By: Derek Jung
I love the Cincinnati music community. I enjoy discovering and listening to local bands, attending shows at local venues, and I'm very proud to support the source of many of those discoveries, WNKU. The station, owned and subsidized by Northern Kentucky University since 2011, has been broadcasting since 1985. Through the years, it has cemented itself deep in the hearts of music and arts lovers all over the area. Earlier this year it was announced that NKU was selling the station to a religious broadcasting company, and the immediate feedback was overwhelming. A petition was created that, at the time of this publication, has amassed over 8,000 signatures. While the sale is still pending, the window of opportunity to listen to the station is closing. As proof of that, WNKU announced that its final in-studio performance would be with beloved local duo Dawg Yawp.
I entered the studio with a mix of excitement and sadness - excited for my first in studio performance at WNKU, but also sad that my first would also be my last. I had never been to the studio before, and I was surprised that it was basically in the same hallway as normal college classrooms. It wasn't exactly the location I was expecting, but nonetheless everyone was very friendly and welcoming. In the waiting room, there was free WNKU swag and CDs that they were giving away because they wouldn't have any more opportunities to do giveaways in the future. I picked up the great new albums from Iggy Pop and Jim James. Soon, we all shuffled into Studio 89, which was draped with lights and had a welcoming, relaxed vibe to it. Unfortunately today the melancholy was palpable and our DJ Liz Felix hardly made it through the introduction before getting teary eyed. We were delighted to hear the band play 7 songs from their new self titled album and a surprise Beatles cover by request of Felix to finish the set. In between songs, Liz interviewed the band and Tyler and Rob told stories about how some songs were written and how the band came into being. You could tell they felt honored to be there and Rob even got emotional while recounting what it was like hearing one of their songs for the first time on the radio (on WNKU no less).
The band's distinct sitar rock was of course well received by the couple dozen people in attendance. The station live streamed the entire performance on Facebook. I've embedded it below. You can also listen to the radio edit with better audio by clicking this link. It was a true honor to be there, and it will be a sad day in Cincinnati history when WNKU finally closes its doors.
By: Joseph Kathmann
Wow. What a show. While this may be my first show of 2017, I think it may be hard for anyone to top it. I do believe the venue played a major part in this, but I think a lot of it was also the band themselves. There's something special about the band's frontman, Paul Janeway, when he takes the stage. Before I knew it, I felt like I was back in the early days of this legendary venue with a rowdy crowd of people looking to de-stress after a hard day's work. When I moved to Nashville almost two years ago, this was what I envisioned the shows would be like.
Following their strong sophomore album, which Derek and I both enjoyed, this tour has been something of a coming out party for the band. The show started with opener William Tyler bringing in some traditional country tunes. It was something of a weak opener, which is a shame because William Tyler has been pretty influential around town in Nashville, but this crowd was simply not his demographic. He was also pretty nervous playing at the Ryman, but by the end of the show his nerves were gone and he played some upbeat country tunes that got the crowd's attention at least for a bit. I think he made the best of his situation, but for most of his set he sadly failed to get the attention of the crowd, and thus they didn't hesitate to talk over his set.
Fortunately, all that changed when St. Paul & The Broken Bones took the stage. The crowd, largely white and of which I was probably the youngest one, initially sat in the bleachers through the first half of the set. It did make for a goosebump-inducing moment when the crowd gave him a standing ovation for "Like a Mighty River," many people, myself included, were getting frustrated with the idea of sitting throughout this high energy-performance. I think Paul Janeway could sense this, and a few times he asked the crowd to get up and dance for a song. While this tactic didn't really work, as the set went on and the band increased their energy levels, they eventually forced the crowd up and then.....it was on. The rowdy energy in the Ryman was undeniable as the crowd cheered and uncontrollably banged on the bleachers throughout the final few songs and the encore, and the band responded to this in kind. It really was pretty awesome to see and be apart of that, and everyone left the show feeling like they had just seen a show at the Mother Church as it was intended. St. Paul & The Broken Bones are a perfect band to see at The Ryman, and even though the crowd was calm at first, the atmosphere eventually took hold and I found myself in the middle of one of the coolest shows I had ever seen.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: