Beachland Weekend, Cleveland-style

13 01 2010


In this ish of the Beachland blog, we keep up with the compliments, following from our New Year’s series of posts regarding the upcoming 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY. Submitted by you, the public:  

As some of the others who have posted about their experiences, it’s very difficult to pick the best musical moment from my many visits to the Beachland.   I have never been truly disappointed with any show; I’ve always heard (or seen) something that made the trip worthwhile; sometimes it was an opening band that I had never heard, other times it was some of the, well, interesting people in the audience.  

One such moment does stand out- several of us went to the Tavern to see Rosie Flores and Katy Moffatt.  It was one of the rare two shows in one night bills.  Rosie and Katy were great (the shots of tequila we did with Rosie didn’t hurt that impression).   The second show was Chuck Prophet.  I was vaguely aware of Chuck from Green on Red, but was not familiar with any of his solo work.  Our original intent was to leave after the first show, since I believe it was a weekday, and we also thought we might have to pay for the second show.  When it became apparent that we were not going to get kicked out before Chuck came on, and seeing that he had a full band, along with a funky microphone from what looked like the 1940’s in addition to the more typical gear, we decided to stay.
What a revelation.  There is nothing like seeing a live act for the first time that is able to rise above the listeners’ unfamiliarity with his songs, and yet immediately get them over in a memorable way.  The band was tight, Chuck was engaging, and the songs were fantastic.  We stumbled out at the end of the night commenting about how it was just another example of the Beachland magic.  

I’ve been a believer in the redemptive power of live music since seeing Eli Radish in the front of a Chesterland shopping plaza at the age of 12.   I’ve never stopped going to shows, but there was a bleak period of time in Cleveland for roots music after the original Wilbert’s closed and the Beachland’s opening.  It is without question my favorite place to see live music, and I’ve been fortunate enough to go to plenty, both here in Cleveland and in other cities across the country.  

Since you are reading this, you are probably already a fan of the Beachland.  Make it your New Year’s resolution to drag some friends out to see some live music-you know who I’m referring to, the people who were once into music, but just can’t find the time or energy to get out to shows anymore.  I guarantee they will thank you later.   The Beachland and the other live venues in town are as worthy of our support as the other cultural institutions in our city- the museums, orchestra and theaters, all of which get more attention and public funding.  And, I would argue, the support of venues like the Beachland is more important to the 20 to 35 year-olds that this region desperately needs to retain, and to attract.
So, step out with your buds, and feel the redemptive body and soul experience of live music.  Music Saves, indeed.  God bless Cindy and Mark-here’s to another 10 years!  

Vince Slusarz, Gotta Groove Records 


There are SO many musicians who deliver an absolutely transformative experience on your stage, but hands-down, my personal favorite was:
Nick Lowe (acoustic)–It was in the ballroom, but it felt so intimate…like he was in a living room, singing to you, only.  And he has such an ease with a guitar in his hands…he is truly a master of his craft.
Runner up is Greg Cartwright.  No matter what he’s belting out, he really makes you feel it, too 

Karen Downie

Railroad Earth just sounds so wonderful in the Beachland Ballroom. I just love the venue. Great acoustics and all. But then of course I would love Railroad Earth if they were playing under a bridge. 

Mary Lynn Pirtz


Tonight, we’ve got one of our favorites, Alejandro Escovedo, who you might’ve read about on this very blog.   This Thursday, we’ve got the feisty pop of Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles, written about in Scene Magazine, and who’ve been in steady rotation on new Cleveland radio station 107.3 The Boom.  

Saturday’s a soul session, celebrating the birthday of Beachland co-owner Mark Leddy, with noisy blues breakers The Bassholes and northern soul colossus Melvin Davis.  Don’t be afraid of the dance floor, friends.  

 Pro-Cleveland blogger Cleveland Bachelor has helped us push this Sunday’s upcoming Rural Alberta Advantage / Buried Wires / The Octagon show, which you can read about HERE.  

As Bryan Ferry once crooned, “Don’t stop the dance”: even the coiffed and laquered Mr. Ferry might have to cut a rug at this Sunday’s Beachland Polka Brunch!  Co –sponsored by The Cleveland Style Polka Hall of Fame, the price of admission also includes a delicious brunch and a free polka dance lesson by world dance champion Valerie Salstrom from Get Hep Swing.  Polka’s a family affair, so grab the crew for a twirl and a tipple:  


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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Brazilian Wonderband Os Mutantes this Wednesday

28 09 2009

This Wednesday, a myth comes to life on the Beachland stage.  The storied but elusive Os Mutantes, the Brazilian equivalent of the Beatles, comes to Cleveland on a very rare tour in support of their latest album–one several decades in the making–Haih or Amortecedor, now out on Anti Records.

Much has been made of this group’s incomparable influence in their home country of Brazil, and of their beloved stature with such musical notables as David Byrne, Beck, and even Kurt Cobain.  Much has also been made of their 60s output, an indescrible mash-up of sounds ranging from Summer-of-Drugs garage-rock mixed with ethnic rhythms, confundingly melodic arrangements, and a buyant sense of humor.

Which means all the music nerds, writers, and other weirdos (we mean that in a good way) like Os Mutantes based on their estimable legacy.  But what are people saying now? And what does the band have to say in 2009?

Here’s a review of Os Mutantes’ recent gig in Los Angeles, a scintillating art rock dance party:

On a sweltering Friday night at the Echoplex, Sergio Dias led his band mates, Os Mutantes, on multiple musical excursions through rock & roll, samba, and bossa nova, with a bit of Kurt Weill thrown in for good measure. ….Playing to an audience that tilted towards the band’s younger fans (or so it appeared when they would stop dancing long enough to get a look), Dias and his fellow players wove disparate musical threads into seemingly real musical entities that were propelled against each other creating the wildest musical collisions that made absolutely perfect musical sense.

Read more about this remarkable performance gives their perspective on Mutantes and their new record.  Seattle-based Three Imaginary Girls gives us a preview of their Bumbershoot performance.

Some great live shots of Os Mutantes and a gushing live review from their Portland, OR appearance are at  And we’ll take it back to Los Angeles, where we find out about Os Mutantes’ remarkable show at that city’s famed Amoeba superstore.

To top it all off, the Beachland Blog Staff is very pleased to offer you a few Os Mutantes tracks from their new release.  These songs offer beaty gusto a la Gogol Bordello or Cyro Baptiste’s Beat the Donkey (more Brazilians!); musical melting pot wizardry reminscent of Beck or Andrew Bird, and a sweetly crazed rock sound that brings to mind Jefferson Airplane or Love.  Neither of those bands truly sounds anything like Os Mutantes; the reverse also applies.  Check ’em out for yourselves:

Opening this very special show are JDub recording artists DeLeon and their special brand of Sephardic rock.  A custom DJ set by members of afrobeat orchestra, Mifune, opens this show.

Tickets? Inquiries? Directions? Click  HERE to buy tickets, visit or call one of our standby operators at 216.383.1124.


Brazilian Legends Os Mutantes @ Beachland September 30

30 07 2009
Os Mutantes
Os Mutantes @ Beachland

Can you say ‘show of the year’?  If you’re into bouncing Brazilian beats, kitchen-sink weirdness, and just sunshiney pop fun, you don’t need to be hip and with the pages of NME (the UK’s New Music Express, for those not in the know).  Brazilian legends Os Mutantes will flip and trip you at the Beachland on September 30th.  After a 35 year hiatus (not as long as the Tribe’s drought, no?), Os Mutantes are releasing a new album, entitled Haih this September 7th on the reknowned ANTI label (home to Tom Waits, Neko Case, and other luminaries).

While music nerds are stumbling over themselves, samba-ing clumsily in ecstasy, you might ask yourself, “Who are Os Mutantes?”  The aforementioned New Music Express cites thusly:

The fact that Os Mutantes was ahead of its time is well illustrated by the fascination of late 90s North American alternative-rockers with the band’s mix-and-match aesthetic. Even in another language, the message is clear: everything’s fair game. For all the tripped-out sounds of the late 60s, there is little to compare to Os Mutantes’ combination of pop packaging and avant garde weirdness.

Formed in 1965 by brothers Sérgio Dias (b. Sérgio Dias Baptista, 1 December 1951, São Paulo, Brazil) and Arnaldo Baptista (b. Arnaldo Dias Baptista, 6 July 1948, São Paulo, Brazil) and singer Rita Lee (b. Rita Lee Jones, 31 December 1947, São Paulo, Brazil) and with the technical expertise of another brother Cláudio behind them, the band first made a real impact backing singer Gilberto Gil at the 1967 TV Records song festival. They shocked the audience with their wild style and electric guitars. The following year at São Paulo’s International Song Festival, they accompanied Caetano Veloso as he performed “É Proibido Proibir” (It’s Forbidden To Forbid), and the band’s psychedelic sound and progressive fashion sense (plastic clothes) again caused an outrage. That same year they recorded their self-titled debut album and also appeared with Gil, Veloso, Tom Zé, and others on the landmark Tropicália Ou Panis Et Circensis, the battle cry of the tropicália movement. On subsequent albums Mutantes (1969) and A Divina Comédia Ou Ando Meio Desligado (1970), they continued to plunder rock and Brazilian roots to stunning effect.

Let’s put those words aside for a moment and let them sizzle in a feijoada skillet, so that your ears and eyes can pick up on this brief bit of Mutantes history.   The remarkable thing, as you’ll see, is that these kids were somehow able to be their country’s pop superstars while mixing in post-Sgt. Pepper psychedelia and annoying Brazil’s dictatorial regime.

As you can see, Os Mutantes’ whirl of sound was born during the tempest of the late Sixties.  And not unlike their US counterparts, they voiced protest while still embracing aspects of their ethnomusical heritage.  Here are Os Mutantes backing up Brazilian giant Gilberto Gil on some straight-forward swingin’ stuff:

And here they are again, in 1970, serving up some Pink Floydian fun:

A video (Globo being one of Brazil’s big networks) details Os Mutantes’ trip to the States a few years back.  Though the interview’s all in Portuguese, the tune they play is also rendered in English.  More audio for eager ears is featured at The Hype Machine, too.  A brief listen to these cuts will put a smile on your face–we assure you!

More on this remarkable show in this space very soon.  Before the rest of the Midwest rolls up to CLE for this party, order your tickets HERE.


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Tonight: Colin Hay (from Men At Work)

17 07 2009
Colin Hay (from Men At Work) tonight @ Beachland

Colin Hay (from Men At Work) tonight @ Beachland

It’s funny how the merging streams within contemporary media–music, video, you name it–have also caused musical history to bend, fold and twirl on itself like a mobius strip.   It isn’t simply lightweight nostalgia at work, but a kind of archeology of the ear.  That’s what’s propelled former Men At Work frontman Colin Hay once again in front of conscious listeners.  In this case, that band’s haunting pop hit “Overkill”  is refashioned as a darkly humorous case of a one-man greek chorus (in Hay’s case, Australian) in an episode of “Scrubs”:

Not unlike Hay’s angelic character in this clip, his career’s been resurrected by new generations re-listening to the Men At Work catalog–a far more enjoyable feat than perhaps delving into other 80s kitsch–and hopefully digging into his solo discography, found on Hay’s website. Hay plays tonight in the Ballroom, with opener Greg Townson, of the Hi-Risers.

Ethnic percussion fiends  might take an interest in Saturday’s all-day drum clinics, hosted by Val Sarrant, Sikiru Adepuju, and Raquy Danziger. Who, you might say, are these people? Brought to Cleveland by members of the Starwood community, these artists are  world-class educators and performers who’ll also be performing later that night.  The music will combine different percussion traditions from the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, while incorporating traditional dance and rock n’ roll sounds. 

To learn more about each of them, click on their names; and to find out more about the afternoon workshops and night time gig, go to


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Waterloo Arts Fest, The Church, Jonathan Richman, Van Der Graaf Generator, and more

22 06 2009
Waterloo Arts Festival 2009

Waterloo Arts Festival 2009

To say that we’re looking at an upcoming whopper of a week is a real feat of understatement.  We believe the colloquial term is “blowin’ up”; in our case, the Beachland and Waterloo Road will be exploding with light, sound, and people at an amazing level.  Being Clevelanders, however, we can handle pretty much damn near anything.  And being Clevelanders, we ask YOU to join us in our enjoyment of art, culture, and music this weekend.

Saturday’s annual Waterloo Arts Festival promises to be the biggest one yet.  Thousands will descend onto a street full of vendors, family activities, and three stages’ worth of live music.  Performers such as yo-yo artist / raconteur Steve Brown and Leia Alligator’s Picklefight Puppet Theatre will be making the rounds on the block.  The Sculpture Garden stage will host roots music, like the bluegrassy sounds of Heelsplitter; the Beachland Tavern (for those of you who dig the comfort of AC and a fully-stocked bar) includes performances by the trunk-rattling electrofunk duo Arte Povera and Pere Ubu offshoot, Cleveland avant-garde ensemble Home and Garden.  Various DJs will hold court at nearby Blue Arrow Records; look for appearances by punk platterista Miss Allisun, and soul sides by Lawrence Daniel Caswell of WCSB’s “No Ways Tired” (which will surely contain tunes by Cleveland-born Rock Hall Inductee, Bobby Womack)

Children’s activities will include mask making, puppet-wearing, building of cardboard cities (future engineers unite!), and a Lego sculpture contest.  For those looking to stay healthy and fit in what is purportedly one of the fattest cities in the U.S. (how do they figure?), a “Clevelanders In Motion” tent will offer ways to stay in shape in the Healthy Living Village.  There’ll also be a mile round-trip bicycle ride from University Circle to the Fest, sponsored by Walk & Roll Cleveland,  the Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op, and ClevelandBikes. It departs Rockefeller Park at 11am, and heads back towards University Circle at 2pm.  If you’re riding (or just strolling) fuel yourself up with food from area restaurants, and buy yourself some riding tunes (from Music Saves) or a cooler t-shirt than the one you just sweated in (at Shoparooni).  Heck, if you stop by the Beachland Ballroom, you might find yourself a nice vintage set of wheels at the Rock & Roll Flea Market that’ll be running there from 12-5.

Got all that? The fun runs from 12-7; to learn more, check out

Inside the Beachland, we’ll have some incredible performances throughout the week.  Art-rock legends Van Der Graaf Generator perform their head-scratchingly melodic art-rock on Thursday, June 25th.  The Church, who can see and hear in the following clip, play the the next night with very special guest Adam Franklin (formely of heavily beautiful UK ‘shoegazers’ Swervedriver):

The Church, “Under The Milky Way”

Saturday night’s big Ballroom show features Jonathan Richman and acerbic singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt.  Though many folks know Richman from his groundbreaking punk group, The Modern Lovers, many more know him from “Something About Mary”:

The best line from The Modern Lovers’ immortal two-chord driving jam “Roadrunner” is “I’m in love with rock and roll/and I’ll be out all night”.  Will you be too?  There’ll be enough chances this weekend, that’s for sure.  Tickets for all Beachland shows are available through the website or by calling 216-383-1124.


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