Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ticket Giveaway Winners et al

Been a bit slow in posting these days. Working 60+ hours work weeks will do that to you. We will have more contests coming up, some that should be popular. In the meantime, congratulations to Angela T. (winner of Cavo Tickets) and Micahel P. (winner of Okkervil River).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Okkervil River - 8.30.12 - Mr Smalls - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Okkervil River are making another appearance at Mr Smalls next Thursday, 8.30. This is their first tour in quite some time and their first show in Pgh in four years. The band made our very first post back in 2008 as one of the top shows for that year. The band's last proper studio album was back in 2009 called I Am Very Far which was met with very favorable reviews. Their last release was an EP of covers entitled Golden Opportunities 2 which you can download from their website for free. The record reflected music from obscure songwriters from Ted Lucas, Jim Sullivan, David McComb, and Bill Fay. Be expecting the band to be trying out new songs on this tour. We have a free pair of tickets to the show. As usual just email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com to enter. 

From their press:

When Okkervil River released their breakthrough 'Black Sheep Boy' in 2005, Uncut wrote that "Sheff's novelistic lyrics and the dexterous blend of country, folk and nervy indie-rock suggest a band approaching the peak of their powers." A New York Times piece on their 2007 follow-up 'The Stage Names' (and its companion album 'The Stand Ins') echoed, "Sheff writes like a novelist," and Pitchfork called him, "One of the best lyric-writers in indie rock." But on 'I am Very Far,' Sheff emerges not only as a songwriter of the highest caliber, but a producer and arranger of singular vision. Abandoning the tidy conceptual arcs of Okkervil River's previous albums, 'I am Very Far' is a monolithic, darkly ambiguous work, one that doesn't readily offer up its secrets.

Work on 'I am Very Far' started in early 2009, after a year spent on the music of others. Sheff contributed vocals to The New Pornographer's album 'Together,' wrote a song for Norah Jones' 'The Fall,' produced an upcoming album for Brooklyn-based Bird of Youth, and helmed the Roky Erickson record 'True Love Cast Out All Evil,' for which his album notes received a GRAMMY nomination. "I'd never worked with Roky before and never produced someone else's record before. It was a life-changing experience," Sheff recalls, "When it was over I felt both completely drained and completely inspired." Immediately upon wrapping up work and leaving Erickson's company, Sheff drove to his home state of New Hampshire for lengthy isolated writing sessions. "I wanted to go back home and re-start writing again, like I'd never written a song previously," he says, "and I wanted the music and lyrics to be both completely wedded together and a little bit beyond my control. I kept trying to write from the state of mind of someone who had just been born, that feeling of being very young and being aware of not existing before a certain moment, which is a feeling I remember having as a kid."

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $16 and can be found here. More information about the band at these links:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Cavo - Stage AE - 8.28.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Cavo will be making a stop performing at Stage AE next Tuesday, 8.28. Also on the bill is Evanescence, Chevelle, Halestorm and New Medicine on what is being called the 'Carnival of Madness Tour'. The St Louis based band is touring behind their new album Thick as Thieves, released this past April. The band has been active since 2001, releasing several LP and EP's. After going through a few lineup changes the band is tighter than ever with the release of the new album. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show courtesy of Cavo. As usual just email us with your name to pghmusicreport@gmail.com to enter. 

From their press about Thick as Thieves:

Smith calls the album the unveiling of who Cavo truly is. “It's a collection of vastly different songs with varying tones and tempos, kind of like we’re four completely unique people with different backgrounds coming together to tell one common story,” he said. There are high’s, like “Last Day," which is a potent, up tempo sing-along, while there are low’s, like "Never Gonna Hurt,” a relatable ballad that will yank at your heartstrings. There's "Celebrity," a chunky, guitar-driven song with escalating tension, while "Circles" boasts a fiery riff that refuses to be extinguished…sorta like the band’s spirit.

Overall, writing with Cavo allows the band the chance to work out his life on paper and to say something without having to wait for a response; this is precisely why the fans connect so deeply with them. Walker commented, "You get to say something to someone, and for three-and-a-half minutes, they listen and they take it with them. 'California' is me telling my dad what I’m going through since he passed away. In reality, he’s not here, but that's not important. I get to say it out loud every night."

LaRoy summed up Cavo in 2011 and beyond by saying that this is band is the most successful relationship he has ever been in. "That's the coolest thing about it," he admitted. "We are four guys who hang together, play together and actually want to be friends again." The road to this healthy place could have been littered with a huge casualty. With their relationships repaired, Cavo is armed with a new album that finds the band where they need to be. With Thick as Thieves, there is nowhere to go but up.

Tickets for the show are $35 and can be found here. More information about the band can be found at these links:


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Show Preview - Slim Cessna's Auto Club - 8.29.12 - New Hazlett Theater - Concert Preview - Pittsburgh

As mentioned this past week, one of the best venues to catch a show in town is the New Hazlett Theater. Again, if you missed The Tallest Man On Earth at this venue, yeah, you made a mistake. This is the fourth show I have caught there and it never disappoints. Hence, Slim Seccna's Auto Club will be appearing there on Wednesday, August 29th. The band first formed in Denver, Colorado in 1992, now rests its head in Pittsburgh, although rarely performing here. The band has released 5 LP's, the most recent this past year called Unentitled. Mixing blues, southern gospel, rockabilly the group is often referred to as 'Country Gothic'. The band utilizes different instrumentation from your normal setup including the standup bass, steel guitar, some banjo and autoharp. The band brands itself as 'American' music and is known for their intense live sets. This will be their first show in quite some time.

From their bio:

Engaging, riveting, sad and humorous; demanding the audience to participate both live and while listening to their albums; Slim Cessna's Auto Club has been branded with every musical description possible. This seems fitting, as SCAC describes their music as American (Is that not what America is and has been, a mixture of every one and thing resulting in something new?); and after two decades of working and living as SCAC, they have created their own genre.

The instruments are drums, upright bass, pedal steel, banjos, piano, guitar, vocals and stories. They have recorded critically acclaimed albums (Village Voice, Denver Post, San Francisco Chronicle) on Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles label. Spin Magazine and No Depression have described them as the best live band in America. The songs are each thoughtfully crafted with unique arrangements, executed by superb musicianship, then fully realized through original, insightful and intelligent lyrics. With two of the most charismatic frontmen around (Westword) and four accomplished musicians, SCAC is the past, present and future of American music.

The show begins at 8p and tickets are only $12 and can be found here. More information about the venue and Slim Cessna Auto Club can be found at these locations:


Monday, August 6, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Old Crow Medicine Show w/ The Lumineers & The Milk Carton Kids - Stage AE - 8.12.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Three great bands are playing a premiere showcase this Sunday at Stage AE. Old Crow Medicine Show is headlining the event, but their counterparts are just as worthy. The most buzzed about band among the three are The Lumineers. We should have an interview with them being posted this week (hopefully). We are in a bit of a holding pattern, but surely you have heard their single getting much play, 'Ho, Hey'. If you haven't, well you just don't know it. We have featured The Milk Carton Kids in the past which you can find here. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show courtesy of our good friends at Stage AE. As usual, just email us with your name to enter at: pghmusicreport@gmail.com

From their press:

The Lumineers
The Lumineers are touring to support their great debut album, which saw release on April 3 and landed in the top 10 albums on iTunes overnight, and which has been in the Billboard top 100 for eight straight months. Tour dates have been selling like crazy, too, with the band selling out shows in almost every market they are playing. Rolling Stone called them the American equivalent of Mumford and Sons. They’ll be going on tour with Brandi Carlile and Old Crow Medicine show this summer.

Old Crow Medicine Show
OCMS’ new album Carry Me Back will be released tomorrow on July 17 through ATO Records. Carry Me Back is the band's fourth studio album and first since 2008's Tennessee Pusher, and features 12 brand new tracks that sonically span the band's career while still pushing them forward in new directions as musicians and songwriters. The album was recorded at the legendary Sound Emporium studios in Nashville (O Brother, Where Art Thou?; REM's Document; Robert Plant and Alison Krauss's Raising Sand). Carry Me Back was produced by Ted Hutt (Gaslight Anthem, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly). Hutt pushed the band in a whole new way that they hadn't been pushed before.

Old Crow Medicine show have a long history of success, including sales totaling over 700,000 albums, a RIAA Gold-certified song with "Wagon Wheel," an appearance on Austin City Limits, three performances on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, and multiple appearances on A Prairie Home Companion, various NPR programs and the Grand Ole Opry.

Show begins at 7:30 with doors at 6:30. Tickets are $35 and can be found here

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ticket Giveaway - Band of Skulls - Mr Smalls - 8.10.12 - Show Preview - Concert Preview

Band of Skulls will be playing this Friday, 8.10 at Mr Smalls Theater. The Southampton, England base band broke out onto the scene in 2009 with their debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey on XL Records. The trio has been compared to the White Stripes, The Black Keys, Jack White with their music being described as 'bluesy sludge'. Their latest LP came out this year and was met with favorable reviews entitled Sweet Sour. Known for their jaw dropping live sets, the band is just coming off an appearance at Lollapalooza. We are happy to be giving away a pair of tickets to the show care of our friends at the Double O. As usual just email us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com to enter. 

From their press:

January brought a new perspective and a new location – the trio returned to the cradle of their first album, their home studio in Southampton. “It’s a tiny little room, but there’s something about it,” says the drummer. ”If you can make something sound good in there, it’ll sound good anywhere.” The creative juices soon started flowing, and the three songwriters – Marsden, Hayward and Richardson – were collaborating more fully than ever before. Scraps of melodies, lyrics and riffs fell into place, and complete songs began to emerge: the slow-burning album opener Sweet Sour, rockers Lies and The Devil Takes Care Of His Own. The results were designed for bigger crowds. “We wanted to write material that’s primed for where we’d got to,” says Marsden. “Beefier songs for bigger stages.”

By the time they reached Rockfield, the legendary residential studio in Wales, the band were primed to road-test the new material, playing a handful of US dates in a break from the album sessions. The response was electrifying: at the Beachside Festival in San Diego, one over-zealous fan rocked out so hard during new track You’re Not Pretty But You’ve Got It Going On he was Tasered by the police. “I guess he was having too much of a good time,” shrugs Richardson. “It felt like a real moment”.

At the other end of the spectrum, tracks such as Hometowns, look closer to the band’s Southampton origins for inspiration. “A lot of the songs reference coming back home, realising how important it is to have that base,” says Richardson. Three years ago, they couldn’t wait to get away…Marsden and Hayward have been making music together since the latter was 12. “When me and Russ started playing together, dad wouldn’t let us play a gig until we were good enough,” says Hayward. “By the time of our debut gig we were the most over-rehearsed school band in England.”

Richardson, who designs all of the band’s artwork, was drawn in after meeting Marsden at art college in Winchester, despite having never before picked up a bass. Naming themselves Fleeing New York, there followed a long period of frustratingly gradual progress, during which the threesome took jobs working in venues around Southampton. “We always had odd jobs, but always with the mentality that it was going to happen for us one day,” says Hayward. “Pulling pints in music venues was frustrating because you’d see these bands coming through and you’d be like, For fuck’s sake, I so badly want to do this.”

Show begins at 8p with doors at 7p. Tickets are $18 and can be found here

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Top Shows 2012 - Mid Year Report

I usually post a mid-year report on the best shows I have seen since January. However, I missed the boat due to, well a few things. Since I saw two of the best this week, I am posting now.

If you didn't catch Drusky's back to back to back concerts this week you missed out. Two of these will probably make my eoy list. But let's do the top 3.

#3  M83 Carnegie Library Homestead - 8.2 - Amazing show in a good venue. Beach House and Sleigh Bells lighting crews should attend and see how a professional setup is done. If you were at either of those shows you know that every 3 seconds you were blinded by a strobe directly in your eyes. Plus, silohuettes are cool and add ambiance, but at some point I would actually enjoy seeing the band. That wasn't a problem at this show. The lighting was remarkable with no issue of actually making out the faces of the band. Plus, I felt I was watching more of a theater performance than an actual concert. I wish more had seen opener Big Black Delta because they would have enjoyed. You can't take alcohol into the theater (most were drinking outside), but you can drink water and soda inside. Makes sense.

#2  The Tallest Man On Earth - New Hazlett Theater 8.1 - If you missed this sold out show at this venue, with this artist, shame on you. There is something to be said for a sold out concert that is seated in a stellar theater where there isn't a bad seat (although we were 4th row floor). As with recent capacity concerts (Beach House, Sleigh Bells) sometimes they can annoy with constant bumping by drunk individuals or not being able to get a decent view of the stage. This wasn't the case this evening. I was a bit worried when TMOE ventured onstage in a wife beater looking like a Swedish Gypsy, but my concern was soon laid to rest. Kristian Matsson was onstage with only a microphone, stool, piano, and a few guitars. His reach and tone were unmistakable, even haunting at times. He had the quiet confidence of someone who enjoys the spotlight, but is not overwhelmed by it. My girl Sam was almost brought to tears by his performance holding back a couple of times next to me (she's also an uber fan). I won't go that far, but the performance will stay with me quite some time. Oh, and in this theater, you can drink alcohol in your seat. Step it up Homestead.

#1 Jaymay - Club Cafe - 1.25 - I already spoke about this show here. Let's just say Jaymay has what a solo performer should: wit, charisma, captivating, etc. Fantastic performance, hand's down my favorite still this year, although TMOE is a very close second.