8 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend

Pamela Littky

Fall Out Boy/Blackbear/Jaden Smith

Bassist Pete Wentz has said that some of the songs that appear on the band’s forthcoming album, Mania, have been in the works for some time now. One good example: singer-guitarist Patrick Stump played him a working version of “Young and Menace” a couple of summers ago. But the band retooled it and finally released it this year. With its soulful vocals and pulsating synthesizers, it features a flurry of dub step beats that sound like they could have come from a Skrillex song. The jittery “The Last of the Real Ones,” another single from Mania, features upper-register vocals and a catchy piano riff. Expect to hear those tracks and more at tonight’s show, the first date of a fall tour that promises to be an elaborate affair. (Jeff Niesel) 7:30 p.m., $30.50-$70.50. Quicken Loans Arena.

Low Cut Connie/The Yawpers/Hamilton Handshake

Low Cut Connie singer-pianist Adam Weiner grew up in New Jersey in the ’80s and absorbed plenty of classic rock ’n’ roll in the process. He initially took piano lessons and then got the “the rock ’n’ roll and country and blues and country bug.” A stint in Memphis set him “on a path," and he absorbed as much blues as is humanly possible. He then began playing the gay bar circuit after moving to New York. Over the years, about 15 people have come through Low Cut Connie, which came together in 2010 and now calls Philadelphia home. The band recorded its fourth studio album, Dirty Pictures (Part 1), live-to-analog tape at Ardent Studios in Memphis. It contains "Revolution Rock N Roll." One of the year’s best singles, the tune that features a bit of barroom piano, bristles with raw energy. “Touch my body/touch my soul,” sings Weiner as the song lifts off. Be sure to catch the accompanying music video which features a blow-up doll in various poses. Elton John's a fan of the band, and his endorsement speaks volumes to the group's promise. (Niesel), 8:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.


Dälek/Street Sects/Ghost Noises/Seth Hasan (in the Locker Room)

Today’s social and political landscape is fertile ground for experimental hip-hop artists like Dälek. Inspired by the progressive minds of, e.g., Black Lives Matter, this New Jersey trio hits hard at a time when America needs it most. Channeling Jedi Mind Tricks or Death Grips at times, these guys lean toward the aggressive side of the underground, with beats that sound like chains clanging against prison walls or boxing gloves against a skull. (Eric Sandy), 7 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Flamin' Grooves/Falling Stars

In 2013, Flamin’ Groovies guitarist Cyril Jordan and charismatic lead singer Chris Wilson reunited after three decades to play sold out tours in Japan and Australia. They came through Cleveland that year too. After getting their musical sea legs back, the guys have now released Fantastic Plastic, their first studio release in more than a decade, and the first album to feature both Jordan and Wilson in 38 years. The Stones-like opening song, “What the Hell’s Goin’ On,” serves as a swaggering indictment of our times. The album also capably shows off the band’s power pop sensibilities with tunes such as “End of the World” and “She Loves Me.” It's nice to see the guys remained inspired after all these years. (Niesel) 8:30 p.m., $25. Beachland Ballroom.

The Mersey Beatles with Special Guest Author Julia Baird

Billed as the world's only all-Liverpool born Beatles tribute band and the former decade-long resident tribute band at the Cavern Club, the Liverpool nightclub where the Beatles perfected their act in the ’60s, the Mersey Beatles bring their tribute to the Fab Four to the Kent Stage tonight. Julia Baird, John Lennon's sister and the director of the Cavern Club, will also be on hand for the event, which includes a performance of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its entirety. Baird has just published Imagine This: Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon, a book that attempts to "set the record straight" on her mother, Julia Lennon.7:30 p.m., $25-$35. The Kent Stage.

Midnight Album Release Party

Jamie Walters (aka Athenar) originally played in the local metal band Boulder before forming Midnight just over 10 years ago. The group is just a solo project, though Walters employs a guitarist and drummer for the live shows. On Dec. 15, the highly regarded metal band will release its third album, Sweet Death and Ecstasy. At 32 minutes, the disc isn’t particularly long, but it’s “absolutely addicting,” as the press release announcing its arrival puts it. The CD version will feature a bonus disc featuring a 12-song live rehearsal recorded in 2015. Tonight's show serves as a special pre-release party. (Niesel), 7:30 p.m., $15. Agora Ballroom.


Ghostface Killah/Vigatron/DJ Eso/BKA Watts/DJ Walk

Among the more prolific Wu-Tang members, Ghostface Killah stands tall alongside the iconic hip-hop group’s legacy. His latest album, 2015’s Twelve Reasons to Die II, features Adrian Younge and extends Ghostface’s smooth flow, imaginative raps a and innovative beats and samplings. (You should also check out his album with BadBadNotGood, which offers a jazzy counterpoint to the typical Wu-style beats.) He joined the rest of Wu for this month’s The Saga Continues, so you can bet that he’ll be feeling at the top of his game right now. (Eric Sandy), 9 p.m., $25-$28. Grog Shop.

Leo Kottke

Acoustic guitarist and fingerpicking master Leo Kottke has been around for awhile, advancing his instrument well below the contemporary radar. In the early 2000s, he broadened his recognition in teaming up with Phish bassist Mike Gordon for Clone, a dynamite album that showcased the best of both musicians. Cuts like “Collins Missile” and the title track brought Kottke’s interesting style to the hordes of fans willing to pick up anything even tangentially related to Phish. But Kottke’s history traces a 40-year arc across s syncopated acoustic odyssey (a sonic predecessor to the likes of Keller Williams, let’s say). When he’s in his element and soaring across the melodies of “Airproofing II” or “Peckerwood,” for instance, he’s mesmerizing. (Sandy), 7 p.m., $35 ADV, $40 DOS. Music Box Supper Club.

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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