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7 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend

7 Concerts to Catch in Cleveland This Weekend
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COURTESY OF SHORE FIRE

FRIDAY, FEB. 14

Trixie Mattel

It’s not easy being a skinny legend, but somebody’s gotta do it. RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars Season 3 winner Trixie Mattel (also known as Brian Michael Firkus when she’s de-dragged) has been doing the most in this industry for over a decade, and she’s only 30. A chart-topping queen, Mattel is not only a Billboard Heatseekers No. 1 recording artist, but she’s also a comedian, theater touring act, makeup business babe, and soon-to-be author. She just released her new album, Barbara, and a book with comedy partner and Drag Race alum Katya Zamolodchikova is slated to come out in early May. (Breanna Mona) 7 p.m. Agora Theatre.

SATURDAY, FEB. 15

Fear of a Black Planet

J Dilla Edition Featuring Muamin Collective: Four years ago, MC Josiah “Zion” Quarles, a local guy who plays in the hip-hop group MuAmin Collective, launched a showcase for local acts that he dubbed Fear of a Black Planet. This year’s event features a tribute to the late hip-hop producer and rapper J Dilla and include performances by Muamin Collective and several other local musicians. (Jeff Niesel), 8 p.m., $7. Now That’s Class.

Oliver Hazard

Back in 2016, Mike Belazis had a “bucket list moment” and decided he wanted to play a show before the year was over. He secured a slot at a local bar and started writing material. He called his musician friends Griffin McCulloch and Devin East, and they rehearsed a few different songs and formed Oliver Hazard. That same week, the band won a Facebook raffle for one song’s worth of studio time, but instead of just cutting one song, it played 10 tracks straight through live, producing what one publication has described as “a folk-pop masterpiece.” Based in Waterville, OH, the band has toured and recorded steadily ever since. (Niesel), 8 p.m., $10. Mahall’s 20 Lanes.

Restless Habs/Harvey Pekar/Airstream Futures

Ken Blaze and Peter Woodward (both of Cleveland pop-core legends the Unknown) formed the local punk band Restless Habs in 2009 and wrote a few songs but hit a hurdle when the group’s original drummer moved away. The band replaced him in 2010 and has been going strong ever since. Much like the Foo Fighters, the Restless Habs write hard-rocking songs with melodic sensibilities. Over the course of six EPs and shows with artists such as Mike Watt, Richie Ramone, and Iron Chic, the band has recently refined its sound. The addition of Chicago-based drummer Anthony Panico (ex-Sleepwalker Defense) in 2018 paved the way to the band’s first full-length release, Taking the Fast Way Down. Recorded and co-produced by Jeff Dean (Airstream Futures, All Eyes West, the Bomb) at Chicago’s Million Yen Studios, the album contains 10 “relentlessly catchy” songs that bring to mind Husker Du, Pegboy, Dag Nasty and Samiam. Tonight’s show serves as a release party. (Niesel), 9 p.m. 5 O’Clock Lounge.

Trippie Redd/BlocBoy JB/Kodie Shane

With all the angst of a pop punk album, all the smoothness of an R&B record and all the static of a trap-rap record, Trippie Redd’s most recent full-length, A Love Letter to You 4, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The 20-year-old Canton native’s first No. 1 album atop the Billboard 200 came on the heels of four other top ten albums in just two years. At a time when singles, mixtapes and EPs rule the business and most major artists take a couple of years between albums, that’s a rare feat. Redd is constantly looking to the next project rather than basking in his present glory. He listens obsessively to his unreleased music before putting it out. Once an album is in his fans’ hands, he moves on to listening to his newest demos, starting the cycle over immediately. One of the projects currently on his mind is his feature on the upcoming Travis Barker-produced Machine Gun Kelly album, Tickets to My Downfall. The record is Shaker Heights native MGK’s first stab at a full pop-punk album. On tour, Redd derives his joy from comparing each city in his head, seeing who goes the craziest. Expect the Agora crowd to give other cities a run for their money. (Halle Weber), 7 p.m. Agora Theatre.

SUNDAY, FEB. 16

NormFest (in the Supper Club)

Saxophonist Norman Tischler, who had esophageal cancer, passed away. A true character, he was a terrific musician and beloved by the local music community. Tischler, who taught brass and woodwinds at Northshore Music in Euclid and played with the swing/blues band Blue Lunch, also subbed in other Northeast Ohio bands, playing flute, clarinet, and sax. He worked as a strolling saxman at weddings and anniversaries and conducted the Workmen’s Circle klezmer orchestra. This concert featuring local jazz musicians serves as a tribute to Tischler. Hosted by Moss Stanley & Friends, the event will feaure Tischler’s favorite foods: deviled eggs, corned beef sandwich and apple pie. (Niesel) 4 p.m., free. Music Box Supper Club.

UFO/Damon Johnson

Famous for featuring former Scorpions guitarist and MSG founder Michael Schenker, who was a member of the group from 1973 to 1978, UFO has a long complicated history that dates back to the late 1960s. The band has undergone various lineup changes, and only one member (singer Phil Mogg) has remained constant. Two years ago, he announced he is going to retire, so this serves as the British rock act’s final tour. Should be a good one. (Niesel) 7 p.m. Agora Theatre.

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