Photo courtesy of the wonderfully supportive Randy Jarosz and Sound Scene Express
Last autumn, I came up with the idea to celebrate my tenth year as HughShows with a concert, or a party featuring my favorite Pittsburgh bands. What turned out from just an idea became the most amazing musical experience I could have ever imaged. Every single moment was something I will never forget and truly cherish forever. This is what rocked MY WORLD in 2014.
First thing I wanted was some sort of logo or image to be on the posters. I actually threw this together once we were at Eide’s but it never worked out.
I came up with a sketch of my own but felt I wanted a professional to do it.
Original Budai HughShows sketch.
I have always been a huge fan of local artist Budai, who specializes in producing unique and mind-blowing concert poster art. I have collected several posters of his throughout the years and at a show he was putting on with The Paperhead at The Shop a few years ago, I casually asked him if he would ever consider making a poster for HughShows if I ever put something on. He casually responded back, “Sure.”
When the concert series was becoming a reality, he agreed to mock something up based on my three requests of incorporating music, photography and Pittsburgh. I was instantly loving it but thought why not have me with the camera and not some naked hippie chick? I also asked about the Pittsburgh reference and he threw out the idea of a Heinz Ketchup bottle on one of the amps. I suggested something from Mister Rogers Neighborhood since I did used to work on the show as a scenic artist. Yes, that is a Lady Elaine puppet. What he eventually came up with is still unbelievable to me and he was kind enough to run off a limited amount of signed posters which I gave a copy to every band who played the Eide’s series. So rad!
Initially, I was only planning on having one show to commemorate the anniversary. I approached Jay Vega of the then J Bird Studio, now The Wilderness Recording Studio about helping out with sound. Why Jay? I have been out to his studio a few times and really appreciated the atmosphere (his home) and the way he interacted with the bands recording there. He was immediately on board and I really couldn’t believe how quickly he agreed.
Just one thing, I had to find a place to put on the show.
Jay pouring shots with Household Stories at The Wilderness Recording Studio on Friday, April 12, 2013. Yeah, he’s my guy!
I thought about unique places to hold a show (including the top of the Steel Tower!) and one of the venues I approached was Eide’s Entertainment. They actually expressed interest in having a concert as they recently built a small stage on their 3rd Floor and had yet to have anyone play. This would probably work out great. I even thought, why just have one show? Let’s have a bunch! Jay was in for having them monthly until June and if it was working out, we would maybe decide to keep it going. Eide’s was in and later I asked Jim who managed the store why they said yes to me? He responded, “Because you were really energetic in all our interactions and you seemed like you could pull it off.”
Now all I needed were bands to play.
With our host for the year, Greg Eide. Without him and his exceptionally cooperative staff, it would not have happened.
I kept thinking to myself that asking bands to play a free show in the afternoon in a record store might be a hard sell. Maybe a few will say yes. I put together an initial list of my must-have bands that I wanted to see play and hopefully some of them will participate. I put out an email on a Sunday afternoon and by Monday night we had three bands a month from January to June booked! Just incredible! I will never forget what these talented and gracious people did for me… and you.
I still had to figure out what the scene will look like?
The HughShows Live @Eide’s monthly songwriters portrait from January to November missing Matt Zeoli (Household Stories) and Chris Olszewski (Balloon Ride Fantasy)… and Jay, who really made it all happen!
About three weeks before the first show, Eide’s 3rd Floor Stage wasn’t exactly ready.
I thought I was REALLY in trouble.
Jim suggested I put a bunch of promo posters that were available to use. I really couldn’t imagine Sleep Experiments playing with a Celtic Frost poster hanging over Morgan’s head.
I figured out that I would enlarge and matte some of the participating songwriter’s handwritten lyrics that they so graciously sent me over the years but that still only covered less than a third of the ‘backdrop’. Funnily enough, I just happened to be gooning on youtube and stumbled upon John Lennon and Paul Simon presenting an award at the Grammys in 1975.
The huge artist faces gave me the inspiration to finish the backdrop with Pittsburgh musician portraits. I was happy the way it eventually worked and gave a personal feel to the proceedings as well.
I blurred some of the drawings as to not ‘reveal’ the next months line-up.
MUCH better, no?
The portraits worked out so well in my opinion that I used them for the show fliers and started posting a bunch on Facebook throughout the year.
Pittsburgh’s finest… HughShow’d!
The last thing we did was have a trial run with Household Stories to feel the room out about a week before the first show. Sounded good to us. We are ready to roll!
Jay fills in for Jon who had to work. Notice the dude in the back wondering, “Live music at Eide’s?” You’re damn right!
Things were going great… until…
Right before we were to start, Brian from Satin Gum contacted me and said that he fractured his finger. A guitar player attempting to perform with a broken digit is something that cannot happen. I learned right then and there to be positive about anything that came my way with all of this and miraculously, The Red Western stepped up and totally saved the day and filled in for the first show. Hence, HughShows Live @ Eide’s was ON!
But first, I decided to throw a ‘preview’ show at Howler’s a week before… what was I getting myself into?
Alexander Sands (Coronado), Jake McGregor (Gold and the Rush), Aaron Shafer (Round Black Ghosts)
I have to give credit where credit is do. I learned a lot this year about ‘promoting’ shows and presenting concerts to the public. It is one profession I would never want to take on full time. It’s a thankless, stressful risky thing to try to do proper and just getting a taste of it reassures me I am definitely not cut out for it.
One thing I did learn was that musicians do not read emails thoroughly at all. How many times did I hear, “Wait, Eide’s is acoustic?”, “What kind of set-up is there?” “What time do we go on?”
Like I said, I KNOW I don’t have the nerve to do this full-time. I usually show up and shoot a few photos, not worry about the drummer who is still at work and will we go into the next band’s set. God Bless you, Mary Jo!
I also had some initial grandiose plans to include food trucks, beer tastings, face painting for the kids. I was trying to go all out at Eide’s but in the end, supplying a few pizzas and some beer was all I could handle myself.
Paul Luc selfies with the youngins at HughShows Live @ Eide’s 10.1 on January 11th.
The aim of the series was to present different styles of Pittsburgh music on one stage. What best represented that than Weird Paul, Slim Forsythe and Abby from Fist Fight in the Parking Lot at HughShows Live @ Eide’s 10.12 on December 13th.
As documented on the blog all this year, the shows really couldn’t have gone any better. The best aspect for me, was incorporating the Homeless Children’s Education Fund every month and through the incredible generosity of our audience members, we raised over 290 new school supply items and $615 donated! That what it is all about for me.
With Carrie and Bill at the Homeless Children’s Education Fund offices in the Strip.
I once again must say a very heartfelt thank you to every musician who agreed to play Eide’s this year. I am beyond humbled and honored you took the time to share your talent for the people of Pittsburgh. I will never forget it.
Jarrod W. Tracey
As cool as these people were, most even accepted my challenge of covering a song from one of my 50 favorite albums of all-time! I asked the bands to not tell me what song they were going to play because I was all worried about paying royalties until Paul Luc told let me know at the first show that since we weren’t charging admission, we didn’t have to worry about paying the RIAA thousands of dollars. I was relieved but still thought it was cool to be surprised of the cover as the bands actually played it.
HughShows Live @ Eide’s Cover Tunes…
Ryan Adams – Gold 2001 (‘Answering Bell’ Paul Luc)
It was so much fun for me to hear them put their spins on songs I love and a few times I couldn’t resist ‘jumping up on stage’ to join them. A HUGE shout out to Chris and liveburghmusic for documenting many of the performances this year. You are the best, man!
One of the coolest things I gathered over the last 12 months was my 2014 setlist book. I literally have a boxful of setlists that I have snagged from the stage over the years. I thought that this year, the setlists could maybe come to me. Including every full Eide’s set performed, I asked some of the other Pittsburgh bands from shows I attended to write down their setlist in the book. I have 60 setlists compiled with contributions from Slim Forsythe, Legs Like Tree Trunks, Neighbours (last show), The Cynics, Delicious Pastries, Chelsey Nicole, Chase the Monkey, Nevada Color, Diamond Shapes, Gangwish, 1,2,3, Broken Fences (last show), Guy Russo, City Dwelling Nature Seekers, The Natural Way of Farming, Greg Dutton, townsppl, Roger Harvey & The Wild Life (first show), Megpie (first show), Alexander Sands (solo), and Round Black Ghosts. It really is an incredibly personal document of a special year for me. I actually have two pages left that are reserved for two very special shows from this year. I hope I can complete it soon.
Triggers and Molly Alphabet contribute to the handwritten setlist book!
And then there are the posters. As I stated above, I had a limited edition run of numbered and signed posters made courtesy of Budai. I kept #1 and wanted Jay to have #2. I had every musician performing at Eide’s sign both of them and as Scott from The Wreckids said as he saw them, “Wow. These are a million dollars!” No Scott, they are priceless to me!
Finally, Jay did a remarkable job throughout the year bringing and organizing the gear to be able to present the bands at Eide’s. He also used a basic set-up to record this wonderful music and even though it is equivalent to an audience recording, I think ‘the tapes’ turned out just exactly perfect! We are working on hopefully releasing some of this wonderful music to you with, as always, the artists permission.
In fact, here is a double-sided single that I feel represents what we were trying to present this year, showcasing varying genres within our musical community. Two very different Pittsburgh bands rocking it out. The Wheals are a roots rock and roll band and The Garment District are a psychedelic synth-pop band. Both of these songs are so great. Enjoy!
Besides the Eide’s shows, there were many other moments in 2014 that I could never forget.
My buddy Cindy Howes of WYEP. Cindy has always been an inspiration to me of how to support local music.
In August, Cindy Howes and WYEP gave me a shot at a guest DJ spot where I picked three new local tunes that I thought epitomized what is happening musically in this fine city of ours. Listen to the segment here and thanks, Cindy!
Also in August I was thrilled to be a guest on the WDVE Morning Show where I discussed local music. It was so much fun to be in that studio with Val, Bill and especially Randy Baumann, who supports local musicians more than anyone else I know. Thanks, Randy!
As always, huge shout out to Chris of Live Burgh Studio for capturing the interview.
There were also HughShows T-Shirts available this year. They were based on the Budai design and quickly sold out. I think they look very stylish.
Nox Boy Zack rockin’ that HughShirt!
Huge thanks to Foo for coming down to the ceremony.
On July 18th I celebrated 10 years to the day as HughShows with something I still cannot wrap my head around, ‘Hugh Twyman Day‘ in the City of Pittsburgh. Jeff Betten of Wild Kindness Records nominated me and my Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith sponsored the proclamation. What an honor to be recognized by the city I love for my efforts I love doing.
The Proclamation reads:
Pittsburgh City Council Proclamation WHEREAS, Hugh Twyman is the founder of a local music blog HughShows which began on July 18, 2004; and, WHEREAS, Hugh began photographing musicians and bands as a creative outlet and a way of supporting the arts culture and has since strived to network with like-minded, positive people who have the same passion of exposing local talent to others; and, WHEREAS, for the past ten years, Mr. Twyman has documented the Pittsburgh music scene as a photographer and blogger who has interviewed virtually every native musician in Pittsburgh as well as national touring acts that have passed through Pittsburgh; and, WHEREAS, Mr. Twyman is celebrating his 10th year of running HughShows with a monthly series of family-friendly concerts titled HughShows Live held at Eide’s Entertainment in the Strip District with the help of Jay Vega of The Wilderness Recording Studio; and, WHEREAS, attendees to the monthly series are encouraged to bring donations of new school supplies, or financial contributions to benefit the Homeless Children’s Education Fund’s Gear For Grades Backpack Drive, which to date, the series has so far collected more than three large boxes of new school supplies; and, WHEREAS, in addition to HughShows, Mr. Twyman has worked proudly as a Visual Arts teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for the past 17 years; and, NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby commend Hugh Twyman for his commitment to the arts and the talented musicians Pittsburgh has to offer; and,
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED,
that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does hereby declare Friday, July 18, 2014, to be “Hugh Twyman Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.
We also had a Christmas party at the Kollar Club on the Southside. With the help of Ben (Deutschtown Music Festival) and Jeff (Wild Kindness Records) we basically threw a thank you party for my friends who happen to play music in my favorite bands and to raise money for a musical legend in Pittsburgh, Mr. Karl Hendricks. Such a fun way to end the year!
Lohio reunites at the Peduto inauguration on Monday, January 6, 2014. Photo courtesy Ben Soltesz
Finally, in January, Pittsburgh welcomed the 60th Mayor in office when Bill Peduto was sworn in. At his inauguration I was floored when at his request, Lohio reformed to sing ‘This Land is Your Land’ at the ceremony. Ever since that afternoon, I have been PLEADING with Greg Dutton to get the gang back together again to play one of the Eide’s shows. Even though that didn’t work out, we will be presenting a VERY special show on January 17th at the Thunderbird Cafe with Meeting of Important People and LOHIO! Do not miss out on this one of a kind evening. Get your pre-sale tickets here before the are gone.
2014 also had me posting around 230 times on the blog, hitting around 60 shows including the epic R.A.N.T., MC-ing the 2nd Annual Three Hour Tour and relentlessly absorbing music as always. Whew, I am tired. Really tired.
I knew I wanted to go all out this year but I am going to have to take a break. I am in no way done with what I do, in fact I have some big plans for 2015, but apart from the Lohio/MOIP show, I will be way low key for awhile.
I really couldn’t imagine or dream of how the last year went for me. I am humbled, honored, privileged and had the best time of my life. There are way too many people to thank for what occurred. It means everything to me you came along on this journey with me. I sincerely appreciate it. I really did have a blast!
Last but certainly not least, I truly made a life long friend in Jay Vega this year. My love is forever with you, buddy. You literally made my dreams come true. I can never sufficiently express to you how I feel.