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Blues Flash

Bobby "Blue" Bland and other R&B greats light up the Wolstein.


Cleveland Blues Festival organizers learned at least one lesson at last year's inaugural concert: Even Playhouse Square's ginormous Palace Theatre isn't big enough to hold all of Northeast Ohio's blues fans. That's why they've moved the four-hour jam of traditional and modern blues to Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center. "It's kinda like the Grateful Dead or Widespread Panic," says promoter Julius Lewis. "They don't get a lot of airplay, but their following is strong." On tonight's bill, the artists range from Bobby "Blue" Bland, Shirley Brown, and Theodis Ealey to Marvin Sease, Latimore, and Sir Charles Jones. They're not the big-name acts you hear on Cleveland's commercial radio stations, but they attract fans in droves to see them in concert. "I'm still not sure where they hear it, whether it's juke joints or on bootlegs," says Lewis. "But they pick it up, they know the songs, and they come to party." The fest starts at 8 tonight at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University, 2000 Prospect Avenue. Tickets are $36.50 to $47.50. Call 216-241-5555 or visit
Fri., Feb. 22, 8 p.m., 2008

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