The first public performance by the Cleveland Christmas rock collective, The Ohio City Singers, was in the Cambridge Room at the House of Blues. Through the years word has spread, they've recorded three albums of original Christmas music and grown their fan base to the point where they'll be taking the main stage at the House of Blues Friday night.
Every Christmas season The Ohio City Singers travel northeast Ohio performing in various venues. The concerts all lead up to the big show which is tomorrow night. A couple of weeks ago the band played to a sell out crowd at the annual family show at Music Box and Saturday night's show at G.A.R. Hall in Peninsula is sold out as well.
You can avoid the line at the ticket booth and save a couple bucks by buying tickets in advance at Live Nation.
Oh, and yours truly will be introducing the band that night. It's a thrill.
You can listen to the three albums on Spotify in preparation for the show so that you can sing along. And then buy the CDs and some of the clever merchandise that will be available as they make the perfect Christmas gifts.
There's certain things that are part of the tradition during the holiday season here in Cleveland. A box of Malley's chocolates, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, The Christmas Story House, and others. The Ohio City Singers are now part of that wonderful tradition.
I realize arguing about who's been inducted and who hasn't is futile. As someone just pointed out on Facebook, the induction process is arbitrary and capricious. Then you get ignorant people chiming in with their desired list of inclusion for artists like The Tubes and Alex Harvey. Nothing against either of those acts but I could give you a list of much more deserving bands that should be in. But I'll spare you.
Instead, let me just sing the praises for two bands that were on the nomination list and didn't make it but should have. Here's to Kraftwerk who's influence was as impactful as the Velvet Underground and The Smiths who put a string of albums together that had a consistant quality that is hard to beat. They are already enshrined in my hall of fame.
Tonight I'm going to a screening of Jingle Bell Rocks, a documentary about collectors of obscure Christmas music. I love holiday music and the fact that so many musical acts release a Christmas song or album during their career makes for an abundance of riches.
My daily music session, on the front page of the blog, has a growing number of Christmas delights as we get closer to the holiday. And my good friend has just published his annual Christmas music collection. He's calling it the 10th anniversary show but I have CDs of his that date back farther than that from the pre-internet days.
I don't get it. I can't even empathize when people say they don't like Christmas. It seems unfathomable to me. Maybe it's because my focus isn't on gifts. It's all about getting together with friends.
It's like Clarence's inscription in the book he gives to George in It's a Wonderful Life.
The past week has been full of shaking hands and saying howdy. It's typically at music events and there's been plenty of them. There was Bob Seger and J Geils last Thursday, The Ohio City Singers family show Saturday afternoon, Nick Lowe, Los Straitjackets, and The Chamber Strings on Wednesday night and The New Soft Shoe last night. The music at all of these events was great but just as good was seeing so many friends and sharing in the holiday cheer.
It continues tonight at Waterloo Brew where yet another group of friends will be assembling with the soul purpose of being in each others company. I count three more big events on my calendar next week. Oh yeah, and there's the last Browns home game on Sunday. More opportunities to hang with friends.
I hope to see you on the streets of Cleveland this holiday season. I'll be the one with the big wide grin.
01. The New Pornographers - War On The East Coast 02. Spoon - Do You 03. First Aid Kit - My Silver Lining 04. The War on Drugs - Under The Pressure 05. Ariel Pink - Put Your Number In My Phone 06. The Black Keys - Gotta Get Away 07. Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars - Uptown Funk 08. Woods - Moving To The Left 09. Temples - Shelter Song 10. Sturgill Simpson - Turtles All The Way Down 11. Phish - Waiting All Night 12. Courtney Barnett - Avant Gardener 13. Real Estate - Talking Backwards 14. The New Medicants- Sarasota 15. King Tuff - Eyes Of The Muse 16. Future Islands- Seasons (Waiting On You) 17. Jenny Lewis - Just One Of The Guys 18. Beck - Blue Moon 19. Sun Kil Moon - Carissa 20. Lana Del Rey - Brooklyn Baby 21. Lydia Loveless - Really Wanna See You 22. Wussy - Teenage Wasteland 23. Lee Fields & The Expressions - Just Can’t Win 24. Chris Allen - Only One First Love 25. Allo Darlin’ - We Come From The Same Place 26. The Horrors - I See You 27. Damon Albarn - Heavy Seas Of Love 28. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Kelly 29. Caribou - Can’t Do Without You 30. Metronomy - Love Letters 31. DJ Snake/Lil John - Turn Down For What 32. Delta Spirit - From Now On 33. Drowners - Luv, Hold Me Down 34. Sweet Apple - Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer) 35. Reigning Sound - Never Coming Home 36. Alvvays - Archie, Marry Me 37. Robyn & Rokysopp - Do It Again 38. Dum Dum Girls - Rimbaud Eyes 39. St. Vincent - Birth In Reverse 40. Hamilton Laithauser - Alexandra
Over the weekend I watched the NBC production of Peter Pan. It was amazing. I'm not speaking of the production per se, but the idea that NBC takes such a chance at all.
This was the second year the television network has aired a live musical. I missed last year's Sound Of Music with Carrie Underwood so it was all new to me.
What's astonishing is that NBC has the courage to air 1) a musical, 2) a truly live event, 3) a three hour program in this era of millisecond attention spans. Stage productions are slow moving at times with prop changes and actors having to move to marks throughout the course of the show. There's no such thing as post-production in a live play like this. The audio is imperfect compared to the pristine nature of TV shows today. And there's the ever present tension that something's going to go wrong. An actor could forgets their line or a scenery backdrop might fall.
Bravo to Allison Williams, Christopher Walken and the entire cast and crew for taking on such a challenge. It's hard to be critical of any aspect when you think about what they were up against, a TV audience very unaccustomed to this sort of thing.
Yet there were mixed reviews and, not surprisingly, bad ratings. That's a real shame. Word is NBC execs are blaming Williams for the poor share due to her lack of star power. They plan to look for someone with the caliber of Underwood for next year's production. That's the good news. They aren't giving up on this throwback to television of yore.