Friday, December 26, 2014

First/Last-The Park Plan

"What it sounds like if 3 guys let a Riot Grrl wannabe write most of their lyrics, with a hint of surf rock and 90's indie rock thrown in."

The Park Plan is an up and coming Pittsburgh indie rock band that is playing a very cool show tomorrow at Hambone's in the heart of Lawrenceville. They share the stage with 1/3 of  blog faves City Steps Joe Tarowsky and noisemakers Brazilian Wax. I want to thank the band's lyricist Jenn Jannon-Fischer (Bass) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
I really want to say something that makes me look discerning, but I’ll go with honesty – my first CD purchase was C&C Music Factory. I bought it the day I brought my first ever CD player home and I danced around my tween bedroom listening to it. And not that this helps the cool factor, but I’m pretty sure among my first cassettes were Def Leppard “Pyromania” and something by Weird Al. I remember listening to them both on my Walkman when I was in maybe 2nd or 3rd grade.

Your last album bought?
I looked in my iTunes and I felt like I wanted to talk about my last three:
1) Ex Hex, “Rips”. I love this album and have been playing it non-stop. It’s sort of like if The Cars and The Ramones got together, but as grrls. These women really rock.
2) The Stooges. I have a fantasy of starting a 2nd wave riot grrl band and re-imagining “I Wanna Be Your Dog” so my friend and I have been playing it together in my basement – me on guitar (I normally play bass) and her on like day 5 of drumming.
3) Murder for Girls. This is a local band, but I actually found out about them on a UK-based blog called “The Girls Are” which features mostly women musicians, so I started going to their shows and they’re really cool and a lot of fun to watch. The Park Plan is playing a show with them in January and I’m super excited for that.

Favorite album of all time?
That’s an impossible question! But I’d say the two that I go back to more than any of the others are Sleater-Kinney “All Hands on the Bad One” and Charles Mingus “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Metric’s “Fantasies”. I just loved “Old World Underground” and “Live it Out” so much. And they’ve been a big influence, at least for me, on what we’ve been trying to do with The Park Plan – they had a definite political, feminist, sometimes anti-capitalist message in a lot of their songs, but you didn’t immediately think “Oh, this is an ‘agenda’ band” when you heard their sound. The music was great no matter if you paid attention to the message or not. So, when “Fantasies” came out, I was really disappointed because I felt that a lot of their social message was gone.

First concert attended?
The Rolling Stones, sometime in the mid- to late- 80’s. They played the West Virginia State Fair, and my aunt took me. That was probably around the same time I was into Weird Al and Def Leppard, so I’m not sure they made much of an impression on me at the time.

Last concert?
City Steps, Hard Money and This American Band at Howler’s.  Awesome fun show – everyone totally rocked it!

Favorite concert ever?
Neko Case at Sandcastle for the “This Tornado Loves You” tour.  It was a perfect summer night, her voice was somehow even better and more powerful hearing it live, and the scenery was amazing – the river and the hills above it, and the weird yellow plastic slides of Sandcastle – it all went really well with the songs from that album. I remember that there was a small group of guys who were cat-calling her, and her back-up singer was so amazing putting them in their place.  At one point, they were yelling at Neko, “You’re so hot,” and the back-up singer – in this totally sweet voice – was like, “Hey, guys, it IS hot up here – this is the middle of summer,” or something like that. Totally shut them down.
I was also excited about the opening band.  They weren’t listed in advance and when they came out they didn’t say who they were, just started playing their set. I’m thinking, “Wow, I really like this, it really reminds me of Grandaddy”.  It turned out to be Jason Lytle, the singer from Grandaddy, in his new solo thing, and they were really great.

Least favorite concert?
Not at all a fault of the band’s, but I went to see The Flaming Lips at the old Metropol for the “Yoshimi” tour and I ended up just getting really mad about the plight of short people at concerts and left in a huff. I’m pretty sure Sparklehorse was opening and I was just as excited to see them, and I had this great spot right at the railing on the balcony and I ended up losing my good spot and I couldn’t see and I don’t even think I stayed to see any of The Flaming Lips – missed all the costumes and everything.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I love it here so much.  And I’ve been really surprised with the local music scene. There’s just so much talent, and yet so many of the people are totally down to earth and welcoming. We saw a show at Gooski’s recently and had a flat tire when we were leaving and someone in the band we went to see (who we didn’t know) stopped and offered to help us – that kind of sums up for me what the experience is often like going and seeing local bands here.
I’ve also been really excited about the talented female musicians I’ve been seeing and meeting at shows. There are some badass women playing music here in the ‘Burgh, which is great for someone like me who’s just starting playing in bands and looking for support and inspiration from other women.

Thanks, Jenn. That is very odd that your fave show is Neko at Sandcatle. Turns out it was one of my worst shows ever. Totally my fault as I got a little too drunk and abused my photo pass privileges during the gig. How bad did it get? Neko actually cursed me out after the show. Stupid me. But hey, at least I get to say I was verbally reamed out by Neko Case, right?

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