The sheer power of vocals fills the State Theatre for Manhattan Transfer’s show.
During a lengthy hospital stay for treatment of lymphoma, Cheryl Bentyne turned to the one constant in her life — music.
“For three weeks, there was silence in the ward,” says Bentyne, the sultry soprano of the jazzy four-part harmony group Manhattan Transfer. “One day, I decided to play some opera music on my MacBook. I cranked it as loud as I could and people started smiling and laughing. It became a celebration.”
Bentyne promises more joyful noise during The Summit: The Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6 concert at the State Theatre Oct. 23. “When our groups get together, the audiences go nuts,” says the 62-year-old Bentyne, who won 10 Grammys for Manhattan Transfer. “Take 6 comes from more of a gospel place. … Their arrangements are otherworldly. We represent the whole spectrum from the top voice to the bottom voice.”
The daughter of a swing band leader, Bentyne was a waitress when she auditioned for the Manhattan Transfer, which does dynamic covers of Nat King Cole’s “Route 66” and Weather Report’s “Birdland.”
“It was hilarious,” she says. “I told everyone I was joining the group and they were like, Yeah, right. I worked the rest of the day, picked up my tips and never returned.”
When group founder Tim Hauser died in 2014, Bentyne and other singers Alan Paul and Janis Siegel had to retool.
“It was a huge adjustment,” she says. “Tim was the spirit of the group. We’re grateful to have found Trist Curless. He brings an incredible energy to the group.”
Bentyne, who hopes to release an album of Stephen Sondheim jazz interpretations next year, thinks that powerful vocals are still the heart of music.
“What people will hear at this show is the real deal — raw voices that will capture you,” she says. “You can’t do it from the outside in. It’s an inside job.” Oct. 23, State Theatre, playhousesquare.org
There may have been two lineup switches and a bit of mellowing since the band’s first two studio albums, but this two-night stay in town won’t be about that. Nostalgia, instead, takes center stage. Celebrating its 15 year anniversary, the Used are revisiting the early 2000s and the haywire emo-rock music that dominated the alternative scene by playing its first two studio albums cover to cover. Its self-titled debut is up first. The impassioned sophomore record, In Love and Death, featuring “Hard to Say,” a tribute to frontman Bert McCracken’s ex-girlfriend who died, is the coda to the band’s sentimental stay in Cleveland. Powered by McCracken’s ability to oscillate from smooth, alt-rock tenor to a piercing scream, “The Taste of Ink” performers hook the crowd from opening guitar riff to the later lighters-in-the-air track. Sept. 13 & 14, House of Blues, houseofblues.com/cleveland
First a boy silver-screen star then a YouTube sensation, Troye Sivan is now tackling the Billboard charts and headlining his second tour in the United States at the ripe age of 21. Pairing his light, yet baritone voice with synth pop and emotional lyrics, the Australian’s album Blue Neighbourhood touched No. 7 on the U.S. charts. His nirvanic, punchy single “Youth” is catching airwaves. The openly gay star teamed up with fellow young up-and-comer Alessia Cara for his new track “Wild,” for which the video depicts boys falling in love. Against a flashing backdrop of LED lights, the slim Sivan’s youth is evident when the ball of energy takes the stage at concerts, dropping feathery vocals and freely flitting to every beat, lost in a dream world he created. Nov. 3, Lakewood Civic Auditorium, livenation.com
The day after Yeezy’s last concert in Cleveland in 2005, Trent Dilfer started as a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns. It’s been that long since Kanye West has come our way, but now he’s bringing his 39-show Saint Pablo Tour here, ending the drought. West’s concerts are renowned for their over-the-top theatrics, from his freewheeling rants between songs to the throbbing light shows. Expect to hear much of his extended seventh album, The Life of Pablo, an ever-changing, introspective record that sharply contrasts its predecessor Yeezus. From “Feedback,” where he touches on policing in America or “Saint Pablo,” a six-minute closing reflection on his struggles, West has penned a new messy, disjointed chapter in his career. West tweeted that he’s a messenger like Apostle Paul, for whom the album’s name alludes, making this stream-of-consciousness collection the gospel according to Ye. Like his Saturday Night Live performance of “Ultralight Beam” with a rapper and three R&B singers and a gospel choir belting as West collapsed to the floor, expect this show to be a wild ride through the disheveled mind of one of the most controversial, overexposed rappers of today. Oct. 1, Quicken Loans Arena, theqarena.com