8 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

Fri., Aug. 22

Luke Bryan/Lee Brice/Cole Swindell 

Country singer Luke Bryan got a big break in 2012 when Jason Aldean took him around the country as his opening act. Last year, he launched his first headlining tour and sold out Blossom. Not bad. This year, he’s upped the ante and has booked two shows at the venue — tonight is the second night of a two-night stand. Expect both to draw capacity crowds. While the title track of last year’s Crash My Party is a ballad that shows off his deep, baritone voice, the disc features plenty of hoist-your-beer-in-the-air anthems. Songs such as “That’s My Kind of Night,” “Blood Brothers” and “Beer in the Headlights” will appeal to the hard-drinking crowd that will pack Blossom for this show that starts at 7 tonight. And the songs from his new EP, Spring Break 6.... Like We Ain’t Ever, will go over well too. (Jeff Niesel) $25-$55


DakhaBrakha means “give/take” in old Ukrainian, and the band describes its sound as “Ethnos + chaos = the combination of two fundamental substances, create the world of music in a variety of native melodies, rhythms.” This group creates unique sounds in a way that’s extremely modern for what would usually be classified as world music. There’s a magical quality to DakhaBrakha’s music made by accordions, didgeridoo, cello and something called zgaleyka. “Kpyny” creates an expansive groove with accordion that’s punctuated by some great hand percussion and haunting vocals. “Vesnyanky” is a desolately somber song that evolves into a fantastic wall of vocals, drum and strings. Their latest release, Khmeleva Project, is an excursion through imaginative sounds, image-inducing textures and beautifully sung folk-tunes. The show starts at 8 p.m. at Music Box Supper Club. (Eric Gonzalez) $25 ADV, $28 DOS

Mikaela Davis/Joshua Jesty/The Whiskey Girls

Rochester native Mikaela Davis was originally discovered through her stunning YouTube covers of Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith songs. Since then, her music has only taken off. A harpist by training, Davis’ sound expands beyond just the plucks of a harp to create songs that are full, varied and rich soundscapes. Her latest release, Fortune Teller, was put out just in January, and although her music can best be classified as low-key singer-songwriter, it carries influences ranging from pop to jazz to psych. Tracks like “I Wouldn’t” and “Feels Like Forever” carry a dance-y beat while Davis’ masterful harp trickles in to add an element of downright pretty that isn’t normally found with singers of her kind. The title track and “When the White Horse Takes Me Away” take things into poppier territory with synth effects and dreamy singing, punctuated by guitar that sounds almost surf-like. As the songs gain momentum, Davis’ specialty harp comes in, making you feel as though you’ve been kissed by fairies. She plays at 8:30 p.m. at the Beachland Tavern. (Liz Trenholme) $10 ADV, $12 DOS

Sat., Aug. 23

From Bach to the Beatles

As summer carries on, the Cleveland Orchestra continues to bring great music to the outdoor stage at Blossom Music Center. This weekend features two concerts with excellent programming. Tonight at 8, Andrew Grams conducts J. S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski), Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana featuring vocalists Nadine Sierra, Christopher Pfund and Brian Mulligan. Tomorrow’s 7 p.m. concert is a tribute to the Beatles and will feature classic tunes like “Penny Lane,” “Yesterday” and “Eleanor Rigby” getting the full orchestral treatment. Conductor Michael Krajewski and the orchestra will be joined by Classical Mystery Tour for this rockin’ event. Tonight's concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets to these concerts are $23 to $85. (Gonzalez)

LKWD Music Fest

GZA’s 1995 masterpiece, Liquid Swords, is considered by many to rank among the greatest hip-hop albums of all time. There’s something beautiful and jangly and strange about the Wu-Tang approach to the genre. GZA takes it to another level on this one (and the guest appearances, along with RZA’s production, kick it even higher). Lay low this afternoon and toss this one on your Spotify playlist. GZA’s sharp lyrical martial arts distill the best of Wu-Tang. Nearly two decades after dropping that album, the Genius rolls into Mahall's in Lakewood for the third annual LKWD Music Festival. The full lineup includes: The Coup, Fiscal Spliff Band, Djapo Djembe Orchestra + Dancers, the Floorwalkers, Cotton Jones, Nomads, Nights, Commonwealth, Fake Species and plenty more. Cleveland Flea will stage a pop-up market boasting awesome vendors, and the food and drink options will dazzle all day and night. If you missed the last two years, then surely you already know what your Saturday plans are. The show starts at 2 p.m. (Eric Sandy) $25 ADV, $30 DOS

Sun., Aug. 24

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes took a trip to the past on 2012’s Men Without Women: Live 7-2-11. Though it’s a live recording of a show he played just last year, the record features Southside and the Asbury Jukes performing songs from Little Steven’s 1982 album. Longtime friends with both Steven (a founding member of the Jukes) and Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny has released more than 30 albums in a career that stretches back to the early ‘70s. A Cleveland favorite, the guy has fond memories of the days when Kid Leo put him into the regular rotation on WMMS and always puts on a especially good show in Cleveland. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at Hard Rock Live. (Niesel) $25-$57.50

Paul Thorn

A consummate storyteller, singer-songwriter Paul Thorn takes a break from talking about himself on his new album Too Blessed To Be Stressed. Instead, he chooses to focus on observations about everyday life and the current state of the world. He has said the songs are about “universal truths,” and they tend toward the positive. For the title track, for example, he borrowed a saying from a friend of his and paired it with a meaty guitar hook. There’s not a bad song on the album, which is another great offering from a guy who came to music late in his life but has become a real American treasure. While he sometimes plays solo, he’ll have his terrific band on hand for this gig that starts at 8 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom. (Niesel) $20

Off!/Bad Antics/Gay Kiss

Shortly after singer Keith Morris began playing with Black Flag in the late ‘70s, California quickly started teeming with punk and hardcore bands that often couldn’t even get legitimate gigs because their fans were reputed to be so rowdy. Eventually, Black Flag would become more serious and focused, but at about that time, Morris quit the group. The band would go on to incredible fame, but Morris contributed only to the very first recordings, most notably the acerbic debut EP, Nervous Breakdown. Four songs of utter vitriol, it’s generally considered to be the one of the first hardcore albums. Morris continues to be a significant player in the punk world and has kept active with the punk outfit Off! Don’t let his age fool you, the 58-year-old is still a force to be reckoned with. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Grog Shop. (Niesel) $15
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About The Author

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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