Season of the Witch

Beloved garage rockers return to the stage

New Salem Witch Hunters ( — one of the best local garage-rock bands of the mid-'80s — play their first show in five years at 9 p.m. Friday at the Happy Dog. Drummer Dave Swanson says the group's downtime doesn't stem from any infighting — the guys have just been busy with other projects. "We have shaken off the cobwebs and are rolling full steam ahead," says Swanson, who also fronts the '60s-leaning Rainy Day Saints. "No big drama, just various things over the last five years led to the inactivity. The band is rejuvenated and really psyched to be rolling once again." Swanson says there may even be a new album sometime next year. This weekend's show marks the band's 25th anniversary, so you can expect to hear plenty of old favorites from Swanson, singer Dave Atkins, keyboardist Jim Wilson, guitarist Tom Fallon, and bassist Jeff Herwick. But there'll be some new songs too. Youngstown's Deadbeat Poets (, a power-pop group featuring former members of Blue Ash and the Stiv Bators Band, open the show. Tickets are $5.

Veteran stoner rockers Red Giant ( just released a new album, Dysfunctional Majesty, which they recorded with producer Benny Grotto (the Dresden Dolls) at his Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts. From the opening notes of "Herds of Something Else," it's clear Red Giant haven't tempered their heavy and swaggering sound one bit.

Eagle Rock Entertainment has reissued the 2008 compilation We Wish You a Metal X-Mas and a Headbanging New Year, which features Tim "Ripper" Owens' version of "Santa Claus Is Back in Town." The album also includes songs by Alice Cooper, Motörhead's Lemmy, and the late Ronnie James Dio, who sings a killer "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." The reissue adds two new tracks: "Frosty the Snowman" (from Anvil's Steve "Lips" Kudlow) and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," sung by Coal Chamber and Devildriver's Dez Fafara. Go to for more info.

Rock the Puzzle 2010, Ohio Autism's annual benefit, takes place at 6:30 p.m. Friday at LaMalfa in Mentor. Admission is $80 for a single ticket and $140 per couple. The steep price includes appetizers, dinner, dessert, an open bar, and valet parking. Plus, you'll have a chance to win three grand in a raffle. Rocker Joey DePasquale, who fronts the cover band the Hit Machine (, will perform. Find more info at

Seventies prog-rockers Glass Harp reunite for a 7:30 p.m. show on Saturday at the Beachland Ballroom, part of a fundraising concert for the Cleveland Heights-based Roots of American Music, a youth-education nonprofit. Glass Harp's lineup includes guitarist Phil Keaggy, bassist Dan Pecchio, and drummer John Sferra. Wally Bryson, who used to be in the Raspberries, will join them onstage for a few songs. Tickets range from $50 to $125.

Before they play the Agora stage Friday night, Accept will make an in-store appearance at the Exchange in Parma Heights. The German metal band will be at the store from 6 to 7 p.m. to sign limited-edition posters and copies of their new CD, Blood of the Nations. There'll be free pizza and soft drinks there too.

The Cleveland Blues Society is now taking submissions for its annual Blues Challenge, which honors the area's best artists and albums. Deadline is October 17; the competition takes place on November 7. You can apply at The winner will be sent to the national competition in Memphis.

Hard-rock vets Cryptkicker ( play a rare local show at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Phantasy Nite Club. Bajina and Inside We Die open. Tickets are $7.Send feedback to [email protected].

About The Author

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]
Scroll to read more Local Music articles


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.