At Added FX's Street Beats performance on Friday, look for American Idol finalist Charlie Grigsby in the background.
The Elyria native spent some time in the recording studio with the Cleveland hip-hop trio earlier this year, singing a verse of a song ("Vibe") he wrote for the group's just-released debut CD, I Ain't Ready. "It's kind of a coincidence, because he was my favorite contestant on American Idol," says FX singer Jay Rogers (far right). "In season one, all the guy singers were not that great. But when I saw season two, I said, man, it's about time. He had a very good tone to his voice."
While Grigsby stands in the shadows during Added FX's lunch-hour performance, Rogers and rappers Jeremy Rath and Billy West will bust some moves. "It's R&B/pop/rap," says Rogers. "And it's all clean, fun, and energetic." Added FX performs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Star Plaza (on Euclid Avenue and East 13th Street). Admission is free. Visit www.cleveland.com/sparx for more info. -- Cris Glaser
If This Van's a-Rockin'. . .
Three bands hit the road together.
By the time the Get in the Van tour comes to town on Saturday, the three participating bands will have logged nearly 2,500 miles and two weeks in a single cramped vehicle. "It's gonna be pretty gross in there," says Taylor Goldsmith, singer and guitarist for Los Angeles-based quartet Simon Dawes. "But we're pretty laid-back." The tour, which also includes Mt. Egypt and the solo Nicky P, is a back-to-basics approach to rock and roll for the up-and-coming artists. That's appropriate, since they all share a passion for music made before they were born (none of the Dawes guys has turned 20 yet). "The van comes off like a punk-rock thing," admits Goldsmith. "But we listen to Tom Waits, David Bowie, and Elvis Costello." The tour hits the Pirate's Cove (2083 1/2 East 21st Street) at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
New exhibit wallows in despair, but it's still pretty cool.
Joe Ayala's paintings and illustrations snatch bits and pieces of traditionalists' work, shove them through a contemporary filter, and spit out a blue- and red-seeped collection that peers straight into the eyes of modern-day misery. It's potentially deep and depressing material, but Ayala's sharp lines and comic-book-like tone never let you forget that you're looking at a moody body of work that eventually distances itself from real life. An opening reception takes place on Saturday from 7 to 10 p.m. The self-titled exhibit is on view through August 20 at Assemble Gallery, 1300 West 78th Street. It's open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and by appointment. Admission is free. Visit www.assemblegallery.com for more info. -- Michael Gallucci
More than 600 bikers from Sandusky to Buffalo rev up this weekend for Ride, Rock & Remember, a benefit for the USO of Northern Ohio. On top of drink specials and raffles, Rip & the Bandogs play classic rock, while the sidewalk outside Tower City Center becomes a motorcycle parking lot. It happens from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday at the Hard Rock Café, 230 West Huron Road. Tickets are $5. For more information, call 216-830-7625. -- Cris Glaser