Music » Music Feature


Bone Thugs, Swamps of Jersey, and more



This summer marks 20 years since Bone Thugs-N-Harmony — the biggest rap act to ever come out of Cleveland — formed and recorded their debut album, Faces of Death, introducing the rest of the world to their distinctive style of rapping. The group went on to sell millions of records and win some Grammys. They've broken up, and reunited, more than a few times over the years. The original five members are getting back together to celebrate their 20th anniversary this summer. The group will headline, along with Nas, the annual Rock the Bells hip-hop festival in California and New Jersey over weekends in August and September.

Bone Thugs will also play the Agora on October 6, marking a return to the venue where they first met mentor Eazy-E, the N.W.A founder who signed them to his Ruthless Records.

The group will perform its 1995 album E. 1999 Eternal in its entirety at the Agora show. Even though group members haven't always gotten along, they say that things are just fine between them now. "It's like any other family situation," says Flesh N Bone. "You have your feuds and your happy times. But we've got longevity. We have our head-bumping times, but we have a career that consists of complete relevancy. All these cats coming out of the Midwest tip their hat to Bone. It places Bone on a whole other level of relevance. We'll always be relevant. We just need to harness it." Tickets to the Agora show, on sale now, are $39.50.

On the Riverfront

When promoter Marty Conway was first approached about putting together a lineup of blues bands to play the Cuyahoga Falls Riverfront as part of the city's bicentennial, he knew he wanted to do something a little different. "Everybody is doing blues festivals, which is cool," says Conway. "But I wanted to do rhythm and blues. We needed to find an artist that people would respect and understand." So Conway booked Booker T. Jones and the Bo-Keys, two old-school R&B legends. Local and regional acts round out the lineup for this weekend's free Riverfront Rhythm and Blues Review. Bands start at 5 p.m. on Friday and at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. You can find more info at

Magic Act

Magic, the '70s dance band that would become the backing band for

Raspberries singer Eric Carmen when he went solo, play a reunion show at 9 p.m. Saturday at Stamper's. It's the first time the group has played together since a 1985 reunion. They'll be joined by openers the Bowlers, an '80s act known for wearing thrift-store bowling shirts, and Tongues Thrust, another '80s band famous for covering acts such as Chuck Berry, Eddie Cochran, and the Rolling Stones. Admission is free.

Flash Job

Progressive Arts Alliance has booked Rock Hall Inductee Grandmaster Flash to spin at House of Blues on Saturday as part of a celebration of the arts education group's 10th anniversary. Flash, who started DJing in the '70s, is a hip-hop icon who says even he is surprised at the influence DJs hold these days. "I had always hoped that it would become a popular art form, but I never in my wildest dreams did think it would become an international phenomenon," he says. "I travel around the world and see so many talented entertainers."In addition to Flash's performance, corporate groups will "battle" in a dance-crew competition and PAA students will perform. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 to $150.

Prove It All Night

On Saturday, local tribute band Swamps of Jersey will recreate the legendary 1978 WMMS anniversary show that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street played at the Agora Theatre. The band will perform the entire set in the order in which it was played. The show starts at 9 p.m. at Wilbert's. Admission is a requested donation.

All That Jazz

Pianist Matt Skitzki has put together a showcase featuring what he calls "the best upcoming jazz talent." A line-up of nearly 10 local musicians will play a concert simply called Jazz at Severance Hall at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets range from $16 to $33.

Singer-Songwriter Showcase

Pete McDonald hosts a singer-songwriter showcase at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Beachland Tavern. McDonald recruited local singer-songwriter Rebecca Wohlever and the Philadelphia band Birds Over Arkansas to join him on the bill. He also promises "some special guests" will be on hand. Tickets are $6.

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

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.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.