By Chris Varias
As the MidPoint Music Festival celebrated Day Two with a full slate of performances in downtown clubs Friday night, a different sort of music showcase forged ahead upriver at Annie's, one that could have been called the Pointless Music Festival.
That's the way Bret Michaels likes his rock 'n' roll - pointless and proud of it.
The Poison front man opened his first-ever solo tour with a show in Cincinnati. Michaels delivered a set of good-time rock and hair-metal tunes pulled from Poison's catalog, as well as his recordings away from the band. (That Michaels would choose kick things off here is surely a distinction no mullet-coiffed gent or feather-haired lady of the Queen City should overlook.)
The 70-minute performance was much like a scaled-down version of Poison's annual appearance at Riverbend. It was up-tempo and lots of goofy fun. The only two musical moments nearly qualifying as dull were the ballads "Every Rose Has its Thorn" and "Something to Believe In," and those were Poison hits the crowd loved.
The biggest difference between a Poison show and one by solo Bret might have been the size of the crowd. About 850 people attended the performance, which took place in the club part of the indoor-outdoor venue. To the predominantly female crowd, this meant an up-close look at blond singer of its sweet dreams.
Some people in the crowd might have even looked past Michaels to notice he was backed by a four-man band called American Anthem. The group did a workmanlike job of making Poison noises, but Poison guitarist and Michaels foil C.C. DeVille was missed.
The majority of folks didn't seem to care who was or wasn't on stage as Michaels sang such hits as "Nothin' but a Good Time," "Your Mama Don't Dance," "Unskinny Bop," "Fallen Angel" and "Talk Dirty to Me." Solo titles like "Menace to Society" and "Party Rock Band" fit well with the Poison material.
Before Michaels came cover-band time. American Anthem did a Bret-less 40 minutes, going back and forth between originals and renditions of songs like "Satisfaction," "Help" and "Surrender."
Prizoner opened the show and operated in the same back-and-forth manner as American Anthem. The local band's taste in covers - the Cult's "Love Removal Machine," Aerosmith's "Sick as a Dog," Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills" and others - leaned more toward hard rock than American Anthem's.
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