By: Derek Jung
Nestled in a quaint park amphitheater on the banks of the Great Miami River in Hamilton, Ohio, David Shaw's Big River Get Down has put together one of the better single day festivals in the area. Shaw, lead singer of The Revivalists and Hamilton native, assembled an eclectic, good vibes focused lineup that delivered from top to bottom. Coupled with great weather and a crowd eager to soak up the sun and enjoy a day of music in an otherwise quiet town, The Get Down was a huge success.
Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band
Ironically only featuring three members, Peyton's energy, enthusiasm, and monster beard makes up for what the band lacks in size and, frankly, a vocalist. With slick slide guitar, smooth blues licks, and a hypnotizing rhythmic sound, Peyton and company commanded the stage for their 45 minute set. I found myself constantly watching Breezy, whose instrument is scratching a washboard.
Yes, this is a band from the 21st century.
Set highlights "Something for Nothing" and "Clap Your Hands" are worth the price of admission alone. Don't miss out on seeing The Rev if he comes around again.
The Marcus King Band
I missed seeing Marcus King earlier this year at 20th Century Theater because of a snow storm, so seeing he was playing The Big River Get Down was icing on the cake when I went to purchase tickets. The 21 year old blues guitarist has been playing live for a good portion of his life already, and being associated with legends like Warren Hayes certainly hasn't hurt his young career. Similar to Hayes, King's southern blues style bring back memories of The Allman Brothers and Gov't Mule. With accompanying horns and keys, King's guitar playing didn't take the spotlight quite as much as I would have liked, but there's no denying the kid's talent and passion for the blues. I'm really looking forward to hearing how his sound evolves, because there are certainly some growing pains involved. (His voice being one of them) But I have high hopes.
The Record Company
Seeing them open for My Morning Jacket earlier this year was a revolution for me. I'd heard their single, "Rita Mae Young" on local radio, but never thought they'd rock as much as they do. These three guys bring the hard pounding throwback southern blues rock riffs, a little twang, a little harmonica, and top it off with a dash of slide guitar. The resulting rock 'n' roll sundae is enough to fill the appetite of even the hungriest rocker out there.
Some would argue that The Record Company isn't bringing anything new to the genre, which is probably true, but why mess with a formula that's been so successful for so long. There's no denying that what the band's doing here sounds just as fresh as it did when Muddy Waters pioneered the genre in the 50's and 60's.
By: Derek Jung
Seeing any musical act in a sports arena is a gamble. For one, the sound system built into stadiums are not made to handle the intricate sounds of a live band. They also are not shaped to handle the way sound travels in space. We see this almost every night at Reds games with the now infamous wooing that echoes through the mostly empty stadium. The last act I had the displeasure of seeing at Great American Ballpark was Billy Currington during All Star Weekend. It didn't go well, and luckily we only had to endure two songs from the country star. Because of this, I didn't have high hopes for The Avett Brothers, who have a much larger, fuller sound.
The stage for The Avett Brothers was, unlike Currington's positioning, directly behind second base facing home. I can't imagine what the sound was like for anyone behind the stage in the outfield, or even more down the first or third baseline, but where we were sitting, we had a good view of the stage. Speaking of which, there were seven people in the band packed on a tiny stage, much of which was taken up by drums, a piano, and keyboards. For a band with as much on-stage energy as The Avett Brothers, I was worried we wouldn't get the full effect. Thankfully, my worries were quickly dashed, but not without some downsides. As I feared, the sound was immediately an issue for those of us in the upper seats in the stadium. The speakers in the upper levels were a good half second behind the on field speakers, which we could still hear. This resulted in an almost unbearable echo for the first few songs. Eventually, the sound evened out (or our ears got used to the echo) and the show progressed like normal.
The band, who headlined Bunbury Festival in 2015, returned a month later but have not been back to Cincinnati since the release of their latest album True Sadness. It was nice to hear a few new songs live, even though I thought the album as a whole was lacking in the punchiness that I've come to expect from Avett Brother releases. Most of the night, however, was dominated by their acclaimed 2009 album I and Love and You, and the band still puts the same amount of energy into it as they always have.
Our show was also one of the last for multi-instrumentalist Paul Defiglia, who departed the band less than a few weeks later. The band is on tour through the beginning of next year, so you'll have plenty of chances to see them on the road in the coming months.
Live and Die
Satan Pulls the Strings
Another Is Waiting
Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
Ain't No Man
Paranoia in B-Flat Major
Talk on Indolence
I and Love and You
Kick Drum Heart
I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan cover)
By: Derek Jung
I was, admittedly, late to discover Jason Isbell. His former band, The Drive-By Truckers, had played Madison Theater in 2013 while I was interning, but Isbell had already departed 6 years prior and I was unable to attend the show. Fast forward 3 years and I stumbled across Isbell's last album, Something More Than Free, and was immediately hooked by his vivid, personal storytelling, rich vocals, and intimate songwriting. Under his own name, Something More Than Free and its predecessor Southeastern were hailed as masterpieces and helped Isbell reach a broader audience. Before this, however, he also had 2 albums under the 400 Unit name. The newest album, The Nashville Sound, is the first under the 400 Unit name since 2011's Here We Rest. So much has happened in Isbell's life since then - marriage, sobriety, fatherhood - that Isbell is a completely new person. Luckily for us, his gifts as a songwriter have only grown.
After a solid opening set from The Mountain Goats, Isbell and crew took the stage at the mostly full PNC Pavilion. The band covered the vast majority of The Nashville Sound, playing seven of the album's ten tracks mixed with material from the previously mentioned non-400 Unit albums. Isbell's vocals are just as moving live as they are on the album, and his guitar playing was surprisingly stellar. His on stage banter was great, telling stories and jokes in between songs and introducing those in the 400 Unit. But it was his interactions with fiddle player Amanda Shires, his wife, that caught my attention the most. I'm not sure if this is just a stage act, but it was as if he was singing every love song directly at her and for her. It was intimate and beautiful, and their rendition of "Cover Me Up" captured everything that I wanted to experience in a single song. It was a magical musical moment.
The band ended their set with "Whipping Post", a tribute to the late Duane Allman, who passed away in late May of this year. Being one of my favorite Allman Brothers songs, I was thrilled to hear Isbell's take on the southern rock classic, and he did not disappoint.
Check out the band's performance of "Hope The High Road" from The Late Show below.
Hope The High Road
Decoration Day (Drive-By Truckers cover)
White Man's World
Chaos and Clothes
The Life You Chose
Last Of My Kind
Flying Over Water
Cover Me Up
If It Takes a Lifetime
Outfit (Drive-By Truckers cover)
If We Were Vampires
Whipping Post (The Allman Brothers Band cover)
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: