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The Cynics/Tufted Puffins/Cotton Ponys 

When: Tue., Aug. 20, 8 p.m. 2019
Price: $8
When the Cynics take the stage at the Happy Dog tonight, it’ll be the legendary Pittsburgh garage rock kings’ first show in Cleveland since 2015. The Cynics have had a string of scorching live gigs in Cleveland that go back to double bills with the New Salem Witch Hunters at the Phantasy Nite Club in the ’80s. The Happy Dog show is part of a tour in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Cynics’ classic Rock-n-Roll LP. Formed in 1983 out of the ashes of a handful of different Pittsburgh punk bands, the Cynics’ constant duo of Gregg Kostelich (guitar) and Michael Kastelic (vocals) solidified in 1985 on “No Place to Hide,” the band’s second single on Dionysus Records. Listening to the first single with Kastelic, there is no mistaking that it’s the Cynics. Kostelich’s trademark fuzz guitar and Kastelic’s snarling vocal howl are completely locked-in on their first recorded track. The Cynics released “Blue Train Station” in 1986 and “Twelve Flights Up” in 1988 as part of a garage rock revival that included such bands as the aforementioned Witch Hunters, the Chesterfield Kings and the Fuzztones. Not content to be pure ’60s revivalists, the Cynics hardened the fuzz and howl on 1989’s Rock-n-Roll and created a certifiable garage rock classic. (C.J. Klasa)

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