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Mushroomhead Leads This Week's Concert Picks 

Wolf Parade, Smashing Pumpkins, Filter, And More

A Headbanger's Halloween

Mushroomhead at the Agora Theater, Friday, October 31

Mushroomhead's annual Halloween show arrives just in time for a new memento for the occasion: The Mushroomhead Volume II DVD. Featuring two-and-a-half hours of footage, the disc ends where 2005's Volume I left off. Most of the clips document the latest Mushroomhead album, 2006's Savior Sorrow. In addition to copious backstage material, the DVD includes three videos: "Simple Survival," "1200" (which Headbanger's Ball viewers voted 2006's video of the year) and the brand-new "Save Us" clip, which was directed by 'Head programmer Skinny. October 23 marked the band's 15th anniversary. The Halloween concert takes place between stops on the group's continuing tour, so the band won't have time to create a super-elaborate production. Still, 'Shroomheads can expect a longer set and some guest appearances. "It'll be the typical Mushroomhead extravaganza," says Skinny. "The creepy vibe, the whole setup, a few new props." The band will wear its current costumes; a new look won't be here until the new album - which the group plans to start recording after the tour and have in stores by May. "There's a ton of material lying around," says Skinny. "Whether that gets used or not is a different story. It sounds like Mushroomhead. A couple really upbeat, heavy tunes. And there's a real dark, doomy keyboard jam. There'll probably be a lot more percussion on this one, a lot of water drums. It's all over the map." The Autumn Factor and Xfactor1 open at 6 p.m. at the Agora Theater (5000 Euclid Ave., 216.881.2221). Tickets: $25-$81. - D.X. Ferris

Jimmy Thackery & the Drivers

For this Pennsylvania-born blues veteran, there's no slowing down. Between collaborations with fellow guitarist Tab Benoit, Nighthawks reunions and his solo projects, Thackery averages about 300 concerts a year - an impressive number for any musician. Ironically, this kind of touring schedule was one of the reasons that reportedly led him to leave the Nighthawks more than two decades ago. But you have to give the people what they want. An advocate of the Chicago sound he learned from Muddy Waters himself, Thackery plays a rock-inflected guitar that has that big, fat sound blues fans like to hear. It doesn't matter if some of his lyrics seem a bit innocuous; his guitar speaks volumes, and backed by Drivers Mark "Bumpy" Bumgardner (bass) and Mark Stutso (drums), he tackles various genres - including country, surf-rock, R&B and some straight '50s-inspired rock 'n' roll. The trio is currently touring behind Inside Track. Stutso provides vocals on Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" and on "Blinking of an Eye," a song based on a loss experienced by a close friend. Another highlight is "Landlocked," a tune inspired by a movement from Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Wilbert's (812 Huron Ave. E., 216.902.4663). Tickets: $15. -Ernest Barteldes

Mest

They're certainly not the original pop-punk comeback kids by any means (that honor is more apt to rest upon the likes of Green Day), but in an industry that perennially values the hit-making potential of an ever-changing sea of Next Big Things over the fostering of time-intensive artist development, Mest - or what's left of 'em, anyway - have found the chutzpah to return in a big way. After 10 years, five albums, two DVDs and a handful of impossibly catchy singles that eschewed peers' preference for generic love songs to tackle quirky wordplay, after-hours existential angst and the unwavering belief in impossible dreams, the core clan of Tony and Matt Lovato disbanded in 2006 to pursue side projects, including Kisses for Kings and Room Eleven. A 2007 incident in which Tony Lovato was charged with murder for a fatal stabbing - he was later exonerated - is past them now, and Mest Version 2.0 maintains rabid fan support from those who wax nostalgic for the days of Warped Tours past, even though Tony is the only original member. Moreover, there's a much-needed statement to make: You're only a flash in the pan if you allow yourself to be. Quiet Drive and Rookie of the Year open at 7 p.m. at Peabody's (2083 E. 21st St., 216.776.9999). Tickets: $14. - Julie Seabaugh

Bone Swa

Bone Swa, a nine-piece, trombone-heavy jazz ensemble with a shifting cast, has been playing locally for about four years, but its roots stretch back to Kent State University in the mid-'60s. That's when leader and current KSU professor Chas Baker met fellow trombonists Garney Hicks and Don Jones. Jones went on to form the Jones Bones and gave 30 of his best arrangements to Baker when the band folded. Thus, Bone Swa was born, pitting post-bop jam sessions against specialized arrangements of tunes like Weather Report's "Birdland" and originals by band member Paul Ferguson. As opposed to the blare and electric-parade thump of New Orleans trombone group Bonerama, Bone Swa strives for a more diverse musicscape that won't, in Baker's words, "sound the same all night long." It's a rather groundless worry, since the trombone can offer as much tonal variety as sax or trumpet, a fact that's never more evident than when five bone players come together as a unit. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. at the Bop Stop (2920 Detroit Ave., 216.771.6551). Tickets: $15. - Matt Marshall

Joseph Arthur

Akron native Joseph Arthur is always one step ahead of himself. When his ballyhooed 2000 effort Come to Where I'm From came out, the guy couldn't stop talking about what his next album would be and had already written all the songs for it. Well, after a short lull (he did, it should be noted, release two full-lengths in 2006), the most prolific singer-songwriter who isn't Ryan Adams is back at it. After issuing several EPs this year, he's returned with Temporary People, an album that again finds him backed by the Lonely Astronauts. It's a fine collection of melancholy pop tunes that play up Arthur's twangy, Wilco-inspired side (see "Say Goodbye") a bit more. The show starts at 9 p.m. at Musica (51 E. Market St., Akron, 330.374.1114). Tickets: $15. - Jeff Niesel

Freakin' at the Freakers Ball

Like Brigadoon for the urban underground, indoor festivals periodically pop up at the Transylvanian Sachsenheim Hall (7001 Denison Ave., 216.651.0888). The place is well-suited for multi-band bills, since it has three floors, four stages and several bars. On Halloween night, the hard-working entertainer and tenacious open-mic host the Uncanny Xela plans to fill the place with more than two dozen bands, art, photography, film and vendors. In addition to booking the show, he also organized it, leading to a diverse lineup of bands and performers convening for the occasion. Among the acts scheduled to perform are haunting spoken-word rockers Hobo Monk, Americana rockers Lost State of Franklin and the breathy psychedelic rockers Mr. Gnome. Of course, Xela brings his own urban folk/punk funk sensibility to the showm which starts at 9 p.m. Tickets: $10. - Michael Gill

Smashing Pumpkins

With '90s rockers Stone Temple Pilots cleaning up recently on their reunion tour, it was really only a matter of time before singer-guitarist Billy Corgan got the Smashing Pumpkins back together. While the Pumpkins are probably one of the more dated-sounding acts to come out of the whole alt-rock explosion of that era (and to be fair, the Chicago band's roots go back to 1988), Corgan and crew are actually solid musicians. Still, Corgan's screechy vocals get cleaned up so much in the studio that they often sound much more abrasive in the live setting. The band, which is playing two nights in most cities (but not here), also has a new, distorted guitar-heavy single ("G.L.O.W.") that it's recorded for Guitar Hero World Tour. Expect to hear it as well as a broad swathe of songs from their back catalog (the Pumpkins are promising totally different sets for the two-night stands, so they probably have a good 30 songs ready to go). The show starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre (1615 Euclid Ave., 216.241.6000). Tickets: $50. - Niesel

Filter

Like Nine Inch Nails, for whom Filter frontman Richard Patrick was the touring guitarist from 1989 to 1991, Filter features a rotating cast of musicians who revolve around one central songwriter. As the band's leader, Patrick has been responsible for whatever controversy has come up. And there's been plenty since the group's 1993 inception. The band's most popular single, "Hey Man, Nice Shot," was inspired by the public suicide of Pennsylvania politician Budd Dwyer, who killed himself at a televised news conference in 1987. "I didn't want anyone to think I was cashing in on someone's death," Patrick explains in a phone interview. "I was kind of shocked that a person could hold a press conference and do that. I remember thinking, 'Hey man, nice shot.' Then, six months later, my song's a big hit, and the widow of that man is calling the record label going, 'How dare you.' The reality is that he held a press conference, and it impacted me. I had to be honest about the song once people thought it was about [Nirvana's] Kurt Cobain. The truth is that it was written in 1991 and it was inspired by suicide in general. It was unfortunate that you write a song about suicide and everyone wants to apply it to their lives." After recording a number of soundtrack tunes, Patrick put Filter on the backburner while he focused on other projects. He spent time touring and recording with Army of Anyone, a supergroup of sorts that featured members of Stone Temple Pilots. But last year, Patrick decided to bring Filter back. He's called the latest album, Anthems for the Damned, his "howl in the night." "I look at the sea of humanity and this huge civilization, and it's doom and gloom," he says. "It feels like we're not really getting it.

There's so many things going wrong on the planet. We are a complicated, foolish species. We're like the missing link. We're smart enough to realize killing is bad and loving is good, but we don't capitalize on it. We have two men in the White House whoring out the country for fuckin' oil. The oil companies are so goddamned greedy, they refuse to release their stranglehold on society. My favorite music is U2's War and the Clash's London Calling. You have to give it up for those guys. Like them, I have to say what I have to say." Find out if that's really true when the band performs as part of the Hard Rock Café's 10-year anniversary, with Electric Touch opening at 9 p.m. at the Hard Rock Café (230 Huron Rd., 216.861.1958). Tickets: $15. - Niesel

Wolf Parade

A résumé can be an essential tool for finding a job - for the average person. But unless it's for a day job, musicians don't usually stress too much about the starch manila paper featuring a list of past experience. Members of Wolf Parade are no exception to the rule. They got together informally, member by member. But put their catalogs together, and you get a mess of great projects, including Frog Eyes and Hot Hot Heat; in fact, members of the band continue to find time for other groups like Sunset Rubdown and Handsome Furs in their downtime. Still, experience isn't everything, and the five dudes of this Montreal-based band prove they've got the chops on their most recent CD, At Mount Zoomer. The album is a layered collage of proggy indie-rock that ranges from the Spoon-inspired "Call It a Ritual" to the epic, 11-minute distorted mess "Kissing the Beehive." Expect a mixture of songs from Zoomer and their debut album, Apologies to the Queen Mary. The Canadians have focused stage presence that doesn't let on that they are writing songs for other bands when they get back on the tour bus. It works well for everyone: Fans get a solid show, and the guys can keep adding to their musical résumés. Listening Party, another Canadian band, opens at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $16 advance and $18 at the door. - Danielle Sills

$keleton$

Most pop music is frustratingly pedantic. It should be possible to write a catchy song that doesn't use the same samples or effects used in every other artist's songs. It should be possible to integrate technology with traditional rock instrumentation to create nuanced compositions that reward repeat listens but can still be whistled. And it should be possible to include every sound, rhythm and melody, regardless of genre, to enhance a song without being pigeonholed as noise, electronica or world music. If you share any of these concerns, then $keleton$ is the band for you. Fresh off their summer European tour, Mathew Douglas Mehlan's New York troupe is on the road again with a politician's fervor. The band's catalog is impressive and varied, integrating everything from jazz to dreampop. Mehlan's vocals are the selling point, though; his lyrics are dark and bizarre, his delivery delicate and ethereal. This time, the band's ever-changing moniker (Skeletons, the Skeletons and the Girl-Faced Boys, the Skeletons and the Kings of All Cities) reflects its new album, Money. Songs like "The Things" and "Booom! (Money)" prove that a song doesn't need to be simple to be pretty. Original, uncompromising music has never been this catchy. The show kicks off 8:30 p.m. at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124). Tickets: $5 advance, $7 at the door. - Nick DeMarino

Dwarves

With more than 20 years of controversy under their figurative belts, the Dwarves have established themselves as titans of all things punk. Their sound may have mellowed a bit over the years, but their DVD releases - which feature gallons of blood and collaborations with the Suicide Girls - prove they've still got an edge. Despite thousands of years of depravity, human beings are still shocked and entranced by primal behavior. Go figure. To his credit, founding guitarist Hewhocannotbenamed is still rocking out with nary a stitch (other than his trademark wrestling mask), despite the noticeable handicap of being stabbed to death 15 years ago (or so the legend goes). And make sure to catch Erie, Pennsylvania's newly reformed DIY heroes the Assmen. Indecent Exposure starts things off at 8 p.m. at the Jigsaw Saloon (5324 State Rd., 216.351.3869). Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door. - DeMarino

Roomful of Blues

Roomful of Blues isn't so much a band as it is a revered institution. Since its inception nearly 40 years ago, Roomful of Blues has become a blazing-hot musical outfit and a graduate program for some of the finest blues players, ultimately notching 44 personnel shifts during its history. Each new iteration has resulted in both subtle and fundamental changes in style. Regardless of Roomful's slight stylistic changes over the years, the band's overall consistency is the thing that has kept its fans engaged and satisfied for the past four decades. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. at Brother's Lounge (11609 Detroit Ave., 216.226.2767). Tickets: $15. - Brian Baker

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