#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. //

Shooting for WYEP, I wasn’t all that familiar with the band. Playing the first night of their tour, the band’s droning, psychedelic rock is definitely right up my alley so all is good. Hanging in the back, I noticed more than a few fans blissfully rocking their head to the slow churn of the jams. Do people still drop acid at shows? Kind of makes me think so.

My itinerary was to go check out Cursive at Smalls the same night but opener Doldrums screwed those plans up as he was late getting to Pittsburgh from Montreal. The guy seemed extremely flustered and by what he said, I’ll give him a break as his trip seemed like pure hell. Playing electronic loops and various sounds, I actually enjoyed his set as it didn’t go on too long to irritate me. Check out more photos here.

Shooting for WYEP introduces me to many artists I would have never gone to on my own. This show was sold out and I was kind of taken back at the number of kids, little kids, mainly girls who were at or a little older than my daughter’s age. Kind of strange in that both Kimya’s and opener YHB’ss ongs had very adult themes and language and not considering myself a prude at all, it totally turned me off. Maybe I could appreciate the music on it’s own merit, but frankly, I didn’t even get that aspect of it as she ‘strummed’ a guitar and squeaked her way through her tunes. Lo-fi? How ’bout ‘no-fi’. Here’s a taste of what I mean. O.K., I really hated this show. Whatever, different strokes.

Having been out of the jamband scene for awhile now, I was experiencing a tad bit of Deja vu as I waited at will call for a confirmation for my photo pass. Heads walking up to the window in a party mood, all tie-dyed and excited for the show wondering what kind of unique setlist will the band pull out?

Good times. I am not familiar with the band’s music but was surprised to find that I was enjoying the set, even the jamming, until I knocked over a guy’s drink in the balcony trying to get a shot. O.k., I’ll buy you another one but why would you leave your rum and coke in the aisle anyway? Check out some more photos here.

Air Supply Rivers Casino

Saturday, January 21, 201 Northshore

As I seemingly went a tad overboard last week gushing about seeing this band, I have to say they met my expectations and then some. This was one hell of a fun show. Maybe because it took place at the casino, there was a ‘Vegas-revue’ style atmosphere to the show right from the start. The band sounded really good and they totally engaged the overly ecstatic crowd, even coming off the stage posing for pictures and giving kisses and hugs DURING the song! It’s no easy feat selling out two 500 seat shows but Air Supply did just that. I suppose after touring for 35 years it shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Wikipedia defines ‘guilty pleasure’ as…wait…take two. Hi everyone, my name is Hugh T. and, ahem, I am an Air Supply fan. As any music blogger knows, his or her tastes define a lot about what they listen to and write about and eventually who follows their online presence. Admittedly, to be able to sustain some sort of ‘indie cred’ could end up being difficult to maintain with a statement I just made. But guess what? I could care less. I have always done what I wanted and saw who I wanted with nobody telling me different. The most incredible facet of music blogging in Pittsburgh is I am my own boss when it comes down to it, and I was way excited to find out that the band was coming to play the casino.

I was a lean (read:skinny), somewhat intelligent (read:nerd) teenager discovering strange feelings for the opposite sex in 1980 and I will forever remember the soundtrack to those times which included bands like Journey, Little River Band, and Air Supply. Yeah, I admit they were somewhat cheesy but did you ever try playing “Lost in Love” on an acoustic guitar to swoon a girl? Believe me, it works! Seriously, give me a couple beers and I’ll slay a roomful of people with my ‘hillbilly>rap>goth metal’ version of “Making Love Out of Nothing At All”. No joke.

The group just released a new digital single Sancuary and are touring with a full band to promote it. It will be fun to see the crowd they get on Saturday as they perform two shows at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. I am way geeked that the duo of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock took the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Thanks so much Graham and Russell. Really looking forward to the show. FTC Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. The links helps to support this site and will allow me to keep writing about local music.

People often ask me just how I get to photograph all of the shows I do? Among many things, it’s a lot of work getting permission from the bands themselves. Take this gig for example. I contacted the Arctic Monkeys, their label, their publicist and the same for openers Smith Westerns. After a week or so of hearing nothing, I sent an inquiry to all involved and was finally granted approval from Fat Possum Records, Smith Western’s label. Cool. Night of the show I find out I am only allowed to shoot them and not the Arctic Monkeys (they are on Domino). One major thing I have learned is not to be bitter, upset or even disappointed in these situations because I feel I am still one of the luckiest music fans in the city to be able to do what I love to do and as often as I do it. Is it surprising I might have got a little annoyed when the band came on and was in near darkness for the entire time I was allowed to shoot? Seriously, no front lights at all? That’s O.K., I am not bitter…Much 😉

Punk icon Henry Rollins was signing his newest book of photo essays at the museum. There was a constant stream of people but the long line moved briskly. I was impressed at how friendly and engaging he was with each fan and it seemed that he was just as happy to be there as anyone who came to meet him. You can by your own signed copy of the book here.

Kevin Devine might be THE most underrated musician I can think of. This was the first night of his tour supporting his fantastic new album, ‘Between The Concrete & The Clouds’. How good is he? I was standing next to a kid who walked two hours from Oakland to see the show!

The lead singer of this local band used to play drums in the ‘Christian metalcore’ band Haste The Day. I think he said it was his new band’s fourth ever gig? Regardless, after the second song he asked that the audience move up to the lip of the stage, a request that puts fear into any photographer’s heart.

Shooting the gig for WYEP, had had no interest in staying past the regulated first three. I actually didn’t stay past the first 1.5 tunes as I was restricted from photographing in front of the stage and had to be back by the soundboard. Stuck with the “Fleetwood Mac” distance, I left as soon as I got all I could. Aesthetically speaking, the dude’s a statue anyway so no real big deal. From I have heard, I missed the concert of the year. Oh, well.

I can’t say that I am an uber-fan of the group. I do like what I hear from them but it seems that with any ‘indie band’ I see anymore, there are some LOYAL fans. There were a lot of people at this show and although I don’t have an exact count, it seemed to be the biggest crowd I have seen at the dozen or so shows I have been to at the venue. More photos here.

As the band came on stage they seemed a little taken aback at the size of the crowd to welcome them. One thing I have been noticing at Stage AE (especially outdoors) is the large crowd already in the venue to show up early for the openers. Talking to Grant afterward, he stated that this was their best show of the tour. Good for you Pittsburgh, representin’! The band obviously fed off that love as they sounded really good.

As a cynic of impersonal, huge, stadium rock shows, I have to admit that this concert was great. With the whole 360° concept, there were very few bad seats in the house. The few that were where the sound was iffy (nestled under the upper decks) allowed you to meander to a better place to enjoy the concert. Heck, even outside it sounded amazing where I saw many people chilling during the show. I wasn’t able to catch Interpol due to getting checked in and all but that wasn’t a big deal to me since I probably couldn’t name one song of theirs. I have seen U2 many times over the years and they do put on a good show.

The whole we’re from Ireland schtick gets thin after the seemingly umpteenth time Bono mentions it throughout the gig but dude got pipes. And to me that’s what it all about. Oh, and the truly incredible stage setup they used. Almost as impressive as the Roger Waters Wall show…almost. I really couldn’t think of them putting on a better show. Well, they could have played One Tree Hill…and All I Want Is You…or Surrender…ooh, and Wire would have been boss. More photos here.

I was lucky enough to be able to get a sneak preview of the concert tomorrow. This show is going to be huge. The shear scale of the production is mind boggling. I will be covering it so stay tuned. It’s amazing that the first time the band played Pittsburgh they were at the old Decade in Oakland.

Weird photo restrictions for this show. I wasn’t allowed to be in the PIT for whatever reason. I am thinking that Lucinda’s peeps didn’t want us blocking the view of the fans in the front rows for the first three songs. Well, if you look at the photos, there is no way the two of us that showed up would even begin to obstruct anyone’s view close to the stage. Instead we had to shoot from the side, which had us standing in front of the fans in the peripheral sections!?!? Yeah, that makes sense. No worries, it’s all good. Another review here. More photos here and here.

Anyone who is at all familiar with my work or who has seen me shooting a show knows that I am a ‘stage hugger’. I feel I have to get up in the musicians grill to get the shot. Sometimes restrictions won’t allow me to get close but usually I am there as inconspicuously as possible. So it was weird not opting to go up during Chuck’s set even though I could have. Maybe it was soaking up the inaugural night of the outdoor venue? I don’t know. To me there is a flatness to shooting from the crowd and well, you the viewer be the judge. As for the performance, he had this raw, ‘Poguesh’ vibe going that, while good, went on about 15 minutes too long.

These guys came all the way from Nashville to play for a handful of people on a miserably wet and cold evening. They were actually good and hopefully the low turnout won’t have them ‘ban the ‘burgh’ from future tours. A couple more photos here.

The last time I saw Social D was back in 1991 opening for Neil Young. Twenty years later, the band sounded fantastic and way more melodic than I anticipated. Christening the outdoor component of Stage AE, the crowd ate up everything the band delivered, which was solid rock and roll. Another review here.

Third time seeing her. I really like her new songs and she and her band are great live. It always amazes me that I seem to be only photog in the PIT during most opening acts? Openers seem to get no love when they definitely should.

I really like this band. They were great last year at Hartwood and sounded just as good playing new material supporting Bright Eyes on this night. This is the kind of band that has legs for a long career. The guys are cool as hell in person so it will be nice to see them ‘blow-up’. Earlier in the afternoon they played a studio session at WYEP which you can listen to here.