It's April, which means it's time for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation to welcome its new class of music legends into the hallowed hall.
The Class of 2012 is Guns N' Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, Laura Nyro, the Small Faces/Faces and the Beastie Boys, along with a host of previously ignored legendary backing groups: the Crickets (Buddy Holly), the Famous Flames (James Brown), the Midnighters (Hank Ballard), the Comets (Bill Haley), the Blue Caps (Gene Vincent) and the Miracles (Smokey Robinson).
Also part of the 2012 class are electric blues singer/guitarist Freddie King (early influence) and this year's nonperformers: legendary television producer Don Kirshner and record producers and engineers Tom Dowd, Glyn Johns and Cosimo Matassa.
Per the museum's agreement with the foundation, Cleveland plays host to the induction ceremony every three years. This will be the city's second time hosting the event, and with it come a slew of induction-related activities, including several concerts, the unveiling of a two-floor exhibit celebrating the Grateful Dead, and, of course, the ceremony itself, held once again at Cleveland's Public Hall.
At 2 p.m. today, rock hall officials along with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and others will kick off the festivities with the unveiling of the brand-new Walk of Fame, located in the plaza of Public Hall. Seventeen plaques for this year's class will be unveiled; eventually, all inductees will be represented.
The concerts offer an interesting variety of styles, both contemporary and classic, including shows by funk legends Bootsy Collins and George Clinton; the ultra-hip sonic pop pastiche of mashup maestro Gregg Michael Gillis aka Girl Talk; a praiseworthy celebration of contemporary gospel legend Kirk Franklin; and a surely raucous and R-rated reading by ex-Guns N' Roses bassist/soon-to-be hall of famer Duff McKagan from his recently released memoir It's So Easy (And Other Lies).
Unfortunately, if you don't already have a ticket for most of these events, you will be on the outside listening in, as fans quickly snapped up tickets within a few days of their on-sale dates. Currently, there are still tickets for the Bootsy show and the rock hall induction simulcast available.
--Bootsy Collins and the Funk Unity Band: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland. $35, $125 for VIP "Hang with Bootsy." 216-515-1233 or www.beachlandballroom.com.
--The Rock Hall and Grog Shop present Girl Talk with Smoke Screen: 9 p.m., Saturday, Public Hall, 500 Lakeside Ave. East, Cleveland. Sold out.
--Rock My Soul: A Gospel Music Celebration honoring Kirk Franklin: 7 p.m. Tuesday, State Theatre at PlayhouseSquare, 1501 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland. Sold out.
--The Grateful Dead: The Long, Strange Trip exhibit opening: 10 a.m. April 12, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland. Regular museum admission $22; discounts for seniors, local residents and children. http://rockhall.com.
--Free Concert for Cleveland with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, Kid Cudi and special guests: 7 p.m. April 12, Quicken Loans Arena, 1 Center Court, Cleveland. Sold out.
--Duff McKagan reading from It's So Easy (And Other Lies): 9:30 p.m. April 13, House of Blues: Cleveland, 308 Euclid Ave., Cleveland. $20. 800-745-3000.
--Free Admission Day at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. April 14, 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland.
--The 27th annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and simulcast: The ceremony at Public Hall on April 14 is sold out. The simulcast will begin at 7 p.m. at the rock hall; limited tickets, $20, remain at http://rockhall.com.
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