New Sounds, Old Brothers

A venerable Cleveland blues club adds local showcases to its lineup

For more than 50 years, Brothers Lounge on Cleveland's western edge has been a bastion of local music — most notably the blues. But in recent months, Brothers has stepped up its game, reserving two nights a week for up-and-coming players of all stripes. Sunday's New Music Showcase features local artists occasionally paired with national touring acts. Wednesday's Support Local Unsigned Talent Night spotlights new groups alongside those with a little more experience. "These are mostly bands that are still finding their way," says Patrick Sirl, the club's booker. "They may have some songs and put out an EP, but they haven't done a whole lot of road time. This is a good place for them to work on their craft."

Sirl started the showcases in early September, and they typically work the same way: Two or three bands each play 45-minute sets. While he tries to keep the bills somewhat complementary, Sirl says they're all about introducing fans to new artists and new music. So you might hear indie rockers after a set by a more classic-leaning band. So far, Winters Warm, Filmstrip, and Attack Cat have all performed. This week's lineup includes Pale Hollow with the Canadian band the Trews on Sunday and Peanuts' annual All-Star Jam on Wednesday.

Despite the recent shift toward more eclectic sounds, Sirl insists that Brothers still digs the blues — which, by the way, you can still find in abundance on other nights of the week. "I just want to broaden our horizons a little bit," he says. The new-music nights have been getting good word-of-mouth among musicians, who bring out their friends and fans. Longtime customers seem to be taking to the showcases too.

"At the end of the day," Sirl says, "they just want good music."

ROCK HALL'S GREATEST HITS: A 10-volume, digital-only collection of highlights from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies was released on iTunes this week. Which seems kinda strange, since most Rock Hall fans are the kind of people who still haven't gotten around to upgrading their record collections to CD. So it looks like your mom and dad may have to finally open an iTunes account and figure out how to download that cover of "I Saw Her Standing There" featuring George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, and a bunch of other guys who topped the charts 45 years ago. If they can't manage that, a three-CD compilation is also available.

YOUR REASON TO STAY HOME ON FRIDAY: Speaking of the Rock Hall, the venue's latest exhibit, Women Who Rock, is the focus of a new TV special. PBS Arts From Cleveland: Women Who Rock — A Celebration of Female Music Legends (damn, that's a long title) profiles a bunch of ladies — from blues pioneer Bessie Smith to scary riot grrrls — who are also singled out in the exhibit. Cyndi Lauper, who headlined a Rock Hall benefit concert in Cleveland this summer, hosts the show, which is loaded with stories and artifacts found in the museum. The PBS Arts series shines the spotlight on nine different cool things going on around the country — from Miami's ballet to opera in Los Angeles. Our turn comes Friday at 9 p.m.

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