Livewire: Boys From County Hell, Straight No Chaser and the Best Concerts to Catch in Cleveland Through Christmas

See some real music in the real world

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click to enlarge Straight No Chaser brings its 25th anniversary tour to the Akron Civic. See: Thursday, Dec. 22. - Credit: Jimmy Fontaine
Credit: Jimmy Fontaine
Straight No Chaser brings its 25th anniversary tour to the Akron Civic. See: Thursday, Dec. 22.


THU 12/15

The Sheepdogs
The Sheepdogs are a band that looks back fondly to the classic rock past. The Canadian group is most notorious as the act that won Rolling Stone magazine’s “Choose the Cover” contest, and as a result will go down in rock history as the first unsigned band to appear on the magazine’s cover. Not that they stayed unsigned for long after that. After getting the attention, the band signed a deal with Atlantic and recruited Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney to handle production duties on their major label debut. As part of a tour in support of their latest power pop-leaning effort, Outta Sight, they perform tonight at 8 at the Beachland Ballroom. Tickets cost $18 in advance, $20 at the door.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

FRI 12/16

The 14th Annual Holiday Hangout Hosted by Ryan Humbert
This annual holiday concert that takes place tonight at 7:30 at the Goodyear Theatre in Akron will feature full-band holiday-themed sets from the local alt-country outfit the Shootouts, a band led by local singer-songwriter Ryan Humbert, as well as Northeast Ohio favorites such as the Labra Brothers, Angie Haze, Hey Monea, Marc Lee Shannon, Ohio Weather Band and Shelby Olive.
1201 East Market St., Akron, goodyeartheater.com.

SAT 12/17

Jim Brickman
Pianist Jim Brickman plays this part of the country every holiday season. Expect to hear both holiday favorites along with Brickman’s own holiday songs like “The Gift,” “Sending You a Little Christmas,” “Angel Eyes” and “If You Believe” when Brickman performs at 2 and 8 p.m. today and at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Hanna Theatre.
2067 East 14th St., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.org.

Ward Davis
A singer-songwriter outta Monticello, AR by way of Nashville, Ward Davis has had songs recorded by Trace Adkins, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Wade Hayes, Sammy Kershaw, Bucky Covington, Jimmie Van Zant, Buddy Jewel, Carolina Rain and the Roys. Most recently, Ward Davis co-wrote “I’m Not the Devil” with Cody Jinks. He comes to the Beachland Ballroom tonight at 8.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

Donnie Iris & the Cruisers
Pittsburgh-based Donnie Iris found his early success while performing with the Jaggerz and Wild Cherry, which had a massive hit with the single “Play that Funky Music.” Iris released his first album, Back on the Streets, in 1980 through Cleveland-based Midwest Records. Thanks to the track "Ah! Leah!" receiving airplay, MCA Records took notice and signed Iris to a five-album deal before re-releasing the album. Since then, Donnie Iris & the Cruisers have gone through lineup changes but have soldiered on, releasing 11 studio albums, one EP, two live albums and two compilation albums. The band returns to MGM Northfield Park — Center Stage tonight at 7:30.
10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield, 330-908-7793, mgmnorthfieldpark.mgmresorts.com.

SUN 12/18

Turn Blue! A Benefit for Chris Yarmock
Metrolight, Home and Garden, California Speed Bag, David Loy and the Ramrods, Val Seeley and Mike DeCapite will perform today at 3 p.m. at the Beachland Tavern as part of a special benefit for Cleveland punk rock icon Chris Yarmock. Tickets cost $10.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

THU 12/22

Straight No Chaser: The 25th Anniversary Celebration
Straight No Chaser, a musical group that features the "sound of nine unadulterated human voices coming together to make extraordinary music that is moving people in a fundamental sense," as it's put in a press release, has two RIAA Gold Certified albums, more than 1.5 million concert tickets sold, more than one billion streams on Pandora, and more than one million albums sold worldwide. The male a cappella group's concert begins at 7:30 tonight at the Akron Civic Theatre as part of a 25th anniversary celebration tour.
182 South Main St., Akron, 330-253-2488, akroncivic.com.

FRI 12/23

The Boys From the County Hell
When local rockers the Boys From the County Hell first got together in the late '90s as a Pogues cover band, they were just supposed to play once and call it a day. But after selling out their first show at the now-shuttered Euclid Tavern, the group's popularity escalated, and it’s been going strong ever since. The group has performed in Las Vegas and in Thailand. The group plays its annual holiday show tonight at 7 at House of Blues.
308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583, houseofblues.com.

Signals Midwest
The indie rock act with Cleveland roots put out a punk-leaning new album this summer and has lined up a slew of dates for 2023. It closes out the year with this show that takes place tonight at 7:30 at the Grog Shop. The Grievance Club, Low Morale, Hunden and RRRIOT!!! share the bill, and the concert serves as a benefit show for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588, grogshop.gs.

SUN 12/25

13th Annual Christmas Night Latke Party
Special guests Hank Mowery and Tom Moore and DJ Pete London join this local group as it plays its annual Latke Party concert at the Beachland Tavern tonight at 7:30. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $18 at the door.
15711 Waterloo Rd., 216-383-1124, beachlandballroom.com.

Unknownphrazes
It's a Grog Shop tradition to host a concert on Christmas Day, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the Cleveland Heights will not only be open but will feature a concert. Tonight’s show includes an appearance by Unknownphrazes, a Cleveland rapper who has opened for acts such as Dom Kennedy, Vince Staples, Curren$y and Ab-Soul. The concert starts at 9 p.m., and tickets cost $10 in advance, $15 day of show.
2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, 216-321-5588, grogshop.gs.

MON 12/26

Carlos Jones & The P.L.U.S. Band Holiday Revival
First in I-Tal and then in First Light, local singer-songwriter Carlos Jones has been at the forefront of the local reggae scene for more than 25 years. The popular local reggae singer brings his annual holiday show to Music Box Supper Club tonight at 8.
1148 Main Ave., 216-242-1250, musicboxcle.com.

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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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