Livewire: 15 of the Best Concerts in Cleveland Through Valentine's Day

Meet Me, Madonna, Badfish and more real music in the real world

click to enlarge Meet Me @ the Altar returns to Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood. See: Thursday, Feb. 1. - Credit: LA Rodgers
Credit: LA Rodgers
Meet Me @ the Altar returns to Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood. See: Thursday, Feb. 1.

WED 01/31

Sam Hooper Group
Local blues guitarist Sam Hooper has opened for Coco Montoya and Walter Trout when they played the Beachland, but this is his first full headlining show in the Tavern in several years. Hooper and Co. plan to play a few songs they've never played before as well as a new original song or two. The show starts at 8 p.m.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

Umphrey's McGee
This jam band formed in late 1997 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, IN and began gigging around the area in the early part of 1998. The group regularly comes to House of Blues and returns to the club tonight at 7.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583,

THU 02/01

Mark Gamsjager & the Lustre Kings
Mark Gamsjager and Co. have played alongside the likes of rockabilly heroes such as Wanda Jackson, Bill Kirchen and Robert Gordon, and tonight at 8, they bring their musical expertise to the Beachland Tavern to play a special set that pays tribute to Elvis Presley.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

Meet Me @ The Altar
Following summer tour dates as direct support for 5 Seconds of Summer, this indie group released a deluxe version of its debut album, Past // Present // Future, which featured new singles “Strangers" and “Give It Up" in addition to ta cover of “Take Me Away” from the iconic 2000s movie Freaky Friday. Songs such as the jittery "Say It (To My Face)" come off as punkier No Doubt and will easily inspire sing-alongs with fans. The band plays tonight at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood.
13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-3280,

FRI 02/02

Bumpin Uglies
The popular jam band arrives at the Beachland Ballroom tonight for the first of two shows in a two-night stand. The current tour supports Underdog: The Acoustic Sessions, a 16-track album that features seven new songs and nine "fan favorites." Tracks such as "Locust Ave" features Sublime-like cadences as the group embraces a reggae sensibility even when playing unplugged. Tonight's concert begins at 8. The Grilled Lincolns and Higher Education open the show. TobyRaps and C-Level open tomorrow night's show, which also commences at 8.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

Machine Head and Fear Factory
These two veteran hard rock bands bring their co-headlining tour to MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage. Formed in 1991 by singer-guitarist Robb Flynn, who remains the only original member of the band, Machine Head returned with new material in 2022 when it released Of Kingdom and Crown, an album of ominous sounding tunes such as album opener "Slaughter the Martyr," a Tool-like track that begins with hushed vocals. Formed in 1989, Fear Factory still counts guitarist Dino Cazares as an original member. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7793,

SAT 02/03

Eric Johanson
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Eric Johanson plays everything from progressive Americana to blues-based roots rock and New Orleans funk. His four most recent solo releases — Live at DBA: New Orleans Bootleg, Covered Tracks: Vol. 1, Covered Tracks: Vol. 2 and Below Sea Level — all reached Top 10 positions on the Billboard blues charts. He comes to the Treelawn Social tonight in support of The Deep & the Dirty, an album produced by outlaw country artist Jesse Dayton.
15335 Waterloo Rd, 216-677-8733,

SUN 02/04

The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Famous for '80 hits such as "Tuff Enuff" and "Wrap It Up," the Fabulous Thunderbirds, a band that brought Texas blues to the masses, continues to persevere even as the blues isn't as hot as it once way. Led by co-founder Kim Wilson, the group performs tonight at the Kent Stage. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
175 E. Main St., Kent, 330-677-5005,

WED 02/07
Another Dead Rockstar

Another Dead Rockstar — singer Ivo Matic, bassist Rob Parsh and guitarist Tom Curry — counts Alice in Chains, Matthew Good Band, Soundgarden, Rush, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Tool, Lynyrd Skynyrd and "a bunch of '70s, '80s, and '90s rock to the present that's too long to list" as its influences. The local group formed from the ashes of another local Cleveland band, toeHead. During the mid-'90s, toeHead played around the local area quite a bit before disbanding in 1996. Another Dead Rockstar originally formed in 2010, playing a few shows while working on writing songs. The group has just released a new 7-song album, and tonight's show at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights serves as a release party. The concert begins at 8. Altered Generation and Craig Martini open.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588,

THU 02/08

Madonna — The Celebration Tour
When Madonna performed at Quicken Loans Arena (now Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse) just about a decade ago, she was accompanied by a live band and a huge ensemble of dancers. Expect the same level of production when the Material Girl brings her world tour to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse tonight at 8:30 (or whatever time the diva decides to take the stage).
1 Center Court, 216-420-2000,

FRI 02/09

The thing about Badfish is that they perfectly encapsulate the vision set forth by Sublime's Bradley Nowell back in the day. While putting their own twist on certain songs, the band members keep the energetic spirit of Sublime alive, all while offering the music to younger generations and new fans alike. They formed in 2001 at the University of Rhode Island and it's been a wild ride ever since. Each time they come around to the region, they seem to be bolder and more invigorated. In addition, Badfish is releasing some original music, one song at a time, starting with "I Wanna Get High with You," which was released last year. They perform tonight at 6:30 at House of Blues.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583,

Keller Williams
Since 1994, singer-songwriter Keller Williams has been releasing eclectic albums, showcasing his versatility as a musician. He combines reggae, bluegrass, and rock into his songs that even include a bit of beat boxing and whistling. The guy does just about everything, and his best songs (think “Freaker by the Speaker” and “Doobie in My Pocket”). He performs tonight at 8 at the Beachland Ballroom.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

SAT 02/10

Johnny Mathis
Now 88 years old, John Royce "Johnny" Mathis remains one of the last original crooners. Mathis, who sings popular standards and jazz, has put up some remarkable numbers over the course of his remarkable career. He’s sold something like 350 million albums worldwide and defies genres as he plays Brazilian music, Spanish music, soul music, rhythm and blues, soft rock, Broadway theatre, Tin Pan Alley standards and even disco. He performs tonight at 8 at MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage.
10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7793,

Tamia and Joe
These two Grammy-nominated singers team up for this special concert that comes to the State Theatre tonight at 8. Tamia's career dates back to the early '90s. After participating in various singing and dancing competitions as a youth, she released her debut album in 1998 and inked a deal with Elektra. Her vast catalog includes R&B, gospel and soul tunes. A singer, songwriter and producer, Joe also began releasing albums in the early '90s. He had a very successful run on Jive Records and also possesses a vast catalog of tunes. The show should make for a great double bill.
1519 Euclid Avenue, 216-241-6000,

TUE 02/13
Deap Vally

This show is part of the indie band's farewell tour, and the band will play its acclaimed debut album, SISTRIONIX, in its entirety. The concert begins at 8 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

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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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