6 Concerts to Catch This Weekend


How the Kishka Saved Christmas — A Very Special Edition of Polka Happy Hour

For the past 11 years, locally based DJ Kishka has hosted a Polka Happy Hour at the Happy Dog Tavern. He launched the event in 2005 with an impromptu polka jam after polka band that was scheduled to play didn’t show up. Now, Kishka has announced he’s bringing the monthly event to an end. Tonight's event will be his last. It coincides with Kishka’s “almost-infamous tavern theater” show, “How the Kishka Saved Christmas.” Every year at about this time, Kishka decorates the Happy Dog by erecting a fake Christmas tree with sauerkraut tinsel. He also hands out pierogi ornaments to be colored and hung as well. The decorations help set the mood for his special Christmas show, during which he plays Christmas polkas. Then, at 8 p.m., he clears the stage so his “Pickled Beet Players” can perform. Though he will no longer host the popular happy hour event, Kishka still plans on being a major part of Dyngus Day Cleveland, the annual springtime event that takes place at the Happy Dog and at bars and restaurants throughout Cleveland’s near West side. 6 p.m., free. Happy Dog.


Jam bands pride themselves in the art of reaping endless crop from a single acre of land. But San Diego’s Earthless refuses to remain gravity-bound. A potent combination of psychedelia and headbanging blues rock, the 15-year-old trio’s three studio albums consist of no more than four tracks each. But every song starts as a low rumble and builds to a powerful takeoff: drums mark the pulse of beating wings while warbling guitars screech and scream from above. Earthless is venerated by many as the greatest modern psych rock experience. Imagine you’re traveling to the historic Fillmore Auditorium for this legendary performance at Cleveland’s own Grog Shop. (Bethany Kaufman), 9 p.m., $15 ADV, $17 DOS. Grog Shop.

Handsome Ghost

Last year, Handsome Ghost's Tim Noyes released “Blood Stutter,” one of the band’s first demos, and the delicate, Death Cab for Cutie-inspired indie rock tune that features falsetto vocals instantly racked up over 7 million streams on Spotify. Earlier this year, the band released its new EP The Brilliant Glow, a collection of shimmering indie pop tunes. It supported the album with a successful two-month tour as the main support for Melanie Martinez. The album’s brisk opening track, “Graduate,” immediately sounds more upbeat and suggests the band has embraced a more vibrant mix of organic and electronic instrumentation. 8 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Beachland Tavern.

Ohio City Singers

About 10 years ago, local singer-songwriter Chris Allen, his sister Molly and Doug McKean worked up four Christmas tunes and then threw a big Christmas party to which they invited their musician friends. They played the four original tunes they had penned as well as a few choice covers, recorded them and delivered them on a CD to their families as a Christmas gift. That signaled the birth of the Ohio City Singers, a group of local musicians that plays several Christmas-themed concerts each year. This year, the group recaptures that house party vibe on its new CD, Ring Out the Wild Bells. The songs veer from Springsteen-like anthems (“Ohio City Singer Christmas Bash”) to Zydeco-tinged rave-ups ("Coal Miser") and reggae-themed reels ("Kingston via Cleveland"). Tonight represents the first of a two-night stand at Vosh. (Niesel), 7 p.m., $18. Vosh Club.


Michael Stanley & the Resonators

Local hero Michael Stanley has been on a roll lately. In 2013, he released The Ride, which came on the heels of The Hang, an introspective album he's referred to as his darkest release yet. The Ride presents a much more positive perspective and so does 2014's The Job, an album that suggests Stanley has hit upon a particularly rich vein of new songs. Expect to hear MSB favs as well as a good sampling of Stanley's solo material as Stanley plays this end-of-the-year gig. Donnie Iris, another regional sensation, opens. (Niesel) 8 p.m. Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park.


Rapper Tech N9ne (Aaron Dontez Yates) has found memories of performing in Cleveland. He’s played in town numerous times over the years, often at the now defunct Peabody’s, a venue that hosted metal and hardcore as much as hip-hop. He even wrote the song “Riot Maker” about an incident involving a girl who became injured while crowdsurfing. At a time when critics say hip-hop is dead, Tech N9ne continues to be prolific; earlier this year, he just issued another stellar studio release, The Storm. 7 p.m. Odeon.

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]
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