7 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend

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click to enlarge 7 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend
Courtesy of Lords of the Highway

Lords of the Highway's 25th Anniversary Show/The Hi-Views

The local rockabilly band Lords of the Highway got its start in the early '90s when a local drummer placed an ad in Scene. He wanted to play some roots rock and singer-guitarist Dennis Bell responded to the ad. Twenty-five years later, the band is still going strong. "Dirty Girl," a track from last year's High Octane/Low Expectations, features a psychobilly vibe, thrives on howling vocals and brittle guitar riffs. For tonight's 25th anniversary show at the Beachland Ballroom, previous band members like Sugar and the Hissem brothers will play a few tracks with Bell. The show's second half will feature the current lineup. (Jeff Niesel) 9 p.m., $7. Beachland Tavern.

An Acoustic Christmas with Over The Rhine

Cincinnati’s indie folk-rock act Over the Rhine first formed in 1989 and had a brief brush with stardom in the ’90s, when it signed to the I.R.S. imprint, the same label that launched the career of R.E.M. The band never broke through to the mainstream, but it has delivered some solid albums and regularly plays Northeast Ohio, where it has a small but devote following. Its Christmas show is an annual tradition in these parts and will feature a mix of holiday original tunes and covers of holiday classics. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $27.50. The Kent Stage.

Cruel Winter Fest 4

Produced by Grog Shop talent booker Wallace Settles, Cruel Winter’s first three iterations have given a stage to a curated assortment of the city’s hottest hip-hop talent. From the Bone Thug’d stylings of Tae Miles to the Yo Gotti-signed drawls of 55Bagz, Settles has stitched together top-notch showcases each of the past three Decembers. And while rap dominates much of the down bill acts, this year’s headliners come with a pop and R&B bent. Joey A, a Cleveland-born, Nashville-bred singer-songwriter whose style has transitioned from guitar-heavy rock to shimmery dance-pop, gets top billing. His latest LP, ROCK CANDY, is cut from the same cloth as recent Bruno Mars and Liam Payne records, a winking project of bubblegum fun that doesn’t hurt to move to. Singer and Ohio Hip-Hop Award nominee J.Leshelle brings a powerful R&B and soul blend to the table. While these crooners dot the top of the lineup, the rest of the bill stands strong. Rappers Walker OG, Castle, Muamin Collective, Toobe Fresco and the Living Sound, Kent Archie, ALOOF Recs, Curly Chuck, and Freshy Ramone round out the festival. DJ Corey Grand will man the decks between sets. (Lawrence Neil) 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop.


Circa Survive/Thrice/Chon/Balance and Composure

Singer-guitarist Dustin Kensrue and guitarist Teppei Teranishi founded the hard rock band Thrice nearly a decade ago while they were in high school. The group tempered its hardcore tendencies with odd time signatures and the kind of esoteric lyrics that turned bands like Thursday in post-hardcore heroes. After a short hiatus, the band reunited in 2015 and released To Be Everywhere Is to Be Nowhere in 2016. The current tour with the like-minded Circa Survive will be the band’s last set of shows before returning to the studio to start recording its tenth album. (Niesel), 6 p.m., $29.99 ADV, $35 DOS. The Agora Theatre.

Hatebreed — 20 Years of Desire and 15 Years of Perseverance

Way back in November of 1997, the hardcore group Hatebreed released its full-length debut, Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire. By combining metal and hardcore, the group had a huge influence on the underground sound of the '00s. Released 15 years ago, Perseverance yielded one of the band’s biggest hits with "I Will Be Heard.” The band's current tour celebrates the 20 years of Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire and 15 years of Perseverance. The group will play the majority of songs from both albums, along with other “fan favorites” from its catalog. (Niesel), 6:30 p.m., $25-$35. House of Blues.


The hip-hop act Migos have been steadily buzzing since their 2013 smash “Versace” rediscovered the power of the triplet flow over booming production. Not unlike the double-time cadence popularized by Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and reinvented by A$AP Rocky, the “Migos flow” set into motion a cadenced wave that seeped into the cadences of everyone from Drake to Kanye to Ab-Soul. Their widely acknowledged cultural influence even ignited a fiery and only partly joking “Migos > The Beatles” debate on social media — John Lennon never got a hundred thousand retweets, folks pointed out. Generating a buzz from mixtape singles like “Fight Night” and “Look At My Dab,” which triggered the worldwide “dabbing” craze, Migos shot into the spotlight in late 2016 with the unexpected smash success of “Bad and Boujee” and has hit arenas for this fall tour. (Neil), 8 p.m. Covelli Centre (Youngstown).


Janet Jackson

When Janet Jackson reunited with James Samuel “Jimmy Jam” Harris III and Terry Steven Lewis, the American R&B production team that worked behind-the-scenes to turn Jackson albums such as Control and Rhythm Nation 1814 into monster hits, for 2015’s Unbreakable, the producers insisted that they work together like they had in the past without any interference from the record label. Jackson agreed. The album represents some of Jackson's best work in years. Unbreakable tracks such as the shimmering “Burnitup!” find Jackson embracing a funk and hip-hop-inspired sound. There are still plenty of slow jams (“The Great Forever” and “After You Fall”), but Jackson sounds re-energized on the album. (Niesel) 7:30 p.m. Quicken Loans Arena. $55-$135.

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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