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Friday, May 29, 2009

Another club bites it

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 3:33 PM

The Akron club formerly known as Ron’s Crossroads, the Voodoo, Bar Fly, the Fly, the Crossroads, and Temple Tavern is now an empty lot.

Through the 1990s, it was a Rubber City stronghold for metal bands. Sometimes called “the house that Ripper built,” Ron’s Crossroads was a home base to local bands like Spawn and different Tim “Ripper” Owens bands including US Metal. National acts like Slaughter, Overkill, and Sevendust played there on their way up (or down).

Click here to read a full obituary. What follows here are some scene luminaries’ favorite memories of the venue’s glory days.

4642/1243626052-timowens.jpgJoe Kleon of WDJQ/WDPN, formerly of WNCX and metal show host at WJCU: “In its heyday, Crossroads was THE place to go to see both original rock and metal bands and copy bands. Hell, it is where Ripper [Owens, pictured] basically got his start. My favorite show was a live recording I did, broadcast on WJCU, from Akron band Lanz End. I think it was 1991. The place was packed and it was just amazing. Overkill also played there, but I can't remember the year. That was another of my most memorable shows there. I was writing for Scene at the time and Scene would not publish my Overkill review, because I was very hard on security, who were very rough on fans.”

Former WMMS Metal Show co-host Matt Wardlaw: “I went there for the first time in mid-2001 to see Sinomatic, the headlining act on an evening of local bands curated by [Metal Show co-host] Chris Akin. On the eve of the release of their national debut, they looked every bit like the rock stars that they were hoping to become and threw down a set that was massive.

“The club itself was instantly charming, a bit dumpy when you first walked in (as every rock and roll club should be), but a quick glance to the right revealed the huge Crossroads stage, and it was evident that the bulk of the money had been spent on making that stage and sound the best that they could possibly be. On the walls, lots of photographic evidence and autographs from Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, a regular at Crossroads, at that point of course living the dream as the lead singer of Judas Priest. Ron's Crossroads was one of the best sounding rooms in Akron, and the only club that I've heard come close since then would be The Lime Spider.

“Ron and Dolly were certainly loved on the local scene, and quickly became known to me as a pair of people that treated local bands with mutual love and respect that couldn't be found elsewhere. It's a shame that it all went to hell — it was one of my favorite rooms to see live music in.”

Jon Epstein, bassist of Last Stone Cast, formerly of Fast Chester, who briefly managed the club in 2006: “[My favorite show was] probably Mushroomhead in about 1994 or so. It was still Ron's Crossroads, and man! What a great show. This was before the masks and whatnot. Jay Jay was still the guitarist, and Trixie was running around wearing nothing but electric tape. King's X was my personal triumph in that regard. Very cool show.”

Classic Metal Show host Chris Akin: “When Union came out, I had set up a meet and greet with John Corabi [ex-Motley Crue, Ratt, the Scream] and Bruce Kulick [ex-Kiss]. The deal was fans would get to watch sound check, then the guys would come down and shake hands, meet people, etc. Well, Bruce Kulick was in a shitty mood, and decided he wasn't going to do it. I lost it, and him and I got into a yelling match. Corabi came over and calmed things down, and eventually made things happen. He was super cool, and literally signed things and just hung out with the fans for hours. Additionally, Dolly [then-owner Ron Trocchio’s wife] bought everyone who stuck around between the meet and greet and doors (approximately three hours) a dinner platter and hooked everyone up with some cheap beers to make it into a really fun time. It was very cool.” — D.X. Ferris

Brothers Lounge battle update: We have a winner

Posted By on Fri, May 29, 2009 at 1:18 PM

After six weeks of competition, Brothers Lounge’s weekly battle of the bands came to a conclusion last night as semi-finalist winners the League of Proper Musicians squared off against the Josh Krajcik Band.

d939/1243617992-league.jpgAfter A-list judge Pat the Producer, the host of 92.3 FM’s local music show Inner Sanctum, fell ill, I was enlisted as one of the judges. It was another close competition as the League of Proper Musicians started things off with a high-energy set of percussion-heavy jam rock. The band’s musicianship was on display as it went through extensive time signature changes with ease. The only problem was that the group’s extended jams often meandered, and the band lost a point or two when its guitarist took his shirt off (not cool, dude!). Still, the guys got a good response from the crowd, and the judges (Plain Dealer columnist Michael Heaton and the Rock Hall’s Shelby Morrison) all generally liked the band.

7dc3/1243618153-josh_k..jpgAfter an extended break for a sound check, the Josh Krajcik Band took over and once again delivered a terrific set of roadhouse blues and sensitive singer-songwriter fare. More focused than the League of Proper Musicians, the band scored higher with the judges, who all felt Krajcik’s soulful voice and Stevie Ray Vaughan-like guitar playing was astounding. As the winner, Krajcik received $500, a guitar, studio recording time, and a free membership to the Rock Hall. You can catch him when he opens for Bernard Allison tonight at 9:30 at Brothers Lounge. — Jeff Niesel

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's Punny!

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 2:52 PM

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Blink-182's reunion works on so many levels. First of all, all those 13-year-old boys who were too young to see them during their last tour (five whole years ago, which is like 25 if you're a 13-year-old boy) can now see the Mark, Tom and Travis Show in person.

The reunion (which will yield a new album and tour when all is said and done) will also hopefully — please! please! please! — give us an album title that ranks right up there with past Blink titles like Enema of the State and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.

Even though the band's last album, 2003's "serious" one, ended up being called, blah, Blink-182, it should be noted that its working title was Use Your Erection I & II.

So we understandably have high hopes for the new album's title. After all, the guys have had many years to think of one (and they sure didn't waste a good one on Angels & Airwaves' We Don't Have to Whisper or +44's When Your Heart Stops Beating).

Blink-182 can't use Heart On, because Eagles of Death Metal snagged that one last year. And Saturday Night Beaver was grabbed for a porn flick 23 years ago.

Any suggestions? Apparently the band has no problem using other people's ideas. Send us what you got. We'll be sure to pass them along to Blink when they cum to town. —Michael Gallucci

This Is a Shakedown Release CD, Invite Some Cool Pals

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 1:48 PM

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This Is a Shakedown release their Love Kills CD at the Beachland Ballroom tonight. And if hot live electro-rock isn't good enough to get you there, you should still show up ... and get there early.

Terry Urban — the Cleveland DJ extraordinaire who spent the last year in New York City planning world domination — is returning to town for a DJ set. Urban says to expect an "indy-electro-rock kinda of party. I'm DJing, like, punk electro-rock shit."

Also warming the stage are the Kickdrums, Cleveland's best beatmakers who recently turned into a full rock band. But they're getting back to spinning tonight. It'll be your last chance to see them at work before they also relocate to NYC. The tag team are about to release a new rock mixtape EP, There Might Be Blood. Alex "Fitty" Fitts says it's "kinda on more of a Cle-punk/garage style, but in Kickdrums fashion. It'll be eight or nine songs when it's done."

Doors open at 9 tonight. It's all ages. The $8 cover includes a free Shakedown CD. —D.X. Ferris

Destroy, Dominate and Remix the Chimaira Video

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 1:29 PM

Finally, you have a chance chance to Rick-Roll Mark Hunter: Chimaira is seeking AV-savvy fans to remix their new video for "Destroy and Dominate," the first single from The Infection album.

Fans can download the video stem files here and edit their own version. The new versions can be uploaded to the band's YouTube channel. The band will hand-pick their favorite three videos. The winners will receive a limited-edition box set version of The Infection, tickets, merch, shwag and dap.

The band won't be playing Cleveland any time soon, but you can check them out on July 22 at Columbus's Newport Music Hall and on July 24 at Toledo Metal Fest at the Zodiac, formerly Club Bijou. —D.X. Ferris

Return of the Beachland's Blog

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 10:21 AM

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The Beachland Ballroom and Tavern's blog is up and running again.

Cobra Verde's Ed Sotelo is the blogmaster over there. Today's post is all about tomorrow night's noise-rock show featuring New York combo Red Dawn II, Seattle's Beautiful Mothers, Akron's the Guile and Cleveland's Self Destruct Button (which includes Scene's Ron Kretsch on various noise-making instruments).

You can get the whole scoop here. —Michael Gallucci

How Much Are Your Favorite Cleveland Artists Selling?

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2009 at 9:30 AM

1cd9/1243515623-voegele.jpgThis week’s cover story about Kate Voegele identified her as “the best-selling locally spawned artist” of recent vintage, based on sales of 2008’s Don’t Look Away LP, her full-length debut. It should have identified her as the best-selling solo artist. She’s moved close to 300,000 albums to date.

9458/1243513806-black-keys.jpgThe Black Keys have sold 671,000 records, between five LPs and one EP. The Keys’ recent live DVD has sold another 14,000 copies. Last year’s Danger Mouse-produced Attack and Release continues moving briskly, and is on track to break 174,000 by next week, according to figures Nielsen SoundScan provided Wednesday, May 27.

So the Black Keys are the best-selling locally based band. But Kate is way cuter. And Voegele’s new sophomore LP, A Fine Mess, has sold 38,000 since its release last week. The big numbers landed her at no. 10 on the Billboard album chart. The disc also topped the iTunes pop album chart.

All that reconciling words and figures prompted us to crunch some numbers and try to get a grip on who are the top-selling acts to come out of Cleveland in the last couple decades.

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