Def Leppard & Heart
Don't dismiss Heart as just another dinosaur act making the touring rounds. Although the band is closing in on its 40th year, it's still vital. Ann Wilson hasn't lost a bit of her vocal power, and her guitarist sister Nancy remains one of the most underrated players in rock & roll. Last year's Red Velvet Car, Heart's first album in six years, is a warm collection of well-crafted, acoustic-electric collisions. Live, expect favorites like "Crazy on You" and "Barracuda" mixed with Led Zeppelin and Who covers. Meanwhile, Def Leppard continue to impress after nearly 35 years together. Always smarter than your average arena band, they're not content to survive solely on nostalgia (a new song, "Undefeated," shows up on their new live album, Mirrorball). Still, a Def Leppard concert in 2011 can feel a lot like an '80s time warp — but in the best possible way, with timeless tunes like "Animal," "Photograph," and "Pour Some Sugar on Me" filling sets. — Annie Zaleski
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 24. Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls. Tickets: $45.50-$149.50; call 330-920-8040 or visit livenation.com.
The Dwarves have angered lots of people in their 20-plus year career, but at least one person is probably happy with them: Bobby Faust, the real-life dwarf who's appeared — surrounded by young, naked women — on four album covers. Musically, the band has gotten tighter and poppier. Songs on this year's The Dwarves Are Born Again run the gamut from Blink-182-style pop-punk to Dickies-esque wackiness to the raucous, filthy garage thrash that got them noticed in the first place. Their shows used to be short and violent spectacles, with guitarist HeWhoCanNotBeNamed flicking lit cigarettes into the crowd as singer Blag Dahlia ranted and raved, often finishing the group's 15-minute sets by whipping his microphone stand into the audience. They've toned it down a little, but the songs are strong enough to make them a solid entertainment value, whether it's for the music or the spit-in-your-face malice. — Phil Freeman
With Gluttons and Struttin' Cocks. 9 p.m. Wednesday, August 24. Now That's Class. Tickets: $12; call 216-221-8576 or visit nowthatsclass.net.
He'll be 86 in September. One biographer estimates he's performed more than 15,000 concerts and counting. He once gave a guitar to the Pope. Any way you look at it, B.B. King is a living legend. With his own museum in Mississippi and his own satellite radio channel, chances are you know at least one of his songs. King still tours regularly with his signature Gibson guitar Lucille and a repertoire of blues classics that he began recording in the 1940s. His treble-drenched guitar bursts and gravelly call-and-response vocals have defined modern blues and created a genre template for years to come. His shows are always a mix of classics like "Rock Me Baby" and "The Thrill Is Gone" and tales from his 60-plus years in the game. King tours with an incredibly tight band and recently recorded a duet with another ace guitarist, Steve Cropper, on Cropper's new album, Dedicated. Yes, it's good to be King. — Ryan Young
With Kristine Jackson. 9 p.m. Thursday, August 25. House of Blues. Tickets: $65-$139.50; call 216-523-2583 or visit houseofblues.com.
The Two Man Gentleman Band
The Two Man Gentleman Band's latest old-timey-sounding record, last year's Dos Amigos, Una Fiesta!, is not only energetic, it's also They Might Be Giants-style funny. So yes, it's gimmicky, but take away the gross-out lyrics, and the Brooklyn-based duo is still really good, firmly grounded in a fast-paced country-swing tradition that's downright enthralling in a live setting. With songs like "Me, I Get High on Reefer" and "There's Something in My Trousers," the gentlemen sure don't put on a show that's suitable for all ages. But guitarist Andy Bean and string bass player Fuller Condon will get your foot tapping nonetheless. On top of their infectious rockabilly shuffle are smart lyrics sung in super-tight harmony. The Two Man Gentleman Band even have a song about the particularly sad life of our 14th President. There may be "nothing funny about the death of Franklin Pierce," but there's plenty to laugh about here. — Lydia Munnell
With Uno Lady and Miss Firecracker.8:30 p.m. Thursday, August 25. Beachland Tavern. Tickets: $10, $8 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
At least Incubus are acting their age on their first album in five years. The California band slows down and mellows out on the new If Not Now, When?, focusing more on melodic drive than the metallic punch found on the records that made them alt-rock stars a decade ago. There are certainly moments of nostalgia here, especially in the first single "Adolescents," where singer Brandon Boyd twists his voice around one of those snaky melodies the group mastered back in the day. But If Not Now, When? takes a more grown-up approach to the songs, with pianos, pop hooks, and some sweet dips in the adult pool favored over rougher elements. The band's current summer tour is showcasing the album, so hope you like it since you'll be hearing a lot of it onstage. But there's still plenty of room left for old favorites like "Drive," "Megalomaniac," "Anna-Molly," and "Love Hurts." — Michael Gallucci
8 p.m. Friday, August 26. Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica. Tickets: $52.50; call 440-247-2722 or visit livenation.com.
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