Iggy and the Stooges on Ludlow Avenue

Iggy and the Stooges have come to Clifton—or their mural, that is. The artist who created the mural is C.F. Payne, and the work hangs beside the James Gang mural outside of Habanero’s and across the street from Captain Beefheart.

Talk about keeping good company.

It makes perfect sense that some sort of tribute would appear for Iggy in the Queen City, as one of the defining moments in his career occurred here. In June 23, 1970, at the Cincinnati Pop Festival, Iggy spread peanut butter over his body and then jumped into the crowd, who kept him afloat in an early example of crowd-surfing.

During that same year Iggy and the Stooges played two concerts at the Ludlow Garage, which has reopened, and the mural is two doors away from the historic venue. Like MC5, who also rocked the historic venue, the Stooges were a Michigan-based group who played a lot around the region during that period.

A seminal proto-punk band, Iggy & the Stooges reunited between 2003 and 2009, and Iggy Pop has also had a successful solo career and appeared in a number of movies.

Iggy has been to Cincinnati many other times, by the way. My first Iggy show was at Bogart’s around 1980 or 1981—something like that. The concert was sold out, but an admission specialist offered to let us in if we paid full ticket price in cash, to him.

I doubt we were the only people that evening who were extended that offer, and the room was beyond packed. Concerts used to start really late during that period, and Iggy was still going strong at two o’clock in the morning, and so was the crowd.

Then off went the lights and the sound, at exactly two o’clock in the morning. “The power blew” was the official report, but there were skeptics in the overstuffed crowd that took its sweet time filing out of the club, grouching the entire time.

They wanted more, and Iggy wanted more. No one believed that bit about the power.

But if anyone was going to make the power blow, it was Iggy.


James Gang Mural Now Hanging at Habanero’s

As we’re starting to see, Ludlow Avenue is being transformed into an art gallery devoted to great music.

The mural that went up this week is the second in a series of seven to appear on the street. Seven different artists chose to paint murals of a musician or band who played the Ludlow Garage in either its earliest incarnation or more recently.

The mural that appeared on the side of Gaslight Bar & Grill earlier this year portrays Captain Beefheart, whose bizarre-sounding music stood out even in the late 60s and 70s, when he first started to make records.

The new mural, which appears outside Habanero’s and was painted by John Maggard, depicts the James Gang. If you don’t  know the drummer Jim Fox or the bassist Dale Peters from the band, you probably know the group’s vocalist, lead guitarist, and main songwriter, Joe Walsh, who after the James Gang folded embarked on a successful solo career and then joined the Eagles.

By the time the James Gang performed a four-night stint at the Ludlow Garage (December 31, 1969–January 3 1970), the trio was a national act with an album on a major label and good press courtesy of the Who’s Pete Townsend. They were also a popular regional act based in Cleveland.

While many people associate Joe Walsh with his solo career and his work with the Eagles, the music he made with the James Gang should not be overlooked. At times sounding like a power trio and at other times performing warm acoustic ballads, the trio released three memorable studio albums plus a live LP recorded at Carnegie Hall.

Released in July of 1970, the group’s second studio album, Rides Again, belongs in every classic rock collection. Their biggest hits, “Funk 49” and “Walk Away,” are still played on the radio.

And the live LP is loud, crunchy rock and roll at its finest. Listen to this version of “Stop” and imagine this same trio in the more intimate setting of the Ludlow Garage.


Kasim Sulton Plays the Ludlow Garage March 14th

Kasim Sulton’s Utopia will perform at the Ludlow Garage on Saturday, March 14.

The music that evening will have a strong Todd Rundgren connection. Along with recording dozens of solo albums, Todd Rundgen was a member of two important bands. One group, the Nazz, recorded three albums between 1968 and 1971.

The other band, Utopia, released its first album in 1974, and continued to reconvene for the next few decades. There has been some shifting personnel in Utopia, but some of the musicians have remained band members for long periods of time, including Kasim Sulton, who joined Utopia in 1976. By then Utopia had become a four-piece where all four band members wrote, sang, produced, and engineered material.

It was Sulton who wrote and sang lead on Utopia’s biggest hit, “Set Me Free,” from Adventures in Utopia (1980). During its career Utopia played many different styles of music. Some songs were short, concise, and catchy but quirky pop confections while others reflected a progressive rock style.

Sulton will be performing music from all the different phases of Utopia when he comes to the Ludlow Garage. If you like Todd Rundgren, you’ll hear a lot of Todd that evening. If you like smart, quirky pop music, you’ll hear that too. And if you like progressive rock, you’ll hear that as well. Click this link to find out more about this show and order tickets.

Marc Cohn Plays the Ludlow Garage March 25

An intimate venue like the Ludlow Garage is an ideal setting for a singer-songwriter, and it’s hosted some of the best, including Judy Collins, Michael Martin Murphey, and Rickie Lee Jones. At larger venues you tend to lose some of the subtleties and nuances of singer-songwriters, but the Ludlow Garage offers both immediacy and superb sound.

So Marc Cohn’s performance on March 25 promises to be a special one. His hit “Walking in Memphis” was nominated for a Grammy for best song and best male vocal performance in 1991, and it reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Since then Cohn has written songs for himself and for other artists, including David Crosby, William Bell, and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

If you’re wondering how Marc Cohn became such an in-demand songwriter, part of the answer might lie in his album Listening Booth: 1970. The album is devoted to cover version of pop songs that were originally released in 1970, a year that served as Cohn’s musical awakening and year that inspired him to write music. You’ll hear songs by Van Morrison, CCR, Simon & Garfunkel, the Grateful Dead, and others. His rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed” is one of the highlights of the album:

To find out more about the show and order tickets, click this link to the Ludlow Garage’s website.

Sunday Brunch at the Ludlow Garage

Today I got together with a group of friends for Sunday brunch at the Ludlow Garage, which takes place every Sunday from 11am to 3pm. It was the first time for all of us, so everyone got something different and we did a lot of sharing. Turns out we picked a beautiful day to hang out there: the temperature got up to the high 50s – rare for the first day of March – and the sun was shining as bright as ever. Soon the Ludlow Garage will be opening the garage doors, adding that much more character to the establishment and to Ludlow Avenue. While we were sitting there today, it was easy to imagine the doors lifting and the sun warming the room.

We started our meal out with mimosas, Bloody Maries, and coffee…

…and then explored as many different options as we could on the menu. The menu for Sunday brunch alludes to the Ludlow Garage’s storied musical history, with such delicacies as Iggy Pop Tart Pancake and Humble Egg Pie on tap. The price was reasonable, the portions were generous, and – to cut to the chase – we’ll be back, for brunch, for concerts, for cocktails, and for the opportunity to sit upstairs while the doors are open on a beautiful spring day.




A Complete List of Concerts at the Ludlow Garage 1969 – 1971

The first incarnation of the Ludlow Garage music venue hosted concerts from September 1969 to January 1971. Artists who performed there included the Allman Brothers, the Kinks, BB King, Alice Cooper, and the Stooges.

Some of the artists – including Santana, Mountain, the Incredible String Band, and Johnny Winter – played Woodstock just one month before the Ludlow Garage started presenting live music.

Some local acts also performed at the Ludlow Garage, which is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Those groups included Blacklight Braille, whose macabre and colorful stage show bore some resemblance to Alice Cooper.  Sound Museum, who opened for Santana, included band members who worked with James Brown.

The Concerts​​


September 19-20, 1969 Grand Funk Railroad, Lonnie Mack, Balderdash (opening night)

September 26-27, 1969 Spirit, Sound Museum, Sandy Nassen

October 3-4, 1969 Holy Modal Rounders, Stone Fox

October 7-9, 1969 Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Holy Modal Rounders

October 10-11, 1969 Mother Earth, Lighthouse, East Orange Express (10/10), Lemon Pipers (10/11)

October 14-16, 1969 Mountain, Devil’s Kitchen

October 17-18, 1969 Barry Goldberg Reunion, Devil’s Kitchen

October 21-22, 1969 Santana, Sons of Champlin, Sound Museum, Justice

October 24, 1969 Jam Session

October 25, 1969 The Flock

October 31-November 2, 1969 Elvin Bishop, Humble Pie, Devil’s Kitchen, Catfish

November 7-8, 1969 Devil’s Kitchen

November 14-15, 1969 Kinks, Humble Pie, Glass Harp

November 21-22, 1969 Sons of Champlin, Ricky Nelson, Lemon Pipers

November 28-29, 1969 Incredible String Band

December 19-20, 1969 The Frost, Glass Wall, Allman Brothers Band

December 26-27, 1969 BB King, Zephyr

December 28-29, 1969 Raven, All The Lonely People, Uncle Dirty

December 30, 1969 Raven, Balderdash, Uncle Dirty

December 31, 1969 James Gang, Raven, Uncle Dirty, Eli Radish, Balderdash


January 1-3 1970 James Gang, Eli Radish, Atlantis (1/1), Savage Grace (1/2 & 1/3)

January 9-10, 1970 Flamin’ Groovies, Iggy & The Stooges, Golden Earring

January 16-17, 1970 MC5, Sunday Funnies

January 23-24, 1970 The Flock, NRBQ

January 25, 1970 Renaissance, NRBQ, Lemon Pipers, Ed Chicken & the French Fries

January 30-31, 1970 Amboy Dukes, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

February 6-7, 1970 Mother Earth, Eric Mercury, Glass Harp

February 13-14, 1970 Herbie Mann, James Cotton Blues Band

February 20-21, 1970 Grand Funk Railroad, Lemon Pipers

February 22, 1970 Savoy Brown, Balderdash and Raintree

February 25, 1970 (moved to Music Hall) Neil Young, Renaissance

February 27-28, 1970 Taj Mahal, Cold Blood

March 3, 1970 Lemon Pipers, SLSN

March 6-7, 1970 Bo Diddley, Brownsville Station and Glass Harp

March 13-14, 1970 MC5, Stone the Crow, Elizabeth (Friday early show only), Stooges

March 20-21, 1970 Albert King, NRBQ

March 27, 1970 New York Rock & Roll Ensemble, Alice Cooper, Mad Lydia

March 28, 1970 Ten Years After, New York Rock & Roll Ensemble, Alice Cooper, Mad Lydia

April 4-5, 1970 Allman Brothers Band, Devil’s Kitchen (thanks to Brett Champlin for this correction)

April 10-11, 1970 Zephyr, Argent

April 17-18, 1970 (rescheduled to June 5 & 6) Pink Floyd

April 17-18, 1970 Staple Singers, The Silvertones, Biff Rose

April 25, 1970 Brute Force, Lemon Pipers

April 30, 1970 Allman Brothers, Hampton Grease Band

May 1-2, 1970 Tony Williams Lifetime, Hampton Grease Band

May 8-9, 1970 Incredible String Band, Stone Monkey

May 10, 1970 Phil Ochs, Jerry Rubin

May 15-16, 1970 Mother Earth

May 22-23, 1970 James Cotton Blues Band

May 29-30, 1970 Fairport Convention

June 5-6, 1970 (cancelled) Pink Floyd

July 10-11, 1970 Beechwood Farm

August 15-16, 1970 Balderdash, Screaming Gypsy Bandits

August 28-29, 1970 Dr. John the Night Tripper, Bitter Blood Street Theater

September 11, 1970 NRBQ, Rock City, The Farm

September 19, 1970 Bob Seger System

September 26, 1970 Iggy & The Stooges, Whalefeathers

October 2, 1970 The Farm

October 3, 1970 MC5

October 21, 1970 (Music Hall) Frank Zappa & The Mothers, Sandy Nassan, Balderdash

November 20-21, 1970 Captain Beefheart, Hampton Grease Band, Screaming Gypsy Bandits, Avenue of Happiness and Balderdash

November 22, 1970 Johnny Winter

December 10, 1970 Savoy Brown, Beechwood Farms

December 11-12, 1970 Roland Kirk, Vibration Society

December 13, 1970 Incredible String Band

December 23-24, 1970 The Flock


January 19-20, 1971 Captain Beefheart, Ry Cooder, Pure Prairie League (last concert at the Ludlow Garage)


Rodriguez Coming to the Ludlow Garage

The Ludlow Garage has a storied history that goes back to its first incarnation, with musicians like the Allman Brothers, Santana, and BB King performing there.
Far from resting on its laurels, however, the new Ludlow Garage has been very ambitious in its booking. We’re lucky to be able to see artists like Rickie Lee Jones, Macy Gray, Jonathan Richman, and Adrian Belew in such an intimate space.
The venue should also be commended for hosting such interesting, forward-thinking bands as New Mastersounds, the Levin Brothers (they’re coming on Saturday, January 18th!), and Nektar. Suddenly music that usually skips over Cincinnati appears right in the center of town.
And this morning’s newsflash tells us that  the Ludlow Garage is going to host Rodriguez. That’s right, the legend whose story you may have seen on 60 Minutes or in the movie, Searching for Sugar Man. The concert will take on Valentine’s Day, which, better yet, is on a Friday this year. I have a strong hunch that many people’s Valentine’s Day plans just got a lot simpler. Tickets for the show go on sale at 10am on Friday, January 14. To order tickets, click this link. See you at the show!



Nektar Coming to the Ludlow Garage

Once upon a time, when you flipped through albums in record stores, you saw LPs by bands you never heard of with strange names and bizarre-looking album covers. Gong, Fireballet, Hawkwind, Kraftwerk, Can, Magma, Audience, PFM, and Caravan I’m played experimental and colorful music that bore resemblance to more well-known bands like Genesis, ELP, and Yes but was even less likely to get radio play. All the bands mentioned here were from Europe, but similar groups started to form in America .  The music was deemed “progressive rock,” and new bands continue to emerge eager to take us to that musical dreamworld.

And some of the old bands are still active after all these years. On top of that, some of them are touring, including the German-then-English band Nektar. I clearly remember reading about Nektar for the first time in Rolling Stone in the mid-70s. A full-page article had a picture of the band performing in front of a light show that looked a lot like the cover of the album Remember the Future, which appears at the top of this blog entry. That album, released in 1973, was their most well-known record, and it has come to be seen as classic Nektar. A few years later the group took an extended break (almost two decades), but they’re not only active again, they have a new album coming out on January 24, 2020. The Other Side is coming out on a label called Esoteric Recordings, and it actually consists of material that was conceived in the 1970s but wasn’t fleshed out until recently.

And it gets more interesting: Nektar is going to perform in Cincinnati, at the Ludlow Garage. The concert will take place on February 28. The newly revived venue has been pulling in interesting bands that normally come to Cleveland to Chicago, but nowhere closer, and because of that the Ludlow Garage has made Cincinnati  a more interesting concert city . If you like experimental music that blends genres and pushes the envelope – and has a very interesting history – take a listen to Nektar. Here’s the first half of Remember the Future:


Rising Appalachia Coming to the Ludlow Garage

By now you’ve probably heard the news that the newly remodeled Ludlow Garage is up and running. The sound is great, it’s an intimate space with lots of history, and the concert schedule is packed for many months to come. As you’re scrolling through the Ludlow Garage’s list of upcoming shows, don’t overlook Rising Appalachia, who will perform there on November 12. If you have a soft spot for roots music, acoustic instruments, rich harmonies,  and positive vibrations, check out these videos by Rising Appalachia. This first cut, “Shed Your Grace,” adds a gospel touch to the mix:

“Sadjuna” is a beautiful song that blends together Americana and African music;  I love the harmonies and the fiddle:

Other artists coming to the Ludlow Garage who have some roots connection include Poco (December 1), Donna the Buffalo (March 6), and Shovels & Rope (April 8).

Also slated are John Sebastian (February 6), The Outlaws (November 10), and Atlanta Rhythm Section (February 6).

Jazz and prog fans should know about Spyro Gyra, George Winston, Najee, The Levin Brothers, Kasim Sulton’s Utopia, and Brand X. That begins to tell you what’s coming to the Ludlow Garage, but here again is the full list. See you at the show!




Jim Tarbell’s 50th Anniversary Reunion of the Ludlow Garage

On Saturday, August 17, Jim Tarbell will host a concert celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Ludlow Garage. The event will take place at Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park. Admission is free, and here are some of the highlights:

At noon the event kicks off with a performance by Rob Fetters, a veteran of the Raisins, the Pschodots, and the Bears.

Don’t miss a rare performance by Sanday Nassan, a guitarist who attended Walnut Hills High School and played the original Ludlow Garage; that set starts at 1: 50 pm. Sandy recorded a couple fine albums back in the day, including a direct-to-disc LP and a record on the Embryo label formed by Herbie Mann.

And don’t overlook Haymarket Riot, a Cincinnati rock band that formed in 1965, continued into the 70s, and recently resurfaced.

A longstanding Cincinnati blues band, the Bluebirds will, after playing a set of their own music, be joined at 6: 15 p.m. by Tracy Nelson, who performed with Mother Earth at the Ludlow Garage during its original incarnation.

Then – and how cool is this? – Rick Derringer will close the concert. Born in Celina, Ohio, Derringer grew up in Fort Recovery. He was all of 17 when he sang “Hang on Sloopy” for the McCoys. That song has become a staple for home games of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, and the Rolling Stones even performed it the last time they played Columbus!

It only makes sense that this show would be the handiwork of Jim Tarbell, who, after all, ran the Ludlow Garage during its first incarnation.

And the Seasongood Pavilion, well, that has some history too. That amphitheater hosted many rock concerts in the late 60s, with such bands as the James Gang, Grand Funk Railroad, and the Grateful Dead performing there. And Janice Joplin was driving her chopper around Eden Park one day, as this album cover testifies:

Here’s the full lineup for the event:

  • Noon Rob Fetters
  • 12:55 p.m. Sonny Moorman Trio
  • 1:50 p.m. Sandy Nassan
  • 2:35 p.m. Robin Lacy & DeZydeco
  • 3:30 p.m. Haymarket Riot 
  • 4:25 p.m. Warsaw Falcons,
  • 5:20 p.m. Bluebirds
  • 6:15 p.m. Tracy Nelson with Bluebirds 
  • 7:15 p.m. Jeffrey Seeman of Wheels 
  • 8 p.m. Rick Derringer Band