I must admit that I haven't been to Bogart's since high school close to seven years ago. The last time I went, I could see some people (less accustomed to small venue concerts) struggling for breath in the smoke-filled venue only to find that they could not escape the building because their shoes were glued to the floor with an adhesive made from beer, sweat and midwestern rage. —-
Since then, Bogarts has been visited by Super Nanny. It's still has a gritty feel, but it's much more comfortable, especially for smoker ex-pats like myself. It was a little sad to see Bogarts employees confiscating lighters like they were bags of cocaine, but we all have to grow up sometime.
As for the concert, completely amazing. Hip-hop/reggae artist Matisyahu performed quite a few songs off his EP, Shattered. The ebb and flow and his show is what really keeps people on their feet. He flows from hard-hitting songs to slow meditative drones with remarkable craftsmanship.
Two parts of the show guaranteed that I will return the next time he cruises by Cincinnati.
While people waited in line as the Bogarts employees frisked you down - "Guys to the left! Girls to the right! No lighters or cigarettes!" - a small, soft-spoken young women threaded her way to the front of the line with her cello case. After a short conversation with security, she passed through. After the first three or four songs, Matisyahu announced that he had visited UC's College-Conservatory of Music earlier in the day and found someone to perform with them. He announced that they hadn't rehearsed together yet, and then they proceded to blow everyone minds with a stirring fusion sound. At one point, the rest of the band took a break, leaving the cellist on stage to accompany Matisyahu through a huge cresendo of beat boxing.
As is the case with many concerts, the encore was also memoriable. After the floor cleared a little, the band's new stand-in keyboardist, Rob Marscher, returned to the stage to perform what sounded like a Chopin or Mozart piece. This led the rest of the group back on stage. He performed a "Live At Stubb's"-version of "King Without A Crown." He then brought out some guest performers, including a local artist.
About 15 minutes after he said they had four minutes to get off the stage, the music final died down. I'll be going back to Bogarts soon, and hope that the next show I see will have the same energy and the same incredibily diverse crowd.