Monday, September 20, 2010

Live Review - Ludo - Diesel - 9/12/10 - Pittsburgh - Concert Review - Show Review

When I saw Ludo for the first time (Warped Tour 2008) I vowed to attend any concert they played in Pittsburgh. It was an affinity unmatched by many bands I have seen live. It is a combination of things: great crowds, fantastic performance, and they are really down to earth. For lack of a better term, their shows are fun. That being said, I did not think twice about going September 12th, with opening bands There For Tomorrow, The Graduate, and Tommy and The High Pilots. With die-hard Ludo fans in tow, I headed off to Club Diesel. Walking into the venue I knew something was different. The last show I saw there was This Providence open for Hey Monday last summer. A show that tainted my opinions of the venue; it was hot, packed with teenage girls, and the line-up really was not that good. Diesel, since then, has made great improvements to the set up, with two elevated platforms on either side of the stage that have couches lining the walls. A privilege that used to be reserved for over 21 guests on the second level. These platforms provided a great view of the stage, and some breathing room from the floor crowd. There were not that many people there when I came in about fifteen minutes before Tommy and The High Pilots, just the devoted fans wearing Ludo shirts.

Surprise, surprise. I have fallen in love with yet another first act! Tommy and The High Pilots were the most perfect way to start the night. They wasted no time with introductions, though most of us were scratching our heads at where they had come from, and started off with the song "Round N' Round." I could hardly contain myself, especially when I saw Ludo's drummer Matt Palermo playing drums (later I found out that he is a permanent member). Their sound blends acoustic and electric guitars, keyboard, good old bass, and vocal harmonies. I could not help but think The Raconteurs + The Killers + pretty much any band on a greatest rock and roll radio countdown of the past thirty years. They are relatively new to the scene, forming in 2008 in Santa Barbara, California. They have two albums, "Everynight," and, "American Riviera." Members from Ludo, Tim Convy and Tim Ferrel, made appearances during their set that really got the crowd to fall in love with the act.

The Graduate brought me down a little. Unlike The High Pilots, they almost looked bored to be on stage. Justified, their songs are not so clear vocal wise, and the sound in general is pretty dense, so the less-enthused mood made a little sense. These guys were talented, but it did not translate well to me, someone who has never listened to any material prior to Sunday. They formed in 2005 in Springfield, Illinois and have played a great number of tours and shows like Warped and Lollapalooza, and have toured with Punchline, Jack's Mannequin, and Playradioplay. Some of the crowd really enjoyed the set, and sang along. It sounded like they needed to be turned down just a little and would sound infinitely better, but this could have been due to my proximity to the speakers. They were different, however, than the rest of the bands especially with a post-rock/experimental guitarist ever persistent through every melody.

There For Tomorrow took the stage. Their attitudes were a big turn off. They looked and sounded like The Jonas Brothers with a little more angst. They put on a good performance, it just was not for me. They did play a cover song they had recorded for Punk Goes Pop 2, "Ice Box" by Omarion, that really stood out. They formed in Orlando in 2003 and are signed to Hopeless records (The Dangerous Summer, Anarbor, All Time Low, and The Wonder Years). Their set really seemed to drag on, but the crowd enjoyed it.

Andrew, Matt, Tim and Tim took the stage and the crowd roared. It's an image I can hardly believe. I remember when Ludo opened for Relient K, and House of Heroes in 2008 and the crowd at Club Zoo basically boo Ludo. After "You're Awful, I Love You," their first album made after signed to Island Records that same year Ludo rarely left the road. They played a few Headlining tours before taking a break to get married and pursue other projects. When they came back this year, they also brought, "Prepare the Preparations" and the same eccentric performance on stage. Tommy from Tommy and The High Pilots played bass for them, and really brought the heat. My only worries were that they would play a lot from their newest album and I would not get to hear anything older than "You're Awful..." but they started the set with "Drunken Lament" and did not play anything from their new album until about the fourth song. I was not the only one singing along when I looked at the crowd. Ludo always sound so good, and always have a maximum amount of energy that makes their set impossible not to enjoy. A beautiful moment was when Andrew was abandoned by his band and played "Horror of Our Love" with just his electric guitar and voice. They played a long and well balanced set.

-Laura Lee Burkhardt


  1. Wow. This hits the nail on the head for me. I felt the exact same way. This was my first actual concert, and I already knew ahead of time that I liked Tommy & the High Pilots' sound. And I'm a die-hard Ludo fan. (And I never get like this for bands.)

    I saw them just a bit after you. In Philly at the Trocadero. Ludo and Tommy & the High Pilots completely rocked my world. The Graduate was.. a step down. As in I won't be purchasing any of their music, but I won't deny enjoying their set. And I was completely bored with There for Tomorrow. They may have been entertaining for the screaming teenage girls crowding around them, but I was completely unimpressed. I never thought I'd be bored at a concert.

    Then, Ludo came on and all was well with the world. Glad to see that there's someone else out there who felt the same as I!

  2. If you ever get a chance, see them in St. Louis. The show last night at the Pageant made me want to see all my favorite bands in their home towns. At one point they made everyone sit down and came out with acoustic guitars (and keyboard!) for a sing along of "Love Me Dead". It was an amazing, interactive, show.

  3. ^ It wasn't just at the St.Louis show. They did that at the Des Moines, Minneapolis, Milwaukee & Columbia.

    I completely disagree with what was said in this article about The Graduate & There For Tomorrow.

    The Graduate were fantastic & as the tour progressed their performance kept getting better!!! =D

    There For Tomorrow's vocals, performance, energy was simply flawless!

    I think its just cause you guys are a fan of Ludo maybe your stuck in that genre...? =/

    The Graduate & TFT are nowhere close to the genre that Ludo & T&THP are in...