Music » Music Feature

Your Complete Guide to Cleveland Concerts (December 19 - 25)




Bad Boys Jam:

9 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Cleveland Jazz Project: 8 p.m., $15. Nighttown.

Johnny Fay & the Blazers/The Balls of Fire: 8:30 p.m., $8. Beachland Tavern.

Chris Hatton (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Hillbilly Idol/Zydeco Kings: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Jam Night with Tower City Blues: 8:30 p.m. Grillers Pub.

"Jingle Bell Swing" Xmas Cabaret starring Helen Welch: British singer-songwriter Helen Welch has lived in Northeast Ohio for the past five years. During that time, she's slowly built a loyal following of jazz enthusiasts. Her annual holiday show is such a draw that last night's show sold out, and the Akron Civic Theatre added tonight's concert. Expect to hear tunes like "Jingle Bells," "Baby, It's Cold Outside" and a Dixieland version of "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." 8 p.m., $25. Akron Civic Theatre. (Jeff Niesel)

Major League/Veara/Stickup Kid/Saints For Sailors/I Love You, I Know/Uptight: 6:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Northeast Ohio Drum & Music Jam: 9 p.m., free. Beachland Ballroom.

Jeff Rosenstock of Bomb the Music Industry/The Sidekicks/Meridian: 8:30 p.m., $8. Grog Shop.

Sails/Watchword/Sodalite: Mashing up similar genres like "pop punk," "indie punk" and, uh, "punk" often doesn't portend very well. But Sails, based out of northeastern Vermont, does what it can to break free of labels like that. The band's latest EP sums up its approach and touches on each of those cornerstone tags only briefly, which is for the best. Interestingly, probably the best track on the new EP is "Current," a 90-second instrumental that calls to mind a frigid day on the shore of some mysterious lake. (Erie? Champlain?) And that's followed up quickly by "Circles," which maintains the slo-mo tempo and veers far away from the worrisome tenets of the poppier sides of punk music. There's some pretty great harmonic work between guitarists Ethan Kascenska and Ohanga Freddie Losambe on that one. 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. (Eric Sandy)

Z107.9 Whiteout 2013 "Who Got Next?" with Sebastian Mikel/Kid Ink/Rico Love/Mack Wild: 8 p.m. House of Blues.


The Alarm Clocks: Norton Records' 2000 reissue of "Yeah!" was the first official pressing of the Alarm Clocks release since the band put out its one and only single, "Yeah!"/"No Reason to Complain," in 1966. About a month after cutting "Yeah!," the Alarm Clocks, a garage-rock band from Parma, went to Sound Ideas Recording studios to cut a demo tape that it could give to local promoters. In one take, the group recorded several tracks, among them raucous covers of "Louie Louie," "It's All Over Now," and "It's Alright." At the time, the group thought the tape would help take it beyond the high school party circuit, but in retrospect, the band's unhinged performance has had a more lasting effect. Both "Yeah!" and "No Reason to Complain" were recorded live in the studio, and only 300 copies were made (the original pressings have since become collectors' items that sell for up to $1,000). The band reformed in 2006 but doesn't play Cleveland often, so be sure to catch the group before it slips into hibernation once more. 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog. (Niesel)

David Allan Coe: Johnny Cash might have walked the line, but Akron-born David Allan Coe, who's done hard time and reportedly even killed a fellow inmate, has crossed it. An outlaw amongst outlaws, he received even more acclaim when Howard Stern started playing some of his obscure songs in which he freely uses the word "nigga." Granted, these songs were reportedly written for a motorcycle gang and not intended for popular consumption, but they point to the underlying hatred and racism lurking beneath the exterior of his traditional country ballads. Coe, a self-described "long-haired redneck" who counts white-trash rapper Kid Rock as a friend, tried to prove he's not prejudiced with "Song for the Year 2000," in which he asserts "it takes all kinds to make this world go round." But that hardly makes amends. 9:30 p.m., $20-$25. Thirsty Cowboy. (Niesel)

Del-Rio Bandits/House Popes/George Foley & Friends: 5:30 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Faith & Whiskey: 8:30 p.m., $10. Nighttown.

Fifty Amp Fuse: 9:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Frank and Dean Come Back Together Again: 8 p.m., $25-$30. The Kent Stage.

Into the Blue: Grateful Dead Revival Night: Regardless of your take on the Dead, the band maintains a damn important stature in the rock 'n' roll canon. Into the Blue revives that spirit and lends it the respect Jerry and Co. rightfully deserve. Anyone interesting in hearing — and seeing — great music flow from the stage should check out what these guys are doing. Fellow musicians and artists, in particular, will glean plenty of inspiration from the shows. "There's a structure to everything that's going on, and then there's that intense improvisation inside that structure," guitarist and singer Dan Shramo says. Every time Into the Blue performs, they're trying to do things a little bit differently and add at least a handful of new tunes to the catalog. "There's a certain energy that takes over... You kinda get sucked into a different place. We do our best to really bring that out," he says. 9 p.m., $12. Beachland Ballroom. (Sandy)

The Lighthouse and the Whaler and Friends Christmas Celebration/Humble Home/Morgan Mecaskey: Things started to snowball for the Lighthouse and the Whaler after the 2008 EP

A Whisper, A Clamor, and a track from that record eventually showed up on a sampler CD that Paste magazine released in 2009 and helped generate national attention. The band followed the EP a year later with their self-titled debut album, which created even more buzz, but also led to some lineup changes. With the release of its latest album, last year's This Is an Adventure, an indie pop effort that still has traces of the band's folk rock roots, the band should find its way onto the playlists of anyone who listens to acts like the Shins and the Decemberists. The band spent most of the year touring and didn't play much in town, so this special Christmas show is a real treat. 8 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Grog Shop. (Niesel)

Morticia's Chair with K.I.N.D./Flannel Response: 9 p.m., $5. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Mushroomhead/One Eyed Doll/Ionia/Unsaid Fate: Last year, Mushroomhead, arguably the city's most popular metal band, went head-to-head with local heroes Chimaira. Both bands traditionally play Christmas concerts so the fact that they were playing the same night suggested some kind of rivalry. This year, Mushroomhead plays the night before Chimaira's show so metal fans who want to see both acts will have the opportunity to do so. There's good reason to see Mushroomhead these days: Jason "JMann" Popson has recently rejoined the group. He sings alongside Jeffrey Nothing and Waylon Reavis. A new album is on the horizon so expect to hear some new tracks as well. 6 p.m., $20 ADV, $24 DOS. The Agora Theatre. (Niesel)

The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Show: On tour to celebrate their 40th anniversary, country/gospel icons the Oak Ridge Boys are known for chart-topping hits such as "Elvira" and "Bobby Sue." For the first half of tonight's concert at the Akron Civic Theatre, they'll revisit those songs and more during a retrospective of their work. After a short intermission, they'll come out and play a set of Christmas classics. 7:30 p.m., $31.50-$48.50. Akron Civic Theatre. (Niesel)

Protester/Misled Youth/Grin and Bear It/MFDL: 9 p.m., $5. Now That's Class.

Jeff Sherman (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

The Suede Brothers Album Release/Ohio Sky/So Long, Albatross: 9 p.m., $6. Beachland Tavern.

Surf Night Residency with Dan Shaw/Jesse Michael Barr/Nathan Parker (in the Locker Room): 9 p.m., free. Mahall's 20 Lanes.

Ken Uram: 5:30 p.m. Peppermill Pub and Grill.


Buck Naked: 9:30 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Bummers/Summerays/Nick Tolford & Company: 9 p.m., $5. Happy Dog.

Chimaira: 6 p.m., $10-$54. The Agora Theatre.

Farewell & Vegas/Ill Vision/Stiletto/Argyle: 8 p.m., $5. Musica.

Donald Harrison/Mike Clark Organ Quartet: 8:30 p.m., $25. Nighttown.

Holiday in the Heartland: An Evening with Michael Stanley and the Resonators: It's been a solid year for heartland rocker Michael Stanley. The guy self-released his new album, The Ride, which came on the heels of last year's The Hang, an introspective album he's referred to as his darkest release yet. The Ride presents a much more positive perspective, something that's reflected in Stanley's more regular live appearances (earlier this year, he held down a four-night stand at the Tangier). Expect to hear MSB favs as well as a good sampling of Stanley's solo material at tonight's holiday show at House of Blues, an annual tradition for Stanley and his band the Resonators. 8:30 p.m., $32 ADV, $35 DOS. House of Blues. (Niesel)

Kristine Jackson (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Just Jazz: 8:30 p.m. Peppermill Pub and Grill.

Mr. Gnome/If These Trees Could Talk/Leah Lou & the 2 Left Shoes: A dynamic hard rock group that's hands-down one of the best bands in Cleveland, Mr. Gnome has been on the road so much throughout the year that it's hardly had a chance to play a hometown show. It did play a terrific set on the Scene stage at this year's Ingenuity Fest, but that was several months ago. Expect the abrasive duo to be in fine form for this show. And given that a new album is in the works, it's a good bet you'll hear some new tracks tonight too. 9 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Beachland Ballroom. (Niesel)

Riverhawk: 9 p.m. Thirsty Cowboy.

Silver String Band/Ray McNiece & Tongue and Groove: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

The Story Changes/Bobby Vaughn: 9 p.m., $7. Now That's Class.

Welshly Arms' First Annual Celebratory Winter Solstice Extravaganza!: Named after a Saturday Night Live skit, this local band released its debut EP, Welcome, earlier this year. Informed equally by blues and classic rock, it's a strong effort; album opener "Two Seconds Too Late" is every bit as raw and rocking as anything by the Black Keys. They haven't played locally much this year so this show, billed as their first annual winter solstice extravaganza, should be a good time. 9 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Mahall's 20 Lanes. (Niesel)

Whiskey Daredevils/Let Em Run/Scoliosis Jones: 9 p.m., $8. Grog Shop.


The Admirables Christmas Party hosted by Baron Rodgers: 9 p.m., $5. Musica.

Gorilla Productions presents Battle of the Bands: 4 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Agora Ballroom.

Hybrid Shakedown: 7 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Moises Borges/Carton Fellows: 7 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Old Home Night with Home & Garden/Kidney Brothers/Nick Riley All-Stars/The Gunns DJ: 8 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Beachland Tavern.

Red Black & Green Christmas with Muamin Collective/Latch Key/Peerless/LMNTL/DJ Red-I/The Dangerous Colors: One of Cleveland's best underground hip-hop acts, Muamin Collective has had a stellar year. The band's latest album was recently picked up by Insect Records, a small label out of Austin, that plans to rerelease it in February with wider distribution. And the guys have put together a terrific line-up for this, the seventh installment of their annual Christmas bash. Rapper Peerless will debut songs from his new solo album and special guests Dangerous Colors, LMNTL, Latchkey, DJ-Red-I and Kisha Nicole Foster round out the bill. Muamin will headline and the Neil Chastain Trio+1 will back the guys. Always a good time. 9 p.m., $8 ADV, $10 DOS. Grog Shop. (Niesel)


Boys from the County Hell/Mary's Lane: When the Boys from the County Hell first got together in 2000 as a Pogues cover band, it was supposed to be just a one-night stand. But after selling out their first show at the Euclid Tavern, the group's popularity escalated. As you can imagine, the band is pretty busy by the time St. Patty's Day rolls around. But it regularly plays a special holiday show this time of year too. The band's been working on blending some horns into the mix so expect to hear a bit of R&B as it plays a selection of Pogues tunes as well as some seasonal covers tonight at House of Blues. Expect a rowdy good time. 8 p.m., $10 ADV, $13 DOS. House of Blues. (Niesel)

Lorine Chia/Gwen Maul/Freeze Tag/Queen Chella / DJ Xplosive: 9 p.m. Grog Shop.

Holidaze for the Heads with Dead Ahead Ohio/JP & the Chatfield Boys/Syrup: 9 p.m., $6. Beachland Ballroom.

Chris Massey and the NJP: 7 p.m., $10. Nighttown.

Mojo Big Band: 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.

Punk Rock Festivus with Lawskof/Swirly in the Fryer/Short Handed: 8:30 p.m., free. Beachland Tavern.

Jim Schafer & Friends/Red Brick Rhoades: 8 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

Velvet Voyage (in the Wine Bar): 8 p.m. Brothers Lounge.


Annual Grog Xmas Eve Party: 8 p.m., free. Grog Shop.


6th Annual Holiday Latke Party with Blue Lunch/Walkin Cane/Jake Friel: 7:30 p.m., $12 ADV, $15 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.

American Werewolves / Venomin James / Lawskof / Free Medicine: American Werewolves grew out of a Cleveland art student's broad cross-section of interests: horror movies, punk music, throwbacks to mid-century doo-wop and more. That was all in the late '90s, and things have only grown more intense from there. The band's albums play out like whirlwind tours through the grit of metropolitan horror in our modern society. Check out "Kings of the Cleveland Streets" for a fine example of what these guys do best and a badass nod to our wonderful city. Fans can expect a batch of new material at tonight's Christmas show. 9 p.m., $5. Grog Shop. (Sandy)

Texas Plant/Binder/Keith Jackson: Texas Plant, a local folk-punk group that prides itself on the ability to be able to play street corners as well as bars, just came together last year. But the band is already getting gigs in Pittsburgh and Columbus. Singer Matthew Leeb has said the band is going for something more minimal and didn't want to have to use any electricity. "Ain't For Me Babe" and "Little Jimmy" are raucous tunes that have a classic Americana sound but are a lot rougher around the edges than something you'd hear by Wilco or the Jayhawks. For this show, expect to hear the rowdy single "Reefer Blues" as well as a Willie Nelson cover the group has been working into the mix. 8:30 p.m., $6. Beachland Tavern. (Niesel)

Xela: 10 p.m. Barking Spider Tavern.

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 [email protected].

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.