Wednesday, July 18, 2018


I came across Jake's website when I was a teenager and it captured my imagination. Odds are, if you're from Cincinnati and have spent any amount of time on the internet, you've read his posts on the city's abandoned subway, its bridges, and its development too. His work helped inspire me to start this website and set off in search of urban exploration. Over time, I got to know Jake and we've not only shared a mutual love for history, photography, writing, and this city, but for ska music as well. We're well past the time when acts like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Pietasters* regularly came around (and Jake and I passed through places like Bogarts, the first incarnation of Topcats, and Sudsy Malones at different times), but we did see The Toasters together once.

The other day, Jake sent me a text telling me he had bought a ticket to a show and I had no choice, but to go. So earlier tonight, I found myself at a deli in Pleasant Ridge with him, waiting to see a band called Mephiskapheles. This was the first night of their 2018 tour and on the way to the Queen City, their trailer had already blown a wheel. As the drummer explained to us over beers before the show: they were making do with the opening act's drums and what they could fit into a rented minivan.

Their set, in the back of the restaurant, was solid. Frontman Andre A. Worrell interacted with the intimate crowd while being propelled by excellent bass, drums, guitar, and a powerful horn duo. In a space known primarily for amazing sandwiches, I would've presumed to find a solitary guitar player setting the ambiance by playing covers in the back corner. I was very glad to find an NYC inspired restaurant catering to an NYC band. Grand Central Deli is a great spot. It was awesome to be grabbed by Andre and encouraged to shout the lyrics to "Doomsday" as people danced around. Ska's not dead (and I will never turn my back on ska).

Here's a few high ISO, super grainy photographs.

Thanks for the ticket, Jake, and for the inspiration back in the day that helped start QC/D.

*Earlier in the evening I bemoaned to Jake that I'd never seen The Pietasters before. I found out as I typed this post up that they're coming to Cincinnati on September 6th. Life works out poetically sometimes. Those poems are best when backed by horns and the upstrokes of a guitar.

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