Rubber City Rumble II
Rubber City Rumble II might sound like an event where one super-muscled guy will break a chair over another dude's head, but this one-night music fest featuring old-school Akron and Kent bands packs a different kind of punch. We're not quite sure what they're duking it out for, but think of the TwistOffs (pictured) as the Ric Flairs of the lineup — classy and spicing up their over-the-top pop-rock with a thick and slick horn section. The Walking Clampetts are like Mick Foley, offering sweaty, raw, and stripped-down surf and rockabilly. High Plains Drifters are the Hulk Hogans of the bunch: sloppy, hard-edged rock & roll drawing from all-American primal sources like the Ramones and New York Dolls. We can't wait to see who takes away the title belt. — Ryan Reed
8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16. The Tangier in Akron. Tickets: $20; call 330-376-7171 or go to thetangier.com.
Well, she certainly got tired of that "nature techno" music, didn't she? On last year's Tiger Suit, the Scottish singer-songwriter made a big deal over decorating her traditional folk songs with bursts of electronic jetsam. She's now on tour with "The Solo Show," acoustic concerts featuring just Tunstall and her guitar. We're not quite sure how songs like the skittering "Uummannaq Song," the bubbling "Glamour Puss," and the clubby "Push That Knot Away" will work without their electronic flourishes, since the whole point of Tiger Suit is all the synthetic sounds floating above, below, and on the surface. But Tunstall has a powerfully raspy voice, and she's a sharp songwriter, as her first two albums prove. So you'll probably get an earful of solid songs. But they'll probably sound noting like the ones you know from her latest record. — Michael Gallucci
With Robert Francis. 8 p.m. Saturday, April 16. House of Blues. Tickets: $20 and $25; call 216-523-2583 or go to houseofblues.com.
The Budos Band
There isn't a single false note in anything the Budos Band plays. The New York collective — and de facto house group for the spectacular Daptone label — swings and swaggers with a perfect balance of wild abandon and choreographed precision, not to mention a finely tuned sense of where funk and soul have been and where they're going. Over the course of six years and three albums, the Budos Band have folded elements of jazz, prog, ska, R&B, psychedelia, Afropop, and Latin soul into their music, conjuring a sound that routinely leaves fans with danced-off asses or dropped jaws. Much like their equally adrenalized labelmates Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, the Budos Band turn their shows into part musical presentation, part tent revival. Prepare to have both your consciousness and grooves elevated to new heights. — Brian Baker
With Charles Bradley. 9 p.m. Saturday, April 16. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $15; call 216-383-1124 or go to beachlandballroom.com.
Much of Cloud Nothings' 2010 debut, Turning On, is dedicated to no-fi cutesy rock, harmless fuzz bombs targeted squarely at indie-rock fanboys. This year's Cloud Nothings is a different beast — angsty, hopped-up pop-punk where tempos pulse harder and hooks come sharper. It's the kind of knives-out album that feels like a rebuke, like Westlake frontman Dylan Baldi is out to settle scores. The baiting, pointed songs — "Not Important," "Forget You All the Time," "You're Not That Good at Anything" — sting like indictments. Still, you have to wonder if all this negativity is directed inward, not outward, as if Cloud Nothings' curled-lip, three-chord bile is nothing more than Baldi's way of keeping his own hype-inflating ego in check. Or maybe it's spurring his artistry to greater heights. Either way, we win. — Ray Cummings
With Parts & Labor and Child Bite. 9 p.m. Saturday, April 16. Beachland Tavern. Tickets: $10; call 216-383-1124 or go to beachlandballroom.com.
My Chemical Romance
My Chemical Romance got back to basics on last year's Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. But that isn't necessarily a good thing, since the New Jersey rockers are at their best when they're messy, pretentious, ambitious, and wearing marching-band costumes while leading a Black Parade of misery and hopelessness. Yes, we like My Chemical Romance as gloomy pop-punk prog-rockers. Danger Days' stripped-down take on melodic punk and zippy alt-rock isn't awful by any means, but it certainly isn't as much fun. Still, the piercing guitar riffs, raging synths, and a literally spitting spirit yield big radio-ready hooks that, frankly, sound better in bite-size chunks than as a whole album. Which may or may not work to their advantage onstage, since the band will undoubtedly play a whole bunch of the new songs, while occasionally dipping into the old hits. — Gallucci
With Neon Trees and the Architects. 8 p.m. Sunday, April 17. House of Blues. Tickets: $33.50; call 216-523-2583 or go to houseofblues.com.
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