8 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend


Pigeons Playing Ping Pong/Jones for Revival

Cleveland remains a pivotal touring stop for many bands working the East Coast and Great Lakes routes. It's a city assembled by the bricks of music and art, poetry and experimentation. For a young band from, say, Baltimore, Cleveland may as well be a home away from home. We’re talking about Pigeons Playing Ping Pong here, one of the more inventively named funk bands in a genre not exactly short on inventive names. They hail from our blue-collar cousins on the Chesapeake Bay: Baltimore, and they are here to rock your souls. The band has taken advantage earnestly and meaningfully of the jam band scene at Beachland’s two hallowed rooms. In recent years, they’ve stopped by pretty regularly — opening for other bands on the jam circuit and holding down a headlining slot here and there. Tonight and tomorrow night, they’ll bring a two-night run to our little north shore town. (Eric Sandy) 8:30 p.m., $18 ADV, $20 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Ghosts of Christmas Eve

Earlier this year, the prog rock act Trans-Siberian Orchestra suffered a major loss when charismatic founder Paul O’Neill died. But in the wake of that tragedy, the group has returned to the road for its Winter Tour 2017. The tour will present “a completely updated presentation” of the DVD The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. Originally, the prog band Savatage recorded “Christmas Eve Sarajevo 12/24” in 1995. The song would reappear on TSO’s debut, 1996’s Christmas Eve and Other Stories, and launch the band into the behemoth that it is today. Expect to hear it tonight as the band returns to the town that helped launch it. (Jeff Niesel) 3 p.m. Quicken Loans Arena.


Toronzo Cannon (in the Supper Club)

Born in Chicago, blues singer-guitarist Toronzo Cannon grew up on the city’s notorious Southside. He says he didn’t initially know it had such a rich blues history. Because his uncles would patronize Theresa’s Lounge, Cannon used to go there as a child before he was even allowed in. Cannon would buy his first guitar at age 22; he hasn't looked back. On his latest album, The Chicago Way, he sings about how “real life” often gets in the way of his dreams. In the song, he describes himself as a “broken man” who can’t look at himself in the mirror. It’s heavy, emotional stuff, and the riveting guitar solos possess a real weight too. Expect to hear it tonight when he returns to the Music Box. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $15 ADV, $18 DOS. Music Box Supper Club.


Cloud Nothings/Half Animal/Christmas Pets

Cloud Nothings, which started as a solo project in Baldi’s parents’ Westlake basement, is one of the hometown bands that continues to bring national attention to the local music scene. Three of the four of the guys even live in a house together in the Old Brooklyn area. So rather than end their year with a concert elsewhere, the four-piece will headline Beachland Ballroom’s New Year’s Eve show, capping off a tremendous year for the band. (Laura Morrison)
8:30 p.m., $20 ADV, $25 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

From Venus to the Valley NYE Party

A new dress, bottles of champagne, festive decorations — New Year's Eve can add up pretty quickly. Thankfully, attending shows like the From Venus to the Valley NYE Party at Mahall's isn't too terrible on your wallet. Purchase your tickets early, and for just $13 you can be a part of the cosmic alien/1980s-themed event. Expect DJs Himiko Gogo and Lectric BB to play dance-worthy tunes inspired from the likes of Earth Girls are Easy and the B-52's. Local MC Taysu Nag will also be on hand to bring the space party to life. Naturally, intergalactic costumes are highly encouraged for the evening. (Laura Morrison), 9 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Red Wanting/Blue Carbon Leaf/Shivering Timbers

True Ohio boys, through and through, Red Wanting Blue has left its footprints all over the likes of Athens, Cleveland and Columbus. Tonight, to ring in 2018, they hit the Goodyear in Akron. They’re still riding high on the momentum of their 20th anniversary, celebrated last year, and they’ve still got a keen eye on new music. The band has been teasing a new album for about a year now, and they seem thrilled. “We all said that we didn’t want to record any songs on this record unless it was 100-percent unanimous — unless everybody loved the songs,” frontman Scott Terry told us this time last year. “It’s the greatest collective effort we have ever made.” Maybe we’ll get some new tunage tonight? (Eric Sandy), 9 p.m. Goodyear Theater.

Tropidelic/Vibe & Direct/Bumpin' Uglies/Dutty

This local jam band formed in 2008 in Kent and famously built a following after self-distributing over 10,000 free copies of its self-produced first EP, Rebirth of the Dope. After releasing its second EP, Tree City Exodus, and relocating to Cleveland, the group opened for acts like Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, the Dirty Heads, Sublime with Rome, Soja, the Wailers and Flobots. In 2011, the group issued its third album, Erie Vibes & Irie Tides; All Heads Unite followed in 2012. After signing to the label run by the jam band Pepper, the group released Heavy is the Head earlier this year and played a few Midwestern dates with the like-minded 311. Heavy is the Head’s first single, "Hey Now," a jazzy/hip-hop-inflected call-at-arms includes inspired lyrics about how the "rich are getting richer and the poor are getting killed." Good stuff. (Niesel) 9:30 p.m., $40 ADV, $45 DOS. Grog Shop.

Twiztid's New Year's Evil 10 with G-Mo SKee/Boondox/Lex the Hex Master/The R.O.C./Insane E/Alla Xul Elu/Redd/Beezy/Likewize/Toy Box/Down 2 Grind/The Grimey Ones

The rap-rock duo that features Jamie Spaniolo and Paul Methric, who perform under the respective personas of Jamie Madrox and Monoxide Child, regularly celebrates New Year's Eve in Cleveland. Former members of the group House of Krazees, which disbanded in 1997, Spaniolo and Methric have the same rapbid fanbase as former labelmates Insane Clown Posse, so you can expect the Jugaloos to be on hand for tonight's festivities. (Niesel), 6 p.m., $26 ADV, $31.20 DOS. The Agora Theatre.

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.