Cleveland rocks the summer concert scene

Ben Breier

Credit: Ben Breier

The summer of 2005 was an excellent one for concerts in the Cleveland area. However, one thing makes this year stand out from other summer concert seasons: Bands found themselves coming back multiple times over the course of the summer in order to get their second helping of Northeast Ohio’s diverse music scene.

Indie folk-rock quintet Eisley was one of the bands who found themselves double dipping throughout the Cleveland metro area. After headlining a show at the Grog Shop, which packed the tiny and intimate venue, Eisley opened up for Hot Hot Heat at the Odeon for an entirely different crowd — one which definitely didn’t appreciate their quaint, shy breed of folk-rock.

Hot Hot Heat was another band who elected to perform multiple shows in Cleveland this summer. In addition to headlining its own tour, the Canadian rock band played a show in the area with The Killers, an indie synth-pop outfit that no longer needs any sort of introduction. If you don’t know who The Killers are, go get yourself some MTV, man.

Eclectic rap duo Grand Buffet started the summer by performing at the Grog Shop and finished out a second tour, accompanying Magnolia Electric Company at the Lime Spider in Akron. Those who attended were fortunate enough to witness some of the group’s bizarre on-stage antics, ranging from Jackson O’Connell-Barlow throwing cigarettes from his crotch into the crowd, to Jarrod Weeks ranting about the glory of watching Patch Adams on VHS.

Of course, no summer concert wrap-up would be complete without mentioning the Vans Warped Tour. This summer’s installment of the punk-rock Woodstock included bands such as the Transplants, My Chemical Romance, Motion City Soundtrack and Tsunami Bomb. Notable bands that were conspicuously absent from the tour included Taking Back Sunday, Story of the Year, and Flogging Molly.

Junior interior design major Jamie Renz happened to catch this year’s Warped Tour.

“It was a good time, as it always is. I pretty much went for the sake of tradition, even though the line-up was beyond disappointing,” Renz said. “Thrice and the Transplants made it worth the 30 bucks easily, and the Dropkick Murphys always put on a good show.”

Other notable shows included a performance by Le Tigre, a girl group who focuses on delivering political messages in the vein of liberalism, human rights and feminism. The group played at Peabody’s Down Under, with vocalist JD Samson’s (a Pepper Pike native) parents observing from the balcony above the stage.

One group that happened to fly under this summer’s concert radar was Montreal-based indie-pop posse Stars, who performed at the Grog Shop. Easily generalized as a more refined, less electronic Postal Service, Stars will be touring with Death Cab for Cutie later this year.

Blossom Music Center also carried some notable bands over the summer — ranging from classic artists such as Tom Petty and Neil Diamond to modern-day artists that include Dave Matthews, Sum 41 and the Wallflowers.

With such a great series of summer concerts, one would be hard pressed to visualize a better line-up for next summer. Cleveland also appears to be hosting a wide variety of great shows this fall, including Beck, LCD Soundsystem and Built to Spill, among other rock ‘n’ roll bands. Can the summer of 2006 possibly be better?

We’ll see.

Contact ALL correspondent Ben Breier at [email protected].