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Around Hear: Rock On 

High-school Bands Battle At High School Rock Off

Sixty-five high-school bands from Northeast Ohio will compete in the 13th Annual Tri-C High School Rock Off. Starting January 9, the battle of the bands will take place Fridays and Saturdays through January 24 at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave). The finals are on Saturday, January 31.

Most of this year's bands are new names. Standouts include metal phenoms Lower 13 (Parma Senior High School) and punks Piano Key Necktie (Brecksville).

Show producer Barry Gabel of Live Nation, which sponsors the event, says it previews tomorrow's talent.

"When we started this, we looked at what was going on [at] the high-school level, and it was the kind of opportunity they can't get," says Gabel. "[The Rock Off] celebrates the garage world and basement warriors. It was great to bring people out and to give those kids a chance to play on a professional stage, with professional equipment."

Finalists will receive cash and store credit from Sam Ash Music. The winning group will also open for a national act and perform a 45-minute set on Tri-C's television program Crooked River Groove, which will be professionally recorded and videotaped. Runners-up will receive cash and gear. All bands will have the chance to meet industry professionals and receive advice on their art and business.

Artsy Avon Lake punk ensemble Thee TV Oh Dees won last year. Previous winners include Another Found Self and Johnny Psycho.

"We are super excited for the Rock Off," says Dillon DeVito, bassist of Lakewood High School rockers Jim From Portland, who will make their club debut at the show. "Hopefully it will be a good way to get our name out there."

¥ 15 60 75 a.k.a. the Numbers Band has a title for its new CD: Inward City. Mixing is complete, but artwork is still in progress. Singer Robert Kidney says the album will be released soon. (Kidney recently wrote "Rosalee," a standout track on the Pretenders' latest album, Break Up the Concrete.) Drummer David Robinson, who played with the group from 1972 to 1986, passed away December 4. He collaborated on many set staples, including "Thunderhead," which the Numbers Band re-recorded for the new disc. Says Kidney of Robinson, "He was a great personality, a lot of fun. A very intelligent guy, very well read. He had one of the sharpest wits of anybody I ever knew. And [he was] a brilliant drummer."

¥ A new band featuring members of Lines Across Lines and Waiting for Evangeline will make its live debut and announce its name Saturday, January 10, at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Hts. Blvd., Cleveland Hts.). The melodic hardcore group took suggestions for a band name on its web page,

¥ The Byron Nemeth Group will play the main stage at the NAMM Conference in Anaheim, California on Thursday, January 15. The annual event is the world's largest music-products trade show. The prog-rock group will warm up with a concert at the Roc Bar (1220 Old River Rd.) Saturday, January 10. Meanwhile, they're auditioning vocalists and playing instrumental get-the-shred-out sets.


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