Saturday, January 31, 2009

Toad the Wet Sprocket - Show - Homestead Caregie Library - 5/2/09


Just saw that Toad the Wet Sprocket was making a trip to pgh on May 2nd. I used to really like these guys back in the early 90's. I even remember going to a couple of their shows down in Florida when they came around. One of the most surreal concert episodes happened when at one of the shows the crowd I was standing in actually starting 'moshing'...to TWS! I couldn't believe it. But that was the 90's.
I want to attend this just for nostalgic purposes. But I am not sure what I will have going in May. Might have to wait to purchase tickets which I cannot imagine will be a big issue.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Andrew Bird - Show Announcement/ Record Review - Noble Beast - 4/7/09


Andrew Bird just came out with a new cd titled 'Noble Beast'. I have been an Andrew Bird fan ever since 'The Mysterious Production of Eggs'. He is coming to the Carnegie Music Hall in April.


I picked up the new album this past week at Paul's trying to decide between the regular $13 and deluxe at the unreal price of $25 (what is up with deluxe albums lately? I am fine with buying one that is $5 more but almost double the cost? And the ones I have purchased really aren't worth it...moving on). At first listen I wasn't too impressed...I thought his past album, "Armchair Apocrypha" was a solid performance on the back heels of his stellar 'Eggs'. However, on multiple listens this album came together. It’s much leaner than his previous outputs but includes his trademark whistling and violins. Arrangements are much simpler and focused as well. There isn't anything that 'hooks' you in, but a solid output.


I have seen Andrew Bird several times in pgh and really haven't been too impressed. The first was at a Pitt classroom put on by Manny which wasn't too bad. Then at CMU and Three Rivers Arts Festival. The problem for me his albums sound nothing like his live shows...he tries to pull off multiple arrangements by himself and with one percussionist (Doss who always opens his set with a few songs of his own) using loops and samples to produce what would sound much better with a full band. I guess he is trying to save himself money by not paying fellow musicians (he used to play live shows with his band "The Bowl of Fire") which is understandable when you’re probably pushing less than 25k units. But it just never works no matter how many times I have seen him. I even saw him at Lollapalooza a few years ago and was really hoping he would use a full band for what probably was his largest audience, however, he was there with only Doss again and the sound was really bad (there was some bleeding in from another stage). People were leaving only after a couple of songs and his leftovers were probably his core audience.

He is playing at Carnegie Music Hall which is probably the best venue in pgh (and they even sell alcohol) so if you haven't seen him and really enjoy his music check it out...it could be your thing.

91.3 WYEP - Frightened Rabbit - In Studio Performance

I just wrote a show review and wanted to add a blurb about the in studio show the next day. I was supposed to go but wasn't able to so I listened in on the radio.

I love WYEP and know they sponsor a lot of good shows and this sounded like it was definitely one. However, whoever interviewed them (I believe Cindy Howes), was really ill prepared and asked some laughable questions. I saw her at the show the previous night so maybe she was just tired. But one of the questions went along the lines of "How did you get your band name?" I had to roll my eyes as it sounded like the band did as well. Give her a pass on that one...and then the big one... (Paraphrasing) "I really think your accent is so distinguishable on your record and really makes them sound good." Lead of FR, "What do you mean?" "Well, it just so different than what we have in America." Wow. Double wow. The band is Scottish; they have different accents than Americans. Their accent is no more distinguishable than any other Scott.

I have spoken to Cindy a couple of times at shows, etc. and found her pretty sharp...maybe she was just having an off day.

Frightened Rabbit - CMU Concert Review 1/26/09


What a show. I have been to a couple of CMU sponsored shows before, both in Wiegand Gym. One was Broken Social Scene the other Andrew Bird. I found them both "ok" because of the venue; the sound always seems to jump around a gym where you never are able to distinguish the vocals. This show, however, was set at the Rangos Ballroom which was partitioned off and suited the sound much better.




We didn't show up until after the first band's set had ended. We meandered around while Arc in Round (from Philly) was setting up. I really wanted to hate these guys after a while because they took almost 30 minutes when it seemed they were ready to go after 10. To be fair I am not sure if this was driven by the students running the show or band. Although it didn't help to notice the lead try and tune his guitar about 10 times (making me believe the latter). They soon launched into their first song and it really put a smile on my face. They have an atmospheric, shoegaze sound going with vocals just distinguishable enough. It set the right tone. They then went into their next few songs which were solid, but not as even as the first. The vocals switched from the lead to female keyboardist who had some decent chops. All in all a good lead in.




Next up was Frightened Rabbit who didn't take but 5-10 minutes to get going. They kicked it in high gear right off the bat showing the crowd a lot of energy. At the time there were approximately 180-220 people in attendance which surprised me seeing as I wasn't sure a lot of people would have heard of them. They belted out several tunes from their new album 'The Midnight Organ Fight' before launching into songs from their previous record. They were definitely feeding off the energy from the crowd as everyone was hooting and hollering after each song. After the set the lead came out and did an acoustic version of an old tune which was as quiet as I have heard from a crowd that size (probably helped it was a dry show). They finished up with everyone wanting more, but closing out with just one more song. I cannot say enough about the band, venue, crowd, etc. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had in quite some time.




I am not sure who booked the band at CMU but I really hope they continue to bring in acts such as this. If this show had been at a different venue, I doubt you would have seen the crowd size or audience.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Show Announcement - Clem Snide - Club Cafe - 3.15.09


Clem Snide will playing a show at Club Cafe in March. Eef Barzelay (lead for Clem Snide) played at Club Cafe a couple of years back. I went to this basically because there was nothing else going on that evening. I wasn't sure what to expect, hearing only a few Clem songs over the years. What we heard was one of the most entertaining shows of the year. Eef had both wit and knew how to command a stage. The crowd was very much in the know of Clem Snide which added to his presence. I would recommend to attend this show if you don't have anything else going on this evening.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Show Announcement - Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Brillobox 4/11/09


Just rcvd my weekly update from Opus One Productions and saw these guys were playing a show at the Brillobox. Its been a while since I listened to them, but I was impressed by their first album "Broom" on Polyvinyl Records. They are straight indie pop act from Missouri. There new album is called "Pershing" (out in 2008)...at the time I listened to a couple of the songs but wasn't feeling it and never purchased the album. I will take another listen, but definitely will attend this show.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Show Review - 1/17/09 - Mr Gnome at Hard Rock Cafe


Due to the weather I was on the fence whether to go to this show or not. I was wondering if anyone would bet in attendance since the temperature was -10 with the wind chill. I roped a couple of people to attend the show with me. Surprisingly there were quite a few people at the Hard Rock Cafe, probably about 100. Most were leftovers from dinner or a party but several were there to see the opening acts.


The first was Matt Otis who did a solo routine. Seemed like a nice guy but nothing to pay attention to. The next was Elephant, a local band from pgh who I had never seen. They sounded ok, but really needed to lose the lead vocalist who had no voice. As soon as they were done a majority of the crowd seemed to leave which was unfortunate because they really missed out.


Mr Gnome which is a 2 piece started ripping into the set right away. They remind you a little of the White Stripes in the sense that there is the guitar and drums, but with roles reversed (female lead, male drummer). Nicole Barille uses a step ladder to bounce up and down while playing the guitar while Sam Meister sets the pace with both drums and keyboards. I was wondering if Nicole's voice sounded like it did on their excellent album "Deliver This Creature". Sure enough she can hit the high and lows without any problem. One of the best voices I have heard in quite some time.


I had to check out the stage because I wasn't sure Sam was hitting every note. I wondered if they were incorporating some loop or sample...but his precision was dead on with no let down. They both had the energy and presence to keep you engrossed, not to mention Nicole is very easy on the eyes.


I just wish more of the crowd had stuck around to see them. I believe they would have appreciated it. Unfortunately only about 20 people appeared to be there to see Mr Gnome but definitely rcvd their money's worth.







Saturday, January 10, 2009

3 Worst Concerts of 2008 in pgh

Since I posted about the top concerts in pgh I need to make one about the worst. So, top 3 worst concerts in 2008:

3) Bob Dylan - American Music Union Festival - I am not a huge Dylan fan, but do appreciate his influence. I stayed the entire Saturday evening to see him and his band not realizing his demise. This was one of the most incoherent, rambling shows I have ever witnessed. I have seen other blogs comment on his performance so I won't go too much in depth. Needless to say we left after 2 songs. Would never, ever waste my time, money to see him again.

2) Juliana Hatfield- 91.3 Concert Pitt Green - I really enjoy her earlier music (mid 90's) but haven't heard anything in quite sometime. Out of everyone that was playing this festival, I was most looking forward to seeing her. The show was really strange. You couldn't hear her...her music sounded bland...and most of all when spoke to the crowd it was meandering and pointless. It was one of the most disappointing shows of the year.

1) Dressy Bessy - Club Cafe - I have seen Dressy Bessy once before at Club Cafe and really enjoyed it. But this was definitely the worst show of the year. Dressy Bessy started off their set with several technical difficulties. It happens. Then they proceeded to diss the club and the sound man stating they didn't get a chance to soundcheck. Fair enough (as I am not sure who's fault that was). A high pitch humming noise was emanating from one of the guitars the whole time. Then the female lead singer made the comment, "This isn't an all ages show so this is what you get." Funny thing is I went on their website and every time they have come through Pittsburgh they have played at Club Cafe (4 times) at a +21 venue. Hmm...if you really felt that way why do continue to play there? Go play at Garfields. Don't play at a known +21 venue. Towards the end of the set the lead singer stated (in a big as*hole move), "I would just like to thank the soundman for tonight." Wow. If you want to soundcheck make sure to be there early...don't blame someone else (although the soundman is pretty horrendous in general). Worst show of 2008.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Concert Announcement - Frightened Rabbit


When I saw this on pollstar I had to verify just to make sure it wasn't for some other city. But sure enough Frightened Rabbit is coming to CMU on Monday, 1/26/09. There really isn't much information out there right now...their myspace site points you to activitiesboard.org which doesn't have a passage.

Arc in Round is the opener...don't know much about them. I have both of Frightened Rabbit's ablums which are very good...esp. their latest "The Midnight Organ Fight". They are in the vein of The Twilight Sad (from Scotland as well)...Please check them out as their sound as their music is well worth it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Show Announcement - Mr Gnome


These guy (and gal) are coming on 1/16 to the Hard Rock Cafe. I missed this duo when they came to the brillobox a few months ago and have regretted it since. They are 2 piece from Cleveland one on drums the other other on guitar with female lead vocals. Her voice reminds me a lot of Beth Gibbons of Portishead...but instead over soft, lush melodies you are greeted more with loud noise on occassion.




I have never attend a show at Hard Rock so I am not sure what to expect. The starting time is at 10p with 2 openers so there is a good chance Gnome won't hit the stage until 11:30p. Luckily its a Friday night. Check them out on myspace page, you won't be disappointed.