Pogues devotees the Boys From the County Hell celebrate their 10th anniversary on March 13 at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124, beachlandballroom.com), before launching into their annual three-shows-in-a-day ritual on March 17. At 9 a.m. they open the all-day affair at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583, hob.com). They can walk to their next gig, from 2-7 p.m. at Flannery's Pub (323 Prospect Ave., 216.781.7782, flannerys.com). Then they pull the 9-midnight shift at the Harp (4408 Detroit Ave., 216.939.0200, the-harp.com). (New Yorkers and Cleveland favorites the Prodigals return to headline the HOB party, at 2:30 p.m.)
Saints and Sinners Tour
If poetry is pitted against aggressively escalating guitar solos, is it still poetry? If religious beliefs are shrieked from the top of one's lungs, do they still retain their core Buddhist values? Senses Fail has pondered such musical queries for six years, one EP and three full-lengths, the departure of two members and stints on the Warped and Taste of Chaos tours. And much to fans' relief, the Jersey four-piece seems to have chanced upon few definitive answers (it's no accident that their 2006 sophomore effort was titled Still Searching). Both highly literate and infinitely introspective, the band's influences range from Charles Bukowski and Joseph Campbell to its own battles with cancer and the bottom of the bottle. With a sound that's dense, brooding and expansive, lyricist/vocalist Buddy Nielsen and company are never content to pass off fist-pumping, easy-to-digest, eternally heartsick pop-punk sing-alongs as something meaningful. They strive for unity, but it's of a more philosophical nature than anything their screamo post-hardcore peers would dare tackle. It's fitting then that the inaugural Saints and Sinners tour, an offshoot of the annual two-day metal festival of the same name, would tap Senses Fail as ambassadors of well-meaning, if flawed, personal evolution. Hollywood Undead, Haste the Day and Brokencyde start things off at 7 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583). Tickets: $18 advance, $20 day of show. - Julie Seabough
Wednesday, March 11
Destruction's most recent album bears the title D.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N., which would be funny if the German thrashers had, in fact, returned to the grimy roots which made them champions of their country's '80s underground. But the 2008 record is actually melodically impressive and rhythmically intricate. Destruction hasn't turned into a prog-metal act, but the bare-bones assault of albums like 2001's The Antichrist and 2003's awesomely titled Metal Discharge (go see a doctor about that, dude!) has been bulked up with a strong dose of guitar technique and lyrical surprises. The title track in particular is reminiscent of classic Megadeth in its cynicism and penetrating intelligence. But the most important thing about Destruction is that these old bastards bring the riffs live; they're a hair-pinwheeling, moshpit-starting firestorm of classic speed metal. If you're enjoying the current retro-thrash scene, check out these old-school masters at work. Krisium, Mantic Ritual and Cellbound open at 8 p.m. at Peabody's (2045 E. 21st St., 216.776.9999). Tickets: $15 advance, $18 day of show. - Phil Freeman
Wednesday, March 11
Butch Walker has found a way out of the starving-artist trap. Instead of twiddling his thumbs between tours and albums, he produces albums for the rich and famous. Pink, Katy Perry and Avril Lavigne all have Walker to thank. He's the one responsible for Bowling for Soup's Grammy-nominated "Girl All the Bad Guys Want." His true passion, however, lies in crafting his own tunes. His biographical storytelling is highlighted by catchy, cleanly produced cuts. Though the pop music on Walker's newest album, Sycamore Meadows, isn't as cookie-cutter as the albums he produces for others, it is easy listening. Melodic guitar, church-bell keyboard and swingy vocals sprawl across tales of tragedy (losing his home in last year's California fires) and heartbreak. The Georgia-born songwriter is no stranger to the stage. Walker has been touring in bands since the '80s and started his solo career in 2002. "Going Back/Going Home" tells his whole life story in three minutes, from growing up in middle-class suburbs to touring the bar scene to his sex addiction. Guitar-driven indie-rock pals the Films open at 9 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., 216.321.5588). Tickets: $15 advance, $17 day of show. - Danielle Sills
Local Celt-rock band Brace Yourself Bridget! warm up at the East Side Irish American Club (22770 Lake Shore Blvd., Euclid, 216.731.4003, irishamericanclubeastside.com) on March 15, then return to their home base, Stampers Grill Pub (21750 Lorain Rd., Fairview Park, 440.333.7826, stampersgrillpub.com) for shows on March 16 (8 p.m.) and 17 (6:30-9:30 p.m.) (The East Side Club hosts Fergie & the Bog Dogs on March 16 and 17, 7-11 p.m. both nights).
Solo singer-storyteller Mossy Moran (pictured) livens up Mick's Pub & Grill (36200 Euclid Ave., Willoughby, 440.946.2400, mickspub.com) on March 11, before heading out of town for the holy day. He's back in Cleveland, at the Flat Iron Café (1114 Center St., 216.696.6968, flatironcafe.com), on March 20.
Akron Celt-rockers the Mickeys play two shows on March 17, both at Kevin O'Bryan's (1761 S. Main St., Akron, 330.724.9782, kevinobryans.com). Showtimes are 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and 7:30-10:30 p.m.
The Cleveland Grays' Post-Parade Celebration, from 2-10 p.m. on March 17, will feature Pitch the Peat. For tickets ($10, military personnel free) to this Gray's Armory (1234 Boliver Rd.) event, call 216.621.5938 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Whiskey Island Ramblers promote ethnic diversity at the American Polish Hall (4737 Pearl Rd., 216.661.5315) on March 14 at 8 p.m., then play three gigs on March 17: at 9 a.m. at Pickwick & Frolic (2035 E. 4th St., 216.241.7425, pickwickandfrolic.com); at 2:30 p.m. at the Old Angle Tavern (1848 W. 25th St., 216.861.5643, oldangletavern.com); and at 8:30 p.m. at Brother's Lounge (11609 Detroit Ave., 216.226.2767, brotherslounge.com). Local trad favorites the New Barleycorn start the week on March 12 at Mavis Winkle's (8870 Darrow Rd., Twinsburg, 330.405.9001, maviswinkles.com). On March 16, it's O'Malley's Rockcliffe, (2589 Wooster Rd., Rocky River, 400.333.2600, omalleys-rockcliffe.com). For March 17 they've secured a prestigious St. Pat's Day gig at Irish ex-pat Brendan Ring's Nighttown (12387 Cedar Rd., Cleveland Hts., 216.795.0550, nighttowncleveland.com). Finally, on March 18, they play (softly, we hope) at the "Survivor's Party" at the Public House (17219 Lorain Ave., 216.252.6058).
And for something completely different, check out SuidAkrA - "Celtic war metal" - at Peabody's (2045 East 21st St., 216.776.9999, peabodys.com) on March 21. We dare you to request "Danny Boy. - Frank Lewis
It's amazing how much abuse the human body can endure in the name of rock 'n' roll. Few groups know this better than Atlanta's Black Lips, who are best known for their audacious live performances rather than their songs. While the quartet plays '60s-inspired garage rock, its stage antics have more in common with '70s punks. They include, but are not limited to, displays of bodily functions, nudity and homoeroticism. The Lips have been banned from clubs and even from entire countries. They've toned down a bit over the past couple of years, but they're still rowdier than hell and likely to make a scene whenever they go onstage. And just in case one retro indie band on the bill isn't enough for you, Gentlemen Jesse & His Men and the Weakends figure into the mix as well. Cleveland's Hot Cha Cha opens at 9 p.m. at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Rd., 216.383.1124, beachlandballroom.com). Tickets: $10 advance, $12 day of show. - Nick DeMarino
Plain White T's
Ironically, one of the country's biggest-selling pop-punk bands is also one the most disposable. Plain White T's were just another third-billed group of young twentysomethings singing songs about girls who ignored them until 2007, when a two-year-old album cut, "Hey There Delilah," began slowly climbing the charts. The solo acoustic number, about a girl who ignored frontman Tom Higgenson, became one of the year's best-selling singles. Last fall, Plain White T's released Big Bad World, an album that pretty much served as a reaction to "Delilah"'s success. Embracing a bigger, bolder sound, the Chicago-area quintet still griped about girl problems but did so with a larger budget and fewer hooks. It bombed. So now they're pretty much back where they started, before that monster single was inescapable for five months in 2007 - just another group of young twentysomethings singing songs about girls who ignore them. But now, the girls (and boys) really aren't paying attention. Plain White T's play House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583, hob.com) at 7 p.m. Tickets: $16.50 advance, $18 day of show. - Michael Gallucci
Spoon River Anthology
Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology is a portrait of a fictitious town, told through the epitaphs of its residents. The 1915 work includes 212 characters recounting, in free-form poetry, their intertwined lives in a place named after the real Spoon River, which runs near Masters' home in Lewistown, Illinois. Since all the characters are dead, however, they're free to reveal secrets they never would have shared if they were alive. This week, Actors' Summit (86 Owen Brown St., Hudson, 330.342.0800, actorssummit.org) opens Charles Aidman's 1963 stage adaptation, which trims Masters' work to a mere 60 characters and adds folk music performed by the five actors who take on the roles. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays, through March 29. Tickets: $22-$28. - Michael Gill
Noise rock is for two kinds of people: frustrated musicians and frustrated human beings. If you go to a noise show, you'll invariably spot at least one hipster espousing the intrinsic limitations of the chromatic scale. But that's not what noise is really about. AIDS Wolf's nonsense riffs, spastic drums and grating vocals aren't just concerned with challenging musical conventions; they deal with the indulgence, the impulse, the urge to create and the power to destroy. AIDS Wolf are all about musical catharsis. Sure, the only thing that distinguishes one song from another is the length of each dissonant phrase. But you'll have plenty of time to take apart every riff you see fit, especially since it'll be repeated for three solid minutes. U.S. Girls and the Mishaps are also on board for this show. Cleveland's own quirky garage-rockers the Guile and noise-jam band Puffy Areolas start destroying eardrums at 9 p.m. at Now That's Class (11213 Detroit Ave., 216.221.8576, myspace.com/nowthatsclass). Tickets: $5. - DeMarino
After a staged reading at Cleveland Public Library last week, Sean Christopher Lewis' play The Aperture gets its fully staged world-premiere performance at Cleveland Public Theater (6415 Detroit Ave., 216.631.2727, cptonline.org). The story of an American photographer and her subject -- a onetime African boy soldier - explores America's perceptions on violence, race and waging wars in distant parts of the globe. Craig J. George -- who helmed an all-male version of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure last season -- directs Heather Anderson Boll as the photographer and Isaiah Isaac as the soldier. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through March 28. Tickets: $10-$20. - Gill
Among the many stops on the March edition of the Tremont Art Walk (tremontartwalk.com) is Visible Voice Books (1023 Kenilworth Ave., 216.961.0084, visiblevoicebooks.com), where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Jim Henke will sign copies of his books Lennon Legend: An Illustrated Life of John Lennon and Marley Legend: An Illustrated Life of Bob Marley. As VP of exhibitions and curatorial affairs, Henke - who worked at Rolling Stone for 18 years - is the guy who convinces rockers and their families to donate guitars, notebooks and other artifacts to the museum. He'll be at Visible Voice from 6-10 p.m. Other stops on this week's walk include Asterisk Gallery (2393 Professor Ave.), with its annual KSU Graduate Program Exhibition curated by Kirk Mangus, and Doubting Thomas (856 Jefferson Ave.), which is selling the private collection of artist, critic and activist Frank Green. - Gill
If the original breed of hipster was noted for being on the "cutting edge" of pop culture and the arts, today's mutated, Brooklyn-based hipster is more in the business of upholding his ancestors' style, or "classic cutting edge" - oxymoron though it may be. Chairlift is a great example of this phenomenon. Rising stars in the white-hot Brooklyn indie scene (MGMT, Yeasayer, Matt & Kim, Vivian Girls, etc.), Chairlift is a young trio - two dudes and a lady - that borrows liberally from the sight, sound and feel of '80s synth-pop, namely the likes of Gary Numan and the Human League. Feeling a bit gypped perhaps for being mere toddlers during those artists' heyday, Chairlift recreate that predominantly British scene with a New York, computer-age backdrop, and it works quite well. Well enough, in fact, that Apple jumped on the band's ultra-catchy single "Bruises" for a heavily rotated iPod commercial last year. It's hard to say if Chairlift will ride that ad to stardom as Feist did the previous year, but the current tour could help decide if they're ready for the mainstream or just three more Brooklyn hipsters with a retro-virus. Yacht and DJ Peter Pleasurecruise opens at 8 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588, grogshop.gs). Tickets: $8. - Andrew Clayman
The Farnsworth Invention
There's great irony in Aaron Sorkin's play about farmer Philo Farnsworth and RCA president David Sarnoff. The two very different men battled over who invented television (Farnsworth was an amateur inventor, Sarnoff had deep pockets). In 2004, New Line was all set to film Sorkin's script, when the studio pulled the plug on it without explanation. So Sorkin - who created The West Wing - reworked the piece as a stage play. A year after its brief run closed on Broadway, Beck Center for the Arts (17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216.521.2540, beckcenter.org) stages The Farnsworth Invention, which opens at 8 tonight and runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. Sundays through April 11. Beck Artistic Director Scott Spence directs. Tickets: $17-$28. - Gill
Artist John Pearson's stark abstract works juxtapose shapes and color - contrasting white against black, light against dark, curves against sharp, straight edges. Born in England in 1940, Pearson attended Akademie der Bildenden KŸnste in Munich and the Royal Academy Schools in London. But after a few brief teaching posts (the last of which was with the Cleveland Institute of Art), he's been part of Oberlin College's art-department faculty for nearly 40 years. He opens a show of new works called Transformations this week at 1point618 gallery (6421 Detroit Ave., 216.281.1618, 1point618gallery.com), with a free reception starting at 7 tonight. After that, you'll need an appointment to see the work, which hangs through April 12. - Gill
Lissy Gulick hasn't worked in an office in a long time, but she gets a double dose of the atmosphere performing in Dobama's paring of two one-act comedies: Adam Bock's The Receptionist and Cleveland Heights playwright Eric Coble's HR. In The Receptionist, which Gulick calls "a nasty little play," she's Beverly, answering phones and coping with co-workers' romantic entanglements. But then someone from the central office comes to town, bringing evil and twisting comedy as well as lessons on politics and responsibility. In Coble's HR, Gulick and her onstage co-workers learn that their human-resource department will be paying a visit. Fearful that someone's in trouble, everyone begins dishing on each others' work habits. Gullick's character not only naps on the job, she snores, while a co-worker sneaks away to the supply cabinet for sniffs of copy-machine toner. The story turns on a second call from HR, but let's not leak any office secrets. The show opens at 8 p.m. at Pilgrim Congregational Church (2592 W. 14th St., 216.932.3396, dobama.org). Performances continue at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, and 2:30 p.m. other Sundays through April 5. Tickets: $15-$22. - Gill
Artists who work in print media - whether it's woodblock, metal plate, screen or some variation - call themselves "printmakers." With emphasis on "making," the word calls attention to the art's work aspect. This makes much sense here in Northeast Ohio, with our manufacturing history and - despite the commercial obsolescence of printmaking processes - four art schools with thriving print departments. Outside of the academies, printmaking co-op Zygote Press (1410 E. 30th St., 216.621.2900, zygotepress.com) is also flourishing, especially fine-art printmakers and concert-poster screen printers. This week, Zygote presents 4U, an exhibit that shows off work from a quartet of local schools' print departments (the title stands for "four universities"). Opening with a free reception from 6-9 tonight, 4U features faculty and students from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Bowling Green State University, the University of Akron and Kent State University. It runs through April 25. - Gill
The thing about Cirque du Soleil is that it can be enjoyed as much by wide-eyed kids as bleary-eyed stoners. Just ask Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd, who memorably tripped on some mushrooms at Soleil's Vegas show in Knocked Up. Today's PlayhouseSquare performance by Soleil vet Jamie Adkins is one for the kids. But that doesn't mean his Circus INcognitus doesn't hold some thrills for older folks. After all, you gotta be wrecked out of your mind to try some of those acrobatic feats Adkins performs onstage. Showtimes are 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre (1501 Euclid Ave., 216.241.6000, playhousesquare.com). Tickets: $10-$20. - Gallucci
Even though this Pittsburgh-based jam band no longer keeps the heavy touring schedule of its '90s heyday, Rusted Root continues to regularly perform for legions of its diehard fans, the Rootheads. Jam-band loyalists accused Rusted Root of selling out after the release of 2002's pop-flavored Welcome to My Party, but the fact is, the group is comfortable covering many genres, including African, Native American and Latin groove music. The band's current lineup (fronted by founder Michael Glabicki) is back on the road supporting Stereo Rodeo, which comes out next week. The show starts at 8 p.m. at the Kent Stage (175 E. Main St., Kent; 330.677.5005, kentstage.org). Tickets: $12-$17. - Ernest BarteldesÊÊ
On his latest album, Palmystery, Béla Fleck's bass player Victor Wooten explores a variety of sonic textures without displaying an ounce of pretension. Fellow bassist Richard Bona contributes vocals and percussion on "I Saw God," which mixes both Afro-inspired and gospel influences in one seamless package. "2 Timers" is pure, finger-twisting modern jazz that switches the timing back and forth, challenging the musicians. "The Lesson" features Roy Wooten, who adds handclaps and a few beats on the caj—n, an instrument used in Latin music. And New York-based guitarist Mike Stern guests on "Sifu," which draws inspiration from Latin and acid jazz. Wooten recently collaborated with Stanley Clarke and Marcus Miller on the aptly titled Thunder, which came to fruition after the three musicians shared a New York jazz festival stage in 2007. Wooten's grooves are always distinctive, which means you can appreciate his skill, whether he's billed as leader or sideman. J.D. Blair opens at 8 p.m. at House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583, hob.com). Tickets: $22 advance, $25 day of show. - Barteldes
Orange County-based metalcore rockers Bleeding Through came up in a scene alongside bands like 18 Visions and Avenged Sevenfold. But the guys in Bleeding Through have always infused their songs with noticeably more aggression and blatant hardcore influence than their peers. The six-piece group - which released its fifth album, Declaration, last year - has grown darker and heavier with each subsequent record, combining hard-hitting riffs, moody keyboards and frontman Brandan Schieppati's callous screams and melodic vocal lines to create forceful, ear-bending songs. The band's live show is equally thrashing, as the guys charge through songs with fervor. Plus, keyboardist Marta Peterson is a force to be reckoned with. The Acacia Strain, As Blood Runs Black and Impending Doom are also on the bill. It all starts at 6 p.m. at Peabody's (2045 E. 21st St., 216.776.9999, peabodys.com). Tickets: $15 advance, $17 day of show. - Emily Zemler
Shapiro Plays Beethoven
Daniel Shapiro ought to know Beethoven's piano sonatas pretty well by now. The pianist, who keeps a worldwide recital schedule in addition to his teaching gig at the Cleveland Institute of Music, has performed the composer's complete cycle of 32 piano sonatas - which include some of the most beloved melodies in classical music - twice. Today, Shapiro performs three of the pieces, including the famous "Pathetique" Sonata No. 8, which was written in 1798, when Beethoven was 28. The work is part of his "early period," when his hearing loss still hadn't driven him to chomp on a wooden dowel rod while holding the other end to the piano so he could "hear" the vibrations of the music through his mouth. Shapiro will also play works from earlier and later in Beethoven's career: sonatas nos. 1 and 31, and bagatelle no. 3. The performance starts at 3:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland (3630 Fairmount Blvd., Shaker Hts., 216.987.2060, tricpresents.com). Tickets: $8-$15. - Gill
The Week That Was
A couple of years back, Field Music's Peter Brewis was on an extensive tour when he discovered that he had a little more time on his hands than he was used to. So he started reading experimental crime thrillers by Paul Auster and was inspired to write one of his own. Then he bought a laptop and started recording at home, and The Week That Was - the band and the album - started to take shape. "All of those things came together - I don't know if it was coincidence or something else," says Brewis. "But it all came together in a moment, and I got a band together to play the songs." Musically, the record is a tribute of sorts to the music of Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Japan. It features lush instrumentation, quiet vocals and literary-minded lyrics about how life can be overwhelming in this age of information overload. "I was rediscovering that sound that I didn't really understand at the time," says Brewis. "Some people have just dismissed it as someone trying to make an '80s-sounding record, which isn't untrue. But I think I had more honorable intentions. Sonically, I wanted it to have more reference points." The album's string section won't be onstage with The Week That Was, so expect to hear different, more immediate arrangements of the songs when the band plays at 10 p.m. at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Hts., 216.321.5588, grogshop.gs). Stereo Workers Union and My Jerusalem open. Tickets: $8. - Jeff Niesel
Neil LaBute sets Autobahn, a series of one-act plays, inside a car. The seven shorts explore relationships through interaction happening in the front seat - from a make-out session gone awry and a kidnapping thinly disguised as a road trip, to a reconnaissance mission involving the rescue of a Nintendo 64 and a daughter's long ride home after her release from rehab. Former Screen Actors Guild president and Case Western Reserve University alum Alan Rosenberg directs students from the CWRU/Cleveland Play House MFA program in a production that opens at 8 tonight. Performances run 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, and 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays through March 28, at the Play House's Studio One Theatre (8500 Euclid Ave., 216.795.7000, clevelandplayhouse.com). Tickets: $7.50-$15. - Gill