BGSU radio station hosts concert to showcase regional talentWritten by Brian Bohnert | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Later this month, music fans from across the Northwest Ohio area will have the opportunity to see some of the region’s most talented musical acts when a Bowling Green State University radio station hosts a free concert to showcase local artists.
On November 15, WBGU radio will present the first taping of the second season of “The Live Wire,” a radio-television program aimed at helping local and regional musicians gain a broader fan base through increased radio and TV exposure.
The free, all-ages show will begin at 8 p.m. inside the Cla-zel Theatre and will feature four area bands: The Fight Within, The Late Great Lucian Townes, The Flaming Hot Marbles and The MAD 45 Music Project, with each group playing a 30-minute set.
“The Live Wire” was created by BGSU students working at WBGU last December with season one taping over three nights throughout the spring. Four acts took to the stage each night, having their performances recorded with high-quality audio/video equipment.
“We wanted to bring some kind of show very similar to ‘Austin City Limits’ to the Midwest to showcase local and regional talent,” said Stephen Merrill, BGSU instructor and faculty advisor for WBGU-FM. “What we were thinking was, ‘How can we cultivate more excitement for the BG community?’”
The inaugural taping of season two will be followed by the second taping on February 14 and the third on March 21. The longer gap in between productions will allow for greater preparation and more professional quality broadcasts, Merrill said.
“With the first season, we did it on three different nights in the spring semester. With the second season, we’re doing three nights over four months,” he said. “This will give us more time and make things a lot easier.”
Dr. Matt Donahue, BGSU pop-culture professor and founder of The MAD 45 Music Project, said the event is a great way to bring music fans both young and old to one event to honor the growing talent the Midwest has to offer.
“What’s awesome is it’s giving younger generations a place to play free of all of that commerce and drama,” Donahue said. “And, it really is for the community. It’s free, it’s all ages and it’s an opportunity to really highlight all of the local talent this community has to offer. I have been absolutely blown away by the quality of up-and-coming, local bands; and, ‘The Live Wire’ takes that to another avenue by serving as a document for that.”
Inspired by artists like Bob Marley, Dick Dale, Public Enemy and Motörhead, Donahue’s MAD 45 Music Project specializes in what he calls “punk rock ‘n’ roll”: heavy, up-tempo instrumental tunes and edgy rhythms with “social consciousness-infused” lyrics.
For the show on Nov. 15, Donahue said his group plans to entertain audiences with their emotion-driven instrumentals as well as the heavy, hard-rock songs that have encompassed the majority of past set lists.
“We’ll probably play some of our instrumental rock and some of our vocal stuff too,” he said. “We usually do a mixture of hard rock, some blues and even some surf-type rock in our own way.”
Donahue said his group is currently in the studio working on two new albums: an all-instrumental effort titled “Guitar Stories” and a more traditional MAD 45 outing called “Seduction of the Innocent.”
An acclaimed musician for roughly 30 years, Donahue performed in and around front the Bowling Green area many times; but, the biggest difference is that he and his MAD 45 band mates have yet to share the stage with the three acts that will be joining them at the Cla-zel.
“I’ve seen them before and they’re amazing,” Donahue said. “Each band is bringing their own unique vibe to the show. I can say that it’s all rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s all so different from one another. It keeps things fresh and exciting. I can’t say enough about them.”
Alex Baird, drummer for The Flaming Hot Marbles, has been an active participant in Bowling Green’s music scene since his early teenage years. Now 23, he is already looked at as somewhat of a veteran performer in many of the city’s venues, most notably Howard’s Club H
The famed Cla-zel theatre, however, has yet to host a live rock ‘n’ roll performance. This event marks the first time area bands have played inside the reformed cinema.
“We’ve never played the Cla-zel and we’ve always wanted to,” Baird said. “WBGU putting this concert series together is not only genius, but very beneficial for all of the bands involved. It’s great exposure and we are all really grateful for the opportunity.”
The added exposure will not only help bands like The Flaming Hot Marbles book gigs in the future, but Beard said it will also serve as a promotional tool for upcoming releases from bands like his. The Flaming Hot Marbles are preparing to work on their forthcoming album, a follow-up to the band’s debut.
The first season of “The Live Wire” can currently be heard on WBGU radio every Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. highlighting each of the 12 groups with their own episode. Each installment features the live audio recording of the half-hour concert and a short interview piece with the members of the band to give viewers a sense of the people behind the instruments, Merrill said.
“We try to bring in the human interest side of each group to showcase them in a way that takes them out of the small clubs and dive bars, and into the homes of the people listening,” Merrill said.