Monday, June 18, 2007

The Pittsburgh Sound?

My only experiences with Pittsburgh, PA are slim. Some have not been all that enjoyable.
For instance, I drove all the way out there from Central Ohio once to see Elliott Smith/Wilco/Beck. It was a great show held outdoors. Elliott Smith looked like he would dry up and blow away in the sun at any moment, he was so frail. Jeff Tweedy got all pissed off because Wilco was playing in the bright daylight and the place hadn't quite filled up yet. It didn't help that sitting in the front row was some dweeb chewing on a giant Subway sandwich like he was eating his own arm off. So that got Tweedy going. Fortunately it proved to be a great way for him to go right into a jarring rendition of "Misunderstood" and a potent "I want to thank you all for NUTHIN at all!"
So the show's over and we go looking for something to do. Maybe we could hit a cool bar and stay at a local hotel? Nope. After driving around empty streets for an hour we quickly surmised that there was absolutely nothing to do in Pittsburgh. We didn't even see anyone walking on the streets. The town appeared to be completely deserted. So at 12:30 a.m. we began the drive back to Ohio. Talk about a long night.
Many years ago I played a show at some bar on a street full of restaurants. It smelled great. I cannot remember the names. The load in was straight up a thin tall stairway. Once inside, the stage was set back inside a room to the left. Then there was another room separating the stage from the bar.
Basically, it was like playing to an empty room, with a bunch of people two rooms away drinking. No one would leave the bar and since you could hear the music there was no need to. But the crowd went nuts for some band that played bad renditions of funk music covers, with a fat guy singing who wore a rainbow afro.
My image of Pittsburgh was forever tainted.
But lately I've come to know a few newer bands, checked out the great Brillobox venue and wanted to make a good effort at learning the local culture again. I started by checking in with the superb SHADE who I feel I can trust for a good opinion...

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