Days of Dominance
Hatebreed at Peabody's on Wednesday, September 3
After Wednesday's show at Peabody's, Hatebreed will sign copies of its new DVD, Live Dominance. The band's first video release captures a bloodletting 2008 concert from Detroit, and it commemorates a run that's 13 years strong. The personal touch has helped the band grow from an underground hardcore group to an Ozzfest marquee act with credibility unquestionably intact.
As detailed in the second disc of Live Dominance, the group formed in Connecticut in 1995, though its Cleveland roots are deep: Frontman Jamey Jasta discovered the city through the first Ringworm album and roadied for Integrity. Those bands inspired Jasta's own alchemical ideas about mixing metal and hardcore, and his group developed a sound it now calls "metallic hardcore," delivering the term in a single breath in the way that old-timers say "punkrock."
During an endless run in support of 1997's top-selling Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire, Hatebreed played Cleveland so many times, the guys became honorary locals. In 2006, they even added former Ringworm/Terror guitarist Frank "3 Gun" Novinec. With the Cleveland axeman on board, they recorded the crushing Supremacy album. Live Dominance features that lineup, which the band bills as its "strongest ever" - and the disc backs up the boast.
You won't hear anything in the set's first song ("This Is Now") that you don't get in the following 21 numbers, but they all kill; like Slayer, the band gives its tattooed loyal legions exactly what they want and admirably adheres to formula. The front line makes its chunky, rhythmic grooves look easy. Drummer Matt Byrne plays breakdowns and double-bass kicks with equal, crushing ease. And the payoff for the rote parts comes in moments like the murderous gallop at the climax of "The Most Truth." High-def footage and whiplash camera cuts capture the sweaty bustle of the pit, which erupts in chaos to roar-along, wrecking-ball choruses like "Destroy Everything." The bonus material has some padding, but two segments called "Behind the Hate" explore the phenomenon that is the band. In interview footage, Jasta explains his vision for the deceptively titled group, emerging as an evangelist of hope and discipline for a crowd of disenfranchised fans who have been let down by school, work and families. Unlike the suburban rage of nu-metal and radio rock, Hatebreed's anthems quake with a righteous anger: During the set, Jasta dedicates "A Call for Blood" to "any survivor of rape and child abuse - I hope one day you get your fuckin' revenge." If you've got to hate, it's best to hate something bad. Emmure, Soilent Green, War of Ages and Catalepsy open at 6 p.m. at Peabody's (2083 E. 21st St., 216.776.9999). Tickets: $17 advance, $20 day of show. - D.X. Ferris
The Two-Man Gentlemen Band
Nobody tries harder to make the kazoo relevant than the Two Man Gentlemen Band. The guys will give away the brightly colored and cheaply made plastic instruments at their live shows with the support of their sponsor, Kazoos.com. They've developed their own unique vaudevillian retro sound that, for gigs, even includes showing old black-and-white footage of flapper women voting or bearded men constructing the cross-country railroad. This New York City act features banjo- and kazoo-inflected tunes about everything from true love to the girth of William Howard Taft. The Amazing Rondini Bros. open at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $7. - Ryan MacLennan
In 2006, Nas loudly proclaimed rap's demise with the controversial Hip Hop Is Dead. While low sales of the disc may have given a sliver of truth to its title, its outspoken nature showed the genre is far from deceased. Thirty-four-year-old Nas continues the boldness on his latest, Untitled, an album whose original title (it was simply called Nigger) caused such a stir, he was forced to change it. However, don't let the switch fool you. The deeply political disc makes Dead seem warm and fuzzy in comparison. Whether he's tackling his record company for trying to censor him ("Hero"), lyrically assaulting the lies of Fox News ("Sly Fox") or making his endorsement for '08 ("Black President"), this is Nas at his most unabashed. It's now been 17 years since his debut (as "Nasty Nas") on Main Source's "Live at the Barbeque," a track that prompted 3rd Bass' MC Serch to take the young rapper under his wing. But while those names have faded from the rap spotlight, Nas still manages to top the charts (Untitled debuted at No. 1) without catering to the current fads. These days, though, he seems to be more concerned with his legacy than record sales - on "Hero," the MC refreshingly reveals a deeper sense of purpose: "My lawyers only see the Billboard charts as winning, forgetting/Nas the only true rebel since the beginning." Talib Kweli, Jay Electronica and DJ Green Lantern round out the lineup on this bill, dubbed "The Jones Experience." The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583). Tickets: $37.50-$55. - Eddie Fleisher
Americana Music Festival
Why not spend the holiday dedicated to the working stiff by raising a PBR tallboy at the Americana Music Festival, which kicks off today and continues through Sunday? This multi-day, multi-venue celebration of local and regional musicians certainly will leave pressed-for-cash laborers with some money in their pockets, since the shows are no-cost or low-cost, maxing out at a mere eight bucks a ticket. Musician/recording technician/DJ/bartender and festival organizer Clint Holley thinks gas prices may have folks looking for something to do over the holiday weekend that's closer to home. "This is an event for people who want to do something in the city, appreciate live music and don't want to spend six or seven dollars for a beer," Holley says. Not sure what Americana music is? Don't worry; you're not alone. It's a genre that's a little difficult to define. Although an offshoot of roots music, it can range from alt-country to rockabilly and from jangle rock to singer-songwriter. But Holley is betting you'll know it and like it when you hear it. This is the fourth year for the festival, and he hopes it will continue to grow and ultimately draw concertgoers from other places. "There are a lot of great Cleveland roots musicians, and it'd be nice for them to get the attention they deserve." The whole shebang commences tonight with a happy-hour mixer from 7-9 that's followed by live music from Bobby Lanphier & the Bitter Disappointments in the cozy cool of Tremont's Prosperity Social Club (1109 Starkweather Ave., 216.937.1938).
Friday doubles the everyman fun with two shows. For five bucks you can catch a five-band bill that includes Miss Firecracker, Rambler 454 and others at Sachsenheim Hall (7001 Denison Ave., 216.651.0888) beginning at 6 p.m. Or you can check out a five-dollar songwriter showcase presented by Dangus Kincaid Records at the Hi-Fi (11729 Detroit Rd., 216.521.8878) in Lakewood. G.S. Harper, Tony Schultz and Mal San Marco are just a part of the lineup. On Saturday, August 30, at 6 p.m., pack up your own refreshments, grab a lawn chair and stop by the new Waterloo 7 Art Gallery in Collinwood (16006 Waterloo Rd.) for a free courtyard concert with the Tabloid Twangers and Crookneck Chandler & the Tibbee Bottom Boys. Sunday caps it all off with two stages, 12 bands and some down-home eats at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Come around 1 p.m., when the Sunday liquor license kicks in, for a "Bloody Mary Brunch" cooked up by Kim Homan. The music and the barbecue heat up the place from 4-11 p.m. with Chris Castle, Al's Fast Freight, Lost State of Franklin, California Speedbag and a host of other acts. But don't plan on getting home early; headliners Deke Dickerson & the Ecco-Fonics take the stage at midnight. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/americanafest. - Samantha Fryberger
I'll admit I'm not a big Grateful Dead fan. But the lineup for the ninth installment of GratefulFest, which begins today and continues through Monday at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park (12001 SR 282), is pretty solid. It features guys like Ramblin' Jack Elliott, a cowboy folk singer who's only remotely connected to the whole jam scene. Other more familiar figures include Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet, the Bridge, Cornmeal and Big Leg Emma. Hippie trickster Wavy Gravy hosts the whole thing, and there'll be a late-night bluegrass jam courtesy of the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers. Adding legitimacy to the affair is the fact that Dan Healy, the guy who worked the soundboard for the Dead back in the '60s, will be turning the knobs in the control tower when the Dark Star Orchestra, perhaps the biggest Grateful Dead tribute band in the business, takes the stage. He's also the guy who designed the Dead's "wall of sound," so expect aural overload. Tickets: $45-$95. Go to www.nlqp.com for more info. - Jeff Niesel
Finch. Finch …? Weren't they the ones with the over-the-top screamo histrionics? Oh, that was all of them? Then, did they have a bunch of Ÿber-heavy, highly aggressive songs about despair, destruction and gallons of metaphoric blood loss? Again, not specific enough? Well, how about this: Finch was the band that co-headlined with the Used way back in early 2003, which didn't make that many ripples at the time but ultimately paved the way for post-hardcore's foothold in mainstream music culture (perhaps you've heard of then-tour-openers My Chemical Romance)? And, even to this day, they've never gotten the credit or kudos their two prog-tinged, angst-and-apocalypse-filled full-lengths deserved? An appearance on the Underworld soundtrack, label changeups, member departures and a little-acknowledged indefinite hiatus? Back from the dead two years later with a solid, return-to-form EP, July's digitally released self-titled effort? Ringing any bells? Though newer songs are more refined than those exploding off 2002's What It Is to Burn and 2005's Say Hello to Sunshine, singer Nate Barcalow, firebrand guitarist Randy Strohmeyer and Co.'s live show is just as intense - if not more so - than ever. Their timing may be chronically lousy, but Finch's talent? That remains wholly unquestionable. The band performs at 7:30 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583) with Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Tickle Me Pink and Our Last Night opening. Tickets: $16-$18. - Julie Seabaugh
Xiu Xiu's raw approach is what draws listeners into its musical cave of intense darkness. Lead singer Jamie Stewart could creep most people out, even during the middle of the day, because his voice oozes with the pain of some intense torment on the band's latest effort, Women as Lovers. Often, Stewart's voice gets tangled in the sporadically disturbing noise the band makes with well-placed keyboards and acoustic-guitar melodies. Xiu's style is unmistakably its own form of indie-rock, which at some points can leave you scratching your head. Women as Lovers catalogs its unique style, especially in the cover of the Queen and David Bowie song "Under Pressure," which features a sax in places where vocals were used in the original. Prurient and Common Eider, King Eider open at 9 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., 216.321.5588). Tickets: $8. - MacLennan
Airborne Toxic Event
These Southern California rockers don't sound like your typical Southern California rockers. Buzzing with guitars and soaking in indie-rock hipster cool, the five boys and girls in the Airborne Toxic Event make a pretty racket on their self-titled debut album that has more to do with clipped riffs and carefully constructed sound collages than shaggy-haired Gossip Girl hits. Singer Mikel Jollett bends himself around songs, digging up a deep baritone for one track, raging against an unnamed machine on the next. Meanwhile, guitarist Steven Chen rotates Smiths-style jangle with Strokes-like blur. It all makes for an occasionally uneven CD, but when they pull it together - like they do on "Wishing Well" and "Gasoline" - it really doesn't matter if you can't quite figure out whether they're an art band or a bunch of Spin-approved cool kids. Either way, they rock. The Airborne Toxic Event opens for the Fratellis at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583). Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets: $16.50. - Michael Gallucci