Giant Steps

A stoner-rock band celebrates its 20th anniversary

The first time Red Giant guitarist Damien Perry met singer and guitarist Alex Perekrest more than 20 years ago, they talked about Stevie Ray Vaughan, who had just died in a helicopter crash. The Strongsville High School students realized they had so much in common that they started a band.

At first, Perry and Perekrest called their music "space punk." Red Giant's 1995 debut album, Psychoblaster and the Misuse of Power, was heavily influenced by Monster Magnet, and before long, they were lumped into the stoner-rock scene with bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu. But Perry bristles at the tag.

"We transcended that label," he says. "I'm a huge AC/DC fan, and I like Kiss with makeup — but only with makeup."

After Psychoblaster, which had a limited run of 500 CDs and 500 cassettes, Red Giant began to make some noise outside of Cleveland. "I got mail from Italy and Zimbabwe and shit," recalls Perry.

In 1999 they released Ultra Magnetic Glowing Sound and started touring extensively. The follow-up album, Devil Child Blues, took six years to make, as Perry labored over a studio he was building in his house. Then Red Giant went into a tailspin. "When we said we're done, I thought we were done forever," says Perry. "I was a lost cause when I wasn't in the band." The group returned last year with Dysfunctional Majesty, one of their best albums.

Now they've lined up a 20th anniversary show at the Grog Shop on Saturday. They're playing two full sets, including one with original drummer Chris Gorman, as well as a special encore. They're also recording the gig for a possible DVD release. The show starts at 9 p.m.; Ohio Sky opens. Tickets are $6, available at

The Bruce Springsteen tribute band Born to Roam will play a benefit show for Roots of American Music on Wednesday, June 1, at Nighttown. The group is made up of veterans like Chris Allen, Doug McKean, and Brent Kirby. The concert starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50, available at

Indie rockers the Rails play their first show in a year at 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 1, at the Grog Shop. The Shawns share the bill. Tickets are $5.

C-Level host a CD-release show with fellow rockers 1000 Reasons, All Over the Place, Call Me Constant, Camden, Envoi, Shred Rot, Tess Stevens, and the Thrills at the Phantasy on Friday. Showtime is 7 p.m.; tickets range from $7 to $10, available at

Lower 13, a Parma rock band that formed four years ago when its members were still in middle school, has just released its debut album. They play a CD-release party for Rabid at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Symposium. Eternal Legacy, Among the Fallen, and Morir Es Vivir open. Admission is free.

Hard rockers the Devize release their new CD at Mentor's Live Wire on Saturday. Joey Ariemma, Ark Peninsula, and Slave to Nothing open. Showtime is 8 p.m.; tickets are $5.

James Krause, the director of programming for the Ingenuity arts festival, is looking for bands to play the fest in September. You can find more info at

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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