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Ballroom Blitz 

The Beachland celebrates 11 years with a wild weekend

The Beachland Ballroom has been the city's most open-eared concert venue for 11 years, booking a little bit of everything — from jazz and blues to rock and punk. "The initial thing, when we first opened, was that we wanted to be a great music club that's really diverse in terms of its booking," says co-owner Mark Leddy. "We're not going for any one demographic. We're trying to be good in a variety of areas, and I think we've accomplished that." The venue celebrates its anniversary this weekend with a series of concerts featuring some of its favorite artists.

The rootsy Wayne "The Train" Hancock kicks things off at 9 p.m. Friday in the Tavern (tickets: $12), with support from the local alt-country band California Speedbag. Singer-songwriters Paul Thorn and Rayland Baxter play at 8 the same night ($18, $16 in advance) in the Ballroom.

At 8:30 p.m. Saturday, NRBQ spin-off the Spampinato Brothers headline the Tavern, with the Carpenter Ants opening ($15, $13 in advance). There's also a show in the Ballroom at 8 p.m. Saturday featuring This Moment in Black History (playing their first major show since taking a hiatus), Wussy, Cloud Nothings, and the Modern Electric ($8). At 9 p.m. Sunday, the Parting Gifts — a new garage rock band featuring the Reigning Sound's Greg Cartwright — plays the Tavern with the Jay Bons and Little Bighorn, a new band featuring members of Coffinberry and Prisoners ($10).

The legendary Jonathan Richman wraps up the celebration at 8 p.m. Sunday in the Ballroom ($15, $12 in advance). You can find more info at

Queens of the Iron Mic, the annual showcase for female rappers and R&B singers, comes to Now That's Class at 10 p.m. Saturday. This year's lineup includes Ebonie Lane, Aaqil, Indica, Rain the Quiet Storm, Dominique Larue, and others. Tickets are $7.

Akron metal band the Approach and the Execution host a CD-release party on Friday for thier new album, The Blood March. The show starts at 7 p.m. at Peabody's. It's $6; but you can score some free tickets at

Jonah Koslen will revisit the Michael Stanley Band's 1977 live album Stage Pass at 9 p.m. Friday at the Winchester. Koslen, who played on the original album and wrote some of its songs, will perform the record in its entirety. Tickets are $15, available at

Now That's Class celebrates its fourth anniversary with Beetlejuice, the foul-mouthed little guy best known for his appearances on Howard Stern. The local punk novelty band Mr. California opens the show at 9 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $12 at

Goth-rockers Midnight Syndicate are finishing up their 14th album, Carnival Arcane, which is due out in August. Learn more at

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