As someone, somewhere wisely once said (or put on a T-shirt, I can't remember), "Corporate (fill in the blank) sucks!" The creators of the Lite Brite Indie Pop and Film Test seem to concur, as they celebrate and champion independent music and film for the second year this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Southgate House in Newport.
On the musical end, the fest features area talent like (in)camera (Friday); The Light Wires, The Chocolate Horse and Dayton's Lab Partners (Saturday); and Louisville-based Astralwerks recording artists VHS or Beta (Sunday's headliners). The rest of the musical lineup presents exciting, critically lauded up-and-comers from the Indie underground, including The Zincs, L'Altra and Baby Teeth (Friday) and Scout Niblett and Pela (Saturday). Keeping the film/music synergy going all weekend will be the participation of various visualscapers, who will provide video accompaniment for all of the musical performances. Video production companies and artists like Lightborne, Big Bang Productions, Jef Mayer, Spencer Yeh and Andrew Hildebrand are participating, while bands like (in)camera, Lumens and The Chocolate Horse have crafted their own visual backdrops.
The fest is also heavy on independent, DIY filmmaking, much of which has a musical angle. Of "local music" interest is the tour documentary, Ladies & Gentlemen: The Afghan Whigs, a film put together by longtime Whigs live soundman Steve Girton (also a local studio engineer and musician). The film shows one of Cincinnati's greatest music exports on the road in support of their 1993 breakthrough, Gentlemen, with amusing behind-the-scenes debauchery and live footage. Ladies & Gentlemen is being presented in surround sound, which should help make it feel at times like being at one of the band's legendary live shows from that era.
Along with a slew of short films and local filmmaker's work, the fest also showcases the amazing Dandy Warhols/Brian Jonestown Massacre flick, DIG!, the acclaimed modern Christian music doc, Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? and A Good Band Is Easy to Kill, which chronicles the final tour of Indie Pop sensations Beulah, including footage from one of the band's shows at the Southgate House (the doc gets a DVD release in early August). (litebritetest.com)
Promenade's Final Bow
One of the finest locally based bands of the past decade, Promenade, have announced their imminent break-up. The trio will play their last show Saturday at alchemize. Kicking off the night is one of the first full-band performances from the Turnbull AC's. The club's "Girls & Boys" Indie/Dance night follows Promenade's last gasp.
The band is also releasing its final album with Saturday's show. Part Two: goodness ends is a breathtaking Indie Pop record. Its release on the same day as the band's final show is cause for mixed feelings — it's the ideal closer to a brilliant career but, because it's so good, it's depressing that they are leaving us. Promenade's evolution has been fascinating and infinitely satisfying to watch over the years. From their early days playing around Miami University to their emergence as one of the guiding lights of the city's Pop/Rock boon in the late '90s, Promenade's growth as songwriters, performers and musicians progressed like you always hope and expect a band will. One can't help but wonder what might have come from the band artistically down the road, given the perpetual upward creative trajectory they've been riding since their first days together in the early '90s.
One of the things Promenade has gotten better at over the years is giving their songs effective emotional weight. Part Two has this in spades, not always in the actual words, but in how they are delivered and how the musicians build around them. The band recorded the album on their own this time and it shows in the more relaxed, natural vibe and more adventurous sonics. Guitarist Steve Sauer's guitar textures are more luminous than ever, singer/bassist Scott Cunningham's voice is like warm honey, delivering some of the most subtle (yet no less effective) melodies they've come up with yet and drummer Jason DeBruer, the band's secret weapon and a vital element to the Promenade sound (he actually left the band, but returned to complete the album and do the final show), gets even more creative in his imaginative, machine-line rhythmic creations. This last album sounds more introspective than previous releases, still radiant, yet in a more sober, reflective manner. Swan songs are rarely so elegant. (promenadepop.com)