Cleveland's underground rock rebirth
You have probably heard that Cleveland is the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, but what you don’t know is that Cleveland is currently the hotbed of modern rock music.
Yes. There, I said it. Cleveland is actually good for something other than bad sports jokes. I, too, was unaware that Cleveland could be talked about positively until a year and a half ago when I saw The Moxies perform live at The Cleveland Agora. “Who are The Moxies?” you may ask. The Moxies, like several other bands from Cleveland, are a three-piece rock band that are not only easy on the eyes, but easy on the ears as well. Their debut self-titled nine-track album was released in 2013 and I haven’t stopped listening to it since. Marco Ciofani’s gritty vocals, backed by Tyler Adams’s powerful bass and Landon Hall’s solid beat, make for a trio that makes you question everything that is wrong with the 21st century music industry. From “Nightcrawler” to “Raindance,” there isn’t one song that falls short of anything other than pure rock bliss. Their music is a throwback to when rock was popular and the radio wasn’t complete shit.
Welshly Arms, like The Moxies, is another rock band that puts popular music to shame. Welshy Arms is an amalgam of dirty rock and soulful blues; the product is music reminiscent of The Black Keys, The White Stripes and The Strokes, but 10 times better because they haven’t had any mainstream exposure. The four-piece band started producing music in 2013 with the release of their successful EP Welcome. Their music video for “Two Seconds Too Late” has received over 60,000 views on YouTube, and “The Touch” was featured on the CW’s “The Vampire Diaries.”
Recently Welshly Arms followed up their 2014 Covers EP with their self-titled debut album. Songs off of the album, like “Love in a Minor Key” and “We Move Easy,” are just a few examples of how their lyrical brilliancy and instrumental creativity set them apart from mainstream “talented” bands that grace the stages during award show season.
In addition to constantly churning out new music over the past two years, Welshly Arms has made a name for themselves in the Cleveland music scene; I’ve been lucky enough to bare witness to their sold-out show at the Beachland Tavern and their explosive performance at the House of Blues Cleveland, both of which secured them local celebrity status. Just this past week, I saw Welshly Arms play two consecutive shows with the energy and enthusiasm that is absent in most touring bands.
Unlike most artists, Welshly Arms is a band that deserves to be played on the radio. The band’s music is timeless and classic, yet innovative. Classic rock vibes mixed with soulful blues undertones work together to create a refreshing sound that is clearly distinct and stylistically the band’s own.
Welshly Arms is amazing, and will probably (hopefully) break out of Cleveland in the coming months. The Moxies, on the other hand, have already left the gray tundra that is Cleveland. They now reside in Nashville, but every month or two they always grace us Clevelanders with a performance because they’re perfect and love to prove just how perfect they are. Not many bands out there can genuinely label themselves as rock, but Welshly Arms and The Moxies can. If there is any hope for the survival of rock ‘n’ roll or good music as a whole, this is it, and it’s happening in Cleveland right now. Welshly Arms and The Moxies are just two phenomenal rock bands, but in actuality, Cleveland is harvesting countless talented bands that will give rock ‘n’ roll the rebirth it so desperately needs.