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Thursday, December 21, 2017

7 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 8:56 AM

click to enlarge SAMANTHA FRYBERGER
  • Samantha Fryberger
FRIDAY, DEC. 22

Machine Gun Kelly XXMAS Show


At this year’s Lollapalooza, local rapper Machine Gun Kelly put on a rousing performance in front of an enthusiastic audience of teens and twentysomethings, delivering one of the most aggressive sets of the entire festival. Wearing a silver jacket, skinny black jeans and loafers, MGK clearly enjoyed his first-ever performance at Lolla. “Middle fingers up,” he shouted at the start of a rowdy set that included a tribute to Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington, a friend of his who committed suicide earlier this year. MGK paid tribute to Bennington with a rendition of the Linkin Park tune “Number,” adding that the gray skies provided the right atmosphere for him to sing the track. It was a memorable performance. Tonight's special holiday show at the Wolstein represents the rapper’s first “headline arena show” in his career. Expect a capacity crowd to be on hand for it. (Jeff Niesel), 7 p.m. Wolstein Center.

Automatic Weapons Album Release Show/Marcus Alan Ward/Times10



Automatic Weapons has made a splash in the local music scene without so much as a opening slot at the corner bar. The multi-instrumentalist duo — Vinny DiFranco and Michael Bashur — hail from Ohio Sky, which scorched Northeast Ohio with an ethereal blend of heavy riffs and soaring soundscapes for about a decade. The first EP and much of the band’s latest release, Young Lovers/Dystopian Future, stem from lengthy sound experiments at a home studio in Gates Mills. Surrounded by guitars, cameras and a warm, wooden ambiance, the guys ran sounds through an old Hammond Auto-Vari analog drum machine. What came out on the other end were polyrhythmic backbones that formed the genesis of this new material. “Antenna,” for instance, features snappy percussion fills around DiFranco’s verses. Expect to hear it and more at tonight's release party. (Eric Sandy) 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $13 DOS. Beachland Tavern.

SATURDAY, DEC. 23

Boys From the County Hell


When the Boys from the County Hell first got together in 2000 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. But it regularly plays a special holiday show this time of year too. 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 as well as some seasonal covers tonight. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $14 ADV, $17 DOS. House of Blues.

Home for the Holidays Showcase: A Punk Rock Reunion

An annual reunion show featuring local acts, Home for the Holidays Showcase: A Punk Rock Reunion will feature the Unknown, a local punk band that Ken Blaze founded in 1989 will headline. The event will also feature the newly formed punk rock band Violet Ray, which features singer-guitarist William Somerville and former Flanked By Red Flags bassist Rich Kaufman. Violet's Ray's upcoming debut record will be performed in its entirety and downloadable tracks will be available to those in attendance. Also on the bill will be 1990s punk bands Cypher, the Atomix and Skitter. There will be a raffle benefit for the Cleveland Food Bank. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $5. The Phantasy Nite Club.

Mary Bridget Davies and Ryan Sudick: The Naughty & Nice Show

It's unclear which musician is the naughty one and who is the nice one; perhaps Clevelanders Mary Bridget Davies and Ryan Sudick are each a bit of both. For tonight's show, on the eve of Christmas Eve, the pair looks to spice up the holiday season with a bit of bluesy flair. Davies' earthy vocals are as a big and bold as it gets, as seen with her Tony nomination for A Night With Janis Joplin. And Sudick is here to provide the warmest of piano chords. For sure, the show won't be like any of those other stale, traditional holiday concerts around town. (Laura Morrison), 7 p.m., $25 ADV, $28 DOS. Music Box Supper Club.

The Modern Electric/Trios

“Just like in the movies,” they say, and they’re spot-on. The Modern Electric has consistently kept crowds in Cleveland (and elsewhere) dazzled with their brand of “cinematic pop.” It’s all of a piece with these guys, and one often feels like a wonderstruck Ed Norton in a long-forgotten Wes Anderson flick when listening to their stuff. We check in with the band every now and then, and they lately released their album, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, as a set of instrumental tunes. It’s an even more honed sense of cinematic enjoyment. (Eric Sandy), 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $13 DOS. Grog Shop.

Sinatra Night with Michael Sonata (in the Supper Club)

Canton native Michael Sonata has always been involved in plays and choirs and was a member of the University of Notre Dame Glee Club. In 2004, he auditioned for a role in a Sopranos spoof that required a character based on Frank Sinatra. Sonata got the part and has been imitating Ol’ Blue Eyes ever since. He includes some 90 songs in his repertoire and covers all eras, including the Columbia years and the Capitol years. Expect to hear some holiday tunes at tonight's show too. (Niesel), 7 p.m., $10. Music Box Supper Club.

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