7 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

click to enlarge 7 Concerts to Catch This Weekend
Courtesy of Vanguard Records


You can think of O.A.R. as an Ohio band. The group, which first formed in Rockville, Maryland in 1996, would relocate to Columbus after all the members decided to attend Ohio State University. The group thrived on the frat party circuit there and picked up sax man Jerry DePizzo, a native of Youngstown, along the way. On its latest album, last year’s The Rockville LP, the group tries to write the kind of summery songs that inspired it in the early days. With blaring saxophone riffs and anthemic vocals, “Favorite Song” has a great feel to it and the songs live up to expectations. Expect to hear a slew of them at tonight's show. 6:45 p.m., $37.50 ADV, $42 DOS. Jacobs Pavilion.

Sinatra Night with Michael Sonata

Canton native Michael Sonata has always been involved in plays and choirs and was a member of the University of Notre Dame Glee Club. In 2004, he auditioned for a role in a Sopranos spoof that required a character based on Frank Sinatra. Sonata got the part and has been imitating Ol’ Blue Eyes ever since. He includes some 90 songs in his repertoire and covers all eras, including the Columbia years and the Capitol years. He even takes requests from the audience. (Jeff Niesel), 8 p.m., $7. Music Box Supper Club.


Allison Bencar

Cleveland native Allison Bencar, having tapped into the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll at a young age, has always been a singer. Her most recent album, last year’s First Call, shows off a wide range of songwriting chops — the delicate/angry strain of lost love in “Sorry,” the meandering melody of “Broken Porch,” the upbeat opener “First Call.” Throughout it all, Bencar distinguishes herself from other Americana singers, opting for depth and richness in even her simplest lines. “Karen Carpenter was actually huge for me. She made me feel good about having a low voice. As a little girl I felt like she sang with her whole heart,” she has said. (Eric Sandy), 8 p.m., $5. Beachland Tavern.

Kick Up the Dust Tour with Luke Bryan

Georgia-born singer-songwriter Luke Bryan isn’t exactly a newcomer — his career dates back to the late 2000s. But he’s recently become one of country’s biggest superstars and his ability to pack some 20,000 fans into Blossom last year was a testimony to his success. At that show, he ran the length of the stage with all the stamina of the Energizer Bunny, tossing his wireless microphone in the air, catching the sticks his drummer threw his way and putting some exaggerated pelvic thrusts into his performance of “Country Man.” At one point, he even pantomimed hitting a home run. The current tour comes in the wake of Kill the Lights, an eclectic collection of party anthems ("Kick the Dust Up") and pensive love songs (the piano-ballad "Strip it Down"). (Niesel), 5:35 p.m., $49.75-$89.75. First Energy Stadium.

Todd Rundgren with the Akron Symphony Orchestra

Singer-guitarist Todd Rundgren has spent the past couple of years playing a series of tour dates billed as An Unpredictable Evening with Todd Rundgren, and it’s quite appropriate, because “unpredictable” is a perfect summary of his career in a nutshell. It’s all part of the “choose your own adventure” feeling that comes with being a Rundgren fan. More than four decades into his career, the veteran artist and producer continues to be driven to explore the new challenges and ideas whenever the inspiration might strike. He’s keenly aware that his musical experiments can test the limits and patience of his fans and yet if there’s a line, it doesn’t seem like he’s afraid of driving over it. (Matt Wardlaw) 8 p.m. today and tomorrow, $12-$127. Akron Civic Theatre.

Slightly Stoopid

The SoCal band's new album, Meanwhile... Back At the Lab, commences with the jazzy "Dabbington" and then embraces everything from funk to punk. "The Prophet," a song that singer Miles Doughty wrote years ago with the Sublime singer Bradley Nowell, could even pass as a Sublime tune as it mixes reggae, pop and rock. The song's music video includes cameos from the band's influences and friends, including G-Love, Cypress Hill's B-Real and Sen Dog, Don Carlos, Fishbone's Angelo Moore, Sublime/Long Beach Dub Allstars' Marshall Goodman, tattoo artist Opie Ortiz and MMA athlete Nate Diaz. Expect to hear it and a good number of older tunes at tonight's show. 6:30 p.m., $29.50 ADV, $32 DOS. Jacobs Pavilion.


Thee Oh Sees

Anchored by a wide-ranging stylistic influences, San Francisco’s Thee Oh Sees have been maintaining firm footing on the gas pedal of psychedelia for years now. Rooted in punk, their music reminds listeners that all forward motion is progress and that there are always new sounds to discover around each verse. Back in May, the band released Mutilator Defeated at Last, their ninth album as Thee Oh Sees, and their 14th studio album overall. It’s a fast-moving sea of styles, frantic and engaging. Opener “Web,” like many songs here, hangs on Timothy Hellman’s groovy bass line, dodging manic blows from vocalist and guitarist John Dwyer. The band is touring with two drummers this year — Ryan Moutinho and Dan Rincon — which will keep that in-studio intensity high onstage. (Sandy), 8:30 p.m., $15 ADV, $17 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

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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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