Tuesday, August 19, 2014

So long and thanks for all the fish

When I started this website back in April of last year, it was in response to a call for scene unity, a desire for a place that would be able to collect every gig in the city so that we wouldn't be so divided, constantly booking shows on top of other similar shows. It was supposed to be a place where you could read about awesome bands and events coming up and go out and support them, where if you wanted to be a part of "the scene" you could by writing show previews, passing along news, submitting events to the calendar. After 15 months, I feel like the project has proven a failure and so I am putting it to bed.

I always referred to the site as "we" or "us" when writing about it, but truth be told, it was, from the beginning, a solo venture. That was fine with me. I enjoyed putting up shows and editing the previews and interviews people sent me. It felt important, like I was helping somehow. But after a few months of excitement, the writing pool dried up as people moved on. I couldn't pay my writers because I didn't have advertisers on the site, and I couldn't get advertisers on the site because I didn't have enough content. And so they stopped writing. I pushed on a bit longer, asking friends, bothering them into writing something here and there. But that dried up too, and rather than let this become just my personal music blog, I have decided to let it go. I always aimed for something higher, something that could become an institution. Sure, it's not the prettiest site in the world, but it is functional, easy to update and easy to read.

And people do use it. I don't know how many of our 3000+ visits each month are from spambots and how many are from actual Pittsburghers wanting to know what's going on each weekend, but at least some of them are the latter. I hope you guys enjoyed it, and I'm sorry that it won't be here anymore.

Pittsburgh has never really been able to maintain a music blog like this, and now I know why. No venues would ever send me their listings the way they did to the newspapers. I got blasted by Facebook invites every single day on my personal profile instead of weekly emails like I'd asked for. The only two people who ever actually sent me their schedules regularly were Manny Theiner and Mary Jo Coll, and to them I am grateful for keeping this site alive. They should be applauded for promoting shows in an age where "promotion" is scribbling out an ironic flyer and making a Facebook event, inviting all of your 1000 friends regardless of where they live or what kind of music they're into. If you're lucky, someone might hang up one of the flyers at Spak Brothers. That's where I had to get most of my show listings. At the pizza shop.

So that's that. I have a million more things to say, but it's all just mean-spirited, and half of the reason I'm shutting this thing down is because I can't deal with negativity, personal politics and crappy music anymore, so I may as well just let that all pass anyway. Thank you to all the people who helped make this site possible, thank you to all of the awesome bands I learned about and great people I met. That part of this site has been wonderful. The rest of you? Have fun. I'll see you on the flip side.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Preview: Fight Amp + Bardus + Cyrus Gold + Secret Tombs @ Smiling Moose, 7/19

Fight Amp + Bardus + Cyrus Gold + Secret Tombs / Smiling Moose
07.19 / Doors 9:30p / Free

Some things are made to go together. Peanut butter and jelly. Whiskey and Coke. Simon and Garfunkel. But Pittsburgh and Philadelphia? Not exactly a complementary pairing. They think of us as podunk hillbillies and we think of them as loud-mouthed assholes. They think our city smells and theirs actually does. Their quarterback is a scum-sucking animal abuser and ours is... well, a rapist. Okay, so maybe we have some things in common.

Point is, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia rarely mix, and more often than not when they do, it's a recipe for disaster. But on Saturday, July 19th at the Smiling Moose, the two opposite sides of this great state are colliding, with Eastern PA's Fight Amp and Bardus joining forces with locals Cyrus Gold and Secret Tombs for a night of skull-crushing heavy music and beer-swilling. And if that wasn't enough, it's free! Thanks, Obama!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Preview: Ash Borer + Hell + Wrought Iron + Dendritic Arbor @ The Shop, 7/14

Ash Borer + Hell + Wrought Iron + Dendritic Arbor / The Shop
07.14 / Doors 7p / $10

Summer is in full swing, which means in Pittsburgh it’s disgustingly humid day and night. Hot enough to give me a maddening heat rash that I initially thought was poison ivy. It probably doesn’t help that half of my wardrobe consists of black band t-shirts. It’s enough to make a metalhead long for Pittsburgh’s other season: bitterly cold, pothole-erupting winter. If you share my gripes, then next Monday, July 14th, The Shop has the perfect show to chill you, or at least make you accept the oppressive, wilting heat. The appropriately-titled “Bleak Is the Summer” night unites touring bands Ash Borer and Hell with locals Dendritic Arbor and Wrought Iron for a night of desolate, hissing, blackened metal.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Preview: Swans + Xiu Xiu @ Rex Theater, 7/3

Swans + Xiu Xiu / Rex Theater
07.03 / Doors 8p / $20

Some concerts are for simply rocking out. Some are for dancing your ass off. Still others are for headbanging. Then there are concerts that offer something more akin to a religious ceremony – an invitation to spiritual ecstasy (or agony). Swans concerts are such an event: brimming convulsive tension through rapturous noise, and hypnotic rhythms, but still undeniably a rock concert. Michael Gira and Co. have already embarked on another one of their behemoth world tours that will likely extend into next year, this time in support of their second double album in a row, To Be Kind, released this past May.

In keeping with Swans’ recent tradition of featuring one, smaller-scale, mood-setting opener, Xiu Xiu has joined them for a string of U.S. dates in support of their own new album, Angel Guts: Red Classroom, and will be the opener at Rex Theater next Thursday, July 3rd.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Preview: Drag Me Home Zine Release @ Roboto, 6/27

Drag Me Home Zine Release / Roboto
06.27 / Doors 6:30p / $3

Once upon a time ago, long before Facebook and Myspace and Tumblr and Pitchfork and Tiny Mix Tapes and blogs and Bandcamp and Soundcloud and all the other million ways to share your music online, there were these things called "zines". Yes, I know you all know what a zine is, because you're hip enough to be reading an article on the Pittsburgh Trestle. You probably have plenty of zines on your bookshelf (made of two-by-fours and cinder blocks) stacked up nicely next to your reissued Bikini Kill records. But what you have to understand is that before all of that fancy-dancy, new-fangled internetiness that makes being in a band so damn easy that your cousin's nu-metal band can get 600 new listens every week, zines were what made the world go 'round. They were the lifeline to cool, underground music.

Unless you were lucky enough to live within range of a cool college radio station or particularly hip record store, zines were how you got information about new music, new bands, and where you could see them when they went on tour. You got to read interviews, album reviews, stories--sometimes even written by the bands. It, honestly, was not entirely unlike your mom's Tiger Beat magazines with pictures of David Cassidy--just a bit more degenerate. Zines were the arteries that carried the lifeblood of music out to those of us living in the extremities in Boringsville, USA.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Preview: Carcass + The Black Dahlia Murder + Gorguts + Noisem + Derkéta @ Stage AE, 4/7

Carcass + The Black Dahlia Murder + Gorguts + Noisem + Derkéta / Stage AE
04.07 / Doors 6p / $25

Decibel, one of the better metal/heavy music magazines still in physical print, has sponsored not one, but three tours since 2012, featuring bands like Behemoth, Watain, Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death. It’s rare to find an underground metal tour in the U.S. (or anywhere else for the most part) that neatly balances the demands of a financially viable ("popular") headliner with the clout and credibility of underground heroes desired by hardcore metalheads. In the realm of extreme metal, even the most influential genre-definers often must limit themselves to smaller tours, and in a city like Pittsburgh, that often means only one headliner at a medium-sized to small venue.

So it’s a testament to the skills of the organizers and promoters that the Decibel Magazine Tour 2014 is bringing Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorguts, and Noisem to the gilded halls of Stage AE, along with local band, Derkéta. Old alternated with the young. The established-and-popular sharing stage with perennial legends and up-and-comers. The band who wrote songs called "Genital Grinder" and "Malignant Defecation" playing at a venue named for American Eagle Outfitters.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Preview: Whores + Lo-Pan + Supervoid + T-Tops @ Brillobox, 3/25

Whores + Lo-Pan + Supervoid + T-Tops / Brillobox
03.25 / Doors 9p / $8

It takes a pair of balls to name your band Whores. You're certainly not doing yourself any favors like that. There isn't going to be radio airplay or videos on MTV, nobody's wearing your t-shirt to work, not even in the most laid-back of offices. Hell, Google isn't even your friend. So you're going to have to work even harder to get your name out, to get people to hear your music. And you're going to have to make it all worth it, with jams as brutal and uncouth as your name would suggest.

Lucky for us, Atlanta noise-metal trio Whores is doing exactly that. The grinding, metallic hardcore that they're bringing to the Brillobox on Tuesday, March 25th lives right up to their name. And with the insane amount of press they've been getting lately, they're one of the hardest working bands around. Joining them on this leg of their east coast tour is Ohio stoner rock band, Lo-Pan (the second leg will be with Fight Amp), and their visit to Pittsburgh features locals Supervoid and T-Tops as well.