Tag Archives: Live Shows

RIP Time Warner Cable Amphitheater (2001-2011)

It’s no shock to hear that the giant parking lot with a huge tent is closing in Cleveland.  No longer will I fry on the pavement at Warped Tours or any other concert that starts before sunset. 

It was a good time we had, me and that so-called Amphitheater. 

I can think back to a certain Warped Tour where my friend and I thought it was a good idea to blow almost $300 on beer alone and then trudge through a sea of sweaty kid yelling “get out of here you jerks, you phonies!”

Rancid memories at Tower City Amphitheater...

I have seen tons of bands there and even had my first real photo pass experience at a Black Sabbath Heaven & Hell show.  Earlier in that day I remember that I got to sit in on an interview with Rob Flynn of Machine Head on their tour bus.  I was more stoked that the AC was running…

Rib cook-offs, shitty punk bands, amazing punk bands, hip-hop shows…yeah I was there.  (I even saw Pink there once…) 

It’s amazing that after 10-years the place is finally going to shut down.  For the record, it is not shutting down because of anything more than a casino buying the property.

Sadly we will not be seeing any casion action until 2013, but that’s not too far away.

The good news about this is that there is still another outdoor venue in Cleveland that promises to host as many shows as possible.  Let’s just hope the bands keep rolling through Cleveland.

Nautica is now going to be called Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica.

I still call it the Jake and I am still going to call the venue Nautica…

I Lied. Well, Sort Of…

I need to confess a couple of things…

Last year I said I was going to SXSW.  Not happening.  I want to, I really do but I can not afford the trip to and from one of my favorite cities in the world…Austin, TX.  I will make it there one day and that is a promise.  2010 will not be that year.

I also said I retired from the Warped Tour.  After years of going to the punk rock summer camp I announced that I was going to quit.  Well…

Vans Warped Tour

…and I lied.

If Face To Face plays the Cleveland Warped Tour you can bet your behind I will be there.  Andrew W.K. is a must see for me as well.

Why Is It…

…that so many bands skip Northeast Ohio?  I swear out of all the tours I hear about with bands it seems like less than 50% of them stop in Cleveland or Akron.  Someone will be talking about a band that is going on tour but when I look at their dates there is no Cleveland or Akron to be found.

Seriously, what gives?  Are you too cool for Cleveland?  Do we smell?

Don’t get me wrong, a ton of bands have played in Akron/Cleveland this year but there were a few shows (ahem… NIN for example) that never made a stop when they should have. I;m sorry, I am not going to make the drive to another state every time there is an amazing tour that misses us.  I just don’t have it in me.  I have done it in the past and have had fun but let’s be realistic…Cleveland and Akron both are capable of holding their own tours.  We have arenas, clubs, amphitheaters, and they have housed tons of bands for many years now.

For those bands that did stop and perform in Akron/Cleveland, thank you.  You have no idea how many music fans appreciate it.

For all you other bands out there I would like to know reasons why you skip Akron/Cleveland.  If you can play in Pittsburgh or Detroit, you can play here.

To help your concert promoter throw a stop in Northeastern Ohio next time I decided to help out by compiling a list of good things about Akron/Cleveland…

  • It’s not that bad of a city…really it’s not.
  • There are some pretty amazing concert venues in the area that generally have good outcomes no matter what day of the week year round.
  • Fans will travel in blizzards if they have to just to see the band they love.  It’s Ohio, we are used to driving in crappy weather.
  • Great Lakes Beer is brewed here.  Seriously if you have not had one of their beers on tap yet you are missing out.
  • We are not out of your way.  Generally bands drive through Ohio when they travel from Detroit to Pittsburgh, you might as well stop for a night.
  • We have excellent eatery establishments in the area.  There’s Melt in Lakewood, Chili Peppers in Collinwood, Lolita in Tremont, Crave in Akron, and tons all over the place.
  • We are a music rich area, people love seeing live shows whether it be a small club show or a sold out arena performance.

No Columbus does not count as an Akron/Cleveland stop either.  Get your show up here.  I am not pointing fingers at anyone specifically but I am sure many can agree with me when I say that Akron/Cleveland is passed up a lot by bands some of us can not afford to travel to see.

Well Overdue Post Regarding Some Fun Events From Past Weeks

I have been so damn busy as of late I have not had a chance to tell you all what I have been up to in my own personal life, music and entertainment wise that is of course.

On Aug. 8th I joined my pal Mr. Addicted To Vinyl on one of the best adventures I have had all summer in Cleveland this year.  You see Matt is and has been in the radio business for years now and I am sure you know that if you have read his blog and if you have not then you are missing out.

For unknown reasons other than I am amazing Matt extended an invite to me to meet up with some of his radio / music friends at a bar at Whiskey Island for a gathering and then to see 90’s Cleveland alt-rockers The Waynes play a reunion gig at the Happy Dog.

At first I hesitated seeing how I was not sure how this day was going to pan out.  I would know one or two people tops who would be going to the show that evening and know only Matt during the day gathering.  After some quick thought I decided what the hell and told him I was game.

I picked up Matt and we headed to a bar at Whiskey island called the Sunset Grille.  I laughed as soon as we arrived to the bar because I remember being there over 10 years ago on a couple of occasions and have fond memories of drinking way too many Long Island iced teas while underage, making out with random women, and at one time sleeping in my car because I was too drunk to function.

I also recalled the time that I went there with some high school friends to join a frat party of some of my friend’s older brothers.  Let’s just say during the evening hours I caught a boat to the flats, partied like a rock star, got a couple of girl’s numbers, made the driver of the boat angry, almost missed my ride back to Whiskey Island via boat as the sweet jocks I was with tried to ditch me, and eventually made it back to the marina after convincing another jock it was a bad idea to go swimming in Lake Erie as well as a bad idea to take the boat to Canada.


So yes I had some great drunken memories of this place and was actually a little excited to be there.  The only problem was that it was gloomy out and just down right cold for an August afternoon.  When I say cold I mean I actually put a hoodie on cold.  It was crazy.

The Gang

Matt’s friends were all in the music business one way or another and all super cool.  I can honestly say I met some of the coolest people I have met in a long time that day.  They were all very friendly and had a ton of stories to share.  I of course supplied them with some of my stories as well.  it was a blast and even the sun warmed things up a little making for the afternoon just the perfect Saturday to hang outdoors with good people.

Around 8pm we headed to the Happy Dog to get a place to sit and get ready for a fun night that would include a reunion show of The Waynes, a 90’s local rock act who had not played a show in years.  The bar was already full of old school fans so we grabbed some bar stools and planted it there for the night.

Chris Allen opened the show with some great guitar playing, singing, and a little harmonica playing.  I had recently just seen him and Don Dixon play at the very same bar a few weeks back so I actually recognized some of his songs.

The Waynes on the other hand I was not familiar with.  I wish I was though because they were one of those bands in the 90’s I now wish I was aware of.  They were amazing.

The Happy Dog should have been called the Happy Inferno that night because I swear it was over 90 degrees in the bar.  With two full sets by The Waynes I tried my hardest to watch them perform their songs but eventually had to step outside for some fresh air.

While watching and listening to them I could not help myself but to observe Matt and his friends all with huge smiles on their faces as well as a bunch of other folk who showed up as well.  They were all singing along having a great time.  Yes, alcohol helped in the fun for many but the overall the gathering of good friends while listening to a band they all adored at a younger ago made it that much better.

Last Thursday evening I headed out to the wonderful Music Saves on Waterloo before venturing to see some bands play at a free show at Blue Arrow Records.  I told Melanie at Music Saves that I would bring her some cheese previously in the week as a joke but she got so excited about the offer I decided I should stick to my offer and brought her an afternoon snack.  After hanging out there for a moment and meeting up with Matt we then took off to Blue Arrow where my friend Adam’s (Rad-am) current band the Prisoners were playing a free show with The Lawton Brothers.

It was pretty warm in the store but nothing too crazy plus fans were brought in to make the show a little more comfortable.  A lot of cool folk showed up for the event and shopped for good vinyl while listening to both bands play throughout the evening.

Hanging outside on the sidewalk in between acts on Waterloo brought me back some memories of the days when I was a kid hanging out on Coventry, a hip street full of music and specialty shops in Cleveland Hts.  The Waterloo District as I have heard some folk call it recently is really a great attraction for all to check out.  With two of the best music stores and other amazing specialty shops it is worth the trip no matter how far away you live.  It takes me almost an hour to get there and I aim for one to two visits a month if that tells you anything…

Saturday night was all about The Foot at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame.  Matt asked me if I wanted to join him to see Chickenfoot (Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Chad Smith, and Michael Anthony ).  i could not pass up the opportunity to see a line up like that of the silly named band so of course I said yes.

Before the show Matt and I headed around Lakewood to kill some time and eventually decided food was something that was needed.  Matt suggested The Diner On Clifton and I am glad he did.

Before I even continue this babble of a story I need to tell you all about the purple coleslaw.  Matt ordered fish n’ chips and where I am from fish n’ chips comes with a side of coleslaw too.  Our adorable waitress dropped off our orders and Matt stops in mid-sentence and says:

“Jesus Christ, what the hell is that?”

He of course was alerted to a certain little cup of coleslaw that was purple in color from the red cabbage that was used to make it.  The waitress asked if everything was ok and Matt kindly asked her to remove it from the table but being the ass that I am I asked her to give it to me so I could eat it slowly in front of him.  When she took the little cup of goodness away from his plate a little of the purple stuff dropped on the table.

Matt’s face was priceless.

Matt was so terrified of the coleslaw and that little amount that was dropped on the table by him when the cup was moved from one side of the table to the other was seen as toxic waste in his eyes.  I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a long time and to make things even more fun for me I took it upon myself to make sure he was looking at me each time I took a bite of the delicious slaw.  I was torturing him and it was hilarious.

After dinner we headed downtown to the Rock Hall to partake in the free event.  We chose to park in the parking deck just across the highway from the Rock Hall for a mere $10.00.  The tenant who took my money was nice but not nice enough to inform me that the steps near E. 9th were closed.  Matt and I found out the hard way as we parked the car and walked to the steps only to see caution tape.  We then took the elevator to the 1st level thinking that was where we first entered.  Nope.  We were in the basement and it was gloomy as hell.  All Matt and I could think of was the DXism (D.X. Ferris) reference to parking garage vampires.

I seriously thought we were never going to make it to an exit.  Luckily we were not the only morons running around the deck like a mouse trying to find the cheese in some failed science experiment.

Finally getting out of that damn garage and making way to the show a guy approached me and asked if I wanted to buy tickets to the event.  I am not sure if this scalper knew it or not but the show was free.  Tickets were given out for free before the date of the show and I found out later that people were just handing out extras to people who did not come with a ticket…for free.  I hope to hell the scalper sold nothing to anyone and cried himself home.

I admit I was excited to see Chickenfoot.  After never seeing any era of Van Halen or Joe Satriani I told myself this may very well be the only chance to see these two rock superstars live.  I did not know any of the songs but it did not matter as they were entertaining as hell and put on a great show for all who gathered that night in front of the Rock Hall.

I can tell you this.  Chickenfoot sounded great.  I still have yet to listen to their album that dropped earlier this year but the combination of all of the amazing musicians made for a great rock show.  I am still shocked to have learned that Sammy Hagar is 61 years old.

The front patio of the Rock Hall was crowded and everyone was having a great time.  The weather held out perfectly for the free show and I am glad I went.

I pulled a [insert Matt’s last name here] by leaving the show early but not because I needed to go home and crawl into bed like someone I know, but because I had another show in Cleveland I needed to get to.  I said bye to Matt left the rock show so that I could go to a punk show.

My good friends The Facials had a CD release party at Rockstar and were set to go on stage around 11:15pm so I got there in time and was greeted by my pals with about 7 free tickets.  I love my friends…jerks.

I was told by my pals that I missed some great openers but I could see a little gleam of jealousy when I told them were I was at before arriving.  Rockstar (located on the upper level of Peabody’s) was just as hot as the Happy Dog the week before was and I swear I thought I was going to melt there.

The Facials were the last band to take the stage and even though I was given a CD to listen to by my friends I opted to not check it out until I saw them play some of the songs.

I have to say I was impressed.

I’m not going to go review their performance or CD but if you like Cleveland punk rock you should check out my boys The Facials.  This is their second release and they put a lot of work into it plus they are good guys.  Fans of Pennywise and enemies of pop-punk should dig.

So yeah, that was the last few days/weeks for me.  It has taken me forever to even post this because I have been so busy with work and the office zombie routine.

This week is ending quick and tonight I am going to try and make it to Visible Voice Books in the essentric neighborhood of Termont to see author Jessica Hopper talk about her book Girl’s Guide To Rocking followed by a show at the Happy Dog (I will be bringing portable AC with me).  The fun starts at 7:30pm.  I am still not 100% sure I am going to make it but if you are in the area it is going to be fun.  Don’t miss it.

Friday Matt, who may be kissing up to me as rumors have been pointing that I want to beat him up, offered his extra ticket to see Tonic at the mini-Blossom of sorts, Cain Park.  I am super pumped to make that show.  I almost feel bad for taunting him with the purple coleslaw…no, wait… I do not.

The 27th is the homecoming show of Nicholas Megalis at House Of Blues Cleveland.  At $5 a ticket I am sure there will be a lot of folk there.  Then on the 28th is Cracker at the Beachland Ballroom.  Can someone say me so busy?  Well, I am.

Luckily I have decided that I am skipping the Virgin Mobile Free Fest so that should ease some of my busy life down a notch.  I was unable to get tickets (even though it was free they have to have some sort of control) to it but that is ok.  I do not have the money to make the drive out there plus I feel I have enough going right now to justify my choice to skip my tradition of going to Baltimore every Summer since 2006.

So yeah, that is my well overdue post.  If you made it this far down the line then go to the kitchen and find yourself a cookie.

Jumping Around Cleveland On A Tuesday & Thursday

On Tuesday I ventured the hip streets of Waterloo before checking out Those Darlins at the Beachland Tavern.  Any time I ever see a show at the Beachland I make sure I stop at two of my favorite shops in Cleveland.  Both shops are independently owned music stores by awesome folk.

First up is Blue Arrow Records.

The floors of this store are amazing.  Yes, those are record sleeves.
The floors of this store are amazing. Yes, those are all record covers.

Every time I go in this store I page through the bins of vinyl hoping to score something good to take home and throw a needle on.  I have found some great finds there including some old Rollins Band records as well as a Propellerheads vinyl.  I love the randomness that I can find there and the constant music playing on the speakers is enjoyable as well.

Focusing on mostly rock the store offers all sorts of genres of wax.  Store owner Pete Gulyas not only knows his stuff but loves to share it with others.  The guy also has one hell of a personal Clash collection on display at his store right now.

Blue Arrow Records is one of those stores for any seasoned music fan as well as novice collector to go crazy about.  Recently Pete told me that he is going to be the east side distributor of Derek Hess prints.  The store got even cooler once he told me that.

About a block down the street is the other shop I always make sure I stop in at when in the area.  The store is Music Saves and recently the store celebrated their 5 year Store-A-Versary.  More on that in a bit.

The coolest Dunny sits on the Music Saves counter.
The coolest Dunny sits on the Music Saves counter.

Music Saves is the other mecca of a music store on Waterloo I try and frequent a lot.  The store is full of new and used vinyl as well as carries CDs most of which are indie bands but there is also punk, hip hop, and rock too.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, the good folk at Music Saves will even attempt to special order you something.  The owners are pretty damn cool too and so is their black cat appropriately named Vinyl Kitty.

While visiting on Tuesday I was informed that Music Saves was celebrating their 5 year Store-A-Versary on Thursday at the Grog Shop featuring some great music and guaranteed good times.  I was invited to stop by and hang out so I made plans to do so.  Sadly I knew Vinyl Kitty was not going to be there but I still planned on attending.

On Thursday before I headed to Coventry I made a stop with my friend to stop at the St. Greg’s carnival in S. Euclid as a handful of old friends were hanging out there and grabbing a bite to eat.  There is a memory from my past that always comes to mind when someone says St. Greg’s carnival.

Story time…  (Mom you might not want to read this, haha)

I met this group of friends while taking classes at Tri-C.  There were five of us yet we called ourselves “The Four Horsemen”.  These were the guys I bowled with and partied with while in my early twenties.  I even got a place with one of them for a year but that is another story in itself.  “The Four Horsemen” slowly drifted apart mainly because I moved to Akron and a couple of them started families but we made a pact to start hanging out a little more frequently.

Anyways I am sure you are wondering about this St. Greg story.

These friends of mine all grew up in S. Euclid, all went to school together, and have all been friends since childhood.  They took me in and treated me like I was one of their childhood friends and before long they were taking me to a summer ritual of theirs, the St. Greg carnival.

The church ran carnival featured some of the best Italian food as well as legal church gambling, games, and of course beer.  One particular year we attended I was broke and joked with my friends as we walked past the fishbowl game that if they won a fish I would eat it but they would have to buy me a beer.

I did not think they were going to do it to be honest, but they did and the guys started pulling out $20’s and bought endless amounts of ping pong balls to try and throw in the fish tanks to win a fish prize.  Shaking my head as they keep trying to win the fish I asked myself what the hell I got myself into.  After five minutes of throwing ping pong balls there were seven goldfish in bags being held by my friends with huge grins on their faces.

Not being one to ever back down I took the first goldfish, popped it in my mouth and had a nice little sushi snack.

People started gathering around me as I downed the second and third fish.  The carnie behind the fishbowl game booth was cheering me on as were most of the crowd.  There were of course a few people yelling at me for doing such a terrible think but they did not understand I was getting beers out of it.  My friends of course were going nuts.

Seven fish later we were off to the beer stand for my reward.  Was it worth it?  Yes.

Oh memories.

So it was to be expected when I saw my friends at St. Greg’s this year they offered to win more of fish.  Instead I was treated to some fired dough, ciabatta bread, and other delicious Italian foods.  We sat around for a few and chatted but just before 9pm I had to get going so I could make the show.

While driving down to Coventry I decided to make a couple of shortcuts so that I could just get to the parking deck without driving down Coventry and boy am I glad I did.  As soon as I got in the area I noticed that there was an abundance of cars parked on the streets and soon started seeing streets closed off.  I managed to get my car to the parking deck and snagged a great spot.  When I went to put some quarters in the meter I saw this:

Honestly I had never seen anything like it before.  The entire strip of Coventry was closed from Euclid Hts. to Mayfield road.  It was crowded as hell too…

Slowly making way to the courtyard in front of the Grog Shop my concert going pal and I made it before the show started.  My friend Ryan who is the drummer for Upsparing Sea spotted me and we chatted for a bit before they took stage.  I’ll be honest with you all and confess that even though Ryan is a pretty good friend of mine, I had no idea what his band sounded like.  So when he and his three other band mates took the stage I was just as curious as the rest were to hear them.

Unsparing Sea put on a great show and I have to admit I really got a kick out of their style.  I loved the fact that they had a cellist and also an Ol’ DIrty Bastard poster hanging from the lead vocalist’s mic stand.  Their sound was more indie folk and they really sounded well.  I did feel bad for the band though as they had to pack their instruments into an already clogged stage thanks to the headliner but it did not seem to bother them at all.  Head over to their MySpace page to get a taste of some Unsparing Sea.  Who knows, you might like it just as I did!

Here’s a video of Unsparing Sea’s “Wolves At  Wedding”:

The second band, Baltimore’s Ponytail really confused me because I could not decide if I liked them or not.  Almost all of the crowed loved them but I myself could not grasp why.  I enjoyed the music tremendously but the lead girl with the mic making random yeps and cries was giving me a headache so bad that I opted to leave mid-set and head home.

I of course took a video to share with you all.  This was one of the tamer songs and the more and more I watch it, I think I like it…

Now on the other hand I am the one that Tweeted:

Ponytail on stage. This some weird indie sh@t…and I think I like it.

Moments later:

I lied. This sh@t is way too weird for me. Sounds like wild animals having sex on a piano.

Followed by:

Someone take the goddamn mic away from the little kid on stage. Oh wait, some people are actually clapping to this noise.


All I can say about this band is WTF. Seriously I feel so lost. I am not cool enough to be here. I do not understand. Help.

I was not kidding when I said I left mid-way through Ponytail’s set.  I opted to miss out on Yeasayer and kind of regret it but at the same time I had a pretty busy day and just wanted to get home.  I got hell from Melanie from Music Saves when I said bye to her and I deserved it.

Walking down Coventry with my friend we opted to hit up Phoenix Coffee for a little pick me up.  It was a good ending to a busy day.  With the streets still crowded after midnight we walked back to the car and headed back.

Good times.  I needed them.