At this Memorial Day weekend’s Taste of Cincinnati festival, the sampling isn’t limited to food. It’s also a great way to taste some of the best local music has to offer. Whether you’re a curious newbie, a lapsed fan needing to brush up or a Cincinnati music connoisseur, this Saturday-Monday, Taste of Cincinnati again provides an excellent primer that’s easy on your pocketbook (it's free!). You can’t go wrong with almost any of the edible treats, but for those looking for some guidance in the audible treats department, below are some recommendations for Saturday (with Sunday and Monday suggestions to follow).
Be sure to stop by CityBeat’s booth at Taste all three days, on Fifth Street between Race and Vine. The cool Framester folks — popular participants at a few recent CityBeat parties — will be on hand to take your photo, so be sure to sport your hippest duds. (Read more about Framester here.)
The various stages for music and other entertainment are scattered along Taste of Cincinnati’s Fifth Street strip; download a detailed map here and print out our suggestions and you’ll be Boy-Scout-prepared to experience the best the event has to offer. Click here for the full entertainment lineup.
Saturday 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. (Fountain Square Stage)
OK, CityBeat’s coverage of local music usually focuses on those who write their own songs. But we ain’t mad at cover bands; as their popularity proves, there’s certainly a place for them in the local music scene. We just decided long ago to spotlight the wealth of original music in town. Taste organizers deserve credit for continually striking a good balance of original music and cover acts. If you prefer going out to see cover bands over original ones, Taste is a great chance to spread your wings a little and at least give Cincy’s creative musical offerings a chance. And if you’re a fan of original music and would never set foot at a cover band bar show, Cover Model might be a good chance for you to loosen up a little and have some fun before your original band itinerary starts up. The group features veterans from some great original Cincy bands and they play a cool array of songs by the likes of Talking Heads, MGMT, The Cure, The Clash, Pixies and Franz Ferdinand.
Saturday 1 p.m.- 2 p.m. Metromix Stage at P&G Gardens
One of the top practitioners of the “Hot” Jazz popularized by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, these local music vets made their bones in Rock and Pop bands in Cincy over the years. Their sets and albums are an eclectic collection of original material, vintage Gypsy Jazz faves and modern song covers presented in Hot Jazz style.
Saturday 2:30 p.m. -3:30 p.m. Metromix Stage at P&G Gardens
Fun and Funky with two capital “Fs,” The Cincy Brass have been building a following with their infectious twists of current Pop, Hip Hop and Indie tunes presented in style influenced by New Orleans marching band processions. The group’s horn brigade features some of the top CCM-trained talent in the area.
Saturday 4 p.m.-5 p.m. Metromix Stage at P&G Gardens
Don’t let The Pinstripes youth and energy fool you — this isn’t just another short-shelf-life Ska/Punk crew. The Pinstripes members are students of pure, early Reggae styles, which is masterfully funneled through their own original songwriting. Bring yer dancing shoes.
Saturday 7:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Metromix Stage at P&G Gardens
The Seedy Seeds’ (pictured) uniquely charming blend of earnest, heartfelt Pop, tremendously infectious melodies and deft balance of folksy instrumentation, electronic sounds and groovy rhythms has been earning more and more attention with each new album and an ever-expanding tour schedule. The trio’s latest, Verb Noun, is its masterwork so far, showing the band’s natural progression and maturity without losing any of the basic elements that made them so endearing from the start.
Saturday 9:30 p.m.-11 p.m. Metromix Stage at P&G Gardens
Like The Seedy Seeds, Indie Pop quartet Pomegranates have been making a mark on the national Indie scene with a steady stream of increasingly impressive albums and national tour dates, including jaunts with other on-the-rise groups like Fake Problems, Wye Oak and Oh No! Oh My! Last year’s One of Us was a stunning display of the Poms’ endlessly imaginative, ambient yet catchy Art Pop.