Fans of bent classic rock with a jazz twist should enjoy the still durable Steely Dan when the ’70s masters perform at E.J. Thomas Hall (198 Hill St., Akron, 330.972.7570, ticketmaster.com) at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. The first show will feature Aja, their 1977 hit album; the second includes The Royal Scam, 1976’s predecessor. The dates are part of the Rent Party ’09 tour, where the band — led by guitarist Walter Becker and the shaded Donald Fagen on keyboards — will also perform other gems from its extensive repertoire. Reviews of recent shows (where the deadpan duo fronted an 11-piece group) suggest Steely Dan might resurrect favorites like “Hey Nineteen,” “Do It Again” and “Kid Charlemagne” — talismans of a decade in which rock ‘n’ roll became big business and politics went dirty. A minor-key band of major themes and worldly, cynical approach, Steely Dan carved its profile in the ’70s, the era of REO Speedwagon, Foreigner and Peter Frampton. Their cutting-edge harmonies, jazz grounding and sharp takes on American consumer culture made them an unlikely candidate for commercial success. But their way with melody, easy swing and use of the best musicians of the day — including guitarist Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, vocalist Michael McDonald and saxophonist Wayne Shorter — made them a welcome anomaly whose best work is perpetually modern. Local factoid: Steely Dan’s first gig was in 1972, opening for the James Gang at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre. Tickets: $61-$148. — Carlo Wolff
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at [email protected].
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.