#SupportPGHMusic // Exclusively on HughShows Radio streaming at the bottom of the page, enjoy the entire December 13, 2014 concert of HughShows Live at Eide’s Finale featuring mini sets from acoustic and solo versions of my favorite Pittsburgh bands during the marathon 6 hour concert. //

I was really looking forward to seeing this band. I have to say they did not disappoint at all. Putting out one of my favorite album of last year, their live set was as energetic and fun as the album. My only complaint was missing a couple songs that probably weren’t played being an opener and all. Finally meeting Barbara and Ethan was just as cool as seeing them play. Such nice people.

I was super jazzed about this show. The bands mentioned here were good enough for sure but I was more interested in one of the openers which I will feature later. Supposedly, the guy in GOW was very sick but you couldn’t tell at all. Real trooper. I really liked what I heard from Family of the Year. Yet another shout out from the stage dropping Garfield Artworks as the place they played last time they were here. Represent your roots with pride bands! Just sayin’. More photos here.

This show was great. Being a huge fan since their first stop in town, I was jazzed they were playing the more spacious room of Smalls. The new songs sounded better live than on record IMO and the older tunes were rearranged to add a vibrancy to the material. Throw in getting a shout out from the stage and what’s not to love? Top 5 of the year contender for sure.

Also of note, was the premier opening gig for Gardens & Villa on the tour and what sticks out in my head was the whole ‘Hunger Games’ look dude was sporting with his wooden flute sack. Sweet. Check out more photos here.

Another sellout gig from a band I can’t recall ever hearing of before. Either I’m getting old and out of touch, Smalls doesn’t hold as many people as I always thought (650?), a WYEP studio session generates mad interest, or people are craving for things to do on a Tuesday. Or the band is, you know, good? Pick your own answer. Want to see more photos? Of course you do. Click here


I like Dr. Dog and have seen them twice before but I don’t LOVE them. Judging by the sellout crowd, I assume many people do. Again, they are good but nothing that has me standing in line an hour before doors to chill by the stage rail as some fans did. I am still waiting for THAT record from them. The one you hear for the first time and know it’s a killer release. I believe the band still have it in them. In the meantime, they seem to have grown their audiences the old fashioned way, by touring like a beast year after year. Wanna see more photos from the night? Click here.

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t, why the hell not?) you might remember my encounter with Ms. Lee. She was hanging by the merch table before opening for G. Love when I went up and introduced myself. Inadvertently calling her ‘dude’ (I seriously thought she was a teenage boy), we shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. Turns out she comments from the stage that her guitar player is really sick from a nasty bug that she herself was still getting over and she just found out she had pink eye! I spend the rest of the night worrying if that little itch in my eye will get worse. Needless to say she wasn’t 100% that night.

Sometimes I feel musically uneducated it’s not funny. I literally did not know the difference between JJ Grey and G. Love as was proven when both bands played Smalls and I didn’t know who I was there for. Shooting for WYEP affords me to get introduced to so much music but I could not believe this show was sold out. People were loving these guys and for good reason, they were really fun. too bad I wasn’t all boozed up and heading to another show, I actually might have boogied down a bit. More photos here.

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound Mr. Smalls Funhouse
Saturday, January 21, 2012 Millvale

This was the second stop of the night and I would have caught first opener Daryl Hance but as I was in line to get into the sold out gig, I realized I left my phone in my car so I had to sludge back through the snow to get it. Yet another hassle to shoot in the pit was resolved in time to catch JC, who I featured on the blog the last time he was here. He had an Otis Redding vibe with whiffs of ’80’s synth, weed and Wilco as influences. This was the last stop on their tour and they pretty much tried to tear up the joint. I was nestled in the back kind of getting too tired to notice if they accomplished it. From my vantage point they sure came close. Very fun band.

G. Love & Special Sauce Mr. Small’s Funhouse
Thursday, January 12, 2012 Millvale

I was surprised to see that this show sold out. I like my white boy rappin’ blues as much as anyone else (well, not really) but filling Smalls on a Thursday night? Dude must be doing something right. Maybe it was the promise of a ‘meet-n-greet’ to the first 75 fans who bought merch? Why all musicians don’t go that route is beyond me. As an added bonus they were giving away cassettes with every purchase. Cassettes? Really? That’s an issue for a future post. Check out some more images from the night here.

Having seen this band once before, I was excited that they were on the Sam Roberts bill because I think they are great. Apparently, not that many people felt as enthused as I did because when they took the stage there might have been a dozen or so in attendance. Add to the fact that the few people who were there stayed in the back near the bar and you could feel this set going South fast. Ouch. Undaunted and looking disaster square in the face, the band gleefully encouraged all who were there to move closer and have a good time. Damn, if that didn’t work. I see a lot of shows that do go off the rails with much less obstacles facing the musicians but these guys embraced the situation and pulled of a really fun and memorable set. Kudos to them!

I will remember this show as the gig that broke my camera. At the start of the second tune, my beloved Canon 30D shits the bed and although I am expecting a new camera tomorrow, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my first. Sniff. Oh yeah, this band was kinda great! More photos here.

This was the ’20th Anniversary Girlfriend Tour’ where he and his tight as hell band came out and stormed through the iconic album from start to finish. I was surprised when the next night a couple friends where unaware that he was even in town and that he was celebrating the album by playing it. The band sounded absolutely fantastic and you couldn’t tell that illness required him to cancel his afternoon radio appearance that day.

These guys needs way more attention than they seem to get around here. Maybe it’s the whole Canadian thing, but this band rocks hard right out of the gate. He is always fun to see and his records are great. He should be playing bigger venues as he easily does up North. In due time. More photos here.

This was one fantastic set. I have been really into this band since I finally caught them last year. They released their latest “The Errant Charm” in June and will probably hit my Top 10 in a few months. There was some miscommunication between Sub Pop Publicity who granted me the photo pass for the night and the tour manager. Thanks to my man Andy, it was straightened out in a few minutes.

I was outside the venue trying to track down the tour manager when I run into Dave Depper from my beloved band Norfolk & Western. Turns out he is in the Fruit Bats now and unfortunately was the bearer of bad news in that N&W are no more. Total bummer. On the bright side he just released a spot on ‘interpretation’ of Paul and Linda McCartney’s awesome Ram album. BTW, the Fruit Bats sounded great.

This acoustic duo consists of Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent. who specialize in what they call “sloppy tonk” music. Nice. Think a stripped down, cowpunk’d White Stripes. Yeah, maybe not. Listen for yourself here. Headliner Justin Townes Earle was lavishly all kinds of praise on Cary earlier that afternoon. I dug the way they would seamlessly switch instruments throughout the set.

I was surprised how many people there were to see Justin play. Well, now that I think about it, why was I so surprised? He and his bassist Bryn Davies did sound really good. He mentioned that he wants his next record and subsequent tour will have a more ‘live’ feel to it utilizing a full band. Should definitely be something to look forward to. A ‘proper’ review here. More photos here.

I was surprised how different these guys sound live than on their record. They have a much more melodic groove when they play. Maybe I am hallucinating? I don’t know. What I am trying to get across is that they were good.

Never heard of these guys before. They were joined by members of Black Lips and played a cover of Count Five’s ‘Psychotic Reaction’ that was truly sloppy to end their set. They probably meant it to be. As a side note, this is addressed to the people in the front row who think it is O.K. to poke me and tussle my hair while I am shooting in the PIT. I just wanted to let you know that it is not cool at all.

Even though they have been back to Pittsburgh numerous times, I haven’t seen the band play in over five years. That first concert will go down as THE least attended show I have ever been to. I still love the band, even as they veer away from ‘baroque rock’ to a more leaner sound. They sounded extremely tight at Smalls. Richard was way cool to do the First/Last dance in December as I rounded up my fav albums of last year. They are working on a new record and you can help out by going here.