Friday, September 26, 2008

MidPoint Day One

Day One Recap

My afternoon felt like it was taking forever. I kept saying to myself, "MidPoint!" Since I couldn't wait for this thing to start, I arrived at Fountain Square about an hour early. I sat at the Square, watching the herds of people walking around everywhere. The two beers I drank while waiting, made me forget how slow time was moving, and shortly after six 'o clock, new MidPoint producer, Dan McCabe, took the stage giving a near ten-minute introduction speech.

One of the things that sticks out to me the most from his speech, was when he said something about how it's nice to hear something great about Cincinnati, rather than 0-3 or another losing season.

MidPoint is quickly becoming one of the biggest music festivals of its kind, this side of the Mississippi, and the annual, three day event is the biggest reason our city is becoming known as a music city.

The music got off to a late start, with local, rising rockstars, Seabird, taking the stage about twenty after six. But that's okay. The late start not only proved to be worth the wait, it also bought time for more people to show up on the Square.

This was the first time I had ever seen them live, much less, it was the first time that I had heard more than a few of their songs. They kind of reminded me of an American version of Coldplay, possibly mixed with a little bit of The Fray. Maybe even a little Ben Folds, without the dry, sarcastic humor.

They seem to fit in the category of piano-driven, alternative/pop-rock, and at times you could even say they are experimental, when they would break into a noisy jam session. I think they have the perfect mix of both a pop band and a jamband. Speaking of their poppy side of things, their song "Rescue" was chosen to be used as the theme song for ABC's new drama, Pushing Daisies.

Overall, I think the people on Fountain Square really enjoyed what Seabird gave us, and having them play the kick-off party may have been the best way to start MidPoint. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say, I look forward to following the career of these young, twenty-somethings.

After they finished, I started making my way up to the New Stage Collective in Over-the-Rhine. I walked about a block, and then hitched a ride in one of the new Scion xB's. It was a nice, little car, but I'm not much of a car person, so I can't really tell you much other than that.

I arrived at New Stage Collective a lot sooner than I had planned, and I walked into a nearly empty room with The Newbees doing a soundcheck. Ryan Adcock was actually who I was there to see. The Newbees were up after him, so I'm guessing they were doing soundcheck because a lone Ryan and his Taylor acoustic guitar, didn't need much of a soundcheck.

Ryan is probably the one local artist, that I've been listening to the longest. I started listening to him back in 2002, and I have to say, that every time he writes a song, he just gets better and better.

He played nearly all new material, to a rather disappointing crowd of about fifteen to twenty people. But it doesn't matter how many people Ryan is playing to. Whether it's one person or a hundred, Ryan plays with more passion than any artist I've ever seen. You can honestly hear the passion in his voice.

Before Ryan came on, he mentioned how this venue was being sponsored by WNKU, and even said that it is the greatest station in the world. I couldn't agree with him more.

By this point I was starting to get a little hungry, so I stopped by Donato's as I made my way to the Aronoff's 5/3 Theatre, sponsored by WOXY.

As a venue, I wasn't sure what to expect of the Aronoff. I had been there once in high school, for the play, Of Mice and Men, and I didn't think that they'd be using that particular stage. Much to my suprise, I walked into a room with black walls and a black floor, that I believe holds a couple hundred people.

What I also wasn't sure what to expect from, were the next two artist's that I was about to see here at the Aronoff - Daniel Martin Moore and Why?

I had only heard a handful of songs by each artist, but the things that I've been reading online about them, were enough to make me want to check them out.

I was pleasantly suprised with Moore's set, especially since he hasn't even released his first album yet. He's often been compared to Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Neil Halstead and Chet Baker. But I don't really know much about any of those artists, aside from Buckley's Grace, so I wasn't really sure who to compare him to.

It's not like it matters anyways. There's no need to compare him with other artist's or say "who does he remind you of." This is Daniel Martin Moore and it's nice to see that a gifted musician from a small town like Cold Spring, Kentucky, is making a name for himself.

Although there are eleven other people that play on his debut album (Stray Age - coming out Oct. 7), Moore was accompanied by two others (I didn't catch their names). He had piano man, who also played some mandolin, and a drummer who was playing "unplugged" style.

While I thought that I would more than likely enjoy Moore's music, I didn't think I would fall in love with it and his sound. His myspace page lists him as folk and pop, but it's a brand of folk and pop you've never heard. If I ever put a band together, I would want us to sound very similar to what Moore's got going on.

I've only seen three bands so far, all locals, two of them being some of the tri-state's very best, and most promising talents. I can't wait to listen to some of the albums Moore will be making down the road. Scratch that. That's too long from now. I can't wait to see him at his CD release party on October 8 at the Southgate House.

Next up was California's indie/hip-hop act, Why?, featuring a couple of former Cincinnatians, the Wolf brothers. Frontman Yoni Wolf attended the University of Cincinnati, and joined his brother in 1997's Scribble Jam, competing against none other than Eminem. During Why?'s set, Yoni gave several shout outs, to nearly every suburb of Cincinnati.

Saying that Why? is an indie and hip-hop act, doesn't really explain too well, the sound they create. It's not what you would think of when you hear the two genre's. I've never heard anything like them, and I don't think I've ever seen a band that uses a xylophone.

After a couple more drinks, the night was quickly becoming a blur. I don't really know what else to say about these guys, other than the fact that you should check them out if you ever get the chance.

I walked a couple blocks down the street to the Lodge Bar to check out Ruckus Roboticus's Dance Party. I'll admit that I've never been a big fan of the whole "dance" thing, but nothing else was going on, and I didn't want my first night of MidPoint to end just yet.

So I figured I'd just chill out a bit, have a couple more drinks, listen to some beats, and watch some eye candy. I didn't mind the music selection or the weird video's playing on the screen behind the young Ohio DJ. Like I said earlier, it's not really my thing, but it was interesting to see how a DJ operates.

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