By: Scott Peterson – Staff Writer
My urge to act spontaneous and take tickets for a music festival I had never been to featuring bands I’d never heard of led me to Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, Friday.
For those who are unfamiliar with the MidPoint Music Festival, let me lay it out for you. Instead of a venue with multiple stages in a big open field, MidPoint has stages set up in Washington Park and throughout the city at local bars in walking distance—making the entire festival an adventure.
MidPoint takes pride in having up and coming lesser-known acts. According to its website, it “has developed a reputation as the place to discover contemporary music, find the next big thing, and meet your new favorite band.”
The bands and the audience were equally strange but entertaining. I saw everything from people dancing with hula hoops to people walking around with alien masks for no apparent reason.
As for the music, my night started out with an artist named Nick Diamonds, also a member of bands The Unicorns and Islands. This performance was promoting his new solo album, “City of Quartz.” The act consisted of Diamonds playing an electric drum guitar, while his bandmate played the synthesizer. Their sound is best described as ambient and electronic. Many of the songs they played were slow ballads, but they were not afraid to drop the beat.
HANA, the Grimes- and Lana Del Ray-endorsed artist that followed Nick Diamonds, travels with the night’s headliner. The act consisted of her singing while playing a synthesizer or piano. HANA’s powerful voice and confidence was unstoppable on stage. Her music style was much like the singer, Sia. HANA’s setlist was also mostly electronic ballads.
The headliner for the night was Purity Ring, which their many fans in the audience were buzzing about. My anticipation to see them grew as the night went on. And Purity Ring arrived with a boom. Their pounding bass and electronic beats drove the audience crazy. Much like the previous act, Purity Ring’s setlist consisted mostly of power ballads charged by lead singer Megan James vocals—while still giving the audience heavy bass and electric beats to dance to.
The highlight of Purity Ring’s performance was its light show. Corin Roddick, the instrumentalist, stood at his post behind his synthesizer, hitting the lanterns that surrounded his post to light them up and produce a sound. Strings of lights would turn on in waves, raining light on the audience.
MidPoint Music Festival teaches a lesson that all music-lovers should learn: Even if you don’t know the bands or you’re not a fan of the genre, sometimes you need to leave your comfort zone.
Photo of Nick Diamonds performing Friday by Scott Peterson.