Wednesday, June 28, 2017

First/Last - Chase and the Barons

"Chase and the Barons bring rock n’ roll back out onto the dance floor, donning paisley ties, brightly colored jeans, and a generally groovy look. Since their formation in 2016, the band has been hitting the Pittsburgh music scene hard with memorable shows, filled with energy and style."

Chase and the Barons is an up and coming Pittsburgh rock and roll band who's latest offering is the Propose a Toaster EP via Pioneer Records. Get a 'taste' of what the band has to offer tonight (6/28) as they participate in the Rock 'N Ramen show at Spirit along with blog faves Meeting of Important People (Duo) and upstarts Bikini Islands. I want to thank Tyler Handyside (Saxophone) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
I unfortunately don't buy a whole lot of music (damn millenials), but I think the first CD I actually bought was Radiohead's Hail to the Thief. I think that record is certainly the band's most underrated work and has some incredible songs. All of Radiohead's releases feel so cohesive as individual works of art, and this album is no exception.

Your last album bought?
The most recent album I bought was one of saxophonist Joshua Redman's latest albums, Walking Shadows. The release is a ballads album, and features gorgeous arrangements of everything from jazz standards to Beatles tunes. The production on the album is excellent, as the ballads really give a lot of open space for strings, horns, and percussion.

Favorite album of all time?
Every musician has struggled to answer this question at some point... I would have to say my favorite record ever is Cannonball Adderley's Somethin' Else. This album made me truly fall in love with jazz, the saxophone, and music in general, all at once. It is one of few albums I remember exactly where I was the first time I listened to it. The musicianship and general mood of this record is truly transcendent.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
A record that I remember being disappointed in recently was Circa Survive's 2014 release Descensus. The record was a transition from atmospheric, catchy, vocal-driven alternative music to a more hard-rock, accessible feel. Their excellent musicianship and lyrics were still present, and I would never expect a band to release the same kind of music forever, but this record just didn't vibe with me, and I was super excited for it to come out.

First concert attended?
The first concert I attended was Rise Against and Bad Religion when I was 14 or so. It was a cool show to see my favorite band at that time, in addition to an act as influential as Bad Religion.

Last concert?
The most recent concert I attended was the band Knuckle Puck at Altar Bar. They had just released their most recent album and they played a great high energy set. The Altar Bar was a cool venue and I was happy to see a few shows there in the months before it closed.

Favorite concert ever?
My favorite concert ever was seeing my favorite band, Title Fight, at the Smiling Moose when I was in high school. I was just starting to really dive into music in general, and they quickly became one of my favorite alternative bands. They had just released another great record, and the small space at the Smiling Moose was perfect, as it made the 100-or so person crowd feel like a few thousand. This show was more than worth all the stage dive kicks to the head I took.

Least favorite concert?
My least favorite concert ever was actually seeing the Red Hot Chili Peppers at Consol. They played a great show, and I was super stoked to have floor seats, but I could hardly see the stage at all and mostly had to watch the giant video screen that they were showing a camera stream on. I was disappointed to not be able to see all of the band interaction and shenanigans as a whole, and just felt like I didn't get the full experience.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
On a non-music note: As a huge sports fan, the first thing that comes to mind is the Penguins' recent run of back-to-back Stanley Cups. It probably hasn't registered with me how fortunate I am to have experienced such a legendary stretch of hockey. I've been able to witness some really cool hockey games here, including the Winter Classic and a few playoff games, and I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything. The city of Pittsburgh is the greatest sports town in this country, and I could not imagine living somewhere where sports aren't such a huge part of daily life for an entire city.

Thanks, Tyler. I am guessing that you weren't really around for the first Penguins Cup run in the early 90's? That was super fun, too.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

First/Last - Brother From Another Mother

"At the core of Brother From Another Mother is the Dyjamic Duo of Dave Hamilton and Dennis Malley.  Each of them singer-songwriters in their own right, they discovered a musical chemistry that necessitated the forming of the BFAM collective.  BFAM uses the written song as a launch vehicle into the magical improvised moments that are not duplicated from one performance to the next.  In the 15 months since they started playing together, multiple talented artists have joined Dave and Dennis for full-band performances, including drummers Sam Hogan and Dave Resto, and bass players Dustin Becker, Brandon Walsh, and Brian McStay."

Brother from Another Mother are a Pittsburgh based acoustic duo who will be playing today (6/17) at 4pm at James Street Speakeasy as part of the 24 band lineup for my #HughShows50 blowout. The bands are celebrating 50 Years of the Summer of Love by interpreting songs from the era. This show is free and all-ages. I want to thank the band for specifically playing the gig and for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Dennis Malley: Ever actually bought?  I don't know, do those 10 albums for a penny deals count?  I'd say my first memory of a "transition" album was Motley Crue's Theatre of Pain since that was my first transition from easy going poppy stuff of my tween years into the great big world of heavier stuff that would follow.
Dave Hamilton: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication.

Your last album bought?
Dennis: The pledgemusic campaign for the new Wreck Loose album, looking forward to the release show this week!
Dave: Clutch - Psychic Warfare.

Favorite album of all time?
Dennis: Hoo boy, so may albums were spun into my DNA over the years, on constant rotation over the course of several months at different times in my life.  Jane's Addiction Ritual De Lo Habitual, Frank Zappa Joe's Garage, Phish A Picture of Nectar, Ben Folds Five The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner, Mr. Bungle's eponymous release, just to name a few.   But I'd say Billy Joel's The Stranger is one that has stuck with me through the days when my mom would blast it on the 8-track way back when.
Dave: Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes Of Madness.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Dennis: Not sure I can think of a specific example here, but I'm usually disappointed by a new release when I realize the band is going to stick to a formula instead of growing and evolving and showing some new facet of their songwriting and composition.

First concert attended?
Dennis: Dokken opening for Aerosmith, I think I was 14.  Went for Dokken (they were my all-time favorite at the time), but Aerosmith also really rocked the joint.
Dave: P.O.D. HED P.E. Project 86 and Linkin Park at Metropol in, I believe 2001. Linkin Park was one of the opening bands. No-one knew who they were!

Last concert?
Dennis: Kishi Bashi with Tall Tall Trees.  Got to hang with my buddy, Tall Tall Trees' Mike Savino, after the show!
Dave: Raggoo Festivoo 8 in Slippery Rock, Pa featuring some of the best local bands Pittsburgh has to offer.

Favorite concert ever?
Dennis: I'd have to say Phish at Palumbo Center in 1994.  I was a big fan of their studio stuff and had no idea what their live show was like. They opened my eyes that night.  A close second was Jane's Addiction at The Metropol,  just because it was so random that a group of my friends showed up to pick me up unannounced and said "you need to go to this show!"  And indeed I did.
Dave: When I opened for The Devil Wears Prada at Mr. Smalls with my metal band Oh No! The Afterlife.

Least favorite concert?
Dennis: Probably Bon Jovi with Nickelback, it was a bucket list concert for my Mom, but my god we were unfortunate enough to get there early enough for the opening act.  And honestly this isn't the typical fashionable Nickelback hate -  the sound for these guys was just an awful, boomy mess.
Dave: Anything country.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Dennis: Over the past several years I've put some serious effort into getting "out there" more in the music community.  Whether it's setting up a gig, playing at a festival, open stages, or running sound - I'll tell you, the musicians in Pittsburgh are not only super talented, but they are all super friendly as well!  We have something really special going on in this city and I'm so glad to be here to watch it grow.  Every time I go to check out a local band I'm just floored by the fresh original sounds that keep coming from all of these amazing beautiful people and I'm glad to be getting to know so many of them!
Dave: The evolution of venues, artists and the music played within city venues such as The Funhouse at Mr. Smalls. There's a passion and love for the scene that seems to grow.

Thanks, fellas. See you soon!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

First/Last - The YJJ's

"Rock and roll fused with RAP, Punk/ska, DUBSTEP, and silky smooth R&B... plus a lot of other "uncategorizable" stuff too."

The YJJ's are a Pittsburgh based reggae rap rock band who will be playing this Saturday (6/17) at 1:30pm at James Street Ballroom as part of the 24 band lineup for my #HughShows50 blowout. The bands are celebrating 50 Years of the Summer of Love by interpreting songs from the era and word is that yours truly will be joining these guys to play one of my favorite tunes for their set. Make sure everybody stops and look what's going down when we take the stage. This show is free and all-ages. I want to thank the band for specifically playing the gig and for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Matt Hegedus: Def Leppard - Hysteria.
Michael Danko: TLC - Crazy, Sexy, Cool.
Sean Williamson: The Rolling Stones - Voodoo Lounge.
Jared Dray: TaTU - All the Things She Said.

Your last album bought?
Matt: Raconteurs - Broken Boy Soldiers.
Michael: Kendrick Lamar - DAMN!
Sean: Wreck Loose - OK.
Jared: Umphrey's McGee - Zonkey.

Favorite album of all time?
Matt: Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon.
Michael: Pink Floyd - The Wall.
Sean: Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon.
Jared: Brand New - The Devil and God are Raging Inside of Me.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Matt: The one Biggie never got to finish? I dunno.
Michael: Jet - Shine On.
Jared: YelaWolf – Radioactive.

First concert attended?
Matt: Lynyrd Skynyrd. Live from Steel Town. July 15, 1997.
Michael: Sugar Ray, Maroon 5, Matchbox Twenty.
Sean: The Clarks
Jared: Phil "The Thrill" Collins at Starlake.

Last concert?
Matt: Tom Segura. Music, I dunno. Probably Band Jam 2016.
Michael: Run the Jewels.
Sean: Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Jared: The Commonheart.

Favorite concert ever?
Sean: Gary Clark Jr.
Jared: Metallica or OzFest both with my mom.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Matt: Can't mention that here.
Michael: Seeing Gun's and Rose's live for the first time at Heinz Field.
Sean: Seeing the Pittsburgh music scene blossom with amazing talent and new venues.
Jared: Has been seeing how this community has come together to support music and how that positivity has equaled growth.

Thanks, fellas. I am beyond excited for Saturday and for the invite to share the stage with you all!

Monday, June 5, 2017

HughShows 50

We are one month away from this all-day, ALL FREE show!
The bands are working hard on learning covers from 1967 and with this eclectic of a lineup, it's going to be so much fun. We would love if you joined us.
I am honored to have representatives from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union present who will be on hand to speak of their organizations and accept any donations, so leave a couple bucks available for them in between beers.
Get there early as Javerblöö will be opening up before Benefits take the stage in the Ballroom with a short set at Noon.
Much thanks to the wonderful people at James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy, Sound Beacon Productions, the Deutschtown Music Festival, Red Buffalo Illustration and especially the bands!

James St. Gastropub and Speakeasy is located at 422 Foreland Street on the Northside

Benefits (12:30pm - Ballroom 3rd Floor)
Post-punk garage pop

The Chiodi Trio (1pm - Speakeasy Basement)
Americana and traditional Jazz

The YJJ's (1:30pm - Ballroom)
Soulful eclectic rock and roll

Paul Labrise (2pm - Speakeasy Basement)

Heavy Chest (2:30pm - Ballroom)
Electro indie folk

Vit DeBacco (3pm - Speakeasy)
Alternative folk rock

Red Room Effect (3:30pm - Ballroom)
Funk rock

Brother from Another Mother (4pm - Speakeasy)
Acoustic reggae rock

Brett Staggs and The Daylight Moon (4:30pm - Ballroom)
Country blues rock

Noots (5pm - Speakeasy)
Electro ambient

Gangwish (5:30pm - Ballroom)
Experimental alt-rock

J. Trafford (6pm - Speakeasy)
Jazz post-punk singer-songwriter

The Dovewires (6:30pm - Ballroom)

The Mixus Brothers (7pm - Speakeasy)
Americana psych-folk

The Semi-Supervillians (7:30pm - Ballroom)

J.D. Rau (8pm - Speakeasy)
Experimental alt-rock

Nameless in August (8:30pm - Ballroom)
Folk rock

Strange Monsters (9pm - Speakeasy)
Indie rock

Lee Robinson and ISKA (9:30pm - Ballroom)
Experimental jazz

Sun Hound (10pm - Speakeasy)
Alternative funky swamp rock

The Nox Boys (10:30 - Ballroom)
Garage punk rock

Black Ridge (11pm - Speakeasy)
Funky soul rock

Elkhound (11:30pm - Ballroom)
Alt-country rock

Charlie Hustle and the Grifters (Midnight - Speakeasy)
Jam blues

Rainbow Machine (12:30am - Ballroom)
Post punk

#HughShows50       #SupportPGHMusic