by Mike Breen
Three of Cincy's greatest Pop/Rock acts perform for tonight's Midpoint Indie Summer show
Tonight's free MidPoint Indie Summer concert on Fountain Square is a bit different than most of the shows in the series. Not only is the bill all-local, it also represents three of the finest "Pop Rock" entities to ever emerge from the Queen City. Despite sharing a knack for writing incredibly memorable songs exploding with irrepressible hooks, each group has its own distinctive sound and draws from varying classic Pop/Rock influences from throughout time, from The Beatles to Todd Rundgren to The Buzzcocks. The Tigerlilies kicks things off at 7 p.m. The quartet has had a remarkable run over the past 23 years, despite the occasional upheaval — the group's lead guitarist slot occasionally seemed to reach "Spinal Tap drummer" proportions, but the ’Lilies balance that out by having the remarkable ability to enlist some truly amazing players who each have brought something unique to the group. Current six-slinger Brendan Bogosian is no exception; the guitarist's (formerly of local bands like Cash Flagg and The Woos) expressive, serpentine style of playing has weaved its way into (and added new wrinkles to the sound of) The Tigerlilies' deft brand of early Punk/Post Punk inspired Power Pop seamlessly. The band is currently working on its next album, which they hope to have out this fall. Next up (at about 8:15 p.m.) is the Roger Klug Power Trio, fronted (go figure!) by singer/songwriter/guitarist Roger Klug and featuring the great rhythm section of Mike Tittel on drums and Jamie Criswell on bass. Klug (former member of popular locals The Willies) has amassed an impressive discography since his mid-’90s solo debut, Mama Mama ich bin in dem La La Land, a garage-y display of Klug's clever, instinctive songcraft, and the highly addictive follow-up, Toxic and 15 Other Love Songs. Those albums help Klug build a following amongst Power Pop die-hards, and not just local ones. His records found a widespread cult following thanks to distribution from modern Power Pop juggernaut Not Lame Records and breathlessly positive press from pretty much any critic who took the time to listen to a song. After the ambitious (and creatively successful) Where Has the Music Gone?: The Lost Recordings of Clem Comstock in 1999 — a concept album featuring alleged "lost recordings" in a variety of vintage Pop styles (and credited to various made-up artist names) — Klug seemingly disappeared, putting out no new Roger Klug material for a decade and popping up only occasionally for area live shows. But in 2010, Klug fans were treated to an all-new LP, More Help for Your Nerves, which (somewhat amazingly) features some of his best tunes yet. Closing out the live-concert primer on Cincinnati's catchiest homegrown music from the past four decades is, fittingly, popular trio psychodots (starting around 9:30 p.m.). The ’Dots are genuine local music legends whose origins date back to the ’70s when a quartet of graduates from Toledo's Sylvania High School — Rob Fetters, Bob Nyswonger, Chris Arduser and Tom Toth — moved to Cincinnati and, with a few adjustments in the lineup over time, went on to become one of the Queen City's most beloved bands, the raisins.Local sensations of epic proportions, the raisins built up a huge (and hugely loyal) fan base in the city's clubs and, with its self-titled LP, scored a regional hit with the unforgettable, somewhat "New Wave-ish" "Fear Is Never Boring." If CityBeat ever does "Best Cincinnati Songs of All-Time," "Fear" is a lock for the No. 1 slot. There will be no debate.Following the raisins' split in the mid-’80s, Arduser rejoined Fetters and Nyswonger — as well as the producer of that debut LP, globally acclaimed Covington native Adrian Belew — in The Bears, which spread Cincinnati's best kept secret well beyond city limits with a pair of well-distributed albums so strong they were like the Midwest's own Beatles. By the end of the ’80s, The Bears had split as Belew began investing more time in his solo and other outside work. Perhaps sensing the end was near, Arduser, Fetters and Nyswonger (among about a bazillion other musical projects) began performing as a trio in 1988. The three masterful musicians officially became psychodots in 1991 when they released their self-titled album. The ’dots picked up where they had left off with the raisins and Bears and returned to their status as one of the city's most reliable original music draws.Psychodots went on indefinite hiatus in the mid-’90s as the trio's members continued to explore a variety of projects (from the Arduser-fronted Graveblankets to Fetters' solo work to Nyswonger's jobs in Bucket and many other local units). While remaining prolific individually, the band seems to have found a way to balance all of their projects better; both The Bears and psychodots have returned to action for live shows and even new releases. (The raisins have also reteamed for a few one-off shows.)The ’dots' live activity has been especially spare, limited usually to a couple of special shows a year around Thanksgiving time. But, along with tonight's appearance on Fountain Square, the trio seems ready for at least a little increased activity. After the Indie Summer show was announced, the psychodots were added as opening act for Cheap Trick's concert at the Taft Theatre next week, July 6.If you're one of tonight's three performers' fans, you're likely well aware of their histories. But if you're unfamiliar with any or all of tonight's acts, be sure to be on the Square by 7 p.m. for a free musical retrospective of Cincy Pop at its finest. (Fun fact: Arduser, Nyswonger and Fetters — with The Bears — and The Tigerlilies were performers at the very first Cincinnati Entertainment Awards in the mid-’90s.)
Plus news on MPMF.12, WolfCryer, MidPoint Indie Summer and more
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Grasshopper Juice Records presents the sixth annual Adjust Your Eyes Music & Art Festival this weekend at downtown's Mainstay Rock Bar Friday-Saturday.
Full lineup of free concerts every Friday this summer
The lineup for this summer's MidPoint Indie Summer series — every-Friday free concerts on Fountain Square — features another strong mix of solid national headliners (many are MidPoint Music Festival alumni) from as far away as Australia and Timbuktu and local favorites. Stay tuned for additions and updates.Friday, June 1: The Bright Light Social Hour (Austin Tex.); Buffalo Killers; The KickawaysFriday, June 8: The Dynamites (Nashville); Khaira Arby and her Band (Timbuktu, Mali, Africa); The PinstripesFriday, June 15: The Seedy Seeds; Wymond Miles (of The Fresh & Onlys, San Francisco); Belle HistoireFriday, June 22: Art vs Science (Australia); You You're Awesome; ShadowraptrFriday, June 29: psychodots (openers TBA)Friday, July 6: Lydia Loveless (Columbus); Patrick Sweany (Nashville); The Ready Stance Friday, July 13: Seabird; The Harlequins; Jon Drake and The Shakes (Chicago) Friday, July 20: Ha Ha Tonka (Springfield, Mo.); Izzy and the Catastrophics (New York); The Ridges (Athens, Ohio)Friday, July 27: Orgone (Los Angeles); The Cliftones; Eclipse Friday, Aug. 3: Bear Hands (Brooklyn); Lightning Love (Ann Arbor, Mich.); Fort Lean (Brooklyn)Friday, Aug. 10: Budos Band (New York); Kansas City Bible Company (Nashville); Sidewalk Chalk (Chicago) Friday, Aug. 17: Class Actress (Brooklyn)Friday Aug. 31: Wussy; R.Ring The MidPoint Indie Summer concerts start at 7 p.m. each Friday this summer. Music lovers of all ages are welcome to attend.
After lengthy hiatus, Chris Arduser and friends return with new/old album
1 Comment · Monday, December 13, 2010
"Grave blankets" are defined as decorative covers for gravesites. For nearly a decade, it seemed as though Chris Arduser — best known for his work with psychodots, The Bears, Adrian Belew and a variety of related bands and artists — had relegated his popular Americana side project of the same name to his own personal musical cemetery. The hiatus has ended, and the band has re-emerged with new energy and a new album.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 14, 2010
April 17 is Record Store Day, so be sure to support your local independent music retailers. If you're a fan of local Electro/Indie/Folk/Pop wonders The Seedy Seeds, you'll definitely want to stop by Shake It Records in Northside, where they'll close out the store's Record Store Day with a performance at 9 p.m. You can also pick up a copy of The Seedys' new three-song, 7-inch vinyl release being issued by Shake It's label division.
April 22 • Cincinnati Zoo
0 Comments · Monday, April 19, 2010
If you missed Cincinnati's legendary Psychodots last Thanksgiving, you have another chance to see them Thursday, this time with hot string ensemble Faux Frenchmen at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens' free "Tunes & Blooms" concert series. Come celebrate Power Pop and Gypsy Jazz glory among 1 million flowers.
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Wednesday night at Covington's Mad Hatter, local Rock foursome Rosemary Device celebrates the release of its self-titled debut. Radio-friendly songwriting makes the band so effective and destined for wider exposure. Though peripherally similar to some of the Pop/Emo music that gets a lot of attention these days, RD's songs come off less forced and calculated and, therefore, a bit more timeless.
Nov. 27 • Southgate House
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The amazing local Power Pop trio hasn't been a "full-time" band for several years, but Ohio fans always know that, come Thanksgiving, they'll have a chance or two to catch the 'dots. Their annual shows (by the band's account, this will be the 666th) happen Wednesday at Canal Street Tavern in Dayton and Friday at the Southgate House.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The free "Tunes & Blooms" concert series at the Cincinnati Zoo returns this Thursday with the teaming of local Pop/Rock legends psychodots and Gypsy Jazz masters The Faux Frenchmen. Plus there's news about new albums from The Ohms and Cari Clara, an animal fundraiser at Stanley's Pub and PJ Herrington's new band coming through town.