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It seems like Love Muffin Records owner Adam Rich expands his annual LoveMuffinPalooza showcase every year. This year's series of concerts features a wide range of acts: Folk, Americana, and singer-songwriter artists play at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Barking Spider; rock, blues, and pop bands perform at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the Beachland Tavern; metal and hard rock acts play at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Symposium; and punk bands perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Spitfire.

"I wanted to get all different genres of music included so there's something for everyone," says Rich. For the fifth LoveMuffinPalooza, he's lined up most of the bands on his label, as well as some artists who have played past events. There are also a few groups on the bill he's never worked with before. "At a time when physical CD sales are declining, local venues are being threatened with noise laws, and you can just watch concerts streamed online, I want to get people back out and actually going to see live music," says Rich. "Eventually I'd like to do some sort of discussion panel or something similar to what the old Undercurrents did."

The concerts also serve as fundraising events for the Gathering Place, the cancer-support center located in Beachwood and Westlake. Rich will hold charity raffles each night, with signed CDs and books, Cleveland Cinemas tickets, and Improv passes up for grabs. Admission to the Barking Spider and Spitfire shows is free; tickets to the Beachland and Symposium shows are $6. Go to for more info and updates on lineups.

Hip to the Hip-Hop

A little more than five years ago, Keepers of the Art — an Akron-based grassroots community organization that focuses on education and entertainment — began hosting a radio program that led to the first annual Akron Hip-Hop Showcase at the Akron Civic Theatre in 2008, with Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh headlining. "There was nothing in Akron that represented us and our music taste in hip-hop," says Keepers of the Art executive director Ismail Al-Amin. "So when we thought about doing a hip-hop showcase, we put together a proposal and let the city council know that the same people that come see the soul music and other events at Lock 3 will appreciate the classic hip-hop as well. And for this, our fifth year, we wanted it to be very nostalgic." With that in mind, Al-Amin and crew booked De La Soul, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, Jeru tha Damaja, Special Ed, DJ Mick Boogie, and 2012 Akron Hip-Hop Online Talent Search winner Ali tha Prince. "Groups like De La Soul and Pete Rock will take people back to a time in their lives when things were a lot simpler, and you didn't have as many concerns and worries," says Al-Amin. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Theatre. Tickets range from $15 to $30. An official after-party takes place upstairs in the Civic immediately after the concert and requires a separate admission fee.

Blues Explosion

The Cleveland Blues All-Stars — a group that includes veteran local players like guitarist Bob Frank, saxophonist Norm Tischler, pianist Mike Sands, bassist Alonzo Crosby, and drummer Vernon Jones — perform from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday at the 11th Congressional District Community Caucus Annual Labor Day Parade and Festival at Luke Easter Park. Several local blues musicians will sit in and jam with the band. Admission is free.

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