- Walter Novak
- Audioslave's Chris Cornell (top) and cheering fans, at the Agora, April 24.
The Cleveland Music Festival returns for its fourth year Thursday, May 12, through Sunday, May 15. Four venues will host more than 200 local bands, 20 national acts, and 20 speakers from the music industry.
"The whole idea is to get the Cleveland local bands heard nationally," says festival organizer Dan Cull, also a co-owner of Peabody's. "The idea is to promote and educate the Cleveland music scene, to expose Cleveland bands to the industry, and to learn to treat your band like a business."
71 North will headline a local hip-hop showcase Friday at Kaos (1220 Old River Road). Seven tops the bill at a Saturday metal show at Peabody's (2083 East 21st Street). Horror punks American Werewolves are set to play a Saturday punk spotlight at the Agora (5000 Euclid Avenue). Jaded Era will star in an alternative lineup Saturday at Peabody's. Visit www.clevelandmusicfestival.com for a complete schedule. Most shows are all-ages.
National acts include Machine Head, Drowning Pool, and Mike Jones. One feature that Clevelanders can't catch on any given weekend is the Saturday question-and-answer panel discussions with industry professionals. Confirmed guests include Sony's Matt Pinfield, First Row Talent booking agency's John Finberg, and Metal Blade's Jen Graham.
"If you're in a band or want to be in the music business, there's no way you'll leave the panel without understanding the business better," Cull says. "You get your name out there, and those 20 people probably know everybody in the business."
· PIT Cleveland (4309 Lorain Avenue) is hosting an alternative to the CMF, the Cleveland Muzik FISTival, Thursday, May 12, through Sunday, May 15. The underage clubhouse will host three nights of punk and metal, followed by an eclectic Sunday-night show featuring electronic/hip-hop hybrid Johnny La Rock & Mush Mouth, singer-writer Henry James, and other experimental acts. A complete schedule is available at www.myspace.com/pitcleveland.
· Cleveland's Caligula has broken up. The vicious punk band had a small but significant reputation in town and released the We Burn Bridges EP last year on New York City's United Edge Records, followed by some national touring. Singer Ryan Kennedy, who left the band, will reunite with drummer Mike Burrows in a new, as-yet-unnamed project that guitarist Joe Spagnuolo describes as "thrash-styled hardcore in the vein of Tragedy, From Ashes Rise, and Nine Shocks Terror."
· Rusted Root Drummer Jim Donovan will host a performance and workshop Friday, April 29, at Kent's Woodsy's Music (135 South Water Street). Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
· Former Chimaira guitarist Jason Hagar is now also a former Shenoah guitarist. Citing artistic differences, Hagar left the modern rock band he co-founded last year. The axeman has a new project called Years of Fire (which is also the name of Ascension's 1996 debut, though the two bands are unconnected). Shenoah sampler Jeff Butchko sings, and Hespera/Forever Untouched guitarist Cole Martinez also plays. Hagar says the "insanely brutal" material will be available online soon.
· His bum is in the office: Matt Toka, singer for Cleveland/Youngstown Universal recording artist Cherry Monroe, recently visited his record company's Manhattan headquarters, found himself bored, stripped naked, and ran a lap around the floor. After two female employees threatened to quit, the band was banned from the office. The incident made page 6 of the New York Post.