Roots Rock in the ‘Summertime’; real Mothers (of Invention) for ya

11 02 2011

According to the ever-reliable Weather Underground site (home of some nifty, near-psychedelic graphics), it’s practically going to be summertime this weekend, people, with highs in the 30s. Get crazy! Doff that winter cap! Shuck those long johns! Hell, you might even turn off your infrared space heater and save some pennies in the process.


This Moment In Black History, Friday night. From

This heat wave’s a timely one, too, as we have quite a bit you should come and enjoy. On our Facebook page, the Beachland and her friends have been chatting up this weekend’s  Walk All Over Waterloo: Valentine Day’s Edition. We weren’t quite keen on bringing up the “v-word”, but there it is, lonelyhearts, you can’t escape it, you might embrace it, and if not, there’s some cheap n’ easy fun to be had on our block.  This Friday night features The Davenport Ball (with CLE bands covering Black Sabbath, The Replacements, Wilco, and others) at the Beachland, The Waterloo Alley Cat Fundraiser, and a special apperance by This Moment In Black History at Arts Collinwood.  Think of it as a rugged counterpoint to Tremont’s ArtWalk, but with cheaper drinks, easier parking, and actual rock n’ roll.


Hoots and Hellmouth, this Saturday

If hoedowns and throwdowns are more your style – that is, if twang’s your thang – our entire Saturday’s filled with variations on roots rock. Our 7 pm Tavern show features Long Road, a bunch of serious local singers and strummers with their take on 60s-style folk. Long Road features cats like Ray DeForest, Kevin Richards, and David Budin, all of whom have played a role in Roots of American Music, a music and education non-profit.  At 10 pm, the Tavern gets grimier with honky-tonk, hillbilly, and hardrock compliments of The Not So Good Ol’  Boys with Detroiters Doop and the Inside Outlaws.   Meanwhile, Beachland favorites Cabinet rock the Ballroom with the energetic and magnetic Hoots and Hellmouth:

ZAPPATISTAS: Sunday night features the return of a certain Bunk Gardner to his native home of Cleveland, Ohio. He’s performing with his old Mothers of Invention bandmate Don Preston under the straight-ahead moniker of  “The Don And Bunk Show”.  If you know anything about Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, though, this music will be anything but straight-ahead:

And here they are, much grayer, but without a single musical misstep:

Curious? Read this article on these two ex-henchmen of the legendary Frank Zappa, and come by on Sunday night for The Don and Bunk Show, with opening act Cuda, Renko, and Cuda.

We hear it’s going to be warm on Sunday.


This Week, Part One: Menomena, Watson Twins, Basia Bulat

27 09 2010

"Poor Payton Hillis" (to the tune of "Poor Professor Higgins")

Feeling the near-October chill, Cleveland? Or do the Browns have you frozen with disappointment? Well, we’ve got something hot for you tonight, which is Monday, September 27th: Portland, Oregon’s art-rock trio Menomena, who don’t exactly tour the Midwest as frequently as we’d like, return to the Beachland tonight. Their riffs, grooves and tunes are how this dude keeps warm:

Watson Twins and Laura Veirs, this Tuesday

Substantially less hairy and more sultry are the Watson Twins, who play this Tuesday, September 28th, in the Tavern (tickets still available!). Compliments of our ‘friends’ at CBS, here the girls play the neo-60s “The Devil In You”:

Please leave your Watson Twins fantasies, marriage proposals, and shattered hopes of true rock n’ roll romance. On the other hand, if it helps you buy some of our beer, each and every one of our Beachland bar staff is well-trained in, er, alcohol counseling.

While we’re on the subject of ladies who rock, let’s forward to Canadian Basia Bulat, who performs here on Wednesday in support of her new album, Heart of My Own. Hear some of  her beautifully lonesome Northern tunes, evocative of changing leaves, tumbling gray clouds, and burning hearts on CBC Radio. Thanks, Canadia!

Basia Bulat, singer/songwriter, Canadian

Not only does Bulat have that tremulous voice, rich with Celtic romanticism, but she plays a mean autoharp. Yes, autoharp, that ancient instrument about which Bulat says, “You can kinda go anywhere with it, and there’s not really a lot of rules”.  Autoharps are relatively cheap, easy to play, and fun for everyone from wee ones to grandmas.  Here, Basia gives us a cheery primer on this multi-stringed wonder:

Basia, her voice, her band, her autoharp, and her totally fantastic hair will be here on September 29th. She’ll be performing with The Acorn (not to be mistaken as the nickname for our sister city 40 minutes south), and CLE kids The Modern Electric.


Friday: Zinmeister Parker at Arts Collinwood / Mountain Goats Film on Saturday

15 04 2010

Heavenly Bodies, a new show of work by Zinmeister Parker at Arts Collinwood

It’s easy to imagine the John Darnielle / Mountain Goats of 1995’s Nine Black Poppies translating into the Mountain Goats as they are now–an indisputably established musical presence that’s far outgrown the basic indie-rock label.  Darnielle still writes mini-movies, or mini-novels, if you will, that reel with emotional and metaphorical tension.  He’s kept this up with the latest Mountain Goats release, The Life of the World To Come, a series of songs based on certain verses in both the Old and New Testament of the Bible.  Accompanying this album is a performance film featuring cuts from this new album. It’s directed by Rian Johnson and features Darnielle in performance; it will be screened at the Beachland this Saturday at 1:15 pm and 2:45 pm.

As writes, 

Certainly there’s more open love and affection to be found here than on We Shall All Be Healed, but one of the reasons Darnielle is the best American songwriter currently working is that he refuses to settle for the easy emotional beats in whatever story he’s telling. He uncovers the same desperation, doubt, and grace in Biblical narratives that he did in a squalid, shut-in house of meth addicts, because people in Darnielle’s songs, whether loving or hateful or outright psychotic, are always first and foremost human

And here’s a blow-by-blow analysis of The Life of The World To Come by blog Heavy Soil

This film screening is brought to us by our good friends at Music Saves. 

 This Friday, Arts Collinwood has a special exhibit by artist Zinmeister Parker entitled Heavenly Bodies.  This opening runs from 6 – 9 pm. Parker writes,

As a woman, as a  painter and educator,  my perspective is colored by my experiences in the world of academia and in the art world at large.  Some of the figures have dismembered or missing various body parts, which symbolize a sense of alienation or an  awareness of gender bias, an intransigent status quo  which has  existed in the art world historically and even today —certainly in terms of the number of exhibitions for women artists versus male artists in the major museums in the United States. The good news is that women artists will always pursue their commitment to making art and eventually with the passage of time and a little luck, we’ll have achieved an even playing field.


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


From Africa By Way of Asheville: Toubab Krewe at Beachland, 3/16

15 03 2010

compliments of

The beauty of this ever-shrinking world is that a group of talented dudes from Ashville, North Carolina, bring the sounds of Mali and other African nations to American soil with seeming ease.  The beauty of this ever-expansive world is that those rhythms and melodies seem so wonderfully foreign to our Western ears and bodies.  Despite the miles between Cleveland, Asheville, and Africa, we can bounce joyfully to the sounds of Toubab Krewe and their afro-rock sound hybrid.

Toubab Krewe plays “51 Foot Ladder” at the studios of Paste Magazine:

So while we’re on the subject of Toubab Krewe, who are coming to the Beachland on March 16th, let’s check out other African hybrids and influences.  Get inspired by wonderous sounds with ancient sources.

Here are Nigerians Etran Finatawa with “Surbajo”

Kenyan-American electric benga rockers, Extra Golden:

Touareg nomads Tinariwen, “Cler Achel”

Congolese master guitarist Diblo Dibala, from the band Loketo, playing a sweet soukous groove:

Ali Farka Toure, one of the greatest Malian guitarists ever, and one of the guys who got this whole thing started:

..and Senegalese legends Orchestra Baobab, from a few years ago:

Check these out and pass them along. Then, get tickets for Tuesday’s show with Toubab Krewe at


Folk with Frontier Ruckus, Hoots and Hellmouth on Weds, Feb 3

2 02 2010

Frontier Ruckus (pictured above) and Hoots and Hellmouth, this Wednesday

The tendrils of roots music are constantly growing and mutating before our very ears.  Perhaps there’s something thrilling, relaxing and maybe even transcendental in the wooden strum of an acoustic guitar underneath a human voice?  Whatever the reason, this music fulfills an essential human need; Wednesday’s two bands grab this desire in ways that are diverse and yet equally lovely.

Frontier Ruckus prefers to sing about night haunts, lit only by moonglow glimmers, where old legends float on the snowy northern winds of their Michigan home.  Here Frontier Ruckus performs the moody “Nerves of the Night Mind” for Paste Magazine:

They also performed Neil Young’s “Campaigner” at the same session:

In contrast, Hoots and Hellmouth sound like friends and family gathered near a bonfire, ready for singing and dancing.  These high-energy dudes bring some much needed stomp and song to these Philly morning TV stiffs:

Here they shake up the radio waves in Louisville, KY, with a rousing rendition of their gospelly number, “Let My People Go”:

Doors to this shindig fly open tomorrow ’round 8:30 PM. White Pines opens. For more information, go to


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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