Hardcore emo heroes Emery have been busting out Christian themes like hope and faith in their songs for 10 years now. But you sure as hell wouldn't guess that from the harsh vocals and throat-ripping shrieks, which, on the surface, sound kinda angry. But listen closely and you'll hear plenty of love for their fellow man buried in there. Emery's latest album, We Do What We Want, is heavier than their four other ones, touching on things like lost love and whatever else pisses off guys in bands. But the Seattle-based group gets a little lost trying to juggle elements of both pop and metal. Songs like "The Cheval Glass" and "Scissors" are loaded with metallic gusto, while the bouncier "The Curse of Perfect Days" boasts a way poppier melody. They're more at home on "Fix Me," the one song on We Do What We Want that finds comfort in Emery's roots, tapping the ol' Bible for some inspirational words. — Courtney Kerrigan
With Hawks & Wolves, Stayatheart, and Lystrata. 7 p.m. Friday, July 1. Musica, Akron. Tickets: $12; call 330-374-1114 or visit ticketweb.com.
Kid Cudi returns for a victory lap in his hometown this weekend. And while the Q may seem like a mighty big place to fill for a hip-hop artist who doesn't reach Jay-Z's stature, don't underestimate his fans — or his clout. The Shaker Heights native's 2009 debut, Man on the Moon: The End of Day, includes the hits "Day 'n' Nite" and "Make Her Say"; last year's Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager features songs with Mary J. Blige and Kanye West. Cudi's constantly quick tongue and steady beats back up his sharp rhymes. And while his singing voice — which he hauls out quite a bit on The Legend of Mr. Rager — isn't so strong, Cudi remains an in-demand collaborator, showing up on recent records by West, T.I., Snoop Dogg, and even Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker. Here's hoping Cudi doesn't beat up any fans like he did at a free concert on Public Square last year. With songs like "Mr. Rager" and "Maniac," what could possibly go wrong? — Shelby Chargin
With Chip Tha Ripper. 8 p.m. Friday, July 1. Quicken Loans Arena. Tickets: $39.50 to $65; call 888-894-9424 or visit theqarena.com.
After 15 years of albums with his band and under his own name, Centro-matic's spindly Will Johnson officially joins the indie-folk illuminati with Candidate Waltz. On sweaty romps like "Only in My Double Mind," Johnson grinds out a low-pitch fuzz and sprinkles pretty harmonies over trashy drums. The whole thing toes the line between Spoon-like indie pop and shoe-gazing hipster noise. Johnson spent the past year in the Monsters of Folk with Jim James, Conor Oberst, and M. Ward, and while Candidate Waltz may be informed by the experience, it's not necessarily defined by it. Sarah Jaffe, who opens the show, is a Texas-based singer-songwriter whose whispering love stories can sound like private diary entries. The conversational poetry and sweet southern drawl of her latest album, Suburban Nature, includes some soul-shaking moments, but it's her plaintive songs that serve as a perfect complement to Centro-matic's more excitable sounds. — Ryan Young
With Brian Straw. 8:30 p.m. Saturday, July 2. Beachland. Tickets: $10; call 216-383-1124 or visit beachlandballroom.com.
Back in the mid '90s, when most contemporary screamo bands were still aching through their first breakups and bar chords, Cleveland's Mushroomhead were riffing their way onto the metal map with a series of self-released records. Their music melted down a diverse palette of genres — from alt-metal to rapcore — and welded them together for a tight, distinct fusion that has persisted ever since. The bass and drums smash out relentless thunder. The guitars hammer away with calculated precision. The synths layer rhythmic tornadoes. And while the tag-team vocals never lack squeals and screams, they're not afraid to drop a clean melody either, occasionally mixed with a slick piano line to show you a softer side. This weekend's throwback show will include the return of singer J-Mann and dancer Roxy, and will feature tracks from the band's first three albums. So if you're feeling pissed, pumped, or nostalgic, smear on the face paint: Mushroomhead are going old-school. — Evan Swenson
With Polkadot Cadaver. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 2. Peabody's. Tickets: $29, $25 in advance; call 216-776-9999 or visit peabodys.com.
There was a time when we couldn't get enough Katy Perry. We loved how 2008's One of the Boys kept spitting out super-size chunks of chewy pop. "I Kissed a Girl." "Hot n Cold." "Waking Up in Vegas." Bam! Bam! Bam! We even loved "California Gurls" and the title track from last year's Teenage Dream. But then she hooked up with douchebag Russell Brand. Then she bounced her boobs all over Elmo's furry red head. Then she married the douchebag. Honestly? We've had enough of her. We're guessing her latest album is on its 17th single by now, but we lost count after the blah "E.T." Perry is on the road with her California Dreams 2011 World Tour, which meets all the criteria for a big pop spectacle: dancers, set changes, giant screens flashing social-media messages. One thing you won't be slammed in the face with is music, since so much of Perry's live show disguises the fact that she isn't much of a live performer. Good thing she has boobs. — Michael Gallucci
With Marina & the Diamonds. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 5. Quicken Loans Arena.
Tickets: $28 and $48; call 888-894-9424 or visit theqarena.com.