Thursday, July 22, 2010

Show Review - Tigers Jaw - 7/15/10 - 222 Ormsby - Live Review - Pittsburgh

It is a nice change of pace to go to a show where the marquee is green sidewalk chalk on the stoop of a house in Mount Oliver that serves as a venue most Friday and Saturday nights, especially when the line up is as promising as The Sidekicks, Tigers Jaw, Shady Ave, Code Orange Kids, and The Edukators. If you are up for a not-so-quiet evening in a basement with Graffiti walls come to 222 Ormsby, you will not be disappointed. You may even be inspired to shave your head.

When I first heard Tigers Jaw's song "I Saw Water" from their Self-Titled full length I vowed that if they were playing a show in Pittsburgh I would be in attendance. It just so happens that they were booked on July Fifteenth at my favorite DIY Venue, 222 Ormsby. A "Do It Yourself" venue is anything but a public venue, generally someones house that is occasionally opened to the public for shows. Their owners will book shows not only to prove that anyone can book shows, but to ensure an entertaining and talented line-up. 222 first stumbled into my existence when I attended an Andrew Jackson Jihad show there last summer and fell in love with the subculture such a venue provided. It is a small venue where anything goes, couches and abandoned furniture are used as decor, there is drinking in the back yard, less than fifty people attending, and a less than to be desired sound system. It is also a venue where some of the most brilliant undiscovered bands and artists give great performances. It is certainly a place for young and upcoming local bands to get a foot in the door. For example, two of the opening bands on Thursday, Code Orange Kids and The Edukators, are under twenty years old and respected by the underground Pittsburgh Scene.

The Edukators was first up on the hot summer night. It was my first time hearing their mesmerizing blend of pop-punk riffs, dance beats, and heartfelt lyrics and I was blown away. I recognized their bassist and back up vocalist, Joe, from the folk-punk Pittsburgh native band I love to pieces that opened up for Rocky Votolato at Garfield Artworks in April, Wifebeater! In addition to Joe, there were three other fellas on guitars and drums. Matt V., their lead vocalist played guitar with a smile. While their second guitarist, Matt W., had many technical difficulties I still enjoyed his and his band's performance. When I get the chance (which will not be hard considering The Edukators open for many shows in the Pittsburgh area) I will certainly go out to see them again.

Shady Avenue played next. It was my second time seeing them (the first last Summer opening for Andrew Jackson Jihad) and they were good. It seems to be a common trend with 222 that the same bands open for a lot of the shows, making 222 more of a community rather than a venue. The heat kept most of the crowd outside, including myself, but Shady Avenue is a respectable band and the oldest (thirty and forty-somethings) on the bill.

There is a lot to be said about Code Orange Kids and their hardcore sound, female vocalist, and happy demeanor. Although I am not particularly fond of their music, the three total times I have seen them the crowd has loved the in your face, angst and aggression. It is hard not to love these kids (none of the members have graduated High School) seeing as are some of the nicest in the PGH Underground scene, however, you would not think so by their abrasive and hard sound. Another member from Wifebeater!, Reba, screamed and played Bass while Eric and Greg both played guitars, and Jami played drums.

I was excited when it was Tigers Jaw's turn to play in the sauna that was 222; after all, they were what brought me out. Tigers Jaw is a five-piece band on Run For Cover Records from Scranton, PA that started in 2006. They are hard to describe in terms of genre, but they are a general indie rock band with a bit more melodrama. They only have released one full-length, a split with Balance and Composure, two EP's, and a 7". Tigers Jaw has a unique sound all their own that combines pop-punk, rock, indie, and pop into a cohesive blend that will appease the ears and mind. One of my favorite things about Tigers Jaw is how simple and sincere the music and lyrics are making it very easy for almost anyone to relate to such emotional tunes as "Plane Vs. Tanks Vs. Submarine," "Chemicals," "I Was Never Your Boyfriend," and "Never Saw It Coming." Once the band was set up, and had discussed what they should open up with under their breath, the first chords of "The Sun" buzzed through the speakers and nothing else mattered to those of us bobbing from side to side in the front. There was a movement in the small crowd and many smiles that carried on through the entire set that seemed to finish entirely too soon. It was an attendee that suggested they play "Plane Vs. Tank Vs. Submarine" straight into "I Saw Water" as their close, a decision I concluded as the best of the night. When "I Saw Water" hit, the first row (including myself) swarmed Adam as he shared the microphone, and when the song ended it left most with a confused expression as if to say, "that's it?"

But that was not it! The Sidekicks were up next. Contrary to the rest of the bands I had not heard of this four piece Punk-rock-pop band from Cleveland, Ohio. Perhaps the crowd's favorite of the night and within reason. The boys put on a stellar performance with crystal clear vocals that reminded me of a not so pop-like Ludo or You, Me, and Everyone We Know. They played a decent sized set that kept the crowd, including myself, bobbing and dancing.

I would recommend looking up 222, and all the bands that played on Thursday if you are looking for something new and exciting to satisfy your music palette. I urge our readers to support our local music scene because we have such a great one if you look a little deeper than the mainstream.

-Laura Lee Burkhardt