#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. //

“Twenty five years after winning a Best New Artist Grammy and launching one of contemporary music’s most diverse and collaborative careers, Bruce Hornsby is still, blissfully, making joyful noise—and finding clever, expansive ways to chronicle the dynamic musical snapshots along the journey.”

I have never seen a Bruce Hornsby show proper but have seen him perform many times with the Grateful Dead. One of my most vivid memories was Buckeye Lake in 1991 during the Violent Femmes opening set. Standing at the side of the stage enjoying the music more than anyone in the crowd was Bruce and his young family. My thanks to Bruce for taking time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Thanks, Bruce. Can’t wait to finally see ‘your’ show this week.

“With their 2010 Nonesuch debut, Genuine Negro Jig—which garnered a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy last year—the Carolina Chocolate Drops proved that the old-time, fiddle and banjo-based music they’d so scrupulously researched and passionately performed could be a living, breathing, ever-evolving sound. Starting with material culled from the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, they sought to freshly interpret this work, not merely recreate it, highlighting the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation’s popular music from its beginnings more than a century ago. The virtuosic trio’s approach was provocative and revelatory. Their concerts, The New York Times declared, were “an end-to-end display of excellence… They dip into styles of Southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s—string-band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz—and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting.”

The band’s latest release “Leaving Eden” was dropped in March and the band play the Arts Fest Main Stage this Friday supporting it. My thanks to group co-founder Dom Flemons for taking a few minutes to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Thanks, Dom. Looking forward to hearing your music fill up Point State Park!

Dawes are awesome! I have been lucky enough to catch them twice here in town previously and they return next week to play a free show with Sara Watkins opening up. Musically, this years Arts Fest is one of the best in recent years with the inclusion of Dawes certainly being one of the reasons why. Main man Taylor Goldsmith was cool enough to take a few minutes to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Thanks, Taylor. Always love seeing you guys play and next week will be no different, I’m sure.

So far this year, I have seen (amazingly to me) around 100 bands play. This show is in hardcore contention to be my favorite of all of them. With a killer opening act to boot, I wasn’t expecting too much from a band that almost exclusively plays songs about baseball. I have zero interest in the sport but the band’s love for the game is infectious and the tunes are fun, catchy and great, regardless of the subject. I had a shit-eating grin the whole set. R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills was pinch-hitting for an absent Peter Buck and I have to say, the band may have been better for it. He actually can sing where Buck cannot and to have them play the Mills’ penned ‘Rockville’ sealed the deal. Just an awesome time. Another review here. More photos here.

My man Scott has been pimping these guys large for a few months now, and I finally decided to check out what all his gushing was about. Man, am I so glad I did. These guys came out of the gate smoking and never let up. They sounded really good in the open expanse of the park but I am sure a club setting would be unbelievable for their sound. I won’t the mistake again of missing them anytime they roll through town. More photos here.

Not an uber fan of hers but I do like that song ‘The Story’ a lot. My first exposure to here was outside Club Cafe in 2006. I was waiting in line for the sold out matt pond PA/dios malos late show doors when Brandi came out of the club after finishing the early show. She seemed very quiet but nice, I guess. I had no clue who she was till I found out later. Yeah, thrilling tale….More photos here.

Not at all familiar with their stuff but one a the few chances to shoot the festival’s concerts this year and I took it. I was surprised at the low turn out for all the shows I saw this year. Regardless, for an offshoot band that’s celebrating 30! years, I was highly impressed at the joyous energy coming from that stage. A review here. More photos here and here.

What was interesting to me about this show was the crowd. I rarely go see bands that are welcomed to the stage with a high-pitched wall of sound. The audience was young and energetic and actually endearing in their enthusiasm. A somewhat nice change of pace and nice reminder of why I love live music so much. Setlist here.

I bashed this performance immediately after and as I think about it, I was sort of in the wrong. I only saw the first few songs because I had to run somewhere else that night, and from what I am told, he recovered from a very shaky start to put on a solid show. Dude’s a living legend so yeah, he gets a pass. Still would have sounded better with a band though. Crappy youtube video(with footage of yours truly in action) here.

Continuing ‘Openers’ week, Justin supported Kris Kristofferson at the fest. Playing solo acoustic to a large crowd who were waiting for another act could be a daunting position to be in. He handled it like a pro and actually engaged the audience in that I really didn’t hear much babbling during his set. In fact, there was more chatter during Kristofferson’s show than Justin? Probably because more people showed up but still

So as the Three Rivers Arts Festival came to a close last night, at least for me, I am kicking myself as I write this. Some of my favorite bands and friends are playing on the main stage and I am not there. No worries. I just had to take a break from the picture taking to hang with my lovely family. Some things are more important ya know. Tomorrow as the fest ends officially with Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller, I am taking the less popular route and checking out Dawes at Hartwood. Call me crazy but ‘North Hills’ is totally kicking me arse. Here are my thoughts and images on this year.

My sincerest of thanks go out to my friends at The Cultural Trust who actually have faith in my photographic abilities. It means everything to me. You are wonderful.

After seeing the band several times in the year, I was excited that they debuted a couple tunes on this night to fulfill the allotted time slot. It was also the biggest stage I had seen them play on up to that point. It was strange to see them spread out like that after photographing them on smaller stages seemingly standing next to each other. My hope is that the stages get bigger!

I usually post every day. I have a ton of images back logged like the one above. I am regrouping and enjoying my summer. Thank you so much for hitting the blog. I will be back soon with a vengeance.

It was great to hear these guys blasting through a killer P.A. outside in the park. Usually in clubs I don’t have the best audible vantage point hugging the stage snapping pics. The best thing about hearing them play is that they seem to have new tunes every time they play! Great stuff. AND they still hold my top stop of ANY release, national or otherwise, this year. More tomorrow from the YEP Summerfest gig last night (where they even backed Dar Williams).

Lead Apostle Andre Whiteman is a member of Broken Social Scene (who isn’t?), the Canadian ‘supergroup’ that’s seems to be taking over the indie rock world. I wouldn’t say these guys were bad…it’s just that my daughters wanted to check out the fountain so I did miss most of the set. More tomorrow.

Don’t get me wrong, The Black Keys are cool. There has been some local ‘uber’-adulation towards these guys since playing here last summer. And yes, while they were good, it all started sounding the same to me after awhile. It wouldn’t kill these guys to get some more band members…just my opinio

Jessica and her band kicked off the main stage musical performances for the 50th Anniversary of the Pittsburgh fest. Her folky vibe was perfectly suited to warm up the crowd for headliners The Black Keys. She reminds me a lot of local gal Emily Rodgers, especially her voice. Her brother David played bass and was extremely cool to me on my quest for band siggys. Thanks man!