8 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend

click to enlarge DANNY CLINCH
Danny Clinch

Old Crow Medicine Show/Dom Flemons

Old Crow Medicine Show singer-multi-instrumentalist Ketch Secor and singer-guitarist Critter Fuqua started playing music together when they were in seventh grade. Back then, however, the guys didn’t play the old-time folk and fiddle music for which Old Crow is known. They both picked up the guitar when they were in their teens and listened to bands such as Guns N' Roses and Nirvana. They’d eventually gravitate toward Bob Dylan and would form Old Crow some 20 years ago. The Dylan connection has been a strong one. Last year, the Country Music Hall of Fame contacted the band about paying homage to Dylan, who was the subject of an exhibit that chronicled how the singer-songwriter changed the perception of Nashville when he went there in 1966 to record Blonde on Blonde. The museum asked the band to play the album during a two-night stand, and the band even turned the shows into a live album. Tonight's tour, however, supports Volunteer, the group's new album of original tunes. (Jeff Niesel) 8 p.m., $33.50 ADV, $39.50 DOS. House of Blues.

Into the Blue: Grateful Dead Revival

The spirit of the Grateful Dead is a joyous and storied tale. Here in Northeast Ohio, a community of tributes — whole bands and one-off shows — keep the Dead’s sonic ethos alive and buzzing. Into the Blue, which came together through an impromptu 11 a.m. gig at Nelson Ledges one year, is among the best. They don’t play too often, so their shows carry a certain special aura, and tonight’s promises more wonderful music. 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. And what of the Dead’s dynamic career arc? “We kinda mix and match [musical styles],” guitarist Dan Shramo once told Scene. “And we'll even do that in the middle of jams. So here we are in 1990s territory, and then we drift off into the 1970s.” (Eric Sandy) 9 p.m., $12. Beachland Ballroom.

Kate Tucker/Sway Cherry, Sway

Born in Akron, singer-songwriter Kate Tucker started singing and songwriting with a hard-rock band while in high school. That group recorded while she was in college and played in the area. After marrying, Tucker moved first to Paris and then to Seattle and released a solo EP and then a full-length that she recorded there at Bear Creek Studio, the place where acts such as Brandi Carlile, Rubblebucket, Vance Joy and the Lumineers have recorded. She worked on the albums with producer Ryan Hadlock. Tucker, who's lived in Nashville since 2011, dedicated her most recent album, Practical Sadness, to her mother who passed away in Akron two years ago. The 10-song disc opens with the mid-tempo rocker "Anybody's Business," a track that has the cadence of a Sheryl Crow tune but embraces an indie rock vibe (think Kristin Hersh or Juliana Hatfield). Tonight's show in support of the disc represents Tucker's first area concert with a full band in years. (Niesel) 9 p.m., $12. Musica.

The War on Drugs

There’s something simultaneously introspective and anthemic about the War on Drugs’ 2014 album Lost in the Dream. At every point in the album, the band toes the line between the ontological and the physical. The last time the band came to Cleveland, they played House of Blues, and the room’s size constraints were palpable. This time, they’ll be opening up their sound at the the Agora, letting all that unlocked magic flow a little more freely as they bring their tour in support of last year's A Deeper Understanding to town. (Eric Sandy) 7 p.m., $36 ADV, $41 DOS. Agora Theatre.


Prefuse 73/Muamin Collective

A hip-hop producer who releases music under the aliases Prefuse 73, Delarosa & Asora, Ahmad Szabo and Piano Overlord, Scott Herren also plays in the groups Savath y Savalas, Sons of the Morning, Fudge, Risil and Diamond Watch Wrists. His current that brings him to Mahall's tonight comes in support of the new Prefuse 73 album Sacrifices. It features glitchy, DJ Shadow-like tracks like "Late to the Party" and "Transmission Nines" that should create for a sublime listening experience when he creates the tracks at tonight's show.  (Niesel) 9 p.m., $15. Mahall's 20 Lanes.


Barenaked Ladies/Better Than Ezra/KT Tunstall

Given that Barenaked Ladies have played Cleveland since the early days, it’s not a surprise that the Canadian alt-rock band has always included a Cleveland stop as part of its Last Summer on Earth Tour. This year's tour, which touches down at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica tonight, pairs the group with special guests Better Than Ezra and KT Tunstall. The connections run deep: Better Than Ezra's Kevin Griffin has been a songwriting collaborator for almost a decade and KT has played with the band's Ed Robertson in past. The groups will likely perform together at some point too. (Niesel) 7 p.m., $32.50-$75. Jacobs Pavilion.

Kevin Gordon/Sands & Hearns

Louisiana-raised singer-songwriter Kevin Gordon has a way with words and he’s got the diploma to back it up. Gordon graduated from ballyhooed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His latest effort, Tilt & Shine, arrives as he celebrates 20 years of recording and touring. Lyrically, it references everything from an
Angola prison to drugged-out road trips to the Gulf. The ramshackle Tom Waits-meets-Randy Newman album opener “Fire at the End of the World” showcases Gordon raspy vocals and sets the tone for the terrific disc. (Niesel) 8 p.m., $13 ADV, $15 DOS. Beachland Tavern.

Jimmy Eat World/Rozwell Kid

Everyone has that song that got them through the teenage years. Mine was Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle,” an uplifting coming-of-age story meant to explain that the problems that seem earth-shattering at a young age are just little bumps at the start of a much longer winding road leading you to where you are meant to be. “Sweetness,” another track from 2001’s Bleed American, is harder than “The Middle” with heavy instrumentals and vocals that are less of a comfort and more of a yell. “Hear You Me” is a stripped down success from the same record, displaying the band’s versatility and reminding every '90s kid of their childhood. On its latest record, 2016’s Integrity Blues, the band ditches its signature angsty sound from Bleed American and opts for a darker, soft rock feel. “Pretty Grids” is a whisper of a prophecy while “The End is Beautiful” sounds like the perfect slow dance for rock fans. “You with Me” is a good sample of the band’s new sound, with choral background vocals, acoustic guitar and a lead vocal that is more Goo Goo Dolls than Fall Out Boy. (Halle Weber), 8 p.m., $27.50 ADV, $30 DOS. House of Blues.

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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