FRIDAY, AUG. 14
Heydays, the latest effort from the local band Total Babes, is a great indie pop record that features sharp hooks and accessible songs. The tune "Bone Dry Eyes," for example, benefits from raspy vocals and escalating guitars. "It's about being bored with the environment you're in," says singer Chris Brown when asked about the tune. "It's about being stuck and stagnating and wanting to get out of that. I was just feeling that I needed to get out of a toxic situation. I deliver pretty intensely on that one." The songs have a Brit-pop feel but Brown says that isn't intentional. "The songs just came out naturally," he says. "I like Yo La Tengo, Silver Jews and bands who have been doing it for a minute who are always consistently good." "Sunnyside," a song that consists of a single piano riff, comes off as one of the most evocative songs on the disc. Expect to hear many of these songs at tonight's show. 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.
DEVOtional, the annual convention dedicated to the Akron new wave band Devo, returns to the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern this weekend. Billed “the world's largest gathering of DEVO fans in the entire world,” it’s a big event. Band members Jerry Casale, Josh Hager and David Kendrick will be in attendance. The two-day event kicks off tonight at 7 with performances by Eric Nassau, Ultrabunny and Lieutenant Dance. Tomorrow, doors at the Beachland open at 2 p.m. Several tribute acts will perform, and there will be a screening of a Devo concert movie and an appearance by original member Gerald Casale. 8 p.m., $10-$35. Beachland Tavern
Dan Miraldi & the Albino Winos
Singer-guitarist Dan Miraldi has a wide range of musical interests that range from Paul McCartney and the White Stripes to Fall Out Boy and Bob Dylan. He started out listening to Elvis Presley and the Beatles, but eventually gravitated toward modern rock when he was in high school. He began playing pop-punk with Exit Suburbia, a band he formed while he was a senior at Avon High School. By his sophomore year at the College of Wooster, that act dissolved, and he formed the Cherry Flavored Elevator. When he finished college, Miraldi started yet another project, but this time he simply deemed it a solo project, issuing his solo debut, Thirsty
, in 2009 and quickly following it up with two EPs, 2010's Tease
and followed it up with 2011’s Rock N Roll Band!
"The Holy Roller Stone Revival," a song from the latter, became a finalist for "Best Rock Song" in the international John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Although the track didn't win, it did place in the top five, giving Miraldi the motivation to keep honing his songwriting skills. In 2012, he released Sugar and Adrenaline
and he followed it up a year later with two more EPs. Just recently, he issued yet another new album, Chaos, Destruction & Dancing
. The album came together last year when he knew he was moving to New York. He worked out of two different studios and produced an eclectic set of songs. The disc kicks off with the snotty, White Stripes-like "Demon Lover" and then shifts gears with the poppy "Junkie Friend." It strikes a great balance between rock and pop.9 p.m., $8. Mahall's 20 Lanes.
SATURDAY, AUG. 15
Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys
Back in the ’90s, BR549 was one of the leading alt-country acts. On numerous occasions, the band packed the Beachland Ballroom and put on some fantastic shows. BR549 is no longer together but frontman Chuck Mead has carried on as a solo artist. His most recent album, Free State Serenade
, retains the band’s signature sound. Album opener “Knee Deep in the Wakarusa River” features Mead’s distinctive vocals and some twangy slide guitar riffs. With its hiccupping backing vocals, “On a Slow Train Through Arkansas” is good fun, and the same goes for the Blasters-like “Evil Wind.” (Niesel), 8:30 p.m., $15. Beachland Tavern
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes
Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes took a trip to the past on 2012’s Men Without Women: Live 7-2-11
. Though it’s a live recording of a show, the record features Southside and the Asbury Jukes performing songs from Little Steven’s 1982 album. Longtime friends with both Steven (a founding member of the Jukes) and Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny has released more than 30 albums in a career that stretches back to the early ‘70s. A Cleveland favorite, the guy has fond memories of the days when Kid Leo put him into the regular rotation on WMMS and always puts on a especially good show in Cleveland. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $25-$40. Cain Park
SUNDAY, AUG. 16
Holding down the ska-punk scene with aplomb, The Flatliners delivered another solid album this year — opening up their sound on a slightly more accessible angle. This is heavy stuff at times, but there’s often a very simple and enticing backbone to these songs — “melodic hardcore” is how at least a few critics have labeled the band. “This Guy Reads from a Card,” for instance, chugs along power-chord verses and explosive choruses, tossing in ska-type riffs and rhythms midway through the song for good measure. “Sleep is for Bitches” kind of gives you the tenor of the band’s lyrics, and it also gives audiences a great opportunity to skank wildly and throw down on the dance floor. Like what you’ll be doing when you show up tonight. (Sandy), 8 p.m., $12 ADV, $14 DOS. Grog Shop
The band's current tour is a special one as it will celebrate the 25th anniversary release of its self-titled effort. That album was the band’s third studio effort and first for Epic Records. It became their best-selling album worldwide. Singles “Story of My Life,” “Ball and Chain,” “Ring of Fire” and “Let It Be Me” all reached Top 25 Billboard single chart positions. This past Record Store Day, the album was re-released on limited edition color vinyl for Record Store Day.
As part of the tour, the band achieved another goal. It just played its fiftieth show at House of Blues on the Sunset Strip in L.A. The club is closing and Social D wanted to bid farewell with a bang. Tonight's show is sold out. 8 p.m., $35. House of Blues