9 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

Concert Preview

click to enlarge 9 Concerts to Catch This Weekend
Scott Sandberg

Ed Sheeran

Because of an ability to command a stage without any accompaniment, you can often tell when a musician got his or her start performing on street corners and open mics. Such is the case with Brit singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. The guy played plenty of small venues before up-scaling to bigger rooms in late 2012 and early 2013 and then playing arenas last year with country superstar Taylor Swift. His latest album, x, is one of the year’s most satisfying pop releases and shows just how much he’s evolved as a songwriter. (Jeff Niesel), 7:30 p.m., $39.50-$75. Blossom.

Kiss Me Deadly

Recorded locally with producer Chris Keffer at Magnetic Sound studios, the band's latest album, What You Do in the Dark, features vintage sounds. Singer Jen Poland says the studio experience was "very collaborative." "It depends on when I'm writing the songs," says Poland, who adds that the vinyl version of the album, which was pressed locally at Gotta Groove Records, has just come out. The album's title track features seductive vocals and a retro-sounding guitar riff that sounds like it was lifted from a '60s garage rock tune. "I guess we do sound retro," says Poland. "I've been told we sound like '60s, but I didn't grow up on that so I don't know how we ended up sounding like that." (Niesel) 9 p.m., $5. The Euclid Tavern.

Nellie McKay

Versatile singer-songwriter Nellie McKay has done it all. She’s performed on Broadway and played on all the biggest latenight talk shows. She’s written music for TV shows and films, and one of her albums even became a ballet. On her latest studio effort, My Weekly Reader, she plays a little bit of everything, including psychedelic rock ("Bold Marauder") and breezy pop ("Quicksilver Girl"), and sounds completely natural as she shifts from one musical style to the next. She regularly performs at Nighttown so expect to see a good show. (Niesel), 8:30 p.m., $25. Nighttown.

Mike Peters of the Alarm

When singer-guitarist Mike Peters wraps up his current tour in October, he’ll do it in his homeland of Wales with an epic show that will find him backed by a full orchestra and two choirs. His return performance at Akron’s Musica will be a bit scaled down by comparison, but he promises that fans can expect a “full rock show” that will not leave them disappointed. (Matt Wardlaw) 8 p.m., $18. Musica.

Spyro Gyra

A jazz fusion act that arguably peaked creatively in the '80s, the Buffalo-based Spyro Gyra has somehow managed to put out 30 albums over the course of a career that dates back to 1974. Early on, the group became a regional act and Cleveland was one of the first cities outside of Buffalo to embrace the band. The group recorded its most recent album, 2013's The Rhinebeck Sessions, in a three-day session in Rhinebeck, New York. The opening track, "Special Delivery," incorporates Latin rhythms while retaining the band's signature sound. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $30. The Kent Stage.

Joe Walsh

Drummer Joe Vitale and singer-guitarist Joe Walsh both did stints in the Kent-based band the Measles at separate points, but it would be a little while longer before the pair found themselves in a band together, meeting up in Colorado to record the debut Barnstorm album with Vitale on drums and bassist Kenny Passarelli. Released in 1972, the album marked Walsh’s first post-James Gang recordings and launched the next phase of his career. Vitale co-wrote a pair of songs with Walsh on the album and also added additional vocals, percussion and keyboards on the album. The two musicians have continued to collaborate and work on each album that Walsh has done since then. They’re back together again tonight as Walsh launches his first full solo tour in several years tonight with the second of two sold out shows at the Packard Music Hall in Warren. The show will feature a unique setlist that will please both casual fans and the diehards. (Wardlaw), 8 p.m. Packard Music Hall.


Ace Frehley

Space Invader, singer-guitarist Ace Frehley’s latest solo album, continues the successful comeback story for the 64-year old veteran guitarist who scored a Top 10 debut on the Billboard charts when the album was released last year in August. The chart debut added another milestone to Frehley’s career, as he became the first KISS member to have an album debut in the Top 10 as a solo artist. Anomaly, his previous solo album, released in 2009, peaked at #26 on the album charts. (Wardlaw) 8 p.m., $35-$60. Hard Rock Rocksino.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood

There's something about the Chris Robinson Brotherhood's sound that makes it seem like it should be easy to describe: some sort of classic rock throwback with a pinch of that Robinson aesthetic, grizzled beard and all. The sound is the sort of groove-based rock that fits in well with almost any situation (chillin' on the porch, driving around, spending at night at the Beachland, etc.). "Badlands Here We Come" is among the band's finest examples of this hazy notion I'm trying to get at. It's just good music, and if your toes aren't tapping out the beat, then that's more your fault than anything. The Brotherhood's just providing the conduit; your head space is as much the show as the band's presence onstage. Tonight's show is the first of a two-night stand. (Eric Sandy), 8:30 p.m., $19 ADV, $22 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.


UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue

This veteran UK-based reggae act is back on the road for its first North American tour in eight years. The group will undoubtedly play hits such as "Red, Red Wine" and "Can't Help Falling in Love," but it will also showcase material from its new album, Silhouette. The title track and first single offers laid back grooves and crisp harmony vocals that suggest the group hasn't ventured far from the commercial radio friendly fare it churned out in the '80s and '90s. 8:30 p.m., $25. Hard Rock Rocksino.

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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