The last time I ran into The Cynics' sharp-dressed frontman Michael Kastelic, he was buzzing and pop-eyed after seeing Patti Smith's recent show at the Carnegie Library of Homestead. And rightly so -- it had been one helluva show. Now Kastelic and fellow Cynic and Get Hip Records main man Gregg Kostelich are giving the local scene something to buzz about: a new record, Here We Are. The CD-release show is Oct. 4 at the 31st Street Pub with The Ugly Beats, from Austin, Texas, Black Tie Revue, The Leftovers and DJ Zombo.
The longtime garage-punks cut the 12-song Here We Are at Circo Perrotti Studios in Spain -- and in mono, to boot. The album opens with the title track, a Stonesy ballad that Kastelic croons with hard-livin' heartache: "If no man's an island / Then I'm not a man." Ain't it the truth, Mike, ain't it the truth.
In local music-biz news, a couple weeks back, longtime concert promoter Jon Rinaldo phoned to say that he would no longer be booking national acts at the 150-capacity South Side room Club Café, where he'd been doing a lot of mainly Triple-A shows. He said he's moving his shows to the larger Diesel, and was unsure what would be going on in Club Café. Well ... as it turns out, the new national-talent buyers for the space are Gary Hinston, who books the Three Rivers Arts Fest, joined by Mike Sanders from Opus One Productions.
Opus One, which books and operates out of Mr. Small's Theatre in Millvale, has recently been quite active in promoting shows at different venues, including the recent sold-out Interpol concert at the Byham Theater, and a series of concerts, co-sponsored by WYEP, at the Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland. Feist's rather awesome performance there two weeks ago was one such show; Andrew Bird is another, coming up on Oct. 2.
Paul "Shook" Suchma, former guitarist for local bands Norman Nardini and the Tigers and Torn and Frayed, passed away earlier this summer. Now, local musicians are gathering for a memorial concert, "All Shook Up," being held at Moondog's in Blawnox on Sept. 28. Scheduled performers include Norman Nardini, Frank Soriano, Torn and Frayed, The Kevin K Band, and something called "Shook, Rattle & Roll." All proceeds go toward memorial expenses.