In 2008, local independent publisher Aurore Press (which releases chapbooks featuring local writing on everything from politics to the glory of thrift stores) presented a “reunion” concert at the Southgate House that featured bands (and many fans) who were a part of the scene at famed Punk Rock palace/dump The Jockey Club in Newport. The show coincided with a book of recollections by the people around during the Jockey’s ’80s heyday, when bands that might have otherwise skipped Cincinnati on their tours (everyone from Black Flag to The Ramones to The Cramps) found a home in Newport and the burgeoning local Punk scene found a clubhouse.
That first reunion show went so well another one was presented last year. This Saturday at the Southgate, it returns for the third year straight. Long-dormant bands like The Reduced, The Thangs and Human Zoo have gotten back together to play the previous events, and this year brings a couple more unexpected reunions.
When Sluggo began playing around town around 1983, the Punk scene here had yet to see or hear a local group playing in the thrashier, speedier brand of Punk that was emerging nationally (dubbed Hardcore at the time, though the meaning of that genre has shifted since). The band became a local favorite, supporting national artists like The Necros and Negative Approach, and the 1984 self-released Contradiction EP (released on 7-inch vinyl) earned Sluggo attention from the national underground. The band’s reunion set is being filmed for a planned documentary.
Also on the bill are The Speed Hickeys, Cincinnati’s version of The Replacements that hasn’t officially played together in two decades. The band — fronted by veteran singer/guitarist Ric Hickey, currently of Sparrow Bellows — mixed Rock swagger and Punk’s recklessness with a sharp Pop edge. Local experimental music pioneer Uncle Dave Lewis is scheduled to perform with members of The Wolverton Brothers, and the still-active SS-20 — perhaps the biggest band of the Jockey era — will also be on hand. Former Punk radio show host Handsome Clem Carpenter returns as MC.
Get show and club details here.
Radio-Ready to Rumble
Earlier this year, singer/songwriter Eric Tepe released the EP Singapore (under the name Eric Matthew Tepe and the Reeds) that showcased his impressive songwriting and an AltPop sound strong enough to garner industry attention. On Saturday at downtown’s Mainstay Rock Bar, Tepe and his top-shelf backing group — now called the Eric Tepe Band — celebrate the release of another new EP, this one even more accessible and radio-ready.
The self-titled EP features songs that would fit perfectly with the guitar-driven Pop Rock heard on Top 40 radio as well as ones with a heavier, more forceful vibe that would slide comfortably into the playlist of most “Active Rock” stations. The band was assisted on the EP by producer Ashley Shepherd, who helped achieve the recording’s crisp, highly professional quality.
Tepe’s vocals occasionally sound exactly like Chris Martin of Coldplay, which can be distracting, but again it bodes well for the band’s commercial viability. And, though an immaculate product, that’s the main problem with the EP: It sometimes feels like it was designed and formulated a little too carefully for the express purpose of catching the music industry’s attention.
Tepe is a gifted writer and musician and his band is flawless, but being constantly reminded of everything from One Republic to Jason Mraz during the course of the EP takes attention away from his gifts and leaves you wondering which voice is Tepe’s real one. As a calling card to the music industry, Eric Tepe Band is perfect, but as a display of creativity and artistry it lacks.
(Get more info on the band at www.etbmusic.com.)
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]