7 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

Friday, Jan. 30

The Sidekicks

With their new album Runners in the Nerved World, the Sidekicks sound more like the indie act Built to Spill than the punk band Green Day as the band trades in snooty vocals and aggressive guitars for mid-tempo melodies. It recorded the album with Phil Ek (Band of Horses, Fleet Foxes, Built to Spill and the Shins). "We were up there for 23 days of tracking and then another 10 or so of mixing," says band leader Steve Ciolek. "There were days off lumped in there. It was awesome to spend so much time on it. We had usually been on such a time crunch. This gave us the ability to make sure every single thing sounded great. For the first time, it wasn't just us at the driver's seat. We just played our parts. Phil worried about capturing it. It was stressful from the standpoint that he's a demanding person in terms of the quality level. Our record sounded the way it did after we tracked it. It's not like he doctored it up. It's more of an old-school approach." (Jeff Niesel) 8 p.m., $10. Grog Shop

Into the Blue: Grateful Dead Revival Night

Regardless of your take on the Grateful Dead, the band to which local ensemble Into the Blue pays tribute, the group maintains a damn important stature in the rock ’n’ roll canon. Into the Blue revives that spirit and lends it the respect Jerry & Co. rightfully deserve. Anyone interesting in hearing — and seeing — great music flow from the stage should check out what these guys are doing. Fellow musicians and artists will glean inspiration. 9 p.m., $10. Musica. (Eric Sandy)

Reverend Horton Heat

Jim Heath (known to you as the Reverend Horton Heat) is a rockabilly guy from way back who in the 1990s helped pioneer the field of psychobilly — a punk-ravaged version of the aforementioned American rock subgenre. With his band, Heath has pushed his music into manic corners and imaginative aesthetics. The band’s debut, Smoke ’Em if You Got ’Em, is the essential starting point for these guys. It’s a fairly iconic piece of early-’90s genre bending. Even so, Heath & Co. have been riding this train consistently for years; they dropped REV earlier in 2014. Give “Smell of Gasoline” a listen and just try to argue against the band’s longevity. Tonight’s show offers even more of the goods — in brilliant technicolor. 8:30 p.m., $22. Beachland Ballroom. (Sandy)

Let’s Be Friends

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s new Sonic Sessions, a new music showcase, kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. The UK dance music act Lets Be Friends is slated to perform the inaugural event, which is sponsored by Magic Hat Brewing Company. Blackbird, Thunder St. Clair and 41SE7EN are set to open the show. “This is the first time we’ve ever hosted a live music series on a scale like this,” says Todd Mesek, Vice President of Marketing and Communications of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, in a press release. “We’re highlighting the future of rock as much as we are connecting it to the history we celebrate here, so bringing in exciting, new acts from around the globe to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will really build on the celebratory atmosphere of our anniversary year.” (Niesel) 9 p.m., $5.50. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Saturday, Jan. 31

Cities and Coasts

With a great debut now on the streets (Postcards from the Great Lakes), Cities and Coasts toss a cool beach-rock vibe into the wintry Cleveland music scene. “I grew up listening to the Beatles and Beach Boys,” guitarist Nathan Hedges told Scene last year. “When I sit down and write, this is the most natural, easy thing that comes out. I think I’ve suppressed it because I wasn’t in a band that could do Beach Boys vocals or Beatles harmonies. I was like, ‘Fuck it. I want to put out the record I want to put out with the players I want.’ It turned into this cool thing.” Now imagine Brian Wilson waxing poetic about the wonders of Lake Erie, and you’ve got a good thing goin’ on. 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. (Sandy)

Jeff Daniels with the Ben Daniels Band

On his new album, Days Like These, actor Jeff Daniels goes for something rather bluegrassy. The title track features twangy acoustic guitar and bluesy vocals. The songs aren’t as tongue-in-cheek as tunes on previous albums. Not that Daniels takes himself too seriously. He still loves to joke around with audiences, something he’ll do tonight when he plays alongside his son Ben Daniels and his backing band. Music is nothing new to Daniels, who performed in musicals before pursuing acting. “Writing has become this living, breathing process,” he says. “I fell in love with that process. It stayed a hobby for almost 25 years. And then I started performing. I did that in 2000. An agent saw me and said I could make it a regular thing.” 8 p.m., $30 ADV, $35 DOS. Music Box Supper Club. (Niesel)

John Cougar Mellencamp’s Plain Spoken Tour

A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, singer-songwriter John Cougar Mellencamp’s career stretches back decades. His new album, Plain Spoken, is one of his rootsier efforts. It commences with the folk-y “Troubled Man” and keeps going with songs like the bluegrass-tinged “Sometimes There’s God” and the stripped down “The Isolation of Mister.” Mellencamp has still been playing hits like “Small Town” and “Pink Houses” on the tour so expect to hear a good mix of old and new at tonight’s show. 7:30 p.m., $42.50-$118.50. Connor Palace. (Niesel)

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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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