Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Glitch Mob at Stage AE - Photos - October 23, 2014

I've never seen any Cirque du Soleil performances before, but I'm pretty sure I have an idea of how one might go down after seeing Glitch Mob. Three DJs take turns hitting on big light-up drums and pounding away at control panels that look like they were ripped from the Death Star. The future is now!

Here are some photos from their performance. 

-- B. Conway

Monday, October 27, 2014

Rubblebucket at the Rex Theater - November 1, 2014 - Preview and Ticket Giveaway

Brooklyn indie dance-pop ensemble Rubblebucket visit Pittsburgh this Saturday, November 1, at the Rex Theater. They are renowned for their live show, which features all seven members of the band splayed out on stage in what CMJ calls a “psychedelic tribal horn fiesta.” From their PR:

On this most recent run they’re making use of balloons, parading, crowd-surfing, UV paint, confetti guns and an interaction between the band and a giant flower creature from outer space in order to turn their already immersive, powerful 7-piece live experience into more of a post new wave party than a concert.”

Rubblebucket is touring in support of their new album, Survival Sounds, which came out two months ago on Communion Records (Caveman, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Michael Kiwanuka.)

Paste gave the album a 7.4, praising lead singer Kalmia Traver’s voice and the band's “intricate interplay,” including their use of “buzzing-bee synths and muted, stereo-panned, call-and-response trumpets.” PopMatters gave Survival Sounds a 7/10, but also added that the album “just won’t push Rubblebucket over the edge into indie rock royalty where they belong.”

Here's the video for the lead single off the album, “Carousel”

We have two tickets to giveaway for this show. To enter, simply send your name to us at pghmusicreport@gmail.com and put “rubblebucket” in the subject line. We'll announce a winner around lunchtime Thursday. 

Opening will be Landlady, feat. sometime Vampire Weekend saxophonist Adam Schatz. Says Pitchfork: "their sound invokes The Band if they had Dirty Projectors' skewed sense of song structure."

B. Conway.

An interview with Shaky Shrines - the Local Spotlight returns

Braden Faisant, lead singer of Shaky Shrines.
After a hiatus brought upon by personnel changes and the finite number of hours in the day, the Local Spotlight is back, in what will hopefully be at least a semi-regular thing. This week we talk with Pittsburgh's "Bad Trip Cemetery Psychedelic Garage Rockers" Shaky Shrines. I've seen these guys (and gal) a couple times now, most recently opening for JEFF the Brotherhood and Diarrhea Planet. Their live show is relentless: driving, heavy psychedelic rock with hardly any breaks between songs. You don't want to miss it:

Pittsburgh Music Report: Who am I talking to? What's your role in the band?

Shaky Shrines: This is Braden. I sing and write most of the songs in the band.  This project is my first stab at being the ‘band leader,’ and I was super fortunate to have Nate, Nate, Chelsea, Chris, and Brendan help me out.

PMR: Where did the name "Shaky Shrines" come from? It's fun to say. 

SS: Nate (guitar) and I started the band and demoed the songs from the first EP together. We went through a ton of names, but Shaky Shrines was one that just seemed to work the best. Zeb Love is a really good friend of mine – he liked the name and designed/printed the poster we sell at shows. The name/imagery just seemed to fit the aesthetic I was aiming for.

PMR: Tell me what's special about your live shows. It seems like every time a kick-ass rock band plays Pittsburgh, Shaky Shrines is the opener. There was Reignwolf, Cloud Nothings, and now Jeff the Brotherhood/Diarrhea Planet. 

SS: First off, Thank you! That seems like a compliment? Second, I have no idea.  We are constantly writing new songs and trying to make a better and better live set and I think some people have recognized it and enjoy it.  I also don’t like a long set, so we try to put together a group of songs that transition well and clock in between 20 – 30 minutes with no stops (the latest set clocks in at almost 25 minutes exactly). 
PMR: What do you make of this psychedelic garage rock revival that's going on with bands like Thee oh Sees, Ty Segall, Wooden Shjips, Black Angels, etc.

SS: I am a huge fan of all of those bands and I love everything that they are doing! My favorite band (at least at the moment) is The Warlocks. Beyond Beyond is Beyond is a label out of NYC that has been putting out some truly awesome psychedelic gems. I’m also a big fan of the Philadelphia-based blog The Styrofoam Drone.

PMR: What are your thoughts on the local music scene in Pittsburgh right now?

SS: I have always been a huge fan of Pittsburgh bands. Most recently, Gangwish put on an absolutely killer set at Howlers opening for the new band URNS (who had an incredibly heavy and awesome first show). Carousel and Outsideinside put on the best straight up rock shows I have ever seen.  I can also count at least 10 times that I’ve seen the Gotobeds this year, and they keep getting better and better and they truly have an incredible record with Poor People are Revolting. AND you have the Nox Boys writing really catchy garage-pop and playing out constantly.  Needless to say, there is always something going on in Pittsburgh and I love being a part of it.

Nathaniel Hanson of Shaky Shrines

PMR: Can you name another local band or artist in particular that you admire?

SS: Well, I will say this: I admire the people who make the music, and all of the projects they’ve had over the years. So I really admire The Mary Celeste, The Ezekiel, Teddy Duchamp’s Army, Voice In The Wire, The Modey Lemon, and Red Team Blue Team – but there are so so so many more !!!

PMR: You get to open for a band of your own choosing at any Pittsburgh venue you want.  Who and where?

SS: I wish we could’ve opened for the Night Beats at Brillobox when they came last November.  I’d like to see the Allah-Las in Pittsburgh, as well as some more west coast bands like Creeping Pink (listen to "Eris # 7"), but Thee Oh Sees at any venue would be a dream show for most of the Shaky crew. 

PMR: What's your favorite local sandwich?


PMR: What's next for Shaky Shrines? How far do you want to take this thing?

SS: We will be writing and recording as much as we can. We will also continue to open for touring acts that we support and want people in this city to hear.  If I can continue to rent veggie oil vans, we will hit the road when we get the opportunity.  At the end of the day, I love making music with my friends and as long as they support me in this endeavor, we will keep on keepin’ on.

Thanks to Braden for taking time to answer our questions. You can catch them live on Halloween at Mr. Smalls, when they open for Foxy Shazam. Tickets for the all ages show cost $16 and available online

-- B. Conway

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tune-Yards at Mr. Smalls - Concert Review - October 17, 2014

Tune-Yards at Mr. Smalls - 10.17.14
Give Merrill Garbus a damn children's show, already. But don't let her play "Gansta" or explain the thematic significance of "Water Fountain" to the kids.

Maybe it was hearing Garbus count through the hours on "Hey Life" or her backup singers' wacky, colorful outfits and fabric eyebrows or Nate Brenner's glitter goatee or a backdrop that looked like the Chesire Cat — tUnE-yArDS' vibrant, eyeful of a spectacle at Mr. Smalls wouldn't have looked out of place on "Yo Gabba Gabba." But we should hope that she doesn't give up on making this wildly fun grown-up music anytime soon.

This year’s Nikki Nack featured hookier pop songs than the excellent w h o k i l l, but the new songs still bursted at the seams with cotton candy-eccentricities. On stage, Nikki Nack was polished and precise, but not as machine-like as those of Garbus’ superhuman indie friend, Annie Clark of St. Vincent. Almost every song on Nack establishes the hook instantly, and tUnE-yArDs’ three backup singers filled in the looping gaps with stunning accuracy and synchronicity. Right out of the gate, “Sink-O” and the new record’s best song, “Real Thing,” got things off to a brassy, confident start. w h o k i l l was an extroverted record, but these songs don’t give you a chance to hide. The drums are more exuberant, the synths are louder, and Garbus really airs it out.

Initially, the show seemed to be sectioned off in blocks, starting with four Nikki Nack songs, before jumping into an older run, with a few from w h o k i l l and one from Bird Brains. The older block was more stripped down, leaving just Garbus and Brenner on stage for a beautiful, acrobatic “Powa” and the bouncy “Es-so.” This was my first time seeing tUnE-yArDs, so it was nice to get a taste of what the early shows might have been like.

Once you cast aside the zany backdrops, the songs’ jam-packed arrangements and the faux-mustaches, tUnE-yArDs is all about Garbus’ massive instrument of a voice. She has a careful and intelligent control of it — especially when nonchalantly setting up a looping track. But it’s a memorable voice for her elastic, but assertive power. The coos on “Powa” and the curdling squeals of “Bizness” are equally affirming. It took three records, but Garbus sang the truest line of her career on “Real Thing” — “Oh my God, I use my lungs.”

-- Shawn Cooke

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