"We want our stage to be a little different, representing a grassroots, local vibe," says Brian Ball, head of artist relations for the family-owned business. Ball was one of a panel that selected the bands from more than 180 regional submissions. "It's not necessarily a punk battle of the bands."
Three of the four bands are punk, and psychobilly group Johnny Psycho rounds out the Cleveland representation.
"We're definitely excited," says Ryan Eilbeck, singer-guitarist for the pop-punk band Delay. "It's a good opportunity to play for a lot of people who wouldn't normally see us. It's really exciting to be a part of something so big. And to get in for free."
Each band has 30 minutes to perform, which includes unloading and reloading their equipment. A dozen bands will play the side stage, among them Grammy-nominated Bowling for Soup. The Cleveland bands will be the first four acts on the Ernie Ball stage. Gates open at noon.
· Cleveland jam band Aranka Fabian won the grand prize in the nationwide Cosmic Break contest, and the reward is a performance at Detroit's 10,000 Lakes Festival over the Fourth of July weekend with such big names as 311, John Mayer, and the String Cheese Incident. The band was selected via internet polling, then picked by a panel of industry professionals. Aranka Fabian will play the main stage July 4 at 2:30 p.m. Cleveland rockers the JiMiller Band will also be playing the fest.
· Gil Mantera's Party Dream's second disc, the Euro-new-wave platter Once Triangular, comes closer to capturing their essence than the spastic duo's debut, but the band still has to be seen to be believed. To that end, they opened their world to filmmakers Mike Carney and Stacey Goldschmidt, who produced Introduction to the Party Dream, a 30-minute short film featuring live footage and interviews with the band, their parents, and friends. The film received a warm reception in its debut at Chicago's Z Film Festival in late June. The band plans to issue an expanded version with bonus features on DVD.
· Hard-edged Cleveland rockers Shenoah have split with former Erase the Gray frontman John Sayre and replaced him with longtime friend Rob Montague, formerly of Acolderyear and Mad at Gravity. Montague will make his live debut with the modern-rock band at Peabody's Saturday, July 17.
· Members of area hip-hop troupe Spittin' Image have been performing solo shows, and while the group has not split up, it has parted ways with emcee Analog. "He was heading in a different direction," says Image's Krossword. "No hard feelings." The group is writing songs for the follow-up to their long-time-coming debut, Broken Mirrors.
· WRUW-FM 91.1 is now accepting submissions from local and regional bands for its 23rd annual Studio-A-Rama concert, one of the area's better outdoor rock festivals. The station will select eight or nine local acts. Interested bands have until July 15 to send a CD of three or more songs to WRUW-FM Cleveland, Attention: Studio-A-Rama, 11220 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, Ohio, 44106.