Re-meet The Cynics
• The Cynics have been bouncing around these parts for 30 years now, but believe it or not, Pittsburgh has never seen the longest-running version of its hometown band.
The legendary garage-rockers, led as always by the incomparable Michael Kastelic (vocals) and Gregg Kostelich (guitar), have sported at least a dozen different guys in the rhythm section.
The lineup making its Pittsburgh debut this weekend features drummer Pablo Gonzalez and bassist Angel Kaplan, the Spanish rhythm section that has been touring Europe with them since the "Here We Are" album in 2007.
"It's the longest lineup we've had," Mr. Kostelich says. "Six years, two studio LPs and maybe more to come. We play together well and really enjoy each others' company. When we show up, we put love to the music. They feel the music the way Michael and I meant it to be written. They show up and, boom, they feel it."
The last Cynics album was 2011's "Spinning Wheel Motel," recorded in Detroit with Jim Diamond (Dirtbombs) and featuring the band's mix of jangly folk-rock and monster-riff psych.
Last year, all of the touring was in Europe -- 25 shows in Spain and more than 40 dates between France, Germany, Italy, Norway and the UK -- and the band goes back again in May.
While the Spaniards are in the States, The Cynics will head to Detroit to demo songs for a new album, and also play their first shows in the Northwest since the '90s. They will also play an in-store show for Record Store Day (April 20) at Criminal Records in Atlanta.
"They are big Cynics fans and they ask me every year to play ... this year we are finally making it," says Mr. Kostelich's wife, Barbara Garcia Bernardo, who manages the band.
The Cynics formed in 1983 with Mr. Kostelich and Pam Reyner and the first gig was in the summer of '84. The band took off when the charismatic Mr. Kastelic, from 96 Tears, took over as frontman in late '85, two years before the debut album "Blue Train Station."
Mr. Kostelich scoffs at the idea of an anniversary -- "It makes us sound really old. Why even bother to bring it up?" -- but does concede, "I can't believe we made it this long."
The Cynics play Mr. Smalls at 8 p.m. Friday with The Neighbours and Meeting of Important People, celebrating the re-release of its album, "My Ears are Having a Heart Attack" on the digital label Authentik Artists. Admission is $10; mrsmalls.com
Rock for Autism
• On Sunday The Dead Horse Cantina & Music Hall had planned to host the "Anarchy for Autism" tour with metal band Red Lamb featuring former Anthrax guitarist Danny Spitz.
Lou Hetzer, who runs the McKees Rocks venue, says when Red Lamb canceled and he posted the news, local bands didn't take it quietly: "Bands in Pittsburgh stepped up and want to make this huge."
Rock for Autism will feature Vermithrax (which was to open for Red Lamb), Klaymore, Gods & Aliens, The Cheats, The Dirty Charms, Lucky Me, Lize and Red A$$ Monkey. "Lawless Radio Worldwide" will be broadcasting live with Don Dokken calling in. All proceeds will go to ABOARD, which provides autism resources for parents.
Doors open at 5 p.m., the show is at 6 p.m. at 704 Thompson Ave. Donation is $8. Go to facebook.com/thedeadhorsecantinaandmusichall.
No strippers allowed
• You may have heard the one about the local band that got booted off a bill this week. Because of strippers.
The band was Chux Beta, which was thrilled and honored to have landed the opening slot for Chelsea Light Moving (led by Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore) at Mr. Smalls on Tuesday night.
On Monday, which was April Fools' Day, Chux Beta was informed by promoter Opus One Productions that it was scratched from the bill because Chelsea saw a YouTube video in which Chux Beta singer Ryan Dunn says during a song "Where are the strippers?" (Sonic Youth, co-fronted by Kim Gordon, always had a fairly strident feminist vibe.)
CB's singer only mentioned strippers because there were actually strippers in the room. They had presented an award to the band at the Pittsburgh Rock Awards, where the video was shot.
Chux Beta member James Dunn tweeted on Monday that his band had gotten screwed out of the gig that went to Shockwave Riderz, the new band featuring Phil Boyd and Paul Quattrone, of the prestigious Modey Lemon.
Mr. Dunn told the PG's Pop Noise blog, "In your humble opinion, do you really think Thurston Moore watched a [crappy] Chux Beta YouTube clip? I mean come on!"
Within a few hours, Chelsea Light Moving posted on the blog that it was late telling the promoter that it had asked another band to play. CLM added that the stripper comment in the video "rubbed some the wrong way, to say the least." (The subsequent comments are hilarious, so check them out.)
After the show Tuesday, Mr. Boyd stood at the merch stand telling me that he felt really bad about the misunderstanding and that Shockwave knew nothing about another band being booked.
The good news for Chux Beta -- if it is feeling any sour grapes -- is that the nearly 200 extra hits Chux Beta got on the video exceeded the turnout on Tuesday.
But Shockwave was a great fit in the opening slot.
Drummer Mr. Quattrone has busy with dance-punk band !!!, among other projects, and singer-guitarist Mr. Boyd has done some solo work. Modey Lemon hasn't played together in three years, but they wanted to do something else that rocked, in a different way, so Mr. Boyd is on drums and Mr. Quattrone is working a sampler while Sara Mcelhaney (formerly of The Sexes) does most of the vocals.
Shockwave is a garage-punk band, in line with Modey, but the songs come in shorter, poppier more frantic bursts. "Shockwave Rider" is a Royal Trux song (taken from a sci-fi novel) so that's a natural comparison, as is the Yeah Yeah Yeahs or the harder edge of the Raveonettes.
Earlier this month, the band debuted with a one-sided 12" vinyl, and it plans to do its first touring (other than the few Jon Spencer Blues Explosion shows) soon.
As for the Sonic Youth titan, he made no mention of the opening bands Tuesday, and despite the small turnout, was in an unusually good mood and blew our heads back with his sonic guitar storms.
For more on the show, go to the Pop Noise blog at post-gazette.com/popnoise
-- Scott Mervis; firstname.lastname@example.org First Published April 4, 2013 4:00 AM