The newest incarnation of the Brothers Lounge (11609 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood) finally gives the West End a top-notch blues bar — and then some. The club has been open in various forms since 1959, but has been closed for years. The new owners have been pouring money into the club since 2004. It opened in March, and early shows by acts like Kristine Jackson and Wish You Were Here's Jim Tigue and Eroc Sosinski proved it was worth the wait.
The new Brothers Lounge has three rooms. Customers enter through an upscale pub — which features a dark mahogany bar and high-top tables — on Detroit Avenue. An adjacent wine bar, also facing the street, includes soft jazz in the background, tables, and a small stage in the window area. A central kitchen serves an American menu. A large, newly expanded concert room in the back of the club boasts a sharp new sound system.
"I've been in bands since I was a kid," says partner Christian Riemenschneider, a securities manager who was a member of the Jokers and Jimmy Jack. "And everywhere I played, there was a really tough load-in and bad acoustics. So we bought the building with the idea of really making it a first-class music venue, where bands want to play, where loading is easy and management treats you with respect."
The club has live blues, jazz, or rock most nights. Its capacity is more than 250. The new lounge revives an old tradition: Sunday-night blues jams. The house band features guitarist Duane Dickman as well as drummer Jim Meese, a kit-pounding monster from Youngstown.
"I think [the club] is different because it centers around the music," says Riemenschneider. "We're fortunate to be able to bring a Cleveland landmark back."
• With finished CDs in hand, Mr. Gnome has set Friday, April 25, as the CD-release party for Deliver This Creature, its full-length debut. The album builds on the eclectic rawk duo's wide-ranging attack, moving into more extreme areas — both mellow and manic. If you liked the band's previous EPs, the album won't disappoint.
• MTV has licensed Kev Blaze's "Watch How I Do This" for an upcoming episode of the Rob and Big show. The network picked up the album version, not the single edit that features Krayzie Bone.
• LaMafia Records has added Seattle metal band Darkest Grace to its management roster. LaMafia's Jim LaMarca — also Chimaira's bassist — toured with the group previously, supporting Danzig and Prong.
• Former Hate Dies Hard frontwoman Lili Roquelin has relocated from Akron-Kent to New York City, where she is recording tracks for a piano-based solo project. She is also collaborating on an ethereal, as-yet-untitled French electronic-music project with producer Taylor Christoffel. Take a listen at www.myspace.com/liliroquelin.
• Cleveland-based Heads Up International has signed a three-record deal with U.K. neo-soul pioneers Incognito. Tales From the Beach is slated for release June 24.
• Ripper Watch: Canton/Akron's Rock 106.9 FM has announced three winners to make up a temporary backing band for Tim "Ripper" Owens, who will make time for the group between gigs with Beyond Fear and Yngwie Malmsteen's group. Bassist Dan Gurley, guitarist Reese Colaner, and drummer Matt McKeon will record a track with Owens in the near future. McKeon and Colaner also have a gestating thrash project called King Waco and are seeking a rhythm section. Take a listen at www.myspace.com/kingwaco. Visit blogs.clevescene.com for more Ripper updates.