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.
The Belle Brigade are playing Pittsburgh tomorrow night! They are opening for Good Old War, along with Family of the Year at Smalls. Tickets can be scored here. I have been waiting very patiently for siblings Ethan and Barbara Gruska to play Pittsburgh ever since discovering their wonderful music through their debut album released almost exactly one year ago. The album ended up being one of my absolute favorites of 2011 and my sorry attempts at getting them for an interview has finally payed off as I am thrilled that they have took some time to participate in this edition of First/Last!
Thanks so much Ethan and Barbara. I see hundreds of bands in a year and I am so looking forward to your set. I am afraid if you guys actually play ‘Shirt’, I might get all giddy like a stupid fanboy could!
I haven’t been producing any band portraits for awhile now. With the upcoming concert with The Belle Brigade making their Pittsburgh debut, I got the itch. Whether it’s a one off or not has yet to be seen. I will say I am extremely psyched to finally see the band play live! Seriously crossing my fingers that ‘Shirt‘ will be on the setlist.
Ethan and Barbara Gruska are brother and sister. Their harmonies on this debut album are what keeps me returning to these songs. Sunny, slick, L.A, pop at it’s best. I actually previously ‘met’ Barbara briefly when she was drumming in Jenny Lewis’ band in ’09. By ‘met’ I mean I maybe said hello. You think I would have an ‘in’ for getting them for a First/Last? You would think.
When this album first came out in Spring, I contacted the management for an interview. Two months later, out of the blue I got a cryptic confirmation they would do it. After that I heard nothing till the end of summer when a totally different rep said, sure, they would participate. Another several months go by when yet a different rep asked me my stat counts on the blog? I sent them a few weeks ago with again, no response. Finally, I was told maybe in the new year.
So let’s see, it’s been eight months, five different people, a dozen emails back and forth and still nothing. Hey, here’s a secret, I am trying to get your band some exposure they wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s not like they are Coldplay? Seriously? Believe me, I am not upset or anything, just kind of perplexed. Either they are total prima donnas (which I doubt) or they have horrible PR.
Regardless, I wish they would have played along and I am kind of thinking they will do so in the coming months. Until then, if you haven’t heard their stuff, do check them out. It is a terrific collection of songs.
UPDATE: Here’s a cool little message posted by the band on their Facebook:
“Hey Hugh! Haven’t heard about about until just reading your post, look forward to talking in the new year then. Sorry about the confusion!”