Posted by: Cory | February 27, 2008

Review: Over the Rhine @ Bomhard Theatre – 2/23

Over the Rhine performed at the Brown Theatre on Saturday. Initially the concert was set for February 29th, but due to an opportunity to tour with Ani DiFranco, a chance they were wise to take advantage of, the date was moved up.

Opening the show was the ever brilliant Ben Sollee. I was a few minutes late to the show & was elated to find that I annoyed nearly everyone at the show. Not elated that I annoyed them, but rather that they were so engaged by Ben & giving him their fullest and most complete attention that someone merely coming in late was an annoyance. But for his cello, a pin falling could have been heard. Later, Mrs. OTR even said “He’s going to be huge” although, she said, “He doesn’t believe me.”

Musically, it was much the same as I had gotten to hear at the 930 Art Center, with a different guitarist and a different closing song, “Panning for Gold” which I’d not heard but really enjoyed.

I nearly was not allowed to take any photos. Security, just as OTR was starting, decided our press passes meant nothing, and required further blessing from their walkie talkies. My distress caused me to miss the first song as well as the second song title.

The set up was a really cool one, with round tables up near the front of the stage, but resulted in my having been a little further from the stage than I (or my 50mm) would have liked. Once I caught my breath after the first few minutes of dealing with security and a difficult distance to take a few photos, I was able to relax and enjoy the show.

I was really excited to see OTR as she’d been singing me to sleep for the week leading up to the show. I hadn’t previously heard “Jesus in New Orleans” or if I had, it hadn’t been memorable, but live it was really fun. Mr. OTR was on a playful piano as Mrs. OTR gave a soulful, gospel-like performance about drinking bloody mary’s, backed by an impressive band with an end result that was a very full sound.

Next, Mrs. OTR proceeded to tell us how they’d cornered the market on melancholy, and that the next one “On a Roll” was an effort to overcome that. They dedicated the song to their manager Glenn who had come down from Chicago, but tech glitches threw everything off, so instead they told us a little story about country living. While I enjoyed the hilarity of the story, I wasn’t convinced on the country living part & I think they played that up way too much. They didn’t come across at all as being country & I’m sure it’s part that they did move there to get away from city life, I think it might have been partly too that they were in KY & thought they could better appeal to us that way. I probably mis-read that though entirely.

The story was pretty funny though, about a skunk who attacked their dog who had nudged it & according to his wife, Mr. OTR over-reacts to everything so he tried a series of attempts on its life, from fire to a gun. The moral of the story was that they were tired & should have slept in that morning.

They described their title track as that which as it had been described to them….a jazz hymm….an absolutely beautiful track worthy of the prestige of the album title. Juxtaposed with the beauty of Trumpet Child was a song Mrs. OTR described as the “trashy song I wrote” and she looked strangely sexy standing on stage with her guitar. The track was very funky & was far and away the best song of the evening if not on its own merits then for what it became. The bassist started into a solo, picking away at that huge thing in front of him and making it very fun, funky & danceable….but then the drum solo started. This drummer isn’t the kind of drum like I mentioned recently with reference to Phantom Family Halo who can pound pound pound the drums…he was definitely more of a finese drummer. Don’t take that negatively…..this guy was NUTS. Far & away the most impressive drum solo I have ever seen…so agile, so fast…such amazing technique. He was able to twirl his sticks and drum in a rhythm I could never have dreamed of.  For 5 minutes I kept turning to my girlfriend saying “Dear God…Did you just see that?”

For “Hello Ohio”, a song about going home after not being there for a long time, the husband/wife pair switched spots as she took the piano & he took the guitar which was nice to see that everyone in this band is an overall musician, capable of playing any role. Furthering that, on “Crying Out Loud”, Mrs. OTR really showed her voice range and how strong of a voice it is, as she roared out a beautiful meld of gospel, funk, folk, soul & jazz.

A goofier song, much further down the setlist was “If a Song Could be President” which was a great tribute song to so many brilliant musicians through the history of folk music, some of my favorites being that John Prine would lead the FBI, Tom Waits would be the Secretary of the State & Bob Dylan would run the UN.

Their affinity for Tom Waits continued into the next song as the entire song was inspired by seeing him at the Louisville Palace a few years ago. The song essentially described tom Waits & was sung by Mr. OTR in a very eery voice reminiscient of something Tom would do.

I was really impressed with this show.  I would highly recommend seeing OTR if you’re into folk/rock, particularly so if you’re an NPR kind of person as I think it would be right up your alley (as it was mine).

For the setlist & loads of photos,


3. Trouble
4. Jesus in New Orleans
5. I’m on a Roll
6. Let’s Spend the Day in Bed
7. Trumpet Child
8. Who’m I Kiddin’ But Me?
9. Miles
10. Cruel and Pretty
11. Cast Me Away
12. Et Cetera Whatever
14. Suitcase
15. Hello Ohio
16. Crying Out Loud
17. No More an Orphan Girl
18. Hush Now
19. If a Song could be President
20. Don’t Wait for Tom
Encore II
21. Drunkard’s Prayer

OTR – If a Song Could be President



  1. i takes two seconds to google “wikipedia over the rhine” and find out what their two names are. do some research.

  2. Thanks Drew, and while I appreciate your enthusiasm, I would rather refer to them as Mr. and Mrs. OTR in the nature of Joey Ramone, Ben Weasel, Joe Queer & others, to point out their relationship and position in the band. Maybe if they’d had the same last name, I’d have done it the other way, but if the reader doesn’t know their names to start with, I figure they aren’t so much into the band as to care what their real names are anyway. Also, if it takes two seconds to google “wikipedia over the rhine” it’d presumably take only about a second to wikipedia “over the rhine”, which is the route I’ll probably take if I don’t already know the info. Thanks for your thoughts though…keep them coming as we love feedback.

  3. personally, and out of proper respect for the artists, i think the band is worth mentioning (correctly) by name. as is the correct setlist and song names. or not at all.


    the band is:
    Karin Bergquist – vocals, guitar, piano
    Linford Detweiler – keyboards, guitar, bass, backing vocals
    Jake Bradley – bass, electric guitar, backing vocals
    Mickey Grimm – drums, backing vocals

    the setlist:
    1. — [motherless child (cover-traditional)]
    2. — [i don’t wanna waste your time with music you don’t need]
    3. Trouble
    [4.] born
    [5.] 4. Jesus in New Orleans
    [6.] 5. I’m on a Roll
    [7.] 6. Let’s Spend the Day in Bed
    [8.] 7. Trumpet Child
    [9.] 8. Who’m I Kiddin’ But Me?
    [“miles” wasn’t on the setlst, nor was it played]
    10. Cruel and Pretty
    11. Cast Me Away
    12. Et Cetera Whatever [etcetera whatever]
    14. Suitcase
    15. Hello Ohio [ohio]
    16. Crying Out Loud [B.P.D.]
    17. No More an Orphan Girl [orphan girl (gillian welch cover)]
    18. Hush Now
    19. If a Song could be President
    20. Don’t Wait for Tom
    Encore II
    21. Drunkard’s Prayer

  4. and also, fwiw… it wasn’t “the brown” as nored, it was “the bromhard.”

  5. Thanks Bill, but as you said, it’s a matter of preference. If Karin & Linford would feel disrespected by my having referred to them as Mrs. & Mr. OTR, then, to be honest, they are too sensitive & I have neither the time nor patience to deal with them. I should imagine, however, as literary persons at heart, they would be rather inclined to respect the device used. Also, thank you for the additions at the beginning of the setlist (and for uploading and sending me the photo of Karin’s handwritten setlist) as difficulties with KCA staff made getting those virtually impossible…I appreciate your enthusiasm & the dialog…It was a very good show in spite of everyone sitting

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