9 Concerts to Catch This Weekend


Ottawa EP Release

This local band cites acts such as Portugal the Man and the Talking Heads as influences. As singer Dale DeLong explains it, band members each have different influences. "Tim in particular is really into Wilco and My Morning Jacket and you can hear that in his riffs," he says. "Will is very '90s rock. He likes Oasis and some Motown stuff. I have no idea what Steve listens to. Chris is all over the place, from indie to classic rock. He likes Rush and King Crimson. I'm the most pop person. I'm a sucker for big songs. I love classic rock like Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac. The first time I saw New Kids on the Block, I knew that's what I wanted to do." The band's new EP offers a nice distillation of its influence. "The Good Kind" has a bit of Black Keys-inspired garage blues and a real swagger to it as its beefy bass riff propels the track. "Lie to Me" starts slow and builds in intensity as DeLong sings, "I'm giving up on getting old." "There's a theme," says DeLong. "When we were in the Royaltons, I went through a partying phase. My dad used to tell me I wasn't going to live that long living like that. 'Lie to Me' is an evolution of the person I was at 23 to the person I am at 29." (Jeff Niesel) 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

Greg Blachman Band

A Cincinnati transplant by way of our very own Highland Heights, Greg Blachman has been sowing his progressive rock vibes across the Buckeye State for years now. In the mid-2000s, Blachman bailed on a master’s program at Wright State University to pursue music full time. The result, among all sorts of experiences on the road and in the studio, was his 2013 debut, Beyond Horizons, available in full on Blachman’s reverbnation page. The title cut showcases some great rhythmic chops, with Blachman and guitarist Doug Carter doubling down on ’90s-style grunge riffs and trading soaring solos. The band always brings heat to these semi-rare Cleveland shows, so you’ll want to check this out and get your prog fix in tonight. 9 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern. (Eric Sandy), 9 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern.

Red Wanting Blue

The Columbus-based alternative rock band Red Wanting Blue has played a number of different venues (House of Blues, Musica, Grog Shop) on various trips to Cleveland. But not one of them is as unique as Trinity Cathedral, the historic church located on Euclid Avenue. Tonight, the band will launch a new concert series at the 500-seat venue. According to a press release, it will be “the first contemporary rock concert ever staged at Trinity Cathedral.” “This is such a unique venue and an incredibly cool concept,” says frontman Scott Terry in a press release. “Cleveland is a big market for us and the fans have been amazing in their support of our band. We feel that a show like this offers our fans a much different environment to experience our music. As we try to present unique experiences for our fans, this just feels like the right next stop on our journey.” (Niesel) 8 p.m., $30. Trinity Cathedral.


The 6th Annual Cleveland Metal Holiday Food Drive

Auburn Records, WJCU 88.7 FM and German writer and metal fan Iron Ingo Stührenberg are the sponsors for this year's event, set to take place at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern. Local metal acts Shok Paris and Midnight are slated to headline. Black Death Resurrected, Sunless Sky, Suede Brothers, Wretch, Venomin James, Deadiron, Olathia, Vulgar Devils, Strong Tactics, JJ Grim and Mythrias are also scheduled to perform along with the Judas Priest tribute act Painkiller. "Speaking as a metal fan myself, I think we have the best lineup ever for this event," he says. "Shok Paris are longtime veterans of the Cleveland metal scene who haven't played out much recently. They'll be featuring songs from their new album that's coming soon. Midnight are huge in the underground and perform regularly all over the world. They recently played a festival in Holland. They're headlining the tavern and requested to play the small room. It's going to be insanity. They'll definitely draw a big crowd. We'll also be raffling off some really cool prizes that were donated by The Exchange, Derek Hess, Guitar Center, Warner Music Group, Century Media Records, Roadrunner Records,Cleveland Agora, Cyclops Tattoo Studio, Janet Macoska, Anastasia Pantsios, Ken Kitt and Joe Kleon to name a few. All proceeds from the raffle will be donated to our three charity groups." (Niesel) 5 p.m., Free. Beachland Ballroom.

Counting Crows

When Counting Crows emerged in 1993, their distillation of Van Morrison-inspired vocals and alt-country-like melodies was truly unique. Their 1993 debut August and Everything After was an auspicious album that heralded a bright new talent. Now, after selling some 20 million albums, the group released its latest work, Somewhere Under Wonderland, earlier this year. Album opener “Palisades Park” opens with a bit of horn and piano before singer Adam Durtiz starts riffing, dropping images that suggest a mid-life crisis. The album has its moments: “Earthquake Driver” is a snappy number with terrific harmony vocals that make it sound like a Beach Boys tune, and with its call-and-response vocals, “Scarecrow” sounds like something the band might play at a hootenanny. Duritz has an evocative voice and can still write with a poet’s sense of imagery and detail. (Niesel), 7:30 p.m., $59-$75. Packard Music Hall.

Morgan Mecaskey CD Release

Local singer-songwriter Mogran Mecaskey played in the revered local coffee shop folk act Tinamou from 2007 until about 2011 until she set out to record and play on her own. Released toward the end of last year, Mecaskey's first solo album, Righteous Kind, is a carefully crafted collection of six tunes that features a range of instrumentation, including violin, trombone, saxophone and flute. Her new EP is also meticulously put together. The Melissa Etheridge-like album opener “White Horse” commences with shimmering guitars and passionate vocals as Mecaskey croons, “Sometimes, I don’t feel like who I really am” over and over. It’s a solid anthem that sets the tone for the EP. Woozy horns drive the mellow, R&B-inspired “Fighting Extinction” and the title track is a jazzy number that allows Mecaskey to show off her terrific voice. The Joni Mitchell-like ballad “Crushed” has a genuine tenderness to it and makes for the perfect album closer. Another solid effort from one of the city’s better singer-songwriters. 7:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Grog Shop.

Ohio City Singers

About 10 years ago, singer-songwriter Chris Allen’s father asked him to write him a Cleveland Christmas song. Allen and his sister Molly worked up four of them and then threw a big Christmas party to which they invited their musician friends. They played the four original tunes they had penned as well as a few choice covers, recorded them and delivered them on a CD to their father as a Christmas gift. And thus, the Ohio City Singers were born. The band subsequently released a handful of albums and delivered holiday cheer each year by playing at area clubs and bars. Today’s family-friendly gig represents its debut at Music Box Supper Club. (Niesel), 2 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Music Box Supper Club.

Say Anything

Goofball indie rock band Say Anything rose to prominence on college campuses across the U.S. when ...Is a Real Boy came out in the mid-2000s. “Alive with the Glory of Love” was the standout single, led by off-kilter vocals and jaunty guitar work. “The songs were jam-packed with fairly blatant nods to bands I dig (Queen, Saves the Day, Pavement, Faith No More, Fugazi, etc.),” frontman Max Bemis said at the time, and those influences still hold forth in the band’s current output. Years later, Say Anything dropped Hebrews (July 2014) and extended its weirdness, going so far as to drop guitars entirely and replace them with orchestral string arrangements. The new vibe puts a fun, aspirational twist on a familiar band’s patent sound. New single “Six, Six, Six” offers a refreshing glimpse into how the band is handling that intersection. (Sandy), 8 p.m., $22.50 ADV, $26 DOS. House of Blues.

Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden

Singer-songwriter Kate Tucker grew up in Suffield, a small farm town outside of Akron, and started playing around the area in the early 2000s. After graduating from the University of Akron, she moved to Paris for a while before ending up in Seattle, where she recorded her first EP. In 2010, she went back to Akron for a few months working on a short film and music video for her song “Bullet Train.” She raised a few eyebrows with her 2010 debut, which was produced by Blake Wescott (Pedro the Lion, Damien Jurado). Earlier this year, she issued her latest long player, The Shape, The Color, The Feel, an album that features hushed vocals and pretty pop melodies. Tucker regularly revisits town to play Musica, a venue whose intimacy suits her songs well. (Niesel), 9 p.m., $10. Musica.

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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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