Article and Photos by: Linda Carlson
How many bands can one venue offer in a single evening? Cincinnati’s Grove Band hosted its second annual cancer benefit, Rock n’ Revival for a Cure, at The Southgate House Revival on March 4, 2017. Twenty-three local and regional bands performed in three venue rooms in a constant, steady and seamless stream of energetic, vibrant yet diverse rock music. That is a lot of music in one evening.
The first benefit was founded in 2016 after the father of the Grove Band’s Forsthoefel brothers, Adam and Matthew, was diagnosed with brain cancer (Glioblastoma) in 2015. Sadly, their father passed away in January this year, and the brothers continued the benefit to help other families struggling with a brain cancer diagnosis. All proceeds from the event benefit the University of Cincinnati (UC) Brain Tumor Center’s research for a Glioblastoma cure.
The Southgate House Revival was formerly The Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, built after the Civil War in 1866. It was converted to a concert venue in 2012, bringing a revival of music energy to Newport KY, directly across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. Just five blocks from the more commercial Newport riverside media complex that features bright lights, a myriad of restaurants and the Newport Aquarium, the Southgate House Revival may be easily overlooked to the casual observer, tucked in a more quiet, unassuming area off the main drag.
But on March 4, the sounds of reverberating live music could not be ignored.
All three rooms within the venue offer a full bar, with chairs and tables strewn about to accommodate the transient nature of the guests, who moved from room to room throughout the evening, never calling any particular room “home.” The three spaces had different vibes, from the cozy and intimate lower floor Lounge with its platform stage and dim lighting, to the upper floor Revival Room with a small, elevated and bright theater stage, to the main stage Sanctuary with an expansive elevated stage where clergy once preached to the congregation.
A different sort of preaching went on at Rock n’ Revival.
Cincinnati sits at a crossroads of a number of musical influences… an urban city in southwest Ohio where the North meets the South. The rock music found here boasts the energy and vibrancy of the city as well as the soulful, folk inspirations from nearby Appalachia, and hints of country flavors and blues from the South. All such influences were found at Rock n’ Revival.
Matt Schneider and The Key Concepts opened the show at 4:15PM. The efficient schedule of performances allowed guests the opportunity to see any (or all) of the bands. And what an offering of musical variety there was to explore… following the openers were Lullaby Crash, Tag, Young Heirlooms, Ethan and Joey, Infinity Spree, Green Light Morning, Telehope, Room for Zero, Current Events, Jess Lamb, 90 Proof Twang, Lemon Sky, Jim Trace and the Makers, One Day Steady, Here Come Here, Zebras in Public, Grove Band, Motel Faces, JamWave, Sundae Drives and Wilder.
The depth and breadth of the Cincinnati-area music scene were brilliantly showcased to an appreciative audience. A festive and energetic evening, the crowd danced, swayed and sang along with their favorite bands all night long. Concert-goers (totaling more than 500) and performers (instruments in tow) continuously streamed into the venue throughout the evening.
The Grove intends to make this an ongoing annual event to showcase local artists and raise funds for a worthy, personal cause. After the event, Adam Forsthoefel reflected, “It was an amazing night in memory of my father. . . . I’d rather have my father back, but since I can’t, this is a great way to honor him and hopefully find a cure for a disease that my father passed away from. We hope to keep this event going and make it better and better every year.”