Follow Up : The Harlequins/Vice Magazine Party

The Harlequins play MOTR Pub

Back in July, Indie Face covered the Vitamin Water/Vice Magazine shindig at MOTR Pub featuring Cincinnati band The Harlequins.  The event was filmed and is now the latest episode of Uncapped, a fabulous new web series sponsored the Vitamin Water brand.  The video features footage from the show as well as interviews from the band.  Watch the episode here.



The Dukes Are Dead : Fountain Square Cincinnati : August 12

Ding dong.  The Dukes are Dead.

After being threatened with legal action by the douche bags at Warner Bros., favorite Cincinnati up-and-comers The Dukes have been forced to reinvent themselves.  Though the original Dukes were short lived (1978-1979) and imploded after the overdose of one of their members, our Dukes keep moving forward undaunted and have hyped their name change for weeks leading up to their performance last night as part of the MPMF Indie Music Series.

However, despite the buildup of the name change, the announcement itself was a bit of a letdown – not much more than the new t-shirts being unrolled at the merch table.  If they said something from on stage, it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment.  Their new name however, is a good one.  “The Dukes are Dead” still keeps the classic rock vibe of their original name, but adds a big middle finger to the haters [Warner?]  It is more Dukes than The Dukes.

But no matter what a band wants to call themselves, the only thing that counts for anything is how they can play.  And these boys can play.  One of the stand out acts at this year’s Punk Fest at the Southgate House, I always look forward to hearing them play.  Expectations are high, but they conquered the massive stage at Southgate’s ballroom without even blinking so I was eager to see how they’d fare on a large, outdoor stage.

The Dukes may be dead, but they are proving to be unstoppable.  No matter what variables are thrown at them, they steam forward like a freight train of hard, gritty, mustachioed rock and roll.  Though the set did not include any of the antics that the band are famous for [maybe because there were no real rafters to hang from] it was certainly solid.  Luke Darling and Lucas Frazier took turns turns fronting the hard blues machine while bassist Randy Proctor proved he is the funkiest ginger in all of Hazzard County.  David Reid seems almost zen-like behind the drums compared to the rest of the band, but his hard driving rhythms act as the heartbeat to the howling blues guitars the rest of the band lays down.  Together they mix to create the filthy blues-rock sound that just makes you want to get sweaty.  In a really good way.

This inevitably will be only one of many snags this growing band will face over time, however if they face every challenge with as much good humor and enthusiasm as this one they should age like a fine scotch.  And if they continue to put on performances like this one, they’ll be around for a long time.  The Dukes are dead, and everything is as it should be.

by Adrienne Panveno

The Harlequins – Vitamin Water/Vice Magazine Party – July 14

Nothing like the promise of free booze to bring the kids out on a hot Thursday night, and boy howdy, were they out!  When my compatriot and I walked in the door of MOTR shortly before 10pm, we found ourselves 10 minutes shy of the end of open bar and it was complete pandemonium.  Four deep at the bar.  We elbowed our way to the front only to be told, “no more free drinks”.  I ordered anyway, paid for two beers and we immediately took off for the back patio.  Nearly missing being punched/kissed/thrown up on by a myriad of drunken hipsters within 10 feet, I was already stressed out and in need of a cigarette.

The patio was as packed as the bar, and it was at least twenty degrees hotter.  As I scanned the crowd, I can safely and respectfully say that this event brought out just about every scenester in Cincinnati.  It was kind of amazing.  On a Thursday no less.  We mingled and drank and became antsy as we were promised music.  Aside from the Harlequins, two other bands were set to perform, Sacred Spirits and The Weakness, but I saw them neither playing nor setting up.  But our anticipation was soon answered when the Harlequins finally went on shortly after eleven.  It felt like the crowd had thinned once the free alcohol ran out, but upon reentering the building, it was a pleasant surprise to find quite the packed house still, and The Harlequins giving the crazed rock and roll fans exactly what they came out for.

The thing about the Harlequins is that they are consistent – as in they consistently put on a good show.  Cincinnati has a lot of great bands, but some perhaps spend too much time on the extracurriculars of rock and roll preventing them from giving a satisfactory performance on a regular basis. The Harlequins never disappoint.  I have seen them play in some strange locations and over some rough sound systems, and they still manage to take it to town every single time.  They figure out a way to use these variables to their advantage, and make it part of the show.  The enthusiasm they have for their own music is contagious, and it is difficult to resist the groove.

Corporate sponsorship of shows in becoming unavoidable [the Vitamin Water branding was everywhere last night], but this time it was merely more than a small annoyance against the backdrop of a really great Summer party.  Sure, it was packed and hot, and sure, there were quite a few people who had obviously been over served during the open bar portion of the night,  but the music was loud and rocking, and people were in high spirits.  The city of Cincinnati was well represented, and Vice Magazine chose the right band to do it.

by Adrienne Panveno