More than a thousand people crammed the Rock Hall Friday night to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the opening of the museum in 1995. New York may have snagged the 25th Anniversary Concerts last October, but Cleveland was left with a fun, and somewhat hollow, party to kick off Labor Day weekend.
The evening began with a private ceremony honoring Senator George Voinovich for his instrumental work in securing the Rock Hall in Cleveland. The Rock Hall renamed its atrium in his honor.
The night’s Ball then began in earnest with a soulful set by Eli “Paperpoy” Reed. The young crooner and his band took the stage with a set of a R&B tunes that paid homage to many of the genre's pioneers.
Headliners were Foxy Shazam, a Cincinnati party band that picks up where the Darkness left off five years ago. Led by Eric Sean Nally, whose big voice recalls Freddie Mercury and other classic glam rockers, the band ran through a manic, high-energy set in just over an hour.
With songs laced with trumpet, high-pitched vocals, and dramatic stage antics, Foxy Shazam were entertaining, but not entirely worthy of headlining a night commemorating the Rock Hall’s role in the community.
Even as Nally climbed the stage’s scaffolding during the set’s final song, eventually hanging upside down, you couldn’t help but think that someone from the Hall’s inductee list should have been there here instead.
While both Reed and Foxy Shazam are obviously influenced by many of the inductees, the special night would have been more memorable had some of the actual inductees showed up and played. —Aaron Mendelsohn
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