8 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

Concert Preview

click to enlarge 8 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) Farewell Tour

This is the curtain call for Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate), a band that released consistently touching examples of songwriting. “How to Make Love Stay,” from their debut album, kicks off a brief career of heart-rending tunes and impassioned musicianship. Empire! was always a simple — but very deep — band. Comprising Michigan couple Keith and Cathy Latinen, Empire! taps the emotional indie vein of late 1990s with sincerity. Conceived originally by Keith as a solo project to fly in the face of otherwise failed dreams, the band has since taken on something of a cult status among those still interested in the best flavors of the emo sound. (Eric Sandy), 7 p.m., $10. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

 Johnnie Clampett & the Walkers 35th Anniversary Show

Some 35 years ago, John Teagle (Walking Clampetts, Vice Royals, Roy Loney) and Bruce Lipski started Red Rocket Gang to pay tribute to rockabilly legend Eddie Cochran who died that year. With the addition of Becky Armstrong and Mike Purkhiser (the Action), the group morphed into Johnnie Clampett & the Walkers. This weekend, the band celebrates its 35th anniversary with shows at Musica in Akron tonight and at the Beachland tomorrow night. Special guests slated to join them include David Loy (Ramrods), Marky Ray (Lyres, Jim Rose Curcus), Armstrong (Village Idiots) and, for the first time in 35 years, original frontman Lipski. Plus Chris Butler (Waitresses, Tin Huey, Half Cleveland), Harvey Gold (Tin Huey, Half Cleveland), George Cabaniss (Hammer Damage, Dead Boys) and others are slated to sing. The band plays Musica tonight and then hits the Beachland tomorrow night. (Jeff Niesel) 8:30 p.m., $10. Musica.

Sam Hooper Group

With four CDs released on the FBJoy Records label, singer-guitarist Sam Hooper, who grew up in Shaker Heights, has assembled a significant discography. His songs have been featured on the daytime TV dramas All My Children and The Young & the Restless. The guys in his band are no slouches. Keyboardist Sakait N. Baksar plays with the local jazz-fusion band Horns and Things, and bassist Derrick James is the music director for the band. Produced by Hooper and Mike Null and recorded by James Kananen in Cleveland at Bad Racket Studios, Hoodoo Blues, the latest from Hooper and Null, features a classic blues sound. A song like "Messin' with the Hook" features a terrific mid-song jam punctuated by some back and forth between Hooper and Baksar. Mixing and mastering was handled by India.Arie producer/engineer Jim Lightman at JL Productions in Nashville. (Niesel), 8:30 p.m., $10. Nighttown.

Surrounding Cities CD Release

This local band's new self-titled record consists of "a mix of old songs and new ideas" that the band recorded on its own at School of Rock. Local producer du jour Jim Stewart mixed it and another local, Adam Boose, mastered it. Exhibiting elements of Cheap Trick and the Posies, "Can't Believe" serves up a perfect mix of power pop and indie rock as does "Rational," a song with androgynous vocals and crunchy guitar riffs. "I Know a Girl" features snotty vocals and some great guitar riffs. The group has started to write new songs and has a slew of older songs it hasn't fleshed out yet. Expect a rousing, high-energy show. 9 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern.

The Whiskey Hollow EP Release

A local indie rock band fronted by powerhouse singer Madeline Finn, the Whiskey Hollow takes inspiration from a number of sources. The band cites Shakey Graves, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Jeff Buckley, the Black Keys and Alabama Shakes as influences; you can hear those influences distilled on “Hudson Hill,” a twangy song that's the first single from the band's new album. 8:30 p.m., $8 ADV, $12 DOS. Grog Shop.


Andrew Bird

Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird learned to play the violin at a very young age while growing up in Chicago. Initially, his formal training had a strong influence on the type of music he played. His 1996 debut, Music of Hair, commences with a gentle waltz and keeps things on the traditional side of the folk-y spectrum. Since then, Bird’s music has evolved; the songs on his new album, Are You Serious, come off as his most sonically dense to date. They also reference his marriage and the way it's changed his life. 7 p.m. House of Blues.


Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals

Veteran singer-guitarist Ben Harper, a fan of the Delta blues legends (Elmore James and Muddy Waters) and the bands that derived their sound from the blues (think Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers), creates music rooted in the blues-based classic rock style. But from Day One, Harper and Co. caught on with young fans, many of whom identify with punk and underground rock. Harper's latest album, Call It What It Is, commences with the fiery "When Sex Was Dirty," a song that features noisy guitars and ample cowbell, and doesn't let up. (Niesel), 7 p.m. House of Blues.

Loretta Lynn

“You have to take me as I am,” country singer Loretta Lynn announced from her center stage chair in 2014 before a sold out crowd at Hard Rock Live. With 50-plus years of unapologetic hits like “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man)” and “The Pill,” both of which she performed, that declaration could have summed up Lynn’s entire career. In fact, she was simply explaining that a recent eye operation made it difficult for her to navigate the stage unaccompanied. But even seated, the singer delivered a powerful performance that her generations of fans clearly loved. Expect the same from her at tonight's show. (Samantha Fryberger) 7:30 p.m. 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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