7 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend

click to enlarge 7 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend
Courtesy of Kidlogic Media

Robert Cray

Veteran bluesman Robert Cray and drummer/producer Steve Jordan (Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, John Mayer) have done a slew of albums together over the years going back to Take Your Shoes Off, which was released in 1999 and snagged a Grammy Award for the best contemporary blues album the following year. For nearly 20 years, Cray and Jordan have continued to collaborate, most recently on Cray’s 2014 album, In My Soul. When it came time to think about the next album, Jordan had an idea. He suggested that Cray should come to Memphis to record at Royal Studios, employing the services of the house band, the Hi Rhythm Section. What came out of the experience was something that Jordan termed as “a soul, rhythm and blues fantasy camp,” something that Cray himself couldn’t argue. The resulting album, Robert Cray and Hi Rhythm, came out last year. (Matt Wardlaw), 8 p.m., $35-$45. The Kent Stage.

Lady Antebellum/Darius Rucker/Russell Dickerson

Lady Antebellum has all the makings of a great country group. With a strong female vocalist, carefully-selected songs and a pop-infused flare, the band’s rise to success was no surprise. “Need You Now,” the band’s breakthrough hit, is the perfect country song. Lead singer Hillary Scott’s vocals are complimented by the backup singing that feels more like a feature, even owning its own verse. This duet-style recording is not uncommon for the band and is another thing that gives them a leg up. The alcohol-infused missing an ex-lover tale is a cliché, but this one hits the nail on the head with innovative ideas like the faded voicemail that opens the song and the strong execution of talented guitar playing. Darius Rucker, who shares the bill, is known for his fan-favorite cover of “Wagon Wheel” and his role as the lead singer in ’90s rock band Hootie & the Blowfish. It’s no accident that Rucker succeeded in becoming extremely visible in two entirely different genres. This is a skilled musician and a clever songwriter that has landed himself an irreplaceable spot in the music industry. (Halle Weber), 7 p.m., $30.75-$96.75. Blossom.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

Singer-guitarist Chris Robinson’s tenure with the Black Crowes is well documented, particularly his anxiety with the limiting expectations placed on him and that band. The Crowes’ final tour in 2013 revealed even more clearly to Robinson how dysfunctional the band had become. With a real rock 'n’ roll legacy enveloping the band across more than 20 years, he found himself trapped in the confines of the same old material and caught up in long-standing financial disputes among bandmates and the label. Not conducive to creative growth. Lumped somewhat into the national jam band scene, the CRB certainly does tend toward the improvisational side of music. Expect to hear the band stretch out when it plays tonight as part of a tour to support last year's Barefoot in the Head. (Eric Sandy), 9 p.m., $26 ADV, $31 DOS. House of Blues.


Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express/Eilen Jewell

Shortly before Green on Red called it quits in 1992, Prophet embarked on a solo career. He also built his resume by working with artists such as Kelley Stoltz, Bob Neuwirth, Kelly Willis, Aimee Mann, Warren Zevon, Jonathan Richman, Lucinda Williams and Cake. All the while, he continued to release solo albums and collaborative efforts. For his latest effort, Bobby Fuller Died for Your Sins, Prophet has said he tried to create what he calls “California noir.” The title track that kicks off the album features Kinks-like vocals and twangy guitars as Prophet references the late rock musician's life and mysterious death in 1966. Woozy tunes such as “Your Skin” feature twangy guitars and snotty vocals that suggest Prophet’s punkier past. It’s good stuff that should translate well live. (Niesel) 8 p.m., $20 ADV, $22 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

Scarface/DJ Candi Fresca/R the Czar

Rapper Scarface may be "deeply rooted" in Houston, as the title of his latest project suggests, but the former member of the Geto Boys is certainly becoming more comfortable in Cleveland. Last year, he played back-to-back sets in one night at the Grog Shop. The set list moved back and forth between newer material and time-tested classics, but the audience didn't mind. The result would find newer songs like "Hot Seat" and "Anything" followed up with tunes like "Fuck Faces," "Scarface" and "Jesse James." Expect to hear a similar range of material when the veteran rapper returns to the Grog Shop tonight. (Emanuel Wallace) 7:30 p.m., $30. Grog Shop.


An Evening with Arlo Guthrie

Over the years, the appeal of “Alice's Restaurant Massacree," Arlo Guthrie’s rambling folk ditty about how dumping some garbage on Thanksgiving Day got him in a heap of trouble and inadvertently helped him avoid the draft for the Vietnam War thanks to his criminal record, hasn’t diminished. On Thanksgiving Day, classic rock stations throughout the country will spin the 18-plus minute song in its entirety. Guthrie brings his Re: Generation tour that features his children Abe and Sarah Lee to town tonight for a gig at Cain Park. (Niesel) 7 p.m., $25-$40 ADV, $28-$43 DOS. Cain Park.

Wiz Khalifa/Rae Sremmurd/Lil Skies/O.t. Genasis

Three years ago, rapper Wiz Khalifa shared headlining duties with Fall Out Boy for a tour that came through town for a stop at Blossom. Khalifa delivered a high-energy 70-minute set that appealed to patrons, many of whom had simply come to see Fall Out Boy. The wiry, dreadlocked singer didn’t have much stage presence, but he had energy to spare and even ran to the lawn to sing “Taylor Gang.” Having a live band really helped bring out the nuances of his music and his set ended on a high note with a one-song encore that featured the poppy crossover hit “See You Again.” And yes, he appeared to light up a joint during the weed-soaked performance. Expect something similar this time around as he headlines a multi-act bill. (Niesel) 6 p.m., $26.25-$100.50. Blossom.
Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.

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.