7/8 Ani DiFranco @ Rex Theatre
There are a ton of shows I could call must-see in July so it's hard to choose, but my gut feeling tells me it’s Ani DiFranco at the Rex. Ani’s words have been moving listeners for years and her passionate delivery is inspiring. Hopefully she’ll play “Untouchable Face,” a beautiful ballad that absolutely rips your soul out.
ALSO WORTH ATTENDING:
7/12 Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band @ Mr. Small’s
Conor is very much the male Ani. Some people dislike his quivering vocal delivery, but it’s what makes him unique. He hasn’t visited Pittsburgh in some time, so be sure to catch this one.
7/30 Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy & Young Jeezy @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
Rappers just don’t tour very often, so any time a package like this comes through it’s a novelty. Lil Wayne is the king right now. Instead of playing it safe, Weezy picked up a guitar and started recording rock songs. You have to admire that.
7/31 Girl Talk @ Amphitheatre at Station Square
Pittsburgh’s mashup champion is taking a victory lap off the success of Feed the Animals, playing a show at the new Station Square amphitheater. It’s always great to see what kind of new mashups he’ll toss in. Hopefully the size of the venue won’t kill the vibe – smaller is usually better when it comes to parties like this. A ton of quality local bands are also on the bill, including Centipede E'est, Donora, and Wiz Khalifa.
Others to keep in mind:
7/1 Here We Go Magic @ Brillobox
7/4 Three Dog Night @ Point State Park
7/5 Jenny Lewis & Heartless Bastards @ Mr. Small’s
7/6 Barry Manilow @ Mellon Arena
7/6 Plain White Ts @ Mr. Small’s
7/6 Ryan Cabrera @ Hard Rock Café
7/7 Zappa Plays Zappa @ Rex Theatre
7/7 Subhumans @ Altar Bar
7/7 Kid Rock & Lynyrd Skynyrd @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
7/8 Warped Tour @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
7/10 Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Poison @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
7/10 Jimmie’s Chicken Shack @ Hard Rock Café
7/12 stephaniesid @ Garfield Artworks
7/14 Better Than Ezra @ Mr. Small’s
7/14 Black Crowes & Levon Helm @ Amphitheatre at Station Square
7/14 Black Francis @ Club Café
7/17 Maia Sharp @ Club Café
7/18 Maxwell @ Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts
7/21 Yeasayer @ Mr. Small’s
7/22 Green Day & Bravery @ Mellon Arena
7/25 Jonas Brothers & Jordin Sparks @ Mellon Arena
7/26 Atmosphere @ Mr. Small’s
7/31 Neko Case @ Riverplex Amphitheatre at Sandcastle
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Michael was my favorite singer growing up. I think Seth Green, of all people, put it best: "It's shocking and so sad. But for the first time in a long time, people are talking about all of the amazing things he was rather than all of the unfortunate attention he'd acquired."
That's the way it should be. I'd already been planning a post of some of my favorite Michael Jackson moments; I'll post that in the coming weeks when I have the time.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
CONCERT REVIEW: Andrew W.K. & the Evaporators
Neptoon Records in-store performance
Vancouver, British Columbia
June 23, 2009
On Tuesday in Vancouver, Andrew W.K., wearing a t-shirt with his own name and a fake blood stain, rocked an overpacked record store, joined by the Evaporators, whose quirky singer Nardwuar was someone Andrew idolized for years.
The Evaporators hit the stage first, playing silly but catchy punk songs with titles like “Addicted to Cheese" and "I Gotta Rash." Nardwaur was bizarrely funny, changing clothes several times before ultimately settling on a maple leaf sweater and a maple leaf motorcycle helmet. He also crowd surfed around the tiny venue.
Andrew W.K. made his first appearance during “I.D.N.M.F.T.T.M.W.M.F.A." ('I Don't Need My Friends To Tell Me Who My Friends Are'). Though the crowd was already digging Nardwaur's performance, Andrew's appearance really got them jumping around moshing. He played his biggest hit "Party Hard" next, and closed with "She is Beautiful," again running all around the store and even out onto the sidewalk to party with everyone.
Andrew W.K. = brilliant performer. If this man comes to perform in your town, go!
Setlist (The Evaporators):
Where's the Butter Knife?
You Got Me Into This, Now You Get Me Out!
I Gotta Rash
Addicted to Cheese
Setlist (The Evaporators with Andrew W.K.):
Ready to Die
Don't Sell Hot Dogs Tonight
The Bomb's in My Pants
Oh Canaduh (Subhumans version)
She is Beautiful
Saturday, June 20, 2009
CONCERT REVIEW: Carbon Leaf
Easy Street Records in-store performance
June 19, 2009
Our summer road trip took us to Seattle yesterday, where Virginia rockers Carbon Leaf played an in-store concert at Easy Street Records in the funky neighborhood of Queen Anne.
The acoustic performance – two guitars, drums, and an upright bass – took place just a few hours before their full-length show at Showbox.
The band was relaxed and engaging as they played five songs, opening with “Life Less Ordinary,” perhaps their most well-known tune, before moving into four tracks from the new record Nothing Rhymes with Woman. The harmonies were solid and the new songs were well-done.
Frontman Barry Privett sipped on Vitamin Water and said the drink has been added to the band’s rider, joking, “When I was a kid, this was called Kool Aid. I never knew it had so many vitamins.”
The band’s setlist:
Life Less Ordinary
Another Man’s Woman
Drops of Rain
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Weird Al Yankovic, hard-working genius that he is, has just released a new Internet-only track. Entitled "Craigslist," the song is an original work done in the style of the Doors, and Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek even plays on the track.
The video features Al doing his best Jim Morrison with trippy backgrounds and scenescapes behind him. It's pretty funny. The track is currently available for download from iTunes and the other usual digital outlets.
Video: Weird Al Yankovic - "Craigslist"
Thursday, June 11, 2009
On June 30, Camera Obscura will be taking the stage at Mr. Small's, and we have a pair of tickets to give away.
To enter, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name and city of residence. One winner will be randomly chosen and notified via email. The contest deadline is Friday, June 19, so get your entries in now!
The indie pop act's latest effort, My Maudlin Career, has been earning positive reviews. Find Camera Obscura online at http://www.myspace.com/cameraobscuraband or http://www.camera-obscura.net
Sunday, June 7, 2009
CONCERT REVIEW: Peaches
The Music Box at the Fonda
June 6, 2009
Last night Peaches, the queen of electro raunch herself, played the first of her two shows at the Henry Fonda Theater, and, stunningly, the performance was kinda boring.
First off, she didn't take the stage until 11:15. Now come on woman, this is L.A.! People have places to go after your show - we're not giving you our entire night! She came out wearing a pink garbage bag and a wrestling mask.
I'm not usually one to criticize artists for their song selection - if a band is tired of playing one particular song live, that's their prerogative. But Peaches is different because - controversial statement coming - she's a novelty act. Yes, she's been around for 10 years, and I'm sure her hardcore fans may beg to differ, but the fact is that people listen to Peaches for two reasons - to dance, and to see what outrageous things she's going to say. If she's not being outrageous, she's just Lady Gaga-lite.
This show focused heavily on her new album, I Feel Cream, which, quite frankly, isn't very good. Her previous effort, Impeach My Bush, was much raunchier and funnier, with songs like "Two Guys (For Every Girl)" and "Tent in Your Pants" - both of which she opted not to play last night. The only songs that felt a little dirty were "Shake Yer Dix" and "Fuck the Pain Away" - and those didn't come until the very end of the concert.
By far the most exciting moment of the show was when Peaches strapped on an electric guitar for the hard-rocking "Boys Wanna Be Her." But its brilliance only served as a reminder that there's nothing on her new record with anywhere near that kind of appeal, and her performance suffered as a result.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Green Day rocked the Last Call with Carson Daly stage tonight, performing several songs of new material and two as their Foxboro Hot Tubs alter egos. The performances will air next week, split into four separate shows from Tuesday through Friday (June 9-12.)
We were fortunate to part of the intimate crowd of 200, watching as the punks-turned-rock operaists played five songs from their acclaimed new album 21st Century Breakdown, opening with their latest pop triumph, "Know Your Enemy." Billie Joe Armstrong, Tre Cool and Mike Dirnt were joined by three other musicians - guitarist Jason White, who played with the band on the American Idiot Tour; Jason Freese on piano and saxophone; and Jeff Matika on guitar and vocals.
"21 Guns" was the emotional highlight of the evening. Tre's ferocious drumming took the ballad to heights far beyond the studio version of the song. "Static Age" was rather pedestrian until Freese hit the stage with a rockin' sax solo. The band also tore through "Murder City," "East Jesus Nowhere" and the title track before taking an intermission and returning as the beer-guzzling, mayhem-causing Foxboro Hot Tubs.
Armstrong and his bandmates spilled beer everywhere and invited hot girls onstage during their two songs as Foxboro Hot Tubs. During "Stop Drop and Roll" Armstrong tossed cans of PBR (with their labels covered with blue tape) into the audience, even though much of the crowd was under 21.
Prior to the performance, Daly conducted a rather boring interview with the band, touching on the Walmart controversy, the concept of the new record, and working with Butch Vig. Tre Cool provided the only excitement of the interview portion, first by answering "Sperm" when Daly asked, "What is the glue that holds you guys together?", then by stealing a monkey head from Daly's mantle and proceeding to make out with it.
We're unable to provide any photos, as cameras (and even cell phones) were banned from the studio. However, Carson Daly himself twittered this photo. It's horribly blurry but at least it's something:
Green Day's performance on Last Call with Carson Daly airs next week, June 9-12.
Monday, June 1, 2009
6/10 Nine Inch Nails & Jane's Addiction @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
I've generally been a Perry Farrell hater, but after attending Lollapalooza the last two years and seeing how well put together his festival is, I'm slowly changing my tune. Now he's coming to rock the Burgh. Good stuff. And NIN should be great, as long as they stay away from to much of the instrumental crap.
ALSO WORTH ATTENDING:
6/5 Black Keys @ Point State Park
These guys tore it up at the New American Music Union last year. It's a huge coup for the Arts Fest to get them, and the fact it's a free show means that every single person in Pittsburgh should come out for this.
6/11 New Kids on the Block & Jesse McCartney @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
This is one of those shows I'd love to see, but only if someone gave me a ticket and I didn't have to pay. Come on, NKOTB, the seminal '80s boy band, now all approaching 40, reuniting and singing songs like "Hangin' Tough"? That's essential viewing. Though, I'd probably burst out laughing if they actually did "This One's for the Children."
6/19-20 Dave Matthews Band & The Hold Steady @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
DMB's new album is totally bitchin', and they're finally bringing a noteworthy opening act with them to Pittsburgh. I shouldn't have to tell you about the brilliance of the Hold Steady. Go to this show and get your drink on.
Others to keep in mind:
6/3 Gomez & Jason Isbell @ Mr. Small's
6/4 Kevin Devine & Miniature Tigers @ Altar Bar
6/4 The Iguanas @ Thunderbird Cafe
6/6 Kenny Chesney, Sugarland & Montgomery Gentry @ Heinz Field
6/6 Medeski, Martin & Wood @ Point State Park
6/6 White Rabbits @ Brillobox
6/9 John Vanderslice @ Andy Warhol Museum
6/11 Meshell Ndegeocello @ August Wilson Center for African American Culture
6/13 No Doubt & Paramore @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
6/15 Maps & Atlases @ Garfield Artworks
6/16 Ted Leo & the Pharmacists @ Diesel
6/17 Elvis Perkins in Dearland @ Club Cafe
6/18 Phish @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
6/19 Black Dice @ Garfield Artworks
6/19 A Static Lullaby @ Diesel
6/24 Aerosmith & ZZ Top @ Post-Gazette Pavilion
6/26 Dar Williams & The Duhks @ Schenley Park
6/27 The Queers @ 31st Street Pub
6/30 Camera Obscura @ Mr. Small's