Cincinnati Bands Turn to Fans for Ambitious Projects

Plus, the Tunes & Blooms concert series begins and Mainstay Rock Bar turns 5

click to enlarge Winterhymn (Photo: Provided)
Winterhymn (Photo: Provided)

• In just a few weeks, Cincinnati sextet Winterhymn will set off on its biggest adventure yet when it embarks on the Paganfest America tour ( The band will be the only American act on the tour, which showcases groups that perform Folk Metal, a fusion of (duh) traditional Folk music and Heavy Metal (often with Viking themes) that developed overseas in the ’90s and remains a bigger sensation in Europe, though — as Winterhymn’s (and Paganfest’s) popularity attests — the cult of North American fans continues to grow. The band is joining Folk Metal big shots Korpiklaani, Turisas, Chthonic and Varg for the 22-date tour.

It’s a huge opportunity for Winterhymn, but also one that will require the unsigned, DIY band to pony up for travel expenses along the way (as they write on their website, “touring the continent isn’t cheap, and the prices of horse feed and defensive weaponry have skyrocketed”). To lessen the financial burden, the band has turned to fans to ask for donations via an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign. The group hopes to raise $7,500 before the campaign ends on April 13, to help pay for things like vehicle rentals, insurance, gas and much more.

In return for the support, Winterhymn is offering up some cool incentives, though some of the cooler ones — like a band-used guitar and violin — have already been claimed. For your donation, you can still garner free music, signed posters, personalized “thank you” videos from the members and more. And if you can spare $300, the band will send you the signed kick-drumhead used by Winterhymn on the Paganfest jaunt.

Visit for more on the group and here for a link to the Indiegogo page.

• Compelling Cincinnati ensemble The Happy Maladies, which crafts unique compositions that touch on Folk, Indie Rock, Classical and Chamber music (among other things), have big plans for 2014. The quartet is soon hitting Sputnik Sound studios in Nashville to record its first full-length LP, spending the past two years crafting the songs and building on the great promise of 2012’s excellent EP, new again. The Maladies are also closing in on the deadline for its “Must Love Cats” project, for which the group put a call out to composers to write pieces specifically for the group. After the June 1 deadline, the band will chose five of the works and record them at Cincinnati’s Monastery Studio. The group plans to tour behind the project and is also working on a companion book (with profiles of each composer) and live performance film.

As the Maladies prep for both projects — as well as a new pressing of new again, after selling out of its initial hard-copy run — the members are hoping to expand their reach and hire some outside promotional help to push the music to a wider audience. All of this activity comes with a fairly big price tag, so the band is turning to fans via a crowd-funding campaign through Kickstarter. The Maladies — who are offering perks for pledges that range from copies of their releases to lessons from the talented musicians on numerous instruments (from banjo to viola) — are more than halfway to their target of $10,000, with the pledge deadline coming up April 16.

Visit for more about the group and click here for the Kickstarter page for full details.

More Local Notes

• The Cincinnati Zoo’s annual Tunes & Blooms concert series, which features some of Cincinnati’s best musical acts every Thursday in April, kicks off this week with the double bill of The Comet Bluegrass All-Stars and Bulletville, the Country music offshoot of Americana juggernaut Magnolia Mountain. The rest of the series features folkies Jake Speed & the Freddies and Shiny and the Spoon (April 10), a night of Reggae with The Cliftones (April 17) and Modern Rock crews Green Light Morning and DAAP Girls (April 24).

Concerts in the Tunes & Blooms series (which coincides with the zoo’s springtime, blossoming-flower extravaganza, Zoo Blooms) begin at 6 p.m. Admission to the zoo is free after 5 p.m. on concert nights. Parking in a zoo lot is $9. For more info, visit

• This week, Downtown live music venue Mainstay Rock Bar will present a slew of mostly-free shows in honor of its fifth anniversary.

On Wednesday, the club hosts the Cincy Reggae All-Stars, which features members of The Cliftones and Know Prisoners. Thursday night, Mainstay has rockers Lemon Sky and Dueling Drums, a fun, popular attraction at the venue that showcases a pair of drummers (show regular Kevin Finkelmeier with Eric Keyes) rocking out together over a collection of Rock and Pop hits to create a sort of hyper-amped-up DJ set. Friday at Mainstay, catch Cincinnati Entertainment Award winners (in the Electronic category) Black Signal and excellent Indie rockers Saturn Batteries. The fifth anniversary week fun continues Saturday with local favorites The Sundresses and Mad Anthony ($5 cover; all other shows are free) teaming up.

The shows begin at 10 p.m. Visit for more info.

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected] or @