Soft Speaker/HotChCha/mr. Gnome at the Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH, 12.18.1010

Somewhere between home and the Beachland, I managed to lose one of my camera batteries, but I did manage to attain a concert-going companion (NTSIB friend Joy) with a camera phone. We didn’t get any shots of Soft Speaker, but we do have some fittingly atmospheric pictures of HotChaCha and mr. Gnome.

Soft Speaker

This Chicago quartet, whom my brain persisted in thinking of as the Red Guitar Brigade due to the color of all their string instruments, weaves in and out of styles, sometimes moving from a more funked-up groove to treble-heavy indie rock within the same song. And it may just be my background playing up things that weren’t there, but it seemed at times that the vocals and lyrics were influenced by a dusting of late-’90s goth. While it is easy to hear how a track like “I Stand To Lose My Fortune, Easy” can grow quickly on the listener, Soft Speaker’s encompassing style is perhaps too much for a first-time listener to process at a live show, and they never seemed to spark with the audience.


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Notable Shows in the Greater Cleveland Area + HotChaCha

Shows worth checking out this week in and around Cleveland:

The Beachland Ballroom & Tavern

  • Fri, Dec 17| 8 PM (7 PM door)
    The Horse Flies
    Hiram Rapids Stumblers
    $13 adv / $15 dos
    Ballroom | All Ages
  • Sat, Dec 18| 9 PM (8 PM door)
    Mr. Gnome
    Hot Cha Cha
    Soft Speaker
    Ballroom | All Ages
  • Sat, Dec 18| 9PM (8 PM door)
    Music Saves / Square Records 7th Annual Holiday Get Down
    Cloud Nothings
    Low in the Sky
    Tavern | All Ages
  • Thu, Dec 23| 8:30 PM (8 PM door)
    Beachland Home for the Holidays

    Bears – 12 AM
    Afternoon Naps – 11 PM
    NIGHTS – 10 PM
    Diamonds & Pearls – 9 PM

    Roue – 12:30 AM
    Harriet The Spy – 11:30 PM
    Kill the Hippies – 10:30 PM
    Filmstrip – 9:30 PM

    Ballroom & Tavern | All Ages

Grog Shop

  • Sat, Dec 18| 9 PM (8 PM doors)
    Red, Black & Green Xmas
    presented by Cleveland Tapes & Fair Trade Future, hosted by … Continue reading

HotChaCha/Freedom/A Place to Bury Strangers at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, OH, 9.27.10

Ah, Grog Shop, someday I’ll learn not to be fooled by your posted show times. Someday, I will learn that in Grogspeak, 8 p.m. means “sometime after 10”. But enough of my kvetching. How about some fucking rock ‘n’ roll?


HotChaCha are like an answer to my prayers – or, at least, a solution to the complaint I’ve made in this blog before about all the twee girly girls in music today. Singer Jovana Batkovic is probably more manly than most of the other men who hit the stage Monday night. Taller, too. Her long-legged presence, mic-phallic gyrations, forays into the audience and rolling around on the stage bring an undeniably entertaining aspect to HotChaCha’s live show, but it’s not covering up or compensating for anything else. Her energy feeds off of and perfectly complements the punk-spirited rock churned out by this four-piece. At once at ease and energetic, HotChaCha’s vigorous show is a credit to Cleveland, to women in rock and to the spirit of rock in general.


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