The votes have been cast and counted, the winners’ plaques are being etched as you read this, and now we can all focus on this Sunday’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony/concert/party at the Madison Theater in Covington. The CEA program — entering its 14th year of local music exaltation with Sunday’s show — is certainly about who wins what (“Awards” is in the name of the program, after all). But let’s face it — the actual CEA event is what most people are excited about and, barring an alcoholic blackout, what most people will remember most. Of course, a huge part of that is all of the socializing and boozing that goes on. But every year the CEA ceremony has featured some stellar nominee performances and Sunday’s shindig is no different. Below are the artists confirmed to play this year’s event.—-
• The eccentric rockers of Foxy Shazam make their CEA performance debut Sunday. The band’s first release for Warner Bros. Records has kept them touring practically non-stop this year, nothing new for the offbeat band, which booked extensive road treks seemingly from its inception. By taking their show to the people, Foxy is selling its strongest asset, a performance style that’s like a Salvador Dali painting of James Brown, Queen and Iggy Pop juggling fire at a carnival run by Rob Zombie and Willy Wonka. Foxy will perform with The Cincy Brass, a funky, New Orleans-style horn ensemble known for its jubilant live show and unexpected cover selections. (Check out CityBeat’s cover story on Foxy here.) Foxy Shazam is nominated this year for three CEAs — “Best Musical Ambassador for the City,” “Best Live Act” and “Artist of the Year” — and The Cincy Brass scored its first nomination this year in the “R&B/Funk” category.
• Musically airtight and a highly entertaining live band, The Pinstripes (nominated in the “World” and “Best Live Act” categories) bring their vintage Ska and Reggae stylings and energetic live show to the CEAs after regrouping with a new guitarist earlier this year. The Pinstripes are currently finishing up a new album (release date TBA).
• Singer/songwriter Kim Taylor’s mesmerizing songwriting and grippingly haunting voice have helped her folksy Pop become a favorite of NPR, Paste magazine and the people who pick songs for placement in TV shows. Though a Florida native, Taylor has been a favorite in the Cincinnati music scene since emerging in the early 2000s. Taylor — whose most recent release is this year’s mesmerizing Little Miracle — won the CEA for “Singer/Songwriter” at last year’s ceremonies and is up for the same award again this year.
• Dallas Moore and his band are the kings of gritty Outlaw Country, with a rocking live set that's slayed audiences regionally and down South, as well as a strong, versatile songwriting prowess that has earned Moore’s releases widespread praise. Moore has an armful of CEA trophies already, including from his win last year in the “Country” category. He’s nominated in the same category this year.
• Nominated for two CEAs (“Rock” and “New Artist of the Year”) in their first year of eligibility, The Guitars contain former members of explosive, abrasive bands like No Arms, No Legs and Death in Graceland. But in this latest guise, the musicians’ passion and musicianship shine as they opt for a finessed brand of Rock steeped in classic ’60s Pop.
• No No Knots have been building a local following with a crafty blend of Electronica, Post Punk, Indie and Dance Rock, powered by singer Molly Sullivan’s exquisitely captivating vocals. The Knots are duking it out for “New Artist of the Year” honors at this year’s CEAs.
Here are a few more of the latest updates related to Sunday’s CEA event:
• The doors at the Madison Theater open at 6 p.m. Sunday and the show kicks off at 7 p.m.
• Tickets can be purchased in advanced at cincyticket.com (here’s a direct link to buy CEA tickets) for $17; they’ll cost you $20 if you wait until the night of the show and buy them at the door. Proceeds go to the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation, an organization that strives to make Cincinnati’s vital contributions to popular music more widely known. The members have been involved in several events promoting the legacy of King Records and Herzog Studios, and this year the group hosted an open-to-the-public recording session (featuring the Dallas Moore Band) in Herzog's former downtown space where Hank Williams recorded some of his early breakthrough hits (and eventual classics).
• Local TV personality Jen Dalton from Local 12 returns as the host of the CEAs. The show is more focused on the performances and award presentations this year, but there will be a few special segments, including an update from the folks working on a new King Records recording studio/educational center at Xavier University and a few words from the Cincinnati USA Music Heritage Foundation about the Herzog revival. Also, the winner of the Red MacCormack Recording Grant — which annually provides funds to a local musical act for recording projects — will be announced by local musician and creator of the grant program, Kelly Thomas.
• Also returning is one of the CEA show’s grooviest traditions, the Fashion Trashies. The Trashies were concocted by members of longtime local Indie Pop faves The Fairmount Girls as a campy spoof of those ridiculous “red-carpet” TV specials that mock celebrities attending big-time award shows. The Girls will return to their perch near the Madison Theater’s front door to observe and report on CEA attendees’ fashion hits and misses. The handmade trophies — presented in such categories as “Dapper Dandy,” “Hot Mess,” “Tits Out” and “Should Have Stayed Home” — will be doled out at the after-party. Dress to impress — you never know when a Fairmount Girl might call you out. Check out their Trashies blog (with lots of pics from previous years) here.
• The official after-party — perhaps as anticipated as the actual main event — starts immediately after the show at The Mad Hatter (located just around the corner from the Madison Theater). Though legendary for its debauchery, even sober people usually have a blast at the CEA post-show blowouts. Along with the always-entertaining presentation of the Fashion Trashies (where the lubricated acceptance speeches are usually a bit more colorful … and slurred), the after-party will have live music from The Cincy Brass, followed by what could be another legendary live performance from rockers The Lions Rampant (who are up for four CEAs this year, including “Album of the Year” and “Artist of the Year”). Music at the after-party is scheduled to begin at approximately 10:30 p.m.
• Be sure to check citybeat.com Monday for a list of winners, tons of photos and lots more post-show coverage.