To celebrate tonight’s very special joint effort between the Beachland Ballroom and Visible Voice Books–Grammy-award-winning Latino rockers Los Lobos (media player) at The Masonic Auditorium–we’ve brought in a guest blogger. Annie Zaleski, a native who now makes her living as music editor for a St. Louis weekly, chimes in on what makes the Beachland and Cleveland so gosh-darned special:
I lived in Cleveland for the first eighteen years of my life, went away to college in Boston and currently live in St. Louis. (This is my day job. ) I’ve seen bands at venues around the world – from the Dandy Warhols in London and Morrissey in L.A. to Bjork in Boston and LCD Soundsystem in Chicago. But in the past year or so, I’ve been reacquainting myself with Cleveland venues, because I’m dating someone who lives here. Seeing as both of us are huge music fans, I’ve spent a ton of time at the Beachland seeing shows. (And oh yes, having brunch!)
What stands out to me – besides the abundance of delicious, delicious Great Lakes beer they stock – is the caliber of bands playing at the venue. Clevelanders are lucky when it comes to touring bands – really lucky. No, really: The city’s location makes it an ideal place to stop between Chicago and New York City, and the Beachland capitalizes on geography with their booking. (To put this in perspective: St. Louis is a place bands often drive through on their way from Chicago or Nashville to Kansas City/Lawrence. It’s not known as the Gateway to the West for nothing.) They’re also still willing to book artists with a career, not just ones with a blog buzz; a few notables that pop up in my mind include Grant-Lee Phillips, the Gories (at Beachland Nov 27), Josh Ritter (Nov 15), Eddie Spaghetti (Nov 9) and Leon Russell. The fact that these artists have a place in Cleveland is comforting.
It’s also something not to be taken for granted. For instance, I recently rearranged a vacation so I could see Alejandro Escovedo at the Ballroom (read a review). To put it in perspective: Escovedo recently played at a big outdoor festival in St. Louis, and is popular enough to play our 2300-seat theater. The idea that he would be playing the relatively intimate Ballroom boggled my mind. And he certainly delivered a fiery set, even on a Monday.
At the same time, the Beachland’s sense of adventure is also evident. I love that on Thursday, they’re co-presenting Los Lobos at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium. Cleveland has so many interesting, underutilized spaces – I’m rediscovering that as well – and using them to showcase intriguing musical artists is a smart, dynamic move. Cleveland often doesn’t get enough credit outside of Cleveland for the way it encourages art and culture to thrive.
But taking a unique, multicultural band such as Los Lobos and placing them in a unique performance space engages the audience in an intriguing, smart way; it elevates the show into something special, an event worthy of immersion, not just attendance.
Los Lobos, enhanced with Spanish:
Los Lobos, en ingles, peforming “Angel Dance”, re-recorded and turned into a hit by former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant:
“Good Morning Aztlan”
In the opening slot of the show is Jorma Kaukonen (Hot Tuna, Jefferson Airplane). Pretty sweet, eh? This Rock Hall-caliber show is TONIGHT at the Masonic Auditorium, 3615 Euclid. Doors are at 6:30 pm, show starts at 7:30 pm. All tickets are general admission at a cost of $35.00 and can be purchased at www.ticketweb.com or 866-468-3401. The Masonic Auditorium is a one hundred year old former opera house and location of Cleveland Orchestra recording and practice sessions.