Multiple musical festivals should satiate needs of fans

By Malcolm X Abram
Beacon Journal pop music writer

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Mako Sica drummer Michael J. Kendrick (from left) guitarist/trumpeter Przemyslaw Krys Drazek and vocalist/guitarist Brent Fuscaldo are one of more than 20 bands performing at CAVE FEST 3 on Saturday. (courtesy Mako Sica)

This week, there are a couple of “fests” that should give fans more than enough music to satiate their needs.

First up is Cave Fest 3, happening at the Rubber City Noise Center for Audio/Visual Experimentation, also known as the RCNCAVE, from 1 p.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday.

The event is the D.I.Y. performance/art/music collective space’s annual blowout and fundraiser.

There will be about 24 bands and artists performing throughout the day and night, along with art pieces and installations by six local artists — Casey Ruic, Matt Horak, Dave Maynard, Kristi Wall, James Bryan Parks, Ram Youssefi — and plenty of merch to purchase from Kent record shop and label Experimedia, vintage store and art gallery Land of Plenty, the Fun Zone and Erica & Tim’s Dream Machine Station.

There will also be disc jockeys, video games, raffles and food. Entry is officially free, but donations are strongly suggested as the space often hosts traveling bands and other unusual events that might not find a suitable or interested venue otherwise.

This ain’t a rock club, so some of the musical offerings are going to be weird, abrasive and might test folks’ definitions of “music.” But there will also be plenty of traditional power chords and folks singing and shouting.

I won’t list all of the 20-plus bands, but here are some band names that just make me smile. At 1:30 p.m., Sisters in Death will perform followed an hour later by Blood Quarry. At 5:30 p.m., Gomorrahizer will take the stage and Church Slut will perform at 7 p.m.

Little Howlin’ Wolf, who appropriately is from Chicago, will play at 7:30 p.m. followed immediately by Khaki Blazer at 8 p.m. You can check out Budapest Dojo at 9:30 p.m., have a vegan Noise Taco (which are actually quite tasty) while experiencing Miyamigos/No Don’t at midnight and wrap up the festival at 1 a.m. with Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

Go to for more information.

“Fest” No. 2 is less local, but will be at least as loud. It’s the (ahem!) “first annual” Ohio Metal Fest kicking off at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Agora, 500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. Previously, the festival was scheduled for Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center. All tickets previously purchased will be honored at the Agora.

It’s a pretty heady and eardrum-bludgeoning mix of more than 30 metalcore, nu-metal, thrash, prog and death metal bands such as Crown the Empire and Twelve Foot Ninja plus several veteran bands including the legendary Sepultura, Kataklysm, Unearth, Sevendust and All That Remains.

Pan rocks

At another end of the musical spectrum, the Akron Civic Theatre will play host Saturday night to Pan Rocks, a concert featuring national and local artists coming together to umm … rock out with their pans out.

The concert was organized by national recording artist and popular steel pan man Tracy Thornton and Angel Lawrie, who heads up the steel bands for Akron’s Summit Academy.

It dovetails with Thornton’s recent release, Pan Rocks, which features tracks from some of his rockin’ tribute albums as well as new arrangements of mostly classic rock tunes such as Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, a relatively headbanging take on the Beatles’ Helter Skelter, the Ramones’ Blitzkrieg Bop and a version of Stone Temple Pilots’ Vasoline that I find more musically interesting than the original.

Among the steel pan players and groups helping Thornton live his rockin’ pan dream will be Joey Barnes, Robert Sledge, Liam Teague, Akron’s own Summit Academy steel bands, Binghamton Juice Blenders, Heavenly MetalDivine Steel, National Trail Steel Bands, Bahama Mammas, Kekionga Steel Bands and Wesleyan Steel.

It should be a fun and slightly weird evening of songs most folks know played in a way that most folks aren’t used to hearing. Plus, Thornton is a pretty dynamic performer who plays with the visual gumption of a lead guitarist. Personally, I think Metallica’s Enter Sandman would be fun to hear banged out by 100 steel pans players, but I’ll settle for the album’s peppy, upbeat arrangement of the Foo Fighters My Hero.

‘Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr.’

And now it’s time for a little nostalgia.

If you grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons in the ’70s and ’80s, then chances are the following questions will likely make you smile, sing along and maybe want a bowl of ridiculously sugary cereal: Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?

The function was to teach young viewers about “hooking up words and phrases and clauses,” but for many of us, they were just cool songs written and sung by some cool artists such as jazz singer Blossom Dearie, Bob Dorough and jazz drummer Grady Tate that happen to teach me about Lucretia Mott, women’s suffrage and the need for more elbow room.

Now, Schoolhouse Rock has been transformed into School House Rock Live Jr. as presented by Firestone Theatre.

The plot revolves around Tom, a nervous new teacher who is watching television, when the characters spring to life and use the School House Rock tunes to help him wow his students.

More importantly, you get to hear Three Is a Magic Number, Just a Bill, Conjunction Junction and Verb! That's What's Happening!

Malcolm X Abram can be reached at or 330-996-3758. Read his blog, Sound Check Online, at, or follow him on Twitter @malcolmxabram.

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