Your Complete Guide to Cleveland Concerts (April 17 - 23)

thu 04/17

Bad Boys Jam: 9 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Black and Broke/The Lower Eastside Connection/Audio Engine: 8:30 p.m., $7. Beachland Tavern.

Gavin DeGraw/Parachute/Rozzi Crane: $29.50-$50. Hard Rock Rocksino.

Chris Hatton (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Hillbilly Idol/Spoon Too Soon: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

The Judi's/Seafair/Hudson Hank: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.

Justin Moore/Randy Houser/Josh Thompson: 7 p.m., $29.75. Wolstein Center.

Northeast Ohio Drum & Music Jam: 9 p.m., free. Beachland Ballroom.

Chuck Ragan & the Camaraderie/Jonny Two Bags/Meridian: Till Midnight, the latest album from rootsy rocker Chuck Ragan, puts Ragan's gruff vocals up front in the sound mix, making him sound like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits as he intones "something may catch fire" on the anthemic album opener "Something May Catch Fire." With some fine backing from the Camaraderie, a group that features guys who've played with everyone from Social Distortion to Lucero, Ragan confidently veers from sparse ballads ("For Broken Ears") to righteous alt-country rockers ("Vagabond"). It's a departure from the punk rock of his other band, Hot Water Music, but Ragan makes it work. 8:30 p.m., $17. Grog Shop. (Jeff Niesel)

Raya Brass Band/We the People: 8 p.m., $7 ADV, $10 DOS. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Rebelution/Common Kings: Given that their new album, Count Me In, isn't due out until early June, it's likely that the guys in Rebelution are using their current tour to get warmed up for a big push once the album drops. The SoCal roots reggae band goes for a retro sound on the album's single "De-Stress," a song that simultaneously sounds old school and contemporary. The lively tune benefits from a terrific mid-song horn solo that makes it really swing. Fans of Sublime will even gravitate to the crossover sound. 9 p.m., $20 ADV, $25 DOS. House of Blues. (Niesel)

Start Making Sense: Talking Heads Tribute: As far as Talking Heads tribute bands, Start Making Sense has little competition. While singer Jon Braun doesn't necessarily look like Heads singer David Byrne, he sure as hell sounds like him. And the six-piece band does a remarkable job of recreating classic Talking Heads tunes such as "Once in a Lifetime," "Life During Wartime" and "Nothing (But Flowers)." While Braun doesn't bear a physical resemblance to Byrne, he does imitate his dance moves rather precisely. He's good at getting the crowd involved so expect rampant dancing at tonight's show. 8 p.m., $10-$12. The Kent Stage. (Niesel)

Universe Contest/The Village Bicycle/Johnny in the Grave (in the Locker Room): 9 p.m., free. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Wildhoney/Sails/Field Trip/The Sleeps: 9 p.m., $5. Now That's Class.

Y&T/Rick Ray/Shock Frenzy/Sunless Sky: 6 p.m., $15 ADV, $20 DOS. Agora Ballroom.

fri 04/18

Sean Benjamin (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Boyz II Men: 8:30 p.m., $39.50 ADV, $45 DOS. House of Blues.

Fire Fest Day 1 featuring Unearth/If Hope Dies/Fallen Captive/Youth Forgotten/Cholera/This is a Lifetime/Clarity Calls Forth/Drowning/No Second Chance/Triumph Over Shipwreck/Shores of Elysium/Seek Shelter/Ataxia: This two-day hardcore festival starts off with a bang as headlining act Unearth will feature the first hometown performance by Matt DeVries since he left Chimaira in 2011. The bassist has joined the group for its current tour. The recently reunited thrash act If Hope Dies shares headlining duties, and a slew of local and national hardcore and metal bands round out the bill. 5 p.m., $17 ADV, $20 DOS. The Foundry. (Niesel)

Guggy's Rock & Roll 101 with Jason Patrick Meyers Band/Otis & the Shoreway Saints/Nate Jones: 8:30 p.m., $10. Beachland Tavern.

Herzog/Sammy Slims: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.

Jucifer/Hatchet Job/Electric Lucifer: 9 p.m., $10. Now That's Class.

New Wave Rave: 9 p.m., $3. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

NEO Rap Showcase featuring Shuicide Holla/Bschors/Joey Long & KJ/Super Jones/Hodge Wilson/Big Squeeze/Saint Dank/Lohno/Majik/Riz Leigh/Nooiv/Kirk Stillz & Tre Planes: 8 p.m., $6-$8. The Kent Stage.

The Reign of Kindo/Sancat: 9 p.m., $10. Musica.

Residency Night with Acid Cats (in the Locker Room): 9 p.m., free. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Riff Raff/Grand Theft: Known for his outlandish outfits and keen sense of humor, Houston's Jody Christina (aka Riff Raff) has made all the right connections during his short, four-year career. First, the guy befriended actor and comedian Simon Rex and formed a duo with plenty of crossover appeal. Not wanting to be taking too seriously, Rex adopted the pseudonym Dirt Nasty. Then, Riff Raff signed to S.O.D. Money Gang, the imprint run by hip-hop sensation Soulja Boy. And finally, he hooked up with madcap director Harmony Korine, who based a character in his new film on the flamboyant rapper. While his falsetto vocals make it sound as if Riff Raff is going for parody on 2012's The Golden Alien, the content of tunes such as "Lil Mama I'm Sorry" and "Break Away" makes it seem as if he's pursuing more serious topics despite his rep as a funny man. Expect to hear some tracks from the forthcoming Neon Icon, due out at the month's end. 9 p.m., $20. Grog Shop. (Niesel)

Bobby Selvaggio Quartet featuring Carl Allen: 8:30 p.m., $20. Nighttown.

Bill Toms Band/3 to Go/George Foley & Friends: 5:30 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

The Websters: 9:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

The Werks/Broccoli Samurai: 9 p.m., $17 ADV, $20 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

sat 04/19

Moises Borges: 8:30 p.m., $10. Nighttown.

Buffalo Killers/White Buffalo Woman/Dynamo Love: 9 p.m., $12. Musica.

Drippy Eye Projections Light Show featuring Ma Holos/Floorian/Fizzy Lifting Drink/Brujas del Sol: 9 p.m., $10. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Fire Fest Day 2 featuring Ringworm/Death Before Dishonor/Relentless/Weekend Nachos/Homewrecker/XRepresentX/Race Riot 59/Lawskof/Smoke and Mirrors/Wasted Blood/Ratherbeyourenemy/Inferno Machine/Ruin: Touring in support of its new album Hammer of the Witch, local hardcore heroes Ringworm headline day two of Fire Fest. Recorded locally by Ben Schigel (Chimaira, Walls of Jericho) at his Spider Studios, the band's new album is relentlessly heavy and reveals just how sophisticated the band has become. The rest of the line-up features local and national hardcore and metal acts. 5 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. The Foundry. (Niesel)

Follow the Light/Break Science/Phutureprimitive/ill-esha/Pigeons Playing Ping Pong/Jason Burns/Drunken Sunday/Sean 2:16/Thunder St. Clair/Tropidelic/Uptown Buddha/Vibe & Direct/Wanyama: Cumulus Entertainment is helping to bring rave culture back to Cleveland. Tonight's Follow The Light event features an epic line-up of DJs, generally from the dubstep and electro house related genres. Headliner Break Science utilizes an interesting setup of electronics and live drumming. Wobbling synths pulse heavily, doubled by thick drums on their records like last year's Seven Bridges. Phutureprimitve drops in with his barrage of sci-fi soundscapes backed by killer beats. His latest EP, Searching For Beauty In The Darkest Places Pt. 1, carries elements of glitch-hop into decidedly more dubstep arenas. Openers like Cleveland's eclectically awesome bass music DJ Thunder St. Clair will drop a thousand pounds of bass on tonight's event. 9 p.m., $25 ADV, $30 DOS. The Agora Theatre. (Patrick Stoops)

Jimmy Jack (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

The JiMiller Band: All Grateful Dead Annual "Ring in Spring" Easter Weekend Show: 9 p.m., $10. The Winchester.

Jamey Johnson: An old-school country guy who's been kicking around for about a decade, Jamey Johnson raised eyebrows with 2008's That Lonesome Song, an introspective album that came off as country music's answer to Springsteen's stark Nebraska. The album even commences with a skit in which a jailor sets Johnson free and tells him to stay out of trouble. Johnson originally self-released the disc in 2007 before Mercury Nashville took notice and then reissued it, and with the push of a major label it would eventually go platinum. The songs on his 2010 follow-up, The Guitar Song, weren't as deeply moving but they did confirm That Lonesome Song wasn't just a fluke. On 2012's Living for a Song, Johnson pays tribute to the late country singer and songwriter Hank Cochran, and he gets a little help from friends such as Alison Krauss, Merle Haggard and Vince Gill in the process. 8 p.m., $32. Thirsty Cowboy. (Niesel)

Man Forever/Eaters: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.

Residency Night with Boudreaux's Back Porch (in the Locker Room): 9 p.m., free. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Record Store Day 2014 with Filmstrip/The Commonwealth/Insurance Salesmen: 4 p.m., free. Beachland Tavern.

That '80s Band: 9:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

The Toadies/Supersuckers/Battleme: 9 p.m., $20. Grog Shop.

Weapons of Mass Creation Kick-off Party and Benefit with Hawkeye/Midnight Passenger/Black Puddle Noise: 8:30 p.m., $6. Beachland Tavern.

The Werks/Broccoli Samurai: 9 p.m., $17 ADV, $20 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

Zydeco Kings/Second Hand Dogs: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

sun 04/20

Greg Ashley/John Brothers/Voxcaster: 8:30 p.m., $10. Beachland Tavern.

Hot Jazz Seven: 3 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Into the Blue: Grateful Dead Revival Night: 9 p.m., $12. Beachland Ballroom.

Stalley: Ohio's been asserting itself as a prominent player in rap. Alongside artists like P. Blackk, Blueprint and Chip the Ripper gaining notoriety in the national rap community, Stalley firmly places himself in the mix. Collaborations with legends like Rick Ross, Kendrick Lamar, and Pharrell boosted his career; all the while he hasn't forgotten his Midwest roots. Tonight's show at the Grog is one of many stops on his No Place Like Home Tour, a tour solely comprised of Ohio appearances. His latest record, Honest Cowboy, features swanky and soulful beats beneath his sharp-tongued lyrics. Channeling Super Fly-era urban funk, "NineteenEighty7" kicks it with syncopated riffs featuring additional rhymes by Schoolboy Q. Ohio love aside, Stalley's providing a unique voice in hip-hop, mixing the poetic hip-hop nature with a harder edge. 8:30 p.m., $20. Grog Shop. (Stoops)

mon 04/21

Karmin/Bonnie McKee: 7 p.m., $19.50. House of Blues.

Mojo Big Band: 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Peggy & Brad/Marcus Whitemire: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Velvet Voyage (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Waka Flocka Flame/Peter Jackson: 8 p.m., $30-$75. The Kent Stage.

John Wiese/Crowhurst/Mphiat/Baat Nidrah/Andrew Kirschner: 9 p.m., $8. Now That's Class.

tue 04/22

Bobby Bare Jr./Cory Branan: 8:30 p.m., $10. Beachland Tavern.

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires: Funky soul singer Charles Bradley worked as a cook in Maine for 10 years. And that was before he took up residence in California, settling into a life of odd jobs and now-and-then shows for the next 20 years. It wouldn't be until around 2000 that Bradley's soaring music career would begin to take off. And even then, it would another decade before he saw the wild levels of success he's been privy to since cutting his debut album in 2011. With 2013's Victim of Love, Bradley's badass Redding-style sound has exploded in every possible direction. "I've been calling it 'New Direction Daptone,'" says bandleader/producer Thomas Brenneck. "People are not going to expect this. There's a lot of psych influences on this record, a lot of fuzz guitar. I'm pushing the band and the arrangements further out, which in turn has to make Charles go further out." We couldn't be more overjoyed with how things are going. "Confusion" is a terrific example of what Brenneck is talking about. Listen to everything Bradley is doing; it's all gold. 8:30 p.m., $17 ADV, $20 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. (Eric Sandy)

Darsombra/Myra Gale/Fascist Insect/MFDL: 9 p.m., $5. Now That's Class.

Local Natives/Moses Sumney: Avoiding any detrimental "sophomore slump" nonsense, Local Natives dropped a fresh second album in January 2013. Hummingbird widened the band's scope, leaving the listener enlightened and inspired. It's been a joy for more than a year now, and the guys are arriving in Cleveland tonight to perform the goods. Much of the album highlights the shimmery, laid-back vibes that sprouted up here and there during the debut, 2011's Gorilla Manor. "Ceilings" is a reflective little jaunt tossed against a mirthful melody. Singer Kelcey Ayer croons, "I haven't stopped your smoking yet / So I'll share your cigarette / Just to feel it in my fingers," as he works to keep the memory of a lost love alive. And throughout the album, the tone is rather solemn and introspective. It's easy to sort of imagine a man, a woman, hell, maybe even yourself, shuffling along a dimly lit street at dusk and thinking about... other times. 8 p.m., $22 ADV, $25 DOS. House of Blues. (Sandy)

Open Mic Night with Will Cheshier: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Toubab Krewe/The Mucklebuck: This five-piece outfit's sound can best be described as a blend of Cajun and Malian, a hybrid of Southern U.S. sensibilities and West African rhythms and instrumentation. Toubab Krewe ("toubab" means "foreigner" in Mali's Bambara language and "krewe" reflects the New Orleans spelling of "crew") has been taking a global approach to instrumental music for nearly a decade. Their music flows best in live settings, but TK2 is mandatory listening. The band touches on so many different sounds that it's almost jarring at first blush. Songs like "Nirvana the Buffalo," though, highlight how many similarities actually exist across continental divides in music. Guitarist Drew Heller can really shred, and he's equally at home in more polyrhythmic excursions through African culture ("Carnavalito"). The combined effect of all of the above makes for a dazzling live show, which means tonight is sure to be a journey. 8:30 p.m., $10. Grog Shop. (Sandy)

Two Set Tuesday (in the Wine Bar): 6:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Volbeat/Trivium/Digital Summer: 7 p.m., $37.50 ADV, $40 DOS. The Agora Theatre.

wed 04/23

10 X 3 Hosted by Brent Kirby (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Daniel Bachman/Aaron Dilloway/Sam Goldberg: "Psychedelic Appalachia" is how guitarist Daniel Bachman describes his latest album, Seven Pines, which was inspired by a year living and working in Philadelphia. The sparse guitar arrangements definitely have a back-porch feel, even if Bachman sometimes opts for riffs that are more blues based. By using steel strings on his instrument, he also gives the songs a bit more bite so they come off as slightly more aggressive than what you'd expect from someone essentially playing bluegrass. Bachman, who began touring and recording at age 17, has released a huge collection of music in a short amount of time — last year, he delivered Jesus is a Sinner, another new collection of songs, giving him a huge repertoire from which to draw for this show. 8:30 p.m. Mahall's 20 Lanes. (Niesel)

Marshall Crenshaw/Kevin Junior: Over the past 30 years, Marshall Crenshaw has sealed his reputation as the consummate singer-songwriter. While he's best known for his sole Top 40 hit,"Someday, Someway," which was on his 1982 self-titled debut, he's respected and revered by his peers and continues to record and tour despite the lack of mainstream success. Expect to hear his big hits and a few tracks from last year's Drivin' and Dreamin' at tonight's show, but discerning fans will be happy to know that he also goes deep into his catalog. 8 p.m., $20. Beachland Tavern. (Niesel)

Deerhoof/Awkwafina/Celestial Shore: Breakup Song, released in 2012, is one of Deerhoof's best albums, though it's mostly impossible to really measure that kind of stuff. The band has been and always will remain an enigmatic force. They're also constantly on the run: touring the world, cutting albums, posing for press photos where they're all, like, squirming on the ground. Weirdness abounds with this crew. But that's all for the best. Breakup Song captures the band's present-day tone really well, dishing up madness like "Zero Seconds Pause," "Bad Kids to the Front," and plenty more. The cover of the album features a brightly lit semi-truck barreling down some generic city street, and that's an apt illustration for the barrage of bass, guitars, drums and cute screaming via singer Satomi Matsuzaki. 8:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $14 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. (Sandy)

Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola: 7 p.m., $20. Nighttown. (Niesel)

Kid Ink: After issuing a few mixtapes, rapper Kid Ink made a huge splash when he dropped his major label debut My Own Lane. A slew of different producers make his nasally vocals really pop on DJ Mustard-produced tracks such as "Show Me" and "Main Chick." R&B singer Chris Brown teams up with Kid Ink on three tracks. "I'm trying to show that I'm an all-around type of artist," says Kid Ink. "I don't want to make just one type of hip-hop music or do just one thing. I like to work with different producers and switch up to get different ideas." On the standout track, the moving "No Miracles," he writes about his upbringing in the poorer parts of Los Angeles. Expect to hear it as well as plenty of other tunes from the disc when he performs tonight. 8 p.m., $20 ADV, $23 DOS. House of Blues. (Niesel)

Max Pain and the Groovies/Jivviden/Filmstrip: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.

We Are Scientists/Paws: With TV En Francais having just been released last month, We Are Scientists is making its way to Cleveland tonight at the Grog Shop. Their new album is definitely polished to a shine, with saccharine vocals sounding as though they've been filtered and processed a little too much in some parts. Despite that, the songs keep a pretty good beat in the likes of "Dumb Luck," and "Make it Easy," while "Return the Favor" boasts a catchy refrain with a pretty, piano-accented guitar solo. 8:30 p.m., $14 ADV, $16 DOS. Grog Shop. (Liz Trenholme)

Xela Cutty/James Brentar: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

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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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