Half Cleveland at the Akron Civic Theatre, Feb. 6th, 2015
by Joanna Wilson
There is snow coming down from a dull gray Akron sky as I write this. If you're anything like me, it is very easy during this time of year to stay indoors in isolation and do nothing. But to do that means missing out on the buzz about town: Half Cleveland is playing downtown on Friday, February 6th. There is limited seating for this seating-on-the-stage show so get your tickets and book the babysitter now. Let me explain why.
Half Cleveland is not your average rock n' roll band. Formed in 2003, Half Cleveland's creative core is two guys with a history of making music in Akron. In the 1970s, Chris Butler and Harvey Gold were members of the seminal art-rock band Tin Huey--a band which casts a lasting legacy in the music scene. Among their many band credentials, Butler is formerly a member of the Numbers Band and creator of The Waitresses, and Harvey Gold has accomplished numerous recording projects as well as toured with singer/songwriter Sally Spring. Their impressively long list of musical accomplishments have provided Butler and Gold with the background, street-smarts, and sense of humor required to continue to want to make rock music in the twenty-first century.
|Half Cleveland (Nov. 2014) on stage opening for Chrissie Hynde at the Civic.|
In a conversation I shared with Harvey last week, we discussed a little about the current state of rock n' roll these days. We both laughingly agreed that rock is no longer the top of the charts, most popular style of music it once was. Harvey pointed out that the few artists who do create what they call rock are more likely to be solo performers--and not bands. And this is where Half Cleveland's experience and sense of humor comes over: they don't care that they're not creating new music to please the latest trends in the music industry. This lively, brash attitude by Half Cleveland reminds me that rock n' roll isn't defined by cool, youthfulness or decadence alone, but rock does require rebellion. It sounds to me like Half Cleveland feels it. Join the on-going conversation about what it is to create rock for contemporary audiences, using #geezerhipster.
|Half Cleveland last October at the Beachland Ballroom and Tavern. (Left to right: Gold, Butler, Ethington, McIntosh, and Smith-Cahan.)|
Did I mention Half Cleveland has an absurdist sense of humor? The band's name Half Cleveland suits them for several reasons. The title may have first come to them because Harvey and Chris are essentially half of Tin Huey, and Chris is from Cleveland while Harvey is from Akron. But the term 'full cleveland' is a descriptor for ultimate nerd fashion trend of wearing a white shoes with a matching white belt. (Believe me, it's a real thing--check the Urban Dictionary. Or, better yet dig deep and recall the character Herb Tarlek from the TV comedy WKRP in Cincinnati, the radio station's skeevy sales manager with horrible taste.) With a band name that plays off that kind of hilarious cultural reference, you can figure the band brings a fair amount of that sense of humor to their music as well--and you'd be right.
|For the first time, CD copies of "Live at the Wi-Fi Café" will be available for purchase at the Feb 6th gig.|
Half Cleveland's creative core may be Butler and Gold, but they round out their performances with an ever-revolving cast of experienced musicians. On Friday Feb. 6th, Half Cleveland will be Butler, Gold, and Bob Ethington, Friday Mike Wilkinson, and Taylor McIntosh. This gig supports the recorded efforts of Half Cleveland's "Live at the Wi-Fi Café," a semi-plugged set recorded at Tri-C last year, and Chris Butler's newest solo effort, the critically acclaimed "Easy Life." The Akron Civic Theatre show on Friday Feb. 6th is coming together through Clone Records--the same indie record label that originally included recordings by Tin Huey, Rubber City Rebels, The Bizarros and other Akron artists. Not only will Clone Records be selling records at the event but The Bizarros are sharing the stage that night!
Half Cleveland and The Bizarros are playing at the Akron Civic Theatre
on Friday, February 6th, 8pm.
For more information: the Akron Civic Theatre's website link
Feb. 6th concert Facebook event link
Even if you can't make this concert, follow along with Half Cleveland's adventures on their facebook page.