Ready for Christmas? The contemporary jazz quartet Yellowjackets apparently is. Its new CD, Peace Round, is a collection of traditional holiday songs (like "Little Drummer Boy," "Silent Night," and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen") smoothed out and jazzed up for the season. It might not prepare you for the snowy months ahead, but it should mellow you out considerably. The guys are on the road, performing some songs from the album, but expect the set to be heavy on material from the pair of Grammy-nominated records they've released this decade, Mint Jam and Time Squared. Yellowjackets are at the Cleveland Museum of Art's Gartner Auditorium (11150 East Boulevard) at 8 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20 and $30, available by calling 216-231-1111. -- Michael Gallucci
Play looks at lies and recovery after 9-11.
The Mercy Seat isn't your average post-9-11 drama. For one thing, the protagonist is "getting a blowjob on the morning of September 11," laughs Licia Colombi, who's directing Ensemble Theatre's production of Neil LaBute's two-character tale of guilt and salvation. "He's not a hero. He's an antihero."
The married man, who was supposed to be attending a meeting at the World Trade Center when the planes hit, was instead holed up at his mistress's apartment. Still, "I think it's a very hopeful play," says Colombi. "You get a flash of what's appealing in their relationship, even when the day's sad, tragic event keeps infiltrating it." The scenario may not be a likable one, says Colombi, but its lead character eventually wins over audiences. "He's a real human being," she says. "We should recognize flashes of our own selves. We could be sitting there." The Mercy Seat is at Cleveland Play House's Studio One (8500 Euclid Avenue) through October 24. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $20 to $24; call 216-321-2930. -- Michael Gallucci
Oh No, Chromeo!
Gay boys and lite soul music fuel DJ duo's mix.
Spinning discs in Montreal, Chromeo was turned on by Bronski Beat and Timex Social Club. Motivated by those '80s disco and R&B influences, David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel combined 808 synthesizers with Rhodes keys and dubbed their mixes "slick-ass lover's funk." "Sure, our sound is vintage and danceable," says Macklovitch (aka Dave 1). "Sure, all our songs talk about girls. But we're so passionate about it that it's not even funny anymore." They also take their stage time seriously, especially when Gemayel fires up his talkbox. "Imagine taking a speaker and putting it in your mouth, and then forcing the sound to come back out," says Gemayel (aka P-Thugg). "It truly is a skill." Chromeo spins at 9 p.m. Saturday at B-Side Liquor Lounge, 2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. Tickets are $10; call 216-932-1966. -- Cris Glaser