#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. //

Along with hosting a stage at the incredible Deutschtown Music Festival (much more on that soon), I am so excited to curate the stage at the fabulous Thunderbird Cafe during the R.A.N.T. – Rock All night Tour in Lawrenceville on August 15th for the fourth edition of the free festival. I will be announcing the bands I handpicked for the line-up and begin today with the openers of the evening, Summer Underground. I have featured the folk duo before on the blog when there fantastic album came out and I couldn’t be more thrilled that Grant and Chrissy are returning home to Pittsburgh to play the gig. Stay tuned for the rest of the line-up, which is going to be GREAT!

This was going to be one hell of an epic night of concerts shoots. I had six bands lined up at three different venues and all that ever came out of the entire evening was a couple of shots of Mitten soundchecking. Details are too sad (or lame) to convey here. If you ever see me out and have a burning desire to know what went down introduce yourself and ask. Until then, here’s my man Brendan’s account of what went down at the T-Bird.

The band has only played four locals gigs this year and I made it my mission to see every one of them. Steve is even considering designating me the honorary fifth member of the band. Billy Preston got nothing on me! More from the group in my end of the year wrap-up soon.

Extremely fun band celebrating their long awaited debut CD release. What I really love about these guys is the joy they exude as musicians and as people.

I was out and about on Friday and received an email blast from the band reminding me they were at the T’Bird. It’s been too long since I have seen them and popped in for a little bit. Looking forward to new music soon from the band.

I have been listening to the band’s latest a lot since I got it and for their release show they played the whole thing straight through, guest musicians and all. The fifth song on the album is quickly becoming my favorite song so far this year and it’s about collecting junk? Sweet.

Near of the end of the band’s set as they were blasting through one of their last songs, I remember wondering to myself, “Could this be the best band in Pittsburgh?” Do yourself a favor and catch these guys live. No matter if they are opening for Weezer or playing a bowling alley, they rock out as if their lives depended on it. So much fun. More photos here.

The Chad Sipes Stereo
Less Than or Equal To CD Release Show
Thunderbird Cafe
Friday, July 29, 2011
Larryville

Tonight is the big release show for Chad and the boys at the T’Bird. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy last week and have been jamming it ever since. This is going to be a blast especially with Triggers supporting. There are articles here and here about the gig (with cool photos to boot!) The band was nice enough to participate in this ‘CD Release’ edition of First/Last Friday.


The first album you ever bought?
Chad
Sipes: Peter Gabriel’s SO. On cassette.
Erik Cirelli: The first album that anyone bought for me was Kiss Alive II. The first record that I actually bought on my own was probably “Blizzard of Ozz” or “Back in Black”, although there is a slight chance that it was the “Another One Rides The Bus/Gotta Boogie” 45 by Weird Al Yankovic.
Jon Miller: Don Henley’s “The End of the Innocence”. My aunt turned me on to The Eagles when I was a young kid and my mom wouldn’t let me buy Gun’s and Roses.
Paul Smith: “Eat ’em and Smile” by David Lee Roth. This was definitely because of the cover of the album.
Your last album bought?
Chad
: “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire. I was a little late on this one. I liked the first two records but this is their strongest release. A lot of people are obsessed with them. I am not, but I am obsessed with Springsteen and I hear a lot of Bruce in Win Butler’s songwriting.
Erik: Nathan Hall + David Bernabo.
Jon: Bright Eyes’ “The People’s Key”. I really enjoy the atmosphere created by the spoken word interludes of Denny Brewer.
Paul: “Remain in Light” by Talking Heads.
Favorite album of all time?
Chad
: “Fables of the Reconstruction” by R.E.M.. Or is it “Document”?
Erik: It would be a tie between “Mercury” and “Everclear” by American Music Club. ”London Calling” would be a close second. “Astral Weeks”, “Tim” by The Replacements, “Rock and Roll” by The Cynics, “Gentleman” by Afghan Whigs, all would be right up there. “In a Silent Way” or “Kind of Blue” by Miles. Maybe “Reckoning” by R.E.M because I have to pick one from them. “I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight” by Richard and Linda Thompson. “Bone Machine” by Tom Waits. “If I Should Fall From Grace With God” by The Pogues is a great album except for the songs that Shane doesn’t sing.
Jon: “OK Computer”.
Paul: Probably “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis. Maybe it’s cliche to say, but it really is a perfect record.
Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Chad
: “Autumn of the Seraphs” by Pinback.
Erik: Bon Iver’s debut record. I hate it. I don’t get the appeal at all. Also I am not a big Neil Young fan. I like his guitar playing alright but most of his songs do nothing for me. I get so sick of hearing about him. I’m sure he is really concerned about what I think, too.
Jon: I really tried to get into Ben Kweller’s latest album “Changing Horses”, I’m a big fan of B.K. I guess I was just let down by this one.
Paul: “Beginning and end, interwoven” by Keiji Haino. It was an impulse buy while shopping at Paul’s CD’s with Chad. I wish I had that impulse back.
First concert attended?
Chad
: The Cure at Starlake. ‘Friday I’m in Love’ tour. 7th grade.
Erik: Ozzy Osbourne and Motley Crue at the Civic Arena.
Jon: There was this bagel shop that use to host music, the bands were Focal Point, Pensive, and Seasons in the Field.
Paul: King’s X at Metropol. I think it was 1991.
Last concert?
Chad
: Clutch at I.C. Light Amphitheater (or whatever it’s called this week). Clutch is one of my favorite bands. They are bluesy and sludgy like Black Sabbath. They also jam a little bit which I usually hate but these guys are good. It’s a shame they had to open for Black Label Society, because those guys are lame. The crowd was a bunch of muscle dudes and deer hunters and then me and my sister.
Erik: Young Antiques and John Bechtol at Club Cafe.
Jon: I had the pleasure of seeing The StereoFidelics for the second time last Thursday. They are this blues/rock duo from Asheville, North Carolina. They are nothing short of incredible.
Paul: ATS at Murphy’s Pub on July 9.

Favorite concert ever?
Chad: Drive by Truckers CD Release party for “Dirty South” Album. 40 Watt Club, Athens, Ga. Saw Modest Mouse the very next night at the same club.
Erik: American Music Club at the Warhol with Lohio opening the show. For me, that was like opening for The Beatles. A show that really blew my mind in the past year was Friction Brothers at Garfield Artworks.
Jon: At the Drive-in and The Rhythm of Black Lines – Club Laga August 2000.
Paul: Radiohead at Blossom Music Center during the “Amnesiac” tour.
Least favorite concert?
Chad
: Meat Puppets opening for Primus at the Beaver Dome.
Erik: Twisted Sister. I know it is hard to imagine, but they were terrible. Dio, who they opened for, just killed it.
Jon: The Hymns at The Red and The Black.
Paul: Tool at Mellon Arena. I was scared and left halfway through. I can’t explain it, but I just had this really weird feeling when they started playing, and it just intensified…

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Chad: Born here, bought my house here, gonna die here.
Erik: Meeting my wife Emily in Pittsburgh.
Jon: Pizza Sola is the saving grace of the city.
Paul: I’ve lived in Pittsburgh my whole life, and when you’re from here, there’s a tendency to think that the town is so small, and you recognize everyone, and nothing new happens. However, I’ve definitely noticed in the last few years that Pittsburgh seems bigger. There’s more stuff to do, more people. It’s really cool to see it happen, and to be a part of the music scene here.
Chad adds:
Favorite local releases of all-time:
Chad: 5. SodaJerk-“Can’t put You Down” (before I joined the band).
4. Ritual Space Travel Agency – “Volume 1”.
3. Karl Hendricks Trio- “Songs about Misery and Women”.
2. The Cynics- “Rock n’ Roll”.
1. Vale and Year- “Create a Perfect History”
Honorable Mention: The brand new Horse or Cycle Record. Wow, you gotta hear this.

Thanks so much fellas. I love the new songs and I am really looking forward to hearing them live tonight.

I was really excited to see Big Hurry on this night as I haven’t seen them since their awesome CD release show a few months prior. I realized it was a school night and was thinking that I could stay out a tad past my bedtime to do so. When I found out the first of two openers wasn’t a band but just a dude on acoustic, I was actually digging it cause he won’t play longer than what…20 minutes? First, as always, the show started late. Second, he played for 50 minutes! C’mon! I gotta wake up at 5 A.M. here! No offense but you hear three bluesy acoustic folk tunes you’ve heard a million. Not to be a total jerk to the guy but I had to bail even before Neighbors finished. Oh well, my bitch session is done. I’ll go change my diaper now.

Misty and Nick are singer-songwriters who have shared the stage many times. They are collaborating on a project they are calling ‘Clyde’ named for a “deep, quiet shadow of Central Texas between Eula and Abeline on Highway 20” and bringing their show to Pittsburgh this weekend. Also on the bill will be The Wandering Bears from Iowa and local stalwarts Brewer’s Row. Misty and Nick were cool enough to participate in this edition of First/Last.

Thanks so much Misty and Nick. I am with you both 100% in regards to the Hohman family. Awesome people in an awesome band.

No one does rock and soul in Pittsburgh like my boys in Neighbours. Tomorrow night (5/20) the band is once again teaming up with their buddies in New Shouts to bring another fun filled dance party to Pittsburgh (Squirrel Hill to be exact). More info here.

Authentic blue-eyed soul from Beantown. This early evening show was the last of the band’s tour and the ‘WYEP presents…’ banner brought out the throngs of middle-aged fans like I’ve never seen before. This show was seriously packed, scary packed in fact, which I didn’t realize hugging the stage. It wasn’t until I tried to leave the venue when I saw how many people showed up. Unofficial count was almost 200. That’s a lot of bodies at the ‘bird. More photos here.

New Shouts are a local band you really have to hear. If you haven’t, I have a feeling you will soon enough. They are so much fun live and you can check them out a few times this month here and here. Word is new music is going to ‘leak’ from them next week. Twitter them to be the first to hear it.

Neighbours opened this night with their hip, soulful, and infectiously fun as hell music. My absolutely favorite aspect of going to shows is seeing a band for the first time, not knowing a single note from them and coming away a fan. I am really looking forward to seeing them again. Listen to some live love here.

This band headlined one of the most joyous nights of music I have seen in a long while. With two other awesome Pittsburgh bands on the bill, who I will feature over the next two days, this turned out to be one of the best shows I saw last year. Without any ‘official’ musical output available from any of the bands at the show, I cannot wait to hear what they come up with soon. I am hoping to bring you some studio shots of the Pastries working on their debut in the future!

Tomorrow night there’s going to be a super cool retro indie band spectacular at the Thunderbird. Sharing a bill will be Delicious Pastries, New Shouts and Neighbours. Neighbours is a relatively new band on the local scene and the group’s drummer Andy Mulkerin was cool enough to participate in this ‘throwback’ edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?

I remember having cassingles of a few things — a Roxette song, I think, and a couple Nirvana singles — but for whatever reason, I remember the first album I bought on CD for myself being John Mellencamp’s Human Wheels. What a bad album.

Your last album bought?

I end up getting a lot of albums for free because of my job writing about music … I didn’t buy it but I think maybe the most recent album I’ve gotten and given a lot of attention to was Sharon Van Etten’s new “Epic.” That was a pretty dick-sounding answer, eh?

Favorite album of all time?

Oooh, this changes regularly but I’ll say Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks right now because it’s an album I love in winter and it’s definitely winter now.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?

Of ALL TIME? There are so many bad albums out there, and I hear so many, it’s hard to pick one! I might say that I was really disappointed by the Retribution Gospel Choir album that was released earlier this year, not because it’s an irredeemably bad record but because it has two songs that are absolute gems, then a bunch of stuff that’s forgettable and a couple tracks that are downright bad. And because it’s the best-sounding album I heard this year — the best production. Seeing the potential for that band — and I respect Alan Sparhawk and think he’s great — then hearing what most of the tracks sound like is pretty disappointing.

First concert attended?

Bo Diddley at the rib cook-off at South Park when I was four or five.

Last concert?

Well, we played with Mermaids and Clovers a couple weeks ago at Gooski’s. The last show I attended but didn’t play was Scott Simons and Justin Andrew Band at Club Cafe.

Favorite concert ever?

Seeing Q and Not U in a basement in Oakland in 2002 was pretty incredible for me. Another game-changer was Rhys Chatham, Jonathan Kane and Tony Conrad at the Warhol in 2006 or so.

Least favorite concert?

The Black Crowes and the Levon Helm Band at the Trib Amphitheater in 2009. I loved the Black Crowes growing up, and I like their studio output to this day, but the 10-minute guitar solo, jam-band stuff is totally not my bag. Levon Helm Band was decent but poor Levon (who’s a throat cancer survivor) was sidelined with laryngitis, so he couldn’t sing. The highlight was a version of “The Weight” they did with Chris Robinson singing — I guess I’m glad I caught that, but the Crowes’ set was insufferable (as was the crowd).

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?

The thing I like best about Pittsburgh as far as music goes is, I think, the fact that no matter what “scene” you look at, everyone’s very concerned about helping one another: promoting one another’s work, being friends with one another, doing benefit shows when someone’s in need. It’s not a cutthroat thing where there’s a lot of competition between bands; there are cliques, sure, and people from disparate ends of the scene don’t always see eye-to-eye, but usually on a human level people get along really well.

Thanks a bunch Andy. CASSINGLES! I totally thought they were such an environmental waste! Good riddance. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow bud.

So my bucket lists gets smaller with finally being able to see this band. They were just so damn good. The songs from their recent albums sound incredible live. As a bonus, they were really sweet people who were genuinely appreciative of playing in Pittsburgh after so many years. I would love for them to stop here more often.

My friends in Lohio are doing the seemingly more popular Kickstarter route to raise funds for the production of a professional music video for the song Adelai off their awesome new EP. There are all kinds of unique rewards to entice you to donate to the cause and with 8 days to go, they still need to raise around $1300. For what it’s worth, they are way cool and talented people so you can feel real good about helping them out. Get the all the info here. I have set up an easy to view widget of their remaining progress to the left of this page. Some way cool video here.

My first time seeing Damien play and I have to say that I really enjoyed his set. He has a very low-key stage presence but remarkably engaged the audience with his delicate songs. He begrudgingly granted a few requests from the crowd because he said that we were nice people. I met him and his wife after the show and they were nice as well.

Images courtesy Robert Loerzel

I mentioned in my Radar Brothers post last month that they were among a handful of bands that I was finally able to see live after many years of wanting to. This Saturday, can I can conveniently scratch two more off. Shearwater and Damien Jurado are touring together and bringing the show to Pittsburgh at the T’Bird (with local favs Lohio no less!). This should be an incredible show and and may very well sell out, so be warned. Both Jonathan and Damien were very cool to take some time and participate in the ever growing phenomena that is First/Last.

Thanks so much, fellas. I am extremely stoked for the show. See you Saturday.