It’s hard to argue with the fact that the band is quickly becoming one of the city’s ‘breakout’ bands. They are in Chicago right now, working hard doing the publicity thang and if they follow label mates Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller into the national spotlight, they won’t be playing Brillobox too much longer. I can’t wait because they are such nice and talented people, they totally deserve it.

My first time seeing the band. As always Dave brings something different to the party, this night it was three interpretive dancers. Watching the set with Donora’s Casey, I mentioned that this is a weird bill. The two bands are very different. Her sarcastic response, “Yeah, I don’t think our fans are that sophisticated”. She may have a point…;)

It seems that this show was an EP release gig is secondary to the fact that it was also the last time the band would be playing with Andy on guitar. The future is uncertain for the remaining trio and plans vary depending on which one of them you talk to. I have hope that the band carries on in some form and nothing can take away the memories they as a group (and more importantly, as friends) have given me personally. More photos from the night here.

I really like this record. I can’t stress that enough. That being said, they were good live but not ‘mind blowing’. Maybe my expectations were way too high? The band seemed really reserved and shy. What does that have to do with anything? Absolutely nothing. And for the record, this might have been my last shoot at Brillobox unless they replace the only two stage lights they had and for whatever reason took them away? Bummer.

First time seeing the band with the new line-up. Have to gush and say they sounded so great. It was also Carrie’s ‘Dirty Thirty’ at midnight. Hard to believe that when she was born, I already knew my wife for two years!

What more can I say? I really dig these guys. Getting a shout out from the stage? Bonus! Thanks Kelly.

So as the clock struck midnight and it was officially my birthday, Those Darlins ambled on stage and gave me the best present I could ask for. I, along with the near sell-out crowd, were treated to an amazingly fun set from this band. They even seemed a bit surprised and pleased by the love they were getting back from the crowd. As my fellow blogger Brendan gushed, this is definitely a contender for show of the year. This night is exactly why I keep going to concerts.

Opening for fellow Nashvillians Those Darlins, these guys brought the heavy stoner rock to Pittsburgh. People seemed way into them even forgiving them for their fixation on Jeff Goldblum…really, that’s what you think of when you hear Pittsburgh? They, along with us, were having a good time so I’ll forgive them.

Ursa Major are a band from Pittsburgh that are doing their own thing their way, which I admire greatly. They are readying their new album and host house shows at their crib, lovingly called the ‘Doo Wop’ mansion. I was bummed that I only caught the tail end of their set (literally the last half of the last song) due to an early show shoot and will hopefully see them play again soon.

Another buzz band that’s blowing up right in front of our eyes. This show was (surprising for a late Wednesday night) sold out. Now there is a strange phenomena that occurs at shows that I will never be able to wrap my head around. I arrived just as openers Guards where wrapping up and there was a good two foot space between the stage and the audience. As Guards begin to tear down their gear for Cults, the entire audience walk two steps to the lip of the stage. It’s the weirdest thing to see and I see it a lot. As for the band, they were good. I think they need some road experience to become a bona fide live band but that will come in time for sure.

Due to a photo shoot earlier in the night, I survived the hell that is Route 28 traffic to arrive at Brillobox to be able to hear exactly 1.5 songs from the band. Not nearly enough to form an honest opinion. I do know one thing, this Brillobox lighting scheme has to go. Now, not only am I complaining as a photographer but as an audience member I couldn’t see anything. Seriously, the best photo of the set is of a stuffed bird! What I do know is that my peeps over at Pgh Music Report are fans of this band and their bloggy crush can be found here.

Did I say in my last post that The Low Anthem was one of the darkest shows I attempted to shoot? Well, Dan opened the night and I was barely able to get one good photo out of his set due to the fact that it was even darker! He actually used to be in the band and joined them onstage for a tune which…I couldn’t get a photo of because I was sitting on the floor. No worries.

This was probably the most difficult concert I have ever shot for several reasons. First off, Brillobox is dark as hell to begin with and even though I implored my man Justin for some light, any light, I think the band was going for a vibe that left it a virtual dark room. Add to the fact that by the second song, half the audience was sitting on the floor which left me sort of immobile for the rest of the set. Finally, there were some songs that were so hushed, you could hear my shutter! I honestly try not to break the atmosphere so some choice image opportunities were gone forever.

Kudos to the crowd who were amazingly respectful and attentive, even during the quiet tunes (exception being one local singer-songwriter’s awesome accidental throat gurgle that could have derailed the encore…nice!). My third time seeing them play but my first full set proper from the band and they couldn’t have been any better. Great performance from some incredible musicians. NPR has their show from two nights earlier here. More photos here.

Cool band from Boston in town to give ‘sisterly’ support to the Big in Big Hurry. Flatleys were all over the place that night and I am surprised the Brillo is still standing. Oh yeah, they sounded really good.

When the awesome Key Party comp was released a few years ago, one of the highlights for me was Triggers contribution. I never had the chance to see them play until this show. They were so great! The guys had no merch due to leaving their bin at a previous show…bummer. I will definitely remedy that soon, as the guys are playing some upcoming shows that I, and you, HAVE to check out. I will have more from this band in a future post or two. More pics here.

I have never seen this band more “ON” than I did this night. They were tight as can be, the mix was perfect (Justin’s the man!) and the sold out crowd was definitely throwing some major love vibes toward that stage. The band had several family members in attendance and it was a pleasure to be able to meet most of them. We even got one of my friends in low places to guest on banjo. It will be hard pressed to see a more fun show this year…and it was only still January! If you missed it, don’t fret, you can catch the band tomorrow night at Lava Lounge.

So my buddies in Mariage Blanc are having a CD release bash next week (BTW-I have heard the album and it’s so good!). Playing their first ever gig as support is a brand spankin’ new band called, appropriately enough, New Shouts. They have a retro sound that should be blasting out of an AM radio circa 1974 and believe me that’s a great thing. This will be one sweet show. Vocalists Cor and Derek were cool enough to participate in this, another duo edition of First/Last Friday.

Thank guys. I can’t get that image out of my head of Damon Albarn running for his life in the Strip District from some crazed 15 year old. Awesome! Good luck on the gig.

Here we go again. Three days, three giveaways! Pretty sweet. Thanks to Corey, I have a pair of tickets to give away to the band’s show on Sunday. This is no ordinary event. For the past year, Corey has been writing and recording a song every week and blogging the
. The concert is a celebration of the completion of the project. He’s invited some friends to partake and should be a surprising and amazing time. To enter, email me at with ‘Project 52’ in the subject line. Supply the name you want for the folks at will call the night of the show good for two passes.

Corey was cool enough to take some time out from his endeavors and participate in this edition of the ongoing love fest I call First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?

Man that hurts. I’d love to tell you it was something really cool, but it’s not. Now the first album I ever owned, that was Thriller, but that was given to me by my Mom’s co-worker who knew I was into music. It was a dubbed cassette. Early music piracy! No, my first album purchase was by 70’s and 80’s rock giants of the Christian Rock genre, Petra. The album was called “Beat the System” and looking back on it now was equal parts embarrassing and surprisingly good. The songwriting was great for what it was and the singer-dude could really wail. I was really young and most of my access to music at that time was the small-town pop radio station, so a lot of Duran Duran and Phil Collins, but a kid like me wasn’t ‘supposed’ to be buying secular music. That didn’t last long, and my family gradually distanced ourselves from that scene, but it was an influence none the less.

Your last album bought?

Last Saturday the Karl Hendricks Trio played a show with a great band from Denton, Tx called Tre Orsi. I bought their record Devices + Emblems. It’s really awesome, and I think they dropped a few off at Paul’s CD’s. They’re like a more rocked-out version of bands like Seam, The New Year, and Bedhead.

Favorite album of all time?

That’s probably a moving target and something I haven’t really had to think about. I don’t know. A couple that come to mind right off hand are Sebadoh’s Bakesale, Guided by Voices’ Under the Bushes Under the Stars, and Silkworm’s Libertine… and I could go on and on.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?

Again, from the top of my head, Pavement’s Terror Twilight, was a pretty big downer at the time.

First concert attended?


Last concert?

Last one that I wasn’t playing was Yo La Tengo at Hartwood Acres. We took my 3 year old and he LOVED it. He was really into the concept of encores and now he and I will play Yo La Tengo concert where he’s Georgia and he plays his drum set and I’m Ira and I play guitar. We get through a minute and a half of “Tom Courtenay” and then he announces that we’re finished, waits for my wife to clap, and then we run to the kitchen to plot our encore… and so on. It’s awesome.

Favorite concert ever?

That’s another tough one. Back in the 90’s Hovland got to play a lot of really good shows, and I have great memories of playing with various local rock greats and some of my favorite touring bands of the time. One that comes right to mind, though I don’t know if I really appreciated how great of a show it was at the time, was getting to see the Karl Hendricks Trio, Hurl, and Silkworm all in one show at a place that used to be called Luciano’s in Uptown.

Least favorite concert?

Eh, I don’t know. I got hit with a pretty heavy dose of electricity at an old sketchy gallery on the Southside to the point where it wasn’t fun at all.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

Oh man, I don’t know. I love Pittsburgh. I’ve been here nearly 15 years, which is crazy to think about in itself. It’s the people and the neighborhoods, and so on… it’s all been said before. I’ve had both really great and not-so-great experiences with the music scene here. I’ve certainly made my share of mistakes. But I’ve gotten to meet and play with some amazing musicians who are also great people. The drummers in this town, man! I’m just glad to have been a part of it all and I look forward to getting back out and playing shows again. I hope more local folks get a chance to check out the blog and the song-a-week project. It’s pretty unique and it’s a lot of music, but I think the songs really stand on their own.

Thanks Corey. Cool story about your kid appreciating an encore! Train ’em while their young. Also, I am guessing your first show was New Kids On The Block??? Have fun on Sunday.

First off, courtesy of the band, I have two tickets to give away for their show this weekend with local heroes Meeting Of Important People and All Tiny Creatures from WI at Brillobox. To enter, email me at with the subject line ‘Mariage Blanc’ and the name for the folks at will call the night of the show good for two passes. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted by Saturday afternoon. Good luck.

Songwriters Matt and Josh sing and play guitar in the band and were kind enough to participate in the continuing week-long celebration of a little number I like to call First/Last.

Thanks fellas. Bummed I missed that St. Vincent show at Diesel this year. She was fantastic at The Warhol in 2008. Also, it’s funny you mention XO Josh. I am on a HARD Elliott Smith kick as of late.

This band was good. Unfortunately, no matter how good they were, their efforts were eclipsed and almost forgotten due to the fact that Fanfarlo who followed were that much greater. Unenviable position for sure but they are starting to gather some well earned buzz since they were here and I would definitely see them again.