Party Time: A Guide to the Official (and Unofficial) Gay Games Concerts

On any given day in Cleveland, you can find any number of great concerts to attend. Classical, rock, jazz, dance, country — we've got it all. With the 2014 Gay Games in town from Aug. 10 to 15, the number of acts playing in the city has multiplied. Here's an overview of the official and unofficial concerts taking place in conjunction with the Gay Games.

The night before the Gay Games opening ceremony, Cleveland Museum of Art hosts Night Before 9: Out in Art, a concert featuring ESCORT, a '70s-influenced group that bills itself as a "disco orchestra." The band's live show features a 17-piece group that can really kick out the Saturday Night Fever-like jams. DJ Darrell Stout (aka Stout XTC of BeatMatrix) opens the show that starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 8. Museum galleries and the gift shop will stay open late for the occasion, and special "ambassador" tickets that include food and beverage are available.

The games officially kick off on Saturday, Aug. 9, with a big concert at Quicken Loans Arena as Lance Bass of N'Sync hosts at the opening ceremony that takes place at 7 p.m. Broadway actress Andre McArdle and the Pointer Sisters will perform. Glee's Alex Newell will join McArdle for a Broadway-style musical tribute to Gay Games participants. The official after party takes place at 9 p.m. at the downtown club the Bank where Dj Erez Ben Ishay will spin.

Drag queen, actor, comedienne and recording artist Pandora Boxx came to fame as a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race; she serves as the celebrity hostess for events taking place at the Cleveland Festival Village located on Mall C in downtown Cleveland. Things get going at the Festival Village at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 10 as DJ Saint, DJ Glisten and DJ Joe Gauthreaux are slated to perform. That same day, the newly opened Music Box Supper Club hosts a Bloody Mary Brunch with singer-songwriters Nhojj and Ann E. DeChant, who perform at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. respectively.

Local singer-songwriter Rachel Roberts starts things off at the Festival Village at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11. Christine Martucci, a national recording artist who hosts her own annual pride show in Asbury Park, the Chicago-based gay rapper Ripparachie, the Akron-based rock act Envoi, Le Tigre's JD Samson and the Tel Aviv-based DJ/singer combo YoAv Arnon and Yanai Amir Fryszer Guttman are also on the bill. That same night, Culture Club's Boy George spins at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica at 7 p.m. in what's expected to be one of the biggest music-related Gay Games events. Last year, George issued This Is What I Do, his first new studio album of original material in 18 years. It wouldn't be a shock if he includes some cuts from it during his DJ set. Marc Vedo and Evan Evolution share the bill.

The local indie pop act Cities and Coasts takes the Festival Village stage at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 12. Bright Light Bright Light, a British pop band that's a favorite of Elton John, is the headliner. Famous for their bouncy single "Let Me Take a Selfie," the Chainsmokers headline a big block party that takes place that night at 6:30 on West Sixth St. Donkis, Mimo and Two Bad DJs join them on the bill.

The Festival Village has a full schedule for Wednesday, Aug. 13, as local singer-songwriter Alexis Antes, Cincinnati singer-songwriter Tracey Walker, singer-guitarist Tom Goss, local indie rockers These Knees and national recording artist Jenny Owen Youngs all perform. DJ YoAv Arnon is back too but will perform with guest vocalist Meital De Razon for this show. House of Blues hosts the official Black Party at 9 p.m. with Honey Dijon, a popular house music DJ. DJ Saint, Angel Moraes and Stanny Abram are also on the bill. The punk rock club Now That's Class joins the festivities as it has booked DJ Scritti Politti for its Gay New Wave Night. Expect to hear some rare grooves at this event, and Cosmic Gate's Start to Feel tour comes to Liquid at 9:30 p.m. DJ RHARV and Two Bad DJs share the bill.

Best known for their 1989 hit "Closer to Fine," the Indigo Girls perform at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 14, at the Akron Civic Theatre. Other notable events are happening that same night too. House of Blues hosts an official Gold Party with Tony Moran, a two-time Grammy nominated remixer/producer/singer-songwriter and DJ who's been at the top of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play charts. He's worked with top dance/pop artists including Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Madonna and Ne-yo. Local rockers the Commonwealth and singer-songwriter Eric Himan perform at the Festival Village alongside the local burlesque troupe Ohio Burlesque and Detox, a top contestant on the fifth season of RuPaul's Drag Race. Le1f, a New York rapper who just appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, will also perform. Later than night, Recharge on the Rooftop, a multi-level rooftop dance party, takes place at 9 at the Velvet Dog. Hosted by the Cleveland-based Full Color Printings, the event features Cleveland DJ Rob Sherwood who'll spin house and electronic music. Sherwood is a veteran DJ who spun locally in the 1980s and 1990s at a slew of underground clubs that no longer exist.

On Friday, Aug. 15, things start to wind down. Ana Matronic, singer in the flamboyant indie pop group the Scissor Sisters, headlines the Festival Village where she performs at 9 p.m. as part of a bill that also includes local electronica artist Marcus Alan Ward, Akron singer-songwriter Angie Haze, local electronica act Sammy Slims and local rockers Hawkeye. DJ Rob Sherwood will finish the night off with a set of house and trance. Over at Liquid, New York-based DJ Whitney Day performs a free show at 9:30 p.m.

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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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