Here's the Windup and the Pitch

I'm playing a little game of musical chairs this week, trying to hop around to a couple different topics.

Speaking of music, it's another one of those serendipitous weeks in Greater Cincinnati when music lovers have almost too many choices for ways to spend their free time and extra money. Our cover story highlights one of the more interesting options, the third annual MusicNOW Festival.

Bryce Dessner of The National, the five-piece Rock band of native Cincinnatians that's getting ready to head out with R.E.M. on tour, brings another eclectic lineup to town for MusicNOW, which takes over Memorial Hall for four nights. Performers include our cover story interview subjects, Bill Frisell and Andrew Bird, as well as Wilco's Glenn Kotche.

If that's too organized for you, try one of the single-night festivals happening this weekend: the "Dicks Rock" event Friday and the Freakout Fest Saturday, both at the Southgate House (see Spill It), or Rohs Street Cafe's fifth anniversary bashes Friday and Saturday.

Single shows offer a lot to like: Spoon at Bogart's and the Johnny Cash tribute Ring of Fire at the Aronoff Center, both on Saturday night (see To Do); the BoDeans Tuesday at 20th Century Theatre; Widespread Panic April 9 at US Bank Arena (see interview here); and The Clash's Mick Jones April 9 at 20th Century with an in-store appearance that afternoon at Shake It Records (see interview here).

Also on April 9, CityBeat takes the next step in our new oversight of the MidPoint Music Festival by hosting Indie Rock band Cursive at Below Zero, where we'll announce a few details about the MidPoint lineup, venues and sponsors.

Despite the Winter That Won't End, summer concert season will be here before you know it. One of the highlights — uh, besides the Jimmy Buffett show — is the opening of National City Pavilion out at Riverbend, and we're getting a tour this week.

Word is that Riverbend and its new sibling venue could see well more than twice the number of Rock concerts this summer than last.

* * * * *

Opening Day 2008 wasn't one for the Chamber of Commerce glamour calendar, with rainy weather dampening the parade and a Reds loss dampening hopes for a winning season. Still, as Joe Wessels points out in his column and Bill Peterson describes in his column, Opening Day continued a great tradition in Greater Cincinnati no matter the outcome.

Cincinnati's love affair with baseball is a genuine throwback to an earlier time when Reds players lived in the community and home games were the main "major league" entertainment each summer. It's the kind of old-fashioned civic virtue Cincinnatians are taught to be embarrassed about, yet we somehow have managed not to screw it up over the years. Thank you, Jesus.

The millionaire Reds are less lovable these days, but baseball continues to unite this area. At least on Opening Day.

CONTACT JOHN FOX: [email protected]

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