This past Friday night was the annual MPMF Reveal Showcase where some of the details about the festival are unveiled and a few bands play along. It truly is the first MidPoint event of what has become a very busy schedule of shows over the course of the next few months. This past Friday evening was exciting in a sense that Dan McCabe shared many of the Fountain Square acts for this Summer as well as a few confirmations for the festival itself in September, and yes there was music too.
This yearâ€™s showcase featured Aloha, Cincinnatiâ€™s own Pomegranates, and The Buried Wires from Cleveland. While we went primarily to review the Pomegranates, the other bands (like most MidPoint acts) were worth checking out and are definitely worthy a mention here. But, letâ€™s start with Pomegranates and go from there. In the interest of full disclosure, I picked these guys in my Top 10 albums of 2009 for their sophomore release Everybody, Come Outside! Additionally, I have caught three of their most recent shows since Christmas 2009 and each time I walked away wondering to myself why they donâ€™t lean on Everybody more during their live sets.
Hosted in â€œThe Black Boxâ€ at the Contemporary Arts Center in downtown Cincinnati, this was a stark contrast to the last time I caught the band which was outside among the blooms as part of the Cincinnati Zoo concert series this April. While the venue was dramatically different, the set started much the same with the first few songs mixing the bandâ€™s first release with some newer numbers. The boys seemed a little bit off, maybe because the room was fairly packed, but they initially did not seem to have their best game with them. A few songs in, things were smoothed out as they laid down a great version of â€œIn the Kitchenâ€ and from there the show really seemed to pick up steam.
A few songs later, they dropped â€œSouthern Oceanâ€ on us as the first of three straight songs from Everybody, Come Outside including the title track. While the boys had played bits and pieces from the album in the shows I had seen this year, this was the first time â€œSouthern Oceanâ€ was played which made it a real treat. They immediately followed with the title track and â€œBeachcomberâ€ and I was finally able to set aside my worry of not hearing much from my #6 album of 2009.
While these guys are a still a little rough around the edges at their live shows, there is a lot of talent there and the crowds are starting to get bigger and are starting to know more of the music. They finished out their 40 minute set with a few additional tunes again mixing in new ones with some of their material from â€œEverything is Aliveâ€. With some more time and additional work the Pomegranates live experience will match the high standards they have set with their studio work, and we here at EachNote look forward to that day.
As for the other acts, I treated it much like MPMF which is to say that it is time to just sit back and listen and figure out whether or not I like them. The Buried Wires were playing their first show ever outside of their home city of Cleveland, OH and they were very impressive. This event was great for them as the room had a few hundred folks in the crowd as they opened the night, whereas you have to figure they would have likely played to an empty bar otherwise. They are definitely worth checking out on their next pass through town.
Aloha closed the night as they had for the prior few weeks on their tour with Pomegranates around the eastern portion of the United States. Aloha undoubtedly was the most polished of the three bands this evening and they showed why they were the closer. The skilled drumming of Cale Parks really brought a high intensity to the show and he drove the band from behind the skins. While Aloha has been around the longest of the three bands, they played with a lot of energy and brought the Black Box to life as well. Iâ€™m sure Dan McCabe would be happy to have all three bands as a part of the 2010 MPMF in September.
As for the details, here is what we know of the Fountain Square Indie Music series schedule based off the news from Friday night. As you will see, there definitely is a big focus on getting national acts to play our cityâ€™s most festive stage.
June 4 – Camera Obscura (Glasgow, Scotland)
June 11 – Neon Indian (Austin, TX) â€“ Coming straight from Bonnaroo
June 18 – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (Muscle Shoals, AL) â€“ A 2009 MPMF Headliner
June 25 – Smoking Popes (Chicago, IL)
July 9 – Why? (Cincinnati, OH)
August 6 – Dawes (North Hills, CA) â€“ My #9 album of 2009
And finally, Dan McCabe did release some of the bands that will be featured at the festival in September. Submissions remain open for a few more weeks, and the goal is to have a schedule of 350 bands this year, up from 270 last year. Additionally he confirmed that the Scions will make a return which definitely helped in navigating the festival last year. Here are some of the acts that were confirmed on Friday evening:
Caribou (Ontario, Canada); Via Tania (Chicago, IL); Gaby Moreno (Guatemalan now based in Los Angeles, CA); Milktooth (Nashville, TN); A Place To Bury Strangers (Brooklyn, NY); Gringo Star (Atlanta, GA); Richard Buckner (Brooklyn, NY); Plus/Minus (Brooklyn, NY); Sam Lamont (Morgantown, WV); Cults (New York, NY); Van Dyke Parks (Pasadena, CA); Clare and the Reasons (Brooklyn, NY)