Tracey Thomas has explored many different sounds and styles over the years, from contributing to the development of The Akron Sound as lead singer of local legend, Unit 5, to her solo career covering rock, folk and bluegrass, before turning in recent years to jazz. Come see her latest incarnation with The Tracey Thomas Jazz Quintet, which takes turns between covering the American Songbook and breaking out into instrumental improvisations. There’s no cover, but you must be 21 or older to attend.
Thursday, March 17 at BLU Jazz+, 9 p.m.
The Blu Jazz jam session with bandleader/pianist Theron Brown is for both musicians and music lovers alike. Also featuring bassist Dan Pappalardo and drummer Zaire Darden, audience members are welcome to bring an instrument and contribute to the sound. There is an $8 cover, unless you plan on participating, then admission is free.
Take Off Charlie, Corey Adams and the Dial Ups, Ruckzuck, Dynamo Love, Astronauto
Friday, March 18 at Empire Concert Club & Bar, 7 p.m.
Take Off Charlie’s self-titled debut album was rated “Cleveland’s 20th Best Album of 2014” by Cleveland Scene Magazine. With impressive guitar licks and strong up-tempo melodies, the Akron-based band’s sound can be described as an eclectic mix of alternative rock, blues and folk. Also appearing are Corey Adams and the Dial Ups of Akron and Dynamo Love of Kent, with Ruckzuck and Astronauto of New York state. Tickets are $8 for this all ages show.
The Atomic Hellcats, GOMI, Via Vengeance, Missile Toe
Saturday, March 19 at Tim Owens’ Travelers Tavern, 8 p.m.
If you like to get your pulse pounding, perhaps a night of punk and doom metal will be just the thing to get you going. The Atomics Hellcats, a pop punk band from Akron, will be joined by frontman Mark Duhon’s other band, GOMI, and one-man doom metal band, Via Vengeance, of Phoenix. Rounding out this lineup is Akron’s own “World’s greatest Christmas band,” Missile Toe, whose punk sound is fit for any season. Tickets are $5 for this all-ages show.
Swan vs. Sean
Saturday, March 19 at The Vortex, 9 p.m. If you’re down for nonviolent fighting head to The Vortex, where Lord Swan3x and Sean 2:16 will duke it out, DJ-style. Hosted by alternative model Lacey Diamond, the night of heavy bass, dubstep and trap music will also feature the beats of Heavydoses, Lazarbeam, Rob E C and DJ Bunnie Beatz, so put on your dancin’ shoes and get ready to hit the floor. A $10 cover charge at the door will get you free pool, $2 shots and all the bass you can handle.
Hey Monea!, Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers
Friday, March 25 at Musica, 9 p.m.
The last weekend of the month, Canton hometown favorite Hey Monea! will roll through Akron on tour in support of its 2015 album, The Fifty. Having shared the stage with such acts as Bruce Springsteen, The Barenaked Ladies and The Goo Goo Dolls, the band will bring its infectious pop rock sound to Musica’s stage. The show also features Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers, whose energetic grooves and keen melodies will be sure to have you humming along. Tickets are $10.
Friday, April 1 at The Tangier Have you been Bowie’d out yet? Not possible. Totally get that. If that’s the case, you’ll love this seven-piece musical group that condenses the entire career of David Bowie into a total sound/vision performance that visually recreates his multiple stage personas while keying in on all of his hits as well as the well-worn fan favorites.
EYE, The Beyonderers, G.S. Schray
Friday, March 4 at Thursday’s Lounge, 8 p.m.
Come on a voyage to the edge of space with Columbus-based psychedelic rockers, EYE, whose progressive soundscapes recall the best of Pink Floyd. On this trip you will also experience the reverb-drenched twang of Akron-based The Beyonderers and the sound collages of G.S. Shray, whose music video, “Merv at the Nexus,” is currently showing on loop at the Akron Art Museum. There is a $5 cover charge at the door.
Gretchen Pleuss (album release show)
Friday, March 4 at The Rialto Theatre, 8 p.m.
If you are in more of a singer-songwriter mood, Gretchen Pleuss will be celebrating the release of her third full-length album, “From Birth to Breath to Bone,” at the Rialto Theatre. An accomplished songwriter who won The Searchlight Songwriting Competition and who was a finalist in The Great American Song Contest with “Foreign Car,” Pleuss writes songs that deeply resonate with her listeners. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door, and admission includes a copy of the CD.
These six punk and metal bands take the stage Saturday to celebrate the life of Garrett Janos and keep his memory alive with a night of shenanigans amongst “his favorite locals.” Organizers hope to make this an annual event. A big throwdown would go a long ways to making that happen.
Davina and the Vagabonds
Thursday, March 10 at Jilly’s Music Room,
Normally, live shows are free at Jilly’s, so on the rare occasion they charge a cover you should definitely go because you’re in for one helluva time. Case-in-point, Davina and the Vagabounds who will treat Akron to “a little-bit-jazz, little-bit-blues and all-sass” (Isthmus). To give you an idea about it, this “genre-busting jazz” act out of the Twin Cities is being featured alongside Old Crow Medicine Show, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and Andrew Bird in PBS’s “Best of Bluegrass Underground” and then will perform at the 34th annual San Francisco Jazz Festival on a bill with legendary pianist Chick Corea, acclaimed saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and Cuban supergroup Los Van Van. In other words, this show is a big deal.
Saturday, March 12 at the Akron Civic Theatre, 7 p.m.
The next night, Akron native Neil Zaza brings his brand of instrumental guitar heroics to the Civic. Known for virtuosic solos and original melodic compositions, Zaza has also been known to perform pieces by Bach and Mozart, and has shared the stage with guitar greats Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. Tickets are $25. (See page 33 for our story about Neil)
Dear Forbidden, The Baker’s Basement, Eddie Doldrum, Penny Arcade
Monday, March 14 at Hive Mind, 7 p.m.
If you have a case of the Mondays, maybe some indie rock will be just the thing to help you make it through the rest of the week. Haunting melodies and confessional lyrics define the sound of Philly’s Dear Forbidden, while The Baker’s Dozen, a duo from Cleveland, mix a variety of styles into delicious treats for your ears. Akron’s Eddie Doldrum and Penny Arcade round out the lineup. A $5 donation is suggested.