When it comes to hip-hop history, Public Enemy (Dr. Chuck D and class clown Flavor Flav) have written one of rap's greatest chapters. The genre's most politically charged act for three decades running, Public Enemy emerged in the 1980s injecting hip-hop with a revolutionary spirit, producing fists-in-the-air anthems like "Fight the Power," "911 Is a Joke," and "Welcome to the Terrordome" — funky guerrilla chants that blasted themes of social change using speakers, turntables, and microphones. From 1987's Yo! Bum Rush the Show to 2007's How You Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?, Chuck and Flav have given hip-hop its most popular political voice, with production crew the Bomb Squad lending distinctive beats that incorporate harsh, unmelodic noise and samples rife with police sirens and news bites. While Chuck's baritone-booming attacks recall civil-rights leaders' treatises, Flav plays the absurd jester whose dark humor often stole the show. For this tour, Public Enemy will be joined by Professor Griff (PE's longtime Minister of Information) and the infamous SW1 security force, backed by DJ Lord, who's been spinning the steel wheels since replacing Terminator X in 1999. — Keith Gribbins
Public Enemy, with the Impossebulls, Lowdown, Jahi, and the Banned. 8 p.m. Sunday, June 27. House of Blues. Tickets: $32.50 advance, $35 day of show; call 216-523-2583 or go to houseofblues.com.
Three years ago, Melvins singer-guitarist Buzz Osborne and longtime drummer Dale Crover teamed up with Big Business bassist Jared Warren and drummer Coady Willis to expand Osborne's 27-years-and-running band. "It's certainly changed things and given the old songs something," says Osborne. "We're pretty committed to making this work, so it's an all-or-nothing scenario." Given the Melvins' propensity for innovation and clever arrangements, the lineup change has worked to the band's advantage. "The majority of the songwriting is done in terms of how it'll work with two drummers," says Osborne. "We're definitely trying to figure out what we can do with the possibilities." The Melvins continue to push musical boundaries on The Bride Screamed Murder, their 20th album. "I'm tired, invigorated, and empowered," says Osborne. "Yeah, those are all probably good words for it. Especially invigorated." — Nicholas DeMarino
Melvins, with Totimoshi. 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, Grog Shop. Tickets: $17 advance, $19 day of show; call 216-321-5588 or go to grogshop.gs.
Albert Lee & Hogan's Heroes
Albert Lee's list of session employers reads like the guest list at a Hall of Fame luncheon: Eric Clapton, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Everly Brothers, and Emmylou Harris, among others. His name is often mentioned alongside some of the greatest guitarists of all time, like Jimmy Page and Earl Scruggs. But Lee's astronomical talent hasn't translated to record sales. His work with Head Hands & Feet in the '70s earned him a cult following among country-rock fans, and his solo career followed a similar arc. But Lee didn't get into this for the acclaim or money. Just listen to his supple finger-picking style and witness his humble stage demeanor, and it's apparent he's doing this for the music. He's now on tour with his group Hogan's Heroes, a bunch of guys with résumés nearly as impressive as Lee's. They're on their way to perform at Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago, so this is a rare opportunity to see one of the world's best guitarists in his element. — Brian Baker
Albert Lee & Hogan's Heroes. 9 p.m. Thursday, June 24, The Winchester. Tickets: $20; call 216-226-5681 or go to thewinchester.net.
Emo bands don't generally give rise to Americana groups after they split up. But that's exactly what happened when San Diego punks Noise Ratchet went supernova in 2003. That band's rhythm section recruited new members to fill out the Delta Spirit, who debuted in 2008 with Ode to Sunshine. The recently released follow-up, History From Below, plays like a more mature version of the first record, with the band showing an increasing ability to play it subtle on the winning ballad "Scarecrow" and the clever-not-cute "Ransom Man." Delta Spirit's main strength is Matthew Vasquez's warm and shape-shifting voice, spotlighted in the epic "Ballad of Vitaly." Delta Spirit prove it's possible to take the kids out of emo and the emo out of kids. — Chris Drabick
Delta Spirit, with Ezra Furman & the Harpoons and the Romany Rye. 9 p.m. Thursday, June 24, Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show; call 216-383-1124 or go to beachlandballroom.com.
While few punks are able to sustain their revolutionary zeal for more than a decade, Canadian trailblazers D.O.A. are entering their 33rd year with little diminishment in spirit or energy. In that time, singer-guitarist Joey "Shithead" Keithley has been the only constant — other than the band's rugged, hard-charging attack and authority-questioning stance. D.O.A. are credited as one of the originators of hardcore punk — specifically because of their album Hardcore '81, perhaps the first use of the descriptive moniker — but their sound is more deeply informed by the Sex Pistols, particularly the searing guitar riffs that channel Chuck Berry via Steve Jones. (Indeed, the tempos aren't that fast, and the vocals are clearly discernible.) Like their '70s punk contemporaries, D.O.A.'s lyrics tend toward the irreverent ("If I Were a Redneck"), political ("Consume! Consume!" "Death to the Multinationals"), and confrontational ("I Don't Give a Shit," "Fuck You!"). Though suffused with wry self-aware wit, D.O.A. are more than apathetic slogan-slingers, lending their hand to a variety of sociopolitical causes. Keithley's longtime motto (and the title of the band's latest album) is Talk-Action=0. It's the group's third release in as many years, and it's quite good, demonstrating plenty of livewire vibrancy and smart rabble-rousing bite. — Chris Parker
D.O.A., with Shellshag, Shotbaker, the Pallbearers, and the Episodes. 9 p.m. Sunday, June 27, Now That's Class. Tickets: $10; call 216-221-8576 go to myspace.com/nowthatsclass.
One sure sign that summer is finally here can be heard in the laidback reggae sounds wafting through backyards. Bob Marley provides the soundtrack to many weekend barbecues, while dance-floor DJs dust off old ska and dub singles to spin on sweaty summer nights. If you're looking for a live reggae fix, the Aggrolites are coming to town this week. Originally formed as a backing band for reggae star Derrick Morgan, the Aggrolites blend Jamaica's famous island groove with England's raw rude-boy edge. This isn't the punked-up ska that dominated '90s modern rock; it's dancehall reggae smothered in vintage vinyl crackle and a cool, casual attitude. The Aggrolites make traditional, party-ready ska filled with warm organ grooves, funky, punchy guitars, and big, hip-moving backbeats. This is the sound of summer. — Matt Whelihan
The Aggrolites, with Sellin' You Short and Johnny Red & the Skamunists. 8 p.m. Sunday, June 27, Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $12; call 216-383-1124 or go to beachlandballroom.com.
Orlando might be a great spot for Disney-related jobs, but it's basically a rock 'n' roll wasteland. With little happening in Florida, singer-guitarist Andrew Burr relocated to Austin to pursue his musical dreams. He formed the Woven Bones, who have perfected their Cramps-informed psych-punk over a succession of singles and last year's The Minus Touch EP. The trio recently released its debut album, In and Out and Back Again, and Burr's snarling, growled vocals are all over it. He slobbers over the fuzzed-out "Half Sunk Into the Seats" and "If It Feels Alright." It's kinda like what the Velvet Underground would have sounded like without John Cale and with shittier equipment. There's a gratifyingly familiar quality to most of the album's songs. When a band hits on a winning formula, there's little shame in overworking a groove. If you're into snarl and fuzz, the Woven Bones have plenty on tap. — Drabick
Woven Bones, with CCR Headcleaner, Puffy Areolas, and Rubella. 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 29, Now That's Class. Tickets: $5; call 216-221-8576 go to myspace.com/nowthatsclass.
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