One of Cincinnati’s top and most consistent original music clubs is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend with a blowout party featuring lots of live music. And it’s all free, of course, because the club in question is the beloved Northside Tavern, located in heart of Northside’s bustling strip along Hamilton Ave. (Along with The Comet further up Hamilton, the Tavern helped pioneer the “no cover” format that more and more venues hosting original music have picked up on over the years.)
Northside Tavern has evolved somewhat in the past decade, most notably in 2008 when the gorgeous backroom performance area was opened (allowing bigger acts to no longer have to cram into the corner by the front door). But the Tavern has remained the kind of club that you can pop into on any night of the week and usually find something interesting going on, whether it’s the cream of the local music crop (featuring everything from Indie Rock to Folk to Jazz), a hot touring act, live band karaoke or one of Projectmill’s popular Indie dance nights. The club has become a home of sorts for local musicians, who not only play there, but also sometimes work there as well (Erika Wennerstrom from Heartless Bastards is a former bartender and her band has done post-stardom shows there since in return).
For this weekend’s 10th anniversary spectacular, the club has lined up Electro/Dance duo You, You’re Awesome, new rockers Ohio Knife and Electronica producer Alexander Smith, who records under the name Lydia Burrell, for Friday night. Saturday, the club presents a powerhouse local Rock & Roll double bill, with Tavern regulars Wussy and The Tigerlilies (the first Rock band to play the club). (www.northside-tavern.com)
Release Parties Galore
• Indie Rock trio The Never Setting Suns are set to release their sophomore full-length, Time & Eternity, with a big show at Oakley’s 20th Century Theatre. The concert kicks off at 8 p.m. with The Plastic Inevitables and Beneath The Oaks. Admission is $7.
Time & Eternity is a wonderfully dynamic and fluid Rock album, at times huge and epic while other times whisper-in-your-ear intimate. Songs like “Or, The Whale” have the full-bodied feel of Explosions in the Sky or the best early Smashing Pumpkins (especially the guitars), mixed with an almost punkish urgency and a loud/quiet dynamicism that would make the Pixies smile like proud grandparents. But then the band pulls out something like “To Be Found Out” or the acoustic-based “I Am Your Son,” which resemble Neil Young or Band of Horses, with insistent, soulful vocals and a rootsier, balladic vibe.
Time & Eternity shows The Never Setting Suns rising to meet a potential only hinted at on the band’s previous releases; the future potential is brighter than a million suns. (theneversettingsuns.com)
• Tuesday at the Northside Tavern, diverse quartet The Cla-Zels launch their latest album, In A Canyon, with special guests Majestic Man. The free show kicks off at 10 p.m.
Featuring the solid vocals of co-frontpeople Jason Erickson and Joanie Whittaker, who trade off leads from track to track (and harmonize beautifully, as well), the music on In A Canyon primarily falls in the Country realm, but the band explores that realm to the fullest, tapping into both classic and modern Country. (Imagine a collaborative album featuring Dwight Yoakam, Johnny Cash, Sugarland, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash, and you’re close.)
“Hot and Cold Running Love” is a dust-kickin’ Country rocker; tracks like “It’s Not Mine” and the title song are lovely, rootsy ballads; and the playful “She Sees It, She Likes It” has an old-timey, breakneck Bluegrass zeal. But the band never limits where their well-constructed songs go, bustin’ out some guttural Blues on “Clean Sheets, Dirty Man,” touching on Reggae with “One Bullet” and rocking out on the time-signature-crazy “The Hurting’s On Me.”
It’s an enjoyable trip through The Cla-Zels’ varied influences; you’ll be glad they invited you along for the ride. (www.clazels.com)
• DJ Funeral Fresh celebrates the release of his first “Remixtape” Thursday at Downtown’s Tonic on 4th. Da Party Life is a creative mixtape (and “collaboration” with Jay-Z, who features heavily) on which Fresh says he attempted to make something “more than just a mix of people’s favorite songs.” Download or listen to it at www.mixstack.com. Thursday’s party starts at 9 p.m. and there is a $5 cover. (www.djfuneralfresh.blogspot.com)
• Progressive “Livetronica” crew Skeetones have been hitting the road more and more lately, building up a strong regional fan base. Their current tour is in support of a solid new four-track EP, Next Level. The group comes back to town to play at The Mad Frog in Corryville this Friday with guests Broccoli Samurai. Get into the groove by downloading the EP for free at www.skeetones.com.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN:[email protected]