Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Wussy, The Dukes, Yo La Tengo, and Molly Wellmann

I'm not feeling very politically motivated these days, so I thought I'd share a snapshot of my weekend.

Friday, following a late night at the office, I decided to stop at Mainstay on the way home. I'd heard that (a) Cincinnati's favorite mixologist, Molly Wellmann, was tending bar that night, and that (b) there was no cover charge. So I moseyed on up to the bar and, trying to be heard over the band, asked Molly what she was mixing up that night.

I just assumed that anytime Molly's behind a bar, she's working on some awesome craft cocktails. But based on the look she gave me, I'm pretty sure she was just filling in for one of the bar's regular bartenders, and didn't have much up her sleeve. But after a couple seconds' hesitation, Molly went to work, grabbing a bottle here and a bottle there, finally setting something in a martini glass in front of me. She made me a variation on a Martinez, which, as Molly explained (I could listen to her talk about liquor for hours!) was a precursor to the martini. I'd never heard of it before--much less had one--but, as seems to be the case with everything Molly makes, it was delicious.

Now, away from the booze, and on to the musical part of the post. Playing at Mainstay that night was The Dukes. I hadn't heard them before. I'd characterize them as a garage rock band, and from what I heard, they're really good. Good enough, in fact, that I'll look for another opportunity to see them perform.

Saturday night took me across the river to Southgate House. For some time, I had that night marked on my calendar for Yo La Tengo, a group I'd first seen in concert several years ago on the East Coast. It was great to see them again, and the concert was marked by moments of brilliance. Unfortunately, it was also marked by long stretches of self-indulgence: stuff that probably is fun for them to fool around with during a practice session, but frankly, isn't much fun to listen to. Lots of reverb and distortion, coupled with some riffs reminiscent of '70s psychadelic rock. I'm not sure if they were aware that those sections kept sucking the enthusiasm out of the crowd.

Wussy opened for Yo La Tengo, and their set alone was worth the price of admission. I've seen Wussy a couple times and a friend who was there has seen them more, and we agreed it was the best we've heard them.

Finally, Saturday was my first time at a smoke-free Southgate House. It was a tremendously better experience than the smoke-filled version (I was actually able to see the ceiling!). Should northern Kentucky communities choose to enact smoking bans, I don't think they have to worry about it hurting business.

And (really finally this time) what a great weekend downtown! Friday and Saturday night, downtown Cincinnati was wall-to-wall people. (Yes, I grumbled about traffic, although I felt bad about doing so.)

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