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Don't miss these 9 shows at MidPoint Music Fest

Posted at 10:00 AM, Sep 22, 2015

CINCINNATI -- MidPoint Music Festival always has been a mix of both established and up-and-coming artists, but more than ever, it has become a platform for the latter.

Researching 120 acts takes a lot of time, but it also leads to discovery. From seasoned veterans to newer performers, here are the shows you need to drop everything (but your beer) to check out this weekend. 

MidPoint Music Festival
Friday-Sunday
For venues, showtimes and tickets: mpmf.com

Must-See Shows

Ride: The UK shoegaze band hasn't released a new full-length record in almost 20 years, yet Ride remains one of the most important bands to thrive in the late ’80s and ’90s. The band broke up in 1996 but reunited at the end of last year. Because of the likelihood Andy Bell and Co. will break up again, here’s your chance to see the legends in action and to hear iconic tune “Vapour Trail” live. 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Washington Park

 

American Wrestlers: Gary McClure headlined a short-lived British band called Working For a Nuclear Free City (a great live act) before going solo as American Wrestlers. This year, he released his self-titled debut, and it’s an unofficial contender for the best of the year. McClure finds a way to mingle Phoenix and Superchunk and make it his own. 11 p.m. Friday, The Drinkery

Iron & Wine: Southern folk singer Sam Beam has been kicking around the indie scene for over a decade, long before beards became overgrown. Throughout several records, he has covered the Postal Service and Talking Heads, collaborated with Calexico and generated a rather fine discography. His imitable lilting vocals stand out, whether he’s playing a reflective slow burner or an upbeat, twangy number. 8:45 p.m. Sunday, Washington Park

 

Zola Jesus: With a booming voice akin to Florence Welch, the Russian Nika Roza Danilova composes dark wave music rife for a late-night fall performance. She has been prolific, producing five albums in the past six years, including last year’s "Taiga." A couple of years ago, she played the Contemporary Arts Center to an intimate crowd; for this trip to Cincinnati she will bring the same intimacy to a (hopefully) bigger audience. 12:15 a.m. Saturday, Taft Ballroom

 

Sylvan Esso: If Regina Spektor was an electro-folk artist from North Carolina, she would be this duo, Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn. Sylvan Esso formed in 2013 and released its self-titled debut last year to rave reviews. The glitchy, airy “Coffee” features folk-pop beats, and “Hey Mami” delves in world music. One thing is certain: they will get you dancing. 10:45 p.m. Saturday, Christian Moerlein Brewing Co.

 

Next Big Thing

Bully: Alicia Bognanno, the lead singer of the Nashville-based band, likes to yell, but in more of a garage rock than metal sort of way. Bully's debut album, "Feels Like," sounds like the female-fronted bands from yore (aka the ‘90s). It makes sense because Bognanno interned for superstar Chicago producer Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio studio, and she used those tools on the album. The band is slated to play Pitchfork Paris in October, which is a sign of a band on the rise, especially on an international level. Midnight Friday at MOTR. 

Best Seen Live
Automagik: The Cincinnati band put on quite a show at last year’s festival. They danced around and sprinkled Hippie Powder all over the place, much to the dismay of festival organizers. But the band returned the next day to clean up the mess. They’ve stated how they like to bring an “added spectacle to everything,” which sometimes entails Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and water slides — all in the name of a good time. 11:15 p.m. Saturday, The Drinkery

Best-Kept Secret 
Prim: The local dreampop quartet makes it difficult for would-be fans to listen to their songs. Their MidPoint Music Festival page doesn’t link to YouTube videos and none of its songs are on the MidPoint Spotify playlist. But Prim is a band to know; it was nominated for Best New Artist at the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. The band doesn’t play live much, though, because lead singer Molly Sullivan’s solo career has taken off. So do yourself a solid, see Prim at the festival and unlock the mystery. 6:15 p.m. Saturday, Lightborne Lot

Veteran Cool Kid  
Nick Diamonds: In the early aughts, Diamonds (né Nick Thorburn) was one-half of the Canadian duo the Unicorns, but then they dissolved. Soon after he formed Islands, and after five albums, they went on hiatus. And then Diamonds, Honus Honus of Man Man and Michael Cera formed Mister Heavenly and released one record; then that dissolved, too. It might seem like Diamonds gets restless, but that’s a good thing. This year he released his first solo record, "City of Quartz." Hipsters can rejoice that he’s back in action -- that is, until his next endeavor. 7:15 p.m. Friday, Washington Park