FRIDAY, DEC. 26
Death of Samantha
The post-punk group Death of Samantha disbanded in 1990 but decided to revisit its old songs and re-record them live in the studio before a 2011 reunion show. The resulting album, If Memory Serves Us Well, came out earlier this year to much fanfare. The guys are currently working on a new studio album and with all the members in town for the holidays have decided to play a “holiday hangover” show. Be sure to arrive on time to see standup comic Dave Hill, who opens the show. He’s hilarious. And local rockers Founding Fathers are reuniting to play as well. (Jeff Niesel) 9 p.m., $12. Beachland Ballroom.
The year is closing on a new Broccoli Samurai, with 2014 seeing the departures of a founding bassist and guitarist. But the horizon is a glowing one. Recent shows have upped the ante on the band’s sense of rhythm and overall tight playing. You can find a bunch of past shows online, and throughout you’ll hear an excitement about the present and the future. Pick up last year’s You Had to Be There… to get a feel for the compositional flavor of the band. Songs “Be Creative for Yourself,” “Loch Ness Lobster,” “Backwards Logic” showcase their range and ability to get audiences moving. Currently, they’re working hard in the studio on next year’s album — with major announcements forthcoming — and there seems to be just an overflowing atmosphere of thrills at Broccoli Samurai HQ. They have a tendency to play spectacular shows around Christmastime in Cleveland, so you’ll not want to miss this one. (Eric Sandy), 9 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Grog Shop.
Bruce in the USA
Billed as the world’s top Bruce Springsteen tribute band, Bruce in the USA has been perfecting its tribute show for more than a decade now to get every facet of the performance down. Matt Ryan plays the Boss and truly captures the look and style of this legendary figure. He even plays a beat-up yellow Fender Esquire. Springsteen’s newest record, High Hopes, was met with critical acclaim and commercial success and will prove to be another challenge for this tribute group. (William Hoffman), 8 p.m., $15 ADV, $20 DOS. House of Blues.
Charles Hill Jr. & the Cleveland Country Band
An ardent fan of old school country, local singer-songwriter Charles Hill Jr. counts country icon George Jones as one of his biggest influences — his grandfather used to play Jones’ tunes on an old guitar he had. That love of a bygone era permeates Hill’s new album, Shootin' Man, a terrific collection of tunes that sounds like they came out of a different decade. “This is Where I’ve Ended Up” is a tender ballad that benefits from a touch of slide guitar. Hill shows off his smooth vocals on the mid-tempo “Achin’ Brakin’ Heart” and on the twangy “Like They All Let Me Down.” Hill adopts a baritone for the somber “The Best Efforts” and lets his band really jam on the careening “Mouse Island.” The songs here sound so familiar, they suggest singing and songwriting comes naturally to Hill. (Niesel), 9 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern.
The JiMiller Band’s Jim Miller, co-founder of the jam band Oroboros, will celebrate 40 years of playing music on the local scene with this special concert. “Jim has played an integral part in helping create and keep the jam music scene in Cleveland for the past 40 years,” says concert promoter Tony Kocheff. “He’s continued to perform live on a consistent basis as a solo act and with the long-running group JiMiller Band; the latter act has opened for String Cheese Incident, Bruce Hornsby and Galactic, among others.” The show is billed as a “family affair” and will feature an acoustic opening set during which Miller will play “long-lost originals” with members of Oroboros and with local musicians such as Vince Berry and his son Mike. The full JiMiller Band will then perform. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $10. Music Box Supper Club.
SATURDAY, DEC. 27
With 2000's terrific Obsessions Become Phobias, local rockers Disengage broke free of the Black Sabbath-meets-Black Flag description that had characterized previous efforts. Talent scouts from major labels even came into town to check the group out. The band always played with a real fierceness so expect this show, its first that we can recall in a very long time, to be loud and intense. (Niesel), 9 p.m., $10. Grog Shop.
Into the Blue: Grateful Dead Revival Featuring Members of Carlos Jones & the P.L.U.S. Band and Sultans of Bing
Regardless of your take on the Grateful Dead, the band to which Into the Blue, an ensemble of local musicians pays tribute, the group maintains a damn important stature in the rock 'n' roll canon. Into The Blue revives that spirit and lends it the respect Jerry and Co. rightfully deserve. Anyone interesting in hearing — and seeing — great music flow from the stage should check out what these guys are doing. Fellow musicians and artists will glean inspiration. (Sandy), 9 p.m., $12. Musica.
When the local metal act Mushroomhead first formed in 1993, few critics imagined the group would still be going at it in 2014. And yet the masked band is now more popular than ever. It's just returned from Australia, where it played as part of the massive Soundwave festival. And they've played their first-ever show in Moscow. Their new album, The Righteous & the Butterfly, embraces a wide range of musical styles, including hip-hop, electronica and hard rock. Recorded at the band's studio in North Royalton and mixed by long-time collaborator Bill Korecky, the disc is arguably the band's most polished effort to date. Since this year's annual Halloween gig was a co-headlining stint with Insane Clown Posse and didn't feature the full-on Mushroomhead celebration, the guys have decided to throw a "Halloween for Xmas old school show." Expect to see an elaborate set and crazy costumes. (Niesel), 6 p.m., $25 ADV, $30 DOS. The Agora Theatre.
SUNDAY, DEC. 28
Headlining one of the few national tours hitting Cleveland in this final week of the year, Clutch promises an evening of that fine, fine metaphysical desert rock. The band is still mostly riding the waves of 2013’s Earth Rocker, which is as passionate and blisteringly heavy as anything else they’ve done in the past two decades. One can and must argue, though, that the band’s iconic sound is nested in its first two albums: Transnational Speedway League and the self-titled sophomore effort. Both are legendary for straddling the hardcore and stoner rock scenes. The latter, with its centerpiece, “Spacegrass,” is a legitimately trippy album. Growling frontman Neil Fallon memorably speaks those eerie lines in the first “Spacegrass” verse, “T-minus whenever it feels right, Galaxy 5-0-0, planets align, a king is born,” and we’re off. (Sandy), 8 p.m., $25 ADV, $30 DOS. House of Blues.