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Kicking off my ten years covering the Pittsburgh music scene in 2014 with a kick-ass ‘pre-party’ at Howler’s Coyote Cafe. Please come out and support local music!

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I arrived from the Host Skull/Donora gig to literally catch the last minute of the set. Bummer. I previously featured David and his other band KADMAN last November.

Every time I see this band they get tighter and tighter. Being a busy night I couldn’t hang long but always look forward to see them play again.

The band arrived minutes before from their hometown in Jamestown, NY to hit the stage to a 3/4 empty room. I can’t even begin to imagine life on the road as an indie band playing to a roomfull of strangers. It was nice to see that they had at least a couple of ‘groupies’ and neighbors in rock Triggers to cheer them on.

Bopping around town attempting to cover five bands at three venues took it’s toll on me unfortunately and I had to bail early on these guys set (totally missing Triggers later…I damn thee impending middle-age!!!). They have been a band since 2002 and the guys seemed like they were having as much fun as the increasingly liquored up audience and hopefully I’ll be able to catch a another show soon.

Ash Dinosaur Howler’s Coyote Cafe
Friday September 24, 2010 Bloomfield

Ash Dinosaur is a local band that’s playing Howler’s tonight with Onodrim and Deprator. Go out and see live music people. You will thank me for it! Joe plays bass in the band and was cool enough to participate in this latest edition of First/Last Friday.

Thanks Joe. I was actually at both of the last gigs you saw (Flaming Lips, Harlan Twins). Both great in their own way.

All this week, I am going back in the archives and featuring bands that have been opening acts to other artists. I actually could spend two weeks featuring these little bands that I forgot, or rather never had time to feature, until now. First up is Rumbledaddy, a damn fun rockabilly trio from Ohio who opened for Wanda Jackson. They seemed to be having a hell-raisin’ blast (there was actual fire on stage! that I totally missed changing lenses) and played their usual set but had to stretch it out as Ms. Jackson was taking her good old time. Nobody minded as we were all excited to see a legend perform. The guys valiantly played on for what seemed to be another hour before finally getting the cue that Wanda was ready. Nice job boys!

The Chad Sipes Stereo

The band has a gig at Howlers coming up June 12. Chad was kind enough to participate in this latest edition of First/Last.

Thanks Chad. BTW-It’s Fables!

In an effort to preview new music and upcoming shows of worth, I am starting a new feature here. Rather than an interview, I will ask few questions pertaining to an artists’ musical taste. Today, I ask Jeremy Porter (who has a long and interesting career) to participate.

The first album you ever bought?

“KISS Alive! or Cheap Trick at Budokan. I remember hearing I Want You To Want Me and just being drawn in by that melody. I couldn’t get it out of my head and to this day melody and hooks are my favorite parts of music. Truth is though, it was probably Alive! I knew I wanted a KISS record, I knew it had to have Rock And Roll All Night on it, and Alive! had so many songs. Seemed like a good choice. Funny that they were both live records!”

Your last album bought?

“The Big To-Do by the Drive-By Truckers. Lots of people see them as the best band in the world these days. I have trouble arguing that. They have been unbelievably consistent for many years. This record is a bit shorter and a bit more rockin’ than the last couple, but the perfect follow up to last year’s Brighter Than Creations Dark.”

Favorite album of all time?

“Tough question. It rotates around a bit I suppose. Let it Be by The Replacements is up there. Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones) or Quadrophenia by The Who. Zen Arcade by Hüsker Dü. Springteen’s Nebraska is in the top 10 too.”

Least favorite album?

“Not sure I have a least favorite album. Nothing comes to mind. I have a pretty low tolerance for things that are self indulgent, excessively noisy, or lack hooks and strong melody. I just get bored. Nothing against that stuff – some people eat it up so it has its place, just not my cuppa tea.”

First concert attended?

“Alice Cooper with The Rockets at the Alpena (MI) Drive In, Special Forces Tour, July 4th 1981.”

Last concert?

“Drive-By Truckers at Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA March 19 & 20 2010.”

Favorite concert ever?

“Probably The Ramones at Harpo’s in Detroit in December of 88. An unbelievable onslaught of power and great songs. I’ve seen a lot of great shows, but that one has stuck with me.”

Least favorite concert?

“The Grateful Dead, 1994ish, The Palace of Auburn Hills, MI. I paid an (at the time) ungodly $35 to stare at the back of Jerry Garcia’s head for 3 goddamn hours. It was a waste of a buzz, money and time. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.”

Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

“I’ve been to Pittsburgh a couple times. A few years back we went to a Penguins/Red Wings game. Got to see Mario Lemieux score a couple of goals, but the Wings won in OT. Then, this past June I was playing in St Louis when the 2 teams faced off in game 7 of the finals. We were the only people in the building who wanted the Wings to win. I don’t think the people there cared that it was the Penguins, but they desperately wanted Detroit to lose. Anyhow – I am happy for the Penguins to see success after almost losing the franchise. Pittsburgh is a cool, blue collar city like Detroit and I can’t wait for my show at Howler’s Coyote Café on Friday April 9th!”

Thanks Jeremy. I am digging the disc.

If you are in a band and would like to be featured in upcoming First/Last columns, drop me a line.

The Harlan Twins are synonymous with Bloomfield. It was great to finally see them play Howler’s. When this band is in their element (which it seems to be any place performing live) they cannot be beat for good times rock and roll fun.

Unfortunately, I was uncharacteristically late to this show and only caught the last couple songs of Nik’s opening set. What I heard I dug and it’s so endearing for me as a concertgoer to see a father and son rocking out as I did with Nik and his dad this night. I couldn’t help but hear a ‘Ray Davies’ quality to Nik’s voice and was surprised that I was the first person to point that out to him afterwards, even though he’s been known to play a Kinks cover when inclined. I am anxiously awaiting his debut and will definitely be at his CD release show on Friday March 5 at The Thunderbird Cafe. Trust me, you should be there as well.

Chet is hands down one of the nicest guys I have met, musician or otherwise. I was thrilled that they had a blowout of a crowd for their CD release. In fact, I was kinda surprised. There was the obligatory Pittsburgh contingent of musicians in the audience showing their support (which is uniquely awesome to our town, methinks) and a very fun ‘Chethead’ crowd for their main set. Loved it. I have to hang at Howlers more often.

The Queen of Rock & Roll! Very well deserved moniker after witnessing the 72 year old deliver the goods at Howler’s. A little shaky at first but man she was great. Almost as fun was the diverse crowd. I haven’t seen so many tattoos and poodle shirts since, well…never!

The last time I caught Local Honey was a short radio set on Super Bowl Sunday…in 2007! Jeez, it’s been too long. They had Megan Williams on fiddle and she added a sweet texture to the tunes. Too bad I had to bail before the first set was over. I gotta chill and not show up three hours before show time.

This was an unexpected night out for me. We had plans to hang with some friends and when that fell through because my kids got sick, I decided to hit up my local faves Local Honey (which BTW was a year and a half since I had seen them last). The city was having the ‘burgh’s big 250 fireworks celebration and were closing down all kinds of bridges, so I decided to try to get to the joint a little early. I am on the other side of town crossing rivers and all. I end up talking to opener Pokey for the majority of the night. What a nice guy. It always fascinates me how working musicians live and travel. His set was way retro, way acoustic (when is the last time you saw a kazoo played!), and way awesome!