Words by Brendan
There are plenty of great shows happening in town in the next five days. I wish I could see them all, but I can’t, so I’m counting on you folks to check them all out and tell me how great they were. Into spacey psych rock? Check out Guardian Alien on Wednesday, or Heliotropes on Thursday. Dig the indie rock/folk vibes? Definitely see Rah Rah on Wednesday, with excellent locals Arlo Aldo. Into the singer/songwriter types? Don’t miss Brooke Annibale‘s EP release show on Saturday (see the full EP stream below, as well!). More of a punky, guitar-heavy rock lover? Bleeding Rainbow will be your bag, at WPTS’ show on Thursday. Wanna support some great local bands putting out a vinyl release? Get to the Brillobox on Friday night and buy Grand Piano and The Red Western‘s split LP. Basically, there’s something for everyone this week, so no excuses. Screw the “snow” and the “cold”. Just get out and see some live music, okay?
Two Canadian indie rock bands are swinging into town and playing on the early side, upstairs at the Smiling Moose. Rah Rah have been around since 2006, honing their rockin’ sound with catchy, upbeat tunes and male/female vocal harmonies, all the while going through some lineup changes. They’re noted for their energetic live shows, and if it’s any indication from their recent Daytrotter session (which I absolutely loved), they should be amazingly fun to watch. Recommended for fans of Arcade Fire, Jukebox The Ghost, and New Pornographers, to drop some big names. Check out their latest album, The Poet’s Dead, for sale on their website. They’ll be playing with fellow Canadians Two Hours Traffic, an exuberant indie rock band who have been garnering praise and awards for years in their home country, including making the shortlist for the Polaris Prize in 2008. Local band Arlo Aldo—whose recent album is one of my favorites to listen to lately (check my review here)—will open the show.
Guardian Alien is freaky. They’re psychedelic. They’re loud. They’re wild. They’re unpredictable. But they’re absolutely powerfully, musically speaking. All in all, they are perfect for rocking your face off in the back room at Gooski’s. I caught them at the 31st Street Pub last year, and I’m still not sure what to make of them. It was too mind-blowing to process, even all these months later. Consider that a solid recommendation! Local psych-rockers Gangwish will play, as well, with an improvised set. They’re known for their powerful percussion and spacey punk jams, so don’t miss it. Opening is local band Wiretappers, who I don’t really know anything about, but they’re keeping good company here, so I’m sure they’re great. (Word on the street is Guardian Alien‘s pals Zs had to drop off the bill, alas.)
God damn, I love Bleeding Rainbow, and I love that they just keep getting better with every record. They haven’t shed their lo-fi roots, but their latest, Yeah Right, finds the band with a couple new members and a more layered, well-produced sound, and it’s awesome. Their last show in town, at the Brillobox, was great, and it showed me that Sara and Rob are just the nicest people, to boot. WPTS-FM is thankfully bringing them back to town for their Spring Concert. Head to the William Pitt Union in Oakland, or Sound Cat Records in Bloomfield, to pick up advance tickets for $8, since they’ll be $10 at the door. Two local bands are also playing: Instead of Sleeping will bring their energetic rock sounds, complete with multiple drumkits and keyboard; plus, Gypsy and His Band of Ghosts brings his folksy, dance-along, sing-along songs and, well … his ghosts.
I hear lots of influences in Heliotropes‘ songs—MBV, Spacemen 3, Psychic Ills, Warpaint (in short, they belong on the Sacred Bones label)—but they exude their own attitude and persona. Check the tags on their Bandcamp page; yeah, I could call it “psychedelic doom” or “stonerrock metal” or what have you, but they’re far more than the sum of their parts, let alone the sum of their genre labels. Their “Ribbons” single (listen here) is incredibly powerful. I can’t even imagine what this would be like live. But now’s our chance to see, since they’re playing at 6119 Penn (a showcase venue for VIA PGH). Meanwhile, Pittsburghers Shockwaver Riderz (featuring two members of the notorious Modey Lemon, Phil and Paul) will celebrate the release of a new 12″ EP at this show, as well! Get your tickets ASAP for $5, cuz it’s $8 at the door.
On the face of it, this show is a showcase of local twangy rock, which Pittsburgh seems to be (over)full of, at times. But rest assured, Grand Piano and The Red Western are not your average rock bands, and will play (and drink) any others under the table. I caught Grand Piano a couple weeks ago (also at Brillobox) and they were impressive. The horn sounds really add a special kick, the use of lap guitar and other flourishes were cool, and the singer’s vocal energy was infectious. I haven’t seen The Red Western in a little while, but I remember them being just as energetic and ecstatic to be playing live. In short, this is a lineup that deserves to be seen. What’s more, these two bands are putting out a split LP! You can stream their contributions individually on their Bandcamp pages (links below), and you can buy the vinyl at this show. Dig it!
Brendan Canty, known for being a founding member of Fugazi and Rites of Spring (as a drummer), is now collaborating with songwriter/producer Richard Morel as Deathfix (although Canty is now does guituar/vocals). The other two members—Devin Ocampo and Mark Cisneros—come from current punk band Medications. So yeah, they’re a bit of a “supergroup”, but without all the pretense surrounding such a name. You can preview some songs here and here, to get a good idea of just how awesome this will be. Two local bands are also playing: Allies, part of Pittsburgh punk label/institution The Lock & Key Collective, and Adult Field Trip, a pretty new group with guys from Horse or Cycle (who we love), Hot Garbage, and Psychic Boots (including DUL’s own Ricky). You can pick up tickets at the door, or at The Big Idea bookstore in Bloomfield beforehand.
Photo by Performer Mag
Brooke Annibale (EP Release) + Judith Avers
Club Cafe / 03.10 / 6:00 / $10
I’m sure I keep resorting to the words “gorgeous” and “haunting” and “powerful” to describe Brooke Annibale‘s music, but it’s not my fault that our language doesn’t have the right words to characterize her songs. Just check out the Echo Chamber session we filmed with her to get a handle on her acoustic tunes and how they hit you hard. Annibale‘s newest 6-song EP, Words In Your Eyes, was released in early February, and she’s traveling from her now-native Nashville to her hometown of Pittsburgh to have a special release show, and I can’t imagine a better venue for her than Club Cafe. Listening to the EP recently, I find myself swept up in the songs, unable to focus on whatever else I was doing, including writing this here post … Where was I? Oh yeah, fellow singer/songwriter Judith Avers will open the show. See yinz there!
That’s the scoop we have. Did we miss something? Leave a comment or send me an email. What are you excited to see? Will we catch you at some of these shows? Let us know!