Former Soul Coughing frontman Mike Doughty has spent the past few years lying low. His recent solo works have been modest, small-scale affairs. But on the new Haughty Melodic (released on Dave Matthews' ATO Records), Doughty is rockin' again with a full band. "I'm just sort of following my muse around," he laughs. "It wasn't necessarily premeditated. When we initially sat down, we were making pretty spare recordings, but we started adding more and more elements."
But don't get too comfy with the setup. Onstage, it's just Doughty and keyboardist Dan Chen, going through a decade or so of Doughty tunes (including some Soul Coughing songs). Says Doughty: "It's a low-key version of me." He's at the Odeon (1295 Old River Road) at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $16; call 216-241-5555. -- Michael Gallucci
A kids' classic comes to Playhouse Square.
In From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Claudia Kincaid tires of her humdrum life as a grade-school student, so she runs away, younger brother in tow, and takes up residence at N.Y.C.'s Metropolitan Museum of Art. There, they avoid security guards, sleep in Marie Antoinette's bed, and set out to solve the mystery of a statue that may be the work of Michelangelo. E.L. Konigsburg's classic children's novel is now a musical, which retains key elements from the book. It's a story about kids, but it's a sophisticated one. "In the book, Konigsburg doesn't condescend to children," says executive producer Mark Blackman. "And the show plays as well to adults as it does to children. It's funny, it's light, and it has heart." Show time is 2 p.m. Saturday at the Allen Theatre, 1407 Euclid Avenue. Admission is $14.50; call 216-241-6000. -- D.X. Ferris
Lisa Nelson's Ferociously Fabulous Festival of Fun is a testament to her fascination with carnival sideshows. "I love the circus," she says. "It personally intrigues me that people dedicate huge quantities of time to perfecting the most unusual of talents." Among the attractions will be sword swallowers, "man-eating chickens," and a human pin-cushion. "That's where a person is able to do unusual things, like sew buttons on their skin," explains Nelson. "But I don't think there's any health benefit from it." It happens from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mentor Park Pavilion, 7779 Lake Shore Boulevard in Mentor. Tickets are $25; call 440-951-1988. -- Cris Glaser