MUSIC: JUKEBOX THE GHOST
Name a band other than Indie Pop threesome Jukebox the Ghost that has christened itself by mashing up Captain Beefheart and Vladimir Nabokov references. You can’t. So until someone assembles Trout Mask Bend Sinister, Jukebox the Ghost is destined to remain a cult of one. Of course, the trio, consisting of keyboardist/vocalist Ben Thornewill, guitarist/vocalist Tommy Siegel and drummer Jesse Kristin, didn’t jump out of the blocks with avant-garde Blues howlers and Russian novelists in mind. After meeting as students at George Washington University, the trio recorded a debut full-length, 2008’s Let Live and Let Ghosts, during the winter break of the musicians’ senior year. The band drew ecstatic reviews and equally impassioned reactions to its frenetic live shows. The trio recorded shows this past spring for a live album, which could feature some of the fun cover songs the band injects into its sets. A fifth studio album is also in the works. Jukebox the Ghost plays a free show on Fountain Square with Current Events. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, downtown, myfountainsquare.com.
MUSIC: ZAC BROWN BAND
In much the same way that Phish and Dave Matthews Band have organically grown their fanbases at a grassroots level without a lot of initial corporate interference, the Zac Brown Band achieved an impressive string of successes and a formidably loyal audience with a boots-on-the-ground approach. Formed in 2002, Brown hit the road relentlessly. By the time Atlantic Records signed him in 2008, there was a built-in audience, and the Zac Brown Band eased into Country music stardom fairly easily. The band’s four major-label studio albums have generated mostly platinum sales figures, and from those albums, 21 singles have been pulled and 19 placed in the Top 20 on Billboard’s Country chart. Thirteen of those singles hit the No. 1 slot. Since 2008, the Zac Brown Band has also been nominated for a ton of major music awards. The Best New Artist Grammy-winner curse appears to have skipped the band; since winning that honor in 2010, the group has scored two more Grammys, including one for Best Country Album in 2013. The band plays a sold-out show at 7 p.m. Friday. Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., California, riverbend.org.
MUSIC: NICK D’ & THE BELIEVERS
Columbus, Ohio’s Nick D’ & The Believers make the kind of well-crafted Pop/Rock that is so infectious, the instant you hear it, it’s hard not to imagine the band following in the footsteps of fellow Ohio groups like the majorly successful Walk the Moon and Twenty One Pilots. With an engaging, adrenalized live show to match, The Believers have swiftly been building a buzz since forming in 2013. Along with steady live dates, the group has earned wider exposure by having its music featured on TV shows like Pretty Little Liars. Led by talented and charismatic singer/songwriter/keyboardist Nick D’Andrea, the trio (which has recently added a couple of members to flesh out its sound live) is prepping for the fall release of a new EP, Crown. If the title-track single, released in March, is any indication, Crown is going to make believers out of a lot of AltPop fans this fall. 10 p.m. Friday. Free. MOTR Pub, 1345 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, motrpub.com.
EVENT: NEWPORT MOTORCYCLE RALLY
Nothing says America quite like beer, bikes and fireworks. The Newport Motorcycle Rally is a weekend-long celebration of motorcycles and motorcycle culture with live music, food, charity rides, a contest Saturday with awards for the best-looking bikes and a special fireworks display over the Ohio River on Sunday. 7-11 p.m. Friday; 2-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 1-9 p.m. Monday. Free. Festival Park, Riverboat Row, Newport, Ky., newportmotorcyclerally.com.
EVENT: NORTHSIDE ROCK N’ ROLL CARNIVAL AND FOURTH OF JULY PARADE
Fire-breathers and sword-swallowers might not be typical of Fourth of July celebrations, but such spectacles are the stuff of normalcy at the Northside Rock n’ Roll Carnival. An extension of a Northside Business Association fest in place since the early ’80s, the 10th-annual carnival descends on Hoffner Park Friday and keeps things rolling through Monday. The aforementioned performers star in a carnival sideshow, and the park’s pavilion transforms into an urban beer garden. But the heart of the event is its diverse lineup of mostly local Rockers, with performances taking place daily. This year’s artists include the Yugos, Leggy, Mad Anthony, Tweens and Electric Citizen, among many others.
The music starts Friday at 6 p.m. with Cincinnati’s The Yugos representing the Queen City at 9 p.m. on a bill that also includes Cleveland, Ohio bands Archie and the Bunkers and Pleasure Leftists, Bloomington, Ind.’s The Vallures, Baltimore’s Ed Schrader’s Music Beat and headliners Chain and the Gang from Washington, D.C. Saturday and Sunday’s massive lineups begin at 3 p.m., with the last bands going on at midnight. The music at the Carnival picks back up Monday at 5 p.m. with a band featuring students from Mason’s School of Rock. Three of Cincinnati’s finest — the unique, sitar-fueled Indie/Folk duo Dawg Yawp (whose “Can’t Think” single has been drawing glowing national attention) and great Rock crews Lemon Sky and Electric Citizen — close out Monday’s festivities.
Northside’s must-see Fourth of July parade — one of the most colorful and unique in the city — begins promptly at noon on Monday; expect flag-twirlers, elaborate costumes, impressive props, creative floats and plenty of surprises. Carnival Friday-Monday; parade begins at noon Monday. Free. Jacob Hoffner Park, 4101 Hamilton Ave., Northside, northsidejuly4.com, northsiderocks.com.
ART: HIGH ART 2
One great way to gain perspective on the importance of Contemporary art in Cincinnati is to view it from a 574-foot vantage point during High Art 2. On Saturday, visitors will take two elevators to the 48th floor of Carew Tower and then climb one more flight of stairs to the Observation Deck to search the cityscape for the temporary large-scale installations and performances created by six artists — Regan Brown, Emily Chiavelli, Sam Womelsdorf Girandola, Sidney Cherie Hilley, Pam Kravetz, Avril Thurman and Rick Wolhoy. Visitors are encouraged to bring binoculars. NEAR*BY curatorial collective, which last staged High Art in 2014, intends to make this a biennial event. 4-6 p.m. Saturday. $4 (cash only). Carew Tower, 441 Vine St., Downtown, nearbycollective.org.
MUSIC: KELLER WILLIAMS
There are so many different iterations of Keller Williams’ musical brilliance, it seems as though he may have one of the most productive cases of ADHD on the planet. Our conversation about his Cincinnati appearance this weekend took place on the eve of two big Colorado shows for Williams, one a co-bill with Leo Kottke in Boulder and another with Grateful Grass, his Grateful-Dead-translated-to-Bluegrass outfit, in Breckenridge, a small representation of his range and musical restlessness. He defines it as ADM — Acoustic Dance Music — and further subcategorizes it as Electro-Hippie Acoustic Downtempo, which reinforces the impossibility of accurately placing Williams in a tangible pigeonhole. Most importantly, it’s made entirely by Williams in the moment with the use of looping technology and without prerecorded samples. Williams’ current solo set features a lot of songs from his last album, 2015’s sublime Vape, but with almost two-dozen albums and an encyclopedic archive of covers to draw upon, he has plenty of material to consider when he constructs his setlists. Keller Williams performs Saturday at the free Paradise on the Point festival at Sawyer Point.
Paradise on the Point comes to Sawyer Point along the riverfront this Friday and Saturday. Featuring an interesting mix of touring Jam, Roots, Rock and Electronica acts (including Pink Talking Fish, Manic Focus, Keller Williams and Emancipator), the festival also has a few area artists booked, including Northern Kentucky’s Brother Smith (on Friday), and Cincinnati’s Strange Mechanics, Frankly Speaking and Peridoni (all playing Saturday). The fest — which will also have live painting, a kids’ area and a variety of beer and food offerings — is free and open to all ages. Gates open at 4 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday. Find the complete schedule and more at essentialproductions.net.
EVENT: 4TH OF JULY JAM
Washington Park is throwing an Independence Day bash with live music, carnival games, food trucks and, of course, fireworks. Music will be provided throughout the day by bands including Majestic Man, Love Alive and Subterranean, and fireworks will light up the sky at 9:50 p.m. Find local craft beer at the park’s concession stand and food from trucks including SugarSnap!, The Chili Hut and Harvest Mobile. Music starts at 3 p.m. Saturday. Free admission. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.
EVENT: TRI-STATE ANTIQUE MARKET
A special Americana-focused iteration of the popular Tri-State Antique Market will feature authentic antique and vintage collectibles from more than 125 dealers ranging from Civil War tintypes and 1950s Coke signs to calendar girl pin-ups and Thunderbird tail lights. All merchandise is required to be at least 30 years old and out of production. 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; early bird entry at 6 a.m. $3; free 18 and under. 351 E. Eads Parkway, Lawrenceburg, Ind., queencityshows.com.
ART: EGGRESSWASM RELEASE AT CHASE PUBLIC
Chicago-based, Cincinnati-raised artist and curator Chris Reeves will give a performative lecture Sunday at Chase Public. Reeves derived the name of his event — Eggresswasm, a portmanteau of “egress” and a humorous past-tense of the term “-ism” — from his series of pamphlets and publications, which will be released at the event by the United States Escape Party. The idea of escape links Reeves’ work with the work of artists Lauren Sudbrink and Aaron Walker, who will give similarly absurdist-leaning performances at the event, and Caleb Foss, who will screen a short film. 7-10 p.m. Sunday. Free. 1569 Chase Ave., Suite 4, Northside, facebook.com/chasepublic.
EVENT: INDEPENDENCE DAY FIREWORKS AT FOUNTAIN SQUARE
Fireworks will sparkle above the streets of downtown to wrap up Fountain Square’s Independence Day festivities. Earlier in the afternoon, popular indie art fair Art on Vine will take over the square for a craft market, and starting at 7 p.m., live bands, including headliner Thunderstruck: The Ultimate AC/DC Tribute, will play on the main stage. Grab beer, wine or other concessions before the fireworks display at 9:45 p.m. Free. Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.
COMEDY: GEOFF TATE
You could call it a homecoming for comedian Geoff Tate. He’s appeared on the Late, Late, Show on CBS, is a regular on the popular podcast Doug Loves Movies and headlines comedy clubs across the country. But he refuses to leave Cincinnati. Like many successful comedians, he’s finding out he doesn’t have to be on either of the coasts to stay busy. Indeed, in April he released his third CD to critical acclaim. It’s called Again, and on it he discusses everything from winter weather to drug deals. “I don’t know why they call them drug ‘deals,’ ” he says. “That shit is expensive. It’s not a deal at all.” Thursday-Sunday. $8-$14. Go Bananas, 8410 Market Place Lane, Montgomery, gobananascomedy.com.
EVENT: LAROSA’S BALLOON GLOW
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a… balloon? Hot air balloons in an array of dazzling colors will light up the evening sky at Coney Island in a whimsical and glowing tethered aerial display, topped off by a Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks grand finale over Lake Como. This unique tradition started in 1999 and now features more than 15 balloons in every color. Q102 will be on site to DJ the night away and Coney’s famous rides will keep running long after dark, until 11 p.m. Sunlite Pool will be open until 9:30 p.m. for swimming and afterward for fireworks viewing. 5-11 p.m. Sunday. $9 parking before 2 p.m.; $12 parking after 2 p.m. 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, coneyislandpark.com.
EVENT: RED, WHITE AND BLUE ASH
Red, White and Blue Ash is one of the most popular celebrations in town — like 130,000-people popular — and for good reason: it offers plenty of food, drink, music and a dazzling fireworks display. Eagles tribute band Hotel California takes the stage at 5:30 p.m., leading up to headliners Styx at 8:15 p.m. For the second year in a row, the event will be held at Blue Ash’s ever-growing Summit Park, allowing even more room for food, booze, people and pups. Settle in for some Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks beginning at 10 p.m.; bring your own blanket or lawn chair (and stake out a spot ASAP). 4-10:35 p.m. Monday. Free. Summit Park, 4335 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, blueashevents.com.
EVENT: AULT PARK FIREWORKS
The 51st-annual Ault Park Fireworks display is an all-day Fourth of July festival full of family-friendly activities, live music and concessions with hot dogs, ice cream, lemonade and barbecue — all bookended by a morning children’s parade at 11 a.m. and Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks at 10 p.m. Parade registration begins at 10:30 a.m. Monday. Free. Ault Park, 5090 Observatory Circle, Hyde Park, aultparkac.org.
EVENT: STRICKER’S GROVE FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION
Anyone who’s ever wished to own their own amusement park might look to Stricker’s Grove with envy — the family-owned, 25-acre park is closed to the public for the vast majority of the year. The Fourth of July is one of the few exceptions. Rides will be in operation beginning at 3 p.m., leading up to a fireworks display at sundown. Wooden rollercoaster The Tornado, completed in 1993, was constructed by park owner Ralph Stricker — the only person in the United States to build his own roller coaster. Other rides include a nostalgic Ferris wheel, tilt-a-whirl, train, pirate ship and merry-go-round. 2-11 p.m. Monday. Free admission; $5 parking; $1.75 individual ride ticket; $15 unlimited rides. Stricker’s Grove, 11490 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, 513-521-9747, strickersgrove.com.