Ten Favorite Bogart’s Concerts: The Honorable Mentions

Bogarts-logoA month ago (or was it longer?) I promised a list of my ten favorite Bogart’s shows. A long processions of phone calls from people who wanted me to help promote upcoming events—which I’m always happy to do—delayed the process, but now I’m finally ready to share my top ten.

Or almost, anyway. Before I delve into the best of the best, I should mention some of the shows that that didn’t make the top ten but were memorable for one reason or another. My  honorable mentions would include the following:

Human Switchboard. A Cleveland band I’ll always associate with the early days of punk or new wave or whatever you want to call what was happening then.

John Cale. His show ended with a full-throttle rendition of “Mercenaries (Ready for War)” that made a lot of sense at the time (and still does).

Sonny Rollins. Boy am I glad that I went to this show. It taught me how much I didn’t know. Although I loved Sonny’s earlier work in a bebop vein, I was blasé about his later stuff. On the first song of the second set, “Don’t Stop the Carnival,” Sonny displayed an endless supply of energy and creativity for fifteen or twenty minutes. Truly a jazz god.

Casual Gods. Jerry Harrison from the Talking Heads wasn’t much of a vocalist, and that wasn’t my only misgiving about the show. It was the only chance I’ve had, however, to see guitarist Chris Spedding whose resume includes work with Jack Bruce and The Sex Pistols.

Charlatans UK. It surprises me what a sparse crowd there was for this show, as Some Friendly was a hit with the college rock crowd and Between 10th and 11th was just as good. Catchy pop tunes with a hint of psychedelia.

Iggy Pop. Those who know his work better wouldn’t have been surprised to hear him break out “Louie Louie” when I first saw him in the early 1980s, but I certainly was, and I got great pleasure out of hearing him thrash that one out. That was the same show where, at 2am, the power went off and all you could see were exit lights.

Everything But the Girl. I was shocked to learn that EBTG was coming to Cincinnati. Although I’m not as fond of the more club-oriented sound the band eventually developed, there’s nothing they could do to make me not love them. Toward the middle of the show the band shut off the rhythm machine and played two wondrous cuts off Idlewild, the second being Ben Watt’s “Caruso.” I’m glad that the college and young professional crowd (who in Cincinnati chatted through the entire concert) tapped into EBTG—otherwise the band never would have come to Bogart’s. Still, I have to think that their jazzier early sound could have connected with a much wider audience.

Sonic Youth. When I saw this band they were touring on the heels of 1992’s Dirty. For me the tune that stuck out most was “Youth Against Facism,” which I hadn’t heard yet, but it resonated instantly.

King Crimson. Had Bill Bruford been on hand, this show would have made my top ten list for sure, but the drummer that night was a mere mortal. That was the second time I saw Crimson, and this gave me a much deeper appreciation for Robert Fripp’s guitar playing in the post-Red era.

King Sunny Ade. A fabulous show; I also caught them at the zoo.

JJ Cale. Of the three concerts I saw by JJ Cale, one was pure magic while the two others (one at Bogart’s) were merely great. Actually some of my top ten shows are by artists I don’t like nearly as well as JJ Cale but who brought something very special on the evening that I happened to catch them.

White Stripes. Although there were only two musicians in the band, the White Stripes had such a huge, billowing sound that Bogart’s almost seemed to small for it! The show included a cover of Dylan’s “Love Sick” on which Jack White played keyboards.

Before I go the top ten, I also want to sneak in some official awards for past Bogart’s concerts:

The loudest show: Ministry.

Most entertaining show. Mojo Nixon/Skid Roper. They played upstairs, and Mojo was absolutely nuts. At one point he started banging rhythms on a water jug, and then—taking advantage of the short ceilings upstairs—he bounced the jug off the floor so hard that the jug in turn bounced off the ceiling and landed back in his hands. He did this without pause and repeatedly, and right on the beat! Surreal. After the show I asked him to sign my harmonica case, and he did. First, though, he rubbed it on his tallywacker.

The smokiest show. Mudvayne. I believe that show was sold out, and if I’m not mistaken every single person in the club was smoking that evening…except for me.

The biggest bunch of attitude: Ministry and Wolfgang Press. The way these two bands walked off the stage without acknowledging the crowd and in fact acted dismissive toward the people who came out to see them inspired me to quickly sell their records back to Mole’s.

Best opening act. Tracy Chapman opening for 10,000 Maniacs. This was, for the Maniacs, the In My Tribe tour, which is the only time you got to hear them play “Peace Train” live. Tracy, who played solo and was hard to hear over a chatty crowd, closed with “Talkin’ bout a Revolution.” I saw her shortly thereafter with a full band opening for Neil Young at Riverbend, but I found her solo performance in a smaller setting more powerful.

Most unusual performer. Timothy Leary saw fit to visit Cincinnati and talk about turning on, tuning in and dropping out. He definitely had a sense of humor about it all, however—in fact, I think he always did.

Best 1-man band. I liked how Michael Hedges strutted out to the front of the stage while exuding confidence that one acoustic guitar and a voice could provide entertainment for an entire evening. No gimmicks, no light show, no electronics, no flashy American Idol type persona—just music…and it worked.

 The Bogart’s show I most wish I’d seen but didn’t. There’s been much talk over the years about some of the mythical Bogarts shows by folks like The Police, U2 and Prince. The band I most wish I’d seen there, however, was Shakti w/John McLaughlin, who had just released Natural Elements. I almost made it to that show—and then heard detailed accounts from people who made it clear that I had missed something extraordinary. I did catch him a couple years later with a band that included L. Shankar (from Shakti) in the band, and they played a duet from a Shakti album.


Interview with Andrea Cefalo; She’s at the Blue Wisp Sunday Evening


Recently I wrote, for a magazine, a lengthy feature article on female jazz vocalists from around the world, not so much the famous ones but good ones, many of them up and coming. Writing the article entailed, in part, contacting record companies in America and abroad and encouraging them to send me all the CDs they had by jazz singers. I ended up with piles of them. There were plenty of rejects, but the ones I liked best I ended up recommending.

It strikes me that it would make sense to do something similar in Cincinnati—and if I do it, my A-list will include Andrea Cefalo, who I’ve seen several times at different venues around town. It’s been a while, though, and it was nice to catch up during a phone conversation today. Andrea will be performing at the Blue Wisp this Sunday, July 29, from 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm, as part of a quartet that includes Brian Cashwell on piano, Don Aren (who you may know from the Faux Frenchmen), and Napoleon Maddox (from IsWhat?!) on beatbox and vocals.

I’ve seen you a bunch of times, but I think at least a couple years have passed since the last time I saw you perform. So fill me in: have you been playing out as much, or have I been staying in more?

I have been gigging as much as I used to. I played a lot at the Meritage Restaurant in Glendale. And recently I had a couple dates at the Blue Wisp; the Wisp really is special for me. Continue reading “Interview with Andrea Cefalo; She’s at the Blue Wisp Sunday Evening”

Lisa Biales Interview; She’s Playing Seasongood Pavilion This Friday

This Friday, June 27, at Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park, a free concert will take place as part of the Edensong series. The artists performing that night will be Lisa Biales, Neil Jacobs, Noah Wotherspoon & Jessi Bair, The Tillers and Ricky Nye. The show starts at 8 pm and ends at 10 pm—and make sure you get there in time, because Lisa Biales will be opening the show with a solo performance. Lisa recently released her seventh CD, Just Like Honey, and recently I had a chance to chat with her about her new CD, touring, and her recent appearance in a Francis Ford Coppola film.

I’m making sure to tell everyone to show up on time for the concert, because you’re kicking it off.

I’m kicking it off, and I’m asking Ricky Nye, who’s closing the show, to sit in with me. Continue reading “Lisa Biales Interview; She’s Playing Seasongood Pavilion This Friday”

Favorite Bogart’s Concert: Ramones, 1978

Returning once again to the theme of favorite concerts, we have here a piece penned by David Hintz, who used to live in the area (Dayton and Oxford) who is now writing a blog in the DC area, DC Rock Live. Here Dave writes about seeing the Ramones at Bogart’s in 1978, when Bogart’s and punk were both new:

I had just turned 19 and was starting my sophomore year at Miami University. It was legal to drink in those days, thanks to development of 3.2 (% alcohol) beer. Ergo, nightclubs were calling. But there was another more important calling that I had discovered one year earlier: punk rock. Most music fans understand the importance of the punk movement, but it is hard to believe how dangerous and daring it was back at its outset. From the streets of London to CBGBs, punk band members and fans were stabbed, beaten up and constantly hassled for looking different from both the norm and the ‘normal outcast’. Continue reading “Favorite Bogart’s Concert: Ramones, 1978”

Favorite Concert Ever, Part 2

I have lots more to say about new things going on at Bogart’s and on Short Vine in general, and I’ll get to that this week – but today I wanted to wrap up (maybe) the theme of favorite concert ever. Guitarist extraordinaire and music teacher extraordinaire Jeff King had this to say about a series of Michael Hedges concerts that took place at Bogart’s:

The crowds at some of those Bogart’s shows were simply amazing. There would be thunderous applause and standing ovations in the middle of songs and then it would be so quiet you could hear a pin drop during the ballads. Hedges really fed off that energy. I’ll never forget him doing the bluesy, vocal riff on “Gimme Shelter.” Continue reading “Favorite Concert Ever, Part 2”

Favorite Concert Ever, Part 1

The response to the contest where people were supposed to write about their best concert ever was so overwhelming that I’ll have to break it down into separate blog entries. The first two top-prize winning entries happen to have been written by women, which leads to me to wonder if men don’t trail behind the fair sex a bit when it comes to appreciating a good live concert…Maybe not, but I just wanted to throw it out there. The idea for this contest came via Karen Foley, the general manager of Bogart’s, who offered tickets  to tonight’s Santigold concert for the two most entertaining concert stories concerning an all-time favorite concert. (There are still tickets left for tonight’s show, by the way.) And here, at last, is first prize, courtesy of Claudia Cartolano Taylor:

I am a veteran concert goer. I am in my 40’s and have been to many, many concerts since I was a kid. In fact, my first concert was Iggy Pop at the Taft. I was not even out of grade school. My parents were out and some neighborhood kids, a hair older than I, had an extra ticket for Iggy Pop at the Taft. I hopped in the car and  got to not only see Iggy, but David Bowie came out and played with Iggy on a couple of songs. I was almost a teenager, overwhelmed, in awe, and hooked on music. GOOD Music! Plus, my high school neighbors got me home and tucked in before my parents ever knew. Could’ve been a scene out of the film, ALMOST FAMOUS. Continue reading “Favorite Concert Ever, Part 1”