I had zero intention of going out but listened to a couple of songs streaming on the band’s site and literally got my ass off the couch to hit this show (after stopping by and shooting Deer Tick earlier in the night). Unfortunately, I missed a few songs from the beginning of the set but man is this band so good. It’s actually just Darren Jesse (Ben Fold Five’s former drummer) and any studio session dudes he gets to play with him on the albums and perform live with. This is easily one of my new favorite bands as the two most recent albums I picked up at the show are fantastic folk rock that I cannot eject from my player. Hopefully there will be lots more from Darren on this blog in the future. I just love discovering new great bands.

I was really excited to see this band. They released one of my favorite albums of last year and the set they put on didn’t disappoint. I have been fortunate to have seen a string of great sets within the last couple of weeks and this ranks near the top. Super cool guys to boo which always goes a long way for me in my overall appreciate of a band and their music.

Bummed that I missed the first band Unicycle Loves You but arrived just as MMOSS was starting. Hanging with Manny as the band played, there’s probably no one more fun to hang with talking and describing a band’s music with in this city than him.

This was going to be one hell of an epic night of concerts shoots. I had six bands lined up at three different venues and all that ever came out of the entire evening was a couple of shots of Mitten soundchecking. Details are too sad (or lame) to convey here. If you ever see me out and have a burning desire to know what went down introduce yourself and ask. Until then, here’s my man Brendan’s account of what went down at the T-Bird.

I ended up really liking this band. They are from Pittsburgh. Go check them out.

Arriving straight from The Hold Steady/Titus Andronicus gig in Braddock, I was only able to catch a minute or two of the band before they ended.

The band has only played four locals gigs this year and I made it my mission to see every one of them. Steve is even considering designating me the honorary fifth member of the band. Billy Preston got nothing on me! More from the group in my end of the year wrap-up soon.

Extremely fun band celebrating their long awaited debut CD release. What I really love about these guys is the joy they exude as musicians and as people.

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.

Amazingly, this was my first show at GA this year. I was actually there in the Spring but bailed when Fergus & Geronimo were running late and weren’t playing till 11 p.m. on a school night. Bummer. I think this set to celebrate the release of ‘City Paper cover boyssuper fun CD more than made up for it as these guys came out of the gate ON FIRE and never let up. This band is exciting as hell live and the joy they exude is unbelievable. My man Ohad was there taking some super awesome shots of his own, which you check out here.

The guys invited me over to their practice to take some rehearsal shots for possible publicity purposes (the above photo not considered, I am sure) as they plan to release a new EP at the end of the year. That night they coincidentally received the master and aside from hearing them run through the material live, I was privy to listening to the studio versions as well. It’s nice having an ‘in’ to the Pittsburgh music scene I must say. They are playing out this upcoming Monday where you too can hear the new stuff they are working on.

I was out and about on Friday and received an email blast from the band reminding me they were at the T’Bird. It’s been too long since I have seen them and popped in for a little bit. Looking forward to new music soon from the band.

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.

I have been listening to the band’s latest a lot since I got it and for their release show they played the whole thing straight through, guest musicians and all. The fifth song on the album is quickly becoming my favorite song so far this year and it’s about collecting junk? Sweet.

Near of the end of the band’s set as they were blasting through one of their last songs, I remember wondering to myself, “Could this be the best band in Pittsburgh?” Do yourself a favor and catch these guys live. No matter if they are opening for Weezer or playing a bowling alley, they rock out as if their lives depended on it. So much fun. More photos here.

The Chad Sipes Stereo
Less Than or Equal To CD Release Show
Thunderbird Cafe
Friday, July 29, 2011

Tonight is the big release show for Chad and the boys at the T’Bird. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy last week and have been jamming it ever since. This is going to be a blast especially with Triggers supporting. There are articles here and here about the gig (with cool photos to boot!) The band was nice enough to participate in this ‘CD Release’ edition of First/Last Friday.

The first album you ever bought?
Sipes: Peter Gabriel’s SO. On cassette.
Erik Cirelli: The first album that anyone bought for me was Kiss Alive II. The first record that I actually bought on my own was probably “Blizzard of Ozz” or “Back in Black”, although there is a slight chance that it was the “Another One Rides The Bus/Gotta Boogie” 45 by Weird Al Yankovic.
Jon Miller: Don Henley’s “The End of the Innocence”. My aunt turned me on to The Eagles when I was a young kid and my mom wouldn’t let me buy Gun’s and Roses.
Paul Smith: “Eat ’em and Smile” by David Lee Roth. This was definitely because of the cover of the album.
Your last album bought?
: “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire. I was a little late on this one. I liked the first two records but this is their strongest release. A lot of people are obsessed with them. I am not, but I am obsessed with Springsteen and I hear a lot of Bruce in Win Butler’s songwriting.
Erik: Nathan Hall + David Bernabo.
Jon: Bright Eyes’ “The People’s Key”. I really enjoy the atmosphere created by the spoken word interludes of Denny Brewer.
Paul: “Remain in Light” by Talking Heads.
Favorite album of all time?
: “Fables of the Reconstruction” by R.E.M.. Or is it “Document”?
Erik: It would be a tie between “Mercury” and “Everclear” by American Music Club. ”London Calling” would be a close second. “Astral Weeks”, “Tim” by The Replacements, “Rock and Roll” by The Cynics, “Gentleman” by Afghan Whigs, all would be right up there. “In a Silent Way” or “Kind of Blue” by Miles. Maybe “Reckoning” by R.E.M because I have to pick one from them. “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” by Richard and Linda Thompson. “Bone Machine” by Tom Waits. “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” by The Pogues is a great album except for the songs that Shane doesn’t sing.
Jon: “OK Computer”.
Paul: Probably “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis. Maybe it’s cliche to say, but it really is a perfect record.
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
: “Autumn of the Seraphs” by Pinback.
Erik: Bon Iver’s debut record. I hate it. I don’t get the appeal at all. Also I am not a big Neil Young fan. I like his guitar playing alright but most of his songs do nothing for me. I get so sick of hearing about him. I’m sure he is really concerned about what I think, too.
Jon: I really tried to get into Ben Kweller’s latest album “Changing Horses”, I’m a big fan of B.K. I guess I was just let down by this one.
Paul: “Beginning and end, interwoven” by Keiji Haino. It was an impulse buy while shopping at Paul’s CD’s with Chad. I wish I had that impulse back.
First concert attended?
: The Cure at Starlake. ‘Friday I’m in Love’ tour. 7th grade.
Erik: Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue at the Civic Arena.
Jon: There was this bagel shop that use to host music, the bands were Focal Point, Pensive, and Seasons in the Field.
Paul: King’s X at Metropol. I think it was 1991.
Last concert?
: Clutch at I.C. Light Amphitheater (or whatever it’s called this week). Clutch is one of my favorite bands. They are bluesy and sludgy like Black Sabbath. They also jam a little bit which I usually hate but these guys are good. It’s a shame they had to open for Black Label Society, because those guys are lame. The crowd was a bunch of muscle dudes and deer hunters and then me and my sister.
Erik: Young Antiques and John Bechtol at Club Cafe.
Jon: I had the pleasure of seeing The StereoFidelics for the second time last Thursday. They are this blues/rock duo from Asheville, North Carolina. They are nothing short of incredible.
Paul: ATS at Murphy’s Pub on July 9.

Favorite concert ever?
Chad: Drive by Truckers CD Release party for “Dirty South” Album. 40 Watt Club, Athens, Ga. Saw Modest Mouse the very next night at the same club.
Erik: American Music Club at the Warhol with Lohio opening the show. For me, that was like opening for The Beatles. A show that really blew my mind in the past year was Friction Brothers at Garfield Artworks.
Jon: At the Drive-in and The Rhythm of Black Lines – Club Laga August 2000.
Paul: Radiohead at Blossom Music Center during the “Amnesiac” tour.
Least favorite concert?
: Meat Puppets opening for Primus at the Beaver Dome.
Erik: Twisted Sister. I know it is hard to imagine, but they were terrible. Dio, who they opened for, just killed it.
Jon: The Hymns at The Red and The Black.
Paul: Tool at Mellon Arena. I was scared and left halfway through. I can’t explain it, but I just had this really weird feeling when they started playing, and it just intensified…

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Chad: Born here, bought my house here, gonna die here.
Erik: Meeting my wife Emily in Pittsburgh.
Jon: Pizza Sola is the saving grace of the city.
Paul: I’ve lived in Pittsburgh my whole life, and when you’re from here, there’s a tendency to think that the town is so small, and you recognize everyone, and nothing new happens. However, I’ve definitely noticed in the last few years that Pittsburgh seems bigger. There’s more stuff to do, more people. It’s really cool to see it happen, and to be a part of the music scene here.
Chad adds:
Favorite local releases of all-time:
Chad: 5. SodaJerk-“Can’t put You Down” (before I joined the band).
4. Ritual Space Travel Agency – “Volume 1”.
3. Karl Hendricks Trio- “Songs about Misery and Women”.
2. The Cynics- “Rock n’ Roll”.
1. Vale and Year- “Create a Perfect History”
Honorable Mention: The brand new Horse or Cycle Record. Wow, you gotta hear this.

Thanks so much fellas. I love the new songs and I am really looking forward to hearing them live tonight.

I was really excited to see Big Hurry on this night as I haven’t seen them since their awesome CD release show a few months prior. I realized it was a school night and was thinking that I could stay out a tad past my bedtime to do so. When I found out the first of two openers wasn’t a band but just a dude on acoustic, I was actually digging it cause he won’t play longer than what…20 minutes? First, as always, the show started late. Second, he played for 50 minutes! C’mon! I gotta wake up at 5 A.M. here! No offense but you hear three bluesy acoustic folk tunes you’ve heard a million. Not to be a total jerk to the guy but I had to bail even before Neighbors finished. Oh well, my bitch session is done. I’ll go change my diaper now.