#SupportPGHMusic // Exclusively on HughShows Radio at the bottom of the page, for a limited time enjoy the full December 2019 concert of HughShows Secret Santapalooza IV // HughShows is now taking submissions for the Pittsburgh covers project. If you are a band from Pittsburgh and want to contribute a cover song from another Pittsburgh band for a future compilation, email me at hugh@hughshows.com. // #SupportPGHMusic // The full HughShows Holiday movie is now available to view on YouTube

HughShows welcomes back contributing music journalist Mara Meyer. A graduate of Point Park University, Mara is also a visual artist and concert photographer, who is beginning her career within the Pittsburgh music landscape and I couldn’t be more thrilled in highlighting her wonderful work on the blog.

Anthony Heubel and the High Lonesome Band / Released April 2020

Anthony Heubel and the High Lonesome Band join up to bring folk/Americana vibes with a slight country twist. The Pittsburgh, PA based group consists of Anthony Heubel and Zach Bronder on guitar and vocals, Pat Coyle on drums, vocals and percussion, Nate Campisi on bass, Greg Decarolis on keys, piano, organ and bass, Read Connolly on pedal steel and dobro and Richie Colosimo on trumpet. The group together released their self-titled album on April 24, 2020 through Wild Kindness Records. The album provides a 10 track set solely written by Anthony Heubel. The album was recorded by Campisi at a camp in the Allegheny National Forest. Heubel wrote this personal album based off of experiences he has endured. The listener is taken on a journey of ups and downs along with him as he reflects.

The beginning track entitled “A Good Ending” starts off with an instant catchy heavy acoustic guitar and overlaying sound to get you moving. You may find yourself tapping your foot along to the beat. Heubel reminisces on nights with friends and the never ending life story they are creating. The next track “Gutter” leads off on a more solemn note of hardships and leads to a climax of finding one’s place and continuing forward. In “Desert Islander” one instrument is added at a time to create an undeniable folk rhythm. The instrumental sections dominate this track as I found myself being taken away with the melody. The intro to “Beg or Borrow” is accompanied by a whistle tone adding yet another level to the arrangement. The track gives off more of a stripped down feel with the accompaniment of acoustic guitar throughout the piece. “Avalanche” shows off Heubel’s vocal range with words of thoughts and feelings holding him down yet trying to find a reason to hold on to hope. In “Ode To Jesse” the stripped down arrangement allows the vocals to truly shine. Heubel’s vocals allow a pure and honest approach drawing one into the story of loss and separation. The seventh track on the album “Real love” explains how there may be bumps but there will always be love. This song I found as the most relatable as relationships take work but together can conquer all. “Spitting Image” turns from indie to rock vibes halfway through. The ending feels like a celebration with the trumpet becoming prominent. The ninth track “Sad Old Moon” layers vocals for emphasis. The track feels mystical and wholesome as it stands out against the others on the album. I can imagine this live as the lights go low and the crowd sway along in awe. “This Same Old Way” closes the album with an inviting melody and thought grabbing lyrics as Heubel sings “No one should have to get used to living like nothings gonna change”.

The storytelling qualities of Anthony Heubel and the High Lonesome band along with their musical talent has brought about an incredible piece of work. The full album is available to listen on Bandcamp.

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The way music evokes feelings, memories, and mental pictures is powerful and magical.

Hell’s Oasis is a Pittsburgh based multi-genre band who fuse progressive rock with funk and punk. They’ve added trip-hop, singer-songwriter, and folk styles to their repertoire. This is evidenced on their latest release from July, the single “Lilacs”, which draws you in with echoing guitar and dreamy vocals with segue into an energetic guitar solo, grounded by a poppy sax line. I want to thank Alexis Polozoff (Guitar), John Rheaume (Saxophone), Abhishek Ravi- (Bass), and Ginger Polozoff (Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Alexis Polozoff: Dark Side of the Moon.
John Rheaume: Do I have to answer this one? OK, when I was 9 years old, I got To the Extreme by Vanilla Ice. But in my defense, I was 9 and I most certainly wasn’t the only one! Seriously, I still think it’s an OK album especially for a One Hit Wonder.
Abhishek Ravi: Buying albums wasn’t really a thing in our household! We owned a cassette player at home and had one in the old car and my parents bought a couple of tapes. I guess I might’ve been in the 7th grade when we went to Planet Music, which was the new big music store in the city, and I could afford one CD, so I bought a Best of Evanescence compilation album. Still a pretty solid choice I’d say!
Ginger Polozoff: Saturday Night Fever. O.M.G! The Bee Gee’s harmonies! Also, I fancied I was quite the disco dancer. Jazz splits were my specialty.

Your last album bought?
Alexis: Moorcheba.
John: The last one I bought is actually 40 years old – Wizard Island by Jeff Lorber Fusion. Lorber has put together a lot of great bands together, and this one features a very young Kenny Gorelick before he became a household name as Kenny G. Now, you can’t argue with the mainstream success he has had, but I like the old (young?) Kenny a lot better. He had this killer R&B sound on the tenor back then. Anyway, the tracks are really funky with great basslines and drumming. Jeff’s improvised solos are really impressive.
Abhi: Wow it’s been a while! I guess I must have been in the 11th grade before everything went handheld and online. I went back to the same store and bought Metallica’s Reload. Had a great time ripping high quality tracks off the DVD so I could put them in my little MP3 player.
Ginger: Uhhh… it’s been a while, but I think it was Wilco’s A Ghost is Born and Ryan Adams’ Easy Tiger at the same time. But who buys albums anymore? I download singles. Probably the most recent single I bought was “Gimme All Your Love” by Alabama Shakes.

Favorite album of all time?
Alexis: Abbey Road
John: The Stranger by Billy Joel. You know you have a great album when you crank out four hits knowing that several more would have been hits on any other album. It really turned his career around, in fact it might have even saved it all together because besides “Piano Man”, he really hadn’t achieved much commercial success. The Stranger had a huge impact on me. I was actually introduced to “Just the Way You Are” after we played it in my middle school jazz band. I went out to buy the entire album, and I still have the CD 26 years later (it still plays!)
Abhi: I have far too many, so the less thought I put into this, the better. Still Life by Opeth is definitely my all-time favorite. It’s an excellent concept album that tells the story of a banished tribe member returning to reunite with his lover. It’s a progressive death metal masterpiece that explores everything from bone-crunching riffs to smooth jazz and acoustic ballads. I love each and every track.
Ginger: My “favorite” album changes over time. For many years it was Van Halen’s Women and Children First and though that album has faded in popularity, it still has its hooks in me. I discovered The Beatles’ Abbey Road as an adult. That’s probably my favorite rock album. However, going in a completely different direction, Flower Duet by Léo Delibes and Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy are probably the two songs I never tire of.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Alexis: Dark Side of the Moon. Would listen to album with puffy 80’s head phones after swim practice. I’d fall asleep to the music and be woken up by the alarm clocks in the song time.
John: All I can say is, critics have a tough job and I’m not a critic! I plead the fifth.
Abhi: Hahaha, I feel like I just have least favorite songs or even genres. Why listen to a whole album when a single track isn’t good.
Ginger: Alannah Myles. I only liked two songs on it.

First concert attended?
Alexis: Saw Genesis with my sister at Madison Square Garden when I was 17. Still remember Phil’s face spot lit while the garden is in total darkness. Next song, “In the Air Tonight”.
John: Not too surprisingly as a young saxophonist it was Kenny G in 1994. I feel his studio recordings are quite vanilla, but his touring band was actually really tight. He had Vail Johnson on the bass, who had the ability to do the unthinkable: put some soul and funk into elevator music.
Abhi: Iron Maiden, Rock ‘n India 2006 in Bangalore. I wasn’t allowed to go unaccompanied, so my dad came along and we had a great time! It was a legendary show and they were touring right after releasing A Matter of Life and Death, another kick-ass album. A steppingstone to much heavier concerts I’d eventually attend.
Ginger: AC/DC in Hammersmith Odeon, London. It blew my mind!

Last concert?
Alexis: Willie Nelson. Glad I got to see a legend and a real inspiration. Willie played the whole set standing, and had lots of improv solos! At 86 I hope I am still playing!
John: Not including local shows, I’ve been slacking in this department. I went to the Pittsburgh Jazz Festival last year which was great.
Abhi: Was lucky enough to catch Opeth at the Apollo in New York this February, before the world caught fire. It was the third time seeing them live and it was spectacular!! Although it was a seated concert which made absolutely no sense to me.
Ginger: Willie Nelson, last summer. As a native Texan, I had to see him. He’s a national treasure. And he was great!

Favorite concert ever?
Alexis: Santana.
John: I saw Ben Folds in Boston when he was doing a solo tour: Literally just him with no bass and drums. It was a totally different way to hear his music and he was great at getting the audience involved. They recorded it and he used a couple songs on his Ben Folds Live album. Also, our show was picked as the album cover depicting him hanging his head in shame as we (the audience) flip him off as if we were booing him off the stage. It was awesome to be a part of the production.
Abhi: Lamb of God came to my hometown of Bangalore back in 2011. This was my first ever heavy metal concert with a lot of my favorite metal bands from India opening for Lamb of God. I had my first mosh pit, ran in the wall of death and had an absolute blast. Woke up with a terrible neck ache but totally worth it!
Ginger: Texxas Jam (yes, two Xes) 1986. It was hot; we were crushing each other against the stage (no one even thought about how dangerous that could’ve been); they were spraying us with firehoses; women were on men’s shoulders; got thrown over the barricade next to the stage—sopping wet, my cigarette tobacco smushed all along my belly—it was AMAZING! I was so sore the next day from being crushed! And oh, yeah, the music was great! Van Halen was the headliner—I was still in that phase. ( -:

Least favorite concert?
Alexis: ?
John: I had free tickets to see Rufus Wainwright about 7 years ago. He’s clearly very talented. It just wasn’t my thing. I gave it a shot!
Abhi: I saw Tool in December at the PPG arena. Tool were fantastic of course, but the opening band, honestly, were garbage. They were terrible and we were seated high up from a weird angle with the worst view. Plus, it was a seated concert, which again, makes no sense!
Ginger: Robert Palmer didn’t say one word to the audience during his show in Austin. May he RIP.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Alexis: Love the fact that it is very raw and underdeveloped compared to other cities like Austin, TX where the music scene is fading due to high cost of living and commercialism.
John: Coming to Pittsburgh from Boston two years ago, it’s clear that the scene is smaller, but it’s more tight-knit. More people know each other and there is a sense of camaraderie between musicians.
Abhi: Pittsburgh was my first home after coming to the US for the first time ever, so it’s very special to me. The metal scene here is great, especially for prog rock and djent! Bands that I’d have to wait for years to do an India tour just casually gig in pubs here every couple of months! It’s a great place to live, Plus the Thai food is to die for!
Ginger: I really like all the free outdoor concerts and festivals in the summer. It really builds a sense of community.

Thanks, all. It’s really comforting to know that you are still able to work on music through all of this. Looking forward to hearing the next single “Shoes” soon!

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I lock my vice wide for the feeding of the choir.

Sommelier is a Pittsburgh based electro pop band that was formed in early 2020 by Brian Ferrell and J Trafford. Brian was working on a projected with Zach Coss and Ben Wingrove that lost their singer. Brian began looking to start a new group. He answered an ad that J put online after his previous band dissolved. J and Brian started working on material with Zach and Ben joining shortly thereafter. With only about a month of practice time, the quarantine began. Brian and J decided to make alternate versions of the songs through file sharing during the lockdown, the latest being “My Hypocrisy”, released just last week. I want to thank Brian (Guitar/String and Keyboard Arrangements/Backing Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
I remember being able to buy a record when I was around 4. It was the Beach Boys’ Endless Summer double LP. It had a really vivid cover, and the album sleeve opened up to reveal more imagery. I wore those records out. As far as tapes, I don’t remember which was my first purchase. I know everyone had a copy of Thriller, but I had tons of blank tape that I would use to record off of the radio or dub other things. I am an album listener though, so I have always leaned more towards getting full albums rather than singles.

Your last album bought?
During the Quarantine I was on a garage rock kick, so I bought the first two Fuzz albums. My 7-year-old son likes them too.

Favorite album of all time?
The impossible question, but I think the correct answer is Abbey Road. When I think about all of the great albums, I feel like so much can be traced to that album. From Elliott Smiths harmonies and guitar tones, to Nirvana, Pink Floyd, Bowie, etc… It has both narrative and stream of conscious lyrics, moog. It references Beethoven (“Because”), it has two of the Best George songs, it has 3 of them trading guitar solos, and then Ringo’s solo! There are so many amazing albums. OK Computer blew me away. I’m just now discovering how incredible early Genesis was with Foxtrot. Nearly everything The National does is fantastic. Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer? by of Montreal was my favorite album of the aughts. But I think Abbey Road is the foundation that holds that all together.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Somebody’s Miracle by Liz Phair was a huge letdown. The edge she had in her music totally disappeared with that one. I know there was some record company stuff going on behind the scenes and she was doing some work for other artists, but that album definitely catered to a softer crowd. The redemption – I got to see Liz Phair play a concert during that tour. The crowd was split between old fans, and new fans (with their mothers). She walked out and opened with “Flower”. It was excellent (the performance and the reaction).

First concert attended?
My dad was into going to places with old honky tonk or blues music, so I was around that a lot as a kid. I’m not sure which concert was my first true experience. It was either a Fugazi show or the Smashing Pumpkins on the ‘Siamese Dream’ tour. They were both around the same time, I think. I remember absolute chaos for the Fuzagi show. It was packed, and the music was intense. We would see them every time they came to town. The Pumpkins show was in a gymnasium. But the wall of speakers was massive. That was the loudest show I’ve ever seen for sure.

Last concert?
One week before the lockdown I saw of Montreal! They put on a great live show. They usually have dancers and puppets choreographed to specific songs.

Favorite concert ever?
I was obsessed with the DC band Jawbox and managed to see them in a tiny bar in State College. I got to stand right in front of J. Robbins and watch him play all of the songs that I listened to over and over. That was such a treat, but I think seeing Radiohead in a small club during the ‘OK Computer’ tour edges that by a little bit. They played over 20 songs from the first few albums, including “Talk Show Host”!

Least favorite concert?
I saw U2 at the Mellon Arena sometime around 2001. I was excited because PJ Harvey was the opening act. She is incredible, but sadly the sound crew gave her very little attention and it was almost impossible to hear her. U2 was ok. It was a big stage show with videos and long runways for Bono to strut around. A few years later I was living in Boston and got to see PJ Harvey in a much smaller venue. It happened to be her birthday so the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to her. That was cool.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
A great thing about Pittsburgh is that it is small enough to engage with your scene, whether that is music, art, or whatever. But it is big enough to be a good home base when it is time to reach a little further.

Thanks, Brian. I have been to countless shows where I was looking forward to and enjoyed the opener so much more than the headliner. I’ve learned a long time ago to never blow off the opening act.

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Guitarish music that melts while you listen to it

Inch Deep Pool of Slush is the moniker for lo-fi shoegaze musician Ben Gibbons, who composes and records his music in a bedroom in South Oakland. Lockdown has allowed time for Ben to release several songs since May, the latest being a group of unmastered tunes collected as Little Buddy. I want to thank Ben (Guitar/Synth/Thumb Piano/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
First album I ever bought with my own money was How to Save a Life by The Fray (network-drama-core was the move back in middle school.)

Your last album bought?
Athena by Sudan Archives (awesome violin playing.)

Favorite album of all time?
Lost in the Dream by The War on Drugs. It’s 80’s Americana road trip music filtered through a haze and launched into space.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Anything by Creed.

First concert attended?
Cage the Elephant. I lost my shoe in a mosh pit right at the beginning and never found it.

Last concert?
Some Irish cover band at some bar in Erie.

Favorite concert ever?
Youth Lagoon and Majical Cloudz (went for YL, was blown away by the intensity and emotional directness of MC.)

Least favorite concert?
Never really disliked a concert that I’ve been to.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Funky features, little pockets of nature, increasingly supportive music scene (only been here a few years, so not the authority on this.)

 

Thanks, Ben. Love the DIY aspect to your music. Also, your band name couldn’t be more appropriate for your music as we all melt.

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Stricken with the blues, laced with punk, and feeling the hangover of old rock and roll. Steve Hawk took the experience of being the front man of a Pittsburgh band and established his own solo sound.

Steve Hawk is a Pittsburgh based singer-songwriter who frequently plays out around town and has just released a follow-up to his 2015 debut, a single entitled “Midnight Misery” which you can stream below. I want to thank Steve (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/last.

The first album you ever bought?
Social Distortion – Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell.

Your last album bought?
Fubar – Get on The Bus.

Favorite album of all time?
I can’t pick a favorite. So many albums have inspired me. Honorable Mentions: Vast – Music For People, Social D –Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell also Sex Love and Rock and Roll, Green Day – Dookie, The Gaslight Anthem – The ‘59 Sound, AFI – Sing the Sorrow.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Harvey Danger – The album with “Flagpole Sitta”. The rest of the album fell flat.

First concert attended?
I went to X-Fest in the summer of ‘97. Dicky Barrett of the Bosstones came up to my friend and I, put his arms on our shoulders, and asked us if we were having a good time. He offered to buy us a beer, but we were only 18.

Last concert?
I attend so many local concerts of friends in the scene.

Favorite concert ever?
Everyone that I play.

Least favorite concert?
I never really attended a bad one. I missed Social D’s 25th Anniversary tour show because I was at leukemia night at the Pirate game to support my niece. Bummed I missed that one, but my family waited for me as I listened outside of the venue on our way back to the car. They knew how much I would have loved to be at that concert.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is a great city to play live, underground music. I had great experiences with my band, Forgotten Nobody in the mid 2000’s as well as striking it out on my own in the past decade. I’ve had memorable shows at The Smiling Moose  and The Hard Rock, as well as outstanding local venues in Irwin, Manor, and Greensburg. I absolutely love playing in my hometown of Scottdale. The town really pulled through to help me earn an Iron City Rocks Pittsburgh Music Award in the category of Best Singer Songwriter for 2019.

 

Thanks, Steve. It’s quite amazing to me that as a solo performer, you can literally play anywhere and throughout this crisis, you haven’t stopped your live streams and I really do appreciate that about you and other ‘singer-songwriters’.

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Stationary Pebbles are a Pittsburgh based funk/reggae/rock band who interweave a natural flow of shredding and riff driven guitar playing with a constantly grooving drum and bass section. The Pebbles have become accustomed to making crowds tap their feet and move to the music. Incorporating conscious lyrics, the music is a very real product. Combining the musical influences of each member makes a Pebbles show a genre exploring experience. The band is playing the ever more now ‘normal’ gig at the Starlight Drive-In Theater in Butler opening for Tropidelic this Sunday (July 26) at 8pm. I want to thank Steve Short (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Either AC/DC Highway to Hell or Blink 182 Take off Your Pants and Jacket. I can’t remember which was first?

Your last album bought?
Bumpin Uglies’ Keep Your Suitcase Packed.

Favorite album of all time?
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I don’t know.

First concert attended?
Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson, Palace Theater, on Satriani’s ‘Supercolossal’ tour.

Last concert?
Dopapod at the Rex Theater, a week or so before Corona shut down the entertainment industry as well as much of everything else.

Favorite concert ever?
Gonna have to give a few in no particular order. Tom Petty on the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf Shores Alabama. Stevie Wonder the very next day on that same beach. RHCP the previous year on that same beach. Umphreys at Red Rocks (any of the 3 of those I saw). Roger Waters’ ‘The Wall’ at Console.

Least favorite concert?
My Morning Jacket / Band of horses. Had free tix, heard tons of good things about MMJ, was so disappointing. The entire group of 4 or 5 of us that went together all left early.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
The sense of community in the music scene. For the most part, it seems like everyone is there for each other.

 

Thanks, Steve. I have had readers of this blog weigh in on their thoughts about the drive-in concert concept and it is pretty much split down the middle on whether fans like it or not but I am all for it if that’s what our ‘new normal’ is going to be. Have fun at the show and stay safe!

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I write and record music that I enjoy. Hopefully others can find some enjoyment in it also.

Bill Munz is a Pittsburgh based experimental musician who recent release from May of this year entitled Just Smile and Shut the Door is available via local label RORER714 Recordings. I want to thank Bill (Guitar/Bass/Keyboards/Drum Programming/Vocals) forsaking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The first album (cassette) I ever bought with my own money was Black Sabbath – Paranoid.

Your last album bought?
The last album (CD) I bought was Vista Chino – Peace.

Favorite album of all time?
SO many to choose from! Every Black Sabbath album! Most Frank Zappa albums! Soundgarden – Louder Than Love, Mind Funk – Dropped, ALL, Decendents, Misfits, Black Flag! Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique! I could go on and on! Can’t choose just one.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Metallica Black album. This album was such a disappointment when it came out! Total garbage! Plus it went on to ruin metal!

First concert attended?
Scorpions with Bon Jovi opening June 20th, 1984 Pittsburgh Civic Arena.

Last concert?
Dweezil Zappa March 6, 2020 Jergel’s.

Favorite concert ever?
I have seen thousands of concerts! SO many great ones, but one that has always stood out would be Sammy Hagar VOA tour Oct. 23. 1984 Pittsburgh Civic Arena.

Least favorite concert?
Foo Fighters July 19, 2018 PPG Paints Arena Pittsburgh. Totally ridiculous amount of wasted time!! 19 songs in 2 1/2 hours!!! WAY too much bullshit and not enough music!!

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I loved growing up in Pittsburgh!! So many great memories!! Seeing the City change over the years has been amazing. Now I am raising my kids in the City I grew up in. In some ways it is a completely different City, while it hasn’t changed much at all in some other ways.

Thanks, Bill. That Foo Fighters show has come up intermittently as people’s worst show over the years. I always wonder if the whole tour sucked or just that Pittsburgh gig?

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Poetry In Commotion is an experimental blend of metal & spoken word from John (Ballistic) Perry who’s main instrument is Bass guitar in the band but is currently it’s only member. His latest release is the album entitled Spoken Word Stupidity and Other Shady Shenanigans distributed from Pittsburgh based label RORER714 Recordings. I want to thank John for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Kiss – Destroyer when I was 10.

Your last album bought?
Bill Munz – Just Smile and Shut The Door. Bill plays with the Pittsburgh band Modern Fossils.

Favorite album of all time?
I’m not good with “faves” as my opinion changes constantly. My favorite albums tend to be ones I can play all the way through without needing to skip songs. Off the top of my head, Black Sabbath – Born Again, Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance, Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Rust Never Sleeps. There are many more!

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Metallica – …And Justice for All. I dislike metal albums where the bass is buried in the mix.

First concert attended?
Pat Benatar/Saga at the Civic Arena.

Last concert?
Southern Thunder Hospitality Tour 2019 w/ Atlanta Rhythm Section, Black Oak Arkansas and Blackfoot.

Favorite concert ever?
Again too many to list as my favorite concerts are usually bucket list type shows with bands I had never seen before or shows that inspired me to go home and play. Sleep & Big Business (2019), Electric Wizard & Oryx (2019), Fates Warning & Metal Church, Kiss Reunion tour, Ozzfest 2004 (featuring Black Sabbath, Judas Priest & Slayer), Megadeth & Savatage, Blue Oyster Cult and many, many more!

Least favorite concert?
I never really attended a bad one. I missed Social D’s 25th Anniversary tour show. Taste of Colorado 2019 for a variety of reasons but mainly because Grand Funk Railroad had to cancel last minute.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I grew up in Pittsburgh (Millvale) and left as a young adult (I moved to Denver in 1990). Though Pittsburgh was always in my mind and heart it wasn’t until subsequent visits that I realized that I had probably taken for granted many things while growing up there. Leaving has given me a greater appreciation of the city and its beauty and charm. There is no other place in my mind quite like the ‘burgh. I like to joke that most of my childhood (Catholic) rites of passage (1st confession, 1st communion, confirmation) took place at Mr. Smalls as I attended school and was an altar boy there when it was St. Ann’s! As a kid we would fantasize about our crappy childhood bands putting on shows in the gym for our classmates. One involved my delusion daydreams of performing with Donnie Iris! Btw… I have to admit it bothers me that almost no one out here knows who Donnie is! It is so cool to be recording for and supported by a local Pittsburgh label (Rorer714 Recordings)!

Thanks, John. I agree, Donnie is a national treasure and should be recognized all over for that!

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The music I write ranges from acoustic alternative to instrumental rock to the soulful edges of electronic music and hip hop. I may not have a style, but I think I have a vibe.

Jon Wolff is a multi-instrumentalist based in Pittsburgh. When he’s not creating his own music, you can find Jon working other local acts as a Producer or Mixing and Mastering Engineer. He released his latest EP entitled Wolffsburgh in late June. I want to thank Jon for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
Chumbawamba Tubthumper. What can I say? I get knocked down, but I get up again. You’re never gonna keep me down! My music tastes have expanded quite a lot since then.

Your last album bought?
I DON’T REMEMBER! I listen to so much more music thanks to streaming services, but I’m not actually buying any…

Favorite album of all time?
It’s either Revolver by The Beatles or maybe Strange Beautiful Music by Joe Satriani. Revolver is just such a perfect album for the history of music of the music that remains influential in my life, but that Satch album, literally put me on my path – one of the songs on the album was the audition piece that I used to get into Music School.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
What a HARD question! I don’t think I have a real answer to this, so I’ll do with the stock answer of audio engineers everywhere just for how crazy bad the production values are on (drum roll please) St. Anger by Metallica.

First concert attended?
In the suburbs of Philly where I grew up, they had a thing called Sundaes in the Park, where there was ice cream and bands performing at a local amphitheater. There were folk music acts, and marching bands, and at one point I even performed there in my high school jazz band. I don’t remember ANY of the names, but when other people think about some big arena show or some smelly venue as “their first,” I think of this. My college also had a TON of neat things come to campus to perform – so I was never really lacking for cool music. Again, the names stick with me less I do however remember the first off-campus show I bought tickets for: They Might Be Giants played at Chameleon Club in Lancaster, PA.

Last concert?
Moon Hooch… or honestly? local open mics in Millvale. They’re the best.

Favorite concert ever?
Two way tie – both at the Electric Factory in Philly: either going to see Ben Folds with my best friend Jesse for my birthday one year, or the time I left a Wolfmother concert early to fanboy over the opening act, thenewno2 and got to talk with Dhani Harrison super-duper briefly about music and his dad.

Least favorite concert?
There was a venue in Philly that just simple sounded BAD. It didn’t matter what show it was, it got to the point where if it was at “this place,” I just wouldn’t go. We’ll leave the name of this closed venue in the past with all its other memories.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Pittsburgh is a tricky town, especially for a loner like me. Some areas seem emotionally gated off my long-standing opinions, right or wrong, that aren’t interested in outside influences. However, I recently have been found a little community that’s interested in what I’m working on, and that’s made a huge difference. Don’t be afraid of new things in your community – especially your artistic ones!

Thanks, Jon. A very well put statement on finding artistic common ground within Pittsburgh. I have no doubt that if you continue to seek and reach out, you will eventually find what you are looking for here.

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My name is Tai, 2020 marks the end of my first decade playing music. I focus on simple guitar parts, mega harmonies, and making people do the “wow” thing when I sing.

Tai Chirovsky is a Pittsburgh based singer-songwriter who’s latest release is the excellent EP growing up from earlier this month. I want to thank Tai (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.


The first album you ever bought?
I was working at an antique shop and I spent my first paycheck on We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things by Jason Mraz and Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson. Which, now, seems odd. But I still like and respect those artists a lot. They used very aesthetically “pretty” voices to great effect.

Your last album bought?
I am a collective buyer, so I’ll buy a few albums and then dedicate a few months to memorizing everything about them and building my *own* harmonies. So, the last things I bought were: all the singles from 2020 of Julia Nunes, Midnight Boom by the Kills, and the Why Am I Like This? EP by Orla Gartland.

Favorite album of all time?
Some Feelings by Julia Nunes. Julia Nunes has been a musician I’ve followed for years. I watched her upload videos from her bedroom and I watch her now uploading these iconic pop pieces that I can’t get out of my head. I had just left an abusive relationship the month Some Feelings came out – an album also written about leaving abuse and growing through it. It was so instrumental to my healing process. I will always be grateful for it.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Turn Blue by The Black Keys from 2014. Years later, I can now appreciate a few songs, but back then I hated this album.

First concert attended?
Dashboard Confessional. DC was a huge part of growing up for me; I love the way he writes songs, I love the rhythm of his music.

Last concert?
The Zells album release last year. (It’s been a while….)

Favorite concert ever?
Last year, I saw the Eels with my partner. It’s our band; he played our song. It was magical. The added sax parts, the band jived SO WELL, everything was amazing that night. AND my partner got to meet E, who is his all-time favorite musician and he signed a record for us. Although, close second was going to see Los Lonely Boys with my brother (ahem, Anton Charr) at the Jazz Fest.

Least favorite concert?
For my eighteenth birthday, I saw Ed Sheeran. The concert was fine, I guess, but I really went because my friend group all liked him and then we all had a falling out. So there I was, alone, in a group of people that kinda hated me that I kinda hated, ready to graduate high school and cursing everything my life had become.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
One of my big concerns is the lack of diversity, the ability for every single open mic to become a clique, the lack of cross-pollination. I also wish Pittsburgh had more options for people who didn’t want to drink. I’m not a sober person, but I always feel this incredible pressure to drink when at shows. If/when we get to play shows again, I’m looking to book at coffee shops and living room shows from here on out, but I worry about how our venues will fare in these times. But I need more options to listen to diverse music and listen in diverse spaces. Dark bars just don’t cut it for me anymore. I moved to Pittsburgh when I was 10 and I love it here. I’ve been here for almost 16 years. When I first started playing at 15, I loved Cannon Coffee in Brookline. They were my people. Around 2017, I started playing music again and I fell in love with Acousticafé, which is where I met my partner a few years later. The music scene has always been my escape, my place to grow. I’ve grown a lot in the past couple of years and I’m grateful the scene still exists (COVID, excepting).

Thanks, Tai. I have to agree on many points you raised about Pittsburgh and I am hopeful when we all come out the other side of this, we can almost reset the Pittsburgh musical landscape and insist on many things moving forward, diversity being at the forefront, which I have been cognizant of for several years now in terms of lineups I put together.

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Steelesque is equal parts British Blues and latter-day jam band blending the sound and style of Exile on Main Street-era Stones or The Band, with adventurous passages echoing Phish or Wilco. . . At their best, the 6 piece Steelesque delivers the swagger of bands from days gone by while echoing their influences in a way that is all their own.

Steelesque is has been rocking out in Pittsburgh since 2011 and with their latest release from earlier this month appropriate entitled Songswan, it appears the band is hangin up their gear (for now) as members prepare to focus on separate projects. I want to thank Rob Eldridge (Guitar/Wurlitzer/Lead Vocals) for the hours of enjoyment listening to his music and for participating in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Damn the Torpedoes.

Your last album bought?
Robert Palmer – Sneaking Sally Through the Alley.

Favorite album of all time?
The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St. Pretty much Keith’s solo record with Jagger on vocals. Keith holed up, in tax exile, in a southern France town while Jagger courted his high-profile wife, Bianca around Europe. I think the record was ahead of its time and people didn’t react favorably until they actually dug in and “got it”. Genius effort in my opinion. I listen to it monthly.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Beck’s Hyperspace simply misses the mark in comparison to previous hard-hitting gem albums.

First concert attended?
Simple Minds – Montreal Forum, circa 82.

Last concert?
The Rolling Stones – MetLife Stadium, Summer 2019.

Favorite concert ever?
The Black Crowes, Burlington VT – ‘Southern Harmony’ Tour.

Least favorite concert?
ZZ Top in Albany, NY. Unenthusiastic performance and they followed the The Blacks Crowes who were peaking which added to their stale sound and production.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Overwhelming amount of songwriting talent and most of the songwriters are very humble and appreciative of others that comes in the way of mutual support/feedback.

 

Thanks, Robby. Your band was a great example of mature musicians who did their thing the right way in this town, good music, hard work, and positive vibes. Hopefully this ‘break’ is temporary.

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“it’s a trap trying to savesomeone. choose wisely”

savesomeone is the moniker for chris ferree, a pittsburgh born solo musician who started out learning the drums at the age of twelve and from inspiration and example of his older brother and encouragement form his parents, taught himself guitar, bass, piano, and production. after not being fulfilled by drumming in a band, chris desired to ‘be up front’ and is now releasing music on his own while currently attending at the berklee college of music. I want to thank chris for freeing me up from overrated, somewhat burdensome capital letters and taking the time to participate in this edition of first/last.

savesomeone · first & last time (feat. james october)the first album you ever bought?
i can’t remember 🙁

the first album you ever bought?
i can’t remember 🙁

your last album bought?
punk2 by brakence.

favorite album of all time?
circles by mac miller.

least favorite/most disappointing album?
n/a.

first concert attended?
i’m quite embarrassed but it was nickleback… to be honest i loved it at the time but since then peer pressure has made me stop liking them, lol.

last concert?
the 1975.

favorite concert ever?
twenty one pilots

least favorite concert?
n/a.

favorite thoughts, experiences about pittsburgh?
it’s a great city unlike any other. i just recently realized how great pittsburgh actually is… geographically, yes, but the people are what make the city.

thanks, chris. it’s refreshing to hear of the acknowledgement that you give your family for steering you towards music like they did and how important it is to you.

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Heath Forslund is a Pittsburgh based singer-songwriter who discovered after being in various bands and recording projects, he wanted to dive into a writing process by himself. He met Matt Rowley in 2016, played a few of his solo songs for him and encouraged Heath to record them. At first it was hard for Heath to find a voice alone, about after going through many drafts and a little heartache, he was able to find something that felt like himself. He’s always been drawn to Americana and Folk music, but also cut his teeth on bands like The Smashing Pumpkins and R.E.M while also going through the emo phase of the early 2000’s. The music that he writes now is a healthy blend of all of those phases as evidenced on his EP from April of this year entitled Just a Few. I want to thank Heath (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Beck – Mellow Gold. I remember using my allowance to buy the cassette tape. My Dad took me to The Wall to make the purchase. Before that I was recording songs from the radio to blank tapes, of course filling in the first few seconds of the songs by singing them myself.

Your last album bought?
So everyone pretty much just streams what they want to these days. I always try to purchase albums from my favorite artists. Caspian – On Circles was the last record I bought. I’ve been following them for years. Post Rock has always been a huge inspiration for me.

Favorite album of all time?
Tough one. Either R.E.M. – Green or Radiohead – OK Computer. I remember my Dad driving around in his 1991 Chevy Blazer, blasting R.E.M. I know that I didn’t understand what the lyrics were trying to convey, and probably still don’t, completely, but they sounded different than anything I’d ever heard. OK Computer is a pretty cliché favorite album, I know this. My older sister bought it for me for my 14th birthday. I’d been playing guitar for around 4 years and this album changed the way I looked at creating my own music. Before it was just Nirvana power chords and whatever Led Zeppelin son a friend showed me.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Anything that went along with that new metal thing. Korn, Disturbed, etc.

First concert attended?
Some Kiss reunion BS.

Last concert?
Mewithoutyou.

Favorite concert ever?
Caspian.

Least favorite concert?
Dinosaur Jr. I got really drunk, heard it was a great show……

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I moved to Pittsburgh from NC in the summer of 2012. I have two sisters who have lived here for years and I always loved visiting. Pittsburgh has a positive vibe and I feel like it’s pretty excepting of people as opposed to other places I’ve lived. Although I’ve moved outside of the city within the past two years, I still work in Lawrenceville and the city is special to me.

 

Thanks, Heath. Your Dad seems like a groovy dude, encouraging your interests and turning you onto some great music. My Dad was groovy, too.

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With ever-present murderous expressions on their faces, they regale with tales of brutal annihilation of the innocent residents of the greater Ponyville region. Your ears will be smashed, your heart will swell to the bursting point, and all of your preconceived notions of music will be shattered into jimmy-shaped shards of hatred so putrid that even Pinkie Pie won’t be able to enjoy them atop a delicious cupcake.

Coltcrusher is Pittsburgh,  based ‘ponycore’ band that is actually one person creating all the music. With a My Little Pony’s Equestria theme, Coltcrusher has a punishing death core metal sound that you can experience on their latest release, The Plot Sickens. Way cool that all proceeds from all sales go directly to women’s shelters. I want to thank Brootaloo (Guitar/Bass/Drum Programming/Vocals) for participating in this edition First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
It was probably a ‘Weird Al’ tape, Alapalooza. I don’t know exactly how I got into him when I was young but I thought he was the best. My opinion of him has actually only gotten better over the years. Writing parodies is not easy and his original songs are amazing as well. I ended up owning all of his albums eventually. I loved music before I got into ‘Weird Al’ but my older brother and parents had just about everything I’d want to listen to covered (Faith No More, Queen, Jesus Christ Superstar, Michael Jackson, Pearl Jam, and on and on), so I didn’t have to buy anything until I found something I HAD to have until I found ‘Weird Al’, which had not yet found its way into their collections. I probably bought it from Walmart or NRM, ha-ha.

Your last album bought?
Doctor Octoroc – In the RPA2 Over the Sea. I love this guy. He makes really awesome themed chiptune albums, including 8 Bit Jesus (NES Christmas covers each in the style of a particular game), and After These Messages which was all TV theme songs and jingles. The album I just bought from him is a chiptune recreation of Neutral Milk Hotel’s classic In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. Super awesome album! He does really cool things with chiptune that you don’t hear a lot of other places.

Favorite album of all time?
Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It wasn’t always my favorite favorite but it’s very nearly the prefect ideal for an album in my eyes. Varied, sprawling, surprising… AND it’s just packed with bangers and classics left and right. I never understood the criticism of it having too much filler because I don’t think there’s ANY filler. A total homerun.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
I have never been more disappointed by an album than St. Anger. It’s not my least favorite album, but I think it was a real wake up call to me at the time that expectations and reality could be so diametrically opposed. I WORSHIPPED Metallica when that album came out. I felt like I needed to branch out and find more music to listen to.

First concert attended?
Metallica! Star Lake, 1998. I was 12 and had no idea what I was in for. Loved every second of it, especially as it started to rain during the tail end of the set, including my favorite song at the time, “One.”

Last concert?
GWAR! It was in December of last year in Cleveland. I never miss a Gwar tour. When Dave Brockie died, I finally felt for the first time how people seem to feel when celebrities, musicians, artists, etc. die. I have so much respect for what he built, how he performed (best metal frontman of all time!), and the body of work he put together with Gwar. Their live show still absolutely rips even in his absence. Hail, Oderus!

Favorite concert ever?
This is tough. I’ve been to 350+. A few come to mind. Protomen at Altar Bar in 2012. Anamanaguchi at Garfield Artworks in 2012. Babymetal at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC in 2014. But the best is probably any time Daikaiju is in town. They’re an instrumental surf rock band that is constantly touring. They wear masks. They do not wear shirts. They usually play Howlers but I saw them for the first time in a kitchen in South Oakland. Their live show is nearly indescribable. You’ve never seen anything even remotely like it. Do yourself a favor and listen to their tunes and check them out the next time they come through. Go into the live show without doing any reading up on or watching it and just let it happen.

Least favorite concert?
I drove out to Lancaster with a friend to see Streetlight Manifesto at the Chameleon Club. This was our first time seeing them (on their supposed farewell tour no less) so we were stoked. But we got there a little late and were stuck way, way in the back. We could barely see the feet of everyone on stage. And we were so far away that the people around us were louder than the band. It was a great crowd and probably a great show but not for us. We might as well have not even been there. I’ve seen them many times since then and they’re truly incredible live, so it sucks that they’re my least favorite concert memory.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I love Pittsburgh. It’s got just about everything you could want. The people here are honest and proud of the city. There’s always someone doing something awesome just beneath the surface.

Thanks, Brootaloo. My least fave concert was The Band in 1994 at Metropol. We were stuck in the back and couldn’t hear a thing except the people around us complaining about the terrible sound.

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Chris does everything but what Nicole does and Nicole does everything Chris doesn’t do

Anti-Corn League is a psychedelic garage duo from Johnstown, PA who formed in 2006 and released their fantastic latest album Love It or Leave It in the summer of 2019. The band has traveled the country in the last 5 years spreading love and searching for fellow weirdos. As they prep new music, I want to thank Nicole Eicher (Bass/Synth/Drums, Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
‘Space Jam’ Soundtrack from 1996. I was six years old and can still sing the majority of the songs from this album by heart and memory.

Your last album bought?
I’ve been hard into all of the Silver Jews albums, particularly Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea but I’ve also been getting into Erykah Badu a lot lately, too.

Favorite album of all time?
Silver Jews – American Water.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Some Neil Young’s stuff. He’s either hit or miss. When he hits, he hits your heart hard, like really hard, but when he misses, he really misses you with that shit.

First concert attended?
80’s hair metal band Jackyl, ha-ha. Instead of my boyfriend at the time in high school and I going to the homecoming dance we went to see Jackyl with his older sister. It was my first concert and it was so loud I couldn’t hear for days. I didn’t even know who they were just that they played a chain saw in one song. Ha-ha.

Last concert?
Ariel Pink in Portland, OR and it was a real bummer. I saw him play in Pittsburgh, PA once and it was a really great show but I don’t know if he had something against Portland or what but it was a real stinker.

Favorite concert ever?
I saw Dinosaur Jr. Play outside in midtown Manhattan and it was awesome. They had planes write their latest album name in the clouds.

Least favorite concert?
The Ariel Pink show I saw in Portland because it felt like a waste of my money and no one danced. NO ONE danced.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
All the shows and food I’ve seen or eaten there. It’s a great place to explore through your ears and mouth. The people are always nice too.

Thanks, Nicole. No dancing at an Ariel Pink show is an affront to what everything live music is about. Screw that crowd. When all this craziness is over, come back to play Pittsburgh and I will dance!

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Born-and-raised Pittsburgher Max Robby is an emerging folk artist who laces his story-based songs with wry wit and tender inflection and frames them with traditional finger picking and blues guitar stylings. His first professionally-recorded collection for earlier this year entitled One Take Wonders produced at Just-Records in Dormont shows the breadth of the young artist’s ambitions and abilities. Like so many folk artists before him, he attempts to reconcile classic–and, at times, eccentric–American stories with the wild novelty of the modern moment. As Max (Guitar/Bass/Drums/Piano/Harmonica/Banjo/Mandolin/Vocals) preps a new EP, I want to thank him for taking the time to participate in edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
White Blood Cells by The White Stripes. I still play the opening track at shows, one of those albums that made you wanna play loud gut punching bluesy punk with whoever was around.

Your last album bought?
Colter Wall’s Self-titled LP. Great songwriter and performer, I love his influences.

Favorite album of all time?
That’s tough. I’ll say, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Mule Variations, Sandinista, and Bringing It All Back Home are a couple of what I consider my all-time favorites, endless wheelhouse of inspiration.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Another tough one. I’ll dodge again and say my biggest current music disappointment is that Tom Waits HASN’T released an album in almost ten years. I think he’s got plenty to say about those ten years too

First concert attended?
Cowboy Junkies, with my mom at the point.

Last concert?
Hayes Carll.

Favorite concert ever?
Right now I’ll say Reverend Beat-Man was my favorite. Just this wild Swiss guy with a long tuff of hair singing about mom and church and the best places to dance. Awesome show.

Least favorite concert?
There’s been more disappointments than otherwise. I saw Modest Mouse when they came here in 2011/2012, they kinda just phoned in the show. Death Cab for Cutie, that was more for girl reasons though. The Queers was alright, but it was a Tuesday and their fan base doesn’t have the energy they use to. Most shows I go to Ieave craving a little some something more, a story, a moral, some unexplained mystery, a smashing of a cultural wall, something. A lot of artists are tired and gotta get to the next show

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I mean it’s home. My friends and family are here, I was born here. It’s so close that sometimes I can’t see it, or don’t understand it, which is great, I love that feeling about a place. I can walk through a neighborhood I have a thousand times and reimagine who built the houses, repaint it in my head. It’s a great place, I’ll always come back to it.

Thanks, Max. Interesting take on how a concert-goer craves something from live music above what is actually presented. I believe all fans feel that way to a certain extent but you kinda summarized it perfectly.

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When I’m God I only need myself

Vincristine is a Pittsburgh one man band that is most easily labeled as stoner rock or sludge metal. The band attributes its uniquely seductive, aggressive, and ethereal blend of metal to risking innovation rather than walking the beaten path. From the bubbles of neo-psychedelia to the dirge and trance of drone and doom, Vincristine lays claim to culture across borders and tears down the dams between genres to let the rivers flow as one. The latest effort is the album Honor from last month. I want to thank Mr. Nicholas Alexander Ranayhossaini (Guitars/Bass/Drums/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
One Day as a Lion – One Day as a Lion. As a big fan of politically progressive music, this release from Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha helped me fill the void where no more RATM existed. It happens to also be one of Zack’s most experimental efforts — “Ocean View” features him singing in ways that I would never expect. Combined with the prog drumming of former Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore, it is a hidden gem.

Your last album bought?
Baroness – The Red Album. Funnily enough, I didn’t like Baroness when I first listened to them (but that happens with most bands I love) which was a approximately when Purple came out, and then I gave them another whirl in 2018 with a different album. The way the first three tracks — “Rays on Pinion,” “The Birthing,” and “Isak” — were so impactful and still all flowed together captivated me, and in an era of streaming it ended up being the first physical CD I’ve bought for myself in maybe 6 years.

Favorite album of all time?
Soundgarden – Superunknown. This album will always have a special place in my heart for being very psychedelic and dark at the same time. The often overlooked “Half” is a song that easily makes it into my hazy “top 10 songs of all time” list — I very much consider it a spiritual successor to “Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles. It is very hard to select a single song as a favorite though — I can go through each one listing reasons why they’ve been my favorites at one point or another. Other contenders for favorite from the album include “Mailman” and “4th of July” — the vindictive lyrics and sludginess of the former makes it a total power trip, while the latter is pure psychedelic doom metal at its finest.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
A Walk with Love and Death – Melvins. I try not to be too critical of music anymore, and this answer is in large part me trying to think of an answer. I was fairly underwhelmed by this album, which is particularly disappointing for me as it is their first full release with Steve Macdonald, and the prior release Steve *partially* contributed to has some really great tunes. There is definitely material worth revisiting, but a lot of it is forgettable. That said, as I said in my own review when I was doing a music blog (which I hope to revive soon) above all else I respect Melvins’ propensity to do whatever pleases them, even if it doesn’t please me.

First concert attended?
Entirely by my own volition and money? Tame Impala in 2015. It was not long before Currents came out, so they were peppering in singles from Currents while still performing a lot of material from Innerspeaker and LonerismLonerism is one of my favorite albums. As an indoor show, it benefited from feeling really intimate and packed in tightly despite Tame Impala becoming increasingly popular. One of my favorite memories.

Last concert?
By my own volition and money? Wave Trails in 2019. Absolutely love these guys — some of the best acid rock I’ve ever heard. I’ve crashed on their couches too many times to count. Very small local show. More concerty-concert? Tool, PPG Paints Arena, 2019. I actually almost missed this concert because with Tool’s fame, a lot of tickets had been scalped and the prices were ridiculous. My attendance actually ended up being a surprise from my mom. Tool is a big influence on my own music and has helped me through a lot of emotional wrangles.

Favorite concert ever?
Melvins, 2017 at Rex Theater. I was very anxious about the whole thing — I knew *I* would like it, but Melvins tend to be a band that you either love or hate, so I was worried I’d dragged my friends into a concert they were going to be disappointed in. We all left more or less blown away; after playing a fantastic rendition of “The Bit”, Melvins closed the show with a sequence of some of their heaviest material — “AMAZON” into “Hung Bunny” and “Roman Dog Bird,” the final two being extreme expressions of drone metal and drone-doom. When they suddenly stopped the show at the end of “Roman Dog Bird” everyone was jolted back into reality with awe — we’d all entered the signature trance state of drone music without realizing it.

Least favorite concert?
…oddly also Melvins, but the next year in 2018 at Rex Theater. I think that one was largely a mixing issue though; Melvins were playing with a two-bassist lineup that year and I think it took a lot of the punch out of their sound because it was too muddy. A strong contender is Catfish and the Bottlemen in 2019, but I’m not sure if that’s a fair answer as I was really only there to spend time with a friend.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Its roads are some of the worst driving experience, but that’s part of what gives the whole place its charm. Its chaotic and messy, but without that mess you’d never have those beautiful vistas from Mt. Washington. It somehow manages to feel so isolated from the world around it because its nestled in the rivers cutting through mountains. When I think of nostalgic city feelings, I think of the yellow streetlights I walk under with friends after a local show in this odd isolation chamber of arts and culture.

Thanks, Nicholas. Tell me more about this music blog and how you are going to bring it back soon? I always implore people who produce blogs in town to keep it up. I have always felt we can always use more voices exposing and introducing readers to music in town.

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It’s all about the music and having fun! Currently #1 on Reverbnation’s Local Pop Chart.

The Wurms are brothers Jake and Mark Zucco, Joe Gordon and Jeff Ardolino. The Pittsburgh pop rock band have been playing and writing songs for decades. Their latest release is appropriately titled Diggin’ The Wurms. I want to thank Mark Zucco (Keys/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Paul & Linda McCartney – RAM.

Your last album bought?
The Struts.

Favorite album of all time?
That’s a rough call… Any early power pop, like The Raspberries, or Jellyfish, Enuff Z’Nuff, 10CC, Loud Sugar, and of course any Beatles related music like Klaatu, Badfinger, and all Beatles solo work.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Hmmm, Southside Johnny’s latest…

First concert attended?
I think… Beach Boys, BTO, and Edgar Winter at Three River’s Stadium…

Last concert?
The Struts.

Favorite concert ever?
McCartney.

Least favorite concert?
Maybe Aerosmith at Star Lake? The sound was so bad when you held your ears you actually heard the horns in the PA breaking up! Even the next day in the paper they said, ‘Aerosmith members are clean now, but it sounds like the sound guy is getting all the drugs now! (or something like that)

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
It’s home… and home to the greatest sports teams…

Thanks, Mark. Your are officially old school. Anyone who can say they attended any of those multi-bill rock shows at Three Rivers in the seventies is automatically designated old school cool.

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Sailing the cosmic seas with music to do stuff to.

KGB (Kyle Greene Band) is a live looping, funk-jazz, instrumental, fusion, psychedelic duo from Latrobe, PA who’s is readying up their latest release entitled EP2 following up on EP1 from earlier this year. As with their live show, KGB brings a unique, infectious sound to the Pittsburgh musical landscape. Using live-looping as their base ingredient, KGB creates catchy, grooving backdrops for soaring, melodic explorations. I want to thank Kyle Greene (Guitar/Bass/Live Looping) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
I remember a friend buying me a copy of Soundgarden’s Superunknown. I still love that album to this day.

Your last album bought?
Scott Henderson – People Mover.

Favorite album of all time?
Hard to say but I’ll go with a toss-up between Gov’t Mule’s self-titled and Eric Johnson’s Ah Via Musicom.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Nothing specific comes to mind. I am incredibly picky with music though. If it doesn’t hit me quickly,or hits me the wrong way quickly; I get out of there fast.

First concert attended?
My dad took me to see Ted Nugent when I was a wee lad. He shot the guitar with a flaming arrow. It was wild.

Last concert?
Soulive at the Roxian back in Februrary

Favorite concert ever?
The first time I saw Gov’t Mule back in 2001…that show reprogrammed some of my DNA.

Least favorite concert?
Playing bass for CMA artist Andy Griggs at some giant outdoor festival in Florida, opening for Brad Paisley and Sugarland…I had to learn the 90m set in a day’s time, didn’t sleep, had the worst gig ever in front of thousands when he called a really easy tune that wasn’t on the list. My brain broke! Figure it’ll make a great story for the grandkids someday…

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Even though I live a county over, I think of Pittsburgh as my home city. Always have, always will. This city drips with culture and history, I am excited to be a part of its present and future.

Thanks, Kyle. I first caught Govt. Mule at a free show in Market Square in 2000. Such a fun night. R.I.P. Woody.

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Frank Vieira is a country musician from Pittsburgh. Hard work and craftsmanship defines Frank’s music career. A direct reflection of the way it started. It’s been a decade since first making his own acoustic guitar piece by piece in Kevin LaDue’s luthier class at Vestal High School. A class, and a guitar that sparked a journey across the country performing at some of the best Honky Tonks and festivals east of the Mississippi. Over the past 7 years Frank has built a resume and a buzz opening for some of the nation’s best while honing his own craft. With creative takes on lyrics, big radio hooks, and a live show that ooze with polish and confidence Frank is poised for a future as big as his heart. His latest release, “Heart Broke” from February of 2020, is currently charting on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart (Secondary Radio). I want to thank Frank for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Great question, no idea… maybe the Space Jam Soundtrack when I was a kid? First album I loved was Eric Church – Sinners Like Me.

Your last album bought?
The last thing I bought was The Mountain by Dierks Bentley. Then everything since has just been streamed.

Favorite album of all time?
Eric Church – Sinners Like Me.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
None really.

First concert attended?
Goo Goo Dolls and Augustana at Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, NY.

Last concert?
Dierks Bentley’s last trip to Pittsburgh.

Favorite concert ever?
Eric Church – March 15th – Binghamton, NY.

Least favorite concert?
None, I always tend to enjoy myself.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Favorite experiences in Pittsburgh musically have been performing at some of the best venues in the area with national acts. Playing the 2018 Big Butler Fair was pretty tough to top!

Thanks, Frank. I am sure you are gonna be hitting those stages once this craziness is over.

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