by Stefanie Kremer
GottaVote concert drew hundreds of Obama supporters and opponents alike
Members of Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Cincinnati natives The National
knew they could lose fans if their band became vocal supporters of
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama back in 2008.
“When we publicly started supporting Obama, we did have a
lot of fans that were upset about that and just thought, ‘you should
keep your political opinions to yourself,’ ” lead singer Matt Berninger
told reporters before their Thursday GottaVote concert sponsored by the
“And I actually totally understand that and in many ways
almost agree. I don’t want to be preached to by the Rock bands that I
The band drew a mixed crowd of 750 people to the intimate show at The Emery Theater on Thursday. The concert’s purpose was to encourage attendees to vote for
Obama in the Nov. 6 election and encourage Cincinnatians to take
advantage of Ohio’s early voting. While the band’s support for Obama has drawn some vitriol
(fans made comments like “fools” and “shame on you” on Facebook posts
announcing the shows in support of the president) it didn’t stop everyone
who didn’t plan on voting for Obama from coming to the concert.
Adam Kesee, 25, is not an Obama supporter. He explained that he
was at The Emery to see The National perform anyway — just as long as
they didn’t devote the whole show to politics.
"I do not think music and politics should mix," Kesee
explained. "It's OK if you play to support a candidate you like, but
don't expect everyone to share your views and do not bog down the
concert with political views."
The National plays a GottaVote concert for the Obama campaign in CincinnatiCatie Viox
[Photo gallery: The National plays in Cincinnati Oct. 4]Despite their recent outspoken support of President Obama
and their series of shows dedicated to rallying support in 2008, 2010 and 2012,
Berninger and guitarist Aaron Dessner said they never saw their band
going in such a direction.
“We didn’t want our band to be a political band … most of
our songs are love songs or songs about drinking — we don’t think of
ourselves as socially conscious songwriters or anything,” Berninger
He said that during the George W. Bush administration,
they started to feel a responsibility to get involved — even if their
band took a hit. He cited his 3-year-old daughter as the context
through which he sees politics — he’s worried about the way her world
will be shaped.
"Where our country is now is more important than our Rock
and Roll band," Berninger said. "If it hurts our band, that's OK
Although some of The National's songs seem to hold
political themes, including "Mr. November," the majority of the songs
performed were rock songs written about love and loss including the
popular "Bloodbuzz Ohio" and "Fake Empire."
An intense performer, Berninger didn’t get so enthused
about performing for Obama that he slipped "Vote Obama," into the
lyrics, or devote the majority of the performance to campaigning. Aside
from two young campaign volunteers speaking at the beginning of the
concert, the president was not even mentioned until introducing the
third song, "I'm Afraid of Everyone," written, Berninger said, about a
desperate plea for the truth.
In exchange for free tickets to see The National, attendees were expected to volunteer their time for the Obama campaign.
Many concertgoers explained that they would gladly offer
their time to support the campaign. Others said that they were strictly
in attendance to see The National and do not plan on knocking on doors
or making phone calls to support the president.
"I don't really have the time and I don't really care about politics that much," said Kedharhneth Sairam, 24.
The crowd may not have been full of Obama supporters, but
they were still supporters of The National. The band’s GottaVote tour
included a Wednesday stop in
both Columbus and Cincinnati. Along with performing for fans, the band
took to the streets with clipboards encouraging students on the campuses
of The Ohio State University, Xavier University and Berninger’s alma
mater, the University of Cincinnati, to sign up to vote.
CityBeat staff writer Andy Brownfield contributed to this report.
by Mike Breen
Locally-bred Indie Rock sensations The National give away tickets for volunteer support
Good news/possibly bad news for those hoping to attend the special appearance by Cincy-bred/Brooklyn-based Indie Rock stars The National Thursday at The Emery. The good news: tickets will be available on Wednesday. The (possibly) bad news (depending on your busy schedule and/or support for Barack Obama) is that you can only get one ticket and you have to agree to do some volunteering for the Obama campaign. To get details, sign up on the President's GottaVote campaign website here.Once you do that, you'll get this message: Get a ticket to see The National in Cincinnati
To get a ticket, beginning Wednesday, October 3rd at 10:00 A.M. stop by an OFA-OH office listed below and volunteer.
Tickets will be required for entry to the event. One ticket per person.
1112 Walnut Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Doors open: 7:00 P.M.
OFA-OH Over the Rhine Office
1130 Main Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202You'll also be able to get a ticket (according to the email you'll be sent) at the OFA-OH Woodburn Office, 2718 Woodburn Ave. Good luck!
Acclaimed singer/songwriter debuts Jeremy Pinnell and the 55's tonight at MOTR
The music he made with groups like The Light Wires, The Great Depression and The Brothers and the Sisters helped make singer/songwriter Jeremy Pinnell one of many local music fans' favorite songwriters. Pinnell's folksy songs were marked by his ability to convey — with an almost uncomfortable accuracy — the kind of dark, ominous emotions most people try to bury. His words, his melodies and especially his muttering yet soulful voice had that rare ability to effortlessly do what most writer's strive for their whole career — to make a deep connection with the listener that goes beyond a hummable hook or slick guitar solo and buries itself deep inside their conscience. Having practically every person who heard his songs immediately captivated wasn't enough to keep those projects together. Pinnell seemed to ride the waves of success each act experienced (on varying levels), then the band would break up before the project's full potential was reached. After another dry spell, Pinnell returns to the local stage tonight at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine for the live debut of his latest project, Jeremy Pinnell and the 55's. Once again, Pinnell has hooked up with some gifted collaborators to create more soul-stirring songs to shatter what's left of your fragile, blackened heart. The 55's reteams Pinnell with one of his earliest musical partners, Cameron Cochran (currently with Pop Empire). When they were 18, Cochran and Pinnell were pals playing Country songs together at their buddies' Punk Rock shows. Cochran says "The Voice" was already in place."He had that voice that would shut up a room," Cochran writes in a press release. "It didn't matter what the show was. He would open his mouth and everyone listened." The two went their separate ways eventually, but recently reconnected. Cochran is vague about the circumstances of their last project ending and this one beginning, saying only that it is a tale of "heartbreak, tragedy, love and redemption" worthy of a Country song. Indeed, the 55's sound is somewhere between AltCountry and Indie Folk, with the timelessness of those genres' precursors driving everything. The band is rounded out by drummer Chris Alley and bassist Ben Franks; Cochran adds spectral atmospherics with his pedal steel guitar work and hovering backing vocals. Some of the 55's material has come out via a handful of wonderful live videos shot by local photography superstar Michael Wilson. Below, check out one of the clips by Wilson, who is also working with Cochran on a series filming at The Emery Theater called "One Shot Music Videos" (referring to how Wilson shoots each in one continuous shot without edits). Tonight's show at MOTR is free and starts around 9:30 p.m. Visit JP & the 55's on Facebook here.
Secrets of a Civil War-era Queen City revealed on walking tour
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Somehow, a sensational thing happens when hiking around the city on a historic walking tour: The modern world is always present but seemingly overlaid with a transparency from the past, the ghosts looking back at us while we search for them. At least that's been my experience when good storytelling is involved, as it is in the new Cincinnati Civil War Tour, happening Saturdays through Sept. 25.