Here's some stuff to do.
First up, because it’s free, is the Akron Civic Theatre playing host to world music group Harmonia on Friday evening. Well, we call it “world music" because it didn’t originate in the United States but what the sextet does is a musical travelogue of many of the traditional folk and urban music of Eastern Europe, i.e. Hungarian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Gypsy, Romanian and Croatian.
The players, a mix of Americans and Europeans, are real-deal veteran musicians including folks from Ukraine and Slovakia who have studied the music and have played with a variety of artists and settings including off-Broadway, the Cleveland Orchestra, jazz flautist Herbie Mann and the Velvet Underground’s John Cale.
We’re talking fleet fingers working instruments many of us aren’t used to seeing or hearing, such as the Fujara, a 6-foot-long, three-holed, bass fipple flute from Slovakia, and the Cimbalom, a chromatic hammered dulcimer with a 4½ octave range. The band has a few CDs of its often rambunctious grooves with virtuosic playing on top. It’s often kinetic, up-tempo music and it’s a free show.
Keeping with the free theme, Jilly’s Music Room is offering a three-band bill Friday. It's not only the most bands any nonfestival club bill should have, but it’s also a fun evening of dad rock. The first band hits the stage at 7 p.m., so you can get out at a reasonable hour if you so choose.
First up is the Chuck Auerbach Band. Auerbach released his debut record, “Remember Me,” last summer on Easy Eye Sound, the label owned by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys (aka his son). It’s a simmering, folksy collection of tunes, and Auerbach has been periodically gigging in the area with his talented local band and a more confident singing voice than heard on the album.
Taking it up a notch will be local surf band Purple Knif, a band that plays original surf music and covers of surfed-up classic guitar songs from the days when an instrumental could still be a hit song.
Also on the bill: The Britemores, a conglomeration of veteran Detroit garage rockers, who have an eponymously titled album that’s a short, sharp dozen melodic and rocking tracks. It’s all familiar to anyone who’s enjoyed any of the last two or three garage rock revivals of the past 20 or so years, but these guys are pretty good at it and their tunes are pretty darn catchy.
In the not-so-free category, at Musica on Saturday, we'll have the debut of a newly rebranded band. Local band Jeff Klemm & the Letters has transformed into Diamond Kites, and has taken their emo and prog-flavored hard rock and added a healthy heaping of pop and synth things.
Their music still has the drama of vintage JK&TL, evidenced by the debut single, "All Mine," which has all the power chords and start-stop riffage we've come to expect. But the self-described "art pop rock band" also seems to be interested in infusing some "pop" into the "rock" with some synths and loops.
The evening's headliner is Chil, another Akron based band who are also debuting new music. The band, which has been together for a decade and has three albums under their belt, recorded their new single, "Beautiful Mess," in England and their melodic, hook-laden pop-rock sound would make them good openers for the next area Imagine Dragons show. (51 E. Market St; $10; liveatmusica.com.)
Among the recently announced shows are some blues, blue-eyed soul, prog-rock and whatever Jon Anderson is doing these days.
The Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park recently announced a bunch of shows that are on sale this Friday. The upcoming spring shows include the great and very electric Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy on June 15, with young singer/guitarist Samantha Fish opening. (Tickets: $45-$85; ticketmaster.com)
On March 31, Jon Anderson, lead singer of one of the touring versions of Yes, is bringing his solo band to the Rocksino for an evening of "Yes, Jon & Vangelis, his solo career and music from his new album '1000 hands.' " Also, Anderson apparently has a new album coming out called "1000 Hands." (Tickets: $35-$79.50; ticketmaster.com.)
Progressive rock guitarist and icon Robert Fripp will bring his latest iteration of King Crimson to the Rocksino on Sept. 25, celebrating 50 years (with a few multiyear breaks between versions).
The current King Crimson (either version 9 by Fripp's own count, or group "VII" per the band's online home DGM.com) features Fripp along with returning Crimsoner saxophonist Mel Collins who played on some of the early 1970s KC albums, including "Lizard" and "In The Wake of Poseidon," and, of course, bassist/Chapman Stickman Tony Levin. (Tickets: $57.50-$99.50; ticketmaster.com.)
I've listened to and watched a few videos of the current band, and although there are three drummers, it's not the turgid, drum-fest you might expect. And the expanded band has been resurrecting tunes that haven't been in set lists for a while such as "Islands." King Crimson has long been an acquired taste, but the octet version can actually rock. It's a 50-year anniversary tour so there should be plenty of old stuff for the old heads.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758. Like him on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1lNgxml, and follow him on Twitter @malcolmabramABJ.