Wednesday, December 23, 2009

12/30: Rusted Root at HOB

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 3:51 PM

This Pittsburgh band can’t quite shake its dubious legacy. They’ve sold more than three million records over the past couple of decades, but they’re basically known for one song: “Send Me on My Way.” Still, it doesn't seem to bother them or their fans much. Rusted Root’s music has appeared in a handful of TV shows and movies over the years, and they’ve opened for heavyweights like Santana and the Dave Matthews Band. Last year, they released Stereo Rodeo, their first studio album in seven years — a side effect of their endless touring schedule. Winslow open at 8 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583). Tickets: $22 advance, $25 day of show. — Ernest Barteldes

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12/30: Bob Fraser and Ki Allen at Nighttown

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 3:47 PM

There’s nothing but acoustic guitar and voice on Fraser and Allen’s Calling Card, but that doesn’t mean they need a bigger band to fill out the spaces. Allen’s voice has a deep tone that falls somewhere between Sarah Vaughn’s and Cassandra Wilson’s. Cleveland Orchestra veteran Fraser plays subtly, with full chords and a few arpeggios — and clearly influenced by Charlie Byrd. Their album is a journey through a vast repertoire of jazz, moving through Brazilian treatments of the standards “I Concentrate on You” and “The Best Is Yet to Come” to more personal renditions of “Over the Rainbow.” Plus, there are assorted originals. Guitarist Gaetano Letizia’s trio (which includes bassist Wilbur Krebs and drummer Steve Renko) joins Fraser and Allen for their 7 p.m. performance at Nighttown (12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216.795.0550). Tickets: $10. — Ernest Barteldes

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12/29 & 30, 1/2 &3: Sebastian Maniscalco at Hilarities

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 3:41 PM

Sebastian Maniscalco first went national courtesy of the Vince Vaughn-produced comedy tour and film Wild West Comedy Show: 30 Days & 30 Nights — Hollywood to the Heartland. The Chicago native nearly stole the show from the relentlessly funny John Caparulo, which is a big deal since Caparulo is one of the funniest comics on the circuit. The clever Maniscalco is rising in the ranks. He recorded a Comedy Central Presents special last spring and has appeared on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson. Maniscalco is a theatrical stand-up comedian with spot-on observations. His strong suit is riffing on the mundane. His bit on shopping at discount stores is especially inspired: “I went looking for jeans,” he jokes. “I’m in the store shopping. I found a pair … in housewares. They’re stamped irregular. You’re not getting a deal. You have to find what the hell happened. Why are these a dollar? They’re originally $175, now $1. If you’re like me, you can’t find a mistake. I think I found a treasure. That’s until I tried them on.” Maniscalco’s observations on texting and dating are equally hilarious. He performs at 8 p.m. tonight and tomorrow, 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. Saturday, January 2, and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, January 3, at Hilarities (2035 E. 4th St., 216.736.4242). Tickets: $15-$20. — Ed Condran

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12/28: Chris Isaak at HOB

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 3:36 PM

Love gone wrong isn’t often seen as a good thing, but in Chris Isaak’s case, it’s been the stuff of success. Over the past couple of decades, the California-bred singer-songwriter has spun seductive tales from love’s dark side, at times dosing classic rock ’n’ roll heartache with sophisticated noir atmosphere. His retro-rocker stage persona is the ideal vehicle for his mournful, pretty-boy vocals. The spell Isaak weaves has proved potent onscreen as well. His songs have appeared in numerous films, but it was his video for “Wicked Game” (from 1989’s Heart Shaped World) that made him a star after he frolicked on the beach with supermodel Helena Christensen. In between tours and recording nearly a dozen albums, he’s squeezed in an acting career highlighted by a sitcom that ran on Showtime for three seasons. The exquisite minimal guitars-bass-drums sound of Isaak’s band meets with dashes of embellishment on his latest album, Mr. Lucky, which was released earlier this year. Songs like “Best I Ever Had” even exude an occasional emotional upswing. Ryan Humbert opens at 8 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583). Tickets: $55-$89.50. — Duane Verh

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12/28: Harlem Globetrotters at the Q

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 3:22 PM

The Harlem Globetrotters have become as much of a holiday tradition as any of the stuffy old shows you’ll find on theater stages this time of year. And a Diamond Cutter ball roll is way cooler than some dancer prancing around in a giant mouse costume. You pretty much know what you’re getting with the 83-year-old basketball troupe: fancy hoop tricks, a little courtside comedy, a bucket of confetti in your face. But these vets are pros at what they do; they’re skilled players and hard-working showmen. They’re promising an “all-new spectacular show” when their 2010 World Tour comes to the Q today, but not much besides the names have changed since the heyday of Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal. We’re not sure what Flight Time Lang, Scooter Christensen and the rest of the guys have planned. But it sure beats Scrooge’s creaky bah-humbugs. The Harlem Globetrotters are at Quicken Loans Arena (One Center Ct., 888.894.9424) at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets: $17-$145. — Michael Gallucci

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12/27: State Fair at the Grog Shop

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 3:20 PM

The four members of State Fair — Britton Roberts, Jim Fenske, TJ Breslin and Seth Robinson — will unveil their debut album, Best Regards to Earth, at CD-release show tonight. The record includes some new tunes along with some reworked versions of songs from the band’s two EPs. At times, the music nearly bursts at the seams with tension and angst. But there’s release in the smooth melodies and Fenske’s rippling Explosions in the Sky-style guitars. The album title is pulled from the song “Regards,” which sets the album’s spiritual tone — it has something to do with souls breaking away from bodies and freedom from death — or something like that. Heavy stuff, but the band promises to keep it light tonight. Authors and Clemens open at 7:30 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588). Tickets: $10. — Danielle Sills

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12/27: Chimaira Christmas Show at HOB

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 3:15 PM

Chimaira’s 10th annual Christmas show will be filmed for the band’s first stand-alone DVD (they’ve included DVDs with albums in the past). Frontman Mark Hunter says the video, due in the summer, will cover the group’s still in-progress world tour for The Infection, released in April. It reached No. 30 on Billboard’s album chart and has sold more than 15,000 copies. Hunter says the DVD will include “tons of shit” — from old home videos to studio footage. Check out this month’s issue of U.K. headbanger mag Metal Hammer for Chimaira’s cover of Pantera’s “Slaughtered,” part of an enclosed CD that pays tribute to late guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. “The song was tough,” says Chimaira guitarist Rob Arnold. “I realized how difficult it is to sound like Dime. We’re such big Pantera fans that we felt to truly give the song tribute, we would try to replicate it as closely as possible.” Arnold says his band won’t perform “Slaughtered” live. “But as for other surprises, [there’s] only one way to find out. We’re just planning a killer set list and doing the production bigger and better than we ever have in the past. Should be killer.” State of Conviction and Solipsist open at 8 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583). Tickets: $18 advance, $20 day of show. — D.X. Ferris

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