Ohio never ceases to amaze me with its undeniable streak of musical talent. From well established sounds emerged during decades past (like Joe Walsh, Devo, and Marilyn Manson) to up and commers like those featured at the Beachland Ballroom tonight. Cleveland still rocks.
Favorites of the night were Leah Lou & The Two Left Shoes, and The Moxies.
Leah Lou, utilizing a makeshift microphone constructed from the hand-held portion of an old telephone receiver. Channeling the feminine “fuck you” attitude that’s only attainable once you’ve known what it’s like to be dumped by a douche bag. Softened with the combination of retrospection and ukelele.
The Moxies: all soul. Old, at that, and filled with blues funk. Served up with bow ties, suspenders, a barbershop pole hitched to the drum kit, and an irreplaceable impression of exhilaration. Three boys (and I do mean boys) with a Punk-meets-Buddy-Holly vibe that’s not to be missed.
Excited to see these two acts make it big. And glad to say I saw them first in Cleveland.
As a Californian living in the Midwest: Fuck #29.
Other than that, this list is made of some pretty accurate observations.
Cleveland. From generations of sitting out on Super Bowl Sunday to pennants long gone. Embodied by hordes of hollow sandstone structures and ash stained brick storefronts littering salty potholed pavement. It ain’t pretty, but it’s home (and it ain’t Detroit).
Even through rough patches and trying times, there’s this remarkable aura of resilience that Cleveland has. With all the odds always stacked against it. Pink slips once sent home in blue-collar hands. Lebron James breaking up with us, as sponsored by Vitamin Water. Counting on countless losses in professional sports across the board. Cleveland wears its punches like armor, blazing as the cap on the Key Bank building that shines so bright. Especially as the sun rises on an almost-cloudless, twenty-eight degree day in January. A place that should have given up the dream long ago, is a place that in fact makes “rock bottom” its bitch.
But you can’t really call it “rock bottom” when it’s more like bad luck. And Clevelanders know this. Because even with all the insults dished, it’s never out of spite for where we live. A city being picked on by those closest to it, just as a big brother would tease their kid sibling. Harsh at times, but nothing more than can be handled. And always a means of some muddled method of showing admiration. The nicknames overflowing with jabs at too-true themes of shitty climate and economic despair. Tough love is still love. And it’s what Cleveland gets and gives in return.
A place that is a reflection of the kind of people who live there. Bloodlines of hardworking longevity. Travelers just passing through, turned native. All belonging to an area code not about catching breaks, but keeping up and keeping on. On your own two feet, and no one else’s. Continuing without forgetting how you got there in the first place. A melting pot of the Old World, cathedral-instilled values, and a mouth-watering culinary culture of comfort food. A passion for tradition. A love translated into a bittersweet respect for what once was. And a hope for those glorious pastimes to be returned (someday) to the present.
Cleveland may not be in its prime but it is certainly far from downfall. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This is true for both people and county lines. A city championed in prevailing through the thrashes and expertly licking its wounds.
In refusing to quit, Cleveland leaves itself no other option but the opportunity to not only hang on but to thrive.