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Friday, December 18, 2015

7 Concerts to Catch This Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Dec 18, 2015 at 12:42 PM

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FRIDAY, DEC. 18

Ohio City Singers


About 10 years ago, local singer-songwriter Chris Allen and his sister Molly worked up four Christmas tunes at their father’s request and then threw a big Christmas party to which they invited their musician friends. They played the four original tunes they had penned as well as a few choice covers, recorded them and delivered them on a CD to their father as a Christmas gift. That signaled the birth of the Ohio City Singers, a group of local musicians that plays several Christmas-themed concerts each year. Now, the band is a seasonal treat and plays several area shows leading up to Christmas. This year, the group hasn't released a new album in the works, but it did put out a rollicking new single, the accordion-driven “Baby, Don’t You Know It’s Christmas.” (Jeff Niesel), 9 p.m., $15. Vosh Club.

Randy Houser

This past summer, country singer Randy Houser benefited from one of the year’s biggest tours. He traveled the country opening for singer Luke Bryan, a guy who’s so goddamn popular, he could (and did) fill a stadium full of fans. This fall, the burden of entertaining a crowd rests on his shoulders as he’s out on his own headlining arena tour with Frankie Ballard and Craig Campbell opening. Recently nominated for Country Music Association Song of the Year for his Top 5 Gold hit “Like A Cowboy,” which he also co-wrote, Houser’s currently supporting his new single, “We Went,” a hard rocking tune that’s the title track from a new album expected in early 2016. (Niesel) 7:30 p.m., $29.50-$49.50. Akron Civic Theatre.

SATURDAY, DEC. 19

Mr. Gnome

Earlier this year, Mr. Gnome, the artistic-minded local heavy metal duo that features singer-guitarist Nicole Barille and drummer-pianist Sam Meister, recently returned with the new studio album, The Heart of a Dark Star, a terrific album mixed by engineer Kevin McMahon (Walkmen, Titus Andronicus, Swans, Real Estate). It also issued a few extra tracks, including "Sleepwalker," a song that features layers of vocals and synths (and sounds something like a heavier Cocteau Twins) was taken from a “pile of b-sides” from The Heart of a Dark Star sessions.(Niesel) 8:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $14 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

Michael Stanley and the Resonators

There was a time when local rocker Michael Stanley recorded for a major label and toured the country. Those days are over; today, Stanley functions more like an independent artist. And yet, he's as prolific as ever, issuing albums yearly on this own label. Still a local favorite, he teams up with another local fav, Donnie Iris and the Cruisers, for tonight's show. Expect a capacity crowd. (Niesel) 8 p.m., $47.50-$65. Hard Rock Rocksino.

SUNDAY, DEC. 20

The 7th Annual Ryan Humbert Holiday Extravaganza


Now in its seventh year, the annual Ryan Humbert Holiday Extravaganza: Country Christmas has become a holiday tradition. The concert, set to take place tonight and tomorrow night will feature singer-songwriter Ryan Humbert and singer Emily Bates with a few of their closest musical friends. Locals Hillbilly IDOL will back the duo as it plays holiday classics with a country and honky-tonk spin. The show will also feature “classic hits and hidden gems” from the country music songbook. The concerts will raise funds for Akron General’s Muffins for Mammograms program. (Niesel), 7:30 p.m. Akron Civic Theatre.

Cruel Winter Fest

Wallace Settles aka Dirty Jones was one of those artists looking to leave his imprint on the world through music but found that doing so came with a heap of difficulties and with no viable solution in sight. So he decided to take matters into his own hands. He's the promoter behind the local showcase Cruel Winter Fest. The lineup for this year's incarnation features the likes of Tribe Untitled, Young James & Toby, Mondo Slade, Creez Mob, Phrazes, Walker OG, Zell, Don Purp, among others. Tae Miles and Ray Ave share top billing, with music by Elliot Nash and hosting duties handled by Kris Hilton. (Emanuel Wallace): 6 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Grog Shop.

Machine Gun Kelly

General Admission, hometown hero Machine Gun Kelly's much-anticipated follow-up to his last studio album, 2012's Lace Up, finally dropped earlier this year and debuted high on the Billboard charts. Prior to its release, the rapper released two singles from it: "Till I Die" and "A Little More." The former starts with a bit of piano before the slow-motion beats kick in and MGK begins rapping about how he'll continue to be proud of his Cleveland roots "till I die." Shot in Northeast Ohio, the video serves as a tribute to the city he calls home. Expect to hear these tracks and more as MGK, one of the city's best known musical exports, plays the first of two sold out shows at House of Blues. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $39.50 ADV, $45 DOS. House of Blues.


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