The Clifton Heights Music Festival is a great opportunity to catch sets from what seems like every local band in a span of two nights. Since it’s a pub crawl, it’s also an excellent opportunity to watch those bands while simultaneously drinking until your face falls off. After four festivals, I finally decided to embrace those two activities and combine them into one epic review called DRUNK MUSIC REVIEW.
Here’s the premise of Drunk Music Review: I review a show while progressively getting drunker. Meanwhile, illustrator John Sebastian accompanies me while also drinking. He then turns the drunken reviews, which could be ridiculous, sloppy or just plain insulting, into a comic.
Notes: The captions that end with the hashtag #DrunkMusicReview were pulled from Twitter while I was [drunkenly] tweeting the show. Also, the chart at the bottom of every illustration shows how much each of us had to drink. Ready for the sobriety-shunning journey? Great! Let’s begin.
NIGHT ONE – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7
For Algernon – Christy’s
John and I started off CHMF with For Algernon at Christy’s. The lead singer started off on ukulele with Margaret Darling of The Seedy Seeds on keys and drums.
For Algernon’s set was sparse and heartfelt, but too low-key for Christy’s; the band would have been better appreciated at a venue like Rohs Street Cafe.
Oak Heart – Christy’s
We stuck around Christy’s to catch Oak Heart, a straightforward pop punk trio that includes the lead singer from The Prohibitionists and the drummer from the doom metal band Grey Host.
“Aaaaand they just started the song by screaming “I’m covered in your blood.” What a treat!” – #DrunkMusicReview
The Ridges – Roxx Electrocafe
We headed to Roxx Electrocafe, a new addition to CHMF’s usual roster of venues, but were dismayed to discover they didn’t serve alcohol. Despite Drunk Music Review halting to a semi-sober standstill, the Ridges didn’t disappoint. The band played on the floor with only two table lamps to light their set, and singer Molly Sullivan joined for a few songs.
The Ridges, in 7 words or less: acoustic Ra Ra Riot. A good thing. #DrunkMusicReview
Valley of the Sun – Christy’s
I’ll be honest, we had a few drinks by this point. I had three, to be exact. Still, one of those three drinks was a shot of whiskey and I mean, c’mon, I’m very small. I don’t remember much about Valley of the Sun except they evoked an image of what John described as “driving a 1971 Challenger through the desert at sundown.”
LOUD. AND. FACE. MELTING. #DrunkMusicReview
Skeleton Hands – Mac’s Pizza Pub
After catching Valley of the Sun and The Frankl Project, a band whose “melodic pop punk totally pulls at my inner high schooler heart strings” #DrunkMusicReview and who dedicated a song to Thai Express in true Cliftonite fashion, we stumbled to Mac’s to see Skeleton Hands. Again, things are fuzzy here.
Ray’s Music Exchange and The Cincy Brass – Christy’s
By the time we arrived back at Christy’s for Ray’s Music Exchange, John and I had what some would consider “too much to drink.” So much, in fact, that John didn’t write any sketch notes and most of my tweets were incomprehensible.
Example 1: Oh oh. Officially too drunk to tweet. #DrunkMusicReview – tweet during Ray’s Music Exchange, which I barely recollect, though I’m pretty sure I liked it.
Example 2: OMG. combination of 4 chants- “one more song# “, “encore” and “bad romance” #DrunkMusicReview – tweet towards the end of The Cincy Brass’ set. Yeah, I know, that’s three chants. And what’s with the hashtag? FYI “Bad Romance” was a reference to the Cincy Brass’ cover of Lady Gaga.
NIGHT TWO – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8
Milano – Rohs Street Cafe
After a healthy amount of late night Skyline and a good night’s rest, John and I headed back to Clifton to see Milano, a gypsy pop band from Chicago that impressed me at this year’s Midpoint Music Fest.
Violin, accordian, glitter, skinny jeans – I imagine Milano is what SXSW would be like if it moved to Eastern Europe. #DrunkMusicReview
Sun Country – Baba Budan’s
Sun Country ended up running 30 minutes behind, which meant I was both buzzed and irritated, which is deadly when combined with Twitter access. Seriously dudes, learn a thing or two about direct inputs.
On the plus side, the band has clever marketing skills.
Automagik – Roxx Electrocafe
We decided to see Automagik at Roxx Electrocafe, but this time, we were prepared. We’ll just take shots of whiskey before we get to the venue! In your face, lack of liquor! By the way, apologies to the lead singer of Automagik; whiskey apparently transforms me into a snarky jerk. I actually liked Automagik – the band has great stage presence and the singer’s voice reminds me of At The Drive In/Mars Volta – but the band is totally cartoonish. See tweets:
The guitarist is wearing a sequin vest & the singer has giant sunglasses. Tell me Automagik isn’t the Muppet rock band. #DrunkMusicReview
Automagik frontman just polled the crowd on their thoughts on carrots. That’s it. I’m quitting the music industry. #DrunkMusicReview
Automagik singer just took off his shirt. Apparently he’s prepping for The Machinist 2. #getthisdudeasandwich #DrunkMusicReview
Merely the Mocs – Rohs Street Cafe
After Automagik, John and I went back to Rohs Street for Merely the Mocs, only to discover the venue was running 20 minutes behind. We ran next door to Baba’s to catch up on our drinking (after all, if can’t drunkenly review bands for Drunk Music Reviews, what’s the point?) and caught a bit of Acarya. Afterward, it was back to Rohs for Merely the Mocs. By now, the alcohol had obviously set in, and the only tweets to document the experience were these:
Merely the Mocs at Rohs. Banjo. Violin. Upright bass. Christmas lights! So whimsical! #drunkenoughtousethewordwhimsical #DrunkMusicReview
Mark down Merely the Mocs as a band I’d like to check out sober #DrunkMusicReview
The Dukes are Dead – Christy’s
Despite my sloppy state, I knew The Dukes are Dead were a band I couldn’t miss, so it was back to Christy’s. The band launched into a set that I can’t actually remember but I’m sure it was awesome. They also announced the release of a new 5-song EP which would be available at their Halloween show at MOTR Pub on October 30.
Love that Lucas of The Dukes are Dead just followed the lyric “The only god I need is me” w/ “Praise the lord” #DrunkMusicReview
Banderas – Christy’s
We were several drinks deep by the time Banderas hit the stage. All I remember is wondering:
Either I’ve browned out, or Banderas has a hype man. #DrunkMusicReview
Turns out that hype man is their keyboardist, who spent about 10% of the set on keys and the other 90% standing on amps and hanging from the rafters.
Shadowraptr – Baba’s
We ended our final night of Drunk Music Review at Baba’s for SHADOWRAPTR, who ended up playing an hour past when they were originally scheduled. Of course, John and I took this opportunity to drink more “business beers” (we’re drinking for work, obviously). As one might expect, John was unable to take sketching notes so there is no illustration for this set, but let me tell you: SHADOWRAPTR was awesome. The last sets of CHMF are always high energy, but SHADOWRAPTR was tight, loud and drove the crowd insane. The band took advantage of their shortened set by ripping through one song after another with so much force and passion that I only had one tweet to say after their set:
Cincinnati is unstoppable. In love with this city. #DrunkMusicReview
- Review by Caitlin Behle
Illustrations by John Sebastian