9.0
Our overall verdict "Excellent"

We grouse and grouse about artists bypassing Cleveland when they tour. What, no Stones? Dammit! No McCartney? This is BS!

Well, when celebrated artists blow through town and music fans don’t bother, ya know, to actually go to the shows, can you blame them when they start skipping NEO? I shot Lita Ford last month at the Odeon; it was, granted, the day after St. Patrick’s Day and the rivers of green vomit hadn’t yet been washed away by a good cleansing rain, but there were less than a hundred people at that show.

When one-third of Lady Antebellum plays a show at the House of Blues and 200 people huddle together at the front of GA, I suppose that’s a good reason to hop, skip and jump past Cleveland the next time Charles Kelley boomerangs through this part of the country.

Perhaps it was the way the show was advertised; did Live Nation drop the ball? Maybe Antebellum fans don’t know his name; he’s the tall one with the brown hair, right?



Whatever the case may have been, those in attendance were treated to a great show. The ninety-minute set was peppered by cuts from his new record as well as some LA standards. Yes, he sang “Need You Now,” and mashed it up with John Waite’s “Missing You,” which was interesting because Mr. Waite was at the Music Box playing, ironically, at the same time as Kelley.

Kelley’s older brother Josh, the pop and country singer a few years older than Charles, opened with a 45-minute show. His cover of Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire” was the highlight of his set and probably the best rendition I’ve heard of that song outside of The Boss’. The older Kelley sibling joined his younger brother onstage for a few tunes; they were both clearly having a good time regardless of the size of the audience. You really get the impression that these two love to play whether they’re playing a packed stadium or an intimate environment like HOB.

I implore you…please search out live music. Use websites such as Pollstar or read the trades to see what acts are coming through Northeast Ohio. This summer a litany of acts ranging from Ladysmith Black Mambazo to Diana Krall will play for us. We don’t want to be abandoned by these artists who, understandably, need to go where they can sell out venues. Charles Kelley, not Lady Antebellum, deserves at least that.

And his faithfuls, those in attendance last night, will agree with me.