Though the changes are mostly subtle in scope, the first signs are visible from the main gates, where visitors are greeted by a new garden, with benches, walking paths, flowers, and small trees. Nearby is the Eells Gallery, a breezy walk-through art spot used by Kent State University to exhibit works by regional and national artists. Pre-show tailgating has been made easier with the addition of a new picnic area between the parking lot and entrance, and bathrooms have been renovated throughout the grounds.
Other upgrades are geared toward the luxury experience: The pavilion's box seating has been enhanced with upholstered seats and increased legroom. A new, larger VIP area, moved from the left side of the stage to the right, is enclosed by a ring of trees and shrubs.
The new Blossom will be unveiled to the public on Thursday, when Brooks and Dunn kick off the summer concert series.
· Chimaira's The Impossibility of Reason, released this week on Roadrunner Records, is already off to a strong start. The album's first single, "Down Again," was the most added song on the CMJ and FMQB metal charts, and the "Down Again" video jumped into the top 10 on the CVC Rock/Alternative Video chart, landing above such big names as Godsmack and Staind.
The news follows word of another major tour for Chimaira: Upon completion of its current co-headlining jaunt with Lamb of God and a June swing through Europe with labelmate Spineshank, the band will embark on a monthlong tour of the States with Swedish metal favorites In Flames and Soilwork. The tour is scheduled to hit the Agora on Saturday, July 5.
· Superb Parma death thrashers Soulless have signed a deal with Crash Music Inc., home to such notables as Omen, Brick Bath, and Cleveland's N.D.E. Soulless's new album, Agony's Lament, already available in Japan through World Chaos Production, is an excellent slab of vintage death thrash; it'll be out in America beginning May 20. Soulless will perform at the Odeon on June 12 -- day one of the Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles Six Pack Weekend.
· Fast-rising Columbus jam band O.A.R. will play a free acoustic concert on Memorial Day in the parking lot of My Generation (25947 Detroit Avenue in Westlake). The 4 p.m. show comes the day before the release of the band's hotly anticipated major label debut, In Between Now and Then. Stop into My Generation before May 25 to pre-order the disc, and you'll get VIP seating at the gig, an O.A.R. poster and autograph, and access to a meet-and-greet with the band after the gig. Bring your picnic baskets and rolling papers.