Lostprophets frontman Ian Watkins doesn't understand where the rap-metal comparisons come from. "There's more rap on a Norah Jones album," he sniffs. "It's just lazy and easy to lump us in with that." The Welsh sextet's second album, Start Something (which includes the massive radio hit "Last Train Home") is a raging mix of hard rock and pop . . . with much unabashed emphasis on the latter. "We grew up listening to British '80s new wave," Watkins says. "Our music is equal parts thrash metal and Duran Duran."
Still, he's grateful for the success. He realizes that being big in the U.K. doesn't always translate into victory overseas. "We thought our songs were good, and we didn't understand people who didn't like them," he says. "But we weren't expecting this. If you do, you end up looking like the most conceited band in the world."
Watkins and his mates have been touring the world the past several months, and they quickly learned that there's always a price tag attached to doing stupid rock-star things, like demolishing hotel rooms. "It's a lot of fun till the bills come in," he laughs. They're at the Odeon (1295 Old River Road) at 8 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15; call 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
Old-fashioned cars and tunes rock fest.
Former teen idol Fabian Forte handles top billing at an oversized sock hop during Saturday's Surf's Up Beach Party & Muscle Car Show, where beach-rockers TCB Hit Squad, Schtick, and Still Surfin' also will perform. "[Playing] for audiences is like a big reunion for me," says the 61-year-old Fabian, who goes onstage at 8 p.m. "It's great we can still get out there and do the Stroll." Hand-jivin' aside, the party starts with 200 Corvettes, convertibles, and woodies on display for a classic-car show. But that's not why Linda-Mary Witherow of Akron is going. "I was a real nut for [Fabian]," she says. "I would put on my bobby socks and poodle skirt, and worship the ground he walked on." Fun runs from 3 to 10 p.m. at Lock 3 Live! on Main Street in downtown Akron. Tickets are $10, available by calling 330-253-2488. -- Cris Glaser
The Maori, the Merrier
Dancin' up a storm at IslandFest.
This weekend's IslandFest offers everything from fireworks, food, and brew to a parade, live music, and a six-member New Zealand dance troupe. The Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre of New Zealand's Saturday performance, however, is more than just a display of fancy footwork; it's also a cultural primer. "Each member brings the stories and heritage of their individual tribal areas," says spokeswoman Judy Beaumier. "They bridge the past and present with genealogical chants that trace family history back to the beginning of time." IslandFest happens from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at downtown Kelleys Island (corner of East Lakeshore Drive and Division Street). Admission is free; call 419-746-2360. -- Lucy McKernan
A Green Party
Tommy Makem has been called "the godfather of Irish music," and the New Hampshire balladeer headlines this weekend's Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, with 23 supporting acts -- including Ireland's the Whole Shebang and Cleveland's New Barleycorn. It runs from 4 p.m. to midnight Friday, 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday, and 1 to 11 p.m. Sunday at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, 164 Eastland Road in Berea. Admission is $8; call 330-321-6174. -- Cris Glaser