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Monday, July 7
Cher, Cyndi Lauper
If you can look past Cher’s celebrity marriages, a generally rewarding film career and the distracting and virtually invisible architecture of her infamous Bob Mackie dresses, you might recall that the former Cherilyn Sarkisian was once a legitimately influential musical force and a pretty groovy singer. Many of her early tunes with former musical partner Sonny Bono, such as “Baby Don’t Go” and “Needles and Pins,” have aged better than more recent and bombastic solo hits such as “Believe.” Cher is at her best when she ditches the artifice — aside from those fantastic Mackie creations — and strips down the songs with her mournful voice. She could learn a lot from Cyndi Lauper, who has reinvented herself as a Memphis soul-blues diva while still reveling in the euphoric giddiness of her ’80s heyday. Also at the Honda Center, Wednesday, July 9. —Falling James
Tuesday, July 8
With all of their extracurricular activities, which include owning an AFL football team and a chain of restaurants, it’s surprising that KISS have any time left for music. Yet this summer, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and company will be hitting the road to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary. Amidst much fanfare, 2014 has so far seen Stanley release a semi-biting autobiography and the rockers get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, albeit only in their original form. Offstage antics aside, the quartet will be kicking off its fifth decade in style. With Def Leppard opening, the show will feature all of the theatrics of a classic KISS concert, and thus will be one of the most explosive, hardest-rockin’ dates of the summer. —Daniel Kohn
Clevelander Dylan Baldi deserves more credit than he’s getting from critics who think his music sounds like Blink-182. That chunk of Ohio put out some of the best American punk music ever, and if you dig back into his history with his band, Cloud Nothings, you’ll find Baldi repping for (and referencing) such Cle-punks as The Clocks, The Pagans, Rocket From the Tombs and more. Alien punk, basically, made by people trapped on this planet with no way out, which is what’s happening on Cloud Nothings’ latest, Here and Nowhere Else
. It’s a happy/sad, post-adolescent, rock ’n’ wreck album built from Wipers-style hooks, deadpan Dinosaur Jr. desolation and that part on the first Replacements LP where Paul snarls, “The way I used to love you/That’s the way I hate you now!” In short: He’s on fire, just like the Cuyahoga River. Also Wednesday, July 9. —Chris Ziegler