Tag Archives: Southgate House Revival

500 Miles to Memphis, Noah Smith, The Black Pearls – March 21st – Southgate House Revival

I paid another visit to the Southgate House Revival last Saturday and had yet another great night. I only went because I’d heard a track by the headliners, 500 Miles to Memphis, on the Cincy Music Spotlight a couple of weeks ago.

500 Miles to Memphis, Noah Smith

 

After spending twenty minutes trying to find somewhere to park, during which I decided for some reason to revert back to my British driving habits and turned into a street on the wrong side of the road!, I wandered to the Southgate House Revival to find a party going on outside the venue, which was pretty cool!

The first group on were the Black Pearls from Columbus, Ohio, who simply rocked! They did an awesome cover of Queen’s Fat Bottomed Girls, which went down a storm.

Following the Black Pearls was Noah Smith. I’ve been going to gigs for over thirty years now and I haven’t seen such a powerful opening to a set in such a small venue as I did on Saturday night. One of the band members was using a chain and a box as an instrument, the percussionist was banging a chain on his, well I don’t know what he was banging it on, but it sounded great! There were obviously a few fans in the building and it seemed appropriate we were in the Southgate House Revival, as at times Noah Smith‘s set had the air of a preacher whipping his congregation into a storm!

I’m not of a religious persuasion, but he converted me, not to God, I can’t see that happening any day now, but to his music. Every song in the set was brilliant, the band were superb, particularly the multi-talented banjo player. It was a set I won’t forget in a long time and I look forward to seeing Noah Smith and his band in the near future.

I bought his self titled CD after the set and I was lucky enough to meet Noah Smith, who kindly signed the CD. I’ve played the CD a few times since and it’s a corker!

Noah Smith

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for 500 Miles to Memphis, I enjoyed their set, but they didn’t sound as clear as the earlier bands, which spoilt it somewhat for me. Not being familiar with their music and struggling to hear the lyrics clearly I didn’t get into their set as much. They did do a storming version of Bethen, Oh, which was the track I first heard on Cincy Music Spotlight and their Lap Steel Guitarist gave a great vocal performance on what I think was a Johnny Cash cover.

Again I bought their latest CD, Stand There and Bleed, and it’s a brilliant album. So I need to see 500 Miles to Memphis again and also check out their earlier stuff.

500 Miles to Memphis - Stand There and Bleed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CincyBeat has a review of Stand There and Bleed which tells you just how good this album is. There’s also an article on Noah Smith in CincyBeat that’s well worth a read.

Well I have to say I’m loving the music scene in Cincinnati, wherever I’ve been I’ve tried to support local music. Nights like this make it all worthwhile, a great night’s entertainment, two bands I want to see again and two great CDs to add to my collection! And I love the Southgate House Revival, what a great venue!

And to finish off, here’s Bethen, Oh, from 500 Miles to Memphis

 

 

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American Originals at Cincinnati Music Hall – What a show!

Well I was right to be a “tad excited”, as I said in one of my earlier posts. The American Originals concert at Cincinnati Music Hall more than lived up to my expectations.

American Originals

 

First of all a word about the venue, what a building Cincinnati Music Hall is!

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We arrived there for the doors opening at 1 pm, which gave us a little time to have a wander round the building, and it’s magnificent. We’ll definitely be returning for a tour of the building. We had a look at the timeline, which was fascinating, particularly the list of artists who have performed there.

Another reason for arriving early was to catch Hickory Robot, who were playing in the foyer as we arrived. We caught them towards the end of their set performing a great version of The Band‘s classic, The Weight.

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Our seats were up in the Gallery,and I was somewhat worried about the view when I purchased the tickets, but my fears were unfounded, we had a great view. The set was interesting with a carpet, with a chair and a lamp at each end, with a bust of Stephen Collins Foster, in the middle.

Looking around the audience, it was interesting to see that at the age of 53, I was one of the younger members of the audience! I’m not sure whether that was due to the show being on a Sunday afternoon or whether the American Originals didn’t appeal to the younger generation, which would be a great shame. I have to say this is the first concert I’ve been to where I’ve heard an oxygen tank, three rows behind, being used throughout the performance! Fortunately, it was only noticeable during the interval and the breaks between the songs. I  would have hated to ask the user to turn it off!

As for the show itself, where do I begin, it was excellent from start to finish.

The first half opened with a rousing version of the Battle Cry of Freedom. There were many highlights in the first half of the show ,Over the Rhine‘s take on ,Why No One to Love,was beautiful, with Karen Berquist sounding lovely. Dom Flemons performing Old Folks Home was wonderful. Mind you I’m a big fan of Dom Flemons, so there maybe a slight bit of favoritism there!. Rosanne Cash just blew me away with Beautiful Dreamer, she also performed one of her father’s songs, which for the life of me I can’t remember the title of! The first half finished with another highlight,  Aoife O’Donovan singing Amazing Grace, ably supported by the Comet Bluegrass Allstars.

The second half had even more high spots! Dom Flemons performing Ring, Ring de Banjo was superb. Joe Henry, reclaiming the Love me Tender tune, for Aura Lee, was another high spot. But for me, Rosanne Cash, singing My Old Kentucky Home was the highlight of the old show. I had a tear in my eye and lump in my throat at the end of this and I’m a Brit who’s only just moved to Cincinnati, god know’s what it did for the Kentuckians in the audience!

The show ended with a rip-roaring version of Camptown Races, with all the performers on stage, contributing to a fitting finale. In fact, they performed it again for the encore.

It was an absolutely superb afternoon’s entertainment. I’m no musical expert, but the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, aka Cincy Pops, sounded incredible. I’m afraid I can’t remember the names of all the soloists, only the conductor, John Morris Russell, who did a fine job, not only of conducting the orchestra, but also of hosting the event. One thing’s for sure, this won’t be my last visit to Cincinnati Music Hall and I definitely want to see the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra again!

One last comment, and this will do my “street cred” no good whatsoever, there were buses outside waiting to take people back to their old folks home! That never happens at the Southgate House Revival!

 

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SideOneDummy Records

I’ve just come across SideOneDummy Records courtesy of NoiseTrade and their Weekend Edition which featured a Winter Sampler by SideOneDummy Records.

Side One Dummy - Winter-Sampler

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve just downloaded it, you can download it for free, but I like to leave a tip.Here’s the link  I was initially drawn to the sampler as it had a track by Chuck Ragan on it. I saw Chuck Ragan as part of the Revival Tour in 2011, when he was excellent, so thought I’d check this out.

The Revival Tour 2011

 

 

 

 

 

His track on this sampler, You and I Alone, was worth the price of the tip alone, it’s brilliant! And I’ve just found out that Chuck Ragan is playing the Southgate House Revival next Friday, so I could well be seeing him live

Just listening to the rest of the sampler and there’s a track called Gold by Jaws which I’m drawn to, together with a track by Superheaven called In On It.

I’ve just signed up for the SideOneDummy Records newsletter, so I’m sure I’ll be posting more about it. In the meantime, here’s a youtube video of Chuck Ragan

 

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Top Ten Gigs of 2014, part one!

After yesterday’s Top Ten Albums of 2014, it’s now time for my Top Ten Gigs of 2014. This is a somewhat harder list to compile as I can just play an album to remind myself how good it is, whereas with a gig I’m reliant on my memory, never a good idea!

Apart from the first ten days of the year, all of 2014 has been spent in the USA. I’ve managed to see gigs in five states and went to my first festival in America. For both of the top two gigs on my list I traveled in excess of 300 miles, and yes both were well worth the journey!

So here’s my Top Ten Gigs of 2014, numbers 10 to 6:

10 – Gaslight Anthem at the Shaky Knees Festival in Downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Shaky Knees Festival was my first festival in America and was also the first festival I’d been to which was held on concrete and throughout which I stayed in a hotel, as there was no camping! But after my initial misgivings it proved to be a great weekend. I’ve seen Gaslight Anthem a few times now, but their one hour slot on the Friday night at the Shaky Knees Festival was one of the best. My particular highlight being a wicked version on The Animals‘ classic, House of the Rising Sun.

9 – Darius Rucker at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina. We took our niece, Alexandra, to see Darius Rucker for her Christmas present. I’ve been a fan of Darius Rucker since hearing his Charleston, SC, 1966 album, which was the soundtrack of my summer of 2013, when I spent three months in Georgia, with my then fiance. Southern State of Mind being one of my all time favorite songs. He played this, along with many other songs from the Charleston album, together with songs from his latest album, True Believers. All of which went down a storm, but the high spot for me was when he performed a couple of Hootie and the Blowfish songs, awesome!

8. – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero at the Shaky Knees Festival. This is a set I won’t forget in a long time. I’ve been to loads of gigs in my lifetime, but haven’t seen a lead singer as frenzied as Alex Ebert. The whole set had the air of a religious experience, with the Alex Ebert, aka Edward Sharpe being the Messiah! Added surrealism came in the form of an onstage proposal from one of the members of the crowd, which needless to say was accepted. One word – Amazing!

7. The Tillers at the CincyGroove Festival in the Southgate House Revival, Newport, Kentucky. This was the second time I’d seen The Tillers and this time they were headliners for the night. You can read more about this gig in my earlier post on the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

6. Dawes at the Shaky Knees FestivalI’ve been a fan of Dawes since hearing them on Bob Harris‘s Sunday morning show on BBC Radio 2, so I was really looking forward to seeing them on the Sunday afternoon of the Shaky Knees Festival, and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed. They were, by far and way, my highlight of the festival. And as an added bonus, they sang my favorite Dawes song, A Little Piece of Everything. Pure class!

 

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Cincinnati Entertainment Awards

I cast my votes in the Cincinnati Music Awards for the first time last night. I’ve only been in Cincinnati four months, but during that time I’ve managed to catch The Tillers a couple of times, and both times they’ve been brilliant. The first time I saw them perform was as part of Pokey Lafarge‘s Central Time Tour. I’ll be doing a separate post about that superb evening, but The Tillers blew me away, so much so that I purchased their latest album, Hand on the Plow, straight after he gig.

The Tillers - Hand on the Plow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was on the strength of that performance that I decided to get tickets for the Cincy Groove Music Festival at the Southgate House Revival in Newport, Kentucky. And I’m so glad I did!

First of all a word about the venue. The Southgate House Revival is located in the The Grace Episcopal Methodist Church, which dates back to 1866. The gig was taking place in The Sanctuary, one of three rooms in the building used for gigs. The first thing I noticed on entering the Sanctuary was an old pipe organ, which apparently is the original organ for the church. The next thing I noticed were the stained glass windows, which were simply stunning. I think I may well have to do some research on this building, both as a church and as a music venue. Anyway enough of the architecture, what about the music?

First up were Shiny and the Spoon who got the evening off to a great start, but for me it was the next band, Hickory Robot, who really got things going. The fiddle playing and vocals of Lauren Schloemer stood out amongst all four members of the group, who were excellent in their own right. The highlight of their set was a ten minute epic called Exhultation, from their latest album Sawyer, which reminded me of an old Lindisfarne song, Dingly Dell. I think it was partly due to the atmospheric nature of the song, but mainly due to the mandolin playing of Scott Carnder, that I connected them with Lindisfarne.

I was well impressed with Hickory Robot, which led to yet another CD purchase!

Hickory Robot-Sawyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next on stage was the only artist not from Cincinnati,Chicago Farmer, This is the name by which Cody Diekhoff goes by. He’s a folk singer in the Woody Guthrie style and kept the crowd well entertained despite an electrical hiccup at the start of his set. He was certainly topical, referencing the recent Ferguson murder in one of his songs.

He warmed the crowd up nicely for the headliners The Tillers, who from start to finish were simply superb. Having played the Hand on the Plow numerous times since buying it I was familiar with a lot of the songs in the set, but hearing them played live just took them to another dimension. Their interaction with the crowd created a great atmosphere and I can safely say this was one of my top gigs of the year.

And my wallet took a further hit when I purchased their live CD, Farewell to the Historic Southgate House, the title of which has made me more intrigued about this great venue.

The Tillers - Farewell to the Historic Southgate House

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Tillers were nominated in three categories in the Cincinnati Music Awardsneedless to say they got my vote in all three!

 

 

 

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