Tonight my boys in Meeting of Important People have a single release show at the Andy Warhol Museum for a flexi-vinyl of their new song ‘All Rode Off Together‘ via Wild Kindness Records. Joining them will be blog faves The Van Allen Belt and Morgan Erina. To celebrate I have dug deep into the vaults to present a ‘partial’ representation of my times enjoying the music of Josh, Matt and Aaron over the years. As you can see, I have seen MOIP or Josh Verbanets solo more times than any other band in my life. See you again tonight, fellas!
On Thursday, February 26, 2015 blog faves Meeting of Important People gathered a bunch of friends at Treelady Studios to sing the chorus on their upcoming single being released by Wild Kindness Records. Among the throng that gathered were members of some of the best indie bands Pittsburgh has to offer including from left to right Derek White (New Shouts), Bethany Berkstresser (Balloon Ride Fantasy), Jeff Betten (Western Pennsylvania), Dave Hidek (Treelady Studios), Josh Verbanets (Meeting of Important People), Max Sommerville (Wreck Loose), Morgan Erina, Michael Cunningham (Neighbours), Addi Twigg (The Telephone Line), Matt Miller (Meeting of Important People), Molly Alphabet, Chet Vincent, Zack Keim (The Nox Boys), Guy Russo, Angela Pannitti, David Bubenheim (Pet Clinic) and Andre Costello. The single is being celebrated at a must see release at The Andy Warhol Museum on Saturday, April 18 with Morgan Erina and The Van Allen Belt as support. It was such a fun time in the room as it only took a few takes to nail it!
Meeting of Important People at The Wilderness Recording Studio presents HughShows Live @ Eide’s on Saturday, March 8th, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Favorite Albums of 2012
Probably my favorite band of all-time releases a 5CD monster of a box set that not just retreads old ground with a plethora of scarcely available b-sides and live cuts but also includes plenty of ‘new’ material from his exhaustive musical vault that had me listening to this thing for months straight without getting the slightest bit stale. Simply put, AMAZING! Look out for a First/Last from Karl Wallinger himself here early next year.
I cannot think of another group who more deserves the title of ‘most underrated band in rock and roll’. With this, their eighth official release, duo Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray continue to make the best indie pop music I have ever heard. The vibe of this latest album reminds me of Beach House but I detest Beach House, so go figure? These two have been at the very top of bands I must see play before I die. Read my previous First/Last with Aaron Espinoza here.
I guy struggles with his faith and composes a beautiful testament to the power of music and what God means to all of us. Well, at least that what I got out of it. Don’t let the description scare you away either. This album is soooo damn good. It happens to contain my absolute favorite song released this year in the incredible, ‘At Last! The Celestial Being Speaks’. Read my previous First/Last with main man Taylor Muse here.
Local boys making the list! My affinity to these snot nosed kids is indescribable. The music on the two EP’s they have put out isn’t anything Earth-shattering but I found I just cannot not stop listening to it. They are finding their legs and I predict they are going to blow everyone away soon. Read my previous First/Last with them here.
I am such a sucker for the so-called ‘psychedelic rock’! Music labeled as such has a tendency to wear thin after awhile but in this particular case, the record sounds as fresh and exciting with each listen as it did the first time I heard it. This would have been a killer show to have seen for sure. Read my previous First/Last with Tim Presley here.
Favorite Pittsburgh Albums of 2012
There were way too many Pittsburgh releases that could have made this list. I seriously would have been here all day. Please do yourself a favor and check out the latest albums from Good Night States, Bear Cub, Meeting of Important People, Costello & The Cool Minors, Coronado, Sleep Experiments, Satin Gum, Grand Piano, Several Conclusions, Instead of Sleeping, The Long Time Darlings, Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, Gypsy & His Band of Ghosts, Pet Clinic, Dan Getkin & The Masters of American Music, The Color Fleet, Ivory Weeds, City Dwelling Nature Seekers, Big Snow Big Thaw, The Lopez, Action Camp, Legs Like Tree Trunks, New Victorians and The Committee for Getting Attention. Support our local artists.
This aptly titled sophomore effort showcases the band’s best attributes. Always reliable good ole rock and roll with a tinge of country boogie. The Harlans are best heard live in a boozy club setting but believe me, this is the next best thing.
I’ve really enjoyed listening to this debut from the local duo. It’s heartfelt, delicate folk without turning too precious or sappy. Would love to hear these two ‘plug in’ and rock out. In time.
Most of the material on this, their long awaited second full length, I have heard live many times so it’s fitting this album sounds like it’s been around for years.
Local weirdos’ triumphant return to form after several years to put the melody into the vocoder as instrument. My favorite album of theirs yet.
Surprise of the year for me as these guys came outta nowhere and put on one of the best sets at their CD Release gig I have seen all year. No wonder, these songs are catchy pop that are sure to put this scene on notice.
Favorite Live Moments of 2012
If the box set wasn’t enough, it was announced that Karl was not only making a rare concert appearance in town, he was playing a special studio solo session at WYEP the day before which you can check out here. Now, I normally would have picked the moment at Altar Bar when Karl pointed to me me as he started, ‘Sweet Soul Dream‘ but going into the studio session, I saw Karl’s manager and asked if I could shoot sound check? He obliged and I found myself alone in the room as Karl rehearsed his set and was able to chat with him for several minutes before the rest of the crowd entered. Pretty damn cool!
With that being said, I cannot even begin to rank from the other 194 bands I saw this past year (only 196…yeah, I know I’m slipping). But many stand outs were Roger Waters, Hotel Lights, The Beach Boys, WOODS, The Belle Brigade, Sharon Van Etten, Basia Bulat, and Lydia Loveless
Favorite Photo of the Year
Meeting of Important People/Mr. Smalls Funhouse/Friday, August 24, 2012
1/80-f 2.8-16mm-ISO 1600 Out of the thousands and thousands of shots I took this year, why this one? Easy. When anyone asks me what makes a good concert photo, I respond that there are several obvious factors involved. Being at the exact right place at the exact right moment. Having a photogenic subject. Substantial and interesting lighting. All these are key for sure, but for me the images that capture my attention are the few that convey the photographer’s love for the subject matter. In other words, if my heart isn’t into the shoot, the photo will reflect that more than any other reason I can think of.
When this gig was announced, I asked Josh (as the norm, I usually contact someone from the band I am shooting whether their manager or publicist) where and when I can shoot? He replied, “I’ve got a ticket with your name on it bud! This is OUR FREAKIN SHOW and you are free to go anywhere you damn well feel– on-stage, behind the bar, backstage, parking lot, anywhere :)”. Needless to say, I was jazzed and I truly believe my longtime appreciation for these guys reflects in the photo.
This show was an absolute blast as the band, the crowd, the whole room was ON! Midway through the show they ‘stripped’ down for their acoustic set and as you can see with some of the other images, I decided that the one above was the keeper. I always realize that my opinion on what makes a photo work may not be what others feel but that’s art, man. I stick with what I think I know and run with that!
And finally, amazingly, there was this. Just too cool.
“Meeting of Important People is an indie pop band from Pittsburgh, PA. he band’s 2009 debut album on the Authentik label was named a top release by many blogs and radio stations, including influential station WYEP-FM. Their pleasant collections of creepy suburban indie-pop songs and high-energy live show grew to reach listeners world-wide, and the band is now proud to celebrate the August 2012 release of their 2nd full-length album (tentatively titled “My Ears Are Having a Heart Attack”), an eclectic mix of new songs chock-full of twists and turns. The band has recorded with producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron&Wine), has starred in a heavily-viewed cardboard city music video, traveled extensively, gained airplay on terrestrial and satellite stations, and has shared the stage with renowned artists such as Ok Go, The Secret Machines, David Bazan, Dean & Britta, and Sam Roberts Band. Their recordings have recently been re-pressed onto vinyl for 2011 release by legendary garage label Get Hip, many MOIP songs have also been featured on E’s KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS, MTV’s TEEN MOM, THE REAL WORLD, and JERSEY SHORE, web series OFF-BRAND, and CBS’ THE GHOST WHISPERER, among others– if you listened hard enough. MOIP keeps the loud parts loud, the pretty parts pretty, and the people happy.”
If you read this blog, even casually, you know my fanboy geek love runs awfully deep for this band. They are celebrating their (FANTASTIC!) CD Release show tonight at Smalls, bringing along Pet Clinic, Great Aunts, and Texture Ballet for support. This will be one fun time. My thanks to the guys, Josh Verbanets (Vocals, Guitar), Aaron Bubenheim (Vocals, Bass) and Matt Miller (Vocals, Drums), for taking a few to participate in this edition of First/Last.
Thanks, fellas. This new album is really great! Tonight will be a blast!
Another fun Josh solo set. I had a blast at this gig. Hanging with friends, sluggin’ beers and listening to awesome music. Can’t think of a better time.
My favorite album of 2009 and I got the setlist from the CD release show. MOIP never, ever wrote setlists back then. This was the first time I ever saw one on stage. They always played it by ear but for some reason this night Jeff needed the list. It was on his keyboard. My score. It was written on the back of an envelope addressed to Danielle M. from the New York Times and is still sealed. The band is raising money to make their next album here.
Of all the bands I have covered in Pittsburgh, I have easily photographed Meeting of Important People more than any other. Since seeing them for the first time in 2008, they quickly became one of my favorite bands, local or otherwise. Their debut album was my favorite of 2009 and now they working on their third release which is where you, Joe Public music fan, come in. They are going the Kickstarter route which enables you to secure a copy of the album, and a host of other incentives, by donating now to assist in funding the album making process. For all the info go here.
The night before the set, I was feeling all kinds of happy and boozily exclaimed on Facebook that I demanded an electric set from Josh for the ‘quiet room’ gig. Threatening to boycott, poor guy had to let me down that it would be him solo and unplugged. Was I going to attend? Of course, I was. I am so glad I did because he ended up playing an hour of the most chill (meaning really, really good) versions of his and cover tunes to a modest but appreciatively attentive crowd. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon at the Library.
The last time I saw Josh play by himself there were about eight people in attendance. This night there were several dozen times that many. What struck me during his set is that the vast outdoor audience were actually listening to him! I was expecting a lot of talking and the usual park noise but I was surprised how quiet the place was during the entire acoustic set. Certainly not pin drop silence but maybe brick drop. Really nice.
There is a ‘sort of’ running joke in my home. As I leave the house, my wife always asks me what band I am shooting that night. Everytime I reply MOIP, she naturally and quizzically shoots back, “AGAIN!?!” Yes dear, again.
Incredibly sweet ‘wooden’ music from the guys. Little old me got a shout out from the stage…thanks fellas. Some audience members scored some video action here.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be backtracking and bringing you a bunch of images from local bands, many who I saw for the first time. These guys aren’t one of them. I really can’t tell you how many times I have seen them perform and it’s so fitting for me for them to be the last band I saw play in 2010. More photos here.
Two of my favorite bands decided to make a pair of short horror films and they will screen them tonight along with full sets by both. Dress up in your full Halloween regalia and have a blast. I love the fact that both these bands think of cool ways to put on shows. Here’s a couple shots from behind the scenes. As an aside, you may not know, I was an aspiring filmmaker once. Evidence here.
I have lost count how many times I have had the pleasure to watch this band play since I first saw them. They never disappoint and the sold out crowd was way into them. These guys are always a guarantee for good times.
These guys rocked out Hartwood. My brothers favorite band of the afternoon. I cannot wait for the two release shows coming up at the T’bird and Warhol. Are you impatient as I am? This article has the link to download the EP right now!
Meeting Of Important People are readying their sophomore release. Mastering. mixing, finalizing. Whatever that means? I have been so lucky to be jamming on the new songs early and will be able to exclusively offer a preview right here in the weeks to come before anyone else. Nice! Seriously, you will not believe this music.
They have two parties coming up to celebrate the occasion. July 24th is the over 21 gig at the Thunderbird. July 30th, all ages at the Warhol, outside with Good Night, States. To understate the obvious, I will be at both.
Before all of that goodness, they will partake in the hometown showcase this Sunday at Hartwood along with a slew of other great bands. My ultimate Father’s Day. It is my extreme pleasure to say that Josh was so kind to participate in this, my birthday edition, of First/Last Friday.
Thanks Josh. Floyd’s WYWH? You have some ‘splainin’ to do next time we see each other brah!
Imagine hanging with a buddy for a couple of hours as he noodles around on his guitar. Then consider that your buddy released your absolute favorite album of the last year. That was the case for this ‘show’. A handful of willing students (and some parents) showed up to sing-along, shout out requests and take in the merriment. Josh played stripped down versions of the album tracks, obscurities and crazy covers ranging from The Beatles to Rihanna. He also tackled songs from Radiohead, Pink Floyd, The Zombies, and OutKast among others. Some of my favorite songs he did were by other Pittsburgh artists including Lohio, Boca Chica and Donora. I was considering not going to this being a late (for me) weeknight but I am really glad I did.
For the next two days I am featuring MOIP in what turned out to be a pair of completely different sets. At the Thunderbird, they closed The Wreckids CD release show with the most ferociously blazing show I have ever seen them do. Coming out of the gate with a blistering take on their bona fide hit ‘Brittney Lane Don’t Care‘, they didn’t let up at all. I was literally sweating buckets after a few songs. Great stuff. Tomorrow I’ll highlight Josh solo acoustic that was just as (if not more so) awesome.