Your Complete Guide to Cleveland Concerts (December 19 - 25)


Bad Boys Jam:

9 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Cleveland Jazz Project: 8 p.m., $15. Nighttown.

Johnny Fay & the Blazers/The Balls of Fire: 8:30 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern.

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

Hillbilly Idol/Zydeco Kings: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Jam Night with Tower City Blues: 8:30 p.m. Grillers Pub.

"Jingle Bell Swing" Xmas Cabaret starring Helen Welch: British singer-songwriter Helen Welch has lived in Northeast Ohio for the past five years. During that time, she's slowly built a loyal following of jazz enthusiasts. Her annual holiday show is such a draw that last night's show sold out, and the Akron Civic Theatre added tonight's concert. Expect to hear tunes like "Jingle Bells," "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and a Dixieland version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." 8 p.m., $25. Akron Civic Theatre. (Jeff Niesel)

Major League/Veara/Stickup Kid/Saints For Sailors/I Love You, I Know/Uptight: 6:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

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

Jeff Rosenstock of Bomb the Music Industry/The Sidekicks/Meridian: 8:30 p.m., $8. Grog Shop.

Sails/Watchword/Sodalite: Mashing up similar genres like "pop punk," "indie punk" and, uh, "punk" often doesn't portend very well. But Sails, based out of northeastern Vermont, does what it can to break free of labels like that. The band's latest EP sums up its approach and touches on each of those cornerstone tags only briefly, which is for the best. Interestingly, probably the best track on the new EP is "Current," a 90-second instrumental that calls to mind a frigid day on the shore of some mysterious lake. (Erie? Champlain?) And that's followed up quickly by "Circles," which maintains the slo-mo tempo and veers far away from the worrisome tenets of the poppier sides of punk music. There's some pretty great harmonic work between guitarists Ethan Kascenska and Ohanga Freddie Losambe on that one. 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. (Eric Sandy)

Z107.9 Whiteout 2013 "Who Got Next?" with Sebastian Mikel/Kid Ink/Rico Love/Mack Wild: 8 p.m. House of Blues.


The Alarm Clocks: Norton Records' 2000 reissue of "Yeah!" was the first official pressing of the Alarm Clocks release since the band put out its one and only single, "Yeah!"/"No Reason to Complain," in 1966. About a month after cutting "Yeah!," the Alarm Clocks, a garage-rock band from Parma, went to Sound Ideas Recording studios to cut a demo tape that it could give to local promoters. In one take, the group recorded several tracks, among them raucous covers of "Louie Louie," "It's All Over Now," and "It's Alright." At the time, the group thought the tape would help take it beyond the high school party circuit, but in retrospect, the band's unhinged performance has had a more lasting effect. Both "Yeah!" and "No Reason to Complain" were recorded live in the studio, and only 300 copies were made (the original pressings have since become collectors' items that sell for up to $1,000). The band reformed in 2006 but doesn't play Cleveland often, so be sure to catch the group before it slips into hibernation once more. 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. (Niesel)

David Allan Coe: Johnny Cash might have walked the line, but Akron-born David Allan Coe, who's done hard time and reportedly even killed a fellow inmate, has crossed it. An outlaw amongst outlaws, he received even more acclaim when Howard Stern started playing some of his obscure songs in which he freely uses the word "nigga." Granted, these songs were reportedly written for a motorcycle gang and not intended for popular consumption, but they point to the underlying hatred and racism lurking beneath the exterior of his traditional country ballads. Coe, a self-described "long-haired redneck" who counts white-trash rapper Kid Rock as a friend, tried to prove he's not prejudiced with "Song for the Year 2000," in which he asserts "it takes all kinds to make this world go round." But that hardly makes amends. 9:30 p.m., $20-$25. Thirsty Cowboy. (Niesel)

Del-Rio Bandits/House Popes/George Foley & Friends: 5:30 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Faith & Whiskey: 8:30 p.m., $10. Nighttown.

Fifty Amp Fuse: 9:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Frank and Dean Come Back Together Again: 8 p.m., $25-$30. The Kent Stage.

Into the Blue: Grateful Dead Revival Night: Regardless of your take on the Dead, the band maintains a damn important stature in the rock 'n' roll canon. Into the Blue revives that spirit and lends it the respect Jerry and Co. rightfully deserve. Anyone interesting in hearing — and seeing — great music flow from the stage should check out what these guys are doing. Fellow musicians and artists, in particular, will glean plenty of inspiration from the shows. "There's a structure to everything that's going on, and then there's that intense improvisation inside that structure," guitarist and singer Dan Shramo says. Every time Into the Blue performs, they're trying to do things a little bit differently and add at least a handful of new tunes to the catalog. "There's a certain energy that takes over... You kinda get sucked into a different place. We do our best to really bring that out," he says. 9 p.m., $12. Beachland Ballroom. (Sandy)

The Lighthouse and the Whaler and Friends Christmas Celebration/Humble Home/Morgan Mecaskey: Things started to snowball for the Lighthouse and the Whaler after the 2008 EP

A Whisper, A Clamor, and a track from that record eventually showed up on a sampler CD that Paste magazine released in 2009 and helped generate national attention. The band followed the EP a year later with their self-titled debut album, which created even more buzz, but also led to some lineup changes. With the release of its latest album, last year's This Is an Adventure, an indie pop effort that still has traces of the band's folk rock roots, the band should find its way onto the playlists of anyone who listens to acts like the Shins and the Decemberists. The band spent most of the year touring and didn't play much in town, so this special Christmas show is a real treat. 8 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop. (Niesel)

Morticia's Chair with K.I.N.D./Flannel Response: 9 p.m., $5. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Mushroomhead/One Eyed Doll/Ionia/Unsaid Fate: Last year, Mushroomhead, arguably the city's most popular metal band, went head-to-head with local heroes Chimaira. Both bands traditionally play Christmas concerts so the fact that they were playing the same night suggested some kind of rivalry. This year, Mushroomhead plays the night before Chimaira's show so metal fans who want to see both acts will have the opportunity to do so. There's good reason to see Mushroomhead these days: Jason "JMann" Popson has recently rejoined the group. He sings alongside Jeffrey Nothing and Waylon Reavis. A new album is on the horizon so expect to hear some new tracks as well. 6 p.m., $20 ADV, $24 DOS. The Agora Theatre. (Niesel)

The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show: On tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary, country/gospel icons the Oak Ridge Boys are known for chart-topping hits such as "Elvira" and "Bobby Sue." For the first half of tonight's concert at the Akron Civic Theatre, they'll revisit those songs and more during a retrospective of their work. After a short intermission, they'll come out and play a set of Christmas classics. 7:30 p.m., $31.50-$48.50. Akron Civic Theatre. (Niesel)

Protester/Misled Youth/Grin and Bear It/MFDL: 9 p.m., $5. Now That's Class.

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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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