Music » Livewire

The Damnwells/Sam Roberts

With Slow Runner. Saturday, June 10, at the Grog Shop.


Though they hail from Brooklyn, the Damnwells traffic in a loping Americana-pop sound that seems endemic to mid-America, from the Replacements to Wilco to the Old 97's. Not as ragged as the 'Mats or as adventurous (if precious) as Tweedy, lead singer-guitarist Alex Dezen has a reedy tenor that recalls the 97's' Rhett Miller. Like the Texas power-pop/alt-country rockers, the Damnwells fashion loose, melodic rock with a little jangle and twang, and the kind of desperate, down-on-their-luck romanticism Paul Westerberg made fashionable two decades ago. Their debut, Bastards of the Beat, follows two well-received EPs, and while not necessarily improving on their sound, it offers a consolidation of their musical charms. Needless to say, they're covering well-trod territory, but what they lack in originality, they compensate for with pop verve and an energetic live show.

Headliner Sam Roberts rolls out big, swooning classic-rock psychedelica, harmony-rich folk-rock, and power-chord bombast. An arena-rock star in his native Canada, he's the kind of guy who loves playing enough never to realize he's slumming.

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.