Before my days as a wizened, sage captain, I had quite a boisterous boyhood. A friend of mine just over the river in Newport, Kentucky, invited me to a show at a dingy little bar known as the Jockey Club. My ears and eyes have never been the same.
Owned by an infamous pair of brothers, Hallman “Shorty” Mincey, and Hayne “Tiny” Mincey, the Jockey Club was a gritty bar that was transformed into an even grittier venue. This transformation also brought about one that was unforeseen but lives on today: a central hub for the wave of great punk music that helped define the early '80s and consequently, the people who frequented these shows. A mecca for misfits, loners and yearning souls alike, the Jockey Club was one of the only venues in Greater Cincinnati to host such revered acts as the Ramones (photo), the Dead Kennedys, D.O.A. the Cramps, Violent Femmes and Black Flag. The scene created here catapulted the underground to the forefront of attention for music fans across the Midwest and the Jockey Club lived in frenzied infamy during it's entire six-year run.
In fact, so many stories are told about this fabled mecca that a book recounting many of them, along with details about the Jockey Club's foundation and operation, was recently published. Check out Stories for Shorty: A Collection of Recollections from the Jockey Club 1982-1988
, from the local Aurore Press
, and get lost in the memories of all the patrons who contributed to the book.
Looking back on my days spent at the Jockey Club, just before I heard the whistle of a riverboat and was irrevocably drawn to the Ohio, I remember a time when the sounds of punk, innovation and belonging called me just as sweetly across that same river.
MidPoint Indie Summer Series :: June 17
As a riverboat captain with an undisclosed number of years at sea under my belt, I've come to rely on my keen sense of smell and innate sense of direction to bring my ship to port. After stumbling across Maps & Atlases, I may have to revise my outlook. This Chicago quartet has drawn me in like a ship lost to the Bermuda Triangle. Tumultuous instrumentation draws you into a spinning maze of intricate rhythms, but vocalist Dave Davison is at the rescue, his even-keeled intonations carrying you through the storm and delivering you safely, if a bit wistfully, to Solid Ground (bonus points if you catch the reference; if not, click on the link and educate yourself!)
I first heard Soapland at Citybeat's BRINK Music Festival last fall, and I fell hard, hook, line and sinker, for this Cincinnati quartet's intricate weaving of pseudo-electronica, indie-influenced free-fall rock. Singer Amy Jo Combs' siren call pervades the entire set of steady-driving rhythms crafted by punctuating drums and straightforward guitar and bass lines. The name of the band, which derives from a term in Japan for some not-so-clean brothels, is a sly, fitting wink for a band that seduces you with crunch and grit and leaves you feeling satisfyingly refreshed. Convenient that there's a fountain next to the stage during Soapland's performance; let's get clean together, shall we?
Where I come from, "wild talents" are being able to do impressive things, like steering a ship to harbor through a raging squall or pulling a steamboat to dock while fighting swirling currents. This Cincinnati quartet puts a whole new definition in the books: creating intriguing, haunting shoe-gaze-y, punk-tinged tunes as a cohesive whole. One listen to Wild Talents and I'm impressed. With a plaintive vocalist, varying drums and guitar lines and a smattering of ethereally-reminiscent synth effects, these three guys and girl (who named themselves after a book written about unexplained psychic and mental abilities) inspire intrigue and contemplation with each song. Wild Talents makes me want to solve a mystery I'm not even sure exists, but I know I'm getting closer with each listen, and you will too.
FESTIVAL ANNOUNCEMENTS More artists will be announced Monday (June 20)...stay tuned!!