Squeeze the Day for 11/11/11

Beirut, BPA, Frontier Folk Nebraska, R. Ring and David Bazan, plus This Day In Music with Kurt Vonnegut and Hank Ballard

click to enlarge Over the Rhine (Photo: Michael Wilson)
Over the Rhine (Photo: Michael Wilson)

Music Tonight: Local music legends Over the Rhine headline tonight's preview of the restoration of Emery Theatre in (the neighborhood) Over-the-Rhine, hosted by The Requiem Project. Plans for the gorgeous (yet long neglected) theater (which has hosted our Cincinnati Entertainment Awards twice in the past 15 years) will be unveiled and entertainment will be plentiful, with performances from Exhale Dance Tribe, concert:nova, Peter Adams, Madcap Puppet Theatre and others, plus art exhibitions curated by ParProjects. Tickets ain't cheap (starting at $75), but proceeds go to furthering the revitalization project, which will be a great boost to the already resurging OTR. Click here for info on ticket options, event details and more. Check out a great preview video for the event, explaining the restoration, below.—-

• With the weather turning a little chillier, why not go to Beirut tonight? The Indie group Beirut's concert at Bogart's, that is. The project of songwriter Zach Condon, Beirut were an instant success with its debut, Gulag Orkestar, which showcased the young musician's warm, organic integration of Eastern European musical influence. Condon's latest album, The Rip Tide, finds Beirut coming into its own singular voice, developing an orchestral Indie Pop sound that is endlessly compelling. Tonight's show begins at 8:30 p.m. with openers Ramesh. Tickets are $25. Below, enjoy a clip of Beirut performing on Jimmy Fallon's show recently. —-

• Legendary local band BPA performs a rare show tonight at Northside Tavern. Here's what Shake It Records (which issued the BPA compilation Maybe Use My Knife) had to say about the show in its current newsletter: "BPA fits into the pantheon of Ohio Art Punk bands along with Pere Ubu & their precursers as well early Devo and a plethora of overseas post punk outfits. These guys play out about once every 3 or 4 years so ya might not wanna take a chance." Has Shake It ever steered you wrong before? BPA drummer Todd Witt says the show will feature several new songs. Newcomers Wild Talents open the free show.

• Local Indie band Frontier Folk Nebraska celebrates the release of their fantastic new self-titled, vinyl-only album. Read all about the release here, then head to the Southgate House for the band's show with guests Josh Eagle and Harvest City in the Parlour at 9:30 p.m. Here's an older cover tune by FFN, to get your ready for the holidays.

• Former Pedro the Lion mainman David Bazan performs in the Southgate's Ballroom tonight with R. Ring, the acoustic duo project featuring local musician/engineer Mike Montgomery and The Breeders' Kelley Deal. Read more about Bazan here. Showtime is 9:30 p.m. Check out Bazan rockin' Bumbershoot last year and a old event promo clip featuring some R. Ring music.

R.RING at South Park Tavern from glass on Vimeo.

Momentous Happenings in Music History for November 11
On this day in 1958, Hank Ballard and the Midnighters recorded Ballard's song "The Twist" in Cincinnati for the locally-based Federal label (part of the King Records family). Ballard and the Midnighters had a string of charting R&B singles, which helped develop the group's reputation as one of the raunchier acts in music. The sexuality in the lyrics from the group's hits caused them to be banned by many radio stations. "The Twist" was initially a B-side (against Ballard's wishes) for the band in 1959; Chubby Checker made it his career song (he borrowed the dance from Ballard, too), releasing the legendary version a year later. It went to No. 1 on the pop charts and, after an unlikely "revival," did so again just two years later. Checker literally owes his legacy to Ballard and the song; the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer recorded sequels like "Let's Twist Again" and continued to ride the song with Country and Rap versions over subsequent decades (Checker's version with The Fat Boys also went to No. 1 … in Germany).

Here's the the ballad chosen as the A-side by the producer of Ballard's "Twist, "Teardrops on Your Letter." Great song, but … what a difference a letter can make.

Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers born Nov. 11 include: Jazz/Blues legend Mose Allison 1927); Beatlemaniac and acclaimed pop songwriter Marshall Crenshaw (1953); frontman of Alt PowerPop superheroes XTC, Andy Partridge (1953); ex-Blasters guitarist/current rootsy solo artist Dave Alvin (1955); the "D" in Hip Pop trio BBD (or Bell Biv Devoe), Ronnie Devoe (1968); and legendary writer Kurt Vonnegut (1922).

Wait a minute, you say? Vonnegut is no musician! While perhaps technically true, the author's influence goes far beyond the world of literature. Evidence can be found as recently as this summer, when the Metalcore band Bury Your Dead released the album Mosh N' Roll on which all of the songs are named after Vonnegut works. His words have influenced countless lyricists (local artist Scott Cunningham, aka Wake the Bear, named his album Player Piano after one of the legend's books), but Vonnegut also made some music himself — from co-authoring a pair of operas with composer Dave Soldier to writing the lyrics for the song "Nice, Nice, Very Nice," by Soft Rock/Prog Rock group Ambrosia.

But perhaps Vonnegut's greatest gift to music was the way he so brilliantly described its power and influence. Vonnegut wrote, in A Man Without a Country, that he'd like his tombstone to read "THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD WAS MUSIC." He further explained, in an interview with the multimedia "band" 1 Giant Leap: "Music is, to me, proof of the existence of God. It is so extraordinarily full of magic, and in tough times of my life I can listen to music and it makes such a difference." Read more on the topic here.

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