This would be the 1st time I had set foot in the urban landscape known to us all as Cleveland, OH… so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I don’t know the neighborhoods; I don’t know the scene… I basically was flying blind… I didn’t know shit! I arrive at the venue, and I noticed it had some real hardcore live music fans & Pabst Blue Ribbon Drinkers, however it was located and in a real grizzled area. The club seemed a little dilapidated, but who cares… they’re known to book some good shit! One thing I did know was that I was going to see a band that has some fantastic studio records under their belt… and I didn’t care if they don’t write their own songs. I just basically wanted to see a good rock n’roll show… and that I certainly got!
Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland OH
First act were a Columbus quartet called the Tough & Lovely, which I had no idea who they were, nor was I familiar with their repertoire. With that said, I had no preconceived ideas of the group, so I was open-minded. To make a long story short, they were pretty damn good. The lead singer had a powerful voice, and an intimidating stance. She didn’t look like she should be fucked with… that’s all I have to say about that.
The second act, Paul “Wine” Jones (a Mississippi bluesman, who’s a welder by trade according to his record label, Fat Possum) was absolutely remarkable! It was basically him, and his drummer (known as “DAWG”), and the 2 of them played some of the best blues I’ve ever been exposed to! He’s clearly a man who doesn’t get enough exposure, and he was extremely happy & gracious about having the opportunity to play live. It’s refreshing to actually see someone thankful to be performing! Anyhow, that’s my short shout-out to Mr. Jones, he certainly earned it!
Finally, after a VERY late start (around 12:20 -1 am) The Detroit Cobras finally hit the stage! They set the house on fire!
The band is extremely adamant in performance, and lead singer (Rachael Nagy) is a badass! She’s got a deep husky voice (probably part to those chain-smoking filled lungs) and a tough girl attitude! (2 things that put her in the focus.) I could tell she was heavily tattooed underneath her sweatshirt, and she was emitting a definite ‘don’t fuck with me’ vibe!
Despite her intimidating stance, she was belting out some blues, rock and soul numbers that rocked the house. Lots of girls up front were dancing along to the music, but all clearly idolizing Ms. Nagy… it was cute! She had a lot of wise-cracks, smoke-puffs, and Pabst to make her an amusing site, let alone her talent! The band had a good showmanship amongst them, and I have to say, it’s cool seeing a band that has both men & women in their line-up. Guitarist Maribel Restrepo is an excellent guitarist! The entire band was great, but I was extremely impressed with Maribel. I don’t come across too many female guitarists I think are that good, and if you see a woman with a guitar, she’s either made to look hot, or look butchy! Maribel looked neither, just a regular chick, who could actually play the thing! The highlights were the bluesy “Shout Bama Lama”, “Secret Agent”, and my favorite “Right around the Corner”.
To those who couldn’t get tickets to the many sold-out White Stripes shows… I highly recommend catching the Detroit Cobras live instead, they were fantastic!