Tag Archives: midpoint music festival

Jason Isbell – Taft Theater – 15th June 2016

Every now and again you go to a gig where everything is just perfect, the venue is great for the event, the support act kick up a storm and the main act turn out to be even better than you’d hoped for. Wednesday night at the Taft Theater in Cincinnati was one of those nights!

Being a Brit, I was looking forward to seeing Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls. To my shame I never saw him perform live in the UK, only seeing him on TV, most notably at the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony in London. He kicked off his set at the Taft with I Still Believe from his England Keep My Bones album, starting off the song on his own, with the Sleeping Souls joining him on stage one by one. The audience enthusiastically took up his offer to join in the chorus. He followed this with The Next Storm from his most recent album, Positive Songs for Negative People, another barn storming anthem. Apart from this great opening, the highlights for me were Peggy Sang the Blues, a song, he told us, about his grandmother giving him his first taste of whisky at the age of ten, and Dan’s Song, which he’d written for a recently departed friend. The one low point, for me anyway, was the audience participation slot with a guy being brought on from the crowd to play (badly) a harmonica solo! Other than that, it was a superb energetic set, which more than got the crowd warmed up for the main event.

I’ve seen Jason Isbell a couple of times prior to the Taft, firstly back in the UK, at the London Palladium in April 2012, supporting Ryan Adams. That night he performed a brilliant, but short, solo set. I then saw him a couple of years ago at the Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta, that time with a full band. With it being a festival, again his set was far too short, so to say I was looking forward to seeing him perform a full set was a bit of an understatement!

And he didn’t disappoint!

The concert covered all eras of his career, with three songs from his time with the Drive-By Truckers. The best of these for me being Decoration Day. I saw the Drive-By Truckers a few weeks ago at Bogarts, and I have to say when Jason Isbell and his band rocked out, they were more than a match for the DBTs. The bulk of the set-list was taken from his two most recent albums, Southeastern and Something More Than Free, and that was fine by me. Southeastern for me is just a classic and one of my favorite albums and it was great to hear some of these songs performed live. Different Days and Stockholm were standouts for me, but Cover Me Up, just blew me away. The new songs sounded even better live, Hudson Commodore and Speed Trap Town being highlights for me. He also threw in Alabama Pines, a song I love.

For the encore, he performed Elephant and Flying Over Water from Southeastern, sandwiched between these two was Sing Me Back Home, a beautiful Merle Haggard song.

It was a great set, with a great band, including his wife Amanda Shires, and the show was enhanced by a brilliant set design and spectacular lighting.

Now the evening could have ended there and I would have left for home feeling more than satisfied, but I was lucky enough to meet Frank Turner after the show.

And what a great guy he is. He had time for everyone and was more than obliging, posing for photos and signing autographs. I found out he’d just been touring with Gogol Bordello, somewhat different to Jason Isbell!  Apart from talking about previous gigs he’s performed in my old town, he mentioned that he was returning to Cincinnati for the Midpoint Music Festival, how good is that?

So all in all, one superb night!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Besnard Lakes – The Golden Lion

The Besnard Lakes The Golden Lion is my first vinyl of 2016. It’s a 12″ EP released on the Jagjaguwar label.

Besnard Lakes - The Golden Lion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a three track EP, released in advance of their album, A Coliseum Complex Museum. The three tracks being:

A side – Golden Lion, which appears on A Coliseum Complex Museum

B side – The Motorway & In the Forest

There’s a cool review of The Golden Lion EP on Pitchfork. I love it, but I’m biased. I’ve got three of their earlier albums, all of which I play on a regular basis.

I’m going to make The Golden Lion by The Besnard Lakes my first Track of the Day for 2016.

Here it is:

And if you like it, here’s a link to Amazon The Golden Lion 12″

And, have I ever told you…Yes, I’ve seen The Besnard Lakes live. I saw them at the Midpoint Music Festival, here in Cincinnati last year. They played on the Saturday afternoon, and for me were the highlight of the day.

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Midpoint Music Festival – Day One, and the verdict is……

Pretty damned awesome! This was my first Midpoint Music Festival and my second festival since crossing the pond from the UK. And I have to say it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. There were so many highlights it’s hard to know where to start, so in time honored tradition, I’ll start at the beginning!

Day One – Friday

I kicked off my festival in Washington Park, where I caught the tail end of Nick Diamonds‘ set, followed by a mesmerizing performance by HANA. Here’s a video of her performing one the two tracks she’s released.

I then took a stroll down to the Christian Moerline brewery, mainly to catch the Heartless Bastards, who I’d been hearing on a regular basis since moving to Cincinnati. But before they hit the stage, Alberta Cross played a stonking set, really rocking the joint. I’ve just been reading about the band and it appears they’re fellow Englishmen, get in! Here’s their track Get Up High

As for the Heartless Bastards, what can I say, they more than lived up to expectations. From start to finish they had the crowd in the palm of their hands. They sound great from the tracks I’ve heard on the radio, but they sound so much better live, with vocalist, Erika Wennerstrom, sounding less smoother live. I wanted to say grittier, but that didn’t sound too good! The rest of the band sounded pretty awesome too!  They played a lot of songs from their latest album, Restless Ones, which I liked so much that, on getting home after the gig, I downloaded it and listened to it throughout the weekend.

Here’s Gates of Dawn from the Heartless Bastards

That was the first of many wallet emptiers over the weekend! So that as my first day at Midpoint Music Festival, not a bad start, but it got better on Saturday……

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Midpoint Music Festival

Okay, I’m more than a little excited, I’ve just bought my ticket for the Midpoint Music Festival, being held on 25-27 September in Cincinnati. The reasons for the excitement, well firstly, one of my favorite live acts, Pokey LaFarge is appearing at Washington Park on the Sunday evening. This will be my fourth time seeing Pokey LaFarge, I first saw him in Leeds, England at Brudenell Social Club. As well as a brilliant performance from Pokey LaFarge, the night was memorable due to a great performance from the support band, Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra and also for me protecting my date, and future wife, from a group of drunken Yorkshiremen!

By the time we saw Pokey LaFarge the second time, we’d moved to Columbus, Georgia. We made a 100 mile trip to see him at a great venue, just outside Atlanta, called Eddie’s Attic. This was another great evening’s entertainment,and one which was thoroughly enjoyed by our two sons. The last time, we saw Pokey LaFarge was on his Central Time Tour,at Middletown, Ohio. By this time, we’d moved to Cincinnati, so this was virtually on our doorstep. Once again this was a great evening, featuring another favorite of mine, Dom Flemons, and a group that soon became favorites, The Tillers.

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So needless to say I’m looking forward to seeing Pokey LaFarge!

My second reason for getting so stoked is that I finally get to see The Besnard Lakes, I’ve been dying to see The Besnard Lakes for a few years now. I’ve got a couple of their albums, The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse and The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night , and they’re both brilliant and I can’t wait to see them live. They’re appearing at Washington Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Besnard Lakes - are the Dark Horse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Besnard Lakes - are the Roaring Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are just two reasons for getting my ticket to the Midpoint Music Festival and I’m sure you’ll be hearing alot more from me about it over the next few weeks!

And to finish with, how about some Pokey LaFarge, here’s the title track from his latest album, Something in the Water….

 

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