In honor of returning to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio this weekend, I thought I would show some 216 pride (disclaimer right now… there will be many Cleveland references in this blog). Every time somebody asks me where I am from I get some snarky comment about our sports teams or the crime rate. The answer is “Yes, we did lose LeBron James. Yes, we were mildly devastated. Yes, East Cleveland might be the worst place in the world to go on a midnight stroll. Yes, gunshots can often be heard off in the distance. But do we love this place us Clevelanders call home?... Absolutely.” What these people who question my birthplace do not know is all the joys of Cleveland. I bet they didn’t know that our arts are quite literally off the chain. Our orchestra is the third most recorded in the world. Art enthusiasts praise our museum on an international scale. Most importantly… we are the home of rock n roll, and we have a giant museum to show for it.
So what does this mean for the Cleveland music scene? It means that when artists choose their tours, nobody is about to pass up Cleveland due to all of our music roots. Beyond just artists touring through Cleveland, we are also the jumpstart for many talented bands and musicians. The Black Keys?... Cleveland. Kid Cudi?... Cleveland. Foster The People?... Cleveland.
One lesser known but equally amazing band from Cleveland is Lighthouse and The Whaler. Their music embodies everything that it means to be from my beautiful city. Their songs have spirit and their stage presence oozes charisma. One of my favorite concerts to date was in last December at this little indie concert venue called The Grog Shop (If you ever pass through Cleveland you cannot skip it. You will leave the concert with absolutely no regrets) for their hometown holiday concert. Standing in the front row, so close to the band that I could reach out and touch them, I could feel their love for music radiating throughout the room. One image that has stuck with me is the bassist’s guitar. Written across it was “comrade the old world is behind us.” This image has been permanently burned into my brain. Every truly great concert feels like the end of the world as I know it, and this concert was no different. As I looked beside me I saw my best friend since I was three; in front of me was my favorite band; around me was the city that I call home. Cloud nine was my home for the night.
Here is my favorite song, “Under Mountain, Under Ground,” by Lighthouse and the Whaler and opened my eyes to their musical glory. So get ready for a little taste of Cleveland. Embrace the soul and drench yourself in the lyrics of my home.
Also, I highly advise you check out their stellar website. Their bios get me every time. So much wit. So much charm.
… And remember, next time someone tells you they’re from Cleveland, don’t mention the crime and under no circumstances bring up LeBron, the most hated man in Cleveland. Please and thank you.