Saturday, July 31, 2010

Image Of The Day-"C The C"

Circus On The Mount
The Wreckids
Joy Ike
The M.O.'s
Colonizing The Cosmos
West End Overlook
Friday July 23, 2010

What a fantastic idea. Throw a family friendly party in probably the most scenic park in the city. Organized by Colonizing The Cosmos, it included some of my favorite bands we are lucky enough to have here. There are plans to make this an annual event, and I can't imagine not going every year. A sweet short video here.

Friday, July 30, 2010

First/Last-Nik Westman

Nik Westman & The Central Plains
Saturday July 31, 2010

Nik recently put out one of my favorite local releases this year. If you haven't heard it or have seen him live, kill two birds with one stone tomorrow night. He was kind enough to take a few and participate in this week's installment of First/Last Fridays.

The first album you ever bought?
"Staring at the Sea" by the Cure, when I listen to that record now I just feel like it's got a pretty sweet punkish sound.

Your last album bought?
"Small Cities" debut album, it's got a great groove to it. I've been buying a lot of local Pittsburgh music, a lot of great stuff is blasting off around here.

Favorite album of all time?
I don't know? Yesterday I really enjoyed "El hombre Lobo" by the Eels. I don't think I have one, sometimes I like this and sometimes I like that you know.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
It was so bad I blocked it out.

First concert attended?
I went to see this punk band called AFI, that was the first big show I'd been to that I can think of.
Some dude stole my wallet right out of my pants and disappeared into the abyss. It was a hopeless situation.

Last concert? Dawes and 28 North at Hartwoord Acres. It was a very nice concert.

Favorite concert ever?
Dude, I don't know, I've been to some pretty dang good ones, can't say I have a favorite of all time.

Least favorite concert?
My band opened up for Formula 412 at Kaya Fest earlier this year. Those guys are real friendly...not.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is affordable, full of art, music, tree's, and divebars.
I've met so many cool human beings here I can't even count them on my hands or feet.
Musically it's been very rewarding for me, I've met so many talented musicians and had so many great memories of playing shows with other locals. I'll always have a soft spot for this steel town, I'd like to believe that it's the best.

Thanks, Nik. Geez, I didn't want to start a flame war between bands and all but I'm with you buddy, mean people suck.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Junebug"

Robert Francis
WYEP Studios
Thursday July 22, 2010

I had no idea who Robert was of but 'YEP's Kyle heard him at some music conference and booked him to play a session as he was swinging past town on tour. Very interesting background on this guy and he surprised me how good of a player he was. Listen to the set here. More photos here and here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Image Of The Day-"You Don't Know How It Feels"

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
First Niagara Pavilion
Saturday July 24, 2010

This was by far the biggest show I have ever shot. 31, 000+ people suffered through a disgustingly hot afternoon to pay homage at the altar of TP&THB. Lots of classic songs on the setlist to satisfy anyone even remotely interested in him. I also have to say that I love shooting here. I know an easy way to get there, the staff are so nice and professional to photogs, and they have the biggest bands. Could it be that this little 'ole blog is finally getting some cred? Man, I sure hope so.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Worm Mountian"

The Flaming Lips
Trib Total Media Amphitheatre
Tuesday July 20, 2010
Station Square

I am what you would call a 'casual' fan of the band. I have heard all the glowing praise of their live show for years now and still wasn't prepared for how great this concert was. The band casually ambled onstage to soundcheck. Some entrance? Frontman Wayne Coyne even addressed the audience and explained how he was going to come out into the crowd in the 'space bubble'. Jeez, talk about spoiler alert, there goes the element of surprise. Well, it didn't matter when he and the band did start the show a few minutes later, it was just unbelievable. I have never, and will never see a start of a concert like that again. It was amazing. The rest of the night was cool as well. Great music, great stage show, and those trains! A bunch more photos here and here.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Summer Sunday Ticket Giveaway # 5 - Heart

Trib Total Media Amphitheater
Friday August 6, 2010
Station Square

Guess what? I love Heart. I dig their 70's stuff, their 80's output and almost everything they do live. I will definitely be at this show and you can too, courtesy of Drusky Entertainment. As I am doing every week this summer, two free passes will be randomly given away to a lucky viewer of this blog. Entering is so easy. Email me at with the subject line 'Heart'. In the message, supply the full name you want for the folks at will call the night of the show which will be good for two tickets. Sorry, parking not included. One entry per person.
This contest will run until Saturday July 31st when the winner will be contacted.
Also remember, next Sunday starts a new contest for a different show. Good luck!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

First/Last-Josh Moyer

Tonight there is going to be a cool party on the West End Overlook. Billed as a "Circus on the Mount", Colonizing The Cosmos is hosting a bunch of sweet bands and activities that hopefully is not a one off gig. The band has become a regular in my listening rotation and I always jump at the opportunity to see them. Guitarist/violists Josh Moyer was kind enough to wrestle over this week's edition of First/Last Friday.

What is the first album you ever bought?

This is tough to remember, but I think it was Michael Jackson's "Thriller". It was on tape and I remember listening to it on the stereo in my room while trying to moonwalk like Michael. I purchased it again last year, this time on disc. He was an absolute musical genius.

What is the last album you bought?

At the persistent recommendation of a few friends I recently purchased Dylan's "Slow Train Coming". I must confess, it's my first Dylan album and up until this point, I haven't listened to him that much at all. However, I was finally convinced to give him a try and thus far, I'm really digging it on all sorts of levels.

Favorite album of all time?

This too is pretty difficult. There are so many albums that I like for all sorts of different reasons. Some because of the music, some because of the lyrical content, and others because they remind me of a particular time in my life. That said, here are the albums that I consistently listen to: James Taylor's "Greatest Hits Volume 1" (I know it's cheating to list a greatest hits album), Richard Bona's "Munia: The Tale", Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago", Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and any album by the Police.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?

Guns N' Roses - "Spaghetti Incident". Please, don't make me talk about it.

First Concert Attended?

Early 90's (maybe 1993?) - Steve Miller Band at what will always be the Star Lake Amphitheater to me.

Last Concert?

WYEP Summer Music Festival.

Favorite concert ever?

My all around best experience was at a James Taylor show at Star Lake when I was mistaken for one of the venue owner's sons. My friends and I were welcomed into the owner's box, center stage where we enjoyed the best food, drink and view in the house. James Taylor is obviously a musical genius too, so that was nice. Another amazing "concert" experience occurred about a year and a half ago when I stopped into AVA for the live jazz on Monday nights. I had gone hoping to hear jazz trumpeter Sean Jones play. About thirty minutes after I got there he walked in wearing a long coat and hat and carrying his trumpet case. He sat down at the bar for a while, had a drink, played a game on his iphone and just listened to the band like the rest of us. About twenty minutes passed, he got up, took off his coat, pulled out his trumpet and played the most amazing solo I have ever heard. He wasn't just playing the trumpet, though. He was the trumpet and it was unbelievable. If you haven't heard him yet, you need to.

Least favorite concert?

Can't remember. That's a good thing, right?

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

What can I say? It's my home and the home of all sorts of spectacular family, friends, artists, athletes, professionals, organizations, communities, cultures, etc., etc. I love the city. And I think that there are a lot of promising things happening here, both musically and otherwise.

Thanks, Josh. It amazes me conducting these Q&A's of how many local musicians aren't schooled on Dylan yet! I'll throw you a few rec's when I see you tonight.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Image Of The Day-"We Could Be Friends"

Freelance Whales
Saturday December 12, 2009

This band was good. Unfortunately, no matter how good they were, their efforts were eclipsed and almost forgotten due to the fact that Fanfarlo who followed were that much greater. Unenviable position for sure but they are starting to gather some well earned buzz since they were here and I would definitely see them again.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Here We Go Again"

Justin Townes Earle
Three Rivers Arts Festival
Friday June 11, 2010
Point State Park

Continuing 'Openers' week, Justin supported Kris Kristofferson at the fest. Playing solo acoustic to a large crowd who were waiting for another act could be a daunting position to be in. He handled it like a pro and actually engaged the audience in that I really didn't hear much babbling during his set. In fact, there was more chatter during Kristofferson's show than Justin? Probably because more people showed up but still.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Queen Of Denmark"

John Grant
Monday April 5, 2010

John opened for Midlake, which makes sense since they were his studio band on his album. For the live setting, he assembled a bunch of musicians from the amazingly fertile music city of Denton, Texas including Robert Gomez. Seriously, what is in the water down there that spawns such great bands? I knew nothing of him beforehand but his set was very accessible. He has a very sinister, sarcastic vibe to his lyrics that are simultaneously funny and brutal.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Tornado In The Trailer Park"

Howlers Coyote Cafe
Friday July 17, 2009

All this week, I am going back in the archives and featuring bands that have been opening acts to other artists. I actually could spend two weeks featuring these little bands that I forgot, or rather never had time to feature, until now. First up is Rumbledaddy, a damn fun rockabilly trio from Ohio who opened for Wanda Jackson. They seemed to be having a hell-raisin' blast (there was actual fire on stage! that I totally missed changing lenses) and played their usual set but had to stretch it out as Ms. Jackson was taking her good old time. Nobody minded as we were all excited to see a legend perform. The guys valiantly played on for what seemed to be another hour before finally getting the cue that Wanda was ready. Nice job boys!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Sunday Ticket Giveaway # 4 - Gov't Mule/Jackie Greene

Gov't Mule
Jackie Greene
Trib Total Media Amphitheater
Sunday July 25, 2010
Station Square

Gov't Mule never disappoints. Warren Haynes has to be the hardest working guitarist in the business. I remember a show where he played with two bands onstage that night AND played a set in the parking lot. The guy's a workhorse, and he has the chops to pull it off. What is really exciting is that Jackie Greene (who's latest album is great!) is opening and don't be surprised if Mr. Haynes shows up for support during his set.
As always, a huge thanks to Drusky Entertainment for the opportunity. Entering is so easy. Email me at with the subject line 'Gov't Mule'. In the message, supply the full name you want for the folks at will call the night of the show which will be good for two tickets. Sorry, parking not included. One entry per person.
This contest will run until Thursday July 22 when the winner will be randomly picked and contacted.
Also remember, next Sunday starts a new contest for a different show. Good luck!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Leather To Soul"

The Sparrows
WYEP Studios
Thursday July 15, 2010

As part of the monthly Third Thursdays event that spotlights local acts. These hour long sets are a perfect way to be introduced to the many local bands in town. The set will be available soon as a podcast here. More photos here and here.

Friday, July 16, 2010

First/Last-Chet Vincent

As they ready their new EP, Chet and the Big Bend have a show tonight (7/16) in Squirrel Hill at PD's Pub. They also have been added to tomorrow's (7/17) bill at The Brillobox with my man Justin Andrew and Paul Luc. Chet was cool enough to participate in this week's edition of First/Last Fridays.

The first album you ever bought?
Oasis, “What's the Story Morning Glory?”.

Your last album bought?
Bonnie "Prince" Billy, “Lie Down in the Light”.

Favorite album of all time?
Bob Dylan, “Blonde on Blonde”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
No least favorite album.

First concert attended?
Lord only knows...

Last concert ?
Round Black Ghosts CD Release.

Favorite concert ever?
Tie between Bob Dylan w/ Merle Haggard at the Beacon Theatre in NYC, and The Unicorns w/ The Arcade Fire at The Rex.

Least favorite concert?
The Darkness at Station Square.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I can't say enough about Pittsburgh. It's this secret place -- surrounded by rivers and hills -- with no threat of hurricanes, volcanoes, water shortages or earthquakes (or oil spills... ). We don't even have any dangerous wild animals! Yet, somehow it's really cheap to live here. I don't know exactly why or how we're so often over-looked, but I hope it stays that way.

Thanks Chet. The Arcade Fire at The Rex? That's definitely one of those, "I was there when" shows.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Never Any Doubt"

No Bad Ju Ju
Burgh Blast
Children's Museum
Friday May 7, 2010

I was on assignment for this event and the band provided the music for the night. More photos here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Some updates for a Wednesday

Just posting a few mid-week updates.
  • First off, I am offering a last minute ticket giveaway for a show at the Brillobox on Wednesday July 14 featuring two 'electronic' bands from Amsterdam (flyer above) and locals summer lungs. If you are interested in getting a pair of tickets at will call, be the FIRST to email me at with the subject line 'Pass The Dutchie' and you and a friend will be in on me. Contest ends on 7/14/10 at 2 p.m. when the winner will be notified. Like I said, last minute.
  • I also want to remind you that my ticket giveaway for The Flaming Lips ends Saturday July 17th so don't be shy and keep those entries coming if you haven't done so already. Details here.
  • Lastly, I have been tracking Ben Hardt's progress on raising funds for his next recording project (I have inserted a wiki on this main page-scroll down to the bottom of the blog) and I am excited to say that he's almost halfway home with 50 days remaining. You can help if you already haven't by going here.

Image Of The Day-"Ships With Holes Will Sink"

We Were Promised Jetpacks
Mr Smalls Theater
Thursday July 8, 2010

A few random thoughts on this show:
  • This appeared to be a perfect show for the Brillobox instead of a 'cavernous' room like Smalls. When I walked in 20 minutes after doors there were eight people there. By the time WWPJ came out, it filled up a bit but still lots of room left. I am not complaining at all. I love when shows aren't annoyingly crowded.
  • Smalls has installed AC since I was there last!
  • Something was up with my camera. The pictures I took didn't turn out great. I need another lens.
  • Many thanks to the folks running the theater. They were super cool to me and I sincerely appreciate it.
  • There are two, more proper reviews up from my fellow bloggers here and here.
  • If you like the Scottish indie rock (seriously, who doesn't), Joker just announced a show at Diesel with label mates Frightened Rabbit.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Image Of The Day-"My Time"

Minus The Bear
WYEP Studios
Saturday July 10, 2010

Walking into the studio, I heard a few grumbles lamenting the fact that there were chairs and acoustic guitars on stage. I am unfamiliar with these guys and apparently they are known to rock out. Not today. I didn't mind at all. They sounded good to me. Listen for yourself here. More photos here and here. I have to say though, the highlight of the afternoon for me was Cindy's 'unicorn eating/pooping rainbows' shirt. Nice!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Sunday Ticket Giveaway # 3 - The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips
Trib Total Media Amphitheatre
Tuesday July 20, 2010
Station Square

This has got to be one of the most anticipated concerts of the summer. They put on one crazy show that gloriously celebrates their psychedelic insanity. This undoubtedly will be a ton of fun.
As always, thanks to the people of Drusky Entertainment. Entering is easy. Just email me at with the subject line 'The Flaming Lips'. In the message, supply the full name you want for the folks at will call the night of the show which will be good for two tickets. Sorry, parking not included. One entry per person.
This contest will run until Saturday July 17 when the winner will be randomly picked and contacted.
Also remember, next Sunday starts a new contest for a different show. Good luck!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Image Of The Day-"Bogachiel Rain Blues"

The Moondoggies
Saturday June 19, 2010

So I have heard of this band but wasn't familiar with them at all. I have to say, I just loved them. They were more enjoyable than the headliner Blitzen Trapper. Their music was instantly identifiable to me. Not hearing a single note prior to them playing that night, it felt like I was so familiar with their stuff. It rarely happens but when it does, it justifies the reason I love and keep going to shows. As a bonus, my pictures are bangin'!

First/Last-Mark Hohman

Mark is the patriarchal guitarist for this 'family' band. Brewer's Row have a sweet gig tomorrow night in Sarver, PA. They also play an afternoon concert in a Northside park on July 24th. They are great and it's been too long since I have seen them. The next time I do see him, he promises to explain his story about THE Woodstock festival and a tuna can. Can't wait...I think? Mark was kind enough to participate in this latest installment of First/Last Friday.

The first album you ever bought?
I was late getting into the album-buying game. My friends and I did singles, rationalizing "Why pay money for all those other songs you'd never heard?" The first single that I remember ever buying (at the National Record Mart in the Northway Mall) was "Incense and Peppermints" by Strawberry Alarm Clock. The first album, I think, was "Led Zeppelin" (I), which I played the crap out of. I still fantasize about playing that guitar part in "Good Times Bad Times".
I may be remembering wrongly on both counts - it was a while ago.

Your last album bought?
You'd think this would be an easier question to answer. I think it was Eliza Gilkyson's "Paradise Hotel". Top track - "Is It Like Today". I can't wait to get my mandolin back up and running.

Favorite album of all time?
All things considered, Van Morrison's "Moondance". On an emotional level though, "Meet the Beatles".

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Disappointing albums should be like lost hockey games - quickly forgotten and not kept track of.

First concert attended?
In the mid to late sixties, KQV put together a series of shows at the Civic Arena called the "KQV Shower of Stars". Each one must have had seven or eight acts doing three or four numbers each. I went to a bunch of these, but they kind of blur together. One act that stands out in my memory - Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs (mainly because of the Shamettes, I suppose).

Last concert?
Ray Lamontange at the Rex, back when there were seats. I guess I don't get out much.

Favorite concert ever?
Bar shows count? Citizen Cope at Dowes on Ninth in 2005.

Least favorite concert?
See "Least favorite album" above. We'd all be better off with less grudges held.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I've spent a lifetime - literally - growing up, going to school, going to college, working, all within about a ten mile radius of 15101. Since our youngest boy started at Pitt, though, and two of the other kids came back from college and decided to live in the city, my wife and I have spent a lot more time there. Now I feel like we missed out on a lot, living as much as we did out in the suburbs, and I'm trying to make up for it.

Thanks so much Mark. Bars shows do count, although it's worth pointing out that Citizen Cope's next show in town is at the Byham! Also, that Eliza Gilkyson tune is actually a World Party cover. If you don't know World Party, check them out. Now, about Woodstock?