Saturday, March 28, 2015

Image of the Day-HughShows 10.12 Hour Two


Weird Paul, Fist Fight in the Parking Lot, Brewer's Row and Slim Forsythe at The Wilderness Recording Studio presents HughShows Live @ Eide's on Saturday, December 13th, 2014 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Weird Paul
  
 Fist Fight in the Parking Lot


   Brewer's Row


  Slim Forsythe
 

Friday, March 27, 2015

First/Last-Wicked Chief


"Wicked Chief features a wide array of sounds and influences spanning across the music spectrum.
No strangers to the Do It Yourself work-ethic and a “music first” mentality, the band plans to delve deep into touring and recording more extensively."

Wicked Chief are an indie-rock band from Pittsburgh who's excellent debut album "True Blue" was released last year. They are supporting friends of the blog Balloon Ride Fantasy tomorrow night (3/28) at the fantastic Pittsburgh Winery for their new album release. I want to thank Ben Armstrong (Bass/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
The first one I can remember buying would probably be “Dookie”.

Your last album bought?
Tame Impala “Innerspeaker”.

Favorite album of all time?
“Led Zeppelin”.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Brand New “Daisy”. I am still trying to get to like it.

First concert attended?
Midtown and Armor for Sleep at Club Laga when I was 14.

Last concert?
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

Favorite concert ever?
Either My Morning Jacket or Bon Iver at Merriweather in Baltimore.

Least favorite concert?
Brand New, they’re one of my favorites and it was pretty bad.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
Primanti Bros.

Thanks, Ben. Ah, Club Laga. That place is so missed, at least to me.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

First/Last-Bill Toms & Hard Rain


"The creative compulsion to write songs that stir emotion, challenge the mind, and move the tail feathers of the audience is undeniably unique in music today. His performances have become legendary in sheer power and passion. Rock and roll, soul, blues, and gospel so deep the earth moves, and the walls begin shakin’ as Bill Toms and his band start the train rollin. American music never sounded so good. He joined Pittsburgh’s legendary band, The Houserockers, as lead guitarist in 1987. The band’s meteoric rise into the professional music scene enabled Bill to tour the United States and Europe repeatedly. While with Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers he opened for and played with a long and impressive list of notables, such as The Band, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Little Feat and Stevie Ray Vaughn. During his 20 years of playing guitar, co-writing, and singing back-up vocals for the Houserockers, Toms recorded six studio albums and one live concert album. In 1995, the acclaimed CD, “American Babylon,” was recorded and produced by Bruce Springsteen."

Bill Toms and his band Hard Rain are to me becoming a Pittsburgh institution. They have seemingly been  around for so long, I forget they are as relevant as when they first started. They have a fantastic new CD out called "Deep in the Shadows" and will be celebrating it's release this Saturday night (3/28) with the Soulville Horns coming along to the party. You do not want to miss it! I have wanted to feature Bill on the blog for forever and I really want to thank him for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.



The first album you ever bought?
The first album I ever paid for myself (parents buying me The Monkees might not count) was “Chicago VII”. Not much Chicago in my life after that, but there for a minute...

Your last album bought?
I still play vinyl. So the last album I bought was probably Mike Bloomfield with Al Kooper and Stephen Stills called "Super Sessions". Recorded in the late sixties. A masterpiece. Timeless.

Favorite album of all time?
This is a hard one. The first thing that pops in my mind is Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks". But then Marvin Gaye made "What's Going On", and The Replacements had "Tim". The Staple Singers, Chuck Berry… I can go on and on. I love music that has passion, and dirt, and deep soul.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
That's not for me to judge. I could say though, many have disappointed.

First concert attended?
I never did a whole lotta concerts. Still don't. Rather do a smokey rock and roll bar. First one, maybe Jackson Brown or something.

Last concert?
Willie Nile.

Favorite concert ever?
Could be The Replacements at Graffiti about 1985. The one that meant the most though was a concert movie. "The Last Waltz" I seen when The Playouse in Oakland used to charge $1 at midnight on Saturdays. This is probably 1979 and I just started playing in bands. I was shaken to the core. Lead me to this road I still travel.

Least favorite concert?
Went to see Ringo's Allstars at The Starlake years ago. Ringo came out and did his stuff, which was cool as hell. He just put out a new record. Just when you were getting into a groove, all the others in the band started playing their hits. It was like a top 40 band after that. We left. It’s a shame, cause Ringo would be a great concert doing Ringo Starr songs.


Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I've lived here all my life. My thoughts reach back to my parents and grandparents. Very hard working group they were. I started playing music because I realized early it gave me my purpose. Even if it was only in my mind, I felt that there was a reason for me. The people in Pittsburgh remind me of folks who are on a mission. Get through the work day to reach the weekend. Get through winter to reach spring, etc. You can't be a snake oil salesman around here. Honesty and heart is what matters in music here. I think this has made me a better artist. It is a gift that true Pittsburghers give. They can see through phoney. They understand the power of truth. When I travel around North America or Europe, I am very proud about the history we have. Pittsburgh is still seen as a hard as nails, working class town. No better place to come from if you’re a writer. The subject matter is deep. It's all there for the taking. I've had the best gigs here. And the worst. It's my home.

Thanks, Bill. The album is really great, man. I also second the love for 'The Last Waltz'. I think anyone who saw it in a theater during it's initial run was forever changed.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

First/Last-Matt Hires


"On his debut album, Matt Hires emerged as a golden-voiced troubadour with a penchant for setting heart-on-sleeve lyrics to sweetly infectious melody. Now, on his sophomore release entitled This World Won't Last Forever, But Tonight We Can Pretend, Hires weaves in grander arrangements, brighter hooks, and a more richly textured sound to assert himself as a formidable new force in the singer-songwriter realm."


Matt Hires is a Nashville based singer-songwriter who returns to Pittsburgh tomorrow night (3/26) to headline the CureRock 2015 show at the Hard Rock Cafe. Also lending support for the benefit are blog friends Andre Costello and the Cool Minors and Brooke Annibale. An amazing line-up for an equally amazing cause. I want to thank Matt for lending his support and for also taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Oh man. The first album I ever bought was "Nu Thang" by DC Talk. They were probably my favorite band at the time, because I wasn't allowed to listen to “secular” music. My cousin had just given me a hand-me-down Sony Discman, so my first album I bought was also my first compact disc.

Your last album bought?
The last album I bought was actually from a friend of mine named Kyle Cox. He just put his album "The Plan. The Mess" out on vinyl and I got a copy from him the other day. It's a great record. I've also been listening to "The Book of Rocko Wheeler" by Rocko Wheeler and "Glow" by Katie Buchanan.

Favorite album of all time?
That's a really tough one. It would have to be between "Summerteeth" by Wilco or "Heartbreaker" by Ryan Adams. Or maybe "Another Side of Bob Dylan"?

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
Ha-ha. This isn't something that I think of very often, and I'm finding that it's actually hard to think of one. Maybe because the disappointing albums are pretty forgettable. But I can say with confidence that by least favorite musical act at the moment is Florida Georgia Line.

First concert attended?
Back to the whole "no secular music" thing. My first concert was a band called Audio Adrenaline at a big church in Tampa, where I'm from. It was actually a really good show. I remember loving their bassist's energy, and soon after that I started playing the bass. That was my first instrument. I don't play it very much anymore, but it's so much fun when I do.

Last concert?
I just saw Kyle Cox, who I previously mentioned, play a house show a few days ago. I'm way into house shows these days. It was a great time. I recently moved to Nashville from Tampa, and I'm really pumped to go to my first show at The Ryman this Friday night. I'm seeing Dr. Dog and mewithoutyou. Two of my favorite live bands.

Favorite concert ever?
Growing up in Tampa, I found that a lot of artists don't make the trek down into FL when they're on tour, but instead they'll only go as far south as Atlanta. I made a few road trips up to Atlanta to see some of my favorites, and it was always worth it. My favorite show of all time was Sufjan Stevens at The Fox Theatre in Atlanta sometime in '06 or '07. It was incredible.

Least favorite concert?
My least favorite concert was one of my own. Am I allowed to say that? It was even that I played bad, or anything. It was just really awkward. A few years back Gap was supposedly doing this "day of music" thing where they had a bunch of artists play in stores across the country. They were having me play at their Las Vegas location, which I thought we be pretty cool. It turned out to be at an outlet mall outside of Las Vegas. I sat on a small step-ladder and played for half an hour to some mannequins and 3 or 4 people who just wanted to shop for jeans. Not my proudest moment.


 Any thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
I've played in Pittsburgh a lot over the past several years, and it's always been a good time. It's a great city. I'm really hoping to be able to eat at PGH Taco Truck when I'm in town, because those tacos are unbelievable!

Thanks, Matt. That GAP story is hilarious. In fact, Pittsburgh had the same shows here and I was on assignment for a local mag to shoot a band called Sounds Like Silence at one of the stores. Awkward indeed!