Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
This past Monday Night, Altar Bar was host to a trio of sets from Vinyl Theatre, Grizfolk and Smallpools. Starting the night off was Vinyl Theatre, whom I had heard on Spotify almost two years ago before their Gold EP was even released. At that time, I felt the few tracks released on Spotify showed promise, particularly “Tokyo”, but that they were still a bit unpolished in their craft. Cut to today, with their full LP “Electrogram”, they have fulfilled that indie electro-pop sounding promise that I was hoping to hear from Vinyl Theatre. Their short set was great and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how their setlist changes on their next tour with The Mowgli’s. This reviewer would sure love the welcome edition of “Stay” on their setlist, but only time will tell how their setlist and stagecraft grows.
Grizfolk continued a night of elecro-pop themed sets, adding a folky feeling into the night that the audience was very much taken with at Altar Bar. Playing a multitude of songs from “From The Spark” EP, Grizfolk smartly got the audience involved several times in their set and brought their excitement up before Smallpools came to take up the stage.
Smallpools’ LOVETAP! LP is one of my favorites of the year thus far, providing that indie electro-pop sound that I absolutely love and their setlist did not disappoint. I love all the details of the show down to the little white Persian Hound statues on the stage that they’ve been using on tours past and present all the way to how their stories on stage are enjoyably obvious as to which song was next in their setlist. They know how to work their fans, with frontman on keys, Sean Scanlon never hesitating to engage with the audience. Whether it was walking on the barrier between the stage and fans, throwing inflatable killer whales into the audience to bounce around, or Scanlon exiting the stage and coming back through the front of Altar Bar, Smallpools knows how to work their fans into a frenzy and involve them in a fantastic show.
-- Long Hong
I am practically giddy that Primal Scream play Mr. Smalls Thursday. Primal Scream was founded in 1982 in Glasgow, Scotland by lead singer Bobby Gillespie, who was drumming for the Jesus and Mary Chain at the time, and Jim Beattie. Their first album came 5 years later. Sonic Flower Groove is easy-breezy britpop that holds up surprisingly well after all these years.
Critical acclaim arrived two albums later, in 1991 with Screamadelica. The album combined pop hooks with the prevailing acid house sound to create a crossover sensation. Daft Punk are on record as calling Screamadelica a transformative album for them. The album went on to win the inaugural Mercury Prize.
So what does a band do after creating a compelling new sound? Go back to blues-rock? That was the notion behind 1994 misstep Give Out But Don't Give Up, which did however produce some of the band's more iconic hits, such as Jailbird and Rocks. The next two albums are both classics in my mind: 1997's Vanishing Point and 2000's XTRMNTR. The former is a tripped-out electronica, while the latter is all adrenaline and speed.
According to my own amateur sleuthing Primal Scream has been to Pittsburgh just once before, in 1994 when they opened for Depeche Mode at Star Lake. These Scots hardly ever tour North America, so it’s nothing short of incredible that Pittsburgh made it on this ever-so-brief nine-date swing of theirs.
We have a pair of tickets to giveaway for the show. To enter, VISIT our Facebook page, LIKE us (we like you, too!), and COMMENT on the post that links to this preview. We'll announce a winner on Wednesday. Tickets to the show cost $29.50 and are available via Ticketweb.
-- Brian Conway
Friday, May 8, 2015
|Toro Y Moi at Mr. Smalls, 5/7/15|
Thanks to our friend Jonathan for snapping these rad photos of Toro Y Moi at Mr. Smalls last night. Check Jonathan out on instagram (if you don't already) @pittindiefreak.
Chaz Bundick, better known as Toro Y Moi, is currently touring in support of his new album, What For?. Click here to read what NPR had to say about it. Here's the video for "Empty Nesters." Photos follow below.
TORO Y MOI: