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Return to Rock 

Lakewood's Symposium brings back live music.

Tom Jones, pouring it out July 12 at Blossom. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Tom Jones, pouring it out July 12 at Blossom.
The Symposium has returned to its roots, reopening to live bands after a long attempt to establish the cozy Lakewood club as a lounge and dance-friendly bar.

"It was worth a try," says owner-manager Michele De Frasia. "But there just wasn't enough business. This whole area is a band area. Always will be. On this side of town, it's just bars. People are telling me that they're glad we're bringing bands back to the club. It's intimate, and it's got a nice vibe."

Part of the Phantasy complex (which includes the Chamber and Phantasy Nite Club and Theater), the Symposium sits on the eastern edge of Lakewood, across Detroit Avenue from the Hi-Fi Concert Club. In November 2004, the club remodeled and became the Remix Lounge, adding fluffy couches, top-shelf cocktails, upscale coffee, and downtempo music. When business sputtered, the room reopened with Top 40 and dance-music DJs on the weekends.

For now, the Symposium is open Fridays and Saturdays. The plump couches are gone, and the club glows with blue accent lighting. The Symposium will host smaller bills and occasional '80s nights, with admission restricted to 18 and over. De Frasia plans to use the room to showcase bands that appeal to college-age and older crowds. So far, it's hosted the alt-folk-rock combo Emmet and established local rockers Yellow Delicious. Musicians say that the little room can provide big opportunities.

"The Symposium was the first place in Cleveland to give the Subtones a break," says singer-guitarist C.J. Gunn of the long-running punk outfit. "It's a perfect-size room for local bands."

De Frasia has no plans for the long-dormant Phantasy Theater, once a signature venue for major shows by national artists and local giants such as Nine Inch Nails and Mushroomhead.

· Les Claypool will warm up for his Saturday, July 22 concert at the House of Blues (308 Euclid Avenue) by making an appearance at the B-Side Liquor Lounge (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, below the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights) at 6 p.m. The Primus frontman will read from and sign his new novel, South of the Pumphouse. The free event is open to all ages.

· After auditioning Jason Elliot, Hatecore Inc. has reunited with volatile vocalist James Begart. The neo-thrash band plays Akron's R/E Nightclub (117 East Market Street) on Saturday, July 22.

· House of Blues Concerts is running a weekly two-for-one special on select concerts at the House of Blues Club and Blossom. Sign up for the announcements at www.hob.com.

· Bad Boy Records was set to release Cleveland native Cheri Dennis' self-titled full-length debut June 13, then July 11, and now has postponed the disc again. A Bad Boy representative says the label is adding new tracks. No new release date has been announced.

· Ripper Watch: Tim "Ripper" Owens' Beyond Fear shot two videos at the London Astoria during its European tour. "And . . . You Will Die" is slated as the lead single, followed by "Coming at You." The band's self-titled debut is garnering raves in the metal press. Metal Edge wrote: "Guitarist John Comprix returns vintage metal to its truest roots . . . Beyond Fear should be in every metal lover's library." Owens will start work on the next Iced Earth disc in the fall.

· Indie-psychedelic-scene mainstay Neil Blender -- fronted by manic This Moment in Black History frontman Chris Kulcsar -- will play its final show Saturday, July 22, at the Church (2681 West 14th Street).

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