When singer and guitarist Pete Woodward first met singer- bassist Ken Blaze 20 years ago, Woodward was in "a terrible high-school punk band" called Synthetic Reality. Blaze was in the Unknown, a somewhat famous Cleveland punk group. They used to play shows together at a local club, "until the cops shut it down," says Woodward, who eventually joined the Unknown.
That band broke up five years ago, but after a trip to Chicago in 2008 to see reunited indie rockers Big Drill Car, Woodward (pictured middle) and Blaze (left) realized they didn't have to pack up their gear for good. "They were pushing 50 and still doing it," recalls Woodward. "So we decided to try it again. And now it's been as full-speed-ahead as it can be, especially when you consider that we have kids and stuff."
With their new band, Restless Habs, up and running, Woodward and Blaze are rushing to get songs recorded. Earlier this year they self-released the Cross Your Heart and Swear to Lie EP. "You say the word 'punk,' and it means a hundred million different things to different people," Woodward says. "I don't think anyone would call us an alternative rock band. We're not that polished. And we're a little too old and slow to do what the kids are doing these days."
True to their name, Restless Habs — also featuring Eric Vogt on drums — have been antsy. They have a new batch of songs all ready to go for another EP later this year. "We just want to keep doing this as long as it's fun," says Woodward. "The real trouble we have is being able to get in the same room at the same time. Finding a date when the three of us are free is pretty tough." Restless Habs perform with Old Alibi and the Zapguns at 9 p.m. Thursday at Now That's Class. Tickets are $5.
Prog-rockers Megachurch celebrate the release of their new album, Judgment Day, at the Beachland Tavern on Friday. Seafair, Gnarwhal, and How to Breathe Underwater open the show, which starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5, available at beachlandballroom.com.
DJ Cuzin' Dave Newman was a fixture on WRUW radio for 40 years and an advocate of alt-country music years before people started calling it that. He passed away last September. The Beachland will pay tribute to Newman with its inaugural Americana music festival, dubbed Cuzin' Dave Days. The lineup includes Dave Alvin and the Guilty Ones (on Friday), David Mayfield Parade and the Spampinato Bros. (Saturday), a concert featuring the musicians who played the songs heard in last year's Oscar-nominated Winter's Bone (Sunday), and Zoe Muth & the Lost High Rollers (Sunday). A festival pass costs $50. You can also buy tickets to individual shows at beachlandballroom.com.
Cleveland native Evan Sanders brings his Boston rock band Love in Stockholm to Wilbert's at 9 p.m. Thursday. Sgt. Remo, Tumbleweed Company, and the Crooked River Blues Band share the bill. Admission is a requested donation. You can find more info at wilbertsmusic.com.