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SUNDAY

Don’t believe the Ian Hunter song. The place may rock now, what with the Hall of Fame and all, but when it hosted one of the earliest flowerings of punk, Cleveland barely took notice. Until last year, the memory of scene standard-bearer Rocket From the Tombs was lamentably fading away; many young punks didn’t even know that Rocket From the Crypt had nicked its name. But the 2002 Smog Veil compilation The Day the Earth Met the Rocket From the Tombs changed all that, landing atop numerous year-end best-of lists and allowing fans of the Dead Boys and Pere Ubu to hear “Sonic Reducer,” “Final Solution,” and “30 Seconds Over Tokyo” played by the outfit that gave birth to both those bands. The current Rockets lineup is only about 60 percent vintage (vocalist David “Crocus Behemoth” Thomas, guitarist Gene “Cheetah Chrome” O’Connor, and bassist Craig Bell), but the latest occupant of the drummer’s throne, Steve Mehlman, has played with Thomas in Ubu, and getting Television string-slinger Richard Lloyd to sub for the Dylan-damaged and self-destructed Peter Laughner is an inspired touch. Tracks from the forthcoming, Lloyd-produced Rocket Redux are naturally smoother than the originals, but the new “Reducer” offers further proof that Thomas is one of the few genuinely great singers punk has produced. And when O’Connor takes the mike on “Amphetamine,” world-weary lines that from Laughner’s mouth seemed like youthful affectation at last ring true. Rocket From the Tombs plays with Thee Snuff Project at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $13. (202) 667-7960. (Glenn Dixon)