The best thing about the holidays? Quality time with your family. The worst thing about the holidays? Quality time with your family. Everyone has their limits, so if on Christmas night by around 9 p.m. you’re feeling like a stiff drink (or seven) and some quality original Rock & Roll to shake away those annoying ghosts of Christmas past, present and future (such dicks!), head downtown to Mainstay Rock Bar and catch two of Cincinnati’s best Rock crews, both coming off years worth celebrating.
Despite some personnel shifts, The Lions Rampant were undeniable in 2010, on a steady rise since jolting the local club scene just a few short years ago. The band’s debut full-length, It’s Fun to Do Bad Things (the title is a quote from an unusually young “hoodrat”-turned-viral-video-superstar who was asked by a local TV crew why he went on his li’l crime spree), was finally released early in the year and nationally distributed by Deep Elm Records. The Lions toured the well-reviewed release, including a few weeks in Europe, put out some music videos, played practically everywhere in Cincinnati and scored the Album of the Year trophy at the 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. Oh, and they also managed to release a series of 7-inch vinyl singles, each recorded with a different favorite producer. Their family Christmas letter is probably five pages this year. To cap it off, the poor fellas are even working on X-mas night!
Joining the Lions is one of the most promising new Rock & Roll bands in town: Leopard Messiah. The group’s first performance was in October opening The Greenhornes’ much-anticipated new album release show and they were also a highlight of the BRINK New Music Showcase a few weeks later. That they’re so good isn’t a total shock given the members’ pedigree (the musicians have spent time in great bands like The Virgins, The Fairmount Girls, Eat Sugar, Tough & Lovely, Moth, The Griefs and White Girls) and the charisma of singer Baby Strange, the only band virgin of the bunch. You can download three songs by the group via the LM Web site at theleopardmessiah.com.
Saturday’s Mainstay Garage Pop spectacular begins at 9 p.m. And, remember, it’s Christmas — tip your bartenders generously, just as Jesus would have.
Hank, Herzog, Holidays — Hell Yeah!
Start the holiday weekend early and head to CityBeat’s World Headquarters Wednesday downtown at 811 Race St. Don’t bug us, though (we’ll be a little loopy from all the egg nog) — the building is also the one-time home of the Herzog recording studio, where Hank Williams’ legend was made. The Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation is presenting the “Hank Williams Holiday Hankerin' at Herzog” party to celebrate the Dec. 22, 1948, recording session that birthed the American music classic “Lovesick Blues,” a song recently inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame alongside The Beatles’ “Penny Lane,” Jackson Five’s “I’ll Be There,” Otis Redding’s “I've Been Loving You Too Long” and several other seminal recordings.
Wednesday’s event begins at 6:30 p.m. and among the guests will be Williams historian and author Brian Turpen, Bootsy and Patti Collins and current Honky Tonk heroes Straw Boss. SOL Records is giving all attendees download cards good for an advanced copy of the Dallas Moore Band and Jody Payne’s August “Hank to Thank” sessions at Herzog. It will also be the public’s first chance to view “the piano next door,” an actual piano that has sat for decades in the apartment building next to the studio, where Williams and other musicians would stay (and play piano). The piano was donated to the CUMHF and now sits in the former Herzog studio space.
Tickets are $9 in advance (via citybeat.com); $10 at the door. Proceeds will help CUMHF continue its great work of spotlighting Cincinnati’s often unheralded place in music history. (www.takingyoutothebridge.org)