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Monday, November 30, 2009

Money Where Your Mouth Is: Presque Vu

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 9:00 AM

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Who: Presque Vu

Website: myspace.com/thepresquevu

Hometown: Cleveland

Sounds Like:
“It's moody. It's introspective. It sounds like what might happen if the Cure, the Postal Service and Atmosphere collaborated on a track.”

Fun Fact: “If you buy our Capgras record, in addition to a bunch of sad love tunes, you'll be treated to an accapella version of a famous teeny-bopper song. You'll have to buy it to find out which one.”

Playing: Tonight at the Grog Shop.

Why You Need to See Them: “Because everyone can relate to heartbreak, and that's what a lot of our tunes are about. Plus, since we're diverse, fans of all kinds of music can find something to enjoy in our set.” —Eddie "Johnny La Rock" Fleisher, vocals , programming, keys

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What to Do Tonight: Ensiferum

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 8:39 AM

The best band on a tour that hits Peabody’s tonight probably won’t even perform. Hypocrisy, a long-running death-metal band led by legendary producer Peter Tägtgren, has been forced to sit idle because its frontman can’t enter the U.S., though his bandmates are already here. It’s a shame, because Hypocrisy’s catalog is solid, and touring guitarist Alexi Laiho can be counted on to deliver shred-tastic solos on demand. Fortunately, the headliners, pagan metal act Ensiferum, rock the crowd quite capably with their polka-thrash drinking anthems. Kataklysm singer Maurizio Iacono’s side project Ex Deo (which also had to miss some dates because of visa issues) plays death metal with lyrics about ancient Rome, which is sort of cool. And Blackguard is one of the “pirate metal” bands that are sprouting up like weeds lately. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. at Peabody’s (2045 E. 21st St., 216.776.9999, peabodys.com). Tickets: $15 advance, $18 day of show. — Phil Freeman

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

What to Do Tonight: Nitzer Ebb

Posted By on Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 8:38 AM

Although the origins of industrial rock can and will continue to be argued ad nauseam, few avid listeners discount the impact of Nitzer Ebb. Often mistaken for Germans because of their name and the sound they make, the British duo helped design a sonic archetype within the genre based on relentless, rigid rhythms and venomous, militant vocals. Those elements came together in rare form on 1987’s That Total Age, which featured the club hit “Let Your Body Learn” (which reappeared in remixed form in the Grand Theft Auto IV videogame). Despite their primitive sound and austere mannerisms, Nitzer Ebb laid down the foundation that contemporary acts like VNV Nation and Combichrist would build upon. Although Nitzer Ebb remained active through the mid-’90s, subsequent albums drifted further from the primal sound they helped innovate. They went silent as a band after 1995’s “Big Hit,” when their record company dropped them. Bon Harris and Douglas McCarthy made occasional appearances on other bands’ records (most notably, McCarthy worked with Depeche Mode’s Alan Wilder in Recoil). Following a few blips of activity in Europe and stateside, Nitzer Ebb are now in the middle of their first widescale U.S. tour in three years and their first Cleveland gig in 14 years. The Industrial Complex Tour promises a return to form. Encoder and Ludwyg open at 7 p.m. at Peabody’s Down Under (2045 E. 21st St., 216.776.9999, peabodys.com). Tickets: $20 advance, $23 day of show. — Norm Narvaja

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What to Do Tonight: Melt-Banana

Posted By on Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 8:37 AM

Is it a double entendre? A culinary disaster? Maybe it’s the nickname of a military weapon or STD? The only thing we know for sure is that Melt-Banana is a warning. The simple sugars of punk music become toxic, intoxicating vapors when free-based on a sheet-metal spoon. Singer Yasuko Onuki, the founder of the Tokyo noise rock ensemble, uses the erratic pulse of squealing guitar, funky bass and frantic drums as a canvas for visceral squeaks, barks and yelps. Onuki’s primal vocals are the Jackson Pollack equivalent of singing — simple in form, but deep in implication. Given the band’s pinpoint turns at breakneck speeds, it’s not entirely fair to label Melt-Banana a noise band; there’s quite a bit of structure to the songs. The spirit of their music is raw, unfocused energy — a chaotic cacophony of sinuous signals, constantly changing direction, inexorably on its way to an unreachable destination. Then again, unless you’re into experimental music or free jazz, they probably just sound like a noisy blender with fleeting moments of melody and coherent structure. Melt-Banana’s secret weapon is their uncanny ability to maintain a strong sense of rhythm despite their bizarre, punctuated phrasing. They’re like the Sun Ra of punk rock. Deather, Clan of the Cave Bear and Jerk kick things off at 8 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588, grogshop.gs). Tickets: $12. — Nick DeMarino

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Saturday, November 28, 2009

What to Do Tonight: El Ten Eleven

Posted By on Sat, Nov 28, 2009 at 10:35 AM

El Ten Eleven take every overdone concept they represent —guitarist-drummer duos, instrumental dance music, effects-driven electronica, post-prog math-rock — and kick them in the ass. Guitarist Kristian Dunn plays a double neck guitar/bass, funneling his already otherworldly riffs through a bank of effects pedals to create an unnervingly complex and compelling wall of sound, while drummer Tim Fogarty lays down a groove that bristles with danceable simplicity and then challenges it with a beat that roils with expansive prog arrhythmia. Together, the Los Angeles duo creates an instrumental soundtrack that is as dark, rich and delicious as Swiss chocolate. They’re now on tour supporting their latest confection, These Promises Are Being Videotaped, with a 9 p.m. show at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124, beachlandballroom.com). Company Picnic and Captain Kneal & the Noise Makers open. Tickets: $8. — Brian Baker

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Friday, November 27, 2009

What to Do This Weekend: LMFAO

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 9:00 AM

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Are Los Angeles electro jokesters LMFAO real-life douchebags or do they just play douchebags on record? Hard to say, but we’re gonna guess they fall somewhere in between. The DJ/rapping team of Redfoo and Sky Blu first made waves with the single “I’m in Miami Bitch,” a celebration of perpetual spring-break living. “Drink all day, play all night/Let’s get it poppin’,” they rhyme over a skittering dime-store beat. “Get your hands up, get that ass up.” Elsewhere on their debut album, Party Rock, they “Get Crazy” for “Girls on the Dance Floor.” They’re pretty much one-trick goofballs who can’t decide between opening another Corona or throwing together a track about sleazy girls. Either way, they should bring a little Miami heat to House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583, houseofblues.com) at 8 p.m. tomorrow, when they lead the Party Rock Tour brigade featuring Far East Movement, Paradiso Girls and Space Cowboy. Tickets: $16.50. —Michael Gallucci

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What to Do Tonight (And Tomorrow): First Light

Posted By on Fri, Nov 27, 2009 at 8:34 AM

Back in the 1980s, First Light were one of the nation’s first renegade reggae hitmakers. The Cleveland ensemble fused funky island rhythms with more familiar genres like rock and jazz, and they toured North America extensively, spreading the gospel of reggae with big songs, bright torches and good vibes. It’s been 25 years since First Light formed two blocks from the Grog Shop, in an apartment on Hampshire Road shared by local music luminaries Mike “Chopper” Wasson and Carlos Jones, who had just broken up from another pioneering Cleveland reggae band, Ital. To celebrate a quarter century since that inception, First Light are planning two nights of “Full Circle” reunion shows at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588, grogshop.gs) Friday and Saturday night at 9. “We were 311 before 311,” says guitarist, bassist and singer Chopper. “We actually opened up a lot of doors for other bands with the sound of reggae. We mixed the cultures together to make it a little more digestible to the crowds, because we incorporated jazz, rock, funk, blues, reggae, dub. Every element was in there. It wasn’t a planned thing. It was just a nice melting pot of gumbo, and it worked out pretty well for us.” It worked out pretty well for Cleveland too. The band played legendary live gigs for 14 years, recording great albums like 1988’s radiating reggae classic Meltdown and its funk-rock follow-up, 1996’s Groove Telepathy, before breaking up in 1997. Using instrumentation that varied from guitars and horns to flutes and traditional Nyabinghi drums, the ensemble could rock hard or settle into a mellow groove. They made crossover music that sounded like Steel Pulse or Third World, and it earned them opening slots for artists as diverse as the Dead Milkmen, Black Uhuru, UFO, Taylor Dane and Living Colour. And even though these technically aren’t their first reunion shows (the band played together a couple of times last year), they will be a rare chance to see First Light where they grew up. “Twenty-five years is a very long time in some respects and a blink of an eye to some,” says drummer Rod Reisman, who now plays percussion for the Prayer Warriors and Cletus Black Revue. “We are pulling out several songs from the vaults — even songs that we had pushed to the side or forgotten about.” Tickets: $20. — Keith Gribbins

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