6 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

click to enlarge 6 Concerts to Catch This Weekend
Dragan Tasic

Toronzo Cannon

Born in Chicago, blues singer-guitarist Toronzo Cannon grew up on the city’s notorious Southside. He says he didn’t initially know it had such a rich blues history. Because his uncles would patronize Theresa’s Lounge, Cannon used to go there as a child before he was even allowed in. Cannon would buy his first guitar at age 22; he hasn't looked back. On his latest album, The Chicago Way, he sings about how “real life” often gets in the way of his dreams. In the song, he describes himself as a “broken man” who can’t look at himself in the mirror. It’s heavy, emotional stuff, and the riveting guitar solos possess a real weight too. Expect to hear the tune tonight when he returns to the Music Box. (Jeff Niesel), 8 p.m., $15. Music Box Supper Club.

Doyle Bramhall II

Bramhall’s latest effort, Rich Man, draws from his travels to India and Northern Africa and includes the North Indian classical bowed string instrument sarangi, which virtuoso Ustad Surjeet Singh plays, and the bowl-shaped Arabic oud lute, which Bramhall’s own oud teacher Yuval Ron, a renowned Israeli composer-player-arranger, plays. Though it’d been a few years since his last solo effort, Bramhall didn’t have a stockpile of songs. He did, however, want to draw on the experience of traveling. With its nasty guitar licks and howling vocals, a song such as “Hands Up” will please blues purists, but tracks such as “Saharan Crossing” suggest Bramhall’s widening musical interests. (Niesel) 8 p.m., $25. The Kent Stage.


With that forested Upstate New York sound, Driftwood has been delivering upbeat bluegrass and Americana for more than a decade. This is highly danceable stuff that borders on Paul McCartneyesque melody at times. (We’ve written many times on how much we enjoy bluegrass with a drummer, and Driftwood brings that deftly.) Claire Byrne’s violin holds down the lead work in many of Driftwood’s tunes, especially on their last album, City Lights, which, if you need refuge from the winter blues, you should check out immediately. Their show tonight will also work wonders. (Eric Sandy), 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Tavern.


Known for a while as Field Trip (and thus securing two of Cleveland’s best band names in the last decade), Ex-Astronaut blazed across the music scene last fall with its last album, No More Bad Dreams, a sublime and chilled-out seven-song rocker. "With the current lineup, we have shifted away from the fuzzed out Dino Jr. stuff and started playing the shoe-gazer stuff we play now," guitarist Pete Jennings told us, describing the past few years’ path that led to this album. "We want the guitars to not sound like guitars." With tonight’s show at Happy Dog, get ready for a trippy and head-nodding experience that will remind you of the power of shoe-gaze. Oh, and a quick note: The awesome, local Panza Foundation helped finish off the funding for the album. (Sandy), 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.


Electronic Music Series

Christopher Bissonnette, a Canadian musician/sound artist/designer who lives and works in Detroit/Windsor, has released four full-length albums for the Chicago-based label Kranky. A founding member of Thinkbox, a “project-based collective that has explored art, sound and video in a variety of contexts ranging from art galleries to music venues,” he makes use of elements of concrete, field recording and modular synthesis. Tonight, he’ll kick off a new electronic music series with a performance at CODA. Local musicians Stephan Haluska + Matthew Ryals and Unikove will also perform. (Niesel), 9 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. CODA.


Tim Presley/Cate Le Bon

Though they come from different parts of the globe — Cate Le Bon is Welsh, Tim Presley is from California — both of these L.A.-based artists make music that seems to come from the same influences. Presley, originally the White Fence bandleader, has roots in garage rock and psych rock. His solo work uses the same blueprint, but with broader instrumentation and arrangement. Le Bon takes cues from general pop and indie rock, but she adds interlocking guitar work and complex lyrics. The jaunty bounce and frantic guitar of “Long Bow,” a standout from Presley’s solo debut, demonstrate the wide mix of his influences. Le Bon has a more natural singing voice, and her music is generally more melodic. The two artists made a collaborative album a few years back; they will play separate sets tonight. (Johnny Cook), 9 p.m., $12. Happy Dog.

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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