Friday, May 29, 2015

Local Show Weekend Extravaganza

Another Joe Mruk masterpiece

There are so many great local shows happening this weekend that it makes my head spin. Let's try to make sense of it all:


At SPACE Gallery, 8:30pm (8pm doors; $5) is The Garment District and Butterbirds. Garment District is the project of multi-instrumentalist Jennifer Baron, a founding member of Brooklyn’s The Ladybug Transistor (Merge Records), with contributions from family and friends. Highly recommended for fans of 60s-style psych-pop and psychedelia. There's also a chance we'll hear new songs from The Garment District's new album, which will be released later this year on Texas-based experimental label, Kendra Steiner Editions.

Later, swing by Brillobox (10pm music, $8) for a pair of Pittsburgh indie stalwarts, The Red Western and Andre Costello and the Cool Minors. They'll be joined by Cleveland band Seafair. No albums or EPs being released at this one -- just a night of good tunes from three bands that are a little alt-country, but mostly rock and roll. 

Also happening: Bash on the Boulevard, a free concert event in Brookline. Sorry kids, 21+. The full lineup:  
9:30PM Bad Custer @ Brookline Pub
10:00PM City Steps @ Gordon's Lounge
10:30PM Chrome Moses @ Brookline Pub
11:00PM LoFi Delphi @ Gordon's Lounge

The Bash also has its very own Joe Mruk poster: 

FINALLY, there's an excellent triple-bill happening at Thunderbird (9pm; $5), when fan favorites Donora are joined by all-gal supergroup Dream Phone, and the bad boys of Blawnox, The Nox Boys



Bloomfield's Proper People release their debut EP at Howler's, with support from Big Gypsy and Nik Sea & The Blue Tops.  Everyone I've spoken with has raved about Big Gypsy, so I'm excited to see them in person for the first time. 

Meanwhile, in Lawrenceville, at Cattivo (9:30, $7), Grand Piano headlines a trio of heavy hitters when they release their new EP, Sea. Wreck Loose and Working Breed open. Catch a sneak preview of one of the new Grand Piano tunes over at their Bandcamp.

Finally, at Brillobox, it's a triple bill of Pittsburgh pop with Delicious Pastries, Balloon Ride Fantasy, and City Steps. Balloon Ride Fantasy is filming the performance to help with their candidacy for a spot to play in Summerfest in Milwaukee. So show up and dance your ass off. And as a special added bonus, the show will transition right into the Strangeways after party, where they'll be spinning britpop, postpunk, indie, and psych. 

And did we mention that this is happening Saturday too: 



Weather Permitting kicks off at 5pm Sunday. $10 for adults, free for kids. Here's what we had to say about it in NEXTpittsburgh

The first installment kicks off with family-style folk music by The Hills and The Rivers, which features Isaac Hill (guitar, vocals), Heidi Hill (vocals, percussion), Faith Hersey (djembe), James Bristol (stand-up bass), Noel Mullen (flute, vocals), Chris Fazio (fiddle, trumpet and Ian Hill (mandolin). Also performing will be local country music staple Slim Forsythe along with special guests.
Local food trucks and breweries, as well as a farmer’s marketplace, BBQ section and space for children’s activities, help to create a picnic-like setting as well as a creative use of the nursery’s grounds, which sells a wide selection of plants, mulch, landscaping supplies, pavers, treated lumber and garden art. On Sunday, attendees can fuel up with grub from the Mac and Gold, Steer and Wheel and Oh My Grill food trucks, and wash it all down with libations from Rock Bottom Brewery.

Did we miss anything? Probably. Leave any glaring omissions in the comments. 

-- B. Conway

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

PMR is on Vacation

I am going to Portland for a week. PMR will be updated when I get back.  Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hawthorne Heights at the Club at Stage AE - May 4, 2015 - Photos

Thanks to our photographer Greg (instagram: @genericpieces) for these gnarly photos of Hawthorne Heights. Miss them this time around? You can catch them again at Altar Bar June 27 w/ From Autumn to Ashes, Sleepwave, and Extinction A.D.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Smallpools at Altar Bar, w/ Vinyl Theatre and Grizfolk - April 27, 2015 - Photos and Concert Review

Smallpools in Pittsburgh, 4/27/15

This past Monday Night, Altar Bar was host to a trio of sets from Vinyl Theatre, Grizfolk and Smallpools. Starting the night off was Vinyl Theatre, whom I had heard on Spotify almost two years ago before their Gold EP was even released. At that time, I felt the few tracks released on Spotify showed promise, particularly “Tokyo”, but that they were still a bit unpolished in their craft. Cut to today, with their full LP “Electrogram”, they have fulfilled that indie electro-pop sounding promise that I was hoping to hear from Vinyl Theatre. Their short set was great and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how their setlist changes on their next tour with The Mowgli’s. This reviewer would sure love the welcome edition of “Stay” on their setlist, but only time will tell how their setlist and stagecraft grows.

Grizfolk continued a night of elecro-pop themed sets, adding a folky feeling into the night that the audience was very much taken with at Altar Bar. Playing a multitude of songs from “From The Spark” EP, Grizfolk smartly got the audience involved several times in their set and brought their excitement up before Smallpools came to take up the stage.

Smallpools’ LOVETAP! LP is one of my favorites of the year thus far, providing that indie electro-pop sound that I absolutely love and their setlist did not disappoint. I love all the details of the show down to the little white Persian Hound statues on the stage that they’ve been using on tours past and present all the way to how their stories on stage are enjoyably obvious as to which song was next in their setlist. They know how to work their fans, with frontman on keys, Sean Scanlon never hesitating to engage with the audience. Whether it was walking on the barrier between the stage and fans, throwing inflatable killer whales into the audience to bounce around, or Scanlon exiting the stage and coming back through the front of Altar Bar, Smallpools knows how to work their fans into a frenzy and involve them in a fantastic show.

-- Long Hong




Primal Scream at Mr. Smalls - Concert Preview and Ticket Giveaway - May 14, 2015


I am practically giddy that Primal Scream play Mr. Smalls Thursday. Primal Scream was founded in 1982 in Glasgow, Scotland by lead singer Bobby Gillespie, who was drumming for the Jesus and Mary Chain at the time, and Jim Beattie. Their first album came 5 years later. Sonic Flower Groove is easy-breezy britpop that holds up surprisingly well after all these years.

Critical acclaim arrived two albums later, in 1991 with Screamadelica. The album combined pop hooks with the prevailing acid house sound to create a crossover sensation. Daft Punk are on record as calling Screamadelica a transformative album for them.  The album went on to win the inaugural Mercury Prize.

So what does a band do after creating a compelling new sound? Go back to blues-rock? That was the notion behind 1994 misstep Give Out But Don't Give Up, which did however produce some of the band's more iconic hits, such as Jailbird and Rocks.  The next two albums are both classics in my mind: 1997's Vanishing Point and 2000's XTRMNTR. The former is a tripped-out electronica, while the latter is all adrenaline and speed. 

According to my own amateur sleuthing Primal Scream has been to Pittsburgh just once before, in 1994 when they opened for Depeche Mode at Star Lake. These Scots hardly ever tour North America, so it’s nothing short of incredible that Pittsburgh made it on this ever-so-brief nine-date swing of theirs.

We have a pair of tickets to giveaway for the show. To enter, VISIT our Facebook page, LIKE us (we like you, too!), and COMMENT on the post that links to this preview. We'll announce a winner on Wednesday. Tickets to the show cost $29.50 and are available via Ticketweb.

-- Brian Conway

Friday, May 8, 2015

Toro Y Moi at Mr. Smalls - May 7, 2015 - Photos

Toro Y Moi at Mr. Smalls, 5/7/15

Thanks to our friend Jonathan for snapping these rad photos of Toro Y Moi at Mr. Smalls last night. Check Jonathan out on instagram (if you don't already) @pittindiefreak.

Chaz Bundick, better known as Toro Y Moi, is currently touring in support of his new album, What For?. Click here to read what NPR had to say about it.  Here's the video for "Empty Nesters." Photos follow below.