Band names don't come much simpler than this. Tony Yanni found the moniker for his prog-rock act in the alphabet, wedged between h and j: i. The ex-Trashin' Broadway drummer pitched the lone-letter idea to bassist Eric "Big E" Reineke, who says it "was like a stray cat. It just kept coming back and coming back, and wouldn't go away. So we took it in and adopted it."
Reineke's former band, Ten Years Hooked, had just split, a mere three weeks after releasing its debut CD in 2002. The band's singer was given an ultimatum by an "overjealous" girlfriend: "It's either me or the band." The frontman chose the girl, and the band broke up. "And for no good reason," says Reineke. "Because it was just plain ridiculous."
A month later, Reineke hooked up with old pal Yanni, guitarist Mark Bunderant, and ex-Mainline singer Jimmy Bracken. Still, after all this time, the Ten Years Hooked "ordeal" continues to haunt him. "We're still shaking our heads over that one," says Reineke. "Oh, what love can do." i performs at 10 p.m. Friday at the Cove, 5326 Lake Road in Geneva-on-the-Lake. Admission is $3; call 440-466-8888. -- Cris Glaser
Don't Be Cruel . . .
. . . Check out Elvis's birthday bash.
Had he not died in 1977, Elvis Presley would be celebrating his 70th birthday this weekend. Playhouse Square is giving props to the King on Sunday with an Elvis Birthday Tribute, which covers each and every stage of the "Hound Dog" hitman's career with a hunka-hunka pelvis-shakin' impersonators. The sexy, swaggering early years are represented. So is the castrated movie-era E. As is the still sexy, still swaggering '68 comeback period. And so are the sad, bloated final years. Performers include Shawn Klush -- who played a young Elvis in the 1999 CBS miniseries Shake, Rattle & Roll -- and Ryan Pelton, who won a World Wide Elvis Contest a few years back. The whole thing is hosted by D.J. Fontana, who played drums on many of Elvis's sessions. Thankyouverymuch. The Elvis Birthday Tribute starts at 7 p.m. at the State Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets range from $19 to $32, available by calling 216-241-6000. -- Michael Gallucci
Moovin' On Up
Two Cow Garage scores with football fans.
The guys in Two Cow Garage sat up and took notice during ABC's Monday Night Football game on November 22. At the start of the fourth quarter between New England and Kansas City, the show's producers played a snippet of "Make It Out Alive" from the trio's second CD, The Wall Against Our Backs. Not bad for a self-described "roots-rock, twang-bang, bushel-basket" band from Columbus. "I think [the title track] just kinda wraps up where we stand right now," says drummer Dustin Harigle. "Poor and busting our ass." Two Cow Garage performs at 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Beachland Tavern, 15711 Waterloo Road. Tickets are $6, available by calling 216-383-1124. -- Cris Glaser
The Music Men
Two of the area's finest jazz musicians -- keyboardist Eddie Baccus Sr. and vibraphone player Cecil Rucker Jr. -- team up at Karamu's Jazz & Jazz, a twice-monthly summit that also includes Rucker's quartet backing the vets. Surprise guests are also promised, which oughta make each one of these winter performances worth attending. It happens every other Thursday through March 17 at Karamu, 2355 East 89th Street. Admission is $5. Call 216-795-7070 for more info. -- Michael Gallucci