- Jim Lauderdale teams up with Donna the Buffalo at the Beachland Thursday.
Jim Lauderdale's such a structured, methodical songwriter that his collaboration with jam band Donna the Buffalo, Wait 'Til Spring, shouldn't work. The North Carolina native eases into songs with a clear-cut end in mind; the New York sextet rambles onstage and on record, searching for a perfect groove in which to settle. "When I first met them, I just really liked them as people," Lauderdale says. "Once I heard them play, we just clicked musically. I started writing songs inspired and influenced by them. All of the songs [on Spring] were written with them in mind."
But Donna is more roots-oriented than its contemporaries; fiddle and accordion often figure in its music. It's a natural fit, Lauderdale says. And if Wait 'Til Spring shouldn't work, because of the apparent dichotomy between the artists, consider that Lauderdale's collaborators (including Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam, and Ralph Stanley) over the past decade are linked by a mere alt-country/Americana tag.
"I want to do another record with [Donna]," he says. "There are many things we didn't get to do this time around." Lauderdale and Donna the Buffalo perform at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Road) at 8 p.m. Thursday. Tickets are $15; call 216-383-1124. -- Michael Gallucci
The Art of Antiwar
Concert raises consciousness and maybe some funds.
Oren Casdi was arrested on May 4 in Kent. He was taking part in the school's annual antiwar protest. He's now buried in legal bills, rising from various charges (including disorderly conduct and failure to comply). Saturday's War No More Benefit Series at the Beachland gathers a group of like-minded artists to rally behind Casdi's cause (and gather enough money to put a dent in his debt). "We've had a lot of surprises," says organizer Kate Sopko. "There are a lot of people who want to be a part of this." Saturday's lineup (there's another benefit planned for January 3) includes punk rockers New Wave, poet R.A. Washington, singer-songwriter Angelisa Crognale, and spoken-word artists Vernacular. "What this comes down to is that he's really knee-deep in legal costs," Sopko says. "People who are involved feel it could have been any one of them." The War No More Benefit Series starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road. Admission is $5; call 216-216-383-1124. -- Michael Gallucci
Cleveland Opera goes light on Iolanthe.
Gilbert & Sullivan's Iolanthe sets up a wild comic premise: A fairy is banished from her homeland because she married a mortal. She gives birth to a boy, who, 25 years later, is set to wed a mortal himself. The Cleveland Opera -- not a troupe known for playing light -- tackles the 120-year-old work, which eventually is an indictment of attorneys, ethics, and the British Parliament. It's also one of Gilbert & Sullivan's most timeless tales, so expect plenty of contemporary parallels along the way. Iolanthe is at the State Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue) at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $24 to $107, available by calling 216-241-6000. -- Michael Gallucci
A Smooth Jazz Christmas is saxophonist Dave Koz and friends' holiday offering of lulling horns and mellow vocals. In past years, the gang strayed a bit from the main theme by playing a few solo hits, but the bulk of the show is seasonal sounds made sweet. Chris Botti, Marc Antoine, Bobby Caldwell, and Brian Culbertson join the fun. It happens at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Palace Theatre (1519 Euclid Avenue). Tickets are $35 and $40; call 216-241-6000. -- Michael Gallucci