • On May 2, Fibonacci will release their • Entries for Listermann’s second-annual final entry in the Employee Collaboration Hip Hop Battle Home Brew Competition series. Employee Chelle Magin helped brew are open until May 14 and the winners will Tilia, a cherry-lime radler named after the be announced on May 19. Listermann is genus of lime trees. The cherries come from accepting NE Pale Ale, NE IPA and NE IPAs. Ohio’s Eshleman Fruit Farm. The entry fee is $10. • The Oakley On Tap Beer Festival takes Events place May 18-20 on Oakley Square. The • As of this writing, Alexandria Brewing three-day event is divided into daily sesCompany in Alexandria, Ky. should be open sions. Beer lovers get 15 sampling tickets for business. It’s the town’s first brewery and can choose from more than 100 local, since the 1880s. The taproom features beers national and international beers, including like Brothers in Arms, a Russian imperial Ballast Point, DogBerry, Mirror Twin, Sierra stout that benefits veteran charities. Besides Nevada, Fretboard, Grainworks and Peroni. beer, they also have craft sodas, pinball and Tickets range from $20-$50. vintage arcade games. • Even though beauty pageants are kind • On April 26, Rhinegeist will host the offiof sexist, here’s your chance to become Old cial Homecoming music festival kick-off Firehouse Brewing’s Miss Firehouse Pin party at the taproom. For the inaugural fest, Up 2018. The contest takes place at their held April 28-29 in association with band taproom on May 19, and is sponsored by The National and MusicNOW, they brewed Patriot Pin Up Cincinnati, an organization Lit Up, a lager named after a National song. that boosts morale for troops and veterans. The beer will be available during the party Registration begins at 1 p.m. and at the fest. At the kick-off, festgoers can Contact Garin Pirnia: also pick up their credentials, shop for vinyl


Cincy Top 10 Food Tour — Enjoy a tasty sightseeing tour that stops by 10 Cincinnati landmarks and five restaurants for which the city is famous. The jaunt includes lunch, an all-day streetcar pass and a three-hour tour. Tasting locations are Taste of Belgium, Graeter’s, Skyline, Holtman’s and more. 10 a.m. $49 adult; $39 children. Taste of Belgium, 16 W. Freedom Way, The Banks, Downtown, Washington Platform Oyster Festival — The 32nd-annual Oyster Festival features more than 40 bivalves so suck, shuck and eat raw. There are freshshucked oysters on the half shell, firecracker oysters, oysters giovanese and oyster roulette — a fun game where one of the oysters on your plate is loaded with Dave’s Insanity Hot Sauce. Through May 12. Prices vary. Washington Platform, 1000 Elm St., Downtown, Beer Tasting Series: Treasure Island — Enjoy a three-course dinner from Vonderhaar’s Catering with a four-sample flight of Rhinegeist beer before the Playhouse’s Treasure Island. Does not include a ticket to the show. 6-7:15 p.m. Wednesday and May 2. $35. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams,



The Original Findlay Market Tour — Learn about the history of Ohio’s oldest public market while taking a tour and enjoying samples and small bites from five specialty merchants. 3 p.m. Saturday. $20; $5 optional wine tasting. Leaves from the information desk at Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, Cellarman’s Tour — Learn about the 19th-century workers who built the dangerous lagering tunnels and the Beer Barons who built their fortunes producing local brews. Tour includes a visit underground into the lagering cellar of the Schmidt Brothers Brewery and a beer tasting at the Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom. 12:30 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday. $25. Leaves from the Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom, 1621 Moore St., Over-the-Rhine,


Feast of Joy at Imago — This community celebration of May Day takes place at Imago and features poetry, a May pole dance, fireside festivities and conversation in addition to a family-style meal. Food will be provided by Emma Cotter, executive sous chef at Sleepy Bee Café, and Amy Tuttle, an arts and healing practitioner. 6:30-9 p.m. $25 adult; free for children. Imago, 700 Enright Ave., Price Hill,


Fruit Pies Workshop — In this hands-on class you’ll learn to make the perfect pie dough and all the fillings, from scratch. Work with seasonal fruit and bake your pie in class. Class includes beer, wine and non-alcoholic drinks and recipes. 6-9 p.m. $75. Tablespoon Cooking Co. at Findlay Kitchen, 1719 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,



Date Night: Taco & Margarita Fiesta – Head to Findlay Kitchen for an evening of tacos and togetherness. Learn to make different kinds of taco fillings, salsas and more and then enjoy the meal with your date. 6-9 p.m. $150 per couple. Findlay Kitchen, 1719 Elm St., Overthe-Rhine, tablespooncook

Five Courses for Clovernook — The fourth-annual Five Courses for Clovernook is a five-course meal paired with wine and an auction to benefit Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Cash bar. 5:30-8 p.m. $150 per person. Nicola’s Restaurant, 1420 Sycamore St., Over-theRhine, events.

Expires 5/25/18

Lunch 3 off 2ndEntree

$ 00 Voted BEST INDIAN for 17 Years

350 Ludlow Ave • 513-281-7000

$3 Off Carryout Entree. Good Only at Ambar India. Only 2 Coupons Per Party, Per Table. Expires 5/25/18

Voted Best Bakery - Sweets

Tea lunch with a friend... any day of the week


Mimosa Brunch Party — A party for brunch lovers. This includes an epic class creating morning favorites like French toast, eggs benedict, mimosas and more at different stations. If you want to gets hands-on, go ahead. Just want to observe? That’s OK, too. Noon-3 p.m. $75. Tablespoon Cooking Co. at Findlay Kitchen, 1719 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Monday Midnight Diner Series — Chef Hideki Harada is back at the Northside Yacht Club for a new pop-up series: Monday Midnight Diner Series. Promoting his forthcoming venture, Kiki, Harada will be making Japanese bar food, available until midnight. There will be pork or shiitake gyoza, JFC (karaage Japanese fried chicken), mixed ramen

$5 Off Carryout Entree. Good Only at Ambar India. Only 2 Coupons Per Party, Per Table.

and Yuko’s vegetarian curry donuts (potato, carrot and onion). 8:30 p.m.-midnight. Prices $3-$11. Northside Yacht Club, 4227 Spring Grove Ave., Northside,


Yappy Hour at Washington Park — Grab your furry friend for happy hour at Washington Park’s

Southwest Porch. There will be drink specials and doggythemed fun. 5-8 p.m. Free admission. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-theRhine,

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National Pretzel Day at Listermann — Head to Listermann Brewing Co. for the release of The Works, a sweet stout brewed with chocolate, peanut butter, cinnamon and marshmallows, complemented by a free pretzel from Brezel OTR. 3-6 p.m. Free admission. Listermann Brewing Co., 1621 Dana Ave., Norwood,

Dinner 5 off 2ndEntree

$ 00

Most classes and events require registration and classes frequently sell out.



Love, Nature and the End of the World Calexico’s latest collection of exotic, cinematic songs examines love in the age of extremes BY G R EG O RY G AS TO N



A P R I L 2 5 – M AY 1, 2 0 18



ith the shock of 2016’s presidential election and subsequent spotlight on border and immigration policies in America, the Southwest and its people and culture have been on everyone’s minds more lately. But this focus has always been a major theme in the music of veteran Indie Roots band Calexico. The group’s exceptional ninth studio record, The Thread That Keeps Us, fearlessly offers provocative social commentary while embracing wide-ranging musicianship that pulls listeners into the artists’ rich, engaging musical tapestry.  “It’s a challenge not being angry,” says Joey Burns, Calexico’s singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Based in Tucson, Ariz. for more than 20 years and named after a California border town, Calexico mainly embodies the vision of Burns and John Convertino, the band’s drummer and also a multi-instrumentalist. Known for their collaborations on record and on tour with artists like Neko Case, Sam Beam from Iron & Wine and Ben Bridwell from Band of Horses, they also use a recurring cast of international musicians to create Calexico’s exotic sounds, which blend influences gleaned from Tex Mex, Mariachi, Indie Rock, composer Ennio Morricone’s soundtracks, Country, Jazz and various World music strains into a bold mélange of stirring songs, dynamics and themes. Besides being touring musicians, Burns and Convertino are also a bit like tour guides, with each new Calexico album offering a different geographical focus. For example, 2012’s Algiers was recorded in New Orleans and much of 2015’s Edge of the Sun was made in Mexico City, with the multicultural music found on each reflecting the distinct locales. For The Thread That Keeps Us, the musicians returned to Burns’ native California, recording at the Panoramic House, a home studio north of San Francisco and near Stinson Beach in Marin County, Calif. where bands like My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses have recorded. Using the most recent presidential

Calexico P H O T O : J A I R O Z AVA L A R U I Z

election as a catalyst, Calexico began working on the new material with a purpose, with Burns developing a storyline that emanates from a more personal and intimate place. “Basically, I imagined what it would be like for characters to be put in a kind of Wes Anderson-like situation,” Burns says. “These young teenagers find each other, develop a friendship, maybe even a relationship, and through their bond they are able to overcome all sorts of challenges.” Burns says that the serene and naturally pristine recording location made him begin to think about environmental concerns. The Panoramic House sits near the Pacific coastline and the mountains and redwoods of the Muir Woods National Monument, a national park named after influential preservationist, naturalist and environmental philosopher John Muir. “We kind of felt John Muir’s presence throughout the whole entirety of making this record,” Burns says. “I didn’t realize in going to California — in returning to the state where I grew up — that it would spark some ideas creatively that ended up influencing the shape of the album in a big way, from young love to environmentalism to the powers that be, whether it be corporate or (other forces), pushing things toward a toxic environment, literally and figuratively.” The Thread That Keeps Us’ opener and lead single, “End of the World with You,” surges with apocalyptic imagery and lush, soaring swells as Burns sings about “love in the age of the extremes.” The song introduces the teenagers Burns mentions and a mood of romantic fatalism, with a

roiling backdrop of despair. This core wave of empathy, danger and bliss swirls the songs together with fragile but exhilarating momentum. Like filmmaker Wes Anderson’s quirky celluloid fever dreams, Calexico creates a cinematic world of beauty, innocence and consequence. Recalling a Noir-Western film soundtrack, eclectic instrumentals like “Unconditional Waltz” wind their way through the narrative and offer earthy textures and relief from the more charging rockers, with Calexico band members Martin Wenk and Jacob Valenzuela (who’s been dubbed “the Miles Davis of Mariachi”) shining especially bright. “Flores y Tamales” is a jaunty Cumbia-styled song boisterously sung in Spanish by Jairo Zavala, Calexico’s touring bouzouki player.  Amid the apocalyptic and romantic intensity, the band finds room for a few gentle time-outs, like the gorgeous hymns to pastoral grace “Girl in the Forest” (the cosmic lyrics for which were inspired by Burns’ two young daughters) and “Music Box,” a shivery gem of solace and discovery that ends the record. “Voices in the Field” is one of Thread’s best songs — it fuses its truth and mantra with sinuous, African roots and rhythms looped over dissonant slices of electric guitar. It’s also the first of several to glow with the fugitive poetry woven through the immigrant refugee experience, an essential Calexico concern. “Usually, we have the music recorded first, and then I go back and write lyrics to match the mood and maybe the sense of place and direction,” Burns says. “For the music of ‘Voices,’ I was thinking of (Nigerian musician) Bombino and a lot of North

African music, especially Saharan desert music and how it relates to North American Blues and what’s happening here in the Southwest. There’s this common bond in both places of the music of the spirit.” Burns says the wildly diverse musical layout of the album was the result of instinctively drawing from the broad template Calexico has established over the past two decades. “It’s just who we are,” Burns says. “It’s a constant theme of having some instrumentals, some ballads and some more up-tempo, a little more cathartic (songs). We’re embracing everything that we are (on Thread) to make the best sound in the moment, thinking that this could possibly be our last album. “You never know — I mean, after being around this long, you start wondering, will there be a need for another record after this? Let’s go deep like we always do and tap into the most honest, sincere and creative work we can and put that on a record. For me, it’s our best work.” Others appear to think so as well. With the release of The Thread That Keeps Us, Burns says he’s noticed an uptick in new fans. “I do think this record has struck a chord with a much wider group of people,” he says. “Just coming back from Europe, almost every show was sold out over there in advance, which rarely happens. Makes us happy, but it also makes us wonder why. “ Calexico plays Woodward Theater Thursday with Ryley Walker. Tickets/more info:


The Branches of MOOD’s Family Tree BY M I K E B R EEN


1345 main st

Co-Opting the Vinyl Revival

MOOD’s legacy shines at Cincinnati Funk Fest PHOTO: PROVIDED

Common Center Celebrates New EP

Members of a Greek Black Metal band were reportedly arrested while on tour in Eastern Europe, allegedly on terrorism charges related to the “Satanic” connotations of the band’s name, Rotting Christ. The musicians were released by Georgian authorities after 12 hours after a local promoter enlisted help from journalists, lawyers and activists. This isn’t the first time the group’s moniker has caused problems: In 2016, following religious protests of their shows in South Africa, Rotting Christ agreed to change its name for the appearances, sadly playing as “Χ Ξ Σ” and not something fun like “Cuddly Christ” or “Juicy Jesus.”

weaves, stef chura

thu 26

noah smith’s crooner circus

Fri 27

& the honeytones

s at 28

ruby the rabbitfoot the midwesterns denim gremlin

sun 29

future science: sketch comedy

mon 30

charles d’ardenne

tue 31

writer’s night w/ dave

free live music open for lunch

1404 main st (513) 345-7981

Shania’s PR Balancing Act Country singer Shania Twain is in the midst of a comeback attempt, but efforts to reclaim her superstar status hit a speed-bump after she told an interviewer that if she could have voted in the U.S. presidential election (she’s Canadian), she would have voted for Donald Trump because he was “honest” and “transparent.” The quote put Twain in the middle of a precarious PR nightmare befitting a crossover star — if she didn’t say anything, she’d risk being reverse Dixie Chicked by left-leaning fans, but apologizing too forcefully would anger her right-wing base. Twain played it safe, apolo-tweeting that she was caught off guard by the question, has “limited understanding” of U.S. politics and didn’t necessarily mean to suggest she supported Trump.

wesley bright


CalexiCo ryley walker


bully SHellSHag, Swim team


Hot Club of Cowtown


lauren eyliSe, maCHo meanS, Siri imani, CHriS CrookS

Steve Hammond

buy tickets at motr or


Contact Mike Breen:

Naming Rights

wed 25


This Friday, Covington, Ky.’s Common Center releases To Swallow Something Half Your Size, the group’s EP follow-up to 2015’s full-length debut, Gypsy River River. Friday night at 8 p.m., the band hosts a release party at Octave (611 Madison Ave., Covington,, with guests Triiibe and Mr. Pointy Pointy. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. The seven-member ensemble’s debut introduced its voraciously eclectic sound, a lysergic swirl of the musicians’ vast spectrum of influences, which range from Modern and Classic Rock and Indie Folk to Classical, Jazz and an assortment of World music. That same range manifests itself again on To Swallow Something Half Your Size, but the EP shows how deft Common Center has become at working those seemingly divergent flavors into its increasingly distinctive musical personality. Along with the broad litany of inspirational sources, the band’s instrumental makeup also contributes to its unique identity. The use of strings and horns in many like-minded contemporary acts’ music is often limited to decoration, but on To Swallow Something Half Your Size, Jessica Graff’s violin, Sasha Suskind’ saxophone and Lewis Connell’s keys serve crucial lead roles. The music is often psychedelic and the spirit of Prog is evident, but unlike many artists associated with Psych and Prog Rock, Common Center has an anchoring songwriting core that gives the EP cohesion. With a voice that recalls “Freak Folk” troubadour Devendra Banhart, singer/ guitarist Liam Hall unspools rich melodies and impassioned hippie-mystic lyrics that perfectly match the nomadic aura of Common Center’s ocean-sized soundscapes.

Kellogg’s tried to tap into the vinyl craze by teaming up with Simon Cowell protégés PRETTYMUCH, pressing copies of the boy band’s single “Hello” that are kinda playable and fully edible, made with the company’s Chocolate Frosted Flakes. Proclaiming it “the first record to ever be made out of actual cereal,” it was created with a 3-D-printed mold and has a cornflakes core coated with chocolate. So it’s basically a giant cookie with which young PRETTYMUCH fans can ruin their older siblings’ or parents’ turntable needles. Available only at something called “Kellogg’s NYC Café” and, for Record Store Day, at a single Chicago record shop, the group also made a “Hello” music video with Tony the Tiger that will almost certainly haunt the members for the rest of their lives.

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This Friday’s Cincinnati Funk Fest showcases some big names and up-and-comers in the world of Hip Hop and Hip Hop-flavored R&B. Headlining the event at the U.S. Bank Arena (100 Broadway St., Downtown, is singer Erykah Badu, queen of Neo Soul. But the rest of the lineup is intertwined in Cincinnati music history. Cincy Soul artists Lauren Eylise and Kameron Corvet (now based in Atlanta) round out the R&B portion of the CFF lineup. But looking at the Hip Hop acts scheduled to perform (Yasiin Bey, Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek and Speed Walton), they all have one thing in common: Their roots can be traced back to Cincinnati Hip Hop legends MOOD. Though they’ve each had successes on their own and are billed separately, the performers’ shared connections suggest some exciting crossover potential at the event. Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli and superstar Cincinnati-based producer Hi-Tek got their start working with MOOD’s Main Flow Donte and Jahson on their 1995 Flow, EP, Hustle on the Side, and are also prominently featured on their 1997 debut full-length, Doom, which exposed the group to a nationwide audience thanks to its distribution through TVT Records (in its lifespan, the now-defunct label was also home to releases by Nine Inch Nails, Lil Jon, Pitbull, Guided by Voice, Ja Rule and Cincinnati AltRockers Pay the Girl).  That same year, Kweli formed the hugely acclaimed duo Black Star with Cincinnati Funk Fest performer Yasiin Bey (then known as Mos Def), which featured production from Hi-Tek. Kweli and Tek also were a duo dubbed Reflection Eternal, which released a pair of well-received full-lengths (both recorded at the famed Electric Lady recording studio in New York) in 2000 and 2010. Also appearing at Cincinnati Funk Fest is Speed Walton, who cut his teeth in the Cincinnati Hip Hop scene as Buggs Tha Rocka. Walton (a perennial Cincinnati Entertainment Award winner) has toured with Kweli and released music through Kweli’s Javotti Media, as has Space Invadaz, Walton’s duo project with Donte from MOOD, who also records/performs as a solo artist (he recently released the single “Bag U Up”). To bring the circle fully back around, Hi-Tek has produced tracks for Space Invadaz, including their 2016 single, “Wait.” Walton has been receiving good press for his latest singles, “Black Mozart” and “Night Falls,” which don’t have any direct connections to MOOD. But the MC has been working on an album, so perhaps the MOOD family tree will get another branch when it’s released.  Cincinnati Funk Fest begins at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets/more info: usbankarena. com.




SOUND ADVICE David Dondero with John Hays and Sarah Gail Davis

Thursday • Southgate House Revival



Visit to enter for a chance to win tickets to this upcoming show!



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2 Minus The Bear 3 Trapt 4 Drake White 5 Jimmy Eat World (Sold Out) 6 G Herbo 8 Jonathan Davis of Korn 11 Bell’s Brewery Pint Night 12 Sixteen Candles - 80’s Night 18 Blue October 19 CinCity Burlesque (18+) 22 Trixie Mattel 25 Arrested Development 26 Big Ass Rock Show


2 3 8 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 27

New Found Glory Magic Men LIVE! (18+) Country Throwdown Tech N9ne Susto Warren G (18+) School of Rock The Four Horsemen: Metallica Tribute Famous Dex Sir The Baptist Psychostick The Sword Thunderstruck - AC/DC Tribute On The Border - Eagles Tribute AWOLNATION Pouya The Neighbourhood

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A dozen years ago, NPR’s popular All Songs Considered cited David Dondero as one of the greatest living songwriters, a list that also included Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and Paul McCartney. A lot of artists might be more than a little intimidated with an accolade like that, but Dondero did what he has always done with the effusive praise that has been lavished on his work: He let other people talk about it and got back to doing the thing that got him noticed in the first place. The Minnesota native started playing the drums at age 10, which ultimately led to gigs behind the skins for Sunbrain and This Bike is a Pipe Bomb, but he extricated himself from the Punk life in 1998 in order to explore his own musical path. Dondero’s first solo album, The Pity Party Party, drew on the energy and angst of his Punk roots with lo-fi acoustic Folk atmospherics, his vulnerable vibrato voice and vigorous guitar attack reminiscent of Eddie Vedder playing in a single spotlight. By the time of All Songs Considered’s glowing notice, Dondero had just released 2005’s South of the South, his seventh album, widely considered to be the high-water mark of his catalog at that point. He even got a fairly positive review from the notoriously pissy Pitchfork, who likened him favorably to Conor Oberst (the Bright Eyes frontman has often tagged Dondero as an inspiration). All Songs Considered’s astute assessment and a burgeoning press kit of great reviews didn’t translate to sales, and Dondero began to experience and give voice to a certain amount of frustration. He wove electric guitars into his sound and sang pointedly about his professional disappointments, particularly on 2010’s

Future Sounds The Sidekicks – May 26, Northside Yacht Club EG Kight – June 2, Memorial Hall Shilpa Ray – June 8, Northside Yacht Club CloZee – June 14-15, Octave Weedeater – June 25, Woodward Theater

Priests – June 26, Southgate House Revival Faust – July 12, Woodward Theater Ruthie Foster – Aug. 23, Southgate House Revival Chick Corea Akoustic Band – Aug. 26, Taft Theatre Wovenhand – Sept. 4, Southgate House Revival


# Zero with a Bullet; on “Jesus From 12 to 6,” he sang, “You tell me how I’m living the dream, I tell you buddy boy you’ve been misled/I’ve got a feeling there’s no more left, feeling now it’s hanging on like the death/I need to get away, hey hey/I don’t trust a goddamn thing that I say/I really need to get away, away from me, you, we, too.” On 2011’s mostly covers release, A PreExisting Condition, Dondero returned to an acoustic format and continued to express resentments with a sense of defiance and resilience, a stance that was clear in the ironic title of 2013’s Golden Hits Vol. 1. Last year, Dondero released Inside the Cat’s Eye, a hybrid acoustic/electric album and another stellar example of his intricate wordplay and dusty melodicism. He’s released over 12 albums to date and they’re all available at Bandcamp, so drop some cash in Dondero’s open guitar case and give him a reason to keep being one of the greatest living songwriters. (Brian Baker)

Erykah Badu at Cincinnati Funk Fest with Talib Kweli, Yasiin Bey and more Friday • U.S. Band Arena

Erykah Badu established herself as the Queen of Neo Soul with her 1997 debut, Baduizm. Though she’s retained the crown, in the last eight years, the singer has released only one new collection of music, a mixtape dubbed But You Caint Use My Phone. The title is a riff on Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” an ear-wormy single that also features a hilarious video in which Drake dances modestly amid candy-colored, asymmetrical backdrops. “Hotline Bling” dropped in July 2015. But You Caint Use My Phone appeared five months later, which leads one to believe Badu wrote and recorded it in an inspired whirlwind — an unexpected turn of events for such a meticulous and heady artist who hadn’t put out new music in half a decade.



Vinyl Theatre

Friday • Bogart’s

no cover

TICKE TS AVAIL ABLE AT THE SOUTHGATE HOUSE LOUNGE OR TICKE TFLY.COM 4/25 - stacked like pancakes, freak mythology, jims; grayson capps, ben knight; april artist in residence: chris comer trio with will toedtman 4/26 - joe jack talcum & coolzey; wayland, the smoke parade; david dondero, john hays, sarah gail davis 4/27 - rosie flores, rivertown ramblers, danny dean & the homewreckers; al scorch 4/28 - rock on the james 2018: white liger, the southern charm, pheve, chalk eye; the bundys, tana matz; maurice mattei, the cousin kissers 5/2 - trout steak revival, brother smith; may artist in res: willow tree carolers, sean geil, slippery creek


Wednesday 4/25 Burning Caravan 8-11

Thursday 4/26 Todd Hepburn & Friends 8-11

Friday 4/27 The Samantha Carlson Quartet 8-12

saTurday 4/28 Burning Caravan 8-12 cocktaiLs


Wed. - Fri. open @ 5pm | Sat. open @ 6pm 125 West Fourth st. | CinCinnati, ohio 45202

| C I T Y B E AT. C O M

In the first two years of their existence, Vinyl Theatre went from being influenced by Twenty One Pilots to being their labelmates and opening for them. That’s a pretty steep career ascent by any yardstick, but not surprising given the band’s determination from the very start. Vocalist/guitarist Keegan Calmes and keyboardist Chris Senner met at a track

Live Music

A P R I L 2 5 – M AY 1, 2 0 18

The result is both off the cuff and impressively textured, an R&B record anchored by Badu’s sensuous voice and oddball humor. The beats are programmed and guest voices abound, but it’s Badu’s show, and thematically she’s intent on delving into the downside of our obsession with cell phones — a technology she argues has distanced us much more than we realize. But You Caint Use My Phone was a curious release for an artist who had spent the previous five years on hiatus, traveling to Africa in an effort to move into the next phase of her already unique career arc. But doing the expected has never been part of Badu’s artistic or personal priorities. The most recent evidence of her singular mind was this answer to a question posed during Pitchfork’s “Over/Under” series in which artists are asked whether a topic is overrated or underrated — the topic in this case being Fred Flintstone. “Definitely underrated,” she insisted. “Everybody loves Fred Flintstone. And those who don’t are fucking idiots. Fred is cool. I mean, Fred is a boss. He’s confident and he’s a loyal friend. You know, he treats Barn like shit a little bit. He’s not completely emotionally there for Wilma, but he’s very good to Dino. I don’t know how old he was when he impregnated Wilma with Pebbles, but he seemed to be a pretty good father. Maybe he had ran through all the hoes in Bedrock and he was ready to settle down.” (Jason Gargano)

meet when both were Milwaukee high school students and bonded over a mutual love of music by the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins and Young the Giant. For college, Senner remained in Wisconsin when Calmes relocated to Colorado, but the duo’s collaboration survived as they continued to write and record via Skype and email. Senner sent some tracks to old high school friend Nick Cesarz asking if he’d be interested in recording some drum ideas for them, and Calmes dropped out of school to return to Wisconsin and pursue music full time. The trio became a quartet with the addition of another of Senner’s school chums, bassist Josh Pothier. Originally dubbed Alchemy, the band realized the name was common and shifted to Vinyl Theatre, which was intended to suggest the passion of music collecting and the dramatics of live performance. Early on, Vinyl Theatre released a series of songs on its Soundcloud page, the first being “Breaking Up My Bones,” which went viral. The label Fueled By Ramen took note of the buzz and flew reps to Milwaukee to watch the band perform in its practice space, which also happened to be Cesarz’s bathroom. Within weeks they announced their signing to the label, the release of their 2014 debut full-length, Electrogram, and an opening gig for Twenty One Pilots. Vinyl Theatre toured relentlessly for the next two years, which wound up taking a toll on Pothier; he eventually left the band due to nagging health problems. The remaining trio began work on a sophomore album while continuing to play support gigs and headlining shows, including a hometown performance early last year where the new album was played in its entirety. Origami was released last spring but marked the end of the band’s relationship with Fueled By Ramen. The band has since released two new singles, “Me, Myself, and I” and, just last month, “Feel It All.” (BB)

111 E 6th St Newport, KY 41071

Vinyl Theatre P H O T O : V I N Y LT H E AT R E . C O M



CityBeat’s music listings are free. Send info to Mike Breen at Listings are subject to change. See for full music listings and all club locations. H is CityBeat staff’s stamp of approval.


BROMWELL’S HÄRTH LOUNGE - Burning Caravan. 8 p.m. Gypsy Jazz. Free.

CAFFÈ VIVACE - Jim Connerley and Dan Drees. 7 p.m. Jazz. MOTR PUB - Weaves with Stef Chura. 9:30 p.m. Indie Pop. Free.


OCTAVE - The Main Squeeze with Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers. 9 p.m. Funk/Rock. $12, $15 day of show. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE) - Chris Comer Trio with Will Toedtman. 8 p.m. Jazz. Free.

SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM) - Stacked Like Pancakes, Freak Mythology and JIMS. 8 p.m. Rock/Various. $7.


ARNOLD’S - Dottie Warner and Ricky Nye. 7:30 p.m. Jazz. Free. BROMWELL’S HÄRTH LOUNGE - Todd Hepburn and Friends. 8 p.m. Various. Free. CAFFÈ VIVACE - Eric Wurzelbacher Trio. 7 p.m. Jazz. THE GREENWICH - Now Hear This. 8:30 p.m. Jazz. $5. THE HAMILTON - Gregory Morris. 7 p.m. Various. Free.



A P R I L 2 5 – M AY 1, 2 0 18

THE MAD FROG - Wanyama. 8 p.m. Funk/Reggae/ Jam. $5.



MEMORIAL HALL Café Shachor Hazak. 7 p.m. Hip Hop. $18.

MOTR PUB - Noah Smith’s Crooner Circus with David Rhodes Brown, Andrew Hibbard, Michael Moeller, Wilder, Adam Lee and more. 8 p.m. Singer/ Songwriter. Free.


NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB - Greg Ashley with All-Seeing Eyes and Jerri Queen. 10 p.m. Rock/ Various.


OCTAVE - Keller Williams. 8 p.m. Jam/Various. $30.

SCHWARTZ’S POINT Retro Nouveau Quartet. 8:30 p.m. Jazz. Cover.


SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE) - David Dondero with John Hays and Sarah Gail Davis. 9:30 p.m. Acoustic/Rock/ Various. Free.


SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM) - Joe Jack Talcum, Coolzey and The Scrubs. 8 p.m. Rock/Pop/Punk/Various. $10. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY) Wayland with The Smoke Parade. 8 p.m. Rock. $15.

TAFT THEATRE - Asleep At The Wheel. 8 p.m. Country/ Americana. $30, $35 day of show (in the Ballroom). URBAN ARTIFACT - Matter of Planets, Enhailer, Grey Host and Expeditions. 9 p.m. Progressive/Metal/Various. $5.


WOODWARD THEATER - Calexico with Ryley Walker. 8:30 p.m. Indie/Roots/World/Various. $20, $25 day of show.


ARNOLD’S - Moonshine Drive. 9 p.m. Bluegrass. Free. BLIND LEMON - Saul and Peachy. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free. BOGART’S - Vinyl Theatre. 8 p.m. Pop/Rock. BROMWELL’S HÄRTH LOUNGE - Steve Schmidt Trio. 8 p.m. Jazz. Free. CAFFÈ VIVACE - Phil DeGreg Trio. 8 p.m. Jazz. COLONEL POMPS TAVERN - Two Bees. 7 p.m. Acoustic.


THE COMET - Grlwood with SKRT and Old City. 10 p.m. Indie/Rock/Pop/Various. Free. CROW’S NEST - Kissimmee Kids. 10 p.m. Americana. Free.


FRETBOARD BREWING COMPANY - Joe’s Truck Stop and Soulgroup. 7 p.m. Country Blues/Gothic Roots/Various. Free.

GRAND CENTRAL DELICATESSEN - Ricky Nye. 8 p.m. Blues/Boogie Woogie. Free. THE GREENWICH - Sonny Moorman with “Final Friday Blues”. 8 p.m. Blues. Cover. JAG’S STEAK AND SEAFOOD - Pete Dressman. 9 p.m. Rock/Various. $5. JOCKO’S PUB - MixTape. 10 p.m. Rock/Various. KNOTTY PINE - Flatline. 10 p.m. Rock. Cover. LUDLOW GARAGE - Pure Prairie League. 10:30 p.m. Country Rock. $30-$65. THE MAD FROG - Affinity Friday. 9 p.m. Bass/House/ Dance/DJ. $5.


U.S. BANK ARENA - “Cincinnati Funk Fest” featuring Erykah Badu, Yasiin Bey, Talib Kweli, Hi Tek, Kameron Corvet, Lauren Eylise and Speed Walton. 8 p.m. Soul/Hip Hop. $63-$124.

WASHINGTON PLATFORM - Mad Dog & Brad Meyers Quartet. 9 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/drink minimum).


WOODWARD THEATER - Bully with Shellshag and Swim Team. 9 p.m. Indie/Alt/Rock. $12, $14 day of show.


SCHWARTZ’S POINT - Carlos Vargas-Ortiz Trio. 9 p.m. Jazz. Cover. SILVERTON CAFE - Thom Stephenson & The Who Deys. 9 p.m. Rock. Free. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (REVIVAL ROOM) - Al Scorch. 9 p.m. Americana. $12.


SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY) - Rosie Flores with Rivertown Ramblers and Danny Dean & The Homewreckers. 9 p.m. Rockabilly/ Roots. $10. URBAN ARTIFACT Electric Orange Peel and SolEcho. 9 p.m. Progressive/ Rock/Fusion/Jam. Free.

MOTR PUB - Ruby the Rabbitfoot with The Midwesterns. 5 p.m. Indie Pop. Free.


MVP BAR & GRILLE “Rocktopia” featuring Lift The Medium, Mick Blankenship, Grindhouse and Sever The Ties. 8 p.m. Rock/Various. $10.

SCHWARTZ’S POINT - Eric Lechliter Quintet. 9 p.m. Jazz. Cover.

BLIND LEMON - Jamonn Zeiler. 9 p.m. Acoustic. Free.

OCTAVE - Common Center with Triiibe and Mr. Pointy. 8 p.m. Alt/Prog/ Roots/World/Hip Hop/Various. $10, $15 day of show.



MOTR PUB - Wesley Bright and the Honeytones. 10 p.m. Soul/Funk. Free.


MANSION HILL TAVERN Blue Ravens. 9 p.m. Blues. Cover.

PIRATES COVE - Basic Truth. 8 p.m. R&B. Free.

ARNOLD’S - Warrick and Lowell. 9 p.m. Americana. Free.

NORTHSIDE TAVERN LANZ with Penny Serfs and LASKA. 10 p.m. Indie/ Rock/Pop/Various. Free.

MADISON THEATER - Buckethead. 8 p.m. Rock/Progressive/Various. $22.50, $25 day of show.

YESTERDAY’S OLD TIME SALOON - Freak Mythology. 10 p.m. Rock/Various. Free.

MANSION HILL TAVERN Noah Wotherspoon Band. 9 p.m. Blues. Cover.

MT. CARMEL BREWERY Encore Duo. 7 p.m. Acoustic Classic Rock/Americana. Free.


BOGART’S - “Panic! at the Disco vs Fall Out Boy: A Tribute Concert” with Liberty Deep Down and Current Events. 8 p.m. Pop/Rock. $10. BROMWELL’S HÄRTH LOUNGE - Steve Schmidt Trio. 8 p.m. Jazz. Free. CAFFÈ VIVACE - Rusty Burge Quartet. 8 p.m. Jazz. THE COMET - Aneurysm and Slugsalt. 10 p.m. Rock/ Punk/Various. Free.


CROW’S NEST - Laid Back Country Picker with Luna & The Mountain Jets. 10 p.m. Country/Americana/Rock. Free. DEPOT BARBECUE - The Corncobs. 7 p.m. Bluegrass. Free. THE GREENWICH - Push Play. 8:30 p.m. R&B/Funk. $8. THE HAMILTON - Michael McIntire. 6 p.m. Various. Free.

JAG’S STEAK AND SEAFOOD - Good Hooks. 9 p.m. Rock/Pop/Various. $5. KNOTTY PINE - 90 Proof Twang. 10 p.m. Country. Cover.


SMALE PARK - “Homecoming” featuring The National, Father John Misty, Julien Baker, Mouse on Mars, The Breeders and more. 1 p.m. Indie/Various. $89.50-$169.50. SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (LOUNGE) - Maurice Mattei with The Cousin Kissers. 9:30 p.m. Acoustic/ Rock/Country.


SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY) - “Rock on the James 2018 benefiting Parkinson Support and Wellness of Greater Cincinnati” featuring White Liger, The Southern Charm, Pheve and Chalk Eye. 6 p.m. Rock/Various. $10.

SOUTHGATE HOUSE REVIVAL (SANCTUARY) The Bundys with Tana Matz. 8 p.m. Country/Rock/Roots. $10. THE UNDERGROUND Saving Escape with Torva, Blind Alley and B-Sides. 7 p.m. Rock/Various. Cover. WASHINGTON PLATFORM - Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band (4 p.m.) and Andrea Cefalo (9 p.m.). 4 p.m. Jazz. $10 (food/ drink minimum).


FRETBOARD BREWING COMPANY - Ricky Nye. 3 p.m. Blues/Boogie Woogie. Free.

KNOTTY PINE ON THE BAYOU - Carl G. 5:30 p.m. Acoustic. Free.


MADISON THEATER - Mushroomhead with VentanA, VYCES, Gabriel and the Apocalypse, Align The Tide, A Liar’s Eyes and Scarangella. 6:30 p.m. Metal. $22, $25 day of show. MANSION HILL TAVERN Open Jam with Deb Ohlinger. 6 p.m. Various. Free.


NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB - The Lillingtons with Make War and The ZG’s. 9 p.m. Punk Rock. $12, $15 day of show.

THE SKELETON ROOT - Dusty Bryant. 2 p.m. Acoustic. Free.


SMALE PARK - “Homecoming” featuring The National, Feist, Moses Sumney, Alvvays, Future Islands and more. noon Indie/Various. $89.50-$169.50.

TAFT THEATRE - Rick Astley. 8 p.m. Pop. $32.50-$42.50.


URBAN ARTIFACT PsychoAcoustic Jazz Orchestra. 7 p.m. Jazz/Various. Cover.



THE GREENWICH International Jazz Day Celebration with Love Train and John Von Ohlen’s Flying Circus Big Band. 5 p.m. Jazz. Cover.

MANSION HILL TAVERN - Acoustic Jam with John Redell and Friends. 8 p.m. Acoustic. Free. URBAN ARTIFACT - Abiyah, Snailmate and The Almost Infinite. 10 p.m. Indie/ Hip Hop/Various.


BLIND LEMON - Nick Tuttle. 8:30 p.m. Acoustic. Free..


NORTHSIDE YACHT CLUB - Sanction, Flesh Mother, Cursed Path and Deadculture. 8:30 p.m. Metal/Hardcore. $10.

URBAN ARTIFACT - Leopold the Ghost and The Vatics. 9 p.m. Indie/Electronic/ Pop/Rock.


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CityBeat | April 25, 2018  
CityBeat | April 25, 2018