Storm Is Comin’ Through: Cleveland Lottery League 2010, Drive By Truckers, and The Hold Steady

9 04 2010

The Drive By Truckers AND The Hold Steady

Over the next few days, the Beachland will have big shows the way Cleveland’s got potholes.  We mean BIG.

If you haven’t seen all the Facebook ballyhoo, the local musical extravaganza known as the Cleveland Lottery League.  (Full disclosure here: the author of this here blog is also one of the zookeepers in the animal house known as the Lottery League.) So why should you go? It’s a reflection of musical civic pride, not unlike The Rock Hall’s “Summer In The City” events; or even the DIY fests Horriblefest and Compound Fest.  The Lottery League attempts to sum the sensation of these and many other musical gatherings that make our city’s scene one of the most vibrant around.   The Lottery League aspires, much like many of the fests and gatherings in this city, to be an incubator and generator of critical mass whose objective is to make Cleveland a bigger and better musical hub than ever before.  Even our very own Rock Hall has taken note of this special event!

On top of that, you have 140 musicians, 33 bands, 3 stages (!) a lot of beer. Read what Scene magazine’s Lottery League Blog has been saying, and follow these bands as they journey together towards Saturday night’s BIG SHOW. Tickets are $15 adv / $20 DOS.

Here’s footage of merely one of the highly anticipated Lottery League 2010 bands, Beat Vikings:

Speaking of musical celebrations, we’ve got two whoppers coming up within mere days of each other at the Beachland.  The Drive-By Truckers arrive on Sunday, and if you snoozed, you lost, pal.  This show’s sold out.   And on Tuesday, mighty Midwesterners (never mind the Brooklyn) The Hold Steady arrive.  To quote Thin Lizzy: “the drinks will flow and the blood will spill”. 

To make you feel even worse (or better), here’s a real cool find:  The Hold Steady join the Drive By Truckers to perform a raucous version of The Band’s “Look Out Cleveland”. One of the best jams EVER, and hey, isn’t it appropriate?

Tickets to these events and more are available at



Shilpa Ray and the Happy Hookers this Wednesday, 1 / 20

19 01 2010

While Cleveland in January is wet, cold, and clammy, we here at the Beachland are pleased to present you music filled with sweet sweat and the howl of heat. And hey! There’s a harmonium involved, too. Which is not the name of a character from a Dr. Seuss book.

Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers arrive this Wednesday, January 20th with a load of ancient musical magic.  The threads of timeless blues and folk shoot through the thumping grooves of this Brooklyn four-piece; even more antiquated and less common is the presence of the curious reed instrument often used in Indian music:

Those with wide-open ears might recognize the sound of this device– not unlike an accordion with a cold–in the spiritual qawwali music of Pakistani Sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

In the decidedly more corroded and fleshly music of Shilpa Ray and the Happy Hookers, the harmonium wheezes through burly drums and guitars, and moans along with Ray’s voice, itself a thing that doesn’t look like it should be coming from her small body.


Filthy and Free“, Shilpa Ray and the Happy Hookers
“What the F*ck Was I Thinking?”

Her gale-force fierceness, combined with her f*ck-all attitude, brings to mind other rockers such as Patti Smith, Exene Cervenka, PJ Harvey, and even Poly Styrene.  Ray’s got just enough performance art technique lying in her bones, a husky dissonance in her voice, and a venomous sense of humor that starts with herself and splatters on the crowd.  As you can see from the photo atop this blog, much has been made of Ray’s crazy / sexy persona in a live setting.  That doesn’t seem to be the result of forced coquetry; rather, she’s just a girl getting her freak on, doing her own thing.  Which to some, to paraphrase Devo, might be the girl you want.

Opening are locals Chief Bromide and the Formula.  For time and tickets, go to


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A Word from Beachland Co-Owner, Cindy Barber

30 12 2009

from Esquire Magazine's review - click to read

(reposted from the Beachland Mailing List. Sign up for it HERE and get weekly updates on our shows!)

“So it’s the end of ’09, the end of the first decade of the new century, and the Beachland is looking at its 10th anniversary in March. It’s hard to believe we’ve been doing this for an entire decade!

This year has been particularly tough. The Cleveland economy is not making it easy for independent stores, restaurants or venues like ours. Job cutbacks and forced furloughs make it harder for our longtime supporters to come out as often to see live music. But to all of you who have been so loyal, we thank you for every dollar you have spent at our establishment. There were a few times these past few months when we thought, “let’s just do our 10th anniversary shows and call it quits, this is too hard.” However, there seems to be a greater force at work, whispering in our ears that we will find a way. People have been coming out of the woodwork with both financial and emotional support (though we could always use more)! And we, like many of you, still believe in the healing and inspirational power of music.

Even though the music industry today is in deep trouble, there are so many redeeming points and we certainly had many this year. Highlights included Paul Thorn with his band transforming the tavern into a rapture, Brave Combo creating a frenzy of dancers and energy in the ballroom, St. Vincent pulling us all into her fascinating artsy musical world and the upbeat and generous Bootsy Collins sitting in with the Crop Bistro band when we hosted the Cleveland Food Rocks benefit in our parking lot this past summer.

We were proud to see acts we have watched from their musical infancy like Josh Ritter, Dr. Dog, Eli Paperboy Reed, and Trampled by Turtles, grow into major acts at the Beachland. We got to host old friends this year like Neko Case, the Bellrays, Jack Oblivian, Bonnie Prince Billy, Jon Spencer’s Heavy Trash (which was amazing by the way), both Black Keys’ side projects, Cadillac Sky (which now features Northeast Ohio’s talented David Mayfield) plus an almost instantly soldout Sufjan Stevens show (thanks Sufjan and Ali for that). We were able to present truly special concerts by elder statemen like Van der Graaf Generator, Os Mutantes, Hugh Cornwell, Magic Christian, Lonnie Brooks, Jimmy Webb, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jonathan Edwards, and old school Detroit performers like Scott Morgan, Death and Rodriguez (who IS a musical shaman).

We were inspired by newer acts like Dent May, Phosphorescent, and Shilpa Ray. And got to see alot of personal friends of the Beachland like Glenn Tilbrook and the Fluffers (who even wrote a song about the Beachland!), the Sadies and the Waco Brothers, Fred Eaglesmith, Roger Clyne, Asylum Street Spankers, Holly Golightly, Raul Malo, Katy Moffatt, Lucy Kaplansky, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Chuck Prophet, Reigning Sound, Bill Kirchen, Southern Culture on the Skids, The Hi Risers, Joe Buck, The Hold Steady, Dale Watson, and Los Straitjackets (who were one of the first bands to start telling other performers about the Beachland in 2000).

And then there is all the wonderful local bands we’ve gotten to watch and support like Mr. Gnome, The Numbers Band, The Schwartz Brothers, Unsparing Sea, Afternoon Naps, This Moment in Black History, Bill Fox, Lighthouse and the Whaler, HotChaCha, Mystery of Two, Whiskey Daredevils, Uncle Scratch, Chuck Mosley, Hot Rails, Beaten Awake, and on and on…All in all it was a great musical year.

Since we’re facing a decade, we’d like to hear from you about a favorite show you saw in the last 10 years or a band you discovered at the Beachland…. send your tale to and we’ll start putting your testimonials up on our blog as we move toward March and the anniversary. As we enter 2010, remember Music Saves is more than the name of our favorite indie record store! For that reason we hope to keep the Beachland going for another decade.”

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The Final Week of 2009! Come one, come all!

28 12 2009

While the Beachland gladly takes this time to wish you and yours the happiest of New Years, our current blog installment has us looking toward the very cusp of 2010 a few days from now.

That being said, don’t forget Tuesday night’s punk explosion courtesy of reunited Clevelandites The Sex Crimes, and Wednesday’s double-shot of Project / Object and the now SOLD-OUT Cowslingers reunion.

Friday night the Beachland unveils a brand new theme for the debut of 2010.  The One/One show will feature one-man/woman acts who emphasize the ‘weird’ and not the ‘singer-songwriter’ label.  We’re not trying to be purely schticky here–though we’ll certainly have some of that on this unique show.  We also mean ‘weird’ as in enchanting and mystifying; case in point, here’s an outdoor appearance by Uno Lady, who will perform Friday, January 1st in the Tavern:

(courtesy of Lou Muenz)

And though it’s a week away, let’s briefly highlight one of the bands playing in next Friday’s Scene Magazine “Bands to Watch”, The Modern Electric.  Granted, the footage is culled from the film Donnie Darko, which plays into the band’s self-described and accurate ‘cinematic pop’ label. 

The Modern Electric, “Ghost”

The Scene Magazine “Bands To Watch” showcase features The Modern Electric, Megachurch, Carly Tanchon, The Ohio Sky, and a few other promising new acts on Friday, January 8th.  Get tickets HERE; after all, they’re only five dollars.  You blew all that Christmas money, right? Why stop now?


The Full-Court Holiday Press: Parties, Reunions, and Shindigs

15 12 2009


Some of you sitting cozily in Blogsville might have experience the rush and the push of holiday hubbub: rehearsing for a Christmas pageant, gearing up for Hannukah hijinks, finding new footie pajamas for the Baby Jesus, and the like.  Cooking, shopping, cleaning, and making travel plans seem to be inextricably tied to the season of Peace on Earth and Goodwill To All. Yeah, peace and goodwill can wait–we’ve got work to do! 

Likewise, the Beachland is rolling and tumbling through the prep work needed to insure that this year’s seasonal shows work flawlessly, like a certain mythological character’s sled.  We do the work, so you don’t have to.  Just lively up yourself and we’ll nice up the dance,  as Bob Marley and reggae greats Mitchigan & Smiley both wisely said.  Just bring your ID, your admission fee, and your cheer; we’ll do the rest. 

Mr Gnome CD release show, Friday December 18 

Though they’re based in Cleveland, this duo’s been slowly but surely acquiring a national buzz with spookily heavy albums such as Deliver This CreatureMr. Gnome’s newest release is called Heave Your Skeleton, which you can read about at the Dallas Observer

Mr. Gnome, “Night of the Crickets”

Music Saves & Square Records 6th Annual Holiday Get Down, Saturday December 19 

When money is lacking, let love be your commerce, says indie record stores Music Saves and Square Records. Hailing respectively from Cleveland and Akron, these two establishments put together a bill of fine young bands from their towns.  Akron’s Walkies bring to mind a lot of the weird beardo folk that’s currently on the zeitgeist’s holiday shopping list; on the other hand, their spiky guitar and banjo duets sound pretty cool: 

The Walkies, “Going Down the Valley”

 Yulesville Pre-Holiday Bash w/ Bears, Unsparing Sea, and a shload more bands, Wednesday, December 23What doesn’t this bill have? From Bears’ candy-flavored, buzz-worthy indie pop and the reptilian metal drones of the mysterious Terminal Lovers, this should have it all.   Dig the Japanese monster riffery on the Lovers’ “Mr. Astronaut Glenn”, and put those toys on your wish-list! 

If anyone asks, this show is sponsored in part by Beachland bud Cleveland Bachelor.

 7th Annual Old Home Night featuring California Speedbag, Kidney Brothers, Home and Garden, and Nicholas Deveney

Memories of Cleveland punk and new wave, grimy but drunkenly hopeful in the 70s and 80s, will belly up at the bar during this 7th Annual Old Home Night. OHN was created by a group of veteran bohemians–among them, the writer Michael DeCapite–who wanted to throw a very special party for ex-pats and current residents of our fair town who hailed from a time when the underground was freshly dug.  Tonight we’ll have an apperance by cowpunk pioneers California Speedbag, avant-lords Home and Garden, the Kidney Brothers (from The Numbers Band), and if you’re not careful, you might see a Pere Ubu or Dead Boys member floating around. Good times, great memories, such as this of CLE punks Numbskull tearing Sabbath’s “Supernaut” to ribbons at the old Variety Theatre (still there on Lo-rain Road!): 

 Cowslingers Reunion Wednesday December 30

If Old Home Night isn’t proof enough that “Cleveland punx not dead”, this two-night stand of total rock should convince doubters.  Rock N’ Roll’s a sure bet, solid as the Hope Memorial Bridge, unyielding as the Cuyahoga.   The Cowslingers were ambassadors for that aesthetic throughout Europe and the US, playing very fast and very loose with sounds pioneered by Link Wray, X, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and other immortal troublemakers. Here’s the kind of trouble the Cowslingers caused, shot at the Beachland many years back (note the difference in decor): 

After their breakup, the ‘slingers formed different bands, such as the Whiskey Daredevils and Jack Fords.   Yet the demand for that special Cowslinger brand of fun never wavered; in fact, tickets are flying out the proverbial door for this near-New Year’s humdinger with Lords of the Highway. ACT NOW. 


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Weekend Preview: Radney Foster, Asylum Street Spankers, Cleveland Bachelor, and more

19 11 2009

Radney Foster, this Friday

Country fans who read this blog might wonder, “Where’s the country?” Well, here’s our Beachland response.

Singer/songwriter Radney Foster, who’s written tunes for the likes of Sara Evans and Keith Urban, rolls up to Cleveland this Friday, November 20th.

Foster started out in the late 80s as part of the hitmaking duo Foster and Lloyd.  After their split, Foster kept his writing pen sharp, his feet in Nashville, and the hits a-flyin’.  Here’s a young Radney Foster, humorously chronicling his adventures in the music industry:

Foster’s  tunes have been taken to the charts, such as “Again” (Brooks & Dunn); “Somebody Take Me Home” (Kenny Chesney); and “A Real Fine Place to Start” (Sara Evans).   He’s got loads of other talented friends, too, such as the ones that attended his musical 50th birthday this past July.  Though Foster’s not playing arenas and touring nightly in high-tech tour buses, he’s still lucky enough to do what he loves, and lucky enough to have enough country fans to appreciate him. You might just be one of those folks, too.

Asylum Street Spankers, this Saturday

If the Asylum Street Spankers got any more ink, the makers of the Kindle would really have to start upping the ante. Paper would be practically gone if the Spankers were loved any further, and we’d all be thumbing those ballyhooed digital doohickeys instead of magazines. 

The reasons the Spankers aren’t filling stadiums might at least be twofold: 1. they’re an old-timey string band, and 2. they don’t use amplification.  Not exactly conducive to filling up Cleveland Browns Stadium–though we’re sure that big, drafty bowl by the lake could use some company these days. 

But the reason the Spankers are beloved by many is their buoyant sense of humor; their topical, sometimes raunchy humor; and their ineffable sense of swing. They’ve got songs about drugs, songs about beer, songs about right-wingers, songs about sex, songs about more drugs, beer…you get the idea. 

And sometimes they’ll have songs like this, the famed Muppets “Ma Nuh Ma Nuh” (or however you spell it):

Read a 2008 interview with the Asylum Street Spankers on the blog of Seattle radio station KEXP.  It’s informative, and you can always tool around the KEXP site, listening to great new music.  The Spankers play Saturday, November 21, in the Ballroom.

In classical Greece, a laurel wreath was presented to exemplary citizens of the polis (city) for the excellence in various fields: athletics, oratory, and the like.  We here feel that Justin Vaughn, who cheerleads weary Cleveland with his voluminously thorough Cleveland Bachelor blog, should receive some visible sign of merit. If not a crown of leaves, then perhaps a ring of Slavic sausages from R&D, down the road from the Beachland.

For Cleveland Bachelor not only details how to properly fun and frolic in our city, but also now helps curate (a fancy hipster term for ‘sponsor’, but without spendy advertising) shows at the Beachland, this Saturday the 2st of November, in the Tavern. Witness the debut of “The Cleveland Bachelor Show Of The Month”:

This show features the wildly eclectic Evangelicals (from Norman, Oklahoma, home of The Flaming Lips), Holiday Shores, and locals Mother Country Madmen.  Cleveland Bachelor does a much better job that we do exploring the bands on this bill, that we’ll just hand over the floor to him. Here he is, discussing Holiday Shores; follow his links, and you’ll hear Evangelicals take it over the top with ADDish prog rock that should appeal to Lips fans as well as late-night smokers still groovin’ on Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here.  This should be a good one to take meds to.

BLK TYGR returns to the Beachland. Photo: Lou Muenz (

While Evangelicals bend minds and ears with layering and wild arrangements, Amherst MA duo Matt Valentine and Erika Elder (known as MV and EE) go for a foresty folk drone that invoke Indian ragas, Celtic reels, and Appalachian hoedowns.  Now, run that through layer upon layers of effects, and prepare to get soothed.

What’s also very neat about this Sunday night show is the ‘return’ of experimental CLE duo BLK TYGR, which features Michael Pultz (host of radio show “Defend Cleveland”) and writer/musician/ “art hero” R.A. Washington (proprietor of

This duo were active a few years ago, when the Near West Side jumped with short-lived venues like Inside/Outside Gallery and The Church, when bands like Sunburned Hand of the Man and Six Organs of Admittance seemed to practically live in Cleveland.  BLK TYGR maintains they never really broke up, but took time off to live life, make music, and eat a few sandwiches along the way.  When a group makes music this distinctive and indescribable, breaking up is damn near impossible.   Their sound isn’t solely a product of skill, but rather two singular personalities coalescing into one presence.

BLK TYGR, live @ Beachland:

Also on this bill is Brian Straw, one of Cleveland’s best singer-songwriters, who now fronts new group The Buried Wires. This show takes place Sunday, November 22nd.


Califone brings music and film @ Beachland, this Wednesday

13 10 2009

Released in 2004, Califone’s Heron King Blues was the musical response to a recurring dream experienced by bandleader Tim Rutili, that of a large bird-man.  This album meanders, seemingly lost in the woods of American blues and folk, until it reveals a shimmering brook of melody, or a dense underbrush of maddening dissonance.  As in the case of dreams, nothing in Califone’s world seems–or sounds–to be exactly what it is.

It’s no surprise, then, that a band who frequently invoke the power of the subconscious, should also deal in waking life’s analogue to dreams: film.  Throughout its lifespan, Califone has frequently been involved in attempts to meld the visual with the aural.  As Rutili explains in a past interview,

“Books and movies feed into the music that we make as much or more than listening to other music,” he said. For Califone it’s all about cross-pollination. Everything Rutili absorbs goes into the songs he creates.

Califone’s latest project, which comes to the Beachland this Wednesday, is All My Friends Are Funeral Singers.  It’s not only the band’s new CD on the Dead Oceans label, but it’s a film written and directed by Rutili, which will receive live accompaniment compliments of Califone. 

Here’s the trailer from All My Friends Are Funeral Singers:

And a tune, whet your appetite and ready your ears for what promises to be an intriguing blend of underground music and film:

Califone, Funeral Singers

We wrap things up this ish by linking to Cleveland Bachelor’s interview with the very same Tim Rutili, who discusses the band’s new release amidst the interviewer’s hacking cough.

Tickets for this show are available at, by calling 216-383-1124, or by visiting these fine Cleveland-based retailers.