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Soul Power 

Get Out! Post St. Patrick's Day version

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When this concert was first booked, it was scheduled for the Beachland and Adele was just another face in the post-Amy Winehouse crowd of young British soul singers. But that was before she appeared on Saturday Night Live and won a pair of Grammys (for Best Female Pop Vocals and Best New Artist). So her sold-out show was moved to the larger House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583, hob.com). Something of a Cinderella story, the self-deprecating, self-effacing Adele is the charming good girl to Winehouse's dissolute bad girl. However, the Adele-Amy comparisons (these past two Best New Artist winners both sport a retro sound and attended the same London arts school) are superficial at best. Although still a youngster - she was only 19 when she recorded her knockout debut, 19 - Adele plays mature, timeless music that takes '60s soul and mixes in orchestral pop, jazzy inflections and some modern funkiness. With a voice that's equally big and intimate, Adele channels Dusty Springfield and Etta James (a singer whom she openly admires) into something fresh. She not only seems inherently to know how to deliver a song - mixing sensitivity and strength, sultriness and soul - she also exhibits some strong songwriting chops, as her hit single "Chasing Pavement" demonstrates. Unlike other Best New Artist winners (like Christopher Cross or, most notoriously, Milli Vanilli), Adele should easily avoid career oblivion. The Script opens at 8 p.m. - Michael Berick

"Not in Front of the Children: Civil Liberties and Internet Censorship"

3.19

The Child Online Protection Act, bastard spawn of the officially unconstitutional Communications Decency Act, was bad law despite its purported good intentions. Passed during the Republican Revolution in 1998, the legislation aimed to keep kids from accessing the stuff their parents got all hot about in private. What it did was keep them from viewing a lot they should be able to see - like sexual-health info and Salon.com. So the U.S. Supreme Court took an ax to it. The ACLU sponsors a talk about its fight against COPA and how the so-called "moral majority" nearly won, at today's "Not in Front of the Children: Civil Liberties and Internet Censorship," a free presentation at 4:30 p.m. at Case Western School of Law's Moot Court Room (11075 East Blvd., 216.472.2200, acluohio.org). The ACLU's lead counsel against COPA, Chris Hansen, will offer insight into his fight to keep us a step ahead of Big Brother. ` - Dan Harkins

Leon Redbone

3.19

Since he first burst onto the music scene in the 1970s with a panama hat, dark glasses and 1920s suit, Redbone has been an enigma that even his friends have been unable to crack. Some of them even thought he was a guise for Andy Kaufman or Frank Zappa. During the '80s, Redbone began recording TV and radio jingles, like the memorable beer-shilling ragtime "This Bud's for You." In 2003, Redbone snagged a prime spot on the Elf soundtrack, dueting with Zooey Deschanel on the holiday classic "Baby It's Cold Outside." He performs at 9 p.m. at the Winchester (12112 Madison Ave., 216.226.5681, winchester.net). Tickets: $25. - Ernest Barteldes

Come Together, Imagine Peace

3.20

Huron-based Bottom Dog Press' anthology Come Together, Imagine Peace crams more than one poem per page. Editors Larry Smith, Ann Smith and Philip Metres gather works by Beat legends like Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, the monstrously prolific Lyn Lifshin, and hippie icons Gary Snyder and Ed Sanders. They also include pieces by Ohio writers Maj Ragain, Jack McGuane and many others. What they all have in common are poems that take a different approach to the age-old literary tradition of commemorating battle and worshiping war heroes. A bunch of local folks - including all three editors - plus Chicago poet and artist Jennifer Karmin will read and raise money for the 2009 Cleveland Peace Show from 7-10 p.m. at the Lit (2570 Superior Ave., 216.694.0000, the-lit.org). A donation of $10 is requested; $20 includes a copy of the book. E-mail pmetres@jcu.edu or go to clevelandnonviolence.org for information. - Michael Gill

Less Than Jake

3.20

With energized horns, poppy upstrokes, galloping tempos and wry grins, Less Than Jake have been crafting summertime anthems since the mid-'90s. You'd think ska-punk's demise and being dropped by two major labels would be enough to cripple any band's motivation. But last year, Less Than Jake returned to its wisecracking, adrenaline-fueled glory days on GNV FLA. Instead of going for the wrong-turn pop-rock that muddled recent releases, the Florida five-piece went back to ska-punk basics and made a record filled with sunny carefree spirit, which spills over onto its over-caffeinated tunes. The Expendables and the Flatliners open at 7 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583, hob.com). Tickets: $18 advance, $20 day of show. - Matt Whelihan

Mark Twain Tonight

3.21

In addition to authoring some of the most beloved works in American fiction, Mark Twain was a bonanza of topically incisive quotes: "A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back the minute it begins to rain." "Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are more pliable." Cleveland-born actor Hal Holbrook has such an extensive command of Twain's work, personality and biography that he can assemble performances of his one-man show Mark Twain Tonight on the fly, drawing from his deep well of stories to customize the script for each audience. Holbrook's first paying theater job was a $15-a-week gig at Cain Park in 1942, just before he entered Denison University, where he launched his Twain characterization as part of an honors project. While working on a soap opera in New York in the mid-'50s, he honed his Twain performance in a Greenwich Village nightclub, when Ed Sullivan saw him and put him on his TV show. Holbrook opened the show at a tiny off-Broadway theater in 1959 and has been performing a constantly evolving version of it ever since. To date, he's stepped into the Twain role more than 2,100 times. He returns to the Palace Theatre (1615 Euclid Ave., 216.241.6000, playhousesquare.org) at 7 tonight. Tickets: $10-$39.50. - Gill

Rising Star

3.21

The auditions are over, so there won't be the pleasure of catching any spectacular crashes at PlayhouseSquare's American Idol-like Rising Star talent competition. Contestants (some as young as eight years old and all from the area) will compete in singing and dancing categories. Judges include folks from the local arts and arts-education scene; WGAR 99.5-FM's Laurie Hovater will MC. A whopping 123 acts were distilled from the auditions. They take stage at noon; finals begin at 4 p.m. at the Allen and Ohio theatres (1501 Euclid Ave., 216.241.6000, playhousesquare.org). Laura Fedor, who won the Teen Vocalist crown in 2007, will also perform. It's free. - Gill

Tr

3.21

Call it Viking, folk, pagan or battle metal - it doesn't really matter. The important thing is that musicians in furs and horned helmets are waiting to regale you with tales of combat and glory. After last year's surprisingly well-attended PaganFest, it's no surprise Faroe Islands' Tr are back in the U.S., this time with Scotland's Alestorm and Germany's SuidAkrA in tow. The reluctant genre in question is a musical movement that's been around for about a decade but is just now starting to receive some recognition. Picture a cross between the cult animated flick Heavy Metal and the Mel Gibson bloodbath Braveheart, and set it to music. Tr stands out as the genre's most progressive and catchiest band. They're also noteworthy for having clear, pretty vocal melodies that, after four albums, are only getting better. All of these groups make an interesting connection between the community created by the music and peasant-class folks. Given the state of the economy, we all may be drinking mead and brandishing axes soon. Showtime is at 8 p.m. at Peabody's (2045 E. 21st St., 216.776.9999, peabodys.com). Tickets: $14 advance, $17 day of show. - Nick DeMarino

World's Largest Irish Coffee

3.21

It's only four days after St. Patrick's Day and Gillespie's Map Room (1281 W. 9th St., 216.621.7747, maproomcleveland.com) is asking you to get shit-faced again. Granted, the bar is reaching out for a good reason: It's trying to break the Guinness World Record for the planet's Largest Irish Coffee. Defiance College's art department built a 16-and-a-half-gallon mug for the Map Room, which plans to fill the ginormous cup with a tasty combination of whiskey and coffee. Several pots will start brewing java at 10 a.m. Then bottles of whiskey will be poured into it. Apparently a Bay Area bar now holds the record with a 15-gallon cup. As long as the mug doesn't shatter, and the Map Room staff can get all that coffee and whiskey into the thing without drinking it first, history should be made today. It's free to walk in and check out the event. Purchase an Irish Coffee, and you'll get a commemorative cup and a chance to sip the record-setting beverage. - Michael Gallucci

Cleveland Chamber Symphony

3.22

The Cleveland Chamber Symphony may not play out much these days, but the group is unflagging in its commitment to performing new music. The ensemble's spring program includes two world premieres. The first is by Chinese composer Jing Jing Luo, whose dramatic childhood (she was born in Beijing and worked in a Gobi Desert labor camp until she walked out when she was 16) led her to Shanghai Conservatory, where she studied piano. She was also part of the guest faculty at Oberlin Conservatory and Ashland College. Her new work is a concerto for flute and small orchestra. The other world premiere comes from a composer whose life hasn't been quite as intense, but it's still filled with mystery. Larry Baker won the Cleveland Arts Prize in 1983, taught theory and composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music and had penned commissioned works for several orchestras (including the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and Cleveland Philharmonic) when he abruptly dropped out of music in 1994. He started writing again a couple of years ago, after hearing from ASCAP that some of his works had been recorded. His latest piece is "Scarlet Dances." Showtime is 3 p.m. at Baldwin-Wallace College's Gamble Auditorium (96 Front St., Berea, 440.454.2285, clevelandchambersymphony.org). Also on the program are Darius Milhaud's "Three Symphonies for Small Orchestra," Keith Fitch's "Dancing the Shadows" and Marilyn Shrude's "A Gift of Memories." Admission is free. - Gill

Keyboard Conversations

3.22

There are several reasons Jeffrey Siegel consistently packs recital halls and can charge $20 for his Keyboard Conversations when there are plenty of free piano recitals around town. First, he's a great pianist. But he's also a world-class player who doesn't just want to play and have his audience listen in reverent silence. He wants to talk to the crowd and field questions. He's friendly and witty enough to charm neophytes and seriously skilled enough to hold veterans rapt. Cleveland State University has presented his Keyboard Conversations series for 21 years. Today's "Longevity of the Short Piece" program explores the lives and great short works of Felix Mendelssohn, Edvard Grieg, Johannes Brahms and Frederic Chopin. It starts at 3 p.m. at CSU's Waetjen Auditorium (2001 Euclid Ave., 216.687.5018, csuohio.edu/ concertseries/kc). Tickets: $20. - Gill

Neil Halstead

3.24

In his first band, '90s shoegazer science project Slowdive, Neil Halstead created songs with massive walls of sound full of feedback, effects pedals and droning chamber chorals. On his second solo album, last year's Oh! Mighty Engine, Halstead makes the softest, most concise pop music of his career with basically just an acoustic six-string. "I wanted to do a complete vocal and guitar record," says Halstead. "I hadn't really done it before, and that was the initial appeal - whether I could even do an album that relied much more heavily on the songs than the atmospherics. I wanted to strip all of that away and get as close to the songs as possible." The result is cuts like "Paint a Face" and "A Gentle Heart," delicate folk lullabies that actually sound like their titles. The album features a dozen such beautiful boy/girl ballads that recall the acoustic finger-picking of Bert Jansch and the shy vocal harmonies of Nick Drake. For Halstead, quiet is the new loud, but that doesn't mean he won't still be treating fans to the big sounds of his famous past projects onstage (he also did time in Mojave 3). "We'll play as much as we can get through," he says. "As much as people can stand." Joshua James opens the show at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd, Cleveland, 216.383.1124, beachlandballroom.com). Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show. - Keith Gribbins

Kodo

3.24

On the remote Japanese island of Sado, life is pretty much devoid of modern-day distractions. Because of its distance from the mainland, technology never fully reached the area. It's been that way for centuries. Taiko group Kodo emerged from these surroundings nearly three decades ago, formed by artists and musicians who found the peace they needed to exercise creativity. They uncovered inspiration in ancient festivals, harvest celebrations and the music that became an integral part of their lives. They also wanted to share all of this with other nations across the globe. The results can be heard on 2006's Heartbeat: Best of Kodo 25th Anniversary, which chronicles the group's musical journey over the years, as it embraced music from Africa and Brazil, and even electronica, incorporating them into a signature style. "Berimbau Jam" mixes the strong percussive sound of the giant taiko drum with that of the berimbau, an Afro-Brazilian instrument used in Brazil's martial dance capoeira. "Strobe's Nanafushi" combines organic and electronic beats into a very dance-floor-friendly groove. But Kodo haven't abandoned tradition. Their live set includes the beautiful "Ibuki," which begins with a gentle flute duet that moves to the background so the drumming can take center stage. Kodo plays the Palace Theatre (1615 Euclid Ave., 216.241.6000, playhousesquare.com) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $10-$42. - Barteldes

The Comedy of Errors

3.25

Shakespearean mistaken identity is a hot topic these days - especially the recent debate over a painting that's being touted as the only surviving portrait of the playwright that was completed when he was alive. Mistaken identity also drives the Bard's 1590s-era play The Comedy of Errors: Two sets of twins, separated at birth, reunite when they arrive at the home of their brothers - who happen to have the same names. This sets up plenty of opportunities for broad slapstick, almost-incestuous seduction and lots of witty dialogue. Artistic director Charles Fee directs the Great Lakes Theater Festival's production, which opens the company's spring repertory season tonight. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday this week and Friday, April 3; 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 4; and 3 p.m. Sunday, April 5. After that it alternates with the company's take on Chekhov's The Seagull through May 3 at the Hanna Theatre (2067 E. 14th St., 216.241.6000, greatlakestheater.org). Tickets: $13-$67. - Gill

Ra Ra Riot

3.25

Featuring a boisterous blend of ringing melodies, trilling strings and Wesley Mile's dulcet tenor croon, Ra Ra Riot is chamber-pop unbuttoned, evincing lighthearted romanticism amid tragic beauty. The moribund "Dying Is Fine" rejects over-analysis when there's life to be lived, while "Ghost Under Rocks" imagines the paralysis of grief, "Whether you either weep or moan/You waste a year to mull this through." Those standout tracks first appeared on the band's self-titled EP, released in July 2007, a month after drummer and songwriter John Pike drowned after a Rhode Island concert. The group forged on and signed to V2, only to be dropped a few months later, after the record label ran into financial trouble. Ra Ra Riot's debut album, The Rhumb Line, finally came out last year, and it was duly feted in the press - thanks in part to four songs taken from the EP, as well as several other Pike-penned tunes. The music is lithe and airy, so things never get too dark. While no one's really sure which direction songs will take on their next project now that Pike is no longer around, the band's lively performances oughta keep them in motion for some time. Passion Pit and Cut Off Your Hands open for Ra Ra Riot at 8 p.m. at Musica (51 E. Market St., Akron, 330.374.1114, 1akron.com/musica). Tickets: $11. - Chris Parker

Converge

3.25

There aren't too many bands that get their genre tags right on MySpace. Most go for cheap laughs, while others appear to have never heard their own music. Then there's Converge, whose description reads "Hardcore Metal Punk." You don't get more to-the-point and accurate that that. Before metalcore started eliciting groans, Converge blurred the lines between heavy genres. For more than 15 years, they've turned breakdowns into an art form, armed with metal's detailed dynamics and punk's relentless drive. This is a band too concerned with utter chaos and devastation to be bothered with boundaries. Maybe that's why they remain at the forefront of heavy music. Converge, Ceremony, Coliseum, Rise and Fall, and Pulling Teeth play the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588, grogshop.gs) at 7 p.m. Tickets: $13 advance, $15 day of show. - Whelihan

Legendary Rhythm & Blues Review

3.25

It's hard to fall out of fashion when you were never fashionable to begin with. Just ask the musicians who are part of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Review. San Franciscan Tommy Castro got his voice from Ray Charles and his guitar chops from the three Kings - B.B., Freddie and Albert. His vibrant blues/rock/soul amalgam has been a major club draw for more than a decade. Like Castro, singer-guitarist Ronnie Baker Brooks - son of Chicago blues giant Lonnie Brooks - isn't interested in pompous "purity." While his padre and Buddy Guy certainly influenced him, Ronnie's style nods to Steve Cropper and Eddie Van Halen. Deanna Bogart sings, plays piano and wails a mean sax. She's likely to shift from dusky, jazzy balladry to banging boogie-woogie and rollicking New Orleans R&B. Harmonica wizard Magic Dick was in the J. Geils Band, one of the '70s most popular blues-rock combos (pre-MTV "Centerfold" success, that is). His deep-fried mouth harp (he calls it a "Mississippi saxophone") still sears 'n' sizzles. The show starts at 7 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124, beachlandballroom.com). Tickets: $22 advance, $25 day of show. - Mark Keresman

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