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Around Hear: Sin City Gets Religion, Cleveland Style 

Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan personally recruited Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival to open three sold-out shows for his side project Puscifer at the Las Vegas Palms Casino from Friday, February 13 through Sunday, February 15.

Keenan caught the duo live at The Horse magazine's biker convention in Arizona last year and liked their rock-evangelist theme. He also smelled Ohio on them.

"Devo, Chrissie Hynde, myself and now Uncle Scratch's Gospel Revival -- clearly there is something in the water over yonder," says Keenan, who saw born in Ravenna. "Northern Ohio cultivates a unique breed of nutty. And I mean that in the best way possible. Amen, brother. Amen!"

The warped duo plays noisy alt-country with the help of a megaphone and homemade percussion sets. On songs like "I Can't Bang You on a Sunday" and "The Devil Is a Pussy," the Parma duo preach sermons of fire, brimstone and rock 'n' roll. Frontman Brother Ed has dubbed Keenan "Brother Maynard" and says he'll help make Vegas a "devil-free zone." Adds Ed, "He's a winemaker, just like Jesus."

Uncle Scratch has a group of new songs that they plan to record after the Vegas show. The next album's working title is The Devil Is a Real Douchebag.

Colin Dussault's Blues Project is commemorating the Obama presidency with a new single. "Little Pink Slips (for the G.O.P.)" reworks John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses" - and the CD is available exclusively at shows. Dussault's acoustic trio plays Barbarino's (23871 Sprague Rd., Columbia Station) on Thursday, February 12, followed by full-band sets at Smedleys (17004 Lorain Ave.) on Friday, February 13, and the Parkview (1258 W. 58th St.) on Saturday, February 14.

Final retail versions of the Cheap Tragedies CD will be available at the band's Friday, February 13 show at Annabell's (782 W. Market St., Akron). Technically, it's a CD release party, although the band sold 35 test-presses with handmade artwork at a previous show.

Ventana plays its first show in two years on Saturday, February 14, at Peabody's (2045 E. 21st St.). It will be the live debut for singer for Matt Foran, also of Connecticut's Circus of Dead Squirrels. "He's more of the darker, heavier style we were into originally. He's very political, very angry," says programmer-engineer Stitch, who adds that Foran is a good fit for the new live set. "It's going to be very extreme, very shocking, very violent - far from where people might remember us as being. It's more the mid-'90s style, the old Nine Inch Nails, old Marilyn Manson kind of show."

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