Queen V Rocks the Barn

Queen V is doing a small tour to promote her ep, Bridges, which dropped in February. This coast-to-coast, limited stop tour included a private show in Pittsburgh. The proceeds helping support the Sewickley YMCA scholarship funds and raised over $30,000. The concert was in a barn like no other. Privately owned, the venue was literally a converted barn nestled in the hilltops of Sewickley itself. Limited space and ticket availability made possible to only have 200 folks in attendance, so there was not a bad spot in the house. Barn acoustics make for amazing sound and Queen V and 5 of her 6 piece band made the most of it. Mostly originals and a few covers thrown in for fun (Mr. Mister’s Take These Broken Wings”) made a strong set. The highlight of the show is when this incredibly talented group switched out their instruments, making the most of their amazing capabilities. Also joining the Queen V was a resident 11 year old and members of the opening (local) band Laurel Oak Boys. Together they ended the set a personalized version of Here We Go! much to the delight of the Steeler fans in the house.

The previous stop on her “one off” tour was singing the National Anthem and doing an acoustic set for the crowd at Camden Yards prior to an Orioles vs. Yankees game. July will see V and Co. at Sunset Marquis in West Hollywood. The tour will likely wrap in the fall.

Like many, V was classically trained but has always been a rock and roll girl writing her own songs and jamming out on her guitar. Never wanting to be anything other than a musician, the pretty brunette kicked off her career in 1996. The New Jersey native did the usual club tour circuit in NY/NJ clubs then quickly broke into national touring as openers for artists like Twisted Sister, Billy Idol, Bon Jovi and more.

Bridges is the singers 7th album, all produced on her own independent label, Royal Noise.

The first six, including a compilation, Decade of Queen, were straight up rock with V belting out strong vocals reminiscent of other rock and roll queens of the 80’s.

Bridge shows an evolution into a new sound, leaning away from hard rock and bearing (acoustically) toward Indie. With time spent in Nashville collaborating and getting back to her songwriter roots, a softer sound has emerged but with a voice still strong. V describes the ep as, “less distortion/more emotion” and “dialed back with more finesse”.  She has been carefully collecting the reactions of her long time fan base and the feedback on the evolution is nothing but love.

Already looking forward to her next project, Queen V says creating music makes her happier than anything else, she feels a driving need to share her art. Her loyal fans encourage and motivate her. Keeping it fresh, innovating and growing are challenges she takes on not just for her audience but also for herself.

Find Queen V’s work on all the usual downloadable outlets, or when you purchase a cd receive the download code as well.  www.queenv.com

In case y’all were wondering why V loves the ‘Burgh enough for a private show? Her husband is a guy from Crafton named Bill. Something about football…

Reggie and The Full Effect at Altar Bar Pittsburgh

From The Get Up Kids to a stint with My Chemical Romance,  keyboardist James Dewees, is a one man wrecking crew.  Not that he came alone to Altar Bar in Pittsburgh on Saturday night February 15, 2014, but he has proven himself to be a hilarious force to be reckoned with.  Since the mid 1990’s Dewees has been toying with the sounds of “Reggie” and has always taken a bit of the joke approach.  But the music is certainly no joke.  In 2008 Dewees put Reggie and The Full Effect to rest for a bit only to resurrect them with a Kickstarter campaign in March of 2013 to fund the fantastically fun  No Country For Old Musicians.  Although Dewees plays nearly every instrument on Reggie’s recordings, he obviously cannot replicate that live, thus he brought in his band for the tour, but Reggie’s lineup for live performances changes frequently.  Check out our review of No Country For Old Musicians here.

And check out some pix from their stellar performance at Altar Bar…

All photos  ©2014 Danielle MEDIAte and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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moe Brings Their “Big World” Jam to Pittsburgh’s Stage AE

moe has an unbelievably dedicated fanbase. “The quintet has drawn upwards of 6,000 fans to two-night stands at such storied venues as New York’s Beacon Theatre, Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom and Denver’s Fillmore (Facebook)”.  Even though Stage AE was not packed to capacity, it was filled with some true fans who braved the cold to see their favorite band…and I mean their FAVORITE band.  I’ve never seen so many people with the headliners tee on from so many different tours and events.  I don’t think I saw any repeats at all.  That says a lot for these guys who formed out of The University of Buffalo.

moe is generally known as a jam band from the same branch as the Dead, Phish, etc.   Guitarist Al Schnier was asked to describe moe for those who have never heard their music: “It’s an amalgamation of a wide variety of the history of rock, all regurgitated and recycled through the eyes, ears, hands, whatever of the guys in our band and all of that with a sense of adventure, a sense of humor, also a constant desire to push the envelope. All in this arena of taking chances, improvising live, and making things up on the spot. (Wikipedia)”.  They could fit on many a festival stage, but certainly have a sound all their own.  The surprising thing may be, for the un-initiated, is how incredibly proficient each of the members of moe is on their instrument, especially guitarists Chuck and Al, who are down right masters.  They are incredibly multi-faceted which allows them to blend many different genres into the moe brand.

The set played at Stage AE Pittsburgh was truly impressive and was a nice retrospective of their material.  the crowd certainly was into it the entire time, which is always a good judgement factor.  The lighting was also excellent and added to the overall mood of the show which was upbeat and playful.

The Ghost of Ralph’s MomChromatic NightmareBig World Ricky MartenItUnderstandZed Nought ZGeorge

Set 2  Yodelittle Not Coming DownYodelittleStranger Than FictionWhere Does the Time Go?Rainshine Meat Down Boy 

Brent Black meat.  Encore: Haze

All photos  ©2014 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Pittsburgh Music Mag Speaks with Amon Amarth’s Ted Lundström

With an amazing lineup of Amon Amarth, Enslaved, and Skeletonwitch it was an amazingly cold February night that quickly heated up in Millvale at Mr. Small’s.  A completely sold out night had people offering upwards of $300 a ticket to get a glimpse of pure metal being handed down in one of the most brutal lineups Pittsburgh has seen.  So brutal, this photographer’s camera did not survive the vent!  Well, at least we got an interview in with Amon Amarth’s Ted  Lundström (bass) beforehand.  Listen in as we hang with the laid back Ted and learn a lot about what is going on with the ruling Vikings of metal…

Chimaira, iwrestledabearonce, Oceano, Fit For An Autopsy, and Reflections Show How It’s Done at Altar Bar Pittsburgh

What could be said to be one of the best hardcore line-ups on tour currently, Chimaira stacked the deck  last Wednesday night at Altar Bar Pittsburgh.  With well known and diverse talents such as iwrestledabearonce, Oceano, Fit For An Autopsy, and Reflections the place was packed to the rafters and supported a pretty intense mosh pit as well.  Check ou the reviews of each band and the pictures that follow…all photos © 2014 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine.

Vocalist Mark Hunter of Chimaira may be the only original member, but don’t let that deter your listening pleasure.  On tour supporting, Crown of Phantoms, these guys are firing on all cylinders.  New guitarist Matt Szlachta and not exactly new to the band but new to lead guitar, Emil Werstler played with fire and passion and the crowd certainly did not seem to mind the changes.  It was great to have them back in Pittsburgh, it seems we always have to travel to their hometown of Cleveland to catch them.  Hopefully they will come by the ‘Burg more often.

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iwrestledabearonce showed why they have become a fan favorite early on in the evening.  Courtney LaPlante has a voice that a ton of hardcore vocalists would kill for, but it’s her sense of humor and stage presence that will win you over as well.  In support of their 2013 release Late For Nothing, IWABO have the ability to present some cross genre material along with a light-hearted attitude without ever giving up the hard edge of the music.  LaPlante has done a helluva job replacing Krysta Cameron  who had become pregnant, went on hiatus, and then was permanently replaced.

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Hailing from Chicago, and supporting their third full-length album, Incisions, Oceano was brutal and spot on.  With vocals reminiscent of Whitechapel and ear bleeding metalcore/death metal, these angry young dudes bring it and bring it hard.  We here at PMM expect and predict huge things for this band and won’t be surprised if they are headlining some stages in a few years.  Yes, they are that sick.

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Reflections debut (second record) on eOne and Good Fight came out in 2013, making them relative newcomers.  But, these guys are amazing musicians and have great chops and produce some pyrotechnics on guitar.  They are definitely heavy, a bit djent, a bit metalcore and deathcore, and maybe even progressive metal, Reflections have a long future ahead of them.  These guys will definitely be around again and you definitely don’t want to miss them because they are making some awesome sounds.

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The Pixies Play Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall

On a night not fit for man nor beast,  The Pixies played Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland in Pittsburgh on January 25, 2014.  Considering the inclement weather, the crowd was undeterred, packing the intimate setting, that is the best kept secret in Pittsburgh venues.

With a minimalist set powered up by tons of backlighting and multiple screens, The Pixies made a large impact with their sound from the very first note of “Bone Machine”.  It was an amazing reminder of what an impact the band from Boston had on so many musicians, not only from the all holy “grunge” era, but well beyond.  Black Francis was commanding in his presence and passion and so dead on in his vocalization it was chilling.  David Lovering‘s drumming has become a thing of beauty to watch now that he has gone back to a more traditional grip, and combined with the flood lighting from the floor it made for a fabulous flurry of movement.  Joey Santiago remained fairly stoic in his movements, preferring to make his statements with his guitar, and he did so quite boldly.  And in the place of Kim Deal, Paz Lenchantin was a spot on in a very difficult position of trying to fill in for a beloved legend.  It was a tremendous experience, with some concert goers clamoring for more of the classic Pixies tunes, not necessarily attuned to the fact that The Pixies change their setlist every night.

Some of the new material was outstanding, including “Andro Queen”, Indie Cindy”, and the first new single “Bagboy”.  Of course they played some faves such as “La La Love You”, “Here Comes Your Man”, and “Head On”…maybe not enough, but then again this is not a greatest hits tour.  With an hour and forty five minutes and a thirty plus song set it was an excellent night to see The Pixies do what they do best.

Setlist courtesy of setlist.fm (after pix)

All photos  ©2014 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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  1. Encore:

Jay Z’s Pittsburgh Performance is Priceless

Would it surprise anyone that a non-rap fan would risk bitter cold temps, running a 101+ temp of his own, and downing some extra special codeine enhanced cough meds to suppress the bronchitis tackling his immune system would risk his general health just to see the music mogul called Jay-Z?  I mean, c’mon, we are talking one of the biggest acts out there today, one of the ‘household namers’ , the mover, the shaker, Mr. Beyoncé, Mr. Beats headphones, “99 Problems” Guy, and yet ticket sales are one? Only roughly 7500 Pittsburghers pre-bought tickets.  Huh?  I don’t even like this type of music and I am out here half dead to see this guy and you aren’t? What gives?

This is Mr. Shawn Carter’s first solo tour in four years, promoting his 12th studio release, “Magna Carta … Holy Grail”.  Creative director Timbaland was on hand commanding the keys/beats and well, creatively directing.  The stage set was truly visually  impressive, at least structurally, a geometric build that was somewhat old-school in it’s inception.  Jay Z hit the stage with “U Don’t Know” and “Crown” and stayed very much in the ‘Magna Carta’ vein for the first half of the show. Being that “Magna Carta … Holy Grail” is up for nine nominations at the Grammy Awards, and Jay Z and his wife Beyoncé are performing Jan. 26 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center, maybe that’s the point.

But, it didn’t take long for the old faves and the stuff that made him legend to roll out the goods such as “99 Problems”, “Dead Presidents II”, “Big Pimpin'”, Jigga What, Jigga Who”, “Dirt Off Your Shoulder”, “Empire State of Mind”, “Izzo”, “Hard Knock Life” and “Young Forever” which was dedicated to Nelson Mandela.  If the lack of a crowd was any bother to Mr. Carter, it did not show, he was smiles from the beginning to the end and looked like he was having a blast.  There are many reasons that the man is who he is, and has the rep he does.  He lives up to every one of those expectations and puts on a hell of a show without the need for tons of bells and whistles.
Maybe much of Pittsburgh was not willing to shell out a few dollar,s or brave the cold, or whatever their excuse was to miss the man they call Jigga.  What they missed was an experience to see someone who is a master at his craft perform…which is for many a music fan, priceless.

First set of photos  ©2014 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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second set of photos courtesy of  ©2014 MPapphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Review & Pictorial: In This Moment Brings Hellpop II to Pittsburgh

Powerful.  Sexy.  Passionate.  The voice of an angel and a banshee.  She’s quite the combination.  Maria Brink, front woman of In This Moment, commanded all eyes and ears front and center during their performance at Club Zoo Pittsburgh on January 15, 2014.  Having the ability to see ITM at a club setting rather than a large festival made all the difference in the world visually.  Not that ITM wasn’t fantastic last time I witnessed their performance at Uproar in Pittsburgh, or when we caught them at Carnival of Madness.  It’s just that there is a whole different aspect to being that intimate and having the effect of lighting, dry ice, and sound hit that creates an ambiance beyond what outdoor offerings provide.

With a stage show that is complete with frequent costume changes, minor stage re-arrangements, multiple FX, and generous theatrics, In This Moment give their fans a ton of bang for their buck.  Even when they don’t perform they are generous.  For a few dates before Pittsburgh and Detroit, Maria was ill with strep throat and could not perform.  Instead of cancelling the shows, Butcher Babies, All Hail the Yeti, and Devour The Day put on free shows and In This Moment are going back to put on make up shows for free.  That’s crazy generous,  and smart…take note young bands, this is how it’s done.

Maria and co-founder guitarist Chris Howorth have been doing this for some time and have made very precise decisions to do things properly, which is why fans and musicians love them equally.  They are just good people.  Talk to any of the bands that have been on tour with them and they can’t say enough good things.  Talk to their fans about the interactions in person and via the social networks and it’s just…gushing.  This is so refreshing to hear in a business full of egos and many backstage stories (that we as press are often privy to but can’t print) that you can’t help but be a fan of what Maria and her band are doing as musicians and to empower women.

Although Club Zoo definitely has it’s ;imitations as a venue (i.e. soundsystem and plenty of blind spots), it did have the ability to let more fans see the show than say Altar Bar.  Maria and the band stayed after the show to meet with the fans as well.  On a special not: whoever does sound for ITM deserves a medal, because he worked miracles after what the opening bands dealt with (and what we saw Whitechapel go through last year at Club Zoo).  If you have never seen In This Moment in concert, it certainly is a treat for the eyes and ears, and if you can be sure to catch them on the Hellpop II Tour for an amazing package of entertainment.

Highlights: “Rise With Me”, “Closer”, “Whore”, “Blood” (setlist below pix)

All photos  ©2014 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Setlist from http://www.setlist.fm

  1. Encore:

Interview & Show Review:Butcher Babies Bring it back to the ‘Burg on Hellpop II

The Butcher Babies once again graced Pittsburgh with their brand of female fronted heavy metal mayhem on their trek with In This Moment’s Hellpop II Tour.  Always entertaining, never taking their rise for granted; Heidi, Carla, Henry, Chris, and Jason have been grinding it in promotion of their latest release “Goliath”.  And these girls and guys bring a ‘Goliath’ show every time.  Even if female vocals are not your metal cup-o-whiskey, you have to give kudos on the performance alone.  But, get past the negative naysayers who can’t get over the fact that they are misogynists and not true metalheads, and get to the fact that these girls have talent and the guys have the goods as well.

We were lucky enough to once again get to spend some time with Heidi and Carla on the Butcher RV just before their set.  Check out our interview where they talk to us about: TOURING WITH IN THIS MOMENT ON THE HELLPOP II TOUR, DEALING WITH HATERS, THE OLYMPICS, CARLA’S ART, HEIDI’S SEWING, CRAZY STUFF ON MAYHEM, SLIPKNOT NEWS, TOURING EUROPE, AND HITTING THE STUDIO…

The Butcher Babies hit the stage hard opening with “I Smell A Massacre” and never let up last night (1/15/14)  at Club Zoo in Pittsburgh.  Other standouts included “National Bloody Anthem”, “Mr. Slowdeath”, “Magnolia Blvd.” and “Axe Wound”.  The crowd was pretty insane with serious moshing and crowd surfing, totally eating up what the babies were serving.  Check out some of the scene below…

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All photos ©2014 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

Win the New Scorpions “MTV Unplugged” or Los Lonely Boys “Revelation” From Pittsburgh Music Magazine!

Six lucky winners could win copies of either Scorpions “MTV Unplugged” or Los Lonely Boys “Revelation” courtesy of RedMusic and Pittsburgh Music Magazine!  All you have to do is go to our Facebook page, make sure you LIKE our page, and then message us via Facebook as to why you should win either the Scorpions or The Los Lonely Boys newest release.  Contest ends January 30th, 2014 so hurry up with those entries!  Winners will be notified by Facebook message.  Employees of RedMusic and Pittsburgh Music Magazine ineligible.

Scorpions “MTV Unplugged”: The first-ever “Unplugged” set from the legendary German rock band. Available as a CD/DVD combo as well as a blu-ray DVD. Recorded and filmed just a few months ago on September 11th and September 12th of this year, SCORPIONS’ MTV Unplugged was culled from two dynamic acoustic sets at the Lycabettus Theatre in Athens, Greece. The spectacular open-air theatre, situated 300 meters above the city, was an impressive backdrop for the first-ever open-air show in the history of “MTV Unplugged” (the theater also shares a birth year with SCORPIONS themselves, having been built in 1965, the same year the band formed). In other news, SCORPIONS are still in the midst of their epic Farewell World Tour; the tour has been going on for more than three years now. To the delight of their fans there is no end in sight, as to date the band has only played 23 out of the 38 countries planned on the itinerary.


Los Lonely Boys “Revelation”: The latest album by the Grammy-winning “Texican” rock trio is their first since guitarist Henry Garza took a nasty fall from the stage last year. Revelation – to be released January 21st, 2014 on the band’s own LonelyTone imprint Jan. 21, 2014, in association with the respected Austin-based indie Playing in Traffic and MRI – is a landmark release for the siblings. While maintaining the infectiously melodic mix of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll and rootsy brown-eyed soul that’s long endeared Los Lonely Boys to its fiercely loyal fan base, Revelation adds an expansive range of new sonic elements, e.g. the conjunto touches of “Blame It On Love,” the reggae groove of “Give A Little More,” the rustic acoustic textures of “It’s Just My Heart Talkin’ and the baroque pop elements of “There’s Always Tomorrow.”


Stu Block from Iced Earth talks to Pittsburgh Music Magazine/Stage AE Show April 9

Metal titans ICED EARTH make their triumphant return with the January 21, 2014 release of new studio album ‘PLAGUES OF BABYLON’ on Century Media Records. The band will bring the new album to their North America homeland when their headlining WORLDWIDE PLAGUES TOUR hits our shores April 4 for a six-week run with SABATON and REVAMP in support and hits PITTSBURGH APRIL 9 at STAGE AE.

PGH Music Mag recently caught up with vocalist Stu Block to discuss the new record, tour, and much more…

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‘PLAGUES OF BABYLON’ is set for a January 21, 2014 release in North America on Century Media Records, and is streaming now in its entirety on Spotify (the album is out now in the rest of the world).  PMM got an early release from Century Media and we have to tell you that it is classic Iced Earth…in other words brutal. Songs 1-6 form the ‘PLAGUES OF BABYLON story line, part of the ongoing ‘SOMETHING WICKED’ Universe™.  There are some really cool twists and turns as always and it will be a total trip to see live.

Exclusive VIP packages for the entire ICED EARTH North American tour are available now at www.enterthevault.com. VIP packages will remain onsale while supplies last.


ICED EARTH with SABATON & REVAMP in support:


04: Grand Rapids, MI – The Intersection

05: Milwaukee, WI – The Rave

06: Chicago, IL – House Of Blues

07: Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue

09: Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE

10: Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall

11: Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom

12: Detroit, MI – St. Andrews Hall

14: Toronto, ONT – Phoenix Concert Theatre

15: Quebec City, QC – Imperial Theater

16: Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre

17: Philadelphia, PA – The Trocadero

18: New York, NY – Best Buy Theater

19: Worcester, MA – The Palladium

21: West Springfield, VA – Empire
23: Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
24: Orlando, FL – House Of Blues Orlando
25: Fort Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
26: Saint Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
28: Houston, TX – Scout Bar
29: Dallas, TX – Trees
01: Tempe, AZ – Club Red
02: West Hollywood, CA – House Of Blues Sunset
03: San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
05: Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Concert House
06: Seattle, WA – El Corazon
07: Vancouver, BC – The Venue
09: Edmonton, AB – The Starlite Room
10: Calgary, AB – Republik
11: Regina, SK – Riddell Centre
12: Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
14: Denver, CO – The Summit Music Hall
15: Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater
16: Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom


The Pixies’ David Lovering Speaks to PGH Music Magazine/ PGH date 1/25 @Carnegie Music Hall

The Pixies are inaugurating the New Year with a 33-city headline tour of North America, starting January 15 in Toronto, Canada.  January 25th The Pixies hit The Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland (Pitt Campus) without founding member, bassist Kim Deal, but with a bunch of new material after audiences not hearing anything for a decade.  This is not your typical “reunion show” from the band you listened to in college.   Acclaimed as the most influential pioneering band of the late 80s alt/rock movement, The Pixies are just as vital, vibrant, and poignant today as they were in the late eighties and early nineties.  The Pixies disbanded in 1993 and launched their reunion tour in April, 2004 when virtually every, single date sold out within minutes.  The Pixies shattered sales records around the world, SPIN called it 2004’s “Comeback of the Year,” and the band wrapped up 2004 in New York City with 24,000 tickets sold for an unprecedented eight-night, sold-out run at Hammerstein Ballroom.  The Pixies continued their reunion tour in 2005, and then, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of their 1989 album Doolittle, launched the “Doolittle Tour” on October 1, 2009 in Dublin, performing the entire album, beginning to end.  In May, 2013, it was announced that founding member Kim Deal had decided to leave the Pixies.  Black Francis, Joey Santiago and David Lovering made it clear that Kim’s place in the band would always be there for her.

Jump to January 2014 as EP 2 is being released and the fire is still burning and the passion runs deep, all you have to is speak to drummer David Lovering  (pictured below) and you immediately are hit with his love for music and what The Pixies are doing in their current state.

Pixies @ El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, September 10, 2013

After a decade of not releasing material (even though they have been toying with it since 2004), The Pixies have finally put out some new tunes and have done so in a very modern way; they have done it without the help of a record label.  When asking David about it he simply states that, “it’s the day and age right now…we are very fortunate to have enough of a fan base to do it”.  One of the first things The Pixies did was to release “Bagboy” as a free download to let their fans and the general public know that they were back, “it was a benefit for us to do that”.  But of course while they were in the recording studio was when David says that the biggest “emotional rollercoaster” began when Kim Deal left the band.   Although Kim would be welcomed back with open arms, David, Francis Black and Joey Santiago decided to keep moving on and to keep touring.  At first, in Deal’s place was  Kim Shattuck.  For the North and South American and European festivals  coming up Paz Lenchantin will be filling in.

Lovering has been quoted as saying that he wanted to write new music because he “didn’t want to turn into a casino act”.  Even though there was some trepidation about putting out new material David is quick to say, “you have to love what you are doing”. Producer Gil Norton seemed to be their only choice, not for only being known as the ‘fifth Pixie’, but also to “recreate the sounds of Doolittle, Bossa Nova and Trompe Le Monde”.  In October 2012, the Pixies convened to Rockfield Studios in Wales, as Lovering recalls, “We had (five) songs going in to the studio and we wrote (another seven) there.  We’d never done that before, and some great songs came out of it, in fact. It worked out pretty darned well.”

With EP 2 being released in January 2014 via their website, Lovering and I spoke a lot about the creation of those songs.  Some of that material was written in the studio.  David has been quoted as  not liking the studio because “he is a perfectionist”.  But this time was a  different experience.  According to Francis, the first tune on The EP, “Blue-Eyed Hexe” is “a tale from the northwest of the country and it’s a witch-woman kind of a song. That’s what a hexe is. And she’s a blue-eyed hexe!”  Lovering states, “That was on the spot that we came up with that. I wanted to record that as quickly as possible. We rehearsed it and I had it in my head and I just went in – and it’s a really simple track, kick drum and a snare and a hi-hat – and it was the quickest track for me to record. It kind of reminds me of “UMASS” because of the cowbell in it; so I’ll be using the cowbell again since the cowbell goes through the whole song. ”  David assures me that he is absolutely prepared for the ‘more cowbell jokes that are sure to ensue’. “Magdalena” is a “a blues song with a Beatles-esque left turn” according to Francis and Santiago says that, “It was a very mood-based sound, not based on any lyrics or anything. ”  When Lovering talks about this song it really speaks to where he is at in his playing these days,  “with this song you can hear that I’m just playing the beat and accompanying the song for what it is and this song exemplifies that.  It’s about being true to the song, and this is pretty, simple, cool and moving”.  When I ask David if it is sometimes hard for him to hold back on songs he said, “It’s actually the opposite.”  Today he has changed back to more of a traditional jazz grip that allows him to flow better and makes his playing a more visually beautiful experience.  Clearly David has the mature wisdom of an experienced musician.  As with a lot of the material on EP 2, Greens and Blues came out of the studio as well.  Black explains, “it’s kind of a goodbye song. A goodbye song, but really more of a “good night” song.  Snakes was also written in the studio, Santiago’s guitar phrasing may explain a bit where the name derives from, “I had this little idea and I did that sliding guitar just to emulate a snake.”

As far as what one will hear on tour, Lovering is quick to point out that The Pixies are planning on “changing material every night” including a lot of new stuff from both EP1 and EP 2.

With the great acoustics and atmosphere of the Carnegie Music Hall in uptown Pittsburgh (Oakland), the show on January 25 will be a not to be missed experience.

EMMURE To Headline The ‘Mosh Lives’ Tour/PGH 3/7 @Altar Bar

Queens’ pride and joy, controversial metal band EMMURE will be headlining the Mosh Lives Tour with support coming from Volumes, Thy Art Is Murder, Gideon & Sworn In. Selling over 500,000 units worldwide, EMMURE have become a staple in the heavy metal scene, known for vocalist Frankie Palmeri’s bold and brash sensibilities which translate not only into their lyrics, but in their personal endeavors as well (see Palmeri’s clothing line, Cold Soul).

EMMURE Tour Dates:
The Mosh Lives! Tour w/ Volumes, Thy Art Is Murder, Gideon & Sworn In

03/07 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Altar Bar
03/08 – Louisville, KY @ Vernon Club
03/09 – Springfield, MO @ Outland Ballroom
03/11 – San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit
03/12 – Mission, TX @ Never Say Never Festival
03/13 – Austin, TX @ SXSW
03/14 – Grand Prairie, TX @ South By So What?!
03/16 – Tampa, FL @ Orpheum Theatre
03/17 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
03/19 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
03/20 – Joliet, IL @ Mojoe’s
03/21 – Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theater
03/23 – Denver, CO @ The Summmit Music Hall
03/24 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
03/28 – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House
03/29 – Las Vegas, NV @ Extreme Thing
03/30 – Phoenix, AZ @ Joe’s Grotto
04/03 – Sauget, IL @ Pop’s Nightclub
04/04 – Columbus, OH @ AlRosa Villa
04/05 – West Springfield, VA @ Empire
While on the road, EMMURE have been writing a new album, due out early 2014. Of the upcoming project, Frankie Palmeri spoke with Alternative Press, “This material is probably some of the heaviest, most intense stuff we’ve put out in a while…I think it’s going to break down walls on whatever people were expecting from us.”

Recently, the Daily Disruption took an interest in Frankie’s out-there attitude and awarded him his own web series, “Let’s Be Frank”. Check out some of the episodes!

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SnoCore- Pittsburgh Date Added – 2/17! WITH HEADLINERS THE PRETTY RECKLESS







The SnoCore Tour, a celebration of music and winter sports, is back after a two-year absence.  The tour has spanned more than fourteen years, running annually from 1996 to 2010 and was established as a way to fill the musical void during the winter months which was traditionally overlooked by other tour packages that are focused on spring and summer. In its first year, SnoCore showcased such bands as Sublime and Less Than Jake, over the years everyone from Blink-182 to Incubus to Everclear to System of a Down graced the SnoCore stage. Now, after a brief hiatus, Wind-up Records and TKO are proud to be uniting to bring SnoCore back to the winter 2014 music scene and back to its roots.

“We are thrilled to be re-launching SnoCore!” says Ed Vetri President and CEO of Wind-up Records. “This tour has been a fan favorite since it began and has always featured both established and up and coming amazing live bands.  We are looking forward to making this THE winter music event for many years to come.”

The Pretty Reckless is headlining, Heaven’s Basement, The Letter Black, Crobot plus one band chosen from the international artist platform, ReverbNation, will also play in each market. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here. Tour dates and more information is listed below.

The Pretty Reckless will release their sophomore studio album Going To Hell this March via Razor & Tie.  The band formed in 2009 and released their debut album Light Me Up in 2010 as well as a follow-up EP Hit Me Like A Man in 2012. After two years on the road supporting Light Me Up, the band has risen through rock ‘n’ roll’s ranks to become a polarizing presence. Over the course of their debut and EP, the quartet has sold over one million combined albums and digital singles and have supported Evanescence, Guns N’ Roses and Marilyn Manson on tour in addition to headline runs in both the U.S. and abroad. Momsen and her bandmates delivered nothing short of killer performances on their just-wrapped headlining North American “Going To Hell Tour” and the band will support Fall Out Boy on tour in Europe March 2014 after SnoCore wraps.  Watch the Fan Instagram video for the current single “Heaven Knows”, about to break the Rock Radio Top 20, and view the music video for “Going To Hell”, both tracks from the forthcoming album.

Heaven’s Basement have been making a name for themselves via their relentless touring and fiery live show plus music that features huge guitar riffs, killer melodies and an arena-rock sound.  Formed in the East Midlands in England, Heaven’s Basement have toured with the likes of The Pretty Reckless, Black Veil Brides, Papa Roach, Shinedown, Halestorm, Seether and more.  Kerrang declared, “Heaven’s Basement play as if their lives depend on it.  They should already be a big name – bristling riffs and jagged, riotous hooks are their poison and exceptional is not too strong a word.”  The band’s debut album, FILTHY EMPIRE, is in stores now via Red Bull Records; the first single from the album, “Fire, Fire,” cracked the Top 10 on the Active Rock Radio chart.  Heaven’s Basement’s new single, “Nothing Left To Lose,” is set to impact at Active Rock in January; the video can be seen here.  Heaven’s Basement is Aaron Buchanan (vocals), Sid Glover (guitar), Rob Ellershaw (bass), and Chris Rivers (drums).

The Letter Black burst onto the alternative rock landscape with their EP followed by the full-length debut, Hanging On By A Thread, in 2010 – now one of label Tooth & Nail’s top selling debuts in recent memory. The Letter Black has also had radio success with four radio singles from their debut, “Best of Me” (CHR No. 17), “Hanging On By A Thread” (CHR No. 23, Rock No. 6), “Believe” (Rock No. 4) and “New Fire” (Rock No. 17). Media have also gravitated to this heavy-hitting band as they have been covered in Revolver, AOL Noisecreep and AOL RadioBlog.  Tooth & Nail Records’ Pennsylvania-based rockers released their sophomore project, Rebuild in November 2013. The band is vocalist Sarah Anthony, guitarist Mark Anthony, bassist Matt Beal and drummer Taylor Carroll.

Central Pennsylvania band Crobot recently signed to Wind-up Records.  The band is currently in the studio with famed producer Machine (Clutch, Lamb of God, Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes) to work on their 2014 Wind-up album release, the follow-up to their self-released debut album, The Legend of the Spaceborne Killer.  Crobot embodies a mixture of groove-heavy riff-rock that will want to make you bang your head and shake your ass.  Think of them as Wolfmother’s American cousins on acid who smell like leather and whose music scorches your ears like hot sauce to the taste.   You can’t help but feel that you are taken into another dimension and back again with the songs of Crobot.  Crobot will be on tour in select cities across the United States in 2014 with Clutch and The Sword before heading out with SnoCore.  Crobot is Brandon Yeagley (Lead Vocals, Harmonica), Chris Bishop (Guitar, Vocals), Jake Figuroa (Bass) and Paul Figuroa (Drums).

Using ReverbNation’s state-of-the-art reviewing dashboard, SnoCore will choose an up-and-coming artist to play in each market. Over three million musicians and bands use ReverbNation to manage their online presence and advance their careers through strategic industry opportunities. ReverbNation artists can submit to be selected through the opportunity listings in their free online profile here from January 29 through February 23.

For more information about SnoCore or any of the artists on the tour, please go to the SnoCore website.

SnoCore Tour Dates (Routing Subject To Change):

01/29               Lincoln, NE                             Bourbon Theatre

01/30               Des Moines, IA                       Wooly’s

01/31               Minneapolis, MN                     Mill City Nights

02/01               Milwaukee, WI                        The Eagles Hall

02/02               Joliet, IL                                   Mojoes

02/04               Flint, MI                                   The Machine Shop

02/05               Toronto, ON                            Phoenix Concert Theatre

02/07               Rochester, NY                        Montage Music Hall

02/08               Worcester, MA                        The Palladium

02/09               Albany, NY                              Upstate Concert Hall

02/11               Baltimore, MD                         Sound Stage

02/12               New York, NY                         Irving Plaza

02/13               Allentown, PA                         Maingate Nightclub

02/14               State College, PA                   Levels

02/15               Lancaster, PA                         Chameleon

02/17               Pittsburgh, PA                         Altar Bar

02/19               Denver, CO                            The Summit Music Hall

02/21               Las Vegas, NV                        Vinyl – Hard Rock Hotel Casino

02/22               Santa Ana, CA                        The Observatory

02/23               W. Hollywood, CA                  House of Blues

Music Awards and Online Betting: Winning through predicting the outcome of musical events

Music Awards and Online Betting:

Winning through predicting the outcome of musical events

In the past, only sports games were being bet on by people. Through informal means or by the help of professional bookers, betting has always been enclosed within the realms of sports such as basketball, baseball, football, and horse racing. However, with the dawn of technology and social media, people from all over the world can now place bets on almost anything including reality-TV shows and musical awards.
Betting on TV show contests is similar to how wagering on sports events works. Contestants who are predicted to win the event will have the highest odds but small payouts, while the underdogs will have the highest payouts.
The Barclaycard Mercury Prize in the UK is one of the shows that have a betting market. To the uninitiated, the Barclaycard Mercury Prize is an event that promotes the best UK and Irish music and the people who produce them. The event, as mentioned in its official website, is the equivalent of the Booker Prize for literature and the Turner Prize for Art. Apart from promoting the best albums of the year, it is also an affair that captures the overview of the music scene within a given year and a venue to launch new musical albums of different genres.
In 2013, David Bowie was among the highest contenders in the odds betting race. In a report by betting author Max Liu, the legendary rock musician David Bowie’s return in the music scene with a new album made him a strong competitor in the Mercury Music Prize Awards (source: http://betting.betfair.com/) . David’s amazing performance in his hit single The Next Day almost made him bag this year’s trophy. On the other hand, Laura Mvula was also a tough competitor in this year’s Mercury Awards, with a few bettors who placed six-figure bets under her name (source: www.telegraph.co.uk). Unfortunately, despite the inferences, it was James Blake who took home the trophy for his amazingly-arranged electronic music album Overgrown.
To some, betting on music may seem new and odd, but many have already accepted it as a new form of entertainment. After all, betting on who will win on musical events such as the Barclaycard Mercury Prize is just like predicting who will win in sports matches. In short, the transition from sports to popular media betting wasn’t very hard to recognize and accept as a new norm.



Intervals name new vocalist and release new music

Intervals made a huge announcement via their Facebook yesterday:

Alright everyone, here is the premier track, “Ephemeral” from our upcoming record! We also have some exciting news:

“We’re incredibly excited and proud to announce Mike Semesky as the band’s singer. Intervals has always been about open minded, forward thinking, progressive music with no boundaries. It’s also been about staying true to the art we feel compelled to make, and we couldn’t be happier with the dynamic Mike brings to the music. For those who remember, the band put out a feeler for a vocalist with the release of “The Space Between”, but in lieu of finding the right candidate, we decided to move forward with our initial intent: Make music. Mike joined the band as our bass player, but after only a few weeks of touring, it was apparent that this was the chemistry we were after all along. The human voice is an instrument and from our perspective, we are by definition, still an “instrumental” band, now with added dimension and perspective. The band still retains it’s identity in guitar driven, progressive rock/metal and there’s something on this record for everyone. We couldn’t be more thankful for the support you have all shown us over the past few years and we hope you continue to follow along on this journey we share. This release is our proudest musical accomplishment to date and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it!”

And as Mike says from his Facebook, “I’m extremely happy to announce that I am the singer of Intervals. I joined the band on bass in early 2013, but after writing and experimenting with vocals over demos of the band’s new material, the four of us knew that that was the direction we were meant to go. I feel so blessed to be a part of such a talented group of musicians and I’m extremely proud of the album we all worked so hard on. We’re so excited for you all to hear it!”

Obviously this is great news.  We have known Mike since meeting him when he was lead singer for HAARP Machine.  After he, and and two other members left that band, he went on to do work with Danish band  Raunchy, and then touring as bassist with Intervals.  Anyone who has seen Mike perform, watched any of his videos on YouTube, or heard any of his previous work know this is incredibly exciting news.  We could not be happier for Mike and Intervals.  Currently Intervals is off to Europe on the 3rd for their tour with Protest the Hero, Tesseract, and the Safety Fire.  Then we need to get them back in the States ASAP.  We will keep you posted as we will be sure to bug Mike as much as humanly possible to let us in on what is going on with the Intervals camp!

Mike playing bass on tour
Mike playing bass on tour

AMON AMARTH Live in PGH @ Mr. SMALLS 2/6 US tour scheduled to begin in January


AMON AMARTH premiere epic production video for “Father Of The Wolf” at Las Vegas show

US tour scheduled to begin in January – ticket giveaway now live!

AMON AMARTH is pleased to announce they will be premiering the stunning production video for the track “Father Of The Wolf” at the first date of the US tour-taking place in Las Vegas onFriday January 17. For fans attending this show, make sure to follow Amon Amarth’s and Metal Blade Records’ Twitter and Facebook pages for info on what time the video will be played at the kickoff date of the tour. Fans not attending this show will be able to view this epic music video, which is more like a mini movie, at metalblade.com/amonamarth on Saturday January 18.

Don’t forget to catch the Swedish heavy metal titans AMON AMARTH live this January/February 2014 as the band headlines the US in support of their newly released albumDeceiver of The Gods. Very special guest on the dates will be Enslaved with additional support from Skeletonwitch.

Thanks to our friends at Live Nation and Blabbermouth, fans can enter to win a pair of tickets to one of the shows listed below by entering HERE. Rules and restrictions apply and can be found on the contest page.

Friday, January 17 – Las Vegas, NV @ House Of Blues
Saturday, January 18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Club Red
Monday, January 20 – San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
Tuesday, January 21 – Dallas, TX @ House Of Blues
Wednesday, January 22 – Houston, TX @ House Of Blues
Friday, January 24 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
Saturday, January 25 – Tampa, FL @ The Ritz
Sunday, January 26 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
Monday, January 27 – Orlando, FL @ House Of Blues (*no Skeletonwitch)
Wednesday, January 29 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Thursday, January 30 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVA
Friday, January 31 – Silver Springs, MD @ The Fillmore
Saturday, February 1 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues
Monday, February 3 – Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
Tuesday, February 4 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
Wednesday, February 5 – Huntington, NY @ Paramount
Thursday, February 6 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Small’s
Friday, February 7 – Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues
Saturday, February 8 – Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights
Sunday, February 9 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre
Tuesday, February 11 – Denver, CO @ Summit Theatre
Wednesday, February 12 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Murray Theater
Friday, February 14 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency
Saturday, February 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
Sunday, February 16 – San Diego, CA @ House Of Blues (* No Enslaved)

Tickets are available now at: http://amonamarth.com/tour

Deceiver of the Gods shattered the band’s previous sales records around the world. The album landed at #19 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart and #19 on the Top Current Albums Chart. The band’s last album, Surtur Rising, entered the Top 200 Chart at #34 making Deceiver of the Gods the band’s highest charting record to date. In Germany, Deceiver of the Gods entered the Top 100 Chart at #3, the official Media Market/Saturn Chart at #3 and the German Media Control Weekend Trend Chart at #2. Deceiver of the Gods came in at #9 on Canada’s Top 200 Chart, #2 on the Hard Music Charts and #21 on the Digital Music Chart. Additionally, the record came in at #2 on the iTunes Metal Chart, #2 on the iTunes Rock Chart and #7 on the iTunes Top 200. In the UK, the record entered the official Album Charts at #67, the Rock/Metal Chart at #4 and the Independent Chart at #14 marking the highest UK chart placements for the band yet. Elsewhere, Deceiver of the Gods came in at #9 on the Top 100 Album Chart in Switzerland, #7 on the Austrian Top 100, #9 in Sweden, #27 in Denmark, #51 in France, #34 in Czech Republic and #51 in Hungary.

Keep up to date on all things Amon Amarth at the following locations:


The Strange Case of…Halestorm at Stage AE Pittsburgh

Before Halestorm’s performance at Stage AE, I can’t say that I understood what all the fuss was about.  Lzzy Hale has been making headlines and filling up the pages of rock zines and blogs since they broke the scene around 2005.  Not being one for Halestorm’s style of rock, but also not one to discount others love for it, I kept an open mind as to what I would witness Wednesday night, December 11, 2013 at Pittsburgh’s Stage AE.  And now I can say I get what others see in the highly talented band.

All one had to do was look around at the packed house and enthusiastic faces to feel the excitement.  As I took photos in the pit, many of the audience members were singing the lyrics almost as loud as Lzzy, and it looked like she was having just as much of a great time as her fans were.  With a solid band including her brother, Arejay, on drums, Joe Hottinger on guitar, and Josh Smith on bass, Halestorm is very tight and put on one heck of a show.  But let’s not forget who everyone comes to see which of course is Lzzy.  She lives up to the billing folks.  Amazing voice, beautiful looks, great personality and fan interaction, guitar chops…it was all coming together as I snapped away and as I took it all in afterwards.

Although Halestorm may not be my particular cup of tea, it’s nice to appreciate a different brand once in awhile, especially ones with subtle and beautiful flavor.  I especially appreciated the Judas Priest, Guns N’ Roses, and Fleetwood Mac covers…Daft Punk, well, not my tea either, but the girls in the crowd sure did love it.   The package with Redlight King and Stars in Stereo is perfect for fans of the genre and is a killer deal for the money.

Setlist: below pix

All photos  ©2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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  1. (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  2. (Judas Priest cover)
  3. Encore:
  4. (Daft Punk cover)
  5. Here’s to Us

Vanna: The Few And The Far Between Hit Pittsburgh

Maybe you missed them during The Warped Tour in 2012.  It’s easy enough to do with so many bands and a different schedule every day, featured or not.  I was one of those chumps who missed Vanna and missed out on discovering and enjoying their music earlier.  Hearing the buzz and ground-swell beneath this band, it’s amazing that these guys are not bigger than they are, but this will change.  These guys are too good to not be headlining because they ripping it up everywhere they go.

Having been working at this since 2004, Vanna have had time to truly hone their craft.  After their show in Pittsburgh, where they opened for Norma Jean, I spoke with lead singer (since 2009)  Davey Muise who is just the most passionate dude and incredibly infectious to speak with.  The way that Davey connected with the crowd was so inspiring, it reminded me of my good friends Stick To Your Guns.  Davey literally went down onto the floor and had the crowd gather amongst him and emphasized how ‘he was one of them and a misfit as well, that shows were one of the only places he feels like he fits in and un-judged just like them’.  And I was right there with him.

From the first chord I was with Vanna as well.  A powerful combo of hardcore and metalcore, but with letlive. and Rage Against The Machine punctuation of funk thrown in, topped off with some classic punk.  It was intense from start to finish just as the crowd expected and totally ‘got off on’.  With the backing of Razor and Tie and hitting the road with the likes of their brethren Norma Jean, Vanna needs to be on your radar now, and you don’t need to buy any vowels to figure it out.

Go to their Facebook now to listen to what I’m sayin’…

and then go grab this…

December 17th – Preying/Purging

PRE-ORDER: http://www.allinmerch.com/category/VAN.html

“Preying” available NOW on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/album/preying-single/id771968979

We are constantly writing and jamming new ideas while at home and on the road. We had a collection of riffs and lyrics that we really wanted to put toward something, and the idea of self releasing a 7″ was born. We figured it was a cool way to put these songs out into the world and give them their own spotlight. Preying/Purging is a chance for us to try some cool directions out while progressing in the Vanna sound as well as give people some more songs to jam and hopefully enjoy.
Both these songs are personal and mean a lot to the band. Our hope is that you feel us on every level with these. If you don’t have a record player, go out and grab one at a second hand store or music shop, you’re missing out on some great music on vinyl.

-Davey Muise

All photos ©2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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The Attack “Old School” Punk Pittsburgh

“Who did this poster? I want to meet these guys.”  Well, they played the show tonight.  “What do you mean they played the show?”  The Attack, they were one of your openers.  Charlie and Brad- they made the poster.

And so this is how Charlie and Brad, owners of Enemy Ink and members of The Attack started a long relationship with The Misfits.  Opening for The Misfits in Pittsburgh December 8, 2013 and having been on tour throughout the fall into winter and many times before this, The Attack has a vast history not only with legends like Jerry Only, but a ton of other bands as well.  To get a really good primer on The Attack a great place to start would be to watch the recent trek they did on Record Store Day this Black Friday.  We sat down with guitar player Brad Palkevich, in the coolest custom traveling band van, to talk with him about that day and a lot of other things going on with The Attack.  Check it out here…

This video doesn’t exist

The Attack are super cool, laid back, and very personable guys.  But don’t let that fool you.  Their stage show is punk intensity and fury at it’s finest.  What is so endearing about them is that it leaves the bullshit of many of today’s neo-punk posers behind and goes to the root of why many of us fell in love with the genre in the first place and exposes the younger generation to that sound at the same time.  With a sound that is reminiscent of 80’s founders like Black Flag, Minor Threat, and 7 seconds combined with elements of later influences like Dropkick Murphys, Bad Religion, and H20, The Attack have a purity that is rarely found these days, and it feels damn good.  If asked how the show was the response is quite simple, “it was fun!”  How often can one say that anymore from a show?

*Show highlight: The massive crowd sing-along to “Bad Moon Rising”.  No offense to LagWagon’s version (which is awesome), but this one has a different feel and was a bit more lighthearted, which gave it a Irish Bar drinking song feel that certainly sits well in this town.

All Photos ©AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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The Misfits Walk Among Us in Pittsburgh at Altar Bar 2013

The history of The Misfits is so vast, from their inception in 1977 until their current line-up today, that it is hard to really sometimes wade through what is fact and what is fiction.  Only one book out there really attempts to put it to ink, This Music Leaves Stains: The Complete Story of the Misfitsand it leaves much to be desired because without the true players telling the story, it’s pretty tough to get down to the middle ground that may be the truth.  What can be said for sure is this: Jerry Only is one hell of a nice dude despite his onstage scary persona (to outsiders only).  The Misfits crew has quite the number of friends in each city and is known to host one heck of a gathering in each.  Jerry and Dez are punk royalty after all, Jerry with Glenn Danzig having started The Misfits and Dez Cadena, currently a Misfit, and formerly in legendary Black Flag.  These guys have been in the biz forever, yet still manage to maintain what punk ethics that they can while retaining their sanity.

Pittsburgh loves their Misfits, and each year we usually get treated to them in some fashion.  After we talked to Doyle (Jerry’s brother and ex-Misfit guitarist) when he played with Danzig recently at Stage AE, we can only hope that maybe one day Pittsburgh will play host to Glenn, Jerry, and Doyle at least on the same stage if Glenn decides one day it’s time (and no one is getting any younger, except maybe Doyle!).  Anyways, the current lineup of our beloved Misfits is no reason to scoff regardless, having Eric “Chupacabra” Arce on drums to round out a trio that makes it seem like punk is still where it always was, in our hearts.

With a ridiculously packed set and a completely packed house, The Misfits gave everyone a great time and had us all shouting 1,2, 3,4 before each song, remembering what it was or at least getting a glimpse of what was missed.  The age range was somewhere between 14 and 50, which was really very cool.  These were not chaperones at an Asking Alexandra show, but young and young-minded mingled and moshed together for an evening of what makes us all one in the first place, our love for music and The Misfits.

The setlist was vast but highlights included: “Monkey’s Paw”, “TV Casualty”, “I Turned Into A Martian”, “Attitude”, “Ghouls Nite Out”, “Horror Business” and of course, “Die Die My Darling”.

All photos  ©2013 AWelding and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Norma Jean Proves Just How Good It Feels To Be Wrongdoers In Pittsburgh

Maybe Cory Putman felt he had to redeem himself from the 2009 show at Altar bar in Pittsburgh when he went to kick a bottle and fell flat on his ass, but it’s more likely that Cory and the rest of the revamped Norma Jean have something to prove with Wrongdoers and their entire catalog…that they are here to stay.  Having a somewhat tumultuous history since their inception in 1997, Norma Jean have had their ups and downs, but stalwart members Chris Day (guitar) and lead singer (since 2nd album) Cory have really gelled with new members Clayton “Goose” Holyoak (drums), Jeff Hickey (guitar), and John Finnegan bass).  Their performance at Altar Bar 2013 went off without any spills, but plenty of thrills for fans, especially with the up close and personally intense nature of their showmanship.

Just before the show we got a chance to catch up with Cory who was very gracious to hang with us, especially since the band had been robbed just a few days ago in Chicago.  Our interview focuses on the positive matters in the band so watch as we talk about Wrongdoers, packaging art, family and the road, the bottle incident, and more…

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Old school Norma Jean fans of course went nuts when debut record smash “Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste” was played, but some of the most impressive songs of the night (besides MWBLTW) were “Bayonetwork” with the snippet of “I Used to Hate Cell Phones”, “If You Got It At Five” and of course the encore “Hive Minds”.  Intense, furious, and bullet to the head like beautiful cacophonies of sounds and images onstage, Norma Jean are incredibly energizing to listen to on “tape” but on a whole other celestial plane live.

All photos 2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Setlist accorsing to setlist.fm

  1. (With “Creating Something Out … more)
  2. (With “I Used to Hate Cell … more)
  3. Encore:
  4. Hive Minds

Hard Rock Pittsburgh & Cancer Caring Center: January 23, 2014Pittsburgh Rock’N Roll Hall of Fame Event

The Cancer Caring Center has created the Pittsburgh Rock ’N Roll Hall of Fame and, working with The Hard Rock Cafe Pittsburgh, is planning a major celebration where each year, an influential member of the Pittsburgh rock scene will be honored with an induction ceremony, and their name added to a permanent plaque mounted at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Rick Engler will be the first inductee.  A band of Pittsburgh all star rockers will perform including Donnie Iris, B.E. Taylor, Joe Grushecky, Scott Blasey, Hermie Granati, Rick Witkowski, Joffo Simons, and Art Nardini.  Rick Engler and Hermie performed together as members of the Grains of Sand / Phweet Woo in the early 1970s. With some encouragement Rich may come out of retirement to play a song or two.

 Pittsburgh Music History profile of DiCesare-Engler Productions:

Joel Peresman, President and CEO, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, is coming to present the award to Rich.  A video retrospective of Rich’s career with congratulation messages from rock celebrities and music industry execs will be shown.  Steve Hansen and Sean McDowell of WDVE will emcee the event. Steve is helping to write the show.  WDVE and KDKA-TV will also be promoting the event.  Ed Traversari is assisting with production of the event and the video.

Proceeds will go to the Cancer Caring Center who has provided free services to cancer patients and their families for 25 years.  Services include 19 neighborhood support sites, individual counseling, a food bank, art and journaling therapy, “Live Well with Cancer” programs and much more.  Information is available at Cancercaring.org

A silent auction for autographed rock memorabilia will be held. There will be items from YES, KANSAS, Graham Nash, Joe Walsh, Justin Hayward-Moody Blues.  Other items include a personal guided tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Larrimor’s $500 gift certificate, Stage AE and other concert tickets.  Participants can also bid on catered a dinner party for 10 at their home with Cindy and Rich Engler.
General admission tickets are $150 for the show that begins at 6:30.
V.IP. tickets for a cocktail reception at 5:30 are $200.. 

 Other sponsors of the event include:

UPMC/UPMC Health Plan – title sponsors

Young Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Foundation

PGT Trucking

Wright Automotive Group


Hollowood Sound and Music



Testament Stands the Test of Time at Stage AE Pittsburgh

You have just got to love anyone who is not afraid to play air guitar openly and rock out with the crowd, especially if that someone has an awesome custom light up mic and happens to be the one and only Chuck Billy of Testament.  Being an old metalhead, I have been into Testament since that first CD (remember those?) The Legacy in 1987, actually latching onto their sound a bit before Metallica, even though they both represent the Bay Area thrash that we come to love so much.  Getting to see Billy, Skolnick, Peterson, Christian, and Hoglan onstage is such a treat and a lesson in longevity within the music biz done right.  I highly suggest reading Skolnick’s book, Geek to Guitar Hero, to learn a bit more of the personal.  Anyways, being able to see these guys once again and on a bill with some younger guys like Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, and Huntress, and not only hold their own, but put on a dominating performance was nothing short of awesome and one for the mind’s scrapbook.

I was lucky enough to run into Chuck Billy before the show, and although physically a very intimidating individual, he is nothing but a very gracious, humble, and accommodating guy.  Years on the road can make you jaded and bitter, but not Chuck, he’s as good-natured and appreciate of it all as ever. My guitar hero geek out was also fulfilled getting to see Alex Skolnick put on a firework display with his fingers as he flitted around the fretboard like it was nothing and threw his axe into the air catching it like a babey only to crank right into the next arpeggio with ease…absolutely mind blowingly brilliant to witness.  On the back end thee Gene Hoglan was putting on his usual drum clinic and all aspiring percussionist really should have been paying attention because two of the best in the best were performing that night: Gene and Chris Adler.  Of course, the one absolute original member from when Testament were called Legacy, Eric Peterson was thrashing his own path with his guitar holding the base of the true sound that is Testament down along with bassist Greg Christian.

It was a set full of goodies.  Supporting their latest release Dark Roots of Earth, there of course were some numbers from what might be their strongest album to date including set highlight “Native Blood” and the opener “Rise Up”.  Otherwise, the delved into The Formation of Damnation’s “More Than Meets The Eye”, a lot of songs off of The New Order including “The Preacher” “Into the Pit” “Disciples Of the Watch” and “The New Order”, and ending with old school The Legacy’s “Over The Wall”.  I would have loved to have seen more from Dark Roots of Earth, but I’m sure I am in the minority.

Great show.  Great dudes.  Great band.  Sure hope to see these guys come around again on their own sometime soon.

All photos ©2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Killswitch Engage Disarm Pittsburgh at Stage AE

If it was your first time at a Killswitch Engage show you might think that guitarist Adam Jonathan Dutkiewicz was well, a bit “touched”.  He is a one man force to be reckoned with, but not what one would typically expect at a metal show, a guy who is often described as ‘liking to take the piss out of things’, a man with a sense of humor.   This is a guy who is prone to taking his guitar off to do mid song sprints back and forth the stage for?  I’m not sure, but it was great (see pix below).  In other words, your eyes lock onto him all the time.  From the moment that the Rocky theme song “Survivor” began the set and Dutkiewicz ran out onto the stage screaming and yelling like a teenage girl at a One Direction show, a Killswitch virgin knew this was going to be different than anything they had ever experienced before and…hilarious.

Back with original vocalist Jesse Leach and sounding incredibly powerful and clean at the same time, Killswitch Engage blitzed right into A Bid Farewell from The End of Heartache.  This of course is not the first time Pittsburgh has been treated to KE back with Jesse, many of the same fans witnessed the comeback at  Metal Hammer‘s “Trespass America Festival” at Stage AE as well a few summers back.  But this was an entirely different vibe, and an inside show that was beyond packed and completely sold out.  The extreme metalcore/hardcore continued with highlights such as “The New Awakening” and “Turning Point” from new effort Disarm the Descent,  “Rose of Sharyn” and “The End of Heartache” from The End of Heartache, and “My Last Serenade” and “In The Unblind” from Alive or Just Breathing.

What makes Killswitch special an so endearing to fans seems to be the versatility within their songs and between their material.  But with that, their live show is proof positive that their career has lasted and expanded the way that it has for good reason.  Besides the enigmatic performances of Jesse and Adam, Mike D’Antonio (bass), Joel Stoetzel (guitar), and Justin Foley (drums) never stop moving and playing to the crowd making them feel one with the band and part of the performance.  This was a true double act with Lamb of God and full set to appease the wall to wall packed in audience who was at a fever pitch during the entire bit from start to finish.  Some left scarred, some left shocked, and some left sapped of all energy, but all left bigger fans of Killswitch Engage.

All photos ©2013 AWelding and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Setlist from setlist.fm

  1. The End of Heartache

Huntress Puts a Spell on Pittsburgh: Video Interview, Pix, and Review

Huntress feels like they were born from an amalgamation of sorcery, NWOBHM, Catskill Mountain upbringing, and some damn fine weed.  Some of that is conjecture and some of that is pure investigative reporting (Ha!).  According to her bio, Jill Janus, lead singer of Huntress, ‘came from humble beginnings as one of seven children.  By the age of fourteen, she received a scholarship to tour Europe with a choir. Her work ethic was fierce growing up, holding down several jobs to fund her vocal training. Between her voice lessons and high school classes, Janus would record thrash songs in her best friend’s basement and was initiated into a coven at the age of fifteen. Witchcraft has guided every aspect of her life since. At the age of seventeen, she won a national vocal scholarship to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.  As she studied, Janus began working in New York’s burgeoning nightlife scene as a DJ and promoter and she moved to Los Angeles in late 2003 where she finally was able to form Huntress.

The search for Huntress musicians grew to a fever pitch. Janus spent the next few years writing and recording demos, auditioning several guitarists and drummers, but would never compromise on her vision. By  2009  she met Professor, an underground metal band from Highland Park, California. She played the boys her demos, which they described as “Diet Maiden”, but they gave her a chance to wail. After one rehearsal, they decided to join forces and become Huntress. They released a three song EP titled “Off With Her Head” in 2010, followed by a self-funded music video for their single “Eight of Swords”. Huntress (JIll Janus, Blake Meahl, Carl Wierzbicky, Anthony “Pockets” Crocamo and Ian Alden ) inked a deal with Napalm Records in November 2011 and has been touring relentlessly since recording their debut album Spell Eater.’

Watch here as we talk to Jill about touring, sorcery, and the future of Huntress…

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All photos  ©2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

Huntress received an extremely warm reception from a notoriously rough crowd in Pittsburgh last night.  Their old metal sound combined with the amazing stage presence and vocal range of Jill was certainly enough to get the crowds juices flowing.  With solid tunes such as “Zenith”, “Destroy Your Life” and “Spell Eater” it’s hard not to be impressed by the imagery and sounds projected full force at one’s ears and eyes.  Of course, the crowd went nuts for the Lemmy co-written, “I Want To Fuck You To Death”, the catchiest and most feminine empowering song to come along in metal for well…ever.  After some Jager shot toasts to Pittsburgh, Huntress closed out with “Eight of Swords” to an audience with metal hands held aloft.  Not an easy feat among all the very hardcore thrash metal heads who may not take kindly to a “girl” singer.  Jill may try to un-sex herself when she sings, but it’s pretty hard to look at her and feel anything about her as unsexy.  Her voice is “Dickensonian” though and with talent and drive like that Huntress won’t be an opening act for long.

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Gojira Vs. Pittsburgh Stage AE: Video Interview, Show Pix, and Review

Gojira may have been labeled as openers for Slayer on their current tour across North America, but more and more they continue to entertain like they are the headliners for the evening.  Having won over fans the old fashion way (hard touring) Gojira have become the go to act to hook up with for fan-bands like Metallica and Lamb of God.  Their latest effort,  L’Enfant Sauvage (The Wild Child), is without a doubt in every serious metal fans top five of 2012.  In other words, Gojira is a headliner in all senses, and were the perfect match to go out with the almighty Slayer.  Watch here as we check in with singer/guitarist Joe Duplantier about all things Gojira:

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Gojira is a force to be reckoned with live.  As Joe Duplantier (guitar/vocals) told us he’s like a “wild pig” on stage.  He certainly has the intensity of a wild animal, as well as his bandmates.  The fact that they have the technical precision to replicate their material is absolutely mind blowing.  The French metal outfit is so multi layered in what they do and it’s a real treat to see peoples reactions when they first hear or encounter them for the first time.  One hundred percent of the time they are absolutely blown away.  The crowd in Pittsburgh was no exception last night ().  To eavesdrop was to hear reactions of amazement followed by quick steps to their merch table after Gojira’s set (personally I highly suggest the artwork of Mario on drumheads…so unique and amazingly cool!). And what a set it was.  Opening with “Explosia” from L’Enfant Sauvage, Joe, his brother Mario (drums), Jean-Michel Labadie (bass) and Christian Andreu came out with massive intensity and force.  They forged on with “The Axe” (L’Enfant Sauvage), “Backbone” and “Heaviest Matter in the Universe” off of  From Mars To Sirius, “Love”, as song that shows off their deep environmental roots “I know the reasons why I failed The stars illuminate my being Behold thy servant, you the force around that makes the planets be”.  They continue pounding on with “Flying Whales”  (From Mars to Sirius) “L’Enfant Sauvage”,  “Toxic Garbage Island” from The Way of All Flesh and ended on a crushing high note with “Vacuity”.  If you do not know this band, well you need to, now.  Gojira is the future of metal and will carry the torch far, far into the future; taking the torch from  the like of Slayer when they are ready to pass said torch on.  Until that time the fire burns bright straight from the mouth of Gojira.

All photos  ©2013 AWelding and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Slayer Sacrifices Pittsburgh on the Altar of Stage AE

Perhaps no other band is more synonymous with true heavy, heavy metal than Slayer.  Think about it.  Even people who have no real understanding or reference to one Kerry King riff still know that when it comes to some seriously damaging eardrum straight down your gullet rock n’ roll, Slayer is the first name in the unholy catalog.  Last night, in Pittsburgh, PA, a gathering of those who do have reference and reverence came to worship the band that truly has stuck to their roots of Bay Area thrash and owes much of it to some “little unknown guy” named Rick Rubin who first believed in them.

Pouring into their classic hits with firm gusto, Tom Araya immediately did what he does best by letting that deep growl hit the crowd with “Hell Awaits”, “The Antichrist”, “Necrophiliac”, and “Mandatory Suicide”.  By the time that third song hit, Tom broke out in a huge grin and the audience who was just going completely ‘ape shit’ at what was before them.  The middle of the floor had cleared into a massive mosh pit, the balcony was buzzing and swaying with frenetic energy as male and female alike sang every word as their arms swung up and down in rhythm.  Of course Kerry King was holding his position down on stage left, blazing away with impossible flurries of notes and hitting the strings so hard it’s hard to believe they don’t break constantly (on a side note this writer caught his guitar pick and for the limited time he used it, it took a beating like a red headed step child).  On the other side of the stage, Exodus’ main man and Hanneman replacement, Gary Holt seemed to be in a trance of pure mission oriented destruction to blow everyone’s faces off with his power playing.  Looking more like Zakk Wylde these days, Gary fits like a glove in this band for a guy (Jeff Hanneman) that everyone knows, including Gary, that cannot truly be replaced.  Speaking of replacements, the controversy before the tour of Dave Lombardo’s departure was a debate for many a fan, but former member come back Paul Bostaph was not only reliable but spot on last night with serious technical ability and pounding away like a furious madman.

Other songs that Slayer wailed away on were “Captor of Sin”, “War Ensemble”, “Postmortem”, “Altar of Sacrifice”, “Jesus Saves”, “At Dawn They Sleep”, “Die By The Sword”, “Spirit in Black”, and “Hallowed Point”.  While many of these are amazing songs, and sure to be somebody’s favorite, they probably are not the absolute ‘ones’ that the crowd came to see.  And so the anticipation built…and then came “Seasons in the Abyss”…the crowd ALL sings, “Close your eyes Look deep in your soul Step outside yourself And let your mind go Frozen eyes stare deep in your mind as you DIE”, and one watches the hair raise on their arms.

Throw in an Exodus cover of “Strike of the Beast”, “Dead Skin Mask”, the absolute classics and all time faves of many a fan “Reigning Blood”and “South of Heaven” and the ultimate tribute to Jeff Hanneman, “Angel of Death” and you have yourself one helluva complete package and damn near dream show for any fan.

Slayer will only be on the road for a bit more in Canada and the U.S. before they shut it down at the end of the month.  From there it looks like they are headed back to the studio for new tracks and a new tour and plan to hit Pittsburgh (hopefully) again.  Whether that will be on a headlining tour of their own or the much speculated headlining spot of mayhem remains to be seen, but regardless Slayer is still at the top of the metal heap slaying them all.



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Reel Big Fish Skank it up at Altar Bar

Ladies and gentlemen, we have finally come to the end, of possibly the biggest week of ska music in the history of Pittsburgh venues. We started off the week with Streetlight Manifesto, followed by Less Than Jake, only to finish it all up with the one and only Reel Big Fish at Pittsburgh’s own Altar Bar.

This would be the first actual tour without Reel Big Fish’s (RBF) recently retired trombone player Dan Regan, who retired just last month after 20 plus years of service and dedication to the band. It was a hard loss, but nonetheless, RBF continued to go on and recruit their new trombone player Billy Kottage who has some serious talent and can definitely fill Dan Regan’s shoes for the most part. Getting back on track, after showing up to Altar Bar (an hour after the doors opened up), there was still a line of people all the way to the corner of the street, way past the venue. Just to see all of these loyal ska fans trying to cram into this small venue was amazing, on a Sunday night too! Without any surprise, it was another sold-out show for RBF in Pittsburgh and they made the show worth it too.

When RBF finally was about to come on stage, everyone screaming and shouting, ready to skank the night away, I took a quick look around Altar Bar and when I say this, I am not over exaggerating… there was not one spot that was jam packed with people. I didn’t even think Altar Bar could hold so many people at one time it was that unreal. To start things off right, RBF started with an old classic, “Everything Sucks” which couldn’t have started the night off better. After that they just kept on rolling right into “I Want Your Girlfriend to be my Girlfriend Too” and one of their newer songs “Don’t Stop Skankin”. The best part is, they still just kept on going! Next up they played “Trendy” and right before a break in between songs they played “Everyone Else is an Asshole”.

The crowd finally got to settle down for a short bit before RBF jumped back into it. But of course being a ska band and all, they have to joke around with each other. Frontman Aaron Barrett and trumpet player Johnny Christmas had to go back and forth with some funny jokes which got everyone to laugh quite a bit. Then it was time to start playing again and RBF mixed it up the whole night with some old songs, new songs, and even some songs form a side project band that Aaron Barrett started a while ago called The Forces of Evil. Getting the chance to see some songs by The Forces of Evil was probably a onetime thing, and it was exciting to get that chance too.

Getting back to the set, RBF also played some more classics and crowd favorites like: “Thank You for Not Moshing”, “Sell Out”, “Where Have you Been?”, “She Has a Girlfriend Now”, and of course “Beer”. Before I forget though, they also played half of a “Call Me Maybe” cover just to be funny. Leave it to a ska band to do just that. Probably the best part of the night though, was when Aaron Barrett broke a guitar string and still pulled off two more songs before the encore, and the solo to “Beer” while playing his guitar behind his head. Now that’s some talent right there.

When RBF came back on stage for an encore set, they of course had to enter in style with the O-lay O-lay O-lay O-lay chant. Now there were two really big songs that have not been played yet, and that would be “S.R.” and their A-Ha cover “Take on Me”. They did their normal thing with “S.R.” by playing almost every genre they could have by starting off with “This next song, which is the same song!” in RBF fashion of course; they played it: normal, faster, disco, square dance, and metal. Lastly, they finished up with “Take on Me” to end a great show and an amazing night for everyone.

This was one of the best performances I have seen Reel Big Fish play in a while. They have always been awesome but this time it just seemed like they pulled out some stunts. Constantly singing and dancing with each other, getting everyone to join in with their songs, simply just having a good time. It’s a great sign to see that a band that has been around that long still has that much fun playing shows and making music. It’s motivating to say the least, that now not just older generations get to experience it, but younger generations too, so it gets them excited to go experience more music like ska. Reel Big Fish at Altar Bar was two thumbs up, no question. This was the best way to finish off a weekend and a long week of ska concerts. If you missed this show… you missed out on a lot of cool experiences that you can only get at a ska show.

All photos ©2013  Mike Mendlowitz and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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Alkaline Trio, New Found Glory, and H2O prove to be triple threat at Pittsburgh’s Stage AE

If one wanted to learn a bit about the History of Punk 101, a great start would have been a stop in Pittsburgh at Stage AE on Nov. 14, 2013 for a bit of schooling.  While not having the deep roots of their predecessors Sex Pistols, Black Flag, Minor Threat, Seven Seconds, and the like, three bands from the era of punk from the mid 1990’s that began the resurgence of the sound that makes what The Warped Tour is what it has become today, all converged on The Steel City.  With the variance of their sound and take on the punk style, a real education could be retained from the mid life of punk as we know it today.  It was a refreshing reminder of how great this music is and how much of an impact it has had and continues to have on musicians in many genres.  Also, to be able to see bands on a full stage playing full sets, not in a parking lot, and with good lighting was very refreshing.  Love the Warped Tour and all, but between the sun, crazy schedule of bands, and less than ideal conditions in general it’s not the best place to see your fave bands.  Stage AE, being one of Pittsburgh’s premiere facilities, was a sight to behold last night with all the moshing bodies, legs and arms akimbo in the air and aloft upon another’s arms, and the general great vibe put out from everyone there, audience and bands included.

Alkaline Trio started their set off with “Cringe”, setting the tone immediately with a classic and fan beloved tune to get everyone in the proper frame of mind.   “[Cringe] is a pretty fun, high-energy tune, and the few fans we had at the time [we released it] really responded to it,” says Alkaline Trio vocalist/bassist Dan Andriano. “I love playing it to this day because it reminds me of that energy and the connection we began to share with the crowd, which is something we’ve strived to maintain to this day (Alternative Press)”.  Other songs that were included in their dynamic set included “Take With Lots of Alcohol”, “Sadie”, “Queen of Pain”, “Calling All Skeletons”, “Lied My Face Off”, “Ever Thug Needs a Lady”, “Time to Waste”, “I Wanna Be a Warhol”, “Dead and Broken”, and “My Friend Peter”.  The vocal output of both vocalist/guitarist Matt Skiba and the aforementioned Andriano is really impressive when witnessed live.  While maybe not having the flying about type antics of their peers, Alkaline Trio make up for it in their pent up emotion sent through their instruments released into the crowd and circularly back to them.  Their is a certain craft and art that Skiba, Andriano, and drummer Derek Grant create as the number in their suggests that is very unique and powerful and sets them in a different class than most punk artists.  In support of their latest effort, My Shame Is True, the band has full fan support with their new songs, especially fine tunes like “I Wanna Be A Warhol” which certainly has a connection in Pittsburgh as Andy Warhol was born here.  Overall it was a gem of a performance to witness that one could dare say was a perfect blend of art meets rough spikes of punk. (Be sure to scroll down to each band’s review for all pictures)

All photos ©2013 AWeldingphoto and Pittsburgh Music Magazine

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The co-headliner New Found Glory has been to Pittsburgh many times, often seen at Warped Tour, and they never disappoint with a high energy output.  As one of their t-shirts claims, “Pop Punk Is Not Dead”, and it certainly was not in The ‘Burg last night.  Jordan Pundik, looking like Morrissey and Henry Rollins’ love child, dominated the stage at all ends and showed no signs of slowing down the entire set. With a rich history of songs to draw from such as “All Downhill From Here”, “It’s Not Your Fault”, “Truck Stop Blues”, “Sucker”, “Radiosurgery”, “Anthem For The Unwanted”, “Forget My Name”, and “My Friends Over You”, the band had a ton of material to choose from to entertain the crowd.  On top of these tunes and other originals they also banged out two left field covers of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” (to which Jordan remarked, “Yes.  We just played that.”) and Six Pence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me” to great applause.  NFG is one of those bands that still get it that punk can be serious fun.

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My only complaint about opener H2O is that we don’t see you often enough!  Damn this band is awesome and it had been too long since they had been in Pittsburgh for my liking.  While some of us old timers in the crowd were getting our fix of Toby and Todd Morse, Rust Pistachio, Adam Blake, and Todd Friend we could not help but notice that the younger audience members were really into as well.  This is the beauty of shows like this.  While H2O may not have felt entirely at home with a crowd that was not completely familiar with their music at first; they were quick to find that there were more loyalist than they maybe first thought.  Toby (vocalist) is so inspiring in his lyrics and performance and is still at the top of his game.  It was also great to see some of the guys hang out to say hi to the fans after their set.  Absolute highlights would be “Family Tree”, “1995”, and “One Life One Chance” as well as a thrown in snippet of Fugazi’s “Waiting Room” and a brief guest vocal at one point by Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba.  It’s been awhile since any new tunes have come from H2O, the last release being 2011’s Don’t Forget Your Roots which was a tribute record to their fave bands.  Toby has said after this tour they will concentrate on recording after the holidays and a release sometime in 2014.  It will be good to hear some new stuff, but last night it was truly great to hear some classic.(On a side note, Rusty has some really cool jewelry that he makes called P-Nut Jewelry available at the shows.)

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