Wednesday, March 25, 2015

CureRock Benefit Concert at Hard Rock Cafe - Concert Preview - March 26, 2015

Great event happening tomorrow night at the Hard Rock Cafe in Station Square. Now in its fourth year, CureRock is a benefit concert in support of the fight against pediatric and adolescent/young adult cancer.  It also serves as a forum that provides information to educate and help the community battle these diseases. All proceeds benefit oncology efforts at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. A portion of proceeds from CureRock will fund social and resource initiatives for childhood cancer patients and their families, while the majority will be used to fund pediatric oncology research performed by physician's at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

"It's really wonderful to be a part of such a great charity event," says Andre Costello, one of the evening's performers. 

"I've known a large number of people affected by cancer, and I'm sure we all do," says Costello. "I can only imagine what they are going through or have gone through, let alone a child. We should be doing everything we can to see to it that these kids get proper a shot at life."

In past years, CureRock has showcased some of the best local musicians, including bands like Donora, Meeting of Important People, Red Western, Joy Ike, and many more.  This year is no different. Costello & the Cool Minors released their debut LP at the Warhol Museum last year, a performance that earned PMR's 2014 Local Show of the Year.

"Pittsburgh has an amazing community of support for folks that are going through hard times like these," says Costello. "The hospital and the people in it, event planners and organizations like CureRock do amazing things every single day to better the life of children affected by cancer. It is a privilege to try and hold a candle to that in this small way."

Andre Costello

Also performing is singer/songwriter and Pittsburgh native Brooke Annibale.  Here is her song "You Don't Know," which was featured in The Vampire Diaries.

Matt Hires is this year's headliner. The Tampa native released his debut EP, Live from the Hotel Cafe, on the F-Stop imprint of Atlantic Records in 2008, and followed up with two full-lengths and a series of EPs and downloads on the label over the next five years. His latest is Red Eye, an EP collection of B-sides.

Tickets to the event cost $25 and are available online.

The Temperance Movement at Library Music Hall of Homestead - Concert Photos - March 21, 2015

British blues-rock band The Temperance Movement opened for Blackberry Smoke at the Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead Saturday night. Their debut, self-titled LP made it to #12 on the British charts, and they were personally invited to open for the Rolling Stones at a show in Berlin.

Big thanks to Greg Scelp for going out and shooting the show for us and snagging some great shots. You can find him on Instagram @genericpieces.  Do you want to shoot or review shows for PMR? Shoot us an email at pghmusicreport [at]

Monday, March 23, 2015

Cold War Kids w/ Nevada Color at Stage AE - Concert Photos - March 17, 2015.

So while I was off in LA on vacation and gettin' engaged, n'at, the concert train kept on chuggin' along. Thankfully, Jonathan Plum, aka PittIndieFreak, volunteered to shoot a show for us. You can check him out at, if you don't already.

Interested in shooting shows or writing reviews for PMR? Send an email to pghmusicreport [at]  We can't pay, but we can get you into shows for free.




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Twilight Sad - James Graham Interview and Ticket Giveaway - Brillobox - February 27, 2015

You sad, bro?
UPDATE: Scroll down for our interview with Twilight Sad lead singer James Graham.

On Friday, Scotland's The Twilight Sad make their first stop in Pittsburgh since 2010. Hailing from Glasgow, The Twilight Sad released their first album, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, in 2007, on the excellent Fat Cat Records label (whose alumni include Sigur Ros, Animal Collective and Frightened Rabbit). The album wowed the music press in the US and the UK, who praised the band's heavy, shoegaze-level guitar distortion and bleak, gloomy lyrics – not to mention lead singer James Graham's heavy Scottish brogue. Future albums were equally morose, in the best way possible. (The band's twitter bio says they enjoy drinking & making miserable music.)

The band played Gooski's back in 2007 in support of their debut album. A City Paper review at the time said they played “perhaps five songs” and declined an encore. They visited again in 2010, this time at Brillobox, as the first half of an ear-splitting double bill with Japanese post-rock band Mono. We reviewed that show, calling it “a furious set” that was played with “which such force and intensity” that it had our reviewer in awe. Here's a super high-quality video we took at that performance:

The band is back at Brillobox in support of their fourth full-length album, Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave. The album, voted as the best of 2014 by some in the UK music press, sees the band dial down their sonic assault just a bit, leaving space for Joy Division-style gloom to seep through. Here's the lead single from that album, "Last January."

PMR: Can I start by saying that that you've visited Pittsburgh twice, once at Gooski's in 2007 when you played maybe 5 or 6 songs, and again in 2010 opening for Mono at Brillobox, where your upcoming gig will be. So we are very excited to have you play your first proper headlining show. Do you have any memories from your brief times in town all those years ago?

James Graham: I have good memories of our time in Pittsburgh. I remember the crowd being one of the best on the tour we did with Mono. I think we've played 3 times, twice at Gooski's. The second time they played the trailer for "Control" the Anton Corbijn after we played I think. I haven't had the chance to look around the town to be honest, because we turned up to the venue played the gig then had to leave early the next day. I remember talking to a lot of people outside the gig the last time and them being really cool to us. They really appreciated that we were in town, so I'm glad we're able to come back and headline this time.

PMR: Each of your first three albums were reviewed favorably, but the new album was considered by many to be your best so far, with more than a few perfect scores and even a couple “album of the year” designations. Were you surprised by this, considering it was something of a departure from what your earlier albums?

JG: We made the record that we wanted to make and we're extremely proud of it. That's the most important thing, we are our biggest critics I think. We want to make music that interests us and excites us and after that if other people like it then that's amazing. We're really happy that people who have supported the band over the years really like/love the record. 
It's also amazing to see how many new people have are getting into the band through this record. I think we learned a lot from our previous records. We're a band that constantly wants to push ourselves. I feel that our new record has elements from each of our previous albums whilst pushing our sound forward. We used a lot of electronic instrumentation on our 3rd record and on this one I feel we've taken what we've learned and opened up that sound whilst returning to some of the big epic sounds/more bandy stuff if that makes any sense.  

PMR: Do you pay much attention to what is said about the band in the music press?

JG: I try to stay away from it but its pretty hard with social media and people sending you reviews when they come in. We've fortunate over the years in that critics have been pretty kind to us. I think its important not to listen to much to good or bad reviews, if you did I think you'd drive yourself crazy. Don't get me wrong you want people to like your music and its better to get good reviews. I have to admit that i'm one of those people that focuses in on the one bad or mediocre review even though you get 10 other great ones that day. I have to try and develop a thicker skin. I have to realise that we're all different and like different things but it's hard to not let it affect you if someone doesn't like what you do after putting so much time an effort into it. Different horses for different courses and all that. 

PMR: You were kind enough to answer some questions for us before your show here in 2010. Back then you said that the main goal of the band was to make albums that you are proud of and to play live all around the world. Is that still the case?

JG: Aye that's still the goal. I want to play in countries we've been to before and ultimately we want to see the band progress. We want to reach as many people as possible. If there's a room full of people that are passionate about what we do, no matter how big or small that room is we want to be there playing our music. 

PMR: I read a recent interview where you mentioned bands that have taken you on tour several times, like Mogwai, and you said that you wanted to repay them by having the band show “progress,” to show them that their faith in you wasn't misplaced. How do you define progress?

JG: I think we are a band who constantly need to challenge ourselves and push ourselves to make the best music we can. We need to try new things and not settle for things. We need to work hard and tour as much as we can. To keep doing full time you also need to see a progression as far as people to coming to the show and awareness of the band. We're definitely not in it for the money, if we were we wouldn't have made it this far but you've got to make a living somehow if you're going to put as much in to it as much as we do. We're not getting any younger but we've seen so many bands come and go over the years so must be doing something right. We love doing this it means everything to us, so as long as we see the band progressing and we still have something to say within our music we'll keep doing what we do.

PMR: Speaking of fellow Scots, what are some up and coming Scottish bands that we should know about?

JG: There's a lot of great bands on Rock Action Records (Mogwai's label). This year they have a few releases coming out. There's good friend Errors who will be releasing their new record Lease of Life this spring. I've heard the record and its brilliant. There's Sacred Paws who are releasing an EP this year, and Remember Remember released a great album called "Forgetting The Present" last year. We've taken a couple of great young Scottish bands on the road back in the UK recently, Vladimir from Dundee and Man Of Moon are supporting us on our UK tour in April.

PMR: People love the intensity of your live performance. Have you given any consideration to releasing a full-length live album?

JG: Yeah we have, we have something special in mind that we're talking about at the moment. I'm not allowed to say yet though but I'm excited about it. 

PMR: Lastly, what are some things you like to do in your free time that people maybe wouldn't expect from a purveyor of “miserable” music.

JG: I'm a big comic book fan. I recently got to visit the Marvel Comics office in NY when we were there. That was amazing. I love football or soccer as you guys call it over here. I support Aberdeen football club and go to the games with my dad. I wasn't allowed to support Rangers or Celtic when i was younger in case I got beaten up and my mother's family are from Aberdeen so that's why I support them. I love the cinema, I go at least twice a week when I'm at home.

Thank you so much to James for taking the time to answer our questions. We have a pair of tickets to giveaway to see James and the rest of the band at Brillobox Friday night. To enter, email your name to, and put “twilight sad” in the subject line. We'll announce a winner Thursday night.  Port St. Willow, AKA ambient pop artist Nick Principle, opens.

-- B. Conway 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

JJ Grey and Mofro - Ticket Giveaway and Preview - February 25, 2015 - Mr. Smalls

JJ Grey and Mofro - Photo copyright Jim Arbogast
Southern blues-rock mainstays, JJ Grey & Mofro, visit Pittsburgh Wednesday, February 25, in support of their new album, Ol' Glory. (The album comes out on the 24th. Since they're off that night, maybe they'll treat this as their album release show.)

Founded in Northern Florida in the late 1990s, Mofro's soulful blend of rock, blues, and funk has attracted hordes of fans. The band has grown over the years to perform at some of the biggest festivals in the world, including Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza. And although this will be their ninth studio album to date, they really are a band that should be seen live to be appreciated.

From the band's PR:
From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live—and you truly, absolutely must—the man is fearless.

Here's a video of them performing live, to give you a taste:

We have a pair of tickets to giveaway for this performance. To enter, email us your name to pghmusicreport [at], and put “Mofro” in the title. We'll announce a winner Monday.

Opening are NYC blues-rock band The London Souls. 

-- B. Conway