The Sign-Offs

"Demo 2002"(www.thesignoffs.com)

Dio, with King's X and Hammerfall The Odeon, 1295 Old River Road, the Flats 8 p.m. Friday, December 6, $26.50 advance/$28 day of show, 216-241-5555.

Blind Guardian, with Symphony X. 9 p.m. Friday, December 6, at the Agora Theatre, 5000 Euclid Avenue, $20, 216-241-5555.

It's fitting that the cover of the Sign-Offs' latest demo is a shot of the band outside the Rock Hall, the day it played the Scene Music Awards in June. That night, the Sign-Offs had something of a coming-out party, damn near stealing the show with an attitudinal, curled-lip set. The band already had a strong local following, but on that night, it veered away from the quarrelsome street punk that characterized its debut and toward a more brazen, ill-mannered rock and roll.

This disc confirms said departure -- and what a wise a move it is. Album opener "Lose It" is the best thing this band has ever done and one of the finest rock anthems of the year -- local or not. Combined with bruisers like "Mary" and "My World," it's enough to ensure that a new record deal for this beer-powered bunch is as certain as these dudes' impending cirrhosis.

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