Australian bluesman Dave Hole plays a mean slide guitar. His latest album, The Live One, crams as many riffs and runs as humanly possible into its dozen tracks. Metallica axeman Kirk Hammett pledges allegiance to the guitarist, and it's easy to hear why. Unlike most modern blues players (who trade innovation for slick, stylized fret action), Hole's a quick-fingered whiz, capable of turning even the most traditional blues yawner into a smokin' pit of zesty notes and licks. The "Purple Haze" cover comes as no surprise: At his best, Hole has the chops, skills, and imagination of prime Jimi Hendrix. He's at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) at 9 tonight. Tickets are $15, available by calling 216-383-1124.
Friday, August 19
You know what's better than Shakespeare outdoors? Free Shakespeare outdoors. The Stage Left Theatre Company's weekend performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream put the spotlight on the Bard's most frothy piece. It's perfect summertime fare. Best of all, the shows won't cost you a penny. And be sure to bring some lawn chairs and picnic fixin's, just to complete the scenic picture. Show times are 7 p.m. tonight and tomorrow and 2 p.m. Sunday at Public Square in downtown Medina; call 330-721-2326.
In Save the Green Planet! -- part satire, part serial-killer flick, all thrill ride -- a factory worker abducts an arrogant big shot, convinced that he's a ruthless alien from another world, and holds him captive in his dungeon-like basement. This frantic black comedy from South Korea pays homage to many films -- Brazil's conspiracy-minded absurdity, The Silence of the Lambs' brutal torture of victims, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's sci-fi freakout -- yet never loses track of its own wicked, twisted vision. It's at the Cleveland Cinematheque (11141 East Boulevard) at 7 p.m. tonight and 8:50 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8. Call 216-421-7450 for more info.
Saturday, August 20
The action heats up at the World Golf Championships' NEC Invitational today. Fan Favorites Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and last year's champ Stewart Cink are among the field heading into round three at Firestone Country Club. CBS will broadcast four hours of the tourney this afternoon starting at 2 p.m., but don't miss the chance to see it in person. Gates open at 7 a.m.; Firestone is at 440 East Warner Road in Akron. Tickets are $50, $15 for kids, available by calling 877-942-4849.
Sunday, August 21
Jason Molina's lazy drawl and proclivity for twangy, bucolic instruments always seemed an afterthought to the oblique soundscapes he created with his old music project Songs: Ohia. His new band, Magnolia Electric Co., actually places the song structure in front. Its first studio album, What Comes After the Blues, sounds like a semi-plugged-in Neil Young operating on about two hours of sleep. Dark, dense, and hazy, the CD's contemporary chunk of Americana derives much of its power from the dusky, unplugged nature of its songs. Molina (a former Clevelander who now lives in Chicago) builds his records as if they were art pieces configured to reveal new meaning with each listen. It's stimulating, enriching, and even more freewheeling live. Magnolia Electric Co. plays the Lime Spider (207 South Main Street in Akron) at 9:30 tonight. Tickets are $5, available by calling 330-762-2350.
Monday, August 22
Tractor pulls. Cheese on a stick. Poorly stitched-together SpongeBob plushes. It must be fair season! One of the area's biggest and best, the Lorain County Fair opens today, and we couldn't be more excited. In addition to all the stuff that makes it a fair -- carnival rides, midway games, deep-fried food, and garden vegetables the size of our head -- there's a combine derby, a demolition derby, and motocross racing, plus music by nostalgic summertime fans the Beach Boys (tonight at 7:30) and traditional country singer-songwriter Dierks Bentley (on Wednesday). It's also Kids' Day today, with unlimited rides, between noon and 5 p.m., for $6. The fair runs from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. through August 28 at the Lorain County Fairgrounds, 23000 Fairgrounds Boulevard in Wellington. Admission is $4; call 440-647-2781.
Tuesday, August 23
A Static Lullaby's latest CD, Faso Latido, adheres to the screamo rulebook: tough, snarling vocals augmented by passive, whiny vocals. It also bites the hand that feeds it in "Cash Cowbell," an anti-music-biz tirade -- no matter that the California quintet records for industry giant Sony. It makes a requisite play on words with "Smooth Modulator" and pays lip service to the ladies with a wan ballad or two. Still, this stuff slays onstage, where the volatile formula typically boils to the point of eruption. Hear for yourself, when A Static Lullaby plays the Odeon (1295 Old River Road) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16, available by calling 216-241-5555.
Wednesday, August 24
There are only a couple of weeks left in the weekly Stellar Stars series at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, where kids learn all about planets, constellations, and possible space aliens at Schuele Planetarium. Lasers and music guide the way. Think of it as a junior version of one of those midnight-music laser shows. But without the drugs. And the 15-minute prog songs. Stars align at 11 a.m. at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road in Bay Village. Admission is $1; call 440-871-2900.
The 1st Annual Xtreme Music Showcase casts a spotlight on a bunch of local bands, singer-songwriters, and musicians (including Charles Walker, Habitual Coersion, and Kill What I Adore), all taking the stage at the Hard Rock Café in hopes of scoring a big-time record deal. Not only will managers and promoters be there to give post-performance advice, diners will also have the opportunity to hear some of the city's unsigned artists while noshing on overpriced burgers and fries. Music plays from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. through Sunday, August 28. Tickets are $10; call 877-725-8849.