MPMF.17 Schedule: Sunday, Sept. 24

click to enlarge Walk the Moon - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Walk the Moon

Skyline Chili Stage (Taft Theatre)

10 p.m. Walk the Moon


AltPop Rock 

In 2010, Cincinnati’s Walk the Moon played a high-energy club show at the MidPoint Music Festival for a small but enthusiastic crowd of no more than 50 people. This year, Walk the Moon triumphantly returns to its hometown festival as headliners and superstars, rocketed into the mainstream music world with its single “Shut Up and Dance” off of its 2014 RCA Records release, Talking is Hard. With its engulfing live show and mix of earworm melodies, passionate vocals, echoing, U2-like guitars and dance-inducing rhythms, the Cincinnati foursome isn’t likely to fall into “one-hit wonder” obscurity, something its consistently high-on-the-poster festival bookings and loyal hardcore fan base seem to confirm. The band is revving up for the release of its third major-label album — due in November and advanced by the single “One Foot” — meaning hometown fans should get a little dose of Walk the Moon’s future during its MPMF performance. 

You’ll Dig It If You Dig: ’80s influences like The Police and Talking Heads mixed with a Modern Rock verve, contemporary Pop charm and timeless passion. (Mike Breen)

8:25 p.m. Flint Eastwood


Indie Rock
Flint Eastwood, the recording/performing identity of the brilliant Jax Anderson, began as an amazing Indie Dance Pop outfit that utilized Surf Rock as well as spaghetti-western soundtracks as an undercurrent, a sound that ran through 2012’s debut EP, Late Night in Bolo Ties. On its follow-up, 2015’s Small Victories, the band became more reflective of Anderson’s solo aspirations and signaled a new phase in Flint Eastwood’s creative evolution. Her latest EP, Broke Royalty, is an extension of the shift on Small Victories toward more orchestration and a more expansive and atmospheric sonic canvas, tagged with a message of empowerment and unity. The EP’s first single, “Queen,” starts with a bombastic fanfare and offers the potent lyric, “I’m a queen not a soldier, relentless and chosen, I’m fighting a war tonight.” Sign up. Flint Eastwood needs you.

YDIIYD: Kate Bush taking over LCD Soundsystem. (Brian Baker)

7:25 p.m. Harbour



If you are looking for the next band out of Cincinnati with the potential to take on the Pop charts and follow in the footsteps of Walk the Moon, don’t sleep on Harbour, which was formed in 2014 by five friends in nearby Lebanon, Ohio. With its warm and infectious AltRock sound, the group has amassed a rabidly dedicated area following that has helped them sell out hometown shows. Harbour’s monster hooks and sonic charisma are primed for wider attention, something the members are trying to hasten with performances at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York and a touring radius that has extended to numerous college campuses around the country. This summer, Harbour hosted its own music festival to celebrate the release of its latest full-length, Heatwave

YDIIYD: Bad Suns, Colony House, Bleachers, Young the Giant. (MB)

6:15 p.m. Automagik



Greater Cincinnati altrockers Automagik came together in 2010 with a sharp, dynamic sound drenched in a gush of kinetic energy, catchy hooks, insistent grooves and an overall sense of fun and offbeat humor that combine for one of the more crowd-engaging live shows in the region. After a couple of self-issued releases, Automagik teamed with well-distributed indie label Old Flame Records for 2015’s Dark Daze EP, which spawned write-ups from national outlets like Consequence of Sound and Interview Magazine. Regular touring and appearances at festivals like Bunbury and South by Southwest have also helped Automagik spread its joyous Pop Rock playfulness to a broadening audience. Last summer the band released The Road, a four-song EP issued as a limited-edition cassette. 

YDIIYD: Cage the Elephant, Foxy Shazam, Weezer. (MB)

5:05 p.m. Daniel in Stereo


Indie Rock

Mary Tyler Moore wasn’t alone in her ability to turn the world on with her smile. Daniel Chimusoro, better known to various and sundry as Daniel in Stereo, has a megawatt grin that could very easily power a small Midwestern city during a power outage and an infectious musical presentation that matches it step for bounding step. Chimusoro has recorded and released his debut 4 Years EP, energized a couple of pretty big crowds at consecutive Bunbury Music Festivals, had a bit of a hit with 2015’s giddy “Lipstain” and earned a well-deserved nomination in the Alternative/Indie category at the last Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremonies. DiS has released a series of singles since the EP came out, including the new “Fool Me Once” — hopefully there’s a full album’s worth of Daniel in Stereo on its way in the near future. The world needs a full measure of his brand of happy in the worst way right now.

YDIIYD: Owl City produced by Jimmy Eats World. (BB)

3:55 p.m. Sphynx

(Austin, Texas)


If you are in the groove to move at MidPoint, let Sphynx be your full-service disco (light-up dance floor not included… probably). The MPMF veterans’ entertaining live show and deeply funky, playfully retro ElectroPop sound made them one of the more popular live entities in Austin, Texas — one of the biggest music towns in the world — before the musicians decided to take their glammed-up show on the road, sprinkling clubs and festivals across the country with Sphynx magic dust. To crank up the party vibes, the group is known to pull out an ironic crowd-pleasing cover song or two, but after spending much of 2016 writing and recording new material, the current focus is on the new jams featured on the recently released Golden Garden album and a companion EP, Spacecamp. Still, you’ll never know if Sphynx would have played Steve Perry’s “Foolish Heart” at MPMF if you don’t yell it out.

YDIIYD: Chromeo, MGMT, Daft Punk, Jamiroquai. (MB) 

2:45 p.m. Moonbeau



Back when he was in the eighth grade, The Yugos’ vocalist/guitarist Christian Gough began exorcising his ElectroPop/New Wave jones with Moonbeau, a dead-perfect evocation of ’80s Synth Pop avatars like A Flock of Seagulls, Modern English and New Order. In the present tense, Gough — working side by side with vocalist Claire Muenchen and drummer Alex Murphy-White — hits all the right highlights of a bygone era, but with a completely fresh and contemporary passion and energy. Until recently, the band had only posted a number of demos and live videos of its work, but the recent release of Moonbeau’s first fully produced single, “Are We in Love Yet?,” was the first step toward a full-length album next year through Old Flame Records. Make no mistake, “Are We in Love Yet?” could be Moonbeau’s Walk the Moon moment and, by the way, the answer is, “Yes, we are most definitely in love with Moonbeau.”

YDIIYD: Synth Pop introduced by Martha Quinn, then and now. (BB)

Central Parkway YMCA Stage (Masonic Cathedral)

10 p.m. BadBadNotGood

(Toronto, Canada)

Jazz/Hip Hop

To define BadBadNotGood in any definitive fashion is to unfairly relegate it to a constraining musical singularity that wouldn’t adequately describe the ensemble in any event. While the quartet clearly fits all the spotting characteristics of Jazz, its hairpin tonal shifts from pleasant melodicism to discordant abrasion earn the group the often-abused Avant Garde designation. In BadBadNotGood’s case, its freeform flights of fancy are never merely noise for noise’s sake, but rather an exploration of boundaries that allows the musicians to fearlessly stray from known paths with the surety that they will either find their way back or blaze a new trail in the process. All of this is heightened by the collective’s use of Electronic and, more grippingly, Hip Hop elements within the Jazz framework — if it can work with American history on Broadway, it can work anywhere — which has led to collaborations with Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean and Ghostface Killah. Since 2010, BadBadNotGood’s members have developed a telepathic synchronicity, as evidenced on its album releases, which have included interpretations of songs by My Bloody Valentine, A Tribe Called Quest, Kanye West and other unexpected artists, as well as original material. The band is a marvel of deconstruction, reinvention and refinement, where tradition is both honored and ignored.

YDIIYD: Can and Weather Report playing John Coltrane’s songbook upside down and backward. (Brian Baker)

8:30 p.m. Noname


Hip Hop

Since her first release, last summer’s Telefone, Noname has become one of the most acclaimed musical acts in independent music. But the buzz around the unsigned artist started before Telefone made it on numerous outlets’ “Best of 2016” lists. Making a name for herself in Chicago as a slam poet, Noname’s collaborations with Hip Hop artists drew wider attention, particularly her work with friend Chance the Rapper, with whom she appeared on Saturday Night Live late last year. The imaginative Telefone more than lived up to the promise of her guest appearances. Draped in an atmospheric, low-key Soul/Funk sound, Noname’s musical vocal delivery and the thoughtful, creative poetry of her lyrics — which gracefully move between introspective reflection and inspection and social commentary — earn her a high-ranking position among the current wave of artists (Chance included) who are taking Hip Hop to new and exciting places, both musically and lyrically. 

YDIIYD: The musical and socially awake spirit of Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill and D’Angelo delivered with the heart and soul of a poet. (MB) 

7:30 p.m. Dan Deacon

(Baltimore, Md.)

Electronic/Indie Rock

There was a time when Dan Deacon lived hand-to-mouth, sleeping in his van and doing his avant DIY Electronic set in seedy clubs, basements and abandoned warehouses; in other words, anywhere. While an electro-acoustic/computer music composition student at SUNY Purchase, Deacon self-released instrumental and experimental Electronic recordings. But in 2007, he dropped his first widely available album, Spiderman of the Rings, and it was an immediate sensation, hitting the Top 25 of traditionally snarky Pitchfork’s Top 50 albums of the year (2009’s Bromst was similarly lauded). Over the subsequent decade, Deacon has moved toward analog synths, live instrumentation and vocal manipulation with equally stunning results, particularly on 2012’s politically charged America and 2015’s triumphant Glass Riffer. The 10th-anniversary release of Spiderman is a revelationm, and so is Deacon’s interactive live show, which is a lot like driving a car — pay attention and be engaged and involved every second or you’ll crash. Don’t forget your mosh pit belt.

YDIIYD: Music that is orchestral and classical and synthy and blippy and all the other dwarves at Snow White’s rave. (BB)

6:30 p.m. Ledges

(Akron, Ohio)

Indie Rock

Akron, Ohio might seem an unlikely musical hotbed to the uninitiated, but the onetime rubber capital of the world was key in shaping the sound of Alternative Rock, giving the world DEVO and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Current arena-fillers/Akronites The Black Keys were the latest reminder to the masses that Akron has an active music scene, but a powerful contender to represent the city’s current music-makers is Ledges, a very promising Indie Rock trio potentially on the verge of a big breakthrough. Though first emerging in 2014 with an EP release, Ledges underwent a reinvention of sorts over the next two years, developing not only the storyline that would become the basis for the trio’s debut full-length album, the just-released Homecoming, but also a richer, soaring sound with an alluring emotional depth and atmospheric layers that craftily incorporate elements of “Alternative” music from the ’80s into the dreamy soundscape. The band’s latest music also has a magnetic Pop pull to it that, mixed with the emotional relatability of the lyrics and vocals, could take Ledges’ music well beyond Akron’s city limits. 

YDIIYD: Smallpools, The Neighbourhood, The 1975. (MB)

5:30 p.m. B.Miles

(Los Angeles) 

Electronic Pop

The moody, dreamlike sounds of L.A.-based singer B.Miles caught on almost as soon as it caught some ears. In 2015, she released a three-song EP, the result of an extended recording session with some friends, which instantly became a music-blog favorite and shot to the top of Spotify’s viral charts in four countries. The EP’s “Salt” — which became the theme song for the Netflix Spanish-language show Las Chicas Del Cable — has earned more than nine million plays on Spotify. B.Miles’ soulful, seductive voice wraps around chilled beats and airy electronics to even greater effect on her latest release, a much-anticipated self-titled EP that was released to even greater fanfare in March. With a four-piece backing band, she has hypnotized crowds with only a select few shows since the EP’s release, making her MPMF appearance a rare treat.

YDIIYD: Vocals that evoke smoky vocal sculptors Sade and Billie Holiday twisted through a 21st-century Trip Hop filter. (MB)

4:30 p.m. A Delicate Motor


Avant Indie Pop

Adam Petersen is one of Cincinnati’s true musical originals. A classically trained pianist, Peterson adapts his skills in the practical sense by teaching piano and chorus, but he applies his musical aspirations and inspirations in a lateral-not-literal manner by way of his sonic alter ego, A Delicate Motor. Utilizing a variety of keyboard and percussion instruments, direct and ethereal expressions of his vocal presence and the technological voodoo of looping, Peterson/ADM builds soundscapes that are rooted in and yet manage to transcend traditional structures and executions. With its latest album, Fellover My Own, A Delicate Motor turned into more of a band, with local musicians lending guitar, bass and drums to the tracks in the service of compositions that challenge the Indie Rock form more often than they conform to them. To support the album, Petersen enlisted different local players to form a new group to play live shows.

YDIIYD: Ambient Indie Rock with Jazz and Electronic undercurrents, orchestrated by improvisational deliberation. (BB)

3:30 p.m. Current Events


Indie Rock

With persistent shows around Greater Cincinnati over the past couple of years with a wide variety of local and touring bands, Current Events has been able to showcase its music in front of a diverse cross-section of local music fans, building its own following along the way. The ability to gracefully slot into almost any Indie or Alternative Rock lineup comes down to the quartet’s music (and the fact that the band plays it incredibly well), which was shaped by the varied tastes and influences each member brought to the group. On its EPs and singles released since 2015, you can hear the trace of Post Hardcore and Post Punk in the creative rhythmic thrust, while the stellar guitar work recalls everything from Post Rock to Prog. Current Events’ solid vocals, melodies and lyrics tie everything together, delivered with the kind of earnestness and honesty that are the hallmarks of the Emo sound.

YDIIYD: Jimmy Eat World, Copeland, Joyce Manor. (MB)

YMCA Ballroom Stage (Masonic Ballroom)

9:15 p.m. Aaron Lee Tasjan

(Nashville, Tenn.)


As a well-traveled sideman, Aaron Lee Tasjan has conclusively proven there is absolutely nothing that is beyond his ability. Second guitar for the New York Dolls? Done. Regular touring six-stringer for Kevn Kinney’s Drivin’ N Cryin’? Let’s go. Hired gun for bands like Everest, Alberta Cross and Semi Precious Weapons? Any and every time, sport. With his band, the exquisitely named Madison Square Gardeners, or on his own as a solo act, Tasjan lights it up even more, writing and performing material that stands shoulder to shoulder with the giants of Folk/Rock storytelling (Arlo Guthrie, John Prine, Todd Snider, Guy Clark, Steve Goodman, etc.). Throw in the fact that Tasjan might be one of the most gifted and versatile guitar slingers in Nashville or anywhere, and that his solo works — Crooked River BurningIn the Blazes and the shiver-inducing Silver Tears — show him to be a multifaceted purveyor of freewheeling Honky Tonk, reflective Country Rock, free-range Folk and anything else that will serve his songs well. There aren’t many true originals anymore, but Aaron Lee Tasjan is two or three of them.

YDIIYD: The combined musical histories of Nashville and Memphis stitched together in a lightning-animated Nudie suit. (BB)

8 p.m. Mandolin Orange

(Chapel Hill, N.C.)


After meeting at a Bluegrass jam session, Emily Frantz and Andrew Marlin pooled their talents to form Mandolin Orange in 2009; both musicians sing (and create stunning harmonies) and each is a gifted multi-instrumentalist. After a few years of touring and self-releasing material, Mandolin Orange’s well-constructed and expertly played blend of Folk, Country, Bluegrass and Pop caught the attention of Yep Roc Records, home to fellow young Roots music bright lights like Aoife O’Donovan and The Stray Birds. The duo (which tours and records with a backing band) has built a large following in the Americana scene with impassioned live shows and Yep Roc albums like 2015’s Such Jubilee. Last year’s Blindfaller was Mandolin Orange’s crowning artistic achievement, with critics praising Marlin’s sharpened songwriting skills and the duo’s ability to sound contemporary while retaining the vintage, timeless aura of its influences. 

YDIIYD: Once-in-a-lifetime, born-to-be-together Folk music pairings from Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons to Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. (MB)

7 p.m. The Ghost of Paul Revere 

(Portland, Maine)


In the relatively short time since its 2011 debut show, The Ghost of Paul Revere has earned a press kit full of accolades, including “Best in Maine” at 2014’s New England Music Awards, and amassed an increasingly fervent fan base with a pair of EPs and its 2015 full-length debut, Believe. But it’s with electrifying live shows that The Ghost of Paul Revere has made the most significant impact, making its acclaimed debut at the Newport Folk Festival in 2015 and opening for (and generating favorable comparisons to) the likes of The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show. Last year, The Ghost of Paul Revere took a short break from the road to record its new full-length album, slated for release later this year, but now the band members are back in the van, plying their hair-raising hybrid of Folk, Gospel, Bluegrass and rootsy Americana and featuring gorgeous sibling harmonies without the potentially messy sibling connections. The Ghost of Paul Revere will keep riding to spread the message that Roots music is alive and well in the new millennium.

YDIIYD: Church and a post-service party with the Avetts and the McCourys. (BB)

6 p.m. Jeremy Pinnell

(Burlington, Ky.)

Country/Honky Tonk

After packing his résumé with plenty of Rock, Punk and Folk bullet points, guitarist/vocalist Jeremy Pinnell took a break from music to get his head straight. When he returned, he was drawn to the Country sounds that he and old friend Cameron Cochran had explored together as teenagers, and in short order he formed the Honky Tonk crew the 55’s, which became a strong Cincinnati-area draw. Boosted by his otherworldly voice and deep, rich songwriting talent, Pinnell’s debut solo album, OH/KY, was hailed as a triumph in local, regional and national media. After lots of grueling coast-to-coast, pole-to-pole road work, Pinnell finally returned to the studio for his amazing sophomore effort, Ties of Blood and Affection, where he attempts to resolve the darkly emotional issues he addressed on OH/KY

YDIIYD: Classic Country and Honky Tonk indelibly tattooed with the images of a hard but well-lived life. (BB)

5 p.m. Young Heirlooms


Folk Pop/Americana

Music festivals have been good to Young Heirlooms. With their beautiful contemporary spin on Folk music and compelling, intimate, shut-everyone-up-instantly live performances, the band has been a regular highlight at past MidPoint Music Festivals. Christopher Robinson (guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Kelly Fine (vocals, guitar, mandolin) formed the band in 2010 after initially meeting at a music festival in Dayton, Ohio. And after releasing a self-titled debut album in 2013, the six-member group quickly became a favorite locally, earning regular bookings — yes, including festival gigs — as well as airplay on beloved Northern Kentucky radio station WNKU. Young Heirlooms are currently getting ready for the release of its follow-up album, The Hammer, the first glimpse of which was the sublime single “Bury Me with My Hammer,” which shimmers like an Indie Folk version of Fleetwood Mac. The track was issued on vinyl this summer with a cover of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young classic “Ohio” on the B-side. But first, another music festival and another chance for Young Heirlooms to shine. 

YDIIYD: The Lone Bellow, The Head and the Heart, Fleet Foxes, Father John Misty. (MB)

4 p.m. Edward + Jane



There is a pretty good chance that if you attend an Edward + Jane show, you are going to leave with new friends — namely, the musicians in the band. Placing the highest value in family and friends (even using the band name “Family and Friends” for a spell), Edward + Jane is a Folk music collective founded by Timothy Carpenter and Emilie Creutzinger in Chattanooga, Tenn. Like an antidote to the technology-enabled isolation of our times, Edward + Jane have taken their music across North America with the mission of connecting and engaging with listeners to inspire them with music. After releasing their debut EP, As Family We Gather, and getting married, Carpenter and Creutzinger relocated to Cincinnati, bringing Edward + Jane’s base of operations along with them. 

YDIIYD: The Head and the Heart, pre-avant-garde Bon Iver, The Lone Bellow. (MB)

3 p.m. The Long Lost


Indie Folk/Americana

People tend to focus on New York’s Bleeker Street as the center of the Folk universe, but let’s not forget the healthy scene in Chicago. Look at all the greats that have passed through the Old Town School of Folk Music, like John Prine, Roger McGuinn, Steve Goodman, Andrew Bird and Blues legend Big Bill Broonzy, who taught there. Given that lineage, it’s no surprise when amazing Folk groups like The Long Lost emerge from the city. Fronted by the close-knit harmonies of impossibly-young-to-be-this-good Katie Burke and Andi Avalos and backed by the compelling skills of bassist Kevin McMahon and pianist Steve Ashum, The Long Lost merges Folk’s tradition with Indie Rock’s passion to create a familiar-yet-singular sound. The Long Lost’s new EP, Don’t Wait Up For Me, is a tantalizing glimpse at a long but certainly not lost future.

YDIIYD: Unplugged Haim (minus one), The Lumineers, The Civil Wars, The Head and the Heart. (BB)

Superior Kia Stage (Taft Ballroom)

9:15 p.m. Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

(Lagos, Nigeria)


There may be no single figure in contemporary African music more revered that Afrobeat founder and legend Fela Kuti; in the face of government oppression and imprisonment, he forged and championed an exciting new sound with his band Afrika 70 that became a symbol of freedom’s ever-vigilant battle against tyranny. When Fela died in 1997, his youngest son Seun stepped into his father’s nearly unfillable void to lead Egypt 80 at the age of 14. Seun, who had already been performing with Egypt 80 for several years, has continued to honor his father’s musical legacy by performing Afrika 70 studio material that Fela never played live and pushing Egypt 80 to even greater heights by evolving the Afrobeat sound — the group’s 2011 album, From Africa with Fury: Rise, was co-produced by Brian Eno — and remaining committed to his activist father’s social, cultural and political causes.

YDIIYD: Soul, Jazz and Psych Rock from the original continent. (BB)

8 p.m. The Urban Renewal Project

(Los Angeles)

Soul/Hip Hop/Jazz/Dance

Rotating L.A. collective The Urban Renewal Project is a big band with the brass section to prove it. But, though you’ll hear some remnants of classic Big Band Jazz in some of its horn charts, the 13-piece URP swings with the high-octave groove of Funk and Hip Hop, creating an expansive and bombastic fusion of sound that straddles multiple eras. Formed in 2010 by saxophonist R.W. Enoch and rapper Elmer Demond, the group became an in-demand club attraction on the West Coast with its adrenalized live show, reworking everything from Jazz standards to Pop hits to cool selections like Pixies’ “Where is My Mind?” After moving toward original material and recording with guest rappers and singers from all genres, URP is looking to expand its national profile with the September release of 21st Century Ghost, which includes a feature from NYC Hip Hop heroes Camp Lo and is the first release on Fastrac Records, a new imprint from respected Jazz reissue label Resonance Records. 

YDIIYD: The Count Basie Orchestra if it had come up on the Modern Funk scene alongside The Motet and Snarky Puppy and Basie was deep into old-school Hip Hop. (MB) 

6:50 p.m. Charly Bliss

(New York City)

Indie Rock/Pop

New York quartet Charly Bliss has been together for five years, played hundreds of well-received gigs and put out an EP, 2015’s Soft Serve, and the just-released 10-track, 30-minute full-length Guppy. But the band’s inherent chemistry goes deeper than that — lead vocalist Eva Hendricks and guitarist Spencer Fox met at a Tokyo Police Club show when they were 15; Fox and bassist Dan Shure met at summer camp; Hendricks and Shure dated as teenagers; and Eva and drummer/brother Sam Hendricks have that DNA thing. It all comes together in a boiling pot of Pop melodicism and Rock adrenaline, as sticky and sweet as a fresh piece of bubblegum and as infectious as the best possible communicable disease (Skittles pox?). There might be nothing better right now than a dose of Charly Bliss.

YDIIYD: The thought of Liz Phair and Juliana Hatfield putting together a Letters to Cleo tribute band. (BB)

5:40 p.m. Amy O

(Bloomington, Ind.)

Indie Pop/Rock

Elastic is the perfect title for Amy Oelsner’s latest album. The Arkansas native taught herself to play guitar and write songs, has lived all over the East Coast and Midwest, attended college, worked at a variety of jobs and self-released or indie-released nine albums. Amy O’s early work was solo-based, but since moving to Bloomington, Ind. she’s assembled a crack band to translate her exuberant yet introspective songs, which she acknowledges are therapeutic vehicles for dealing with difficult issues in her life. Last year’s Arrow, for instance, was O’s reaction to the tragic death of a friend, but it also served as an inspiration for her to concentrate even harder on her music, which resulted in the release of Elastic a little over a year later.

YDIIYD: Sleater-Kinney obsessed with Cheap Trick. (BB).

4:30 p.m. Varsity


Indie Rock/Pop

Much like Alice’s Restaurant, you can get anything you like in Chicago. Enter Varsity, a versatile and bouncy quintet exuding an infectious melodicism and ass-shaking energy that blends contemporary Indie Rock with bubbly Synth Pop, whipping both into a frothy meringue. Varsity’s first two releases, 2013’s Thanks for Nothing EP and 2015’s eponymous mini-album, were followed by a year’s worth of online digital singles that exhibited the band’s expansive range and stylistic depth, earning them a notice as one of the 10 “Under-the-Radar Chicago Releases of 2015” in Chicago paper RedEye. Not to shabby for a band that’s been around for about four years. What will Varsity do for an encore? Just about anything.

YDIIYD: Katrina and the Waves if the Waves were Vampire Weekend. (BB)

3:20 p.m. Bicentennial Bear

(Columbus, Ohio)

Indie Rock

One of several hundred recent bands to sport an ursine presence in its name, Bicentennial Bear is the only one (to my knowledge) able or willing to use the appellation Bi Bear as a shorthand reference. From just up the road in Ohio’s capitol, Bicentennial Bear also comes frontloaded with lots of local/regional cred — the quintet has opened shows for R. Ring, Ampline and erstwhile GBV collaborator Jason Narducy’s new band, Split Single, and the group actually did one of its album release shows — for its last full-length, 2015’s Doubt & Distortion — at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Ky. But the band’s greatest claim to fame may well be the unsubstantiated rumor that their 2010 holiday single, “All I Want for Christmas is an Afghan Whigs Reunion,” might have jump started the very event it was wishboning. That’s enough to recommend Bicentennial Bear’s MPMF performance in the strongest possible terms.

YDIIYD: Bear-on-bear action, to a soundtrack that reveres Cheap Trick, The Hold Steady and The New Pornographers. (BB)

2:10 p.m. Coastal Club


Indie Pop

Land-locked Cincinnatians who dream of living in a beachside setting can find some solace in the local music scene. Assume Cincy band The Harlequins’ refrain “Midwest is the best coast” as your motto, hang out at local-music venue Northside Yacht Club and become the biggest fan of Queen City bands whose music evokes images of chilling by the ocean, including Harbour, Coconut Milk and Coastal Club, a Pop Rock quartet that claims fond memories of hanging on the beach not only led to its ironic name (the group was briefly called Local Waves), but also informs its sound and songwriting. Formed just last year, Coastal Club has been pimping its smooth, warm and highly melodic take on Indie Rock in local clubs, releasing an eponymous EP this past spring that crisply showcases the foursome’s animated rhythms, swirling guitar trickles and spirited hooks. 

YDIIYD: Finally getting that late-night campfire kiss from a new love at the end of the perfect beachside vacation. (MB)