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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What to Do Tonight: Neon Trees

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 9:00 AM

We bet our pants are tighter than yours.
  • "We bet our pants are tighter than yours."

This Utah quartet includes a towering goofball with a bad mohawk and enough retro synths to qualify them for some sort of misguided-nostalgia award. Their debut album, Habits, piles on the winking hooks and cheeky lyrical toss-offs — no doubt something they picked up from pals the Killers. But Neon Trees know their place: They rarely overreach their scope or skills, and when they do, you can at least dance to their messes. Habits’ best songs — “Animal,” especially — are big, brash, and plow through any misconceptions you may have about their authenticity. For sure, if Neon Trees came out ten years earlier they’d be playing rap-rock. But their hearts and synths are in the right place for 2010. Neon Trees, with Paper Tongues, Civil Twilight and Evaline, play House of Blues at 7:30. Tickets are $9.23. Call call 216-423-2583 or go to—Michael Gallucci

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What to Do Tonight: Bettye LaVette

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 8:30 AM

Look how excited Bettye is to perform for you
  • Look how excited Bettye is to perform for you

Back in the ’60s, Bettye LaVette’s manager ordered the up-and-coming soul singer to study the jazz masters. The payoff was a long time coming, but it arrived with a sizable chunk of interest. Over the past several years, the Detroit-bred singer has evolved from underappreciated R&B belter to one of our most distinctive, and increasingly celebrated, interpreters of popular music. While LaVette’s chart success was a now-and-then affair after her 1962 debut, “My Man — He’s a Lovin’ Man,” her fiery, deep-soul delivery — and the nuance she likely picked up from the force-fed Sarah Vaughan and Sinatra — garnered her numerous “second chances” over the following decades. Kudos worthy of LaVette’s talents finally arrived in 2005, when she infused works by Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, and others with old-school values on I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise. On her latest album, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, LaVette reveals layers of untapped emotion in songs like the Moody Blues’ “Knights In White Satin.” Bettye LaVette plays the Beachland Ballroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20.50 in advance, $22 day of the show. Call 216-383-1124 or go to—Duane Verh

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What to Do Tonight: Wang Chung

Posted By on Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 8:00 AM

Why is there no furniture in this room?
  • Why is there no furniture in this room?

Wang Chung may have spread some of the cheesiest rock of the ’80s (“Everybody Have Fun Tonight” is a classic example of the era’s obsession with karaoke-style synth-pop and party-all-the-time self-indulgence), but the band had a talent for creating melodies you’ll remember decades later. “Dance Hall Days” is one of the ’80s most underrated radio sleepers, with the warm synthesizers, six-string jangle, and hot sax you heard in many Howard Jones and Simple Minds songs. Wang Chung also work nostalgic magic on thirtysomethings who grew up during MTV’s nascent days. Their videos were on the music channel all the time, and the group contributed songs to The Breakfast Club and To Live and Die in L.A. For most fans, a modern-day Wang Chung concert is all about rehashing those period-piece moments. But the band is also pushing forward, promoting a new double EP (appropriately titled Abducted by the ’80s), cleverly packaged with four classic hits and four new tracks (which sounds like Wang Chung laced with Depeche Mode-styled electronics). Wang Chung, with with Star Monkey and Roxxymoron, play Musica at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. Call 330-374-1114 or go to And if you can't make their Musica performance, check out Wang Chung at the Winchester in Lakewood on Saturday night.—Keith Gribbins

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Out Today: Scissor Sisters

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 1:30 PM


Scissor Sisters
Night Work

For their third album, Scissor Sisters work with an outside party for the first time. And it does them a world of good. The group apparently trashed an earlier version of Night Work and even considered calling it quits before bringing in producer Stuart Price, who helps drag Scissor Sisters out of the ’70s and into the ’80s. The opening title track sounds readymade for arena-size shout-alongs. And “Fire With Fire” begins as a ballad before transforming into a club stomper. Scissor Sisters haven’t completely abandoned their ’70s sound on Night Work — take a listen to the funky “Any Which Way” and glammy “Harder You Get.” But the techno-tinged tunes are the highlights here. “Skin Tight” wouldn’t sound out of place on an Italian disco compilation, and the group channels British ’80s grandeur in album closer “Invisible Light.” It’s some serious progress. —Jeremy Willets

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Out Today: The-Dream

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 12:49 PM


Love King
(Radio Killa/Def Jam)

For most R&B singers, a line like “Let’s make out on the phone first” would be hyperbolic overkill. But most R&B singers aren’t The-Dream. Fans of the Atlanta-based singer, songwriter, and producer — who doesn’t deny the debts he owes to Prince and R. Kelly — have come to expect this sort of ludicrously provocative boudoir chatter, which comes clothed in angelic flotillas of finger snaps, handclaps, cooing synths, and cotton-candy strings. Love King eschews predecessor Love vs. Money’s existential-romantic quandries, reveling instead in the subtler pleasures of texture, repetition, and tonality: the hypnotic feeling the phrase “makeup bag” acquires when endlessly repeated; how the epic “February Love” sidles seamlessly from courtly, tickled-ivory pomp to adlibbed strewn banger; The-Dream’s gooey Marvin Gaye falsetto glazing “Turnt Out.” Love King, an album for the senses, stumbles when The-Dream stoops to score-settling (“Abyss,” “Florida University”). But by the time, he insists he’s “got so much more to say.” That may be true in a musical sense, but he’s lying lyrically. —Ray Cummings

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Out Today: 3OH!3

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 11:30 AM


Streets of Gold
(Photo Finish/Atlantic)

There must be something about the air in Colorado that makes so many of its bands such insufferable goofballs. Flobots, OneRepublic, String Cheese Incident — their names say it all. But none of these groups is as awful as 3OH!3, the electro-pop duo that scored a hit last year with the grating “Don’t Trust Me.” Their third album is filled with the same party-all-the-time self-indulgence that made them MTV stars. They haven’t grown up much, and they certainly haven’t gotten any better since their breakthrough. Streets of Gold begins with a loud, brash fart of synthesizer squalls that eventually gives way to white-boy rhymes about STDs, drugs, booze, and borderline sexual assaults — all of which they should have left back at the frat house. Only “My First Kiss,” with a typically stumbling Ke$ha chorus, offers any kind of spark. Hangovers are way more fun. —Michael Gallucci

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This Just In: Cleveland Concert Announcements

Posted By on Tue, Jun 29, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Were not too excited about any of these new shows. So enjoy a picture of a cat riding a turtle instead
  • We're not too excited about any of these new shows. So enjoy a picture of a cat riding a turtle instead

Anthony David: Fri., July 23, 9 p.m., Ballroom, $15 ADV/$18 DOS. Beachland.

Coryell-Auger-Sample Trio: Sun., Aug. 8, 7 p.m., $15. Nighttown.

Glenn Davis Trio, featuring Mark Soskin: Thu., Aug. 5; Fri., Aug. 6, 8 p.m., $15. Nighttown.

Devildriver/Kataklysm/Misery: Sun., Aug. 29, 7 p.m., $18 ADV/$22 DOS. Peabody's.

David Dondero/David Hanlon: Wed., Sept. 22, 8 p.m., Tavern, $8 ADV/$10 DOS. Beachland.

Electric Six/the Constellations: Sat., Nov. 6, 9 p.m., $10 ADV/$12 DOS. Grog Shop.

For the Fallen Dreams/I Declare War/the Contortionist: Mon., Aug. 9, 6 p.m., $10 ADV/$12 DOS. Pirate's Cove.

Tony Furtado: Sun., Sept. 12, 8 p.m., $12 ADV/$14 DOS. Beachland.

Laarks: Tue., Aug. 17, 9 p.m., Tavern, $7. Beachland.

Lower Dens/Inoculist: Fri., Aug. 13, 10 p.m., Tavern, $10. Beachland.

Nate Jones/Leah/Drvzwsky: Sat., July 24, 8 p.m., Tavern. Beachland.

Priscilla: $6, Fri., July 16, 7 p.m. Rockstar Cleveland.

The Slackers: Sat., Oct. 2, 9 p.m., $10 ADV/$12 DOS. Grog Shop.

Swingin' Utters/the Mezingers: Fri., Aug. 27, 8:30 p.m., $13. Rockstar Cleveland.

Those Darlins/Turbo Fruits: Tue., Sept. 21, 9 p.m., Tavern, $8. Beachland.

Tizer: Thu., July 22. Two shows: 7 and 9 p.m., $25. Nighttown.

The Toasters: Mon., Oct. 4, 6:30 p.m., $10. Peabody's.

Tom Tom Club/Caravan of Thieves/Tony Castles: Fri., Sept. 24, 9 p.m., $20 ADV/$23 DOS. Grog Shop.

Way of Life: Thu., July 15, 7 p.m., $6. Peabody's.

YOSO (members of Yes and Toto): Thu., Aug. 19. The Kent Stage.

Youngbloods/Anafair/Big Bang Theory/This Awkward Silence: Sat., Aug. 21, 6 p.m., $6 ADV/$8 DOS. Grog Shop.

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