Phantasy Comes True

A long-dormant concert club revives the West Side scene.

R.E.M., with Sparklehorse Blossom Music Center, 1145 West Steels Corners Road, Cuyahoga Falls 8 p.m. Saturday, September 27, $35/$45/ $75, 216-241-5555.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, getting funky at Blossom - last Sunday. - Walter  Novak
The Red Hot Chili Peppers, getting funky at Blossom last Sunday.

Lakewood's Phantasy Theatre will return to hosting concerts after a decade of inactivity. The comeback, fueled by concert giant House of Blues, begins with an October 10 show by the reunited God squad Stryper. Other notable bands scheduled for this fall include Ween, Gov't Mule, and Los Lobos.

In the '80s, the Phantasy was a prime Cleveland stop for mid-sized draws like Jane's Addiction, Peter Murphy, and Megadeth. The venue also helped establish the careers of locally spawned acts such as Nine Inch Nails and Dink. While the more intimate Phantasy Nite Club has continued to host shows through the years, the adjacent 1,200-seat theater has been mostly vacant since the early '90s. Rising costs of hosting larger shows, as well as competition among venues, contributed to the decline.

"I'm totally looking forward to it," says Michele De Frasia, whose family owns most of the block that houses the Phantasy complex, including the Nite Club and Symposium. "As far as sight lines goes, everyone can see the stage. It's a nice size and greater room. It's like the Agora, but in Lakewood. "

Los Angeles-based House of Blues will book the theater's shows for at least the next 10 months, though the Phantasy is not bound exclusively to House of Blues in that time. The country's second-largest concert promoter, House of Blues also books shows locally at Blossom Music Center and Scene Pavilion. A House of Blues concert club is slated to open next year on Euclid Avenue downtown.

· Late Cleveland rocker Danny Frye made more national inroads than most local punks, but he wasn't living like a rock star. To help defray costs from Frye's funeral, some of Cleveland's finest rockers have organized a benefit show at the Symposium.

High-profile Cleveland punkers the Vacancies, Amps to 11, Kill City Kills, and the Ruphies will play this Friday, September 26. "We need $5,000," says Vacancies drummer Watti Cameron. "Nobody has that kind of money lying around."

Frye, who died from diabetic complications in July, was a sort of big brother to area musicians -- and literally a relative of several of them. Vacancies guitarist Michael James and frontman Billy Crooked, as well as the Ruphies' Bo and Brandon, are connected to him through blood or marriage.

"I miss having him around," says Cameron. "It sucks. You even have to pay to die."

Admission to the show is $6 ($9 under 21); all proceeds go to the Frye fund.

· Ripper Watch: Akron's Tim "Ripper" Owens kept Judas Priest alive long enough for the band to stage a much-anticipated reunion with original singer Rob Halford. Then he joined the Iowa-by-way-of-Florida metallers Iced Earth. Now he's been inducted into the Wall of Fame at Kenmore High School, joining accomplished alumni including former all-state quarterback/Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic. Expect a single from Iced Earth October 28, with a full-length to follow in early 2004.

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