Music is a powerful force. It's unseen and intangible, but it stirs some of the strongest emotions a person can have. Love, hate, envy, excitement, anticipation, lust, greed and remembrance have all been inspired by and through music. In this edition of the Monty shoutOUT, I am removing my hat and closing my eye for a moment to take us back in time to a tragic but integral event in Cincinnati music history.
December 3, 1979. The Who, one of the biggest bands of the '70s, was scheduled to play their first Cincinnati show in four years. Tickets for the concert sold out in 90 minutes. Crowds lined the streets around the Riverfront Coliseum (now US Bank Arena) three days in advance. Festival seating was the offered placement at Riverfront Coliseum, which meant that non-reserved ticket holders were to stand where seats would normally be. This opened up the capacity for the venue and, unfortunately, the floodgates for pandemonium that led to the deaths of 11 people.
Anxious to get settled in the arena, the crowd at the west gate entrance became restless after the typical 7pm admission time had passed and they surged through the still-unopened doors. A stampede ensued. People were trampled and flung under the feet of fellow concert-goers. Various injuries in addition to the deaths occurred. The unrest was not noticed by attendees who had waited at the other gates so Cincinnati Fire Marshal Clifford Drury made the executive decision to tell Who manager Bill Curbishley that the band must still perform. The set lasted two hours, after which word spread through the crowd of the horrific, potentially avoidable tragedy that had happened just before they had all gathered to share in the joy that is listening to one's favorite band.
Precautions have been put in place across the U.S. following The Who tragedy of 1979, but the potent combination of restless crowds and inefficient security measures is still remembered by those here in Cincinnati who were there. On December 3, 2009, a vigil in memory of The Who victims was held. People gathered to share in mourning a tragedy that happened at an event that is supposed to join us in joy. This is the most important thing. Music is meant to be unifying. That's why sold-out concerts and basement shows are equally exciting. We're sharing in what's meant to be a transcendent, intangible joy.
As a frequent member of the local music scene, I fully understand the rush of anticipation that comes with seeing my favorite band. But I sometimes feel that that rush can supersede rationale, and as I've gotten older, I've reminded myself of this fact: the music will always be there. Standing at the back of the crowd as opposed to three feet away from the lead singer isn't always the coolest anecdote to tell, but it can be more comfortable, and the fact remains that you will still have seen an amazing show.
So be careful at shows, folks. If someone looks like they're having trouble standing in the pit at a concert, help them escape the crowd. Security guards are now in the fronts of most crowds at venues. Look out for one another. We're all here for one reason, the common thread that binds us, and that is our shared love of music. Let's help it continue to grow!
MidPoint Indie Summer Series :: June 249:30pm :: Viva Voce
"With living voice" or "by word of mouth" are the literal definitions of the phrase this Portland, Oregon two-piece have named themselves after, and these meanings are especially apt upon listening. The husband-and-wife duo's fluid interpretation of harmonies and instrumentation are happily married (weak pun) to craft an entity larger than themselves. The ebb and flow between intensity and hazed-out, matter-of-fact nonchalance patterned by steady drum and bass lines, and broad guitar rhythms allows the focus to travel over each individual element in a panoramic way. I feel the same when sailing down the Ohio River into to Cincinnati; each component makes the whole that much more enjoyable.
It's partly-mysterious fact but the calliope is very popular among sea-faring folk. I myself love the thunderous cacophony and simultaneous subtleties of this particular instrument, so it's no surprise that I'm a fan of Prussia, a quartet that embodies that raucous quality I can't resist. Singer Ryan Spencer's nasal-tinged voice reminds me of the crazy-haired guy from Passion Pit, minus the sometimes-grandiose overtones. Prussia is focused on an experimentation of sounds and their consequential chemical reactions to one another in each of their songs. From an effect I can only describe as sounding like squishy bananas in dripping water to reverb washes and synthesized surprises, these Detroit boys are eloquent and weird. Enough said.
If I was ever to host a square-dancing party on my riverboat, I'd invite the Kickaways to play and forget the square-dancing part. A hometown-bred quartet, these Cincinnati boys turn up the volume and deliver tight instrumentation with dedication and drive. Listening to the Kickaways makes me remember my days spent in smoke-filled bars where I'd order a PBR and feel that incomparable hum, that tantalizing tingle of excitement reverberating off the walls as talented, focused musicians played their hearts out for themselves and their fans. I can't wait for this wave to crash on Fountain Square; I hope the windows of the surrounding office buildings will remain intact during this true-blue rock-and-roll show.
Eight more MPMF.11 performers announced here!
MPMF.11 artist releases fresh out and in stores now: Viva Voce's "The Future Will Destroy You" and Unknown Mortal Orchestra's self-titled debut album.
Tickets on sale now!
Tickets:: FAQ :: Contact