10 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

Share on Nextdoor
Friday, Feb. 6

Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass’s If Sorrows Swim dropped last fall, and the process of fitting those songs into setlists has been a fun musical endeavor. Some had already become staples (like “Demons”), others were brand new to the audience. Sonically, the new stuff feels like a genuine continuation and expansion of the ideas presented on 2011’s Handguns, which was recorded at the same place and in the same self-produced way — direct to tape. The new album is tighter overall and, in the words of some of the band’s harder fans, lighter than the sort of edginess exhibited on Handguns. Tying the two albums together is inevitable, but there’s no doubt that If Sorrows Swim represents a band with broader and deeper hopes and goals. (Eric Sandy) 8 p.m., $17.50 ADV, $20 DOS. House of Blues.

His Name is Alive 25th Anniversary Tour

"I've done a lot of weird things in the last 25 years; I can't explain everything," His Name is Alive’s Warren Defever writes via Facebook to try to discuss his musical legacy. Defever presents himself as a dark and sardonic done-it-all type. He likes to stare off into space in publicity photos, looking like nothing so much as somebody wanted for questioning. And yes, the guy has done a lot, from recording hundreds of bands to releasing 99 separate albums with His Name Is Alive (many of those in very limited edition CD-Rs). But Defever's secret is that he's really a very sweet, sensitive and introspective dude. He's obsessive and a bit secretive — in fact he's probably a genius. All the major His Name Is Alive records sound different from one another, so they're not easy to describe. The new record, the three-month-old Tecuciztecatl, has a distinct and unexpected boogie-prog psychedelic vibe, for instance. There are a few elements that extend to all HNIA songs — on most of them, a woman sings, the current singer being Andrea Morici. Whatever style of music is popular at the moment is rarely the style of the music at the time it is released. (Mike McGonigal) 10:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop.

Sinatra Night with Michael Sonata

Canton native Michael Sonata has always been involved in plays and choirs and was a member of the University of Notre Dame Glee Club. In 2004, he auditioned for a role in a Sopranos spoof that required a character based on Frank Sinatra. Sonata got the part and has been imitating Ol’ Blue Eyes ever since. He includes some 90 songs in his repertoire and covers all eras, including the Columbia years and the Capitol years. He even takes requests from the audience. (Jeff Niesel) 8 p.m., $7. Music Box Supper Club.


Born in London, bandleader Ahmed Gallab, who records under the name Sinkane, moved to the States when he was 5. He played his first show when he was 11. While in high school in Kent, he saw Spiritualized play at the Agora and was transformed. "They blew my mind," he says. "I had never even heard of them before that night. I was so blown away by the experience and how captivating it was. It really influenced me. It was a gnarly show. It was really, really cool." Last year's Mean Love is a wildly eclectic album that gets into a good groove right from the start. The album opener "How We Be," the first single, features ricocheting electronic bleeps and blips as Gallab adds soulful vocals. The accompanying music video serves as an ode to New York with its images of various neighborhoods. It includes step, ballet, breakdancing and other styles of dance, appropriately mixing together different art forms, just like the music that the London-born Sudanese producer makes. (Niesel) 9 p.m., $5.50. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Saturday, Feb. 7

19th Annual Tri-C High School Rock Off Final Exam

Some 48 bands competed in this year’s annual Tri-C High School Rock Off. The top 15 of those bands perform at tonight’s finale, appropriately dubbed the Final Exam. Tickets for the Rock Off are $10 and include admission to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum exhibits. Doors open at 3 p.m. and the bands start playing at 4 p.m. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. (Niesel)

Frontier Ruckus

Michigan’s Frontier Ruckus plays acoustic-based roots music that’s driven by David Jones’ banjo. The band then adds saws, horns and other odd instruments as frontman Matthew Milia slurs and stammers his way through songs such as “The Splendid World” and “Sad Modernity,” two twangy tunes on the band’s latest album, last year’s Sitcom Afterlife. The band’s been hailed as indie rock’s next big thing for a few years now. While it’s never delivered on its promise, it’s through no fault of its own. The band has consistently delivered compelling albums and toured incessantly. 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Tavern. (Niesel)

The Ground Is Lava

Tonight, Brunswick-based The Ground is Lava will play their final show. For obvious reasons, the occasion is something of a bittersweet gathering. Still, these guys know how to put on a good show, so everyone who comes out to bid them adieu will be carried aloft in high spirits. Even better, though: The band’s studio output will remain accessible for eons. Bottle Rockets, released in 2013, is a really terrific summertime-youth album, replete with images of love, friendship, adventure and yearning. “Look, Babe, An Island (We Can Live On It)” is a top-notch rocker and a deep dive into the common denominators of want and need in all good love stories. And “Smashers” works the quiet-loud dynamic into the album with aplomb. As the band launches into the chorus, you can’t help but start nodding your head and shaking your hips. Oh, and rumor has it you can check out tonight’s set list on their Facebook page. They play this show in Mahall's Locker Room. 9 p.m. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. (Sandy)

Jamaican Queens

With a hot, hot, hot debut album underfoot as of 2013, the upbeat trio known as Jamaican Queens is making some seriously awesome waves on tour these days. Schizophrenic at times (most times) but always welcoming, the band’s dynamic sensibilities are sure to garner them a dedicated following in due time. Wormfood has all the dreamy pop fuzz your brain can handle. By the time album opener “Water” wraps up, expect your ears to be floating in a puddle of indie-glam face meltage on the floor. Or something like that, anyway. The album is a delight and you can bet your ass that tonight’s show will back up the band’s burgeoning cred. Just this past November, they dropped a new single, “Bored + Lazy,” which continues the slacker dance party in all the right ways. 9 p.m., $8. Mahall’s 20 Lanes. (Sandy)

Raising the Bar: Cleveland Lawyers in Support of the Beachland

Last year, the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern and the City of Cleveland came to terms regarding unpaid admission taxes that the city claimed the club owned. The city even agreed to reduce the admission tax for small clubs like the Beachland so that the place could afford to continue to bring great acts to town and not suffer financially for it. In the wake of all that, the club has been left with what co-owner Cindy Barber describes as “a rather large legal bill.” On Feb. 7, the club hosts Raising the Bar, a benefit concert designed to help cover some of the costs. Faith & Whiskey, Rule 11 and the Sanctions, Out of Order and the Hung Jury, four bands featuring members of Cleveland’s legal community, will perform for free: The cover charge will go to helping pay the legal fees. 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. (Niesel)

Tangled Up in Dylan: The Music of Bob Dylan Featuring the Ryan Humbert Band

One of the more talented singer-songwriters in town, Ryan Humbert has paid tribute to singer Roy Orbison and country icon Hank Williams with elaborate stage shows. He’s also done the same for Bob Dylan with Tangled Up In Dylan: The Music of Bob Dylan, a tribute show that features many of the singer’s most famous songs. The show features Humbert and band mates Erin Vaughn, Emily Bates, Ben Evans, Matthew Middleton, Dan Nauss and Mary Kettering; it will include hits like "All Along The Watchtower," "Blowin' In the Wind," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Hurricane” and "Like a Rolling Stone." For hardcore Dylan fans, the concert will also include deep cuts like "Abandoned Love," "Mama, You Been On My Mind" and "Most of The Time." “The show has been really successful for us,” says Humbert. “We’ll do 33 Dylan tunes. In the middle of the show, we’ll do a six-song mini-set of songs from Blood on the Tracks. We have altered the set list and there are a handful of new tunes. We’re also filming it for a DVD.” There will also be giveaways and a trivia segment. (Niesel) 8 p.m., $18 ADV, $20 DOS. Music Box Supper Club.

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
Scroll to read more Music News articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.