The fall concert schedule is filling up and a local venue is getting some shows
But before that, let’s go with the much nearer musical gratification of the next several days.
On Friday evening, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will play host to New York post-rock/punk veterans Interpol with openers Surfbort. Interpol was among the group of early aughts New York bands that included bigger names such as the Strokes, TV On The Radio, the Hold Steady and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Their 2002 debut, “Turn On The Bright Lights,” melded the familiar glassy guitars and throbbing bass of 1980s English bands such as Joy Division and the Chameleons. That album was a commercial and critical success and the band’s subsequent albums were also generally well received. The former quartet lost its original bassist and is now a trio working the 2018 album “Marauder,” which isn’t much different than much of their previous catalog. But if you dig that contemporary-retro sound, it should suitably butter your bread.
Opening is fellow NYC band (Brooklyn to be exact) Surfbort, which also works a familiar 1980s sound, but it’s pretty firmly planted in guitar-driven, barre-chord-heavy punk rock with a visceral singing/bellowing front woman who occasionally flirts with melody.
It's going to be a very NYC evening. Of course, while you’re rocking at the hall, you can also check out the current big exhibit “Cities and Sounds,” which takes you through the signature styles and musicians of some of pop music's biggest music towns and genres, such as Memphis, Detroit, San Francisco and early rock 'n' roll, '60s soul and the roots of heavy metal.
Also still available for perusing is the “Forever Warped: 25 Years of Vans Warped Tour” exhibit celebrating the taste-making traveling music festival. I attended Warped a few times over the years and somehow always ended up with a bunch of shirtless kids’ sweat on me.
But I digress.
Meanwhile, another veteran artist is also coming to Cleveland. For us older heads, 1990s emcee Common was among the so-called conscious rappers who eschewed much of the gangsta talk and uber-macho posturing and delivered three really good records in a row: “Resurrection” in 1994, "One Day It’ll All Make Sense” in 1997 and the ambitious “Like Water For Chocolate" in 2000.
His 2005 album “Be” was also a solid release. As with many of his peers, Common has significantly diversified his resume and though Common is still making music, he’s probably better known among the young folks as an actor who has appeared in nearly 40 films, including “John Wick: Chapter 2,” “Selma,” “Suicide Squad” and “Girls Trip.” Com’s got a memoir, “Let Love Have the Last Word,” out now and a new album, his 12th, “Let Love,” coming at the end of August. He'll be at the Agora Theatre on Friday.
Closer to home on Saturday, Lock 3 Park has one of the regional icons of rock, Donnie Iris and the Cruisers. Iris has maintained a loyal following in Ohio and Pennsylvania, but for me from the West Coast, it was basically the catchy hit “Ah Leah” and seeing the video for “Love Is Like a Rock,” on way-back MTV (which also used to have Iris’ friendly “rival” Michael Stanley in regular rotation) four times a day. Yes, I watched way too much MTV back in the day. (Lock 3 Park; 200 S. Main St; $20-$35; lock3live.com.)
The Canton Palace Theater is upping its concert game of late. It has played host to Art Garfunkel, Lindsey Buckingham, and, of course, Michael Stanley. But there’s more! Recently announced shows include contemporary prog rock legends Dream Theater, which will bring its heavy, lengthy, complex, shredder songs to the theater on Sept. 29 behind the group's latest album “Distance Over Time.” This adds to the concert list that already includes singer Amy Grant on Sept. 26, and main Phish man Trey Anastasio’s acoustic show Oct. 23.
Here’s a random fun fact. Ed Sheeran, the pleasantly bland, inoffensive and commercially beloved singer/songwriter who has been having an amazing half decade or so, just set a new Pollstar record.
As of Aug. 2, Sheeran’s current tour has become the all-time highest grossing tour ever. His show at Messegelände in Hanover, Germany, which was his 246th in about two and a half years. According to the touring trade magazine, the smiling ginger will gross $736.7 million, aka three quarters of a capital “B” billion dollars, edging out U2’s 2011 record of $735.4 million.
So, all you gotta do is write a bunch of big hit songs that may recall other folks big hit songs, have at least one album that sells 10 million copies (and the rest that sell at least double platinum in multiple countries), maintain a friendly, nonthreatening image and tour like a madman, and you, too, can generate nearly a billion dollars with your music.
Live the dream, kids.
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.