Concert Calendar

Our picks for shows you should see this week

The Blasters

When Phil Alvin first belted out the lyrics to brother Dave's "American Music" years ago, he didn't just celebrate musical roots. He also offered up a list of styles and sounds the Blasters had reclaimed for their own. The band's own roots reached far into blues, R&B, and rockabilly. But what put them on the map in the early '80s were their high-voltage live performances, which matched the punk bands they shared stages with. And if Dave's craft became central to the Blasters' persona, Phil's supercharged rockabilly-banshee vocals were their indisputable, indispensable front. The reconstituted band of recent years includes Phil and original members John Bazz on bass and Bill Bateman on drums (guitarist Keith Wyatt is the new guy). If Dave's absence contributed to a sense of Blasters Lite on 2005's 4-11-44, their raucous roadhouse energy is still very much alive onstage. — Duane Verh

With the Party Stompers. 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 18. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $17, $15 in advance; call 216-383-1124 or go to

The Saw Doctors

Just because it's the day after St. Patrick's Day, you shouldn't put away that "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" button yet. There's nothing better for that Godzilla-size hangover you're nursing than a shot or two of whiskey and more Irish music. The Saw Doctors are one of their homeland's most popular bands (their 1990 single "I Useta Lover" stayed at No. 1 in Ireland longer than any other song — take that, U2). But they're not traditionalists the way, say, the Pogues or Dropkick Murphys (yeah, we know they're from Boston) are. Their songs sound more like spirited alt-rockers than drunken shout-alongs. But feel free to get drunk and shout along all the same. This post-St. Paddy's Day gig will probably be heavy on songs from their latest album, last year's The Further Adventures of the Saw Doctors. But they've got 20 years' worth of material in them, so you'll likely hear a bunch of old stuff too. — Michael Gallucci

With AM Taxi. 8 p.m. Friday, March 18. House of Blues. Tickets: $23.50-$35; call 216-523-2583 or go to

Pere Ubu

It's easy to take Pere Ubu for granted these days. For one thing, it's hard to keep track of who's in the band — frontman David Thomas is the only original member left — which makes them easy to shrug off as no big deal. Then there are the one-off shows the group plays from time to time — like this weekend's concert at the Beachland, their only show until May, when they head to Europe for a short tour — which makes it seem like the band is just tossing this gig together. But don't take them for granted. Pere Ubu are still one of Cleveland's greatest bands and are still capable of delivering a knockout show, no matter who's onstage with Thomas. All the more reason to check them out on Saturday: They're playing their excellent 1978 debut, The Modern Dance, in its entirety. They may even throw in a cut from their latest record, 2009's Long Live Pere Ubu! Either way, The Modern Dance is an art-rock milestone. Don't miss this one. — Gallucci

With Scarcity of Tanks. 9 p.m. Saturday, March 19. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $17; call 216-383-1124 or go to


Prog-rock legends Yes have gone the route of Judas Priest and Journey, replacing their original singer with a guy from a cover band who sounds like him. Jon Anderson, who sang on every Yes album except 1981's Drama, is apparently out for good, after suffering respiratory failure that forced the cancellation of Yes' 2008 tour. Benoît David, from the Yes cover band Close to the Edge, has taken his place. Keyboardist Rick Wakeman is also missing from the current tour, but he sent his son Oliver in his place. This incarnation of Yes — which features three members of the classic lineup: guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Chris Squire, and drummer Alan White — are working on a new album to be released later this year, making it their first record in a decade. But fear not. Despite it being called In the Present, this new tour probably won't include anything more recent than the 1983 hit "Owner of a Lonely Heart."— Phil Freeman

8 p.m. Tuesday, March 22. House of Blues. Tickets: $49.50, $99.50; call 216-523-2583 or go to

Trashcan Sinatras

For a while, it looked like the Trashcan Sinatras' biggest hit — 1990's "Obscurity Knocks" — would prove prophetic. Despite building the bridge between Scotland's '80s and '90s indie-pop sounds, the band disappeared for nearly a decade, resurfacing in 2004 with Weightlifting. "The internet really saved us," says frontman Frank Reader. "When we lost our record deal [in 1996], we were still able to forge these strong, direct connections with our fan base." To their credit, the Trashcans also had the patience and awareness to make sure their return was a welcome one. "It was definitely in the back of our minds that most 'long-awaited comeback records' tend to be pretty terrible," laughs Reader. "I think we even downplayed it to ourselves, like, 'This record's much better than it should be, isn't it?'" The same could be said of Weightlifting's follow-up, 2010's In the Music, which the band is supporting with an acoustic tour. For Reader, recently transplanted from Glasgow to Los Angeles, it's also a chance to see his old mates and cure a bit of homesickness. "There's an old Billy Connolly routine where he talks about how men in Glasgow are always singing melancholy songs about not being in Glasgow, while they're still in Glasgow," he says. "I think it just travels with you. Maybe it's a sense of drama that we all have." — Andrew Clayman

9 p.m. Friday, March 18. The Winchester. Tickets: $15; call 216-226-5681 or go to

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