Breath of Fresh Air

Aqualung makes prog-free pop.

The Condom Queen's retirement party House of Blues, 308 Euclid Avenue From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23; $60; call 216-961-8804
No flute-playing prog-rockers here. Brit-rock band - Aqualung comes to House of Blues on Friday.
No flute-playing prog-rockers here. Brit-rock band Aqualung comes to House of Blues on Friday.
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First of all, Aqualung (the pseudonym of British singer-songwriter Matt Hales) has nothing to do with the flute-lovin' prog-rock band Jethro Tull. "I wasn't even aware of it," says Hales, speaking of Tull's 1971 album, Aqualung. "The band doesn't have the same profile in the U.K. as it does here." Stateside listeners should also know that Aqualung's U.S. debut, Strange and Beautiful, is actually composed of a pair of U.K. albums, 2002's Aqualung and last year's Still Life. "The second record was constructed as the second chapter of the same story," Hales says. "But they are quite distinct records." Even though Hales began as a piano prodigy and composer -- his first symphony was performed by a 60-piece orchestra when he was 17 -- the 33-year-old sticks to sweeping Coldplay-esque pop these days. "I was into music before I can even remember," says Hales. "But I got bored with the little tunes I've learned and wanted to do my own stuff." Aqualung plays at House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) at 10 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $8; call 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci

It's a Living


Dano Sullivan jokes that he's a comedy vet. "Fifteen years, right out of college," laughs the St. Louis native. "I've been doing this awhile. And I've never had a real job." He did some time in a three-person improv troupe, where he honed his craft . . . and made some enemies. "It was like a band," he says. "After two years, we hated each other. One of the guys wanted to be the star. Then the club we were working at got bought out by the Funny Bone, so we all had to become stand-ups." Looking for a niche, Sullivan became "the relationship comic," he says. "I used to be the bitter-divorce comic, but I'm not bitter anymore." Sullivan is at the Improv (2000 Sycamore Street) Tuesday through Sunday, July 3. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and on Sunday, and at 10:15 Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 to $16, available by calling 216-696-4677. -- P.F. Wilson

Party Starters

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At a Tripside show, you can expect the local band to squeeze in Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" between Nickelback and Three Doors Down covers. "The music we play can be considered party music," says Dave Warner, the band's bassist. "Whether you're in the mood to dance or rock out, we give it a shot." But don't expect to see any flashy outfits or outrageous stage antics. "Our show is pretty simple," says Warner. "No costumes or gimmicks, just straight rock and roll." Tripside plays at 10 p.m. Friday at the Avenue, 9055 Mentor Avenue in Mentor. Admission is free; call 440-255-7030. -- Cris Glaser

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