Category Archives: TVD Cleveland

TVD Live Shots:
King Gizzard and
The Lizard Wizard
at the Agora, 5/20

If you know anything about King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, you know that these Australian rockers are a prolific bunch. Since 2010, they’ve released 20 studio albums. Twenty!

Their musical style ranges from psychedelic to progressive to thrash metal (and everything in between), so it’s impossible to predict what’s in store when you buy a ticket to see them live. You can, however, expect a colorful, energetic, and tongue-wagging experience.

Such was their show at Cleveland’s Agora. Fans were even treated to two live debuts from the Gizzverse (“Presumptuous,” “The Grim Reaper”), and plenty of face-melting moments. Band members Stu Mackenzie, Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Joey Walker, Cook Craig, Lucas Harwood, and Michael Cavanagh hit the east coast next before touring Europe this summer. They’ll probably release a couple albums as well.

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TVD Live Shots: Turnstile at the
Agora, 5/18

Baltimore’s Turnstile have been around for a decade but are just beginning to get their credit due. Their 2021 release Glow On received critical acclaim for good reason—it fucking rocks. Ever since, this hardcore band has been catapulted into the mainstream. They’re also one of the most exciting live bands around.

Each member of the band—Brendan Yates, Franz Lyons, Daniel Fang, Brady Ebert and Pat McCrory—have such captivating stage presences that it’s hard to know who to focus your eyeballs on. Especially since you’re probably headbanging. Or crowd surfing. Or screaming along to the lyrics.

Catch them on tour this summer and you won’t be disappointed. That’s a promise.

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TVD Live Shots:
Lucius at Beachland Ballroom, 5/17

“Welcome home!” a lone voice screamed to native Clevelander Holly Laessig, one half of the vocal powerhouse that is Lucius, and the Beachland Ballroom crowd erupted.

There’s nothing Clevelanders love more than another Clevelander—especially a famous one. The other half, Jess Wolfe (who is equally awesome and from LA), addressed the crowd: “Of all the amazing experiences we’ve had, nothing feels as good as being here with you singing along to our music that we wrote from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you.” Then they dove into a gorgeous rendition of “Dusty Trails,” and made practically everyone weep.

It was nice to hear songs from their latest album Second Nature, live. Released last month, it’s Lucius’ first album since 2016. But don’t let that fool you—they’ve been very busy. Between touring the world with Roger Waters and lending their vocals to track after track for the likes of Harry Styles, Brandi Carlile, John Prine, Mavis Staples, and Jeff Tweedy to name a few, the women of Lucius have been busy as hell. Their new originals are as sparkly and vibrant as their outfits, and their disco vibe was perfectly capped off with a finale cover of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love.”

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TVD Live Shots: Jacob Collier at the Agora, 5/13

“Did Jacob Collier just play five instruments in the span of 20 seconds…and we’re only on song one?,” I asked myself while sprinting around the photo pit, clumsily attempting to capture the musical savant as he dashed from one end of the stage to the other, conducting the crowd. Yep, he sure did.

And that’s the Jacob Collier experience: a dazzling multisensory explosion of sounds, colors, ideas, and talent. It can be overwhelming and potentially induce feelings of inferiority for not knowing how to play 45 instruments. But there’s no time to wallow because the Londoner’s innate charm and enthusiasm sweep you right up.

At 27, it’s not a stretch to refer to him as a virtuoso and I look forward to continuing to be astonished by him in years to come.

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TVD Live Shots: Interpol at the Agora, 5/10

One of the most magical attributes of music is its ability to allow the listener to time travel. And some bands do it better than others. One such band: Interpol. Upon the first riffs of “Untitled”—from their brilliant 2002 debut, Turn on the Bright Lights—the packed Agora erupted into cheers and then quickly quieted so as to not miss a note.

The entire show was a transportation: every instrument clear and precise; every song a spectacle of lights (cheers to whoever produced the lighting for this particular tour); every moment a cherished one by a member of the audience. Interpol has aged well, their music lasting the test of time and their musicianship at an all-time best.

Their tour continues through the fall with dates in the US, Europe, and South America. Get yourself a ticket.

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TVD Live Shots: Snail Mail at The Agora, 4/12

“It’s really nice to be back on tour,” Lindsey Jordan, otherwise known as Snail Mail, acknowledged to cheers of agreement from the crowd at The Agora.

It’s been three years since the band performed live—first because of, well, stupid COVID and later because of Jordan’s vocal cord surgery. But fortunately she’s all healed up, back with her bandmates, and on the road.

Lucky ticket holders get to enjoy tracks off of 2021’s Valentine live for the first time, as well as selections from her early work. And let’s not forget Snail Mail’s kick ass cover of The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight”—my personal show highlight.

The tour continues through September and spans North America and Europe.

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TVD Live Shots: Waxahatchee at the Agora, 2/14

Waxahatchee released her fantastic, career-best album, Saint Cloud, in March of 2020, just as our world was beginning to change.

Two years later, she’s finally able to tour and play those songs for those of us that have been patiently waiting to hear them live. Added bonus for us Clevelanders: the band cruised through town on Valentine’s Day, making plans for the Hallmark holiday rather easy.

Aside from “Saint Cloud,” we were also treated to some covers, including Lucinda Williams’ “Fruits of My Labor” and Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning.” Opener Madi Diaz joined Waxahatchee during her encore to sing “Resentment.” Waxahatchee’s tour continues through the summer, so get your tickets now.

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TVD Live Shots:
Cate Le Bon at the
Grog Shop, 2/11

The queen of cool, Cate Le Bon, brought her brilliant 2022 album Pompeii (as well as a handful of songs from 2019’s Reward) to a packed Grog Shop last Friday night.

Between her unique guitar riffs, catchy melodies, and ample synth and sax, I felt simultaneously transported back in time to a new wave club in the early ’80s, all the while firmly placed in the moment, swaying with the rest of the crowd at the Grog.

With the help of Euan Hinshelwood, Toko Yasuda, Dylan Hadley and Alex Morrison, Le Bon gave us a show to remember, ending with a beautiful cover of Paul McCartney’s “Waterfalls.” Her tour heads to the west coast next before jumping the pond to Europe for March and April.

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TVD Live Shots: Umphrey’s McGee at the House of Blues, 1/30

As I was wandering around the House of Blues Cleveland taking in the sounds and sights (and, ahem, herbal smells), I suddenly felt something sticking to my right shoe. I looked down to find a dreadlock attached to my Vans. An actual dreadlock.

And that, my friends, briefly sums up an Umphrey’s experience: such a party, such an ecstatic jam that dreadlocks are literally flying off of peoples’ heads. Unreal. So is the light show.

As usual, my Chicago dudes delivered, bringing the crowd to a dancing frenzy, particularly during “Wizard Burial Ground,” “Pequod,” and “Piranhas” (which hadn’t been played in quite some time, “231 songs,” according to the über fan standing next to me).

Their current tour lasts through March, where they’ll end the run at Rockjavik in Reykjavik, Iceland.

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TVD Live Shots: Genesis at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, 11/30

It was a busy Tuesday night in downtown Cleveland, as a sold-out crowd filed into Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse to see Genesis for one last time.

The Last Domino? Tour is the band’s first since 2007 and the final of their career. Led by a solid backing band, the three original members—Phil Collins, Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford—busted out all the hits for the occasion. In recent years, Collins has been battling severe nerve damage that’s forced him to retire from the drums, but his signature voice remains unaffected. His son, Nic, now drums while Dad sings front and center.

Aside from sounding wonderful, Genesis looks great thanks to the spectacular light production. The tour carries on through 2022, so you still have plenty of opportunity to see them before their official retirement.

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TVD Live Shots: Iron
& Wine and Squirrel Flower at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 11/16

Aside from getting called a “sir” by some stuffy elder docent, tonight is proving itself to be a special treat. It’s not often that I’m headed to a concert at the Cleveland Museum of Art. The Gartner Auditorium itself has an impressive organ and intricate woodworking panels throughout. Alice Coltrane is flowing out of the speakers and setting the mood.

“Being in this beautiful venue reminds me of singing in the choir growing up,” Ella Williams (better known as Squirrel Flower) confessed. I get it. It’s a stunning but stiff setting, but also one that helps to showcase Squirrel Flower’s talent. She layers and loops harmonies, singing stripped-down songs of intimacy and heartache. It’s a vocal and songwriting showcase, part one.

I haven’t seen Iron & Wine live in about 20 years, but I can tell you that his music frequented my dorm rooms throughout college and beyond. So I knew that hearing his songs live after so many years would be noteworthy. But what I didn’t recall was how funny and personable Sam Beam (a.k.a. Iron & Wine) is onstage. “Here we are,” he said at one point to hearty laughter, “just a bunch of ninjas watching some dipshit on stage.”

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TVD Live Shots: Nada Surf and Pom Pom Squad at the Grog Shop, 11/15

I spent Monday night at the Grog Shop with a bunch of other cool cats who made the smart decision to see Nada Surf and Pom Pom Squad.

It’s a perfect tour pairing, as Pom Pom Squad’s sound pays homage to her riot grrrl predecessors and Nada Surf, well, practically IS the ’90s. But as I learned on Monday, they’re still pumping out great music, such as 2020’s Never Not Together. And, oh yeah—they can SHRED.

You know who else shreds? Pom Pom Squad. They’ve been on my radar, as their debut Death of a Cheerleader is one of 2021’s best albums. Frontwoman Mia Berrin acknowledged that it was the band’s first tour and you could feel it; that electric excitement in the air. The joy of realizing that you get to do what you love for a living.

“I’m so glad you didn’t lose your ticket from two years ago,” Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws laughed. Me too. More Monday night thrashers, please.

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TVD Live Shots:
St. Vincent at the
Agora, 10/18

“Thank you for not being at Harry Styles tonight,” St. Vincent joked shortly after taking the stage at The Agora. No offense to Mr. Styles, who on any other night I would’ve loved to see, but there was literally nowhere else I’d rather be. St. Vincent has proven herself to be one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest treasures and any chance I get to see her perform, I take it.

A couple friends less familiar with St. Vincent joined me at The Agora and their responses post-show didn’t surprise me in the least. One said it was easily one of the best concerts she’s ever been to, and the other referred to the experience as “pivotal.”

This particular tour installment—in support of her latest album, Daddy’s Home—is ’70s-inspired and features a cityscape backdrop, sexy, silky attire, groovy choreography, and a touring band tighter than a hipster’s skinny jeans. Each song felt special, as a clear amount of consideration and craft went into them. I especially enjoyed the modifications made on earlier songs to fit the vibe of the current tour. “Your Lips are Red” was particularly face-melting.

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TVD Live Shots: Lucy Dacus and Bartees Strange at Beachland Ballroom, 10/14

When Lucy Dacus first announced her 2021 fall tour in support of her latest critically acclaimed release, Home Video, I was sad to see that Cleveland didn’t make the cut. But thanks to the misfortune of our Canadian friends (the Toronto and Montreal shows were postponed), a last minute show at the Beachland Ballroom was added and my wish granted. An added bonus? Bartees Strange opening.

Right off the bat, Bartees Strange took the crowd by surprise. They were captivated. Jumping from genre to genre seamlessly, he impressed. I could literally feel his fanbase growing.

Then it was Lucy’s turn and a similar hush fell over the Ballroom as she began with an acoustic version of “Trust.” Her lead guitarist Jacob Blizard recently tested positive for COVID (but is fortunately fine!) so “we’re changing things up,” she divulged. Bartees Strange’s bandmates took turns joining her band on stage, filling in nicely.

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TVD Live Shots: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats at Jacob’s Pavilion, 10/13

We’ve got ourselves a little bit of a second summer happening here in Cleveland and given how our winters go, I’d say we deserve it.

October has been a bonus month of outdoor shows and boy was the crowd out and ready to party with Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats at Jacob’s Pavilion. Even boats cruising along the Cuyahoga paused to listen to their soulful serenades echoing across the Flats.

The setlist was littered with fan favorites, pulling from all of their critically acclaimed albums. Opener, the lovely Margo Price (who sadly didn’t allow photography), joined the band for “Say It Louder.” After that, there was not a butt in a seat, as the sold-out crowd danced the night away.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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