Your Complete Guide to Cleveland Concerts (March 13 - 19)

THURS 03/13

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

Margaret Brouwer's Blue Streak Ensemble: The oldest roller coaster at Cedar Point inspired the name of the contemporary classical group Blue Streak Ensemble. Founded by composer Margaret Brouwer to perform along the Lake Erie coast, this group of Cleveland Institute of Music alumni brings an exciting program of new music to Nighttown tonight. The work "Shattered Glass" from Brouwer's upcoming CD Shattered, is a roller coaster of music in its own regard. It opens with some nervously fleeting gestures, rolling through a soft punchy atmosphere that builds up to aggressive cacophony. Other works on tonight's program include arrangements of J. S. Bach's "Two Part Inventions," Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune," Paul Desmond's "Take Five" and a premiere of Brouwer's latest creation, "Inner Voices." 8 p.m., $15. Nighttown. (Eric Gonzalez)

The Burning River Ramblers/Chris Milam/C-Level: Crossing over years and the north-south freeways of this fair state, a group of young musicians managed to find one another among the bricks and burnt-umber fall leaves of Athens. As an homage to Northeast Ohio's infamous Cuyahoga, they called themselves the Burning River Ramblers. They began gigging at places like the Union and Jackie O's, mainstays of the music scene at Ohio University. A self-titled debut further established the Ramblers as a band fully capable of bringing listeners on a wonderful journey. Cheekily dubbed "your friendly neighborhood alt/rock/funk/reggae/folk band," the band carved out a welcoming niche in Athens and soon brought the music north. Last year, the band released its sophomore outing, To Color a Fool, an album that emphasized the collaborative nature of its songwriting. Often enough, songs start out as seedlings brought in by one member. With the ethos of an improv-friendly jam band, the Ramblers riff on the ideas coming and going throughout rehearsal. The band has always emphasized a devotion to roots rock and the spirit of Americana music. That much is still very evident on the new album, though there's an openness to everything. Rather than, say, gathering 'round a fire amid Midwest shadows, the band's sound now calls to mind hanging out on the rooftop of some major American city — Cleveland, perhaps? — and casting eager eyes toward outstretched land and memories. 8 p.m., $7. Mahall's 20 Lanes. (Eric Sandy)

The Grouch & Eligh / The TORTOISE & The Crow Tour w/ Madchild/Pigeon John / The Locals / DJ Fresh: With a preference for leaning on relaxed beats with crisp and clean production, the Grouch and Eligh bring their West Coast rap style to the Grog tonight. They've managed to really hit a certain demographic with their music. It flows so cleanly and without much abrasion that it's not immediately discernable as rap. It's not "kid-friendly" per se, but they do rhyme "Maui" with "wowie." So... there's that. Their latest record, The Tortoise and the Crow, is a triple-header with both members having a solo record on top of one collaborative. Guest artists like Blu and Kreayshawn make appearances on the record. Though given their normal backing tracks, they sound completely different from their usual selves. The track "Ashes to Ashes" explores the use of storytelling to convey morals and messages. Ethereal synthesizers and strings back the slowly clunking drums adorned by rap sirens. The album verges on the territory of rap-rock but, apart from the neck tattoos, doesn't commit to it too strongly. 9 p.m., $14. Grog Shop. (Patrick Stoops)

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

HIM: At one point, this Finnish band had broken big in the States. Its 2005 album Dark Light went gold and debuted in the Top 20 on the Billboard charts. At that time, the band came through town and played to a capacity crowd at the Agora. But those days are over. As the Goth metal scene declined, so did HIM's popularity, and it toured the U.S. less frequently. The band hasn't been inactive, however, and last year released Tears on Tape, an album of dark synth rock that commences with the moody instrumental "Unleash the Red" before veering into more aggressive territory. And yet, songs such as "All Lips Go Blue" have accessible pop harmonies at their core, suggesting the group has more in common with Depeche Mode than, say, Marilyn Manson. The band's on tour to support the digital reissue of its back catalog. 8 p.m., $29.50 ADV, $32 DOS. House of Blues. (Jeff Niesel)

The Human Experience/The Cat's Pajamas/Mister BradleyP: 9 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Beachland Tavern.

New Soft Shoe: 8 p.m., free. Happy Dog.

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

Jim Schafer & Friends/Gene's Hot Jazz/D.K. & the Joy Machine: 6:30 p.m., Barking Spider Tavern.

Augustines / My Goodness / The Bellflowers: Tapped into the blue-collar nerve of middle-class America, Augustines reveal a powerful yearning for creative expression. The band's sophomore album, an incredible collection of larger-than-life tunes, expands on the uplifting redemption of their initial output. The colossal "Cruel City," for instance, just begs for a room full of people singing along with its righteous lyrics. Prep your pipes for as much at the Grog Shop tonight. Musically, the band's stuff is terrifically exciting. Multi-instrumentalist Eric Sanderson holds down the low end on the band's self-titled album with dextrous enthusiasm. He backs up singer/guitarist Billy McCarthy's alternating growls and croons, along with drummer Rob Allen's seemingly eight-armed percussion work. At times, the band almost seems to reach too high with its melodic and lyrical peaks, but the pros outweigh the cons tenfold here. 9 p.m., $13. Grog Shop. (Sandy)

Caliber Band/Teresa Rose Riley: 9 p.m. Thirsty Cowboy.

Cellar Door 2nd Annual Rendezvous Day 1 with The Lighthouse & The Whaler/Captain Kidd/The Commonwealth/Tom Evanchuck/Likenesses/Midnight Passenger/Ottawa/Rob Duskey/James Douglas: 8 p.m., $12. Beachland Ballroom. Anne E. DeChant/Roundtooits/George Foley & Friends: 5:30 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Ki Allen: 8:30 p.m., $10. Nighttown.

Kiss Me Deadly w/We the People & Ray Flanagan and the Authorities: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.

Lydia/HRVRD/Golden Sun: 8 p.m., $12. Musica.

Mike Hard Band/Mayday!/Smooth Brain: 9 p.m., $5. Now That's Class.

Spazmatics: 9:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

XeLa/Charlie Mosbrook: 9 p.m. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

SAT 03/15

Bellamy Brothers: 9:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $15 DOS. Thirsty Cowboy.

The Boys from the County Hell: When the Boys from the County Hell first got together some 15 years ago as a Pogues cover band, it was supposed to be just a one-night stand. But after selling out their first show at the Euclid Tavern, the group's popularity escalated. As you can imagine, the band is pretty busy by the time St. Patty's Day rolls around so this show serves as a warm-up of sorts. The band's been working on blending some horns into the mix so expect to hear a bit of R&B as it plays a selection of Pogues tunes befitting the St. Patty's Day holiday. 9 p.m., $10. Happy Dog. (Niesel)

Cellar Door 2nd Annual Rendezvous Day 2 with Seafair/Ohio Sky/Thaddeus Anna Greene/The Suede Brothers/So Long, Albatross/These Knees/NOMADS/Morgan Mecaskey/Extra Medium Pony: 9 p.m., $12. Beachland Ballroom.

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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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