Thursday, September 25, 2003

Be sure to hit the high points

'Buzz bands' such as Indy's Johnny Socko pack punch in tonight's MidPoint lineup

By Larry Nager
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] The Johnny Socko band
| ZOOM |
With 200 acts spread over 15 stages, MidPoint Music Festival is a whole lot of rock, R&B, Americana, hip-hop and dance music.

But every showcase has its "buzz bands," the acts that people are already talking about. These groups are the ones most likely to draw more than their share of industry attention.

Here's a look at tonight's MidPoint must-sees:

The Walker Project: Fronted by charismatic singer/songwriter Carole Walker, this local group mixes R&B, folk and hip-hop into a compelling package (10 p.m.; BarrelHouse Brewing Co.).

What: The MidPoint Music Festival
When: 9 p.m.-2 a.m., today-Saturday
Where: 15 stages in 13 clubs in the Main Street area.
How much: $25 for three-night all-clubs pass (available at festival headquarters at Crowne Plaza hotel); $10 for daily pass (available at participating clubs); $5 single-club cover.
Wussy: Featuring one of the Tristate's most respected and individualistic songwriters, Chuck Cleaver of the Ass Ponys, this all-star alt-folk-punk group includes Messerly & Ewing's Mark Messerly, singer Lisa Miller and percussionist Dawn Burman (11 p.m.; Courtyard Cafe).

Tania Alexandra: This piano-playing singer/songwriter from Philadelphia has been creating a buzz in her hometown (11 p.m.; Harry's, upstairs).

Johnny Socko: This versatile five-man band from Indianapolis is honing its horn-driven rock/R&B/hip-hop sound with national producer Ken Lewis, who has worked with everyone from Grammy-winning rapper Jay-Z to local rockers Swim/July For Kings. (11 p.m.; Jefferson Hall).

Buckra: For pure fun, you can't beat this award-winning, eclectic local rock band. They're graceful under pressure, so if you've never seen this hard-working quartet, this is a good time to start (midnight; Jefferson Hall).

Kevin Fox Band: Fox is best known for his work behind the scenes as a songwriter for Pay the Girl, among others, but he's not shy. Put him onstage and this guy knows how to rock a crowd. (10 p.m.; Mr. Pitiful's).

MidPoint festival pushes city into music spotlight
Be sure to hit the high points
Disc captures event's spirit
Schedule, links to bands sites

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