Concert Calendar

The shows you need to see this week

Zee Avi

Like her beach buddy (and record-company boss) Jack Johnson, Zee Avi surrounds herself with the sea. On "Swell Window," the opening track of her new album, Ghostbird, you can actually hear the surf crashing in the background. It's a soft and sweet ukulele-based song that compares relationships to those areas on the coastline that create the best waves during a storm. All 11 songs on Avi's second record are like this: low-key acoustic pop that barely rises above the sound of the surf. The Borneo-born singer-songwriter originally floated to fame as a YouTube sensation, releasing her laid-back self-titled debut in 2009. Ghostbird shares that late-night luau vibe, as Avi slowly stretches her smoky voice over gently strummed music that loads up on bongos, ukulele, and tropical flair. These warm, sunny songs will transform an early autumn evening into a breezy beach party when she comes to town this week. — Keith Gribbins

With Leah Lou and the 2 Left Shoes. 8 p.m. Thursday, September 29. Grog Shop. Tickets: $10; call 216-321-5588 or visit

Ty Segall

If 2009's Lemons was your first exposure to Ty Segall's modern-day take on garage and punk, do yourself a favor and dig deeper. The album's cover of Captain Beefheart's "Dropout Boogie" does an ample job distilling the San Francisco rocker's vast musical interests, but the previous year's self-titled effort stood out even more, distinguishing itself among the endless swell of garage retreads. On the new Goodbye Bread, it seems like Segall is working toward expanding the music's acceptable palette and forming one he can work with, while still getting fans to fawn over his garage-rock scorchers. If some of Segall's albums are less interesting than others, it's certainly not because of any semblance of professionalism on his part. It's just that songs of this particular variety shouldn't run any longer than four minutes. Only a garage-rock legend like Sky Saxon can get away with that. — Dave Cantor

With Human Eye and Mikal Cronin. 9 p.m. Friday, September 30. Beachland Tavern. Tickets: $10; call 216-383-1124 or visit

Reggae for Food

Young reggae start-ups that last more than a year are rare, but Human Nature (pictured) have been a mainstay on the local scene since 2008. With a sound that respects the genre's roots while hinting at rock and hip-hop influences, the five Akron twentysomethings (along with one of their dads) pulse out a brand of tight, contemporary reggae. Like many of their peers, Human Nature go heavy on '70s Jamaican and British music, but they mix up chords, structure, and "riddim" with a bit of Steel Pulse style too. The band opens this weekend's annual Reggae for Food fund-raiser for All Faiths Pantry. Their elders will join them for a lot of reggae packed into one place at one time: Dancehall veterans Umojah Nation and the quarter-century-old Jah Messenger are also on the bill. Headlining the benefit is the always mesmerizing (and mesmerized) Carlos Jones & Friends, Cleveland's longstanding prince of reggae. — Maude L. Campbell

7 p.m. Saturday, October 1. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $15, $10 in advance; call 216-496-4329 or visit


Back in the day, X epitomized that moment before musical dissent codified into dogma. Though spunky, the band's rhythms were never hyperventilating, and the music was more indebted to roots rock than anything Johnny Rotten and his mates came up with. While there may be more influential L.A. punk bands, none match X's facility with a hook. Part of the credit goes to guitarist Billy Zoom's steely reverb-drenched guitar licks; a bigger chunk of that credit goes to singers and songwriters John Doe and Exene Cervenka, whose duet vocals and insistent melodies have forged a catalog of indelible songs over the years. The group's current tour features a screening of the 1986 documentary X: The Unheard Music, a look at L.A.'s late-'70s/early-'80s punk scene, followed by the original quartet (drummer DJ Bonebrake rounds out the band) performing its terrific 1980 debut album, Los Angeles, in its entirety. — Chris Parker

8:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 4. Beachland Ballroom. Tickets: $30; call 216-383-1124 or visit


The London quartet Yuck remember '90s indie rock not for the sludgy guitar riffs and endless howls of angsty desperation, but for the glistening pop melodies of Teenage Fanclub and the playful pull of free-falling bands like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. Yuck's self-titled debut album, which came out earlier this year, grabs from many corners of indie rock's glory years without ever slipping into nostalgia. There's a sweet melodic undercurrent to many of their songs that eventually forces its way on top of the buzzing guitars that fuel their music. But don't let those fuzzy riffs fool you: The best songs on Yuck feel familiar, warm, and so damn cheery. Just take a listen to "Georgia," "Get Away," and "Holing Out." Yuck will release a two-disc deluxe edition of their album in a couple weeks; it's slated to feature six additional songs, including the great "Milkshake," a B-side that's better than most bands' A's. - Michael Gallucci

With Porcelain Raft and the May Company. 8 p.m. Friday,September 30. Grog Shop. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance; call 216-321-5588 or visit

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