Dave Swanson, who fronts the local garage-rock outfit the Rainy Day Saints, first met Cynics guitarist Greg Kostelic 25 years ago. Back then, Swanson was a member of the Reactions, and Kostelic had just started his own Pittsburgh garage-rock band. They bonded over their love of '60s psychedelic music.
"We've remained friends ever since then," says Swanson (pictured with the Saints, center). During that time, Kostelic signed the Saints and another of Swanson's bands, the New Salem Witch Hunters, to his retro-leaning label, Get Hip. This weekend, the Saints and Cynics play a "Psych-Out" at the Happy Dog. Cleveland's 45 Spider and Pittsburgh's the Meeting of Important People round out the bill. WCSB DJs Kristen and Erin will spin retro tunes between sets.
While the show pokes fun at the Cleveland-Pittsburgh rivalry, touting itself as a "bloodbath of fuzz," Swanson says there isn't any of the animosity you usually find at Browns-Steelers games. "There are no death threats involved," he laughs. "The Cynics have always had a good following in Cleveland, and we served as their rhythm section the last time they played at the Happy Dog."
The Cynics' new album, Spinning Wheel Motel, is due in the spring. So is the Saints' Unpoetic Distortion, a terrific collection of trippy space rock and noisy garage rock. Tickets to the show, which takes place at 9 p.m. Friday, are $5. You can find more info at happydogcleveland.com.
Inner Sanctum's monthly concert series at the Garage Bar returns at 10 p.m. on Saturday. The show — sponsored by 92.3 FM's Sunday-night local music program — will feature Jason Myers, Burning Down Broadway, and Hawks & Wolves. Admission is $5.
The Cleveland Hip Hop Music Festival hits Peabody's at 6 p.m. Friday. Tickets are $12, $10 advance, available at peabodys.com.
Singer-songwriter Chris Hatton recently released a funny video for "Facebook Licks My Balls." Jake McGee, editor of the underground arts and culture magazine Kotori, directed the clip. You can see it at chrishatton.bandcamp.com.
Rapper Nova the Rebel just unveiled Life Under Lights 1.5, a remix of his popular Life Under Lights mixtape. Nova is also putting the finishing touches on Rebel Wednesdays, a project in which he'll post new tracks on Twitter and Facebook for 30 straight weeks. You can find more info at novatherebel.net.
Cincinnati-by-way-of-Cleveland singer-songwriter Rob Cherry, a former editor at Alternative Press, returns for a solo acoustic set at the Beachland Tavern at 8:30 p.m. Friday. He'll play a bunch of songs from his various indie-rock projects and premiere several new tracks, including "Say Goodbye to Massachusetts," which he wrote about his 99-year-old grandmother's funeral. Cherry's wife Carla opens the show with her band, the Low Hanging Wires. Oldboy and Nights are also on the bill. Tickets are $6, available at beachlandballroom.com.