VIA Festival starts today, and I don't know where to begin. For five years VIA has been a celebration of cutting-edge music, art, and technology, especially the places where the boundaries separating them begin to break down and merge. This year, VIA has expanded to include a simultaneous weekend in Chicago.
There are well over fifty (50!) musicians performing all over the city, including plenty of excellent local acts. Here is a small, day-to-day, by-no-means-comprehensive selection of noteworthy performances and events. Don't feel like picking and choosing? Buy an all-access pass for all five days for $100 and get in everywhere, or a weekend pass for $70.
While the rest of the city watches the Pirates, I'm going to be at Real Estate Wednesday, at Altar Bar. But the official kickoff party is at Cattivo, in Lawrenceville. Nine different musicians will be performing all night long. Even if you don't know any of the DJs on the bill, its worth attending just to hear something unlike anything you've ever heard before: that's what VIA is all about. One late addition to the bill is local electronic artist Ennui. Tickets are just $10, $12 at the door.
|Deafheaven. Photo credit: Kat Gollock|
A few months ago three of us wrote a piece that named fifteen bands that are overdue to play in Pittsburgh. Deafheaven was one of Shawn's selections. Here's what he had to say:
The black metal rejects last played Pittsburgh in 2011 at The Smiling Moose, opening for Russian Circles. Three years doesn’t seem like a long time, but Deafheaven aren’t the same band as they were supporting Roads to Judah. They obliterated all genre-distinctions and expectations with 2013’s Sunbather, an instant-classic of a rock album. I saw Deafheaven play the record in its entirety earlier this summer at the Rock and Roll Hotel in Washington D.C., and it was an appropriately overwhelming, physically painful and transcendent experience. George Clarke and Kerry McCoy seem to have found the proper supporting cast to recreate their titanic soundscapes in a live setting, and seem to be having a lot more fun in the process.
They will be at the Rex Theater with fellow black-metal band Liturgy, from Brooklyn, and Pittsburgh's Slices. Tickets are $17 in advance, $20 at the door.
We already interviewed avant-jazz trio Bee vs. Moth, who will be at the Thunderbird, in a previous post. You'll probably still be riding a surge of adrenaline from Deafheaven the night before, so why not ride it out and see Pittsburgh's own Code Orange, at Cattivo, in Lawrenceville. The City Paper had an excellent profile on the hardcore act last week. "We want to make the heaviest record of this year," said drummer and vocalist Jami Morgan, "and we also want to make the weirdest record of this year."
The show starts early, 6:30pm, with four openers. Tickets are just $12.
The main event for VIA takes place downtown, in the gorgeous Union Trust Building, on Grant Street. Zebra Katz, Blue Hawaii, Traxman, Cities Aviv, and more headline what should be an insane, all-night dance party inside the building's basement. Interactive video displays will complement the music. $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Can't make it down? VICE will be live-streaming the event.
|Steve Gunn. Photo credit Constance Mensh|
VIA winds down with three final performers, at Lawrenceville's Thunderbird Cafe. Of particular note is guitarist/songwriter Steve Gunn. I'm a huge Kurt Vile fan, and Gunn toured with the Vile and the Violators in 2012. His style of playing is said to be influenced by "Delta and Piedmont country blues, ecstatic free jazz, and psych, as well as Gnawa and Carnatic music." His new album, Melodies for a Savage Fix, got a 5-star review from Mojo, who called him a "cosmic-psych visionary." Listen for yourself:
We are very pleased to announce that we are giving away a pair of tickets to two of the VIA performances: Deafheaven at the Rex, 9/2, and Code Orange at Cattivo, 9/3.
To enter for one or both of these giveaways, simply email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put the name of the show or shows you are entering for in the subject line.
We will announce a winner for each show on the morning of the performance: Deafheaven Thursday and Code Orange Friday.
– B. Conway