Music at The Incline, The Avenue, and MOTR Pub

Last Saturday the urge hit me to revisit The Incline Lounge at the Celestial in Mt Adams, and I’m glad I did. You would be hard pressed to find a place in town more suitable for a cocktail, and true to form cocktail glasses were in abundance that evening. The Lou Lausche Trio (consisting of piano, bass, drums) was playing, and when we walked in they were performing a song I’m not sure I’ve ever heard in Cincinnati, or for that matter anywhere: “Nardis,” an early Miles Davis composition that Miles never actually recorded and which came to be associated much more with Bill Evans, who revisited the composition many times during his career. The trio also delivered a nice rendition of “Doxy,” which is a great sleazy, bluesy, boozy, seldom-played Sonny Rollins song that Jimmy McGary used to like to play and that I mentioned to Lou the day before the show. What a nice and thoughtful surprise it was to hear it, and the trio sounded great, and the Celestial has managed to retain the charm that’s been there since it opened many moons ago. Although I don’t remember her name, the vocalist who joined the trio for the second half of the first set was very tasteful, and hearing the music plus seeing the fireworks after the Reds hit a homer and won the game made for a great experience at the Incline Lounge.

(And lest I forget, the Manhattan they served me was stellar.)

From there we ended up seeing a female vocalist who was radically different but good in her own right. At The Avenue, located at 411 Madison in Covington, our intention was to see the Ready Stance, but they were wrapping up their last song when we entered the door. However, we stuck around and heard A Juliet Bender, who along with having a mysterious name delivered some gritty and lowdown mix of blues and just plain grungy rock; that plus a convincing frontwoman made it all work, as my expert footage reveals (and keeps your eyes peeled for the stripper pole and disco ball):

Last night when I had Facebook on one of my seventeen open windows I saw one of those little bloopy things down at the bottom of the screen announcing that someone dared to interrupt my train of thought. Turns out if was Napoleon Solo Vox, who I hadn’t heard from in eons. Said he was in Washington DC, but even though he was way far away he was concerned that I must miss the uKanDanZ concert at MOTR Pub this Wednesday, July 25—and he was right to worry about that, because I’d never heard of them. (Which he kinda ribbed me about, but hey.) So here’s the scoop: the instrumentalists are from France, the lead singer is from Ethiopia, and this music is so richly layered and danceable and infectious that I now owe Napoleon a beer or a Turkish coffee or whatever his drink of choice might be—and if you don’t believe me, watch this video:

There’s more music news coming later this week, including an interview with Lisa Biales, who will be performing at Seasongood Pavilion Friday night (the show’s from eight to ten, and she’s the opener, so get there on time), as well as some information about a special concert taking place at 3 pm on Sunday, July 29 at the Blue Wisp. First, though, there’s Wednesday’s show at MOTR Pub.

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