Cover Story: Music

Hey, why not make a resolution this fall to go out and see some live bands instead of hitting the same ol' dance clubs or stinkin' drinkin' bars? It's cheaper (usually), you'll be doing somet

The Graveblankets

Hey, why not make a resolution this fall to go out and see some live bands instead of hitting the same ol' dance clubs or stinkin' drinkin' bars? It's cheaper (usually), you'll be doing something charitable (starving artists, you know?) and your friends will think you're cool (maybe). This summer saw a lot of concerts come to town and local bands stay fairly active, playing the clubs and cranking out CD releases. The fall looks to be even more busy.

Some summer highlights you might have missed:

· Local summer releases you can still go and pick up: Roger Klug's creative tribute to 1960s Pop music, Where Has the Music Gone?: The Lost Recordings of Clem Comstock, Dallas Moore's in-concert Outlaw Country manifesto, Back at the Saddle, gifted Folk singer/songwriter David Wolfenberger's Tales From Thom Scarecrow, Hip Hop/Jazz trio Iswhat!?'s thoughtfully funky Landmines, and The Greenhornes' Garage Rock gem, Gun for You. Check your better, local-music friendly record stores for copies.

· Break-ups, reunions and line-up changes? Not too many of those this summer, but here are a few local band updates: Midwest favorites Pure Prairie League ("Amie") reformed for a tour, while 1980s Metal band CJSS also reunited for a weekend of shows in Cincinnati. The Tigerlilies added new guitarist Greg Reynolds, who replaced Denny Brown.

And local electronic musician War-N Harrison (of Fishtank No. 9) started a new project called Hungry Lucy.

· Local boys done good: On the national level, several groups with local ties kept busy this summer. Blessid Union of Souls released Walking Off the Buzz (V2) which spawned the national radio hit "Hey, Leonardo." Boy band 98 sold millions, toured the world and is now mentioned routinely in the same breath as Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync. And The Afghan Whigs went on tour with archetypal cock rockers Aerosmith.

· Ripley's Alive, the Clifton club that presented the best (and just about only) Reggae, Dead bands and experimental stuff, closed its doors this summer. Sycamore Gardens, under new ownership, changed its name to Electra and brought in several live national acts.

Fall highlights:
· If you venture downtown to the Main Street district to dance the night away, the scene has changed ever so slightly. Banana Joe's opens (alongside new watering hole The Lab), Local 1207 comes back under new management and the Swing Lounge loses its Swing music.

· This year's diverse Blue Jordan Fall Music Festival is stacking up to top last year's exciting fest. Headlining at Sharon Woods Historic Village on Sept. 18 is Cincy's own Folk/Pop favorites Over The Rhine alongside fellow local acts like Silver Arm, Wild Carrot, Ric Hordinski, Slant, Tracy Walker, Janet Pressley, The Graveblankets and a slew of others.

· The 1999 edition of Popopolis, the Greater Cincinnati Pop Music Festival, is scheduled for Oct. 16 at the Southgate House. Like last year's event, the show will feature a solid stable of local and regional acts that explore the more melodic side of Rock & Roll, but this year several national acts are expected as well. Confirmed for appearances are Boston's Orbit and The Shiela Divine plus locals The Simpletons, Rockets To Mars and Promenade. More regional, local and national acts, including a "headliner," will be announced in the coming weeks.

· The Afghan Whigs play another homecoming gig on Sept. 25 at Bogart's with The Greenhornes and Howlin' Maggie. This will probably be the last Whigs show for a while as singer Greg Dulli finishes work on his Twilight Singers project (due in the winter from Columbia) and the band begins work on a new album.

· And, as the fall winds down, don't forget about the 1999 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, celebrating Cincinnati's preeminent theatrical and musical artists. Details to come. ©