Sunday, April 21, 2019

Metanoia (4/20/19)

I swung by the basement at Now That’s Class, Club Atlantis, for their Metatonia party with Donation, The Debt Collector, MX Silkman, and Unikove.  I was riding RTA home so I couldn't stay all that long, so I’m not sure how busy it got.  It was a pretty light crowd when I got there, but hopefully it picked up steam.  Check it out.

Metanoia  4 20 19

Metanoia  4 20 19

Wild Belle (4/19/19)

Wild Belle recently threw me a curve ball with their new album, Everybody One of a Kind.  It’s bluesy with some strong pop influences, much more expansive than their previously more folk focused albums. They’re all good and it all made for a great live show.  That saxophone alone had me sold.  I did get the impression the band has been on the road a while and were a little tired, but they still brought a great energy.  If I were to be picky, I’d say their show could be aided nicely by a vibrant light show.  Other than that - color me impressed.

Wild Belle  4 19 19

Wild Belle  4 19 19

Opening was the eccentric Jeffertitti’s Nile.  That man moved his entire body, all over that stage.  I couldn’t quite pick up what he was putting down, but it made for a positive spectacle. Check out his Fleetwood Mac cover.

Jeffertitti s Nile  4 19 19

Murder By Death (4/18/19)

Murder By Death is a gritty dark folk rock band originating out of Bloomington, Indiana.  Their first album was out in 2002 and these guys have since garnered a dedicated audience, and rightfully so.  I first caught these guys back at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Summer in the City concert series (RIP), and remember being taken about how ferrous that audience was.  It was great to finally get to see a proper indoor show from these guys 8 years later - and they haven’t aged a bit (despite the murder and the death).

Murder By Death  4 18 19

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Mike Edel (4/15/19)

I hosted Mike Edel for one of my house concerts back in May of 2018.  I was thrilled to hear from him, that he’d be coming back through town again - and that I could provide them a place to crash for a couple nights.  His tour landed him at Wilbert’s Food & Music on a Monday night.  That’s not the ideal setup for a maximum crowd, but it was great to have some friends from the house concert show up and made for a great night!  Mike Edel is touring on his new album, Thresholds, and it was also nice to hear some of these new songs played live!

Mike Edel  4 15 19

Mike Edel  4 15 19

Opening for Mike was Cleveland’s own Apostle Jones, an incredibly soulful and fun band.  Also one that demonstrated the most effective use of a tambourine on stage!

Apostle Jones  4 15 19

Void Vision / Prostitutes (4/13/19)

Being out and about on RTA on the weekends has been great, particularly with the weather being warmer.  However there always comes that witching hour where you need to decide if you take the last train home, or pay an extra $30 for a ride share to stay out a couple hours longer.  I was excited for this $8 Adult. show, but unfortunately the show was running late and they fell on the wrong side of that decision.  Before catching the last train home, I was able to see sets by both Void Vision and Prostitutes.  Some pretty interesting stuff… check it out:

Void Vision  4 13 19

Prostitutes  4 13 19

Sean 2:16 / Uncle Gnarly (4/11/19)

The Winchester Music Tavern has seemed to be picking up some momentum with their shows lately, themed brunches, vegan nights, etc.  They’ve also become home to a lot more dance / techno shows too!  I picked up on this Dynohunter show after checking out a little bit and figured it’d be a good night out.  (I already knew from the Derrick Carter show that this was a good space for dancing.).  We ended up leaving as Dynohunter took the stage, but did get to see some great sets by Uncle Gnarly and Sean 2:16.  I’d catch both these DJ’s again!

Sean 2 16  4 11 19

Uncle Gnarly  4 11 19

Xeno & Oaklander (4/10/19)

Knowing I was going to be at Mahall’s already, I was thrilled to see that Xeno & Oaklander would be performing down in their Locker Room.  At first blush with their music, I knew I’d enjoy it - and would be a nice counterbalance to the Old Sea Brigade show happening upstairs. They’re an electronic duo out of Brooklyn and apparently have been around awhile.  Apparently I’m just late to the game, or so my friends informed me when I ran into them at the show.  Glad to have finally caught up.

Xeno  Oaklander  4 10 19

Xeno  Oaklander  4 10 19

Friday, April 19, 2019

Old Sea Brigade (4/10/19)

After a hiatus from shows for the Film Festival, I finally got back to some shows.  It’d been just over a year since I had seen Old Sea Brigade open for Tall Heights.  They’re a rather sparing band out of Nashville, with Ben Cramer being painfully shy on stage, giving me a Ray LaMontagne vibe.  I was actually on the fence about this show, but also being able to see Xeno & Oaklander down in the Locker Room made this worth it.
Old Sea Brigade  4 10 19

Opening was Madeline Finn, who I guess was an American Idol contestant.  There’s some pretty incredible passion and angst when she’s performing on stage.  I recognize the talent, but it wasn’t really resonating with with me at first. She won me over when she pulled the dispersed audience together and performed acoustically on the floor.  That was exactly what was needed.  I also really liked that she brought up several friends on stage to highlight their talents as well.  Class act.

Madeline Finn  4 10 19

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Video Day #tzaupbeat

Robyn released her new video for Between the Lines, directed by SSION(!!), giving a playful sense of what goes on behind the scenes.  Hot Chip drops this WTF video for Hungry Child.  Ezra Furman released his animated new video for Suck The Blood From My Wound.

Bonus:  This is the non-single by Grimes, who is one of the most enigmatic figures in pop music right now. She self-produced this song and video, seemingly as an experiment.  There’s much more to explain about this, which you can read for yourself here

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Article: Why We Need To Support Cleveland's Grassroots Music Venues

Here’s an important article you should be reading.  This is regarding what I believe is one of Cleveland’s greatest assets - the small, independent music club.

DSCF0142

"Venues like the Happy Dog pay the same taxes as large ones, like Quicken Loans Arena, but receive none of the help from taxpayers, who subsidize construction at The Q. They do all of the cultural heavy lifting of a nonprofit without any of the foundational support, or the public helping-hand offered through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. They organically drive foot traffic, tourism, intellectual expansion and development.

For that beat to get louder, the venues need a stronger backing track.

Watterson believes another study would give advocates hard data to approach policymakers. It worked in 2013. After the Remix study was released, a coalition of music figures used the findings to lobby the city of Cleveland to lower the admissions tax from 8 percent of ticket sales to 4 percent for venues with capacities of less than 750 people.

The effort was a success. But the reduced rate is still problematic for small clubs, which pay more here than in any other large city in Ohio. Columbus imposes no tax at all. Cincinnati clubs pay 3 percent, the rate for most Ohio cities. Over the past five years, the Happy Dog paid $25,000 in music licensing fees just to host bands, and another $10,000 in admissions taxes. To a small venue, that’s the difference between scraping by and prospering.

Or in Barber’s case, the difference between paying your Saturday night act and replacing the Beachland’s worn, storm-damaged roof.

‘We might be guaranteeing [a band] $5,000 but only get $3,000 at the door,’ Barber says. ‘We’re still paying 4 percent of that $3,000 even though we lost money.’

Everyone else, meanwhile, gets extra help. Admissions tax revenue is paying for part of the renovations at Quicken Loans Arena. The city keeps 3 percent of The Q’s admissions tax payment while the other 5 percent goes to pay off existing Gateway loans, Cleveland.com reports. The nonprofits get double benefits too. They pay no property and sales taxes, and no admissions tax.

Why shouldn’t small clubs get similar assistance? With the vast value they provide to the community, one could even make a convincing case for zeroing their admissions tax rate out altogether."

(Via Why We Need To Support Cleveland's Grassroots Music Venues.)

Crystal Swan @ Cleveland International Film Festival #ciff43

I was fortunate enough to attend the Cleveland International Film Festival this year and saw a lot of great films.  One of my favorites was Crystal Swan.  It’s intriguing to be able to see what life was like in the 90’s in Belarus, a landlocked republic between Russian and Ukraine.  This film takes place just after independence from the USSR and shows the struggle of an aspiring DJ trying to get to America.  Chicago actually, as she’s in love with house music and wants to experience its birthplace.  Ultimately this is an intimate look at the struggles that existed in that country during this time of upheaval, and showing the lengths some would go to find a better life.  This film oscillated between humor, pain and incredibly touching moments, all underscored by a fun soundtrack.  Topping it off, the festival provided a chance to talk with the director after the film. Check out the trailer below.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Video Day #tzaupbeat

RÜFÜS DU SOL released a gorgeous new video for Treat You Better.  Cub Sport just released their video for Lift Me Up featuring "iPhone vids and snippets from [their] and some of [their] best friends’ stories”.  Yumi Zouma has a delightfully sweet new video for In Camera.

Bonus:  An incredible 15 minute video from Congolese-Belgian musician Baloji who "created a visual declaration about the zombie-fying effects of communication technology.”  Gorgeous.

Mdou Moctar (3/29/19)

What an incredible show.  I was surprised to be seeing Mdou Moctar performing at Now That’s Class, but putting these unusual elements together, the result couldn’t have been better.  Mdou has a great story, which you can read a little about in the Pitchfork review of his album below (8.0!).  He was raised in Niger but has this incredible ability to weave together his culture of music with the West.  Blistering jams filled the night, ones that you kinda wished never ended (as you might pick up from some of my video below).  I’m still stunned, and will be enjoying this album for quite awhile...

Mdou Moctar  3 29 19

Mdou Moctar  3 29 19

"Whether it’s stories about African-American legends reared on plantations in rural Mississippi or the apocryphal tale of a young Jimi Hendrix carrying around a broom until his family could afford a real guitar, blues and rock aficionados love a hardscrabble creation story. So it makes sense that in the discourse around one of the year’s most incandescent examples of guitar music, much ado is made about Mdou Moctar’s first instrument. The Tuareg guitarist was raised in northern Niger by a deeply religious family where music was verboten. He made his first guitar from a piece of wood strung with brake wires from an old bicycle, his many hours of practice kept clandestine."

(Via Mdou Moctar: Ilana (The Creator) Album Review | Pitchfork.)

Opening was Guerrilla Toss from NYC.  Not the band I would have imagined being paired with Mdou Moctar, but a thoroughly enjoyable band in their own right.  Throw in lead singer who brings in a violin into a jam-based rock show, and I’m impressed.

Guerilla Toss  3 29 19

Guerilla Toss  3 29 19

Article: Cleveland’s Unlikely Queer Electronic Music Renaissance

Great piece.  So valuable to have In Training operating here in Cleveland.  Hoping for more routine performances in the area again!
"This is a mobilization characterized by a desire to help queer artists and friends gain ground in a place that has never been kind to them. There is no de-facto leader, and it’s more of a community than a formal organization or collective, but having a tacit agreement to be there for one another goes further than any label or doctrine. Ghost Noises and ADAB of Heaven Is In You, Fana فناء of Disco Paradiso, and Father of Two, Mx. Silkman, and Kiernan Laveaux of In Training have all committed to something that’s bigger than them. Electronic music in Cleveland was dormant for a long time, but because of these artists, and others like them, the reinvigoration of the scene has been brilliant in its blossoming of something new and exciting here.
...
These functions were started to get away from the traditional ground of music Cleveland had cultivated from their history of punk and DIY communities. While there was some queer music, and at the same time, EDM audiences in the city, the disinterest in the former and the heteromasculinity of the latter dissuaded each of these individuals from trying to breach scenes that didn’t want them. Bohan and Ercolea had been at the same shows before, utilizing elder influences like Voices From the Lake, Jose Luna, and Interdimensional Transmissions to form an ethos by which Cleveland techno could thrive. From talking to all of the showrunners, it’s clear their passions and enthusiasm led them to do something new, even if they didn’t have the money or prior experience to immediately pull it off."
(Via Cleveland’s Unlikely Queer Electronic Music Renaissance.)

Article: Why vinyl records survive in the digital age

Well put.

"I think the real reason for vinyl's return goes much deeper than questions of sound quality. As media analyst Marshall McLuhan famously wrote, 'The medium is the message.' In other words, 'the form of a medium embeds itself in any message it would transmit or convey, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived.' Nowhere does this hold truer than in the world of recorded sound."
(Via Why vinyl records survive in the digital age | Ars Technica.)