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A Touch of Class 

Helen Welch jazzes up the Beatles and Sting

About eight years ago, British singer Helen Welch ( was skiing in the French Alps when she met "a man from Cleveland." She fell "head over in heels in love" and moved to Northeast Ohio to marry the guy. She quickly made friends with local jazz and classical musicians. "The arts scene is remarkably good here," she says, rattling off the names of all the local orchestras and symphonies she's played with. "I have no complaints, apart from the snow." Welch has certainly found some skilled musicians to play on her new album, Forever for Now. She recorded the self-released collection of originals and covers over six months with some of Cleveland's best jazz instrumentalists, including saxophonist Howie Smith and trumpet player Jack Schantz. They help Welch turn the Beatles' "Things We Said Today" into a swinging bossa nova and they jazz up Sting's "Fields of Gold." "If I recorded all the songs I liked, I'd be here for the next ten years," says Welch. "I pick songs that move me, speak to me, make me want to boogie. It's a bit like a wine tasting. If you tasted 100 and could only pick 14, that's how I do it." Welch performs at 7 p.m. Friday at the Akron Civic. Tickets are $10.

Just in time for Halloween, industrial-goth rockers Nox Arcana ( have just released Theater of Illusion, an album of "spine-tingling sound effects and dark cinematic music to create an eerie atmosphere of lurking terror." Instrumental songs like "The Crimson Hourglass" and "Sinister Cabaret" feature such dramatic flourishes, they could fuel a Tim Burton soundtrack.

The Kent metal outfit Hate Dies Hard ( recorded their latest EP, A Tension, at Mars Recording with engineer Bill Korecky. They celebrate the record's release with a show at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Outpost Concert Club.

Pat's in the Flats hosts a free Halloween show at 9 p.m. Friday featuring Burger Boys, Self Destruct Button, JJ Magazine, Sun God, and Beardo Bandini. Go to for more info.

Los Angeles punk icons the Dickies headline Cleveland State's WCSB ( annual Halloween masquerade ball on Saturday. Local bands Nunslaughter, Puffy Areolas, and Sloth are also on the bill. Doors open at 9 p.m. at Cleveland Public Theatre. Admission is free.

Psychobilly punks Rev. Morbid and the Last Rites host a Halloween show and CD-release party at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Symposium. The Vladimirs (from Cincinnati) and Empty Arms (from Detroit) open. Tickets are $6.

Crooked River Groove, Cuyahoga Community College's cable-access music show (which calls itself Cleveland's answer to Austin City Limits), tapes its 19th episode at the Metro campus' Black Box Theatre this week. The Dave Sterner Quartet, Esprit, Maria Jacobs, Jim Schaeffer, Illinois Nationals, Smokin' Fez Monkeys, Arcana, and Shakka Hasberry are scheduled to perform. If your band would like to be on a future episode of the program, contact David Kennedy at [email protected].

Just back from his role on MTV's Made, Switchblade Scarlett's Shawn Perry says that reps from Eleven/Seven and Roadrunner Records will be at his band's Halloween Havokk show at the Phantasy on Saturday. Expect to hear some songs from a new album the band plans to release before the end of the year. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Learn more at

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