[Music Review] Marcy Playground Live in Cincinnati, Ohio


woz3I’m not usually one for live shows. In fact, the last real concert I attended was when I went to see Bob Dylan about a year ago. There’s just something about the huge groups of sweaty people huddled together and breathing all over each other that just doesn’t appeal to me.

But when I found out Marcy Playground was actually stopping by a location semi-close to me (3 hours away), I jumped at the chance to finally see them live. They have been my favorite band since I was 10 years old, and after almost a decade of almost constant listening, I was more than ready to see them play.


woz1The show was at the Riverstar Entertainment Complex, a decent venue with a large, open room and an average-sized stage. There were stamps implanted onto the hands of minors to ensure that no alcoholic beverages were served to them and yellow bracelets granted to anyone 21 or older to prevent kids from simply wiping the stamp off and buying a cup of cold beer.

There were three bands that took the stage before Marcy Playground. The first, Spider Rockets, were a mediocre hard rock band with a horrible fashion sense and a generic dirty sound that didn’t really fit in to the scene at all. Next up was The Flight Station, a very clean-sounding pop rock group that was very enjoyable to listen to and to watch on stage. The only thing about them that got under my skin was how the kept saying “Marcy’s” Playground. God, I hate that. Closing out the list of openers was Shut Down 9, a powerpop group with some serious talent and a drummer who beat the skins with all the vigor and spirit of the late Billy Mays. He sure looks a lot like him as well.

As soon as it was time for Marcy to take the stage my friends and I found we had a spot right up front, leaning on the stage. We were positioned slightly to the right of center, placing us directly in front of bassist Dylan Keefe with guitarist and singer John Wozniak to our left and we had a great view of drummer Shlomi Lavie. Needless to say, we had an awesome spot from which to watch the show.

dylankeefeThe group opened with “Opium,” a slow, psychedelic song from their first album, and followed it with “Poppies,” another song from the same premiere record that kicks up the energy with a much poppier (no pun intended) sound. This surprised me because, in all honesty, I didn’t expect them to play many songs from their past albums, save maybe “Sex & Candy.”

Thankfully, though, they kept a solid a solid variety within their set and included songs from all of their past albums, and even played “Special,” an unreleased song that is a favorite among the hardcore Marcy fans. And another thing I liked was that they didn’t feel overly obligated to sticking directly to their set list.

They freely strayed as they pleased, even playing “I Burned the Bed,” a song from their newest album that, Wozniak admitted, they never perform live. Dylan didn’t even know the bass part well enough to play live, but he did with what he had and they made the song work, simply because they heard some fans requesting it. There was even an instance when someone shouted “Sweet Home Alabama” and they actually started to play it for about 25 seconds or so. It was pretty funny and caused plenty of chuckles.

ShlomiThey ended their set with “Star Baby,” my personal favorite song from “Leaving Wonderland.” My buddy Zack McDonald, who was sitting to my left and a little bit closer to John, moved out of my way when he heard the excitement in the high-pitched squeal I released at the sound of the first few notes. Man, I love that song.

After the set, they walked off the stage and waited as the demand for an encore grew. After about two excited minutes, the band walked back on stage and John joyfully stated that they would be giving the fans what they wanted. Their encore would consist of two songs, opening with “Bang, Bang, Bang,” another fan favorite that hasn’t seen any official release. It was high in energy and helped to burn some of the adrenaline out out of fans before they played their final song.

They closed out the night with “Hallelujah,” a well-executed cover of a wonderfully soft and heart-felt song written by Leonard Cohen. It provided a great end to the night and helped to calm everyone down for and left a feeling of satisfaction to fill the void of adrenaline.

woz2Set List:

  1. Opium
  2. Poppies
  3. Rock and Roll Heroes
  4. Special
  5. Devil Woman
  6. Good Times
  7. Punk Rock Superstar
  8. Bye Bye
  9. Sweet Home Alabama (lol)
  10. Sherry Fraser
  11. St. Joe on the School Bus
  12. Secret Squirrel
  13. Sex and Candy
  14. I Burned the Bed
  15. Star Baby
  16. Bang, Bang, Bang (Encore)
  17. Hallelujah (Encore)

Final Words:

The show was absolutely amazing. That’s really all I can say about it. The venue was a decent size and easily held the attendants without becoming overcrowded or uncomfortable even once. The band performed fantastically and proved to be humble, fun-loving guys. They didn’t force themselves to stick directly to their set list, but instead had fun while performing.

After the show, the guys even decided to do a signing and picture segment. My friends and I got our shirts signed, and it turns out that John Wozniak himself has actually been to Everyview! He likes what we do here so much that he even did a recorded shout-out for Everyview.


  • Two of the three opening acts were great
  • Tickets were only $12 in advance or $15 at the door
  • Great overall set list
  • The band had fun and delivered a solid show


  • Spider Rockets
  • The pretty ladies in short shorts kept making my girlfriend mad at me

Score: 9.0/10 (Amazing)

5 thoughts on “[Music Review] Marcy Playground Live in Cincinnati, Ohio

  1. Awesome review, I wish I could’ve gone. I live only 45 minutes from the venue, but was at a funeral 🙁

    Good to see the show was entertaining, though!

  2. I want to know who the kid was who threw his underwear on the stage. That was HILARIOUS!

  3. Thanks for the review. We were the group left of you who never shut up. Fun show. I didn’t really care for any of the opening bands. They all sounded exactly like all the other power pop garbage that you can be subjected to by simply tuning in to any radio station at any given moment.

    We, the MuDHippieS, will be opening for MP at 8 Seconds Saloon in Indianapolis on September 11. Hopefully our stupid fun tunes will be preferred to the Spider Rockets.

  4. Great review. Last time I got to see the Woz was at Polaris side stage for the HORDEFEST. Also my favorite rock band of my generation……Lucky dog!

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