Marching bands are a big thing in Ohio.
But what can an adult do with the ability to walk, dance and step in time while playing a big brass instrument beyond teaching others how to do it?
You could grow up and join — or start — a big ol’ indie guerrilla brass band like the What Cheer? Brigade, which is headlining an eclectic show Thursday night at the eclectic art and music space Hive Mind in Akron.
The 18-piece brass and drum band hails from Providence, R.I., and celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2015.
It has traveled around the world playing street band festivals, Lollapalooza, the Newport Folk Festival as well as popping up in playgrounds, cemeteries and bars. The band is known for its kinetic, high-energy shows that often wind up taking place in and through the audience as they bang out a mix of various traditional European and Eastern European styles, Bollywood themes, old school New Orleans jazz and the occasional Slayer song.
Also on the bill are Actual Form, a self-described “blue-collar math-metal” band, which I guess means it only plays in a couple of difficult time signatures per song — not four or five like those high highfalutin’, fancy math-metal bands.
The aptly named Doom Christ hopes to alter your heartbeat with a heavy, deep, dark drone, which folks tend to either appreciate or really hate.
The bill is rounded out by Not on the Daily, a relatively straightforward, indie-rock, guitar-drums-vocals duo with a sense of humor, which is putting Lake County on the map and doesn’t sound at all like the Black Keys.
Rock and ribs
This weekend is July Fourth weekend, which means it’s time for the Rib, White & Blue festival in downtown Akron, which also means three days of tribute bands with long names headlining with original-music-playing local bands trying to win some fans. Hell, the way this year’s been going, a few of these tribute bands may be as close you’re going to get to the fading, retiring and dying originals.
On Friday, it’s Bruce in the USA, “The World's No. 1 Tribute to Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band,” though the original Broooooose! doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.
Opening is Cleveland glam-rock torch carriers Vanity Crash, who know there way around a Ziggy Stardust cover.
On Saturday, the glorious gluttony continues with Slippery When Wet, “The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute.” Opening will be local heavy blues-rock band Electric Mud.
Sunday will be action packed with headliners Hotel California, “The Original Tribute to the Eagles,” with the Northeast Ohio Salvation Army Divisional Band Masters and local singing, songwriting community activist Zach and the Bright Lights.
Do you ever wonder if the bands at the annual tribute band convention in Reno ever argue heatedly in full regalia about their self-proclaimed titles and brag about who’s got the longest band name? To its credit (I guess), Hotel California has been doing the Eagles tribute thing for 30 years, so its claim of “Original” appears to be on solid ground.
However, you could argue that the actual Eagles were a sort of tribute band to their albums because the guiding force of the live Eagles experience was re-creating the records the way people heard them on the radio.
But, hey, what makes Slippery When Wet the “Ultimate” Bon Jovi tribute band? If I’m the Richie Sambora of Wanted: The Bon Jovi Tribute Band or the Tico Torres of Keep The Faith: The Live Bon Jovi Experience or the David Bryan of Bon Jersey, Hugh McDonald of Living On A Bad Name or the Jon Bon Jovi of Ultimate Bon Jovi — these are all actual working Bon Jovi tribute bands — I’d take Slippery When Wet’s claim of “Ultimate” as a smack in my big-haired, Bon Jovi-lovin’ face.
But I digress.
Anyway, on Monday we will celebrate the birth of our nation just a few weeks before Cleveland gets doused in, but hopefully not permanently tainted, with over-ripened Trump.
Local singer/songwriter legend Alex Bevan will open at 4 p.m. with the Freedom Brass Band warming up the patriotic vibes at 6 p.m. Then the Akron Symphony will have you standing with hand on heart beginning at 8 p.m.
Bewitched by Welch
On Wednesday, Cleveland jazz vocalist Helen Welch will debut her new original song, Spellbound, and its accompanying video and blooper reel at a show at BLU Jazz+ in Akron.
The song is the “Ray Charles-esque” title track to Welch's new CD due out in August, which Welch calls “a fusion of pop and jazz with stunning arrangements of Both Sides Now, Jolene, a flamenco version of Spain, a haunting For No One plus the originals Spellbound and When It Mattered Most.
Tickets are $10
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at email@example.com or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at www.ohio.com/blogs/sound-check, like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml and/or follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.