Riffs and Rants

The new EP from Megachurch delivers a potent prog-rock punch

Part of the Davenport Collective — a group of indie bands that share a Lakewood practice space — Megachurch has just released a self-titled EP that it'll introduce at an 8 p.m. show on Thursday, May 13, at the Front Room Gallery (3615 Superior Ave., building 42, frontroomcleveland.com). The album begins with a sound bite by a maniacal minister, then launches into heavy prog-inspired riffs.

Recorded by Paul MacCarrone at his now defunct Zombie Proof Studios, the disc is divided into a "Side A" and "Side B," and includes a number of strange religious rants — including one tirade by Jimmy Swaggart, who talks about how he could just kill a (gay) man.

"When we first got together to play, I had assumed whatever music we would come up with would be kind of minimal and maybe even a little poppy, since we all played in indie-rock/pop bands in the past," says bassist Mikey Machine. "But once we started playing together, we just had this massive, heavy sound and started playing what sounded like metal riffs. I remember that first night we just looked at each other like, 'Is this OK that we're playing stuff this heavy?' Call it what you will, it's just naturally the way we sound when we play together, and we like it."

The release show doubles as a book-release party for The Caveman Diaries, Volume 7 by graphic artist/concert poster go-to-guy John G. The gig also serves as the launch of a two-week regional tour that pairs Megachurch with local math-rock duo Clan of the Cave Bear, which opens the show along with up-and-coming rockers Swindlella. It's free. — Jeff Niesel

Monday, May 3, was the last night for Cleveland's Breakfast Club, the Lakewood rock club formerly known as the Hi-Fi. Over the decades, the spot had been known as the Blind Lemon, Hennessey's, Wings, and more. Its stages have hosted David Bowie, Cleveland crossover champs Victory Flag, and hair-metal has-beens D'Molls.

The new owners, Steve and Amy Bodek, previously owned Brecksville's Mama Rosa. They'll turn it into another restaurant, tentatively titled Prague.

Partners Billy Morris (a former late-era Warrant guitarist, now with cover band the Breakfast Club), Jimmy Maler (View From Everest), and Dave Romweber bought the club in 2002. After Romweber cashed out in 2004, the remaining partners struggled to find a third investor — they struggled a lot. Despite Morris's connections, the staff was stretched thin, and the venue never became a destination concert club. "People would go, 'Lakewood? I haven't been to Lakewood in 15 years,'" says Morris. "If you book L.A. Guns here, you'd get 100 people. If you book them in Mentor, you get 300. Peabody's — 500. Did we make money? Yeah. Did we get rich? No."

Morris and Maler's new venture is the Breakfast Club and Café, a coffeehouse at 107 Front St. in Berea. Set to open this summer, the venue will have a stage, food, and a full liquor license. Morris says he may eventually reconvene Heavy Metal Karaoke, the Hi-Fi's popular live-band karaoke night, at the new spot. "I'm looking forward to serving the music community, but in a softer version," he says. — D.X. Ferris

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