Live Music is Back!

Great news: after a loooong dormancy, concerts are becoming as plentiful as cicada shells! (Sorry, the cicada reference is mandatory… check back in 17 years for another one.)

The not-so-great news: Cincinnati remains the Bermuda Triangle of concert tours.

Artist after artist plays Louisville, Columbus and Indy and just blows right past our fair burg. It’s downright depressing… and after the year we’ve endured, we need No Depression.

Actually the “Bermuda Triangle of the Midwest” map above isn’t accurate… because pound for pound, even Hamil-tucky, Ohio (motto: “stop asking about the exclamation point already!”) is kicking Cincinnati’s buttocks in the live music game. Gigs this summer and fall at RiversEDGE Amphitheater include:

  • Aaron Lee Tasjan with SG Goodman (Friday, July 16th)
  • Arlo McKinley (Friday, July 28th)
  • North Mississippi Allstars (Saturday, August 7th)
  • The Infamous Stringdusters with Sierra Hull (Saturday, August 21st)
  • JJ Grey & Mofro (Friday, September 3rd)

Whereas Riverbend’s schedule remains a time capsule from 1985, answering the musical question “How many years in a row can an outdoor shed book both Chicago AND The Doobie Brothers?” with an emphatic “Every friggin’ year!”

Riverbend’s booking team

Wait, this just in: Riverbend’s marketing department has informed me that they are actually “hep” and “with it” in 2021. As proof, they cite the appearance of an up-and-coming artist named Jimmy Buffett.

But our good friend, list member Dan “The Reds are gonna win it all this next year” Lewis has booked some of his favorite bands at Great American Ball Park:

It’s töo göod to be trüe!

Does that lineup sound töo göod to be trüe? Well, Dan “I love umlauts” Lewis has just informed us that the show above has been postponed until 2022… and he’s pissed because he already made an appointment to get his hair extensions done this year. But another of Dan’s faves will be playing GABP:

Are we sure this isn’t a photo of Stanley Tucci after eating all that fattening food in Italy?

Billy Joel had an open date on his schedule because the Allentown, PA minor league baseball team cancelled his gig at their stadium. (Fun fact: the team is called the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.)

Are we sure this isn’t a photo of Billy Joel after having a bottle of red and a bottle of white at an Italian restaurant?

If Billy Joel cancels his gig, Dan will really be pissed. Perhaps we can all pitch in to book the cover band Uptown Girl for a wine mixer at Dan’s house.

Meanwhile, just over the border in the Hoosier State, it’s shaping up to be “The Summer of Musicians Who Were Kicked Out of Bands by Their Greedy Bandmates” with shows from both Ace Frehley and Don Felder at the Lawrenceburg Event Center. (Note to Dan “Kickstart My Heart” Lewis: Vince Neil is playing there too!)

But fear not, good citizens of the Tri-State… there are a few good gigs coming our way. Not many, but a few. I’ll try to keep you posted. Local piano wunderkind Ben Levin (hey, he’s our neighbor!) is playing Big Ash Brewing this Saturday evening. All the cool kids will be there – oh, and I’ll be there too.

Honestly, the one place in town that’s punching well above its weight in decent concerts is the old Annie’s on Eastern Avenue. (The new name of the venue is Riverfront Live but dollars to donuts that 95% of the people who talk about it call it “the old Annie’s.”) Their full line-up of concerts is here.

As fate would have it, the Drive-by Truckers show at “the old Annie’s” was announced a few weeks after list member Mighty Joe Sampson and I bought tickets to see Waxahatchee in Louisville on that same night (9/2). So even when we win, we lose.

Before I sign off, I want to give props to the Cincinnati Enquirer (that’s a newspaper, kids… a newspaper is a printed publication… printing is… aw, nevermind!) for publishing a list of all the free summer shows in the area.

And I also want to mock the Cincinnati Enquirer (it’s a fungible token… aw, nevermind!) for not publishing the full name of a band that just booked a show at the Woodward Theater:

What a bunch of… wussies! Oh, speaking of Wussy, members of that stellar band have played more than 52 free livestream shows since the COVID lockdown began, and they rarely ever mention their tip jar. Those gigs have been a real lifesaver, and the beauty of the songs is nearly matched by the hilarity of the between-songs banter. Chuck Cleaver is my spirit animal.

And speaking of The Woodward Theater, it’s good to see them back in action. I hope they can book more shows soon. Ditto for MOTR Pub.

Shameless Self-Promotion

I’m still doing a podcast with my old 97X buddy Dave Tellmann… we chat with the folks that made 97X so special back in the day. We even interviewed Dan McCabe of MOTR/Woodward Theater fame (and Sudsy’s too… R.I.P.) and Mark Messerly of Wussy. We drop a new episode every couple of weeks, and you can listen via all the major podcast aggregators: Apple Music. Spotify. Pandora. Podbean. iHeart Radio. Google Podcasts. TuneIn.

Just tell that device that’s always spying on you to “Play the 97X Rumblings from the Big Bush podcast” and treat your ears to 18 minutes or so of pure magic.

Hope to see you in person at a show soon, my friends!

One Reply to “Live Music is Back!”

  1. Lisa Collins

    Crying, as I laughed out loud reading this! So happy we may see some normalcy return, but sad there are limited acts coming to Cincy. You could have added Hall & Oates to the Riverbend lineup – I know they are coming in 2021. It really is like 1985 all over again.


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