Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Skrillex at Stage AE - Photos - October 21, 2014

Skrillex at Stage AE 10.21.14
Wild night at Stage AE with Skrillex. Here are some shots of the show and the crowd:

Monday, October 20, 2014

J Mascis at Club Cafe, with Luluc - October 15, 2014 - Concert Photos and Review

So many times I've seen a guitarist at a show and come away thinking, man, that guy/gal is incredible - it can't get any better than that. Then I see someone like J Mascis, a man who is regularly ranked among the top guitar players of all time, and I'm reminded what a truly incredible guitar performance sounds like.

I was worried about seeing the Dinosaur Jr. frontman at what was I assumed was a solo acoustic gig. Why would I want to see the renowned fuzz-slinger strumming away like James Taylor? I guess it works for Neil Young. Thankfully it was largely a moot point: Mascis brought his fuzzbox with him. And his Marshall. A quick tap of the foot pedals and you'd think he was wielding his Squier again.

Mascis's setlist was primarily made up of songs from his new solo album, Tied to a Star, plus some Dinosaur Jr. covers, including "Out There," the standout lead track from 1993's Where You Been. There was a beautiful version of Mazzy Star's "Fade Into You" thrown in toward the end that served to highlight Mascis's distinctive, fragile vocals.

At the end of the set Mascis, like so many performers at Club Cafe before him, realized it's next to impossible to walk backstage and then back out again for an encore. So he just walked to the end of the stage, made a quip about playing more because there was nowhere for him to go, and asked if there were any requests. (Some joker yelled out for Sebadoh.) He ended up closing on a cover of the The Cure's "Just Like Heaven:" 


Those in the sold-out crowd, who had dropped $50 a pop for the chance to see the indie rock legend in such an intimate venue, left talking like it was worth every cent.

Here are some photos:



Thursday, October 16, 2014

Minus the Bear at Club Cafe, with O'brother - Concert Review and photos - October 14, 2014

Minus the Bear kick off their Lost Loves & Beer Commercials tour at Club Cafe in Pittsburgh. All photos (c) PMR.
Only a few hours before the start of their new tour, Minus the Bear announced via Twitter that their longtime drummer, Erin Tate, wouldn't be joining them on the road. He'll be back, they say, but in the meantime his drum tech, Kiefer Matthias, will fill in. It could be seen as a bit dishonest to drop this on fans moments before the tour begins, well after most people already purchased tickets to see what was presumably the full lineup. Nevertheless, Kiefer, who looks about half the age of the rest of the band, acquitted himself well. If you aren't a longtime Minus the Bear fan who can recognize and name each of the members, you probably wouldn't have noticed a difference.

The only mention of the lineup change came after the second song, “Let's Play Clowns,” when lead singer Jake Snider, after saying how nice it was to be back in Pittsburgh, said simply, “this is Kiefer.” The rest of the set had all the energy and enthusiasm you'd want from a band's first night back playing together, but without any of the sloppiness you might expect. After more than a decade together its no surprise that the veteran band wouldn't waste any time getting back to form.

The sold-out crowd, who all paid $35 for the privilege of standing inches from one of their favorite bands, was ecstatic. The first six songs followed the track listing from the Beer Commercials EP exactly, before launching into a career-spanning set that ended with a pair from Highly Refined Pirates. I think everyone there would say it was worth the extra dough to see a band of Minus the Bear's stature in an intimate (150 person capacity) venue. I'm just glad they didn't kill the energy with an acoustic set in the middle, like they did last time they visited, with INVSN.

O'brother, from Atlanta, opened. Man those dudes are loud. I caught part of their set once before, when they opened for The Sword back in March at Mr. Smalls. Droning guitars and vocals are their hallmark. There's not much variety in the songs, but after a while the performance, which the crowd responded well to, becomes almost hypnotic. 

Here are some photos from the performance: 



-- B. Conway