Livewire: 15+ Concerts to Catch in Cleveland Through St. Patrick's Day Weekend

MIKE, Ari Lennox, Blue October, ABBApalooza and more

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click to enlarge MIKE performs at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood. See: Sunday, March 12. - Credit: Nuvany David
Credit: Nuvany David
MIKE performs at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood. See: Sunday, March 12.

THU 03/09

K. Michelle
This singer and actress began her recording career way back in 2008 when she signed a deal with Jive Records. Early on, she had a hit with “Fakin’ It,” a tune that paired her with Missy Elliott. Michelle, who might be best known for being a regular cast member on the VH1 reality television series Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta during its first two seasons, brings her tour in support of her new album, I’m the Problem, to House of Blues tonight at 7.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583,

Mod Sun
With his foray into rap behind him, singer-songwriter Mod Sun turned his focus to pop-punk for his last two albums, Internet Killed the Rock Star and God Save the Teen. Expect Mod Sun to put the emphasis on that material when he comes to the Agora tonight at 7:30. Stand Atlantic and Tom the Mail Man open.
5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221,

FRI 03/10

Blue October
The alt-rock act Blue October has experienced extreme ups and downs since forming some 20 years ago. Frontman Justin Furstenfeld chronicles that rollercoaster ride in Crazy Making — The Words and Lyrics of Justin Furstenfeld, a collection of annotated lyrics for the songs in the band's discography. A couple of years ago, he toured in support of the book and played acoustic shows. In the last couple of years, however, he's turned his attention back to Blue October, which just released its latest effort, Spinning the Truth Around. The moody title track, a contemplative ballad that features soft backing vocals, sets the tone for the disc. The group brings its tour in support of the album to the Agora at 8 tonight.
5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221,

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Last year, banjo Man John McEuen rolled into town to play the Kent Stage as part of a tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Now, the band itself comes into town with a lineup that includes founding member Jeff Hanna, harp master Jimmie Fadden (who joined in 1966) and soulful-voiced Bob Carpenter, who has more than 40 years of service in the ensemble. The show begins at 7 at the Kent Stage. Tickets cost $35 to $50.
175 E. Main St., Kent, 330-677-5005,

SAT 03/11

Boys from the County Hell
When the Boys from the County Hell first got together in 2000 as a Pogues cover band, it was supposed to be just a one-night stand. But after selling out their first show at the Euclid Tavern, the group's popularity escalated. The guys keep pretty busy this time of the year; they’ll play tonight at 8 at Music Box Supper Club as they warm up for their annual St. Patrick’s Day shows.
1148 Main Ave., 216-242-1250,

Starship Featuring Mickey Thomas
Led by Mickey Thomas, the classic rock act that has its roots in Jefferson Airplane, the terrific ’60s psychedelic rock band from San Francisco, never resonated like Airplane, though it did deliver hits such as “Janes” and “Stranger.” Thomas, who famously sang lead vocals on Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” will even revisit Airplane material for this show that comes to MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage tonight at 8.
10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7793,

White Reaper
This Louisville-based garage rock band artfully evokes ’60s and ’70s rock on their fourth studio effort, Asking for a Ride, an album that features everything from ‘70s arena rock (“Fog Machine”) to Brit-pop (“Heaven or Not”). “Pages,” the one tune with a decided hook, stands out as the best track on a middle-of-the-road effort. The alt-rock band performs tonight at 8 at the Beachland Ballroom. Militarie Gun, and Mamalarkey share the bill.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

Wishbone Ash
Led by founding member Andy Powell (guitarist, lead vocals), this veteran British rock band marks the 50th anniversary of its biggest selling, multi-platinum album, Live Dates, with this tour that brings it to the Kent Stage tonight at 7. Tickets cost $35 to $50.
175 E. Main St., Kent, 330-677-5005,

SUN 03/12

Crash Test Dummies
Best known for their 1993 Top 5 hit “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” (from the platinum-selling God Shuffled His Feet), Canada’s Crash Test Dummies have somehow persevered, despite being one-hit wonders. They even seemingly embraced their status as a novelty act by writing songs for their album, Oooh La La!, using only ’70s analog musical toys. They return to Kent Stage tonight at 7. Tickets cost $40 to $50.
175 E. Main St., Kent, 330-677-5005,

Released to critical acclaim last year, MIKE's new album, Beware of the Monkey, "reflects on the solace and stability he established over a brief hiatus and the longest period he's gone without releasing an album in his prolific career," as it's put in a press release. The rapper performs tonight at 7 at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood with 454, Niontay, and 12k Gotti.
13200 Madison Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-3280,

TUE 03/14

Marco Benevento

This innovative jam/jazz keyboardist played all the instruments on his latest album, a self-titled affair that demonstrates his musical range. Tonight's show begins at 8:30 at the Beachland Ballroom. Mike Dillon & Punkadelick open.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

WED 03/15

Kelsea Ballerini
Is country singer Kelsea Ballerini the next Taylor Swift? Swift seems to think so. A few years back, she gave the up-and-coming artist a ringing endorsement. Ballerini appears to be living up to expectations too. Her most recent effort, Rolling Up the Welcome Mat, is accompanied by a short film that Ballerini wrote and co-directed. The country singer-songwriter performs tonight at 7 at the Agora. Georgia Webster opens the show.
5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221,

FRI 03/17

The Blues Is Alright Tour
Calvin Richardson, Pokey Bear, King George, Tucka, Theodis Ealey and Lenny Williams perform as part of this traveling tour featuring blues icons. Tonight's performance takes place at 8 at the State Theatre.
1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000,

Celebrating the Music of Jeff Beck
With this show at Music Box Supper Club, local bluesman Sam Hooper pays tribute to the late, great guitarist Jeff Beck, who passed away last month at 78 after a storied career that included stints in the Yardbirds, the Jeff Beck Group, and Beck, Bogert & Appice. Hooper will lead a group of local all-stars that includes Moss Stanley, Gregory Henderson, Jim Wall, Guy Snowdon, Denise Rainey Pace, Gaetano Letizia, Michele George, Jon Pyle and Butch Armstrong). The performance will cover all stages of Beck’s career, from his early days in the Yardbirds through his recent work with Rod Stewart and Joss Stone., The concert begins at 8 p.m.
1148 Main Ave., 216-242-1250,

Ekoostik Hookah
Formed in 1991, this Ohio-based jam band has hosted more than 50 iterations of Hookahville, a biannual festival usually held over Memorial and Labor Day weekends. Over the decades, the festival has featured national acts such as Ratdog, Gov't Mule, Umphrey's McGee, Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Blues Traveler and many others. The group has achieved success and longevity largely without the support of mainstream media, corporate management, or even a record label. Now in its 30th year, the group performs tonight at 8 at the Beachland Ballroom.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

Ari Lennox
An R&B singer-songwriter signed to J. Cole's Dreamville imprint, Ari Lennox started releasing music about 10 years ago. Based in Washington, D.C., Lennox began uploading her music around 2012 and released her debut EP, Ariography, in 2013. The current tour supports her sophomore effort, age/sex/location. Tonight’s show starts at 7 at House of Blues.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583,

We Three
This group made up of siblings Manny, Joshua and Bethany appeared on America’s Got Talent. Since then, it's released three full-length albums and EPs and toured extensively. It's also amassed over 200 millions streams on Spotify and has exceeded 2.2 million followers on their social media. With songs about mental health, love and insecurity, the band's new album finds the group getting introspective. The act comes to the Grog Shop tonight for a show that takes place at 8.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588,

SAT 03/18

A tribute to the Swedish pop band, ABBApalooza features songs such as "Dancing Queen," "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)," "Knowing Me-Knowing You," "Mamma Mia," "Waterloo" and "The Winner Takes It All." Performances take place at 8 tonight and at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Connor Palace.
1615 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000,

Way back in 1981, Belfast born flute player Frankie Kennedy met fiddler and singer Mairead Ní Mhaonaigh, and the duo formed the folk-rock act Altan. The group has steadily recorded and toured ever since. It performs tonight at 7 at the Kent Stage. Tickets cost $32 to $42.
175 E. Main St., Kent, 330-677-5005,

Austin Walkin' Cane Record Release
For his latest studio album, Austin Walkin’ Cane • Muscle Shoals, local singer-songwriter Austin Walkin’ Cane went to FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, the place where Aretha Franklin, Solomon Burke and the Allman Brothers had recorded. He approached the session as a live gig and played whatever he felt like playing — not that there's anything wrong with that. After he got home, Cane realized he had done a few too many covers, so he went to Don Dixon’s studio in Canton to record a few more tunes that show up on the terrific LP. He plays a release party tonight at 8 at the Beachland Ballroom. Alex Bevan opens. Tickets cost $15.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124,

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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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